And so the time has come for the final day of Feature Week! To conclude such a great moment, Lindsay and I had ourselves a rather lovely interview. As always I’m pretty bad at starting them off, or anything so we shall just jump right in.
Just so it’s out there, this may be one of the few talks (not limited to interviews) that had me think inward, and really ponder things. Hell, in all honesty, this whole week and all her work has me at a sort of pinnacle in my own life. Very strong week, very strong moment. Hope to spread these feelings, and open peoples minds as much as mine was.
Michael B (me): I’ve never been one to get questions written before hand, so all this is as they come. But there was one question that I’ve been churning around in my head. It’s probably one you’ve heard a lot or something along those lines. How did you come about to writing House on Sunset, and decide that you wanted to have it published and known? Well not known, but putting yourself out there to share your experience and the like
Lindsay F (LF): I’d blogged about my abusive relationship for 3 years (anonymously) before I ever thought about writing THOS (The House on Sunset). Friends and readers encouraged me, but my therapist wanted to make sure I was far enough along in my recovery that I wouldn’t re-trigger myself by discussing the past. I’ve always known I would write a book but I was never sure of the genre or content. After I left and started blogging, I realized I needed to talk about what happened to me to feel better. The result of doing that was hearing others say they felt less alone through reading my truth. It just felt like it was supposed to happen, like the reason I endured what I did was so that I could be one of the voices attempting to expose it.
I realize that might sound bizarre considering no one should ever try to rationalize abuse. My intention is not to find purpose in IT, but to design a purpose-filled life after being dealt a terrible hand.
Me: I don’t think it sounds bizarre, but then again I’m used to bizarre haha. You say your intention is to find purpose in it. What exactly is your goal, if you have one, that you wish to reach with your books and in turn reaching out. Because with your upcoming book you’re tackling more than just abuse.
LF: My ultimate goal is to help eradicate the fear and shame problem we have in society, regardless of the story I tell to support my stances. We don’t share what’s hard because we fear what people will think (and how that will impact us). There’s a lot of shame surrounding domestic violence, especially with victim blaming, but I don’t carry that shame or guilt anymore since I talk about what I went through. I want the same thing for other survivors. Really, I want that for everyone who faces a trauma, so it makes sense that the next BIG stigmatized issue that falls into my plate pulls a book out of my head.
Infertility, again, is something many couples are ashamed of.
But if I’m able to say, “This is what I’ve been through and this is how I cope,” and ONE person is helped, then I’m doing exactly what my ultimate goal is.
It’s the idealist teacher in me. I don’t give up on people who feel others have and/or they’ve given up on themselves.
We all deserve to feel loved and normal.
ME: That’s a pretty big goal, but one that is completely respected. Being such a large goal that you’re undertaking, has there been a moment where things seemed to have taken a kind of ‘wow this is really happening‘ sort of moment?
LF: I don’t mean to sound as if I’m expecting to be famous or well-known. Hell, I know I’m not even a thought leader in terms of the concepts, but I am a person who has lived and breathed those concepts and seen the impact they can have. I guess I should clarify: my goal is to teach this to as many people as the Universe wants me to teach it to. If I can get this across to one person each day then I consider that success. Having said all of that, I do think there have been a few moments when I’ve been kind of shocked at how far my work has reached.
Popular advocates in DV, like Kit Gruelle and Bev T. Gooden, have recommended me to radio shows and interviews they can’t attend for one reason or another. I’ve been featured on XOJane, which I thought was pretty cool. Watching my book hit #1 on Amazon in all of non-fiction? Surreal.
They fuel me to move forward, to keep pressing, that’s for sure.
ME: Guess that was bad reading on my part haha, but still those are some pretty worthy feats. Speaking of moving forward though, one of the big steps I saw you take was going from the name Sarafina Bianco (hope I have that right) to your actual name. How did that come about?
LF: Recovery from abuse happens in steps. When I started writing, I was still very fearful my abuser would find my blog (even though I was anonymous) and try to retaliate. I carried that fear for several years, and I respected it because I have valid reason to be concerned for my safety in regards to my abuser. However, as time progressed and I worked on my PTSD in therapy, I began opening up more and more on the blog and more and more women (and men) reached out to me about their own situations.
While what they were writing wasn’t public, it was certainly vulnerable of them to share their own identity with me, an anonymous blogger. I started to feel disconnected and dishonest, so I decided it was time to take back my name.
