Natasha Beningfield wrote the song, Unwritten. Some of the lyrics say, “No one can speak the words on your lips.” “No one can feel it for you.” “Today is where your book begins; the rest is still unwritten.” Meditate on those words. The message that a writer has is uniquely their own. No one can share the message a writer shares like the writer of those words. No one–no matter how inspired–can feel what a writer feels when writing words of inspiration. Then, there is the big one. Are you ready? Every brand spankin new day is the beginning of the rest of one’s life. Resonate with that. Every day is the chance to start that article. Pitch that idea. Finish that book. Whatever the project is: today is the day to change lives…even one’s own. What are you going to write on the first page of this new book?
One of the hardest labors of love I undertook was creating my tribe. With less than one week before my writing group will launch, I am swamped in last minute additions. There was so much I wanted. There was so much I wanted to share. There was so much I wanted to achieve, then I noticed I was making the epic fail. All of my goals had “I” in it. I had forgot that it is my tribe I want to serve. What should already be a buzz had nothing but crickets, and it was my fault. After evaluating the problem, I began to reach out to members individually, asking them what I can do for them. This was not about me. Sure I wanted my group to be a success, but even more, I wanted my members to be a success. That is what building a tribe is about: serving others.
Writers to Writers
Illustrations provided by http://www.ncte.org
Your Gift is Unique to You
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
Inadequacy is worse when it comes from self-belief. Many individuals see the success of others and measure their adequacy on other’s skills. Your gift is unique to you. If you continue to look at what others can do and neglect to see your personal attributions you will go through life wondering why you are not good enough. However, if you focus on what you can do and try your hardest to do it well, the benefit you will achieve will be self-fulfillment. That should be the measure of your success.
Illustration provided by http://mindset-for-success.org
If you enjoy Kimberly’s writing, you will enjoy her latest book of fiction, The Collection. Visit http://kimberlymscott.wix.com/kmscott for more information on her works of literature.
I grew up in a sheltered community of religious fanatics in which there was no room for error, except by the time I was four years old, my best friend had taught me all I needed to know about how sex worked via Barbie dolls. However, at the age of eleven, we left Jehovah’s Witnesses, but in my case, the damage had already been done. I began to experience freedom. Everything was great—at first. I was still on the honor roll. I won the lead in my first Christmas play. Then, I found a new set of friends.
One day one of my friends from school asked if I wanted to meet someone. He was 21 and at the local high school. He would visit me every day before and after school. The changes were subtle. I displayed anger at home, and there was no more playing Barbie for me. Then, one day we decided that I would go to his house. As the day approached on my calendar, anxiety engulfed me, but he was my boyfriend, and he loved me. These are the thoughts that had been planted in my head. Then, the day came where I walked to his house one morning instead of going to school. At his house is where I lost my virginity, but I lost so much more that day. It changed me. That day was the beginning of my hell. Although I was an eleven-year-old child, I was held accountable for what happened—at least that is how I felt. What happened was my fault was the lie I began to accept. Years later, I learned to accept that what happened to me was not love! I read one day that if a nine-year-old walked down the street butt naked holding a sign that said “take me,” she should not be touched, because she is still a child. I had to train myself that what happened to me was not consenting or my fault—I was a child! Memories of the forceps used in the rape kit tore my skin worse than my “boyfriend.” I soon fell into a deep depression. I had entered the world of childhood and womanhood faster than my mind could process. It was one thing to play or talk about sex with dolls than to actually experience it. These turn of events resulted into what would be my first nervous breakdown, as I was pulled from school and inundated with therapy and lawyers and court, all the time processing that this was my fault. No child should have to experience this. Within six months, I was diagnosed Bipolar.
Now that I had my label my life only seemed to go downhill. From the age of twelve to seventeen, I was hospitalized form one mental health facility to the next. There are events that happened in my family of which I have no recollection, but with a mentally ill and traumatized child who was constantly crying and suicidal, what was a mother to do? Those were the circumstances my mother faced, and she did what she could to hold on to her sanity and restore and proactively try to restore mine. The true effects of what happened to me, soon began to show it’s ugly little head.
As a teen, I was a wild child. I was spiraling completely out of control. I withdrew from high school. I enrolled in GED classes—soon stopped attending—hung out with my friends or did nothing. I could not keep a job, and my behavior was causing conflicts at home. I slammed doors and can still remember the near-shattering sound of the front door after staying out late with my friends. I dated guys twice my age. I felt my life was hopeless. After frequent fights with my mother and sister, I ran away. Returning home a day or so later, I decided to live with my sister in North Carolina. Life seemed to get better there. I baby-sat my nephew in the daytime, took GED classes in the evening, but at night the wild child continued to flourish. I partied hard. After work on my very first job, I got drunk and had a hangover when I was scheduled to work the next day. I quit. The next week I noticed an open casting call at On Track Modeling. I signed a modeling contract the following day. Life truly was getting better, but my lust for the night life was bound to get the best of me…and it did.
After a modeling call, I went out with my latest piece of arm candy, a guy almost twice my age. Soon, reality hit that I didn’t know him as well as I thought. I found myself walking the highway in the middle of East-South Charlotte in a mini-dress, stilettos, and a wig. A guy pulled up and asked, “Do you need a ride?” I did, so I got in the car, but he was not taking me where I wanted to go…home. My heart was in my stomach. Afraid of what was to come, I pleaded for a drink. He pulled over at a gas station. Security locks were on the door. He brought back a Sprite. Fearing for my life, I looked in my purse and began to swallow my entire bottle of ulcer medication. I thought to myself, “If I could just scare him then maybe…”
It worked. He took me to my sister’s place. It was then I realized I had taken an overdose, and I was afraid. I was speechless. Of course, I had forgotten I had gone MIA for two days, putting some male over my obligations to her. She was too upset to talk to me. I had betrayed her. I was Judas Iscariot and felt utterly alone. I locked myself in the room and overdosed on my five remaining bottles of medication. Realizing what I had done, I called 911. They rushed me to Carolina Medical Center Trauma Unit. IV needles stuck in my veins. I heard in the distance “…temperature 110 and rising…120 and rising…,” and I could not ingest the charcoal fast enough. They thrust tubes down my nose. I began to hemorrhage; blood pouring from my nose. None of the tubes were small enough. A nurse covered my feet and asked, “Would you like to see the minister?” I heard her, but apparently she did not hear my dry lips whisper “no” or see me shaking my head, because she said, “Bring the minister in.” I didn’t need a minister. What had God ever done for me? What I needed was to end it all. I needed to die. I blacked out.
Several hours later, I woke up in the ICU recovery room. The next day, I felt downright awful. My whole body ached. There was no feeling in my arms and legs, and my mental distress was the worst of all. I was alive. I was a failure; even at death. There was a nurse who asked me if I still wanted to take my life, and I told her yes. I confided in her about my worthless life. It held no purpose, and I felt like neither did I. I began to cry. I cried for every sin that I had committed. I cried for every sleepless night and unanswered prayer. I cried. Mrs. Agnes held me and simply responded, “Let it go. Give it to Jesus.” I said helplessly, “But, I am so alone.” She said, “With Jesus you’re never alone.”
I was baptized at fifteen, but on July 7, 2002, I was reborn. I went from near death, a wheelchair, and into a homeless shelter within one week. I came back home, re-enrolled in high school, and graduated amongst the top of my class. I knew my life-changing experience was meant to be. On October 11, 2002—exactly three months and four days from my North Carolina incident—my house caught fire with my mother, sister, nephew, niece, and me inside. My room was engulfed in smoke. I ran downstairs. At the burglar bar door, we needed the key that was in the den, which was on fire. We screamed and banged at the top of our lungs. Again, I felt the pull of life or death. Only this time, I was in control. Suddenly, glimmering like gold was a loose screw. I was reminded of this door. We never got around to fixing it. I pulled the screw and knocked the window out. My family and I escaped to safety. One would think that my story ended there, but it barely touched the surface.
Thirteen days after graduating high school, I enrolled in college, only to find out the harsh reality of date rape on college campuses. Within four weeks of college, I had been given alcohol to the point that I was unaware of having sex; date raped off campus twice; and ostracized for trying to report it. After the second time that this happened to me, I got up enough gumption to go to my guidance counselor to seek help only to be asked if I was concerned with “taking care of myself” or “getting these guys in trouble?” I was then referred to the health center. I had truly been raped—of my pride, dignity, and self-worth. Once again, I was left to cope with something else that I had caused. With memories of this atrocity floating in my head, I struggled to continue class; I felt like everyone was watching me and knew my dirty little secret. That is when I withdrew from the university with the mockery repeating in my head of my offender saying, “Welcome to Alabama State University.”
Although what happened to me was unfair, I had already learned by now that life is not fair, so my resilience told me that I would not go down without a fight. One year later, I re-enrolled in the university with the mindset that I would not be forgotten. By the time I left ASU, I had won six or more writing and public speaking awards and inducted into three national honor societies in which two I held offices. As president of the school’s honor society, I was a shoe-in for Ms. Alabama State, so I ran. Little did everyone know, I was struggling to keep my dual life under wrap.
While I was going to school, taking several classes and several medications for Bipolar, I was living with my abusive boyfriend, who was also Bipolar. After lots of prayer and the worst fight yet, which included broken furniture, grits being spit on me, erroneous accusations of me cheating, and me springing both my wrists, I realized I could not continue living this way nor hide the scars from self-mutilation, codependency, and fear. Two classes and an internship away from graduation, I dropped my run for Ms. ASU and left my abusive boyfriend. I had to get myself together if I wanted to graduate. With one year of financial aid pending at the university, along with my teaching certification and degree at risk, I had to reevaluate my priorities and focus on my academics.
I moved into my own place. It took an adjustment to being single after a four-year relationship and playing mom to a child who was not mine. I dated—a lot. I dieted—a lot. After undergoing unsuccessful infertility treatment, I gave up. One morning, rushing to the sound of the alarm, I fainted and awoke in a puddle of blood two hours later. After calling 911, I was rushed to the local ER to receive stitches in my head. To my astonishment, I was four weeks pregnant. After checking the calendar, my new beau was the father—only he was in Mexico with his wife and kids, leaving me pregnant and alone. My life suddenly, once again, began to spiral out of control. My OB-GYN took away my medications for Bipolar that were a danger to the unborn child, but did not replace them with a medicine that was not. The mental health facility abandoned me altogether. If I had ever learned anything, I learned that medication meant stability. Pins ripped through my stomach. I rushed to the doctor only to learn that I had miscarried and needed to go to the ER. I was devastated. At the ER I was told that…I was pregnant! I was carrying twins, but somehow, only one survived. I was excited, but I also had other issues to deal with—without medications for my Bipolar. These issues led to my unraveling. Pregnant and without medication, I had one of my worse nervous breakdowns yet, as I felt like I was an unfit mother. Without medication to think clearly, I took an overdose. After three days in the hospital, I was sent off to another mental health facility. This was a confusing time for me, but my unborn child survived! After two months of mental hospitalization, I was discharged.
Life had taken a turn for the worse. I moved in with family, left school, and tried to pick up the pieces of my life. A short time later life threw another whirlwind my way when my car flipped on the interstate. My ankle was crushed, and my body was pushed to the trunk, almost ejecting me from the car. To God’s mercy and grace, my unborn child had survived.
The next couple of months dwindled slowly, as I had frequent visits to out of city doctors due to the high risk nature of my pregnancy. On March 24, 2009, I delivered a beautiful 5 lb and 6 oz daughter whom I named Acacia` after the Acacia tree. I believed that she would be as equally as beautiful of the flowers on this Biblical tree and just as strong. As I bonded with my child, in true nature of the lemons life, I feel, reserves just for me, the Department of Human Resources visited, questioning me about my overdose while I was pregnant and began to question my stability. I was told the only way to take my beautiful daughter out of the hospital was to sign papers stating that I would be observed and visited by the department. This was more than I could take. The one single most best part of my life would not be taken away! Four days later, I suffered yet another nervous breakdown and lost custody of my daughter; I was admitted to the hospital once again. Besides one visit, I did not get a chance to see or hold my daughter until she was four months old. Two months after supervised visits, I went to court and regained custody of my daughter.
I must admit that having my daughter is the best that ever happened to me. I have not been hospitalized in six years, and I have a beautiful, six year old precocious daughter who shows every bit of vivacity that I thought she would have, even at such a young age. I have successfully published four books, and I am three classes away from my Masters of Education with a concentration in English. From victim to victor is my story, but I have a feeling that this only the beginning of a new chapter.
Kimberly Michelle Scott is from Montgomery, AL. She is a graduate of Liberty University. From Now until Infinity: A Reflection into Womanhood is her first poetry collection released in 2006. Since then, follow-up book From Infinity until Beyond: A Journey into Life was published in 2010. NAKED: Monologues for African American Women debuted in 2013. Her 2014 project, “I Am HerStory,” is a memoir anthology in which her work appears. The Collection: A Book of Short Stories was newly released as a Nook Book and is also available on Amazon Kindle. It launched December 2015.
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There is no failure except in no longer trying.
― Kin Hubbard
I have not met my expectations as a writer. However, every rejection letter, every missed opportunity, and every zeroed out royalty statements adds fuel to my fire. I sit and strategize, wondering what will take me to the next level. I have been writing since I was able to read. I have been published as a book author for over ten years now; I can count the number my four books have sold on one hand. According to the media industry, I am not a successful author. Don’t get me wrong. I do strive to one day be on the New York Times best seller list, but every day that I put my finger to the keyboard and hit send or post, I am a success, because I continue to try. That does not proves that I am not a failure, it makes me a success.
If you enjoy Kimberly’s writing, you will enjoy her latest book of fiction, The Collection. Visit http://kimberlymscott.wix.com/kmscott for more information on her works of literature.
Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I AM AN AUTHOR, POET, AND EDUCATOR FROM MONTGOMERY, AL. IN THE PAST, I WROTE NUMEROUS ONLINE ARTICLES AND CURRENTLY HAVE SEVERAL PROJECTS IN THE WORKS. MORE OF MY FEATURES ARE CHICAGO’S POETRY EXHALE WITH PIZAAZ . AS A PREVIOUS YAHOO! CONTRIBUTOR, I DID SEVERAL GUEST BLOGS, INCLUDING A FEATURE SPOT ON BE A BESTSELLER WEBSITE. I AM A LIBERTY UNIVERSITY GRADUATE. FROM NOW UNTIL INFINITY: A REFLECTION INTO WOMANHOOD (2006) IS MY FIRST POETRY COLLECTION. SINCE THEN, THERE IS A FOLLOW-UP BOOK FROM INFINITY UNTIL BEYOND: A JOURNEY INTO LIFE (2010). NAKED: A BOOK OF MONOLOGUES FOR AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN (2013) HAS BEEN A RECOMMENDED READ IN THE ACTING COMMUNITY. “MOMENTS OF HERSTORY” A BOOK OF MEMOIRS THAT INCLUDES ONE OF MY MANY LIFE STORIES WAS AN AMAZON BESTSELLER AND MADE # 1 ON ITS HOT NEW RELEASES.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
The Collection: A Book of Short Stories is a diverse literary collection in style and content, making it the perfect read for everyone. It has short stories and flash fiction. It has historical fiction, contemporary fiction, horror, and science fiction. However, many of the themes are the same. Next to my faith and my mom, with whom I want both to be well-pleased, my readers and fan-base are my inspiration. I write for the entertainment of others. When I think how I want my readers to enjoy what I write, I am able to pour my heart and soul into what I write.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I often dream of new books to write! Also, the characters in my books beseech me. If I don’t get them out of my head, they will drive me mad. It’s like they write their own stories!
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I have always been a fan of Toni Morrison, Ntozake Shange, and Judy Blume amongst others.
What are you working on now?
I am always working on something. I am hoping in this upcoming year to release three books that I have been polishing, so a break is not in my near future!
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
There is a systematic method to my madness that is a secret that I am not yet ready to reveal!
Do you have any advice for new authors?
I would tell other writers to be persistent, follow your heart, and do your research.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
The best advice I have heard is to never give up. If it is a goal that you want to achieve, if it’s important to you, then it is important.
What are you reading now?
I am a self-help junkie! I am in a transitional period as an author right now, so I am reading inspirational Iyanla Vanzant’s “In the Meantime.”
What’s next for you as a writer?
I have a poetry collection done, and I am working on a novel. Then there are other projects like my audiobooks and comedy sitcom to keep me busy.
What is your favorite book of all time?
My favorite book of all time is “Dear God, It’s Me, Margaret.” It was the first book that I related to as a tween, and I recommend it to all girls coming of age!
“Do just once what others say you can’t do, and you will never pay attention to their limitations again.”
― James Cook
From a very young age, I taught my daughter about “in life.” When there was a lesson to be taught, I began it with “In life… .” I felt that the sooner I instilled in her that life is not fair, there will be hard knocks, and that she will not always bet her way, the better she will fair in this limited journey called life. I know would like to share that concept with you. In life, there will be naysayers and doubters; however, it is up to the individual to prove them wrong. Hopefully this lesson will be learned before it is too late. I would like to share a story with you. There was this young princess who had an illness. Despite this illness, she managed to live a life on top in her castle she built. However, her two sisters had two castles had castles in a nearby city. She always compared her life and her castle to theirs. So one day, she tore down her castle and went to live in a castle with one of her sisters in hopes of building a castle like theirs. With her sister, the room in the castle was very gleam. She worked very hard, with no pay, and grew sicker and sicker. One evening she heard her sisters talking about how she lived in her old castle. They said she was living “beyond her means” in the old castle. She soon realized that life in her old castle was much better than those of her sister, but it was too late to turn back, because she had already torn down her castle. She was working twice as hard for what she already had in her old castle. Unfortunately, she died trying to get the life that she once had already had. The point of the story is as old as dirt: The grass is not always greener on the other side. Others may at times think like the sisters that you are “living beyond your means” when in actuality, you may just be living beyond their expectations.