Saturday, July 27, 2013

Loving Liberty Author Note.

Loving Liberty has been out for two weeks now and the feedback I've been receiving has me grinning BIG! This story was such an important and special one for me to write--pieces of my heart woven amongst the words.

For those who haven't read it yet, or didn't see the very end, I included an Author's Notes where I explained the journey of Loving Liberty--my experiences with bullies. I thought I'd share it with everyone today and offer some insight into why Liberty is the way she is. Whether you've dealt personally with controlling influences or not, it's a story that triggers compassion. Oh that we could all have the perfect lives we long for. Unfortunately, we're not all so lucky, BUT its about overcoming those challenges that make us stronger ... becoming SURVIVORS, victims no more.

I hope you enjoy the following. Thanks for all your support!

Loving Liberty is unlike any other book I’ve written.
When I first started, there was definitely a theme I wanted the story to capture—finding love, and yourself, despite opposition. What I didn’t anticipate, however, was how deeply Liberty’s journey would touch my heart, or how much of my own life would end up on these pages.

Unlike Liberty, my opposition didn’t come from my parents or family. I was blessed to grow up surrounded by love, encouragement, and the freedom I needed to succeed. Even now, my parents are my biggest cheerleaders, never missing an opportunity to remind me how proud they are.

No, my opposition came in the form of bullies.

I’m a survivor of bullying. I know the frustration, pain, and confusion of being a people pleaser; of watching everything I said and did, because I never knew when the next attack would come. I grew up being hyper-vigilant of my surroundings. I learned to never excel at anything that would bring attention, and always kept to the shadows. It was safer that way—it hurt less.

I had things stolen and broken, I was ordered about and told what and when to do things, I ate my lunch in the bathroom, and was ridiculed, hit, and received death threats. I endured years and years of living under the control of bullies. I didn’t graduate from high school; choosing, instead, to walk away rather than continue enduring the pain. Even then, the bullies followed. They attacked my self-esteem, making me believe that I was good for nothing—a simple play toy for cruel people.

Why am I sharing this? Because, like Liberty, there came a point where I decided that enough was enough. For those living in the shadows, standing up to others will always be a risk, but it’s a necessary one. The moment it becomes more uncomfortable to remain silent and compliant, than to make a change, is the time to step out in courage and create your own future.

No one likes to be controlled. I didn’t like giving my power to others, who didn’t deserve it. I wanted more from my life than cowering, scared, waiting to be hurt. I had dreams to achieve. We all do. It’s sad, though, when we allow ourselves to believe we are something less because we were never given the opportunity to see how truly magnificent we are.

For whatever reason, we all have things that hold us back—fear, doubt, insecurities, and controlling influences. We may lack the support needed to live out our dreams, or there may be people pulling us down. Sometimes, it’s our own lack of belief in ourselves that holds us back—we don’t believe we deserve happiness or realize that the risks are worth taking. We focus on failing, the idea of success a mere pipedream that is out of reach.

 So, we settle for being less than who we are. We allow others to determine our identity and our ability. We forget we are all destined for great things.

I hope the message you take away from Loving Liberty is to always be yourself. Discover those things that bring you bliss and do whatever it takes to create your own happiness. Life is too short to live it pleasing others while ignoring your own needs. Don’t let someone else control your future—you decide, your rules.

It’s not easy.  But I tell you, just like Oliver told Liberty, be brave.


Derinda Love said...

Belinda thank you on behalf of some many for sharing your story. I actually read Loving Liberty completely and loved it! It will always remain on my top list for 2013.

You are a true inspiration to so many!

Love you

Ashley Montgomery said...

Belinda, thank you so much for sharing your story. I'm so happy you were able to rise about the pain and hurt to become the wonderful person you are today. I can't wait to read Loving Liberty.