His name, the town name, everything else was changed. But the one thing I can take back from that without facing any safety concerns is my own name. That idiot already had it, right? So why can’t I claim the work I’m doing? It’s silly and it was a punishment (at that point). It was time.
ME: This’ll be a really crap segue, but one of the things I’m curious about and maybe others are too, what are some of the false stereotypes that people who are abused fall into? There always seems to be this disconnect between the reality of being abused and what films, tabloids, and gossip forums tend to spin and exaggerate into. Is there anything that you would like to point out as false or grossly exaggerated, or hell, even underplayed? Because it is a rather large issue that not many people are aware of, or choose to be aware of (so it seems sometimes).
LF: Whenever people ask me about survivors, I always tell them the story about my first group therapy session. I showed up and was shocked at how different everyone looked from me, but there wasn’t one woman who looked just like anyone else. The only thing I learned in the entire 6 week session was this: you put 10 survivors into one room and the only thing all 10 of us will have in common is that we survived abuse.
The media finds that most glamorous cases to display and never works toward educating people on the intricacies of DV, so it’s really hard to paint that picture in anyone’s heads. People see us as “totally different from them” because they’re afraid to face that fact that it could happen to someone just like them, in suburbia, a single mom, someone in upper middle class. Nobody is safe from this epidemic.
Fear, my friend, will keep us chained to traditional behavior and make us ignore/deny the truth. When we step outside of letting fear control us, we’re better able to handle whatever comes our way. People are so afraid to be the “type” of person that would be abused, they create that type in their head (even though it doesn’t exist).
ME: Wow that’s very deep, and has me at a loss for words. Truly something to really think on.
LF: Side tangent: I believe that’s what causes all hatred. If someone does something we don’t like, we automatically want to detach from their behavior (so we look for ways we are different/why that would never be something we’d do). White privilege exists because of fear, victim-blaming is fear, homophobia is fear.
ME: I can personally understand that, and how it’s something that does come rather naturally. To fear. And I hate to be that person, but Yoda was technically right.
LF: Laughing emoji, and heart emoji
ME: I don’t want to completely segue away from this, but I do want to mention your new book. Mostly because, I read it. And thanks to your advice I was able to shift perspective to look at it in a different light. Did you write it with the intention of having it be a universal form of self-help or was it something that came out that way as you wrote it?
LF: The idea it came from was universal. I tailored the narrative to one audience, couples struggling to get pregnant, because they have a specific need during their journey, but I honestly think anyone could read each affirmation and question set and somehow relate it back to their own life.
The practice of self-care is something we should all do far more of, but we feel guilty or selfish when we aren’t being of service to other people. It’s something we should all do, even when we are happy, so that we can continue to contribute within society.
That is the core of The Two Week Wait Challenge, even though I’m targeting the procreationally-challenged. (Yes, I just made that up.)
ME: You’re a writer, you’re allowed to make words up, you’ve got that leeway haha.
I’m curious, where are you going from here? I mean, you’ve gone from memoir, to a universally/targeted self-help, as well as a speaker. What plans do you have for the future?
LF: As a writer? I don’t really know. I let myself go wherever my gut tells me. I do need to write the follow-up to The House on Sunset, but I might not do that in memoir form (although, I might, considering the journey I’m on right now). I’d like to think I’ll play with fiction at some point, but I also don’t like to restrict myself to any one genre. I never anticipated writing the book I just did, but it came and I honored my muse. Now here we are, and I’m so freaking proud of my little out-of-nowhere passion project I could burst.
I’m a writer in the sense that I’m obsessed with the power of the written word. Beyond that, I’m just a chick who rolls with everything as it comes. Like the new book says, I’m a real flower child.
ME: Glad to know that sass is real, and this has been a huge honor to chat with you about your book(s). I think that’s all the questions I can think of at the moment, off the top of my head haha. I want to thank you so much for this opportunity, I’ve been wanting to do a feature for you for the longest. Thank you for being so patient with me, and all nagging to have this done. You’ve just made my week
LF: Heart emoji,
Thank you so much for having me. You weren’t a nag, promise! You’ve also made my upcoming week. YAY!
Her upcoming book,The Two Week Wait Challenge: A Sassy Girl’s Guide to Surviving the TWW, is available for pre-order now, and will be released August 1, 2016. Check it out, as well as her memoir, The House on Sunset
You can find her on:
Her website:Survivors will be heard
Facebook: Lindsay Fischer
Hope you all enjoyed this Feature Week!