Well, almost. But with only eight days to go until Shattered: Memoirs of an Amnesiac is released and available to the public, it feels like it’s time. And what a great time it is and has been! Despite myriad obstacles thrown my way, I’m quite thrilled about having Shattered in the hands of those who have been asking to read and buy it.
The trade/paper edition WILL be available for purchase on the release day of September 12. In the meantime, here are the links to pre-order all of the eBook editions:
The price for these is $3.99, and the trade edition will be $14.99. If you desire an autographed copy – and I have received quite a few messages about that – that will be available through my publisher, and a link will be created soon.
But this is the last fractured blog post since, on Monday, September 11, I will be promoting the book the day before it is released. After release, I’ll post some fragments that I had to cut to keep the book from being 600 pages (as opposed to the 487 pages it is now). So you’ve been reading about my shattered past, and in the book, so much more will be revealed and answered. In the upcoming weeks, more stories shall be told, and there are talks about perhaps writing a more lighthearted book of essays that explains the extent of my conditions and situations. But we’ll see who enjoys Shattered first, of course.
This final fragment is from the week before, and leading up to, my traumatic brain injury. It was a confusing, mysterious, dark point in my life, rife with selfishness and distress.
But then, the former me – the person I once was – vanished.
Here’s how it was in The Before:
Once I’m able to move comfortably post-surgery, I find a new sense of empowerment. It starts off innocently, but then, I move into the role and inhabit it completely.
I begin modeling.
I’m in some pain, but I can pose, and I’m stunned to see that I actually look good in these photos. I look like someone who should be removing her clothing for money. And this thought shakes me, rattling me in both exciting and terrifying ways.
A friend and I do another photoshoot and share our pictures online. Hundreds of comments come in, so I decide to risk sending some pictures to a modeling site. Photographers message me immediately, asking if I’ll work with them. I schedule dates for late August and September, when I know I’ll be fully healed, and I’m sent locations and contracts.
I have a new obsession. And as we experience an earthquake in Maryland—the state’s biggest in decades—I experience trembling along my own fault lines. The world, I think, is going to move for me because I am going to make it move. With my hair growing back in, my body thinner, and limitless time to put on makeup and take pictures, I’m going to invest in myself.
Starlight Boy and I begin to text one another again, and by August, I know I can trust him completely. Besides, he tells me that he misses me, and how I look so beautiful in the pictures he sees of me. He’s jealous of Toby and he really wants to come over. He’s the one who loves me the most. I agree to his wishes, and we choose a date in mid-August.
“Toby cannot know I’m doing this,” the voice says. “Don’t say a word.”
“That we’re doing this?” I ask. “Who is this I? Is it me?”
But I only receive silence.
Starlight Boy is granted a personal day from work on the date we select, and he comes over. Immediately, we fall back into our old habits: he holds me, we kiss, and we end up in bed. We spend the day there, kissing and talking about what can become of our relationship. And the more we discuss a potential future together, the more I start to lose control over what I’m saying. I still can’t explain it, but I say things to him and then don’t realize I’ve said them.
I need to call the neurologist, I think. It must be MS. Or Lupus. Or something.
At one point, I tell Starlight Boy that I’m calling all the shots now. I love Toby, but I won’t deny my love right here and now, either. I can, and will, love two people at once. I am powerful, and I am in charge. Being sick doesn’t mean I can’t have complete control.
Starlight Boy stares at me, surprised by my declarations. And then, in defiance, he pushes me onto the mattress, straddles me, and bites my neck, causing so much pain that I scream in pleasure.
“I have trained him so well,” the voice says to me. “We are so very lucky.”
We go on for what must be hours—I float in and out of the room, out of my head, losing track of time—while kissing, touching, and saying how much we love one another.
“I do love you,” he repeats, over and over again, a mantra to us and the world. “I’ve never connected with any other person like this before.”
“I know,” I reply. “I love you, too. And no one will ever destroy us again.”
Muse’s song “Uprising” is popular now, and during a photoshoot that involves corsets, gothic gowns, several wigs, a Lapis Lazuli stone Starlight Boy has given me, and a red fan from Spain, a theme is decided. I strip naked, wrap myself in red duct tape, and hold a sign in my hands. The camera captures my smirk:
“They will not control us.”
This is my warning to the world. I am not to be controlled. And Starlight Boy is pleased with the photos, though he worries about my safety. Am I really okay right now?
“I have this,” I tell him. Power surges through me. I have everything I want at the moment. For someone who is sick with more illnesses than I can control, my life is on fire. I’m singing, writing, and modeling. I’m thin again. Starving myself gives me power. Toby loves me, and we want to have a baby. Starlight Boy and I are strong together, too, and we will fight to live our lives together and share our love.
Everything is going my way.
And just like that, everything stops, and I cease to exist.