Escape the Madness

If you’re like me, you’ve had a difficult time these past few days. Maybe not because of who won the election necessarily, but because of the tension that seems to be everywhere we look. I want you first to know that I love and accept each and every one of you, no matter who you voted for, no matter how your beliefs, decisions, views, and pathways differ from my own. I fully embrace the diversity of my army of amazing readers, and I want you to know that you’re in a safe place here, with me. My hopes are that we can pull through this time as one, learn from each other, look past our differences, and lead our children, and our nation, toward a bright future, in whatever ways that may materialize.

That being said, I’d like to offer you a chance to breathe, take a step back, and get a small reprieve from the noise, the best way I know how. Reading is such an amazing way to relax, give our monkey brains a rest from the constant chatter up there, and treat ourselves to a mental vacation. I encourage you to breathe, love, and read your way into peace, and–of course–I’ve got plenty of free books to give you, so you don’t even have to spend a dime to do it. 😉

For 11 free Scifi and Fantasy books, click >HERE<

To shop from 70 free books from various genres, click >HERE<

Short Update:
The third book in my best selling Mature YA Dystopian Scifi “Treemakers Trilogy” is scheduled to release on December 3, but is now available for preorder at a 25% discount >HERE<
For a peek inside of book 3 of the Treemakers Trilogy, check out the trailer below. 🙂

Happy reading!
And don’t forget to breathe ❤
xo Christina L. Rozelle

From A Hopeless State

On this day 12 years ago I woke up and emerged from my dark cocoon for the first time. Behind me was a devastated past, leveled by the wake of my pain and rage, and my many addictions. I’d lost everything; my pride, my soul, my hope, my dreams, my dignity, and perhaps worst of all, my daughter.

I rolled out of a strange bed in a strange place and planted my bare feet on strange carpet. I took a sober breath, and there it was, in the soil of my sadness, a tiny green sprout of hope. The air smelled sweeter, and when I heard the birds outside of my window, they weren’t the machine gun melody I’d remembered from the days before. They sang a song of reassurance, of encouragement, and rebirth.

That day I made a decision: I’d open my heart to these people and let them help me. I’d admit that I was powerless over so many things, and I’d be willing to go to any lengths to get better. I wanted to learn how to live differently, to be happy, fulfilled, and high on life. I wanted to put the past behind me and start fresh, and I wanted, more than words could say, to have my little girl back, and to learn how to be a good mother.

It took many years and a lot of stumbles to get to where I am today. I’m so grateful that I got right back up and tried again those times I stumbled. I kept searching for the light, kept seeking my own truths, kept opening my mind and heart for ways to continue healing from a (mostly) self-induced traumatic past, and I kept forgiving myself (and others) for not being perfect. I learned to be true to myself and to follow my bliss, and eventually my path led me to the amazing life I lead today.

But when I say amazing, I don’t mean easy. I’m now a single parent of four children. The past I left behind is riddled with broken pieces. The financial abyss is one of nightmares, of which I’m sure many of you can relate. Finally finding the right therapy for my Borderline Personality Disorder helped me recover from a hopeless state of mind and body, but I still have BPD tendencies, and I still have weak moments that bring me to my knees in tears behind closed doors . . . My life is definitely not easy.

But I’m a mother today, and I’m showing my children the way. I’m a daughter my parents are proud of. I’m a loving sister and friend, a giver, an encourager, inspirer, survivor, and overcomer. I’m a beacon of light and hope for those lost in so many dark oceans. I’m proof that there is a way out, and that all is not as lost as it seems. I’m following my dreams and showing you that it is, indeed, possible to go through hell and come out of it alive, and not just alive, but actually living life.

Today I’m grateful for my past and see it as an asset, despite the immense pain, heartbreak, and turmoil there. Not only do I use it all to breathe life into my stories, which, in itself is very cathartic for me, but I also use it to relate to others who may be experiencing similar hells in their own lives. I use it to bear witness. I use it to guide, love, and understand my children as they grow into adults. I use it to remember to be grateful for all I have, to cherish every moment I get to experience life. Because today, I get to, when there were many times I thought I never would. But I do, I am, and I cherish every second because nothing is promised. Today is a gift to that shattered young girl who will forever reside in my heart, the one I once thought would never make it out alive. She did. And I’m so very glad she did. ❤

