Many have asked what inspired me to put my thoughts and experiences to paper, and bring Living Out Loud to life. My answer to them is always the same, “Goosebumps. Goosebumps inspired me.”
Being new to a city goes hand-in-hand with curiosity from people who are racing to get to know you better–and faster–than the next. As my story continued to unfold in my new hometown, I recounted it to many of those curious folks. The common reactions were tears in their eyes, and goosebumps up and down their arms. The equally common comment after I provided each person with a snippet of my story was, “You really need to write a book. You give me so much hope.” I have always been known for doing as I am told, so this occasion was no different.
As I began to filet myself on paper, I was constantly mocked by my inner self-deprecating voice, “Why on earth would anyone want to read your drivel? What makes you so special?” After many, many emotional discussions (AKA–meltdowns) with two of my closest confidants, their encouragement and unconditional love kept lifting me back up each time I beat myself down.
As I secretly wrote Living Out Loud I continued to frequently contribute to various newsletters and informal publications. It was the kudos from my new-found unofficial fan base to make me finally realize I had a way of painting pictures with my words that allowed my readers to experience a very enjoyable literary ride. Most importantly through this entire process, I realized I have lived a life that is not unique. Many have walked the same path as me and felt equally alone on their parallel journey. I was confident that if I could effectively put my heart on paper, my words might become consoling arms to wrap around a stranger, and my sense of humor might help them realize that they too could laugh at all of their foibles and move forward.
Today marks a very special day. Today is the day I officially release my heart and words into the hands of strangers. Today is the day I stop wearing wall-colored clothing in order to blend in, unnoticed, by the world. Today is the day I truly begin to live my life out loud.