Welcome to Rage to Peace.
Seven years ago I was in transition from a steady and successful career in violence interruption. I was pursuing a goal dating back to 1995. During that time I was working at the University of Connecticut School of Social Work's Institute for Violence Reduction.
I watched closely as my supervisor led the Institute and was amazed by the his role, title, and every detail that went into being the leader.
I said to myself, I want to do that someday.
Now in 2016, I had arrived at that decision. I decided to launch my own non profit organization.
Interestingly enough, my over 25+ year career in youth development, engagement and outreach work had not prepared me for the many tasks associated with launching a non-profit.
In order for me to do that I had to learn and understand my capacity, my deficiencies and my determination to see it through.
This entire process of founding the organization pushed my capacity for learning to it's maximum. It also helped to stretch my creative bandwith. Why is this important to share?
How does founding an organization relate to Rage to Peace, you might ask?
Simultaneously I had begun to sketch on a notepad. Yes, sketching on a notepad! On that notepad, I documented my thoughts and memories from as far back as I could remember.
Creating the mission, vision, by laws, tag line, logo, and core values of the organization required extensive research, evaluation, revision, and understanding of a purpose.
Many of the exact processes needed to write Rage to Peace.
Every instance when I was reminded of a childhood memory I would just write it down. I was unsure of how much the memories that were surfacing had to do with my overall existence but I had to document it.
I felt a story coming together that was different than the story of my life I had shared with thousands of people during the many workshops, presentations and interviews I had given or been a participant in.
During the seven year journey of writting my memoir Rage to Peace I had taken many breaks from writting. The responsibilities of life, unforseen challenges, the busy times during the launching of my organization or it sometimes was too difficult to relive some of the moments in my childhood and into my early twenties.
Despite all of this time, I managed to stay on course and achieve this goal.
I met with other authors, shared copies of my writting with publishers, spoke about the book with friends and supporters but I was still not ready to push send on my manuscript.
I was holding on to my story as fiercely as a bear defends it's cubs. Fearful of losing my story. Fearful of exposing my inner most pain and sufferring.
Finally after much contemplation, I had to part with my beautiful jouney scribbled on notepads, an Ipad, word docs, google docs, recorded on tape recorders, and living in my head.
I finally determined that my story was not only mine. My story could be anyones story and perhaps by sharing it I would help others overcome their challenges and believe in their ability to transform their negative thoughts, feelings and actions into positive ones.
I hit send. I called on partners to assist with creating the image that best captured the essence of my journey.
I had overcome my fear and was left with a feeling of uncertainty. That feeling lasted until the first proof of Rage to Peace arrived in the mail. I hugged the book, cried, smiled and dissapeared into it's pages.
It was real.
As I prepare to request the second proof and look it through to make sure there aren't any errors in stories that need to be edited, removed or added. I can only think, how blessed I am for having this opportunity.
Friends, colleagues, neighbors, former clients, strangers and family are all reaching out and anticipating the day when they receive their copy. I feel grateful and humbled by their support, love, curiosity and excitement.
All of those fears, tears, moments of second guessing, fighting through not recalling details, feeling illeterate because I could not find the right words to add on a sentence, the laughter, the good feelings and memories were all worth it.
The process continues but I am closer to success than to fear, closer to success than uncertainty and closer to success after hitting send.
(photo by JCV Freelance Photography, LLC.)