Author Interview: April Maley (I Will Not Be Silent)

Today I was so honored to chat with April Maley, author of I Will Not Be Silent.  My questions are in purple.  Thank you for taking the time to talk with me, Ms. Maley!!

1. When did you decide to share your story?

When I originally started writing my book I wasn’t really thinking that far ahead. It wasn’t until going through the flashbacks, panic attacks, which led to the drinking, that I realized I had to get it down on paper. I had to purge all of it. I had felt so alone during those times, and I thought how do I turn this into a positive? It motivated me to make good out of something so horrible. There were a couple moments when I didn’t think I could do it. I felt so exposed and raw, but I came to realize that is life! Not always a pleasant rose garden. Hiding behind it, keeping it a secret would only destroy me. That is what killed my mother…silence.

2. It seems like it would be incredibly painful to relive your traumatic childhood memories. How cathartic did you find the writing process to be?

Writing this was one of the hardest things I have had to do, but it had to be done. That day changed my life in more ways than one. I had to stop writing multiple times during the process because of where the emotions would take me. I had to learn to separate myself from the past, it made me hard and unfeeling but it got me through. I realized just a couple of years ago that I needed to mourn for the little girl that died that day. It was a harsh realization. On the flipside it was amazing when I would step away from the book, and come back weeks or months later, I could see how much I had grown emotionally & spiritually. That kept prodding me to continue to move forward.

3. Have victims of child abuse and domestic violence shared their stories with you as a result of your book?

My willingness to be transparent about my life has opened many doors to communicate with others. I have had an overwhelming response since my book came out from child abuse victims and domestic violence victims. Those stories break my heart…no human being should ever have to deal with such pain. These women know I have been there. Being a survivor of child abuse, the one thing that would frustrate me was someone saying I understand, when they had no clue. Now when I tell someone that I communicate with that I understand, they know I do. In almost every instance I tell them I am so sorry about what happened. I validate their emotions and feelings, because those were the two things I never got.

4. I loved the part where you talked about letting the past go daily. How do you actually do that?

When my husband and I were first married my past was a constant barrier for us. He came from a “normal” family upbringing, and his opinion was move on let it go. That crushed me. How can you possibly make some of those pictures seared into your brain, just go away? When he read my book, he came to me and apologized and told me he had no idea. My childhood will always be with me. The good, the bad and the ugly. There are days, moments when I ache for that mother/daughter relationship that I never had or never will, but I let myself mourn it for a moment, but than I have to refocus on the fact that I am a mother who owes it to my kids to be in the present. In my eyes hanging on to the past is allowing evil to win. I will not allow that.

5. I also love that you talk about not wallowing in self-pity. What do you say to yourself when you think about your past and start feeling sorry for yourself?

One of the big things that I always try to remember is feeling sorry for myself will not change the outcome. Most likely it will cause more negative issues. I have learned what my triggers are, and the red flags that say HEY APRIL your mind can’t take anymore. I remind myself how unbelievably blessed I am with my kids, my husband, and the ability to help others.

6. Are you a participant in any groups for child abuse or domestic violence survivors or 12-step programs? What do you find helps you the most in maintaining your recovery?

I am a member of multiple child abuse and domestic violence groups. I also have a community of over 4000 people on my “I Will Not Be Silent” facebook page. I correspond with quite a few of them, not only on the board, but also through email one on one. It helps them to share their story, and I feel blessed to be able to encourage them. At the beginning of my sobriety I went to AA meetings and I journaled daily. I would thank God nightly that I was sober by His grace, and made myself write 5 things I was grateful for so that I would focus on what I had, rather than what I didn’t. Nowadays I make sure that anyone around me knows my stumbling blocks so that when they see me slipping they will make me accountable. That was ONE of the hardest things I had to learn through this whole thing…asking for help. We can’t do it alone no matter how much we say we can!

7. How has your faith in God affected your healing process and shaped your life?

I used to wonder what I did so bad for God to punish me with all the things that continued to happen to me. Than I began looking back to when my parents were alive. He protected me, He soothed me, and He gave me strength I didn’t even know I had. I truly believe He is the only reason I am alive today. My father could have killed me. My alcoholism almost did, but by His grace it didn’t! I used to look at God like we do a human father. Once I got passed that, and realized He is so much bigger than that, I was able to open my eyes to His plan for me. I don’t get upset about my mistakes and past, because He took something so broken and turned into a tool for Him to use to give the hopeless hope!
Thank you again Ms. Maley!  We wish you and your family all the best.

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