The Long Awaited…A Review of “Who Am I?”

My dearest friends and readers, allow me to introduce to you one of the most amazing women I have had the privilege of meeting virtually.

Megan Cyruleski was one of the first to review my book. She also interviewed me here, and then honored me with the favor of her presence here on Predatory Lies. You can read my interview with Megan here. 

And finally, what we’ve all been waiting for (me more than others–on pins and needles to read the Advance Review Copy of her book) a review of Megan’s soon to debut book, Who Am I?

So, without further adieu…

There are two things that make a book mesmerizing: either I find myself in the story or, I am captured by a narrative so far from my own reality that it’s simply hard to believe.

The second phenomena is something like being a deer caught in the headlights. Life demands that I get up and do something “productive”, (or finally put the book down and go to sleep as the case may be). Reason insists that the book will be there later but I am somewhat in a stupor, living in someone else’s world, stunned into staring at pages as the words get blurry and my eyelids droop.

Megan Cyrulewski’s book, Who Am I?, falls in the second category, and let me be clear—few books ever land in that category for me.

Megan’s story is truly her own, though at times it seems an impossibly difficult story. From the first line of the preface, it occurs to the reader that Megan’s life is not an enviable one. Tearful, in bed, crushed beneath the weight of postpartum depression, her mental mantra is, “Madelyn deserves better than me. I want to die.”

Megan then unfolds an ever more complicated drama. From rising out of the ashes of PPD, to protecting her daughter from her narcissistic ex-husband, to surviving domestic violence, Megan guides the reader with absolute precision. She provides dates, full text letters between attorneys and text messages between herself and Madelyn’s father. Megan’s wit carries the story with small doses of humor lifting the reader’s spirit and restoring optimism at just the right times.

I’ve fought my own battles, but none like those Megan faced. However, I believe that an untold number of women face similar issues. In Megan’s story they will find a seasoned companion. Megan’s story provides insight in a “been there-done that” format. Her humor will brighten the darkest days and allow them to search again for the light at the end of the tunnel. And perhaps, most importantly, as it concludes with resounding hope, Who Am I?, will allow many to see “themselves in Megan’s story and give them courage to reach out for help and find healing.

Dying to read it? Here’s the pre-buy link to Who Am I? 
Get it first!

Book Review of “Inside/Out” by Jenny Hayworth

PP Cover.4483770.inddWe’ve all gone through something. We all can recall at least one unfair hand that life has dealt. We know of hurdles mastered, mountains climbed, uphill battles and broken wings. And from a certain vantage point, it’s true—we are all survivors of life. But sooner or later perspective arrives always followed by its fair companion, humility.

Most recently, perspective arrived for me in the form of a new book by Jenny Hayworth, Inside/Outside: One Woman’s Recovery from Abuse and a Religious Cult. This gripping story was so poignant simply because it revealed a battle field I have never faced. It shed light on shadowy places I never knew existed; or if I had heard of them, they remained dimly mysterious. Her book put my own painful experiences in perspective.

Inside/Out is unique, gutsy and raw. After growing up intrenched in the doctrine of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jenny bravely details her emancipation, the causes that led to it and the painful aftermath. My eyes stung with tears as I read of her sexual abuse, physical and emotional abandonment, clinical depression, suicidal thoughts and loneliness. Jenny shares without reservation about her own shortcomings, stating courageously that her only motive is to spare others her same pain.

The audience for this book, those who will find themselves in the pages, is vast. Some portion of Jenny’s story will undoubtedly resonate with everyone. And everyone who reads it, will find a second wind beneath their own wings, a new light on their own troubles. Jenny’s bravery, hope, determination and survival will be the encouragement many need to go forward one more day, to reach for the light at the end of the tunnel.

Defile (take 2)

Last week we talked about the word “defile”. I thought I was finished, but per a couple conversations, I want to present a couple more thoughts.

In an age of therapists, counselors, lawsuits and blaming our mothers, it’s not uncommon to hear people talk about the problems, sins, etc. that they inherited from generations past. Or, we hear of victims who blame themselves for their abusers’ sins. They feel defiled and bear the guilt of someone else’s offenses.

Jesus said in Mark 7:15, “There is nothing outside of a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.”

So think with me and apply this to yourself or someone you know. NOTHING from outside can defile you in the sight of God. If you have been violated and feel worthless, dirty, guilty, Jesus says it’s not true. If you were raised by a critical parent, you are not doomed to treat your children the same way.

NOTHING from outside can defile you. The rape, the abuse, the cutting words of a parent have not, cannot, defile you. You are not made guilty by association. You are not condemned by the environment from which you come.

If you have believed on Jesus, the Son of God, as your very own Savior, then the Spirit of God lives in you. What comes from within you, that which could have defiled you, is of God. You are clean.

“But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. Those people belong to this world, so they speak from the world’s viewpoint, and the world listens to them. But we belong to God, and those who know God listen to us. If they do not belong to God, they do not listen to us. That is how we know if someone has the Spirit of truth or the spirit of deception. 1 John 4:4-6

Isn’t that Good News?

Body

Swirling around Body, are passions.

Tangled, unrelated, cruel, indulgent.

I swing at her with fury intent

To finally destroy, she who causes so much angst.

But failing that to destroy and remove her

I work to decorate what insists on remaining.

Add color, trim hair, paint nails, whittle her curves, diminish her shape.

Manipulate and stuff this awkward piece into a somewhat acceptable mold.

Passion, anger, hostility, frustration, discouraged.

On a warpath to find what will force her submission.

What has she done to me? What pain has she caused? What is her crime?

Like an abused child, she shies from the deviance and plots of my mind.

I see her crawl to a corner and hide.

Jesus, save me from myself!

I wrote this poem recently, drawing from old emotions and new. I wonder, other women, do you feel at odds with your own body sometimes? What do you do?

Thank you to Promising Poets for this award!