The whirlwind and constant focus on the Ted Talk meant I had to ditch working on the book for a bit. And I honestly wonder if I subconsciously had to get through the talk first in order to write the next few chapters of the memoir.
I’m about 17,000 words into the tale of the journey I’ve been on and I’m feeling stronger than ever. Prior to baring my soul on stage, I’d been dreading drudging up the past to write the next chapter. You know, THAT chapter of my life. It’s still not easy to think back to the days of walking on egg shells, intoxicating highs and desperately low lows, financial devastation, and being called a “thick fucking brick” but I knew in order to keep moving forward in the memoir, I’d have to face it. Just like I faced being vulnerable on the Ted stage. I didn’t feel ready to relive those three years until this very moment. I can’t really explain it, but something has changed in me. Maybe it’s called healing? Whatever it is, I’m grateful for the feeling.
Ironically, one of the folks who organized Tedx Sedona said to me, in tears, “I can’t believe how much you’ve been through yet there’s such a lightness about you.” I feel lighter. Prior to the Ted Talk, the thought of looking back at that period of my life and having to recount it—one abusive episode after the next—paralyzed me. Now, for some reason, I feel like I can take it on and not absorb it.
It’s been a year and a half since I received the first email from a brave woman telling me her story (and screenshots) about being used and abused by him while he was still trying to keep me on the hook, and here I am, finally ready to take on the memory of it all head on.
Turns out, I’ve got this. I can write this. And that chapter I’m about to write—tentatively called “TNF”—will lead to the next one which is undoubtedly the best chapter of my life.
Maybe we all have chapters we have to get through to get where we’re supposed to be.
I know one thing: it’s time to fire up the keyboard, again.
This past weekend, I completed what is the equivalent of running a marathon for me—a Ted Talk. And I lived! J
Not only did I meet the most amazing people from all over the world, I got the chance to talk about healing from childhood and adulthood abuse on a big stage with a big red dot. (I’ll tell you later how I “fell off the red dot” at one point because you know, it’s hard to stay on a rug while you’re speaking. Ha!)
I have intuitively known for about a year and a half I would be doing a Ted Talk but you see, Ted is pretty picky about what it allows. I wasn’t sure my topic would be approved. And it clearly wasn’t when I applied for Tedx Las Vegas and didn’t get picked. Thankfully, the good people at TEdx Sedona said yes to my story and topic just three months after I was turned down in Vegas.
With that said, I did get a little push back about including the “visions” or mediumship talk (about working with cops) but I stuck to my guns and in the end, one of the organizers told me how happy she was I pushed back on them. I found myself in a similar position with Shark Tank producers, as well. Maybe it’s just one of those things I have to do. More tests and faith to trust my intuition on what I should share until I never question it?!? Not sure, but I’m happy to report it seemed to work well with audience members, too. Many who were laughing and crying during my talk came up after thanking me for being so vulnerable and real. Naturally, I teared up, too, when they approached me. And I choked up a little during the talk but managed to pull myself back together and keep going. I honestly didn’t think it would as emotional as it was, even though I know the subject matter is deeply personal.
In addition to being nervous about not being picked, I was super nervous about not being able to memorize my speech. You see, my memory sucks to begin with (because of the abuse as a child and then repeated abuse as an adult) so I really questioned if I could do it. I did my best and only forgot a few small parts so I am calling that a major win for my noggin!
Before I walked onto the stage, I thought of all the women I know (and a few men) who are still trapped in abusive relationships and even a few friends who have passed on who never got to really, fully enjoy life as it should be. I thought of my dear friend, Jason, who has been with me in spirit since 2013 and his mom, Yvette, who helped me trust my intuition and climb out of abuse. He was a childhood abuse survivor, too, before he passed.
When I was told I would likely get a spot on the Sedona roster by the head of the event but I had to do a few things, Jason came in with a message for me saying that it was happening and my life would change in amazing ways because of this talk. That news came on my birthday on September 9. Now mind you, Jason was also the first one to alert me to the fact that the abusive relationship I was in from 2014-2017 “wasn’t what it seemed.” When he said this a few months into the relationship when everything seemed perfect, I didn’t want to believe it but deep down, I knew he was right. He’s always right.
Little did I know (because I was all wrapped up in my own Ted Talk head), that Saturday, November 3rd was the 20th anniversary of Jason’s death. And it was the day I was doing my Ted Talk. He came in spirit saying that was no coincidence and that he has my back. He’s a funny guy so he also began singing The Carpenter’s song, “We’ve only just begun.” I didn’t get the full significance of it at first other than it’s a new beginning for me but he continued on…. “Plus, you know, like your belt. Your CARPENTER tool belt. Get it.” Ahhhhhh, yes! I get it! His beautiful mom, Yvette, shared all of this with me (she channels him with such precision) and said he hadn’t really been around her in spirit much until I popped on to tell her about the talk and see how she was doing. But he popped in to cheer me on and tell me he was there and is always there, helping me do what I came into the world to do.
I’m constantly amazed by how much we are guided and helped to be where we need to be at the right time. For all intents and purposes, I probably shouldn’t have been accepted because of Ted’s strict rules about pseudoscience but I’m so happy I was given the chance to tell my story.
And I was even more thrilled to look out into the crowd and see my husband and kids proudly smiling back at me, and sometimes with tears in their eyes. None of this road I’ve traveled has been easy on them and it affected all three of them deeply in many ways.
After the talk was over and Noah was heading home, I got a message from him saying that I was a kick-ass woman who is going to change the world. Of course, I teared up reading that. I’m just overwhelmed with love and admiration for Scott, Noah, and Grace, and I’m so eternally grateful they are mine. And I hope with all my heart, our children and their children will never have to experience anything I did in their lifetime.
If my Ted Talk opens up channels of communication with just two people about the bigger picture of life, stuff that can’t be explained by science, patterns of abuse, repression, and rebuilding life after all of it, I am a happy woman.
For now, I’m going to kick back and relax and NOT MEMORIZE ANYTHING for a long time.
Now what was I doing? Oh right…NOT MEMORIZING ANYTHING and enjoying being exactly where I am at this very moment.
More on the topic of memory loss related to abuse:
Here's a snippet of the Ted Talk that was filmed by our son, Noah. The official Ted Talk video will be uploaded to TED in a couple months, I believe. They produce a beautiful video for each presenter. So grateful! You can find more info on Tedx Sedona at www.tedxsedona.com.