After Thoughts

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copyright 2015 Chris Smith  All rights reserved.

So here we are. It's been almost seven years and almost four hundred revisions to be here at the end. I have survived numerous illnesses, including two eye infections during the final edit. I never thought I would cross the finish line. But here I fucking am.

This book has been the longest darkest writing tunnel I have ever typed and edited my way out of. It's impossible to come to the end of such a journey and know what to say. I wish I had the words.

I overcame great obstacles to birth this story onto the page. I had to wrestle with feelings and monsters. I had to get out of my own fucking way time and time again. I had to believe in myself, even if no one else did. But this was my bottom line, this was the truth that shook me to the pillars of my soul and brought my pen to the page time and time again:

IF I DIDN'T TELL OUR STORY, WHO WOULD?!

So many people were having their say, the Banks, the Courts, and people around us who stood in judgment. The media had their say with their daily economic reports, speculation, constant opinions, morning talk show gab sessions, endless articles, and finger pointing.

Yet our story had no voice. My Parents and I were on the other end of all these things happening to us and we were silent. We weren't just another statistic, tragedy, or sob story ready to be sensationalized on the nightly news. What was happening to us, was our whole world.

I have found there is never a "right" time to grow. We must strike the iron while the fire is hot. We must strike the words to the page when there is enough passion to fuel them. So, I struck with all the fire I had in me to give, to write the story.

My fate was sealed the moment I set pen to the virgin page. I had ripped open a hole in my soul and set its voice loose upon the earth. Everything I am as a writer now, is due in a large part because of this book. It was a defining moment. Once I started on this path, there was no going back.

There are some who won't understand this story. There are some who will stand on the sidelines and judge it. Either way, they will always be the lucky ones. They didn't have to live it. They didn't have to survive it. They didn't have to write it. They didn't have to edit it. They didn't have to face the failures, the hopelessness, and the self-hatred that it contains. They didn't have to come to grips with its truths.

This book isn't just a "story" to me. It has been a bloody choke chain around my soul. There were days when I didn't see how we would make it through. There were days I didn't want to make it through. There were days I wanted to die, days I would have welcomed death just to be done with the crushing pain.

Every day we have the power to choose. No matter what happened or is happening to each of us, we all have an opportunity to rebuild, to begin again anew. We can change the way we feel about ourselves, regardless of the present or past circumstances of our lives. We can choose to help and support those around us. Simple acts of kindness and respect can go a long way in helping each other get through the hopeless minutes that threaten our breath.

We all deserve the very best life has to offer us. The state of our homes, our finances, our losses, our past, our weaknesses, our shames, our lack of health, and each and every failure (for those who choose to call it that) should not be how we measure ourselves, or allow anyone else to measure our true worth.

I doubted myself many times on the road of this book and hated myself many times more. To this day, I don't know exactly why I felt such a burn to put this story to words. Some journeys we start and we don't know where we're going or why. All we know is the push inside us to create.

It is not the greatest or best story I have ever written. It probably won't be the most popular. But it's mine. It's my story.

A friend told me, "The book is for the author."

When I started writing I thought it was going to be a book about foreclosure. But I was wrong. This is a book about survival. At the time I wrote it, the simple process of writing about such a painful journey, saved my life. It was my therapy. All the darkness had to go somewhere so I put it here. And I had to get to the other side of this story.

What did the other side look like?

I had no idea. But I had to believe it was better than the Hell we were living through. I had to hope. Oh, I could tell you what it looks like from where I am standing now, but that would spoil your journey of reading it. And I wouldn't want to be a spoilsport. ;)

I will tell you, this book has turned into a series, which I did not expect. I'm writing them out of sequence so Book 4 is coming hard and fast on the heels of Book 1.

Feel what you will about my story. Say what you want. I know who I am. I know what I went through. I ask for no favors or sympathy.

I would only ask that when you encounter a wounded human being, whether they reach out to you for help or not, have a care with their spirit because the next time it might just be your soul reaching out for hope from the gutter, my friend.

I am grateful for everything I have been through, even my darkest moments. The darkness has brought me into the light.

I wish the very same for you.

c

November 29, 2015



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