xoxo

Christina

My Life as a Zombie

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It has been just a few short years since my release. I had to learn how to be a thinking, feeling human, and a productive member of society before they’d even consider letting me out to roam free among the masses. It’s been a slow recovery process, but against all odds, here I am, four years later. And I’m so blessed and grateful to have healthy children, who show no signs or symptoms. The mere fact that I recovered from this makes me smile into the sun, and even the clouds, because I shouldn’t be standing where I am today. Once a zombie, always a zombie; at least, that’s the case for the majority.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I didn’t want to be a human before. But as a teen, the signs were there, and it was soon discovered through countless doctor visits and whatnot, that the worst case scenario was at my parent’s door. Their daughter was infected. Indeed, she’d grow into a ravaging, bloodthirsty beast with insatiable appetite for darkness and death, anything that made the pain and fear vanish, and anything to fill the void, a cavity of the soul brought on by the virus.

My poor parents . . . who could blame them for not knowing what to do? It’s not every day you find out you’ve got to raise a zombie. They did the best they could with what they had to work with, and that was a lot. But unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. Soon, any resemblance of humanity had left their once-healthy child, and absolutely nothing could stand in the way of her appetite for destruction, and her tendency toward inner decay… Occasionally they’d find her in the yard, lying in a bed of flowers as if she were planning a death more beautiful than the life which could never appease her.

Looking back now, I remember those big zombie tears I cried when no one was looking. Because I’d go into these rages and it was like my mind was being controlled by some dark force that wasn’t me–the virus, I figured, was making me do these things, be this way, hurt those people, destroy everything . . . And there was this tiny human inside of that zombie shell who wanted to come out into the light, but she had no idea how. Eventually, she realized all was lost and she gave up, resigning to be a zombie until the end of days. She prayed someone would come along and end it for her, because the hunger to fill the void was too strong to let her die by her own hand.

Fortunately, there were souls along the way who wouldn’t let me devour them. They were stronger than me. They bound my hands and heart and sat me down at eye level. They looked straight into my zombie soul and saw the innocence trapped inside. They cut through the decay and found pink flesh and a beating heart, and they told me how I could heal. They gave me the medicine I needed to beat the virus, of which the main ingredients were truth, courage, acceptance, forgiveness, breath, creativity, humility, and love.

Countless doctors tried to give me pills to heal the zombie, but it wasn’t the zombie who needed healing. It was that fleshy, pink little girl, crying behind the zombie shell, who needed the strength to break out, to look into the mirror and say the words “I love you.”

So, today I walk a free woman. When I think back over these years of learning how to be a real human, I sometimes forget where I came from. When I get bad reviews or criticism, I forget for a moment to be grateful. For I am being graded on a level playing field with my fellow humans. I am no longer zombie-handicapped. I can stand shoulder to shoulder with others and not want to devour what they have to fill my void. The void has vanished in the light. And though some have reached a higher summit than I have, I know I still have much more to go, and to grow, and I can be proud of what I’ve accomplished so far. I can extend my hand to those who struggle, lend an ear, or a kind word of love and encouragement. And if I see a fellow zombie I can share my experience, strength, and hope, to aid in their own search for meaning, life, and recovery. Because inside of me, in a place I hardly go anymore, that sad,  zombie girl still sleeps in her bed of wilted flowers. She’ll always be a part of my journey, a part of me.

But I am no longer her. I am finally me. I am a mother, a daughter, a sister, a teacher, a lover, a fighter, a survivor . . . And my journey has just begun.

 

XOXO

Christina L. Rozelle

4 years clean and sober, 4 years relationship-free, 4 years recovered from Borderline Personality Disorder

February 16, 2012-February 16, 2016

 

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Check out my new website!!

And you can check out my books on Amazon here:

 The Treemakers (Book 1 in the Treemakers Trilogy) (Mature YA Dystopian Scifi Horror)

The Soultakers (Book 2 in the Treemakers Trilogy)

The Seeker’s Keys (Book 3 in the Treemakers Trilogy)

The Truth About Mud (YA Fantasy Adventure novelette)

 

 

*zombie girl photo found on DeviantArt.com – click the photo to be redirected

 

 

Dear you, stumbling in the dark

On this day, 11 years ago, I started my journey into the light after years of horrific, consuming, debilitating darkness. No over-exaggeration. What I went through, I should not have lived through. The fact that I am here today, alive and well, parenting my children as a single mom, living a fulfilling life I’m proud of, and achieving any measure of success is nothing short of a miracle. Not a moment passes that I’m not grateful for that. The demons of my past kill people every minute of every day, both inside and out. And though it took years of falling down and getting back up, time after time, I finally made it out for good, and I made it out for a reason.

A few years ago, I couldn’t even care for my children the way mothers should. I wasn’t mentally, physically, spiritually, or emotionally capable of doing so. But today, in the eyes of my children, I’m a hero. And now, I can use my own hero’s journey experiences to bear witness to others: you can make it out, too. If you want it bad enough, and you’re willing to go to any lengths to get it, the light will come.

Each of us has a different path to travel, yet we all go through darkness at one time or another. It’s up to us to share our light with each other, because we never know what sorts of darkness and demons others around us are battling. The light I share today is through my stories. In them, I offer love through loss, joy through heartbreak, perseverance, redemption, growth from grief, overcoming, friendship, unlikely families, and so many other sparks in the dark that we all need to (and most will) experience at some time in our lives. And though sometimes I think maybe I shouldn’t “brag” about my accomplishments because someone else might resent me if they are struggling with a lack of success in their own lives, the truth is, I have every right to be proud. Being proud isn’t the same as bragging. Being proud is loving myself and being my friend. And dammit, for so many years I was my worst enemy, so I deserve to be my friend today, to be proud.

Same as you.

So if you are going through darkness, don’t give up the search for the light. It’s there. Love is the key. And I’ve found that my dark journey has only helped me to see the beauty of the light that much clearer. I’m stronger, having been through what I needed to go through to find myself, and I stand before you now, offering whatever hope I can to get you one step closer to your own light. Don’t give up. You can do this. Don’t you ever give up. ❤

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(And if you know of anyone who may need this message, please to share)

Don’t Try to Save the World

smoking spiderman“Okay, Miss Save-the-World,” Leslie said, voice thick with sarcasm.

Our friends snickered and directed their gaze out of the Denny’s window beside us. I shot Leslie the finger and proceeded to cuss her out, then escorted myself out of the restaurant in a blur of humiliated tears.

Just another day in the life of young Christina.

I’ll never forget my friend’s words, and how they made me feel, though I couldn’t tell you the precise reason for them. But they angered me. On the surface, I was angry at her for saying them, but deeper than that, I was angry at myself. Ever since I could remember I had gotten in trouble at school for “not minding my own business,” and for trying to be everything to everyone. I was a people-pleaser, seeking constant validation and approval from those around me, always both the tattler, and the one instigating the rebellion. Always on both sides of the law, the fence, on both teams, afraid to upset or make enemies, I never truly fit in anywhere, had a difficult time securing any true, meaningful friendships, and pretty much irritated, annoyed, and ran off most of the friends I did manage to make.

I wasn’t a bad person. I did really care about people. I was open-minded, compassionate, understanding, forgiving, and fiercely loyal. Inside, I knew I had a good heart, and felt like I was a good person with good intentions. When I tried to “save the world,” as Leslie so poignantly put it, I thought I was doing a good thing 99% of the time. What I didn’t realize then, I realize now, twenty years later, and have finally arrived at a place where compassion for my old self has replaced the embarrassment and self-loathing.broken captain

Inside of young Christina was a whirlwind of confusion, a cyclone of emotional disaster, a hurricane of fear, a hail storm of criticism and a seriously shattered self-image. I remember from the time I was very young, looking in the mirror and crying because I was so ugly. I was too skinny. I looked like a boy. My face was flat. My boobs were too small. I had a stupid laugh. I walked funny. I wasn’t good at anything. People didn’t like me, or only pretended to. My absent biological father didn’t love me, and neither did my mother and step-father. I was a burden to them, and to the rest of the world. I was stupid, and would never amount to anything. I was eleven years old.

When I focused on helping others solve their problems, not only did I not have to think about my own, but it also gave me a temporary feeling of worth. This facade worked a lot better when my friends weren’t yet old enough to really see through it. They may have sensed something was “off” with me, but not until the teen–and even more so, the early adult–years could they really see it for what it was.

The reason Leslie’s words hurt so much, was for the first time, I realized that my friends saw my game, and I knew they probably talked shit about me/it behind my back. I was already two years into my drug and alcohol habit, dabbling in self-harm and suicidal tendencies, with already one half-assed attempt (which, admittedly, was a cry for attention from a boy), and I was wallowing knee-deep in the world of the young borderline. Unfortunately for me, it would be fourteen more years of ignorant, self-induced torture before my time for healing would begin.

Powergirl-Superhero-Photography-Cosplay-3I always knew there was a superhero inside me. She wore white and she was soft, yet strong, a peaceful warrior who could conquer anything that came her way. She was honest, caring, selfless, loving, and not afraid. She was a great friend and defender of mankind. She was loved and cherished by all who knew her.

The problem was, no one knew her.

Occasionally, the people around me would catch a glimpse of this masked girl, and all-too-often, those who I thought were my friends would see the opportunity to take advantage of what they thought was weakness. This is an unfortunate human condition, of which even the best of us have been guilty of once or twice (or more) in our lifetime, especially as young adults. When we see an opportunity to breech the hull of someone, whether out of fear, envy, pride, or just plain sick curiosity, we do. And they did. And that supergirl inside me retreated further and further, replaced by a protector, who, of my soul, created a battleground, only letting the innocent supergirl come out to play when it conveniently worked to her advantage in her game of power, control, and manipulation. “The sweet little supergirl,” she thought, “weak and stupid, used and thrown away . . . . She will no longer be in control here. From now on, I call the shots.”3841872-justice-league-dark-18-a-580-580-537e9705814090-93603481-e908e

This dark force both loved and equally loathed that innocent defender, that pure and gentle spirit who had been vulnerable one too many times. This darkness was erected as both a way to protect, and eradicate her entirely. This, in a nutshell, is Borderline Personality Disorder. (I’ll be going deeper into this disorder in future blogs.)

So, as I’m sure you can see–and perhaps even relate to– there was a war going on inside of me. This war lasted for years and years, and manifested itself in the outer wars of drug addiction and alcoholism, dysfunctional, co-dependent, and abusive relationships, loss of friends, jobs, possessions, and my children to the child protective system. One terrible choice after another, and tragedy after tragedy, the whole time, completely baffled at my afflictions. I was hopeless, and so was my condition. No matter what I did or tried, nothing seemed to shed enough light for me to see myself and my life clearly.

Until it did.

My journey through recovery has been a long, challenging, rocky road. It began on October 4, 2004, at the Magdalen House. Apparently, drawing a sober breath would be the first step in seeing things clearer. Through the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, finding a Power greater than myself to fill my spiritual void, and learning to be entirely honest, as well as to quit blaming everyone else for my own problems, I began to take responsibility for my life. And though it took falling back down hard a few times, I finally came to accept my diagnosis of BPD in 2012, at which time I began treatment, as well as daily meditation. Interestingly, after fifteen years and a plethora of psych drugs which never worked, this Dialectical Behavior Therapy, along with a spiritual practice that worked for me (which was not the one I grew up with), not only healed me, but I no longer take medication of any kind. I’ve been completely sober for over three years now, and I even quit smoking cigarettes. My life as a single parent of four beautiful kids, though challenging, is a perfect miracle, and one I don’t go a day without being in grateful awe of. Most people who dive to the depths of despair I dove to, don’t ever make it back up to see the sun. And I have. And now, I can share that light and hope, with not only my children, but with the world.

maxresdefaultTo sum up, I stopped trying to save the world. The world didn’t need me to save it. I needed the world to save me. I needed to be vulnerable and ask for help. I needed to be willing to change, to find a different perspective, to trust, and to learn how to love myself, flaws and all.

I needed to let go of that dark protector who had been guarding me for years, and tell her “thank you, but you no longer serve me.” I had to unearth that innocent supergirl, the one who had been there in hiding all along, begging me to let her out. And when I did, with my permission, she removed her cape and lit a candle, placed it in my hand, then vanished.

With this light, I now see the truth. I was always good. I was just scared. I never needed to be everything to everyone to be “enough.” I just wanted you to love me. That’s it. Because then, I could love myself. But I see now, the world inside of me, with this light I shine, and it is a paradise lost, then found . . . the Love I have within me, from me, it grows with every passing, healing day, and there’s no way I can keep it all to myself. It grows and flows and spreads like wildfire throughout my life and to those around me. I stopped trying to save the world, and instead, saved myself. Only then, could I spread the magic of Love–the ultimate Savior–to the world around me.

What about you? Can you relate to this story? Please feel free to comment below, or email me at ChristinaL.Rozelle @ gmail.com (remove spaces) I’d love to hear from you, and help you in any way I can. ❤