Inspired Action

In anticipation for the revival, I went back and watched Roseanne from start to finish (Ya, it took a while!). I just watched the last episode.

It was exactly what I needed at the exact moment I needed it.

I forgot how powerful her final monologue was, especially the end.

When it 1st aired, I was barely a teenager, dabbling with the idea of someday becoming a famous writer from a very small town much like, if not exactly the same as, the fictional town of Lanford, IL.

Say what you will about Roseanne, I know it is not everyone’s cup of tea, but this show was a staple in my life. It may not have been as wholesome as Family Matters or Full House, but not everyone’s life was wholesome. Especially not mine.

In the midst of my dysfunction, it was a comfort (although fictional) that not every family was quote on quote normal, but it didn’t matter as long as there was love.

Lately, I have been struggling to find the inspiration to finish the next chapter of my memoir. And then today, I heard this…coincidence? I think not 🙂

Roseanne – Final Monologue – May 20, 1997 (an excerpt)

“…In choosing life I realized that my dreams of being a writer wouldn’t just come true I had to do the work. and as I wrote about my life I relived it and whatever I didn’t like I rearranged. I made a commitment to finish my story, even if I had to write in the basement in the middle of the night while everyone else was asleep.

But the more I wrote the more I understood myself and why I had made the choices I made and that was the real jackpot

I learned that dreams don’t work without action
I learned that no one can stop me but me
I learned that love is stronger than hate

And most important I learned that god does exist and he and/or she is right inside you.
Underneath the pain,
the sorrow,
and the shame.

I think I’ll be a lot better now that this book is done.”

Her last sentence reminded me of how cleansed I felt when I finished Insane Roots. It was like a therapy session of my own making and I think that is why I am struggling so much with the second book.

There are things I experienced during that time that up until now I was not ready to deal with. Pain buried so deep, I had almost forgotten it was there. Or at the very least, grown accustom to its sting.

Revisiting those memories, means the opening of old wounds and breaking down walls it took years to build.

But it also means healing. A necessary process in moving forward. And maybe someday, moving on.

The person you all know today is not the girl in the pages of Insane Roots, nor is she the struggling teenager in the chapters yet to come. She is the woman who survived them.

And I think it’s time to finish her story.

 

A Different Beginning

As many of you know, today is the official release of Insane Roots – A Memoir:

The Adventures of a Con-Artist and Her Daughter

Rochelle-InsaneRoots CVR-LG

And… I have my first book signing scheduled for this Sunday at Barnes & Nobles!

It has been a long beautiful journey to this point and everything seems to be coming together quite nicely 🙂

When I began writing my memoir, I kept getting hung up on where to start. For me the biggest challenge was piecing it all together, which made finding the beginning a bit difficult. Eventually, I took my focus off the end product and delved into the details! Just like that the flood gates were open!

I would like to share with you now a rough draft I wrote during that time as a different beginning for Insane Roots. It is told from my mother’s perspective rather than mine to give it an even more of a twist!

Where is Mom?

Silent and seemingly unfretted she stood there until her daughter was no longer in sight.

“She’ll never forgive me” she thought, as she watched her little girl walk away for what may very well be the last time.

She turned away from the terminal and slowly walked down the busy corridor .  This would be the first time in 12 years that she would be running on her own. Tiffany was getting older and had grown too much of a conscience for a life of crime. There was no other way, everything was catching up with her and she had to leave.

“Tiffany is strong” she thought to herself, “she’s been through this plenty of times.”

She moved through the crowded airport diligently and hurried her way back out to the car.

Slumped in the driver’s seat, her head fell back as she thought of the numb way her body rest on the cushion. Then she thought of Tiffany and the look of her face as they kissed and hugged goodbye. She had told her it was a small trip and they would see each other in a week, but that was never her intention.

She drove home and opened the door to the life she was leaving behind. Making her way to Tiffany’s room, she glanced at ever nook and cranny along the way.  Moving slowly as to take it all in.

The door to her room was labeled “Keep Out” and was decorated with teenage memorabilia of bands and catchy phrases. The door was slightly cracked and seemed as though it was begging her to enter. Opening it with a feeling of intent and purpose,  she fell on the bed, taking in one last smell of the only other familiarity she knew, the person she always clung to; her daughter.

After a few moments of silence and one long deep breathe, she stