A message for the reader:
"I am,” I cried, “I am,” said I, and I am lost, and I can’t even say why. Leaving me lonely still.
I could feel the pain of these words by Neil Diamond deep inside my soul. The pain would not let me go. It hung on tight and drove me to the depths of depression. I hurt so badly. My only friend was the radio, and it truly was my friend. Why did I hurt and why couldn’t anyone see—and even more importantly, why didn’t they care?
When I started to think about what I was going to name my book, I considered about naming it after another song on the radio. It told a story about a person’s painful childhood and how unloved he had felt, only to discover that he had to love himself first before he could feel loved by anyone else. I found out later in life that I had to learn to love myself before anyone else could love me.
Once I began writing this book, I was often asked why I chose to expose so much of my life to a public readership. First of all, I am not ashamed of my life, instead proud of my accomplishments. I couldn’t always say this because I didn’t always feel this way, but now I want to help people who have been through similar experiences to know they are not alone. There is light at the end of that dark tunnel and this time it’s not the train but rather a bright light full of a great future of hopes, plans, and dreams that actually become reality.
Deep within your soul is always a thread of hope, even if you can barely feel it. I want you to hang onto that thread and watch it grow into a thick rope that is impossible to fray. Life can be extremely cruel, but if you can learn from its harsh realities, then you can build a strong character that one might think is beyond your reach. I came to a point in my life when the realities were too painful, I didn’t want to exist anymore and in my desperation, I found this thread of hope. I decided to hang onto it, and you can, too.
Growing up in the sixties was tough. Prejudices were strong. As a child I didn’t know who I was, but I grew up believing I was less than everyone else because my peers constantly made me feel inferior. My once outgoing personality shrunk and shriveled like a grape that had been left out in the sun; I felt like a nobody.
My heart goes out to all who have endured unbearable pain, bullying, discrimination, and adversity, and my hope is that this book will give you the courage to march on with that thread of hope. Life has so much to offer and it is not beyond your reach. Don’t give up—you’ll be glad you didn’t!