I have started something new several times in my life, as most of us have. Always with some fear and trepidation. What if it doesn’t work? What if I am making a mistake? What if I fail?
Enough worry to keep me awake at night thinking should I have gone forward. And the answer was yes to each of these questions at some point in the process.
And yet, about three years ago I was trying to write my third fashion book and going nowhere. I realized it’s time to do something different. When the words didn’t flow out of my computer and onto the screen as in my first two books, I knew another fashion book was not the answer.
And so I put it away and pulled up a new word doc. A fresh, clean, empty piece of paper looking back at me from the computer screen. I started writing about my childhood. It was difficult. I spent many of my years under the age of 10 in foster homes. But I had overcome my childhood and made a career for myself. As the words flowed from my fingertips I knew I must be onto something. But then the words stopped. So I tried a few more things; my mom and her twin sister, the identical twins that were very different in personality. Interesting. I filled one page. So where do I go from here? For me writing had been an experience of typing as fast as I could just to keep up with the words in my head. This was not the case this time. I was struggling, not the writer’s block that stalls you, but the missing passion that drives you as a writer. It just wasn’t there.
Try something different my writer friends told me, try something you haven’t talked about before. That took some deep thinking and then all of a sudden it came to me, a memoir. I had the most dysfunctional childhood, a challenging time from my 20’s to my 30’s but then it all seemed to fall into place. My career skyrocketed, my personal life blossomed and then I became humbled at 40 with the diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis and I dealt with it like I did my childhood, I kept it hidden. And two hundred and nine pages later I had my third book.
Take Me Home From The Oscars was published in 2011. My story from childhood to Hollywood. From Foster homes to attending the Oscars. From shy, quiet little girl to stand in front of the national TV cameras woman. And I thought I had written my story. It was in print. No more hiding. But that was only half of the story.
What do I do next? How many more times would I report on TV about a new trend in lipstick, a new style in shoes, a “must-have” color of the season? Especially when I just found out that there are 300,000 kids in the US dealing with the same disease I am living with. Kids who teachers don’t understand why they can’t run and play like everyone else. Kids that some doctors think are just lazy or slow to develop. Kids who are made fun of at school. Kids just like me that want to disappear when the teacher asks why they miss so much school.
I remember when they passed out PTA cards in my school. My mom had just remarried, I was no longer in foster homes, and I was adjusting to sharing my mom with my new step-dad. When they called my mother’s name for me to go up and get her PTA membership card I sat still in my seat. I looked around like everyone else to see who this Gerry Everett woman was. I was too embarrassed to raise my hand and claim the card because I was the only kid in the class whose mom had a different last name. And so my mom’s card was returned to the office and my secret was intact.
This is why I relate to JA Kids. Because Juvenile Arthritis is misunderstood. Because the word arthritis denotes someone old. Because instead of understanding them, these kids are being bullied. And so the JA community is far quieter than the diabetes or autistic community. Celebrities don’t come forward to support JA. Even if they want to their agents or managers warn them against talking. I understand this. I relate to this. But I am determined to change this. I hid my mom having a different last name. I hid my foster home childhood. I hid my RA for a long time. I no longer hide.
And suddenly I knew, it was time to start something new and trust the magic of new beginnings.
And the magic came.
The magic for me is called Christine’s Kids on Facebook. Come visit us, watch our new video, and hopefully you will want to start something new.
It is pure magic.