What inspired you to write this memoir?
Well, it started out as a journal. Just someplace to finally let it all out. I had never really talked about it with anyone before. Then it became a blog. I also started my own mental health page. When I started speaking out to my peers on Facebook about it, a lot of my friends had had the same thing happen to them. I mean, the child sexual abuse. So, my journal and blog became my life story because I wanted people to know they were not alone. It was okay to speak up. We shouldn’t have to keep their dirty little secrets. It only makes our mental health worse.
Were you afraid of what your family and peers would think?
My peers, no. They were very supportive and encouraged me to write the book. For all the same reasons I wanted to. My family, yes! I was a nervous wreck for a while. Even though I started separating myself from the rest of the family by age 19, I was still nervous that they were going to cause drama as they always did.
How did you come up with the title?
The title is a representation of how I feel, since I had to cut ties with my toxic family. I have 5 sisters and a brother, 23 nieces and nephews, and now there is only one left and that’s me.
Is there a message in your memoir that you want readers to take away from the book?
Yes. The biggest thing is, stand up for yourself. No matter how many times they tell you you’re crazy, you should just get over it, you need therapy, why do you have to talk publically about the family secrets. Keep speaking up and don’t back down. Not only is it going to help you heal, it will empower others to do the same. And you may just save a life.
How has the feedback to your story been so far?
It has been very positive thus far.
How does it feel to get your story out & published?
It feels like this 300lb monkey that I have been carrying around my whole life is now gone. It is very freeing, therapeutic, and healing.
Your bio states you are an advocate for Mental Illness, Child Sexual Abuse, Domestic Violence, and Animals can you tell us a bit more about that important work for each group?
Currently I am mainly trying to raise awareness for these issues. Speak up, work towards ending the stigma surrounded by all of the above. My anxiety has improved quite a bit and I see myself in the near future being able to be a spokesperson. Especially for mental illness. I believe that my mental illnesses are tied to my trauma. I also want to become a CASA volunteer. That stands for court appointed special advocate. They work with foster children. As far the child sexual abuse, I think the most important thing is to make parents aware. You always hear, “well that can’t happen to my child.” I have news for them, it happens all the time. Especially to vulnerable children that grow up without a father figure. I would tell them, be aware of the people in your child’s life. Pay attention to the relationships they have with these people, especially relatives. Know all the signs to look for. Educate your child on how they should not be touched in private places. Things like that.
Do you have any advice for people currently grappling with any of these issues of abuse?
Yes, the most important thing is know your worth. People have absolutely no right to mistreat you. No one deserves that. If you are in a domestic violence situation, find a safe way to leave. There are women’s and children’s domestic violence shelters everywhere. If it’s an emergency situation, go to the local police station as soon as you can safely leave. They will hook you up with the right places in your area. I was lucky, I had a mother and step-father to escape to at the time.
What books have influenced your life the most?
Definitely memoirs. I like to read others true stories about their life. Famous people and your everyday Joe like me.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? It would definitely be Christine F Anderson. She is such a strong beautiful soul and has been to hell and back and has come out the other side braver and stronger than ever.
What book are you reading now?
No tears for my father by Viga Boland
What is your favorite genre of book?
Besides memoirs, I love sci-fi, horror, dramas, Christian books, self-help books. Okay, I love all books.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Yes, all of it. I am new at this and I know I am not a seasoned writer. But hopefully I will improve. Practice makes perfect I hear.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Oh gosh, I would have to say Patty Duke. Her autobiographies were two of the first books I ever read about mental Illness and what it’s like to like with it and I could really relate to her stories. What was the hardest part of writing your book? Reliving and remembering all the trauma of my life.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned it was very therapeutic to speak up and tell my truth. I learned just how strong and brave I am, and I have been able to move from victim to survivor. Do you have any advice for other writers? Oh gosh, no. But I do accept constructive criticism. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? Yes, you are strong, brave and deserving of a good life. Surrounded by people that validate you and love you. Cut ties with the toxic people that trigger you. Replace them with new family that gets you.
What’s next for Billie Bond?
I am currently running my own mental health page, Bipolar R Us. I am an admin on a domestic violence page called Her Broken Wings Can Soar, I am also an admin in a closed mental health group called Forever Different. And doing research for my next book.