Dear readers/viewers/what have you,
I’d like to take a moment to be real with you. You see a good friend of mine, and I were talking the other day, and she gave me some rather ingenious advice that never even occurred to me as a mother of one teenager and one on the brink of hitting that milestone, teenage girls at that. I most certainly took that much-needed advice. That advice, however, led me to writing this. There are a lot of things that keep me up at night. My girls are one of those things, even when they’re right here “safe and sound”. My mind tends to play tricks on me or mother’s intuition will often enough kick in, and that’s when I pay extra attention and follow those instincts, even if I’m dead wrong, I’d rather be safe than sorry.
Why am I writing this? To raise some awareness.
At first, this was going to be about human trafficking and rape considering what all is in Galway Girls. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized there’s soooo much more to cover. Every minute of every day someone is a victim of abuse, alcoholism, drug addiction, human trafficking, rape, and mental illness (which can often enough lead to suicide). I know these are things no one wants to talk about much less think about as to why I tend to get a lot of hate in private messages about my stories containing these things. Someone once asked me “Harley, why do you write about such painful things if writing is your escape from the real world?” And I replied with this… “Because writing is the only therapy I can afford.” They lol’d of course and even though that was meant to be lighthearted and they got what I was going for, I also meant what I said. I went back an hour later and responded once again. “I write about those things because real-life situations often enough make the best stories. I can pick my favorite characters and put them in that situation and see how they would’ve dealt with something that I or someone close to me has faced. I’ve dealt with abuse, OD’s, rape, and suicide. When I say, writing is my escape that’s exactly what I mean MY ESCAPE. It’s how I cope, and you never know when a victim of these circumstances could be reading your work. If it helps them like it helps me, then that’s the goal I’m shooting for, and it makes every ounce of pain and those dreadful memories worth it. I don’t write to offend or upset anyone. I write what I write to make these characters as real as you and me. There are times I find myself wishing I could’ve been as strong as they were, and question what I could or would’ve done if I could go back in time as the person I am now. Would I have handled it any different? Or would I end up right back where I started, only to realize it didn’t matter what I did? Fate has its way and often enough it isn’t pretty. I know you hear the word ‘fate’ and think good fortune, but that isn’t always the case. I believe fate is what makes you the person you are at this very moment and from there you keep going. No matter how tempting it might be to throw in the towel, keep on trucking. Be the role model you always needed but never had and if you had that role model in your life then make them proud.”
I probably came off as too preachy as they never responded but getting a response wasn’t what I was going for anyhow. Hold your loved ones close, let them know what they mean to you. Life is crazy, and often enough we can be blind. As many of you know, I’m a huge fan of Sons of Anarchy, and this friend of mine let me know that David Labrava’s sixteen-year-old son committed suicide a few days ago. Like many of us, his father didn’t see the signs.
“He suffered from a depression we couldn’t see because he was a happy young kid,” adding, “Communicate with your loved ones, there might not be any signs. Cherish them. I am broken.” (David’s words himself on the matter.)
David Labrava played the character known as “Happy” on Sons of Anarchy. I wasn’t sure how to feel about this considering I had recently written a story where Happy saved his friend Eric from committing suicide in Playing With Fire.
If you would like to read the article the link is below:
Like I said life is crazy.
Watch your loved ones, hold them close, pay attention, talk to them…
My friend has a teenage son (yes this can happen to boys and men too!). She implemented a texted code message. A single letter is all she used, and her son knows if he’s ever in a situation where he doesn’t want to lose face with his peers and just needs a way out, he can text that letter to everyone on that list. For example his mother, his sister, grandparents, etc. His mother let him know in advance what that plan was. Example: Anyone on that list would respond with… Our grandpa just had a heart attack, and I need to pick you up now to get to South Carolina. This gives him the option to act upset when he answers, and if he doesn’t have his car with him, he can text the address of his whereabouts. That’s it. No questions asked. She picked a letter that wasn’t near the enter button and one he had to hit shift for (so a capital letter). That way it would be hard for this to happen by accident.
Keep your promise, no matter how tempting it may be to interrogate them. Don’t. When they are ready, they’ll come to you with the truth, and if they don’t just know you were the one, they turned to in order to get out of the situation. You may be the one that saved their lives that night. So if you have trouble sleeping at night like I do and toss and turn wondering what they are doing, sleep better knowing you helped them. You might not ever know the details but they trusted you at your word, and they will always remember that.
It’s like I told my oldest daughter…
One second is all it takes. One. You could turn your back and find yourself and your friends in a heap of trouble. Pay attention to your surroundings, play it smart. Children often enough think their parents exaggerate everything just to keep them grounded, but that isn’t always the case. That one second could change everything and put you in danger. We live pretty close to the border (Mexico), and human trafficking is a big issue around here, as well as assault and rape. Unfortunately, the town we live in has become known for its meth and meth dealers. Something we didn’t have a problem with a few years ago. I have no issue in being blunt with my girls. It might embarrass them and make them uncomfortable to talk about, but if I can raise just the slightest bit of awareness to them, or to anyone reading this, then mission accomplished.
You are priceless, never forget that. There is only ONE you and no one could ever replace you. No matter what anyone says. Know you are worth it and never give into that darkness. Keep fighting.
(PS. A chapter to Galway Girls will be up soon, probably LATE tonight if not tomorrow. A chapter of Altered Paths will follow this. I will post the Altered Paths chapter just as soon as I finish (Sunday or Monday if I’m lucky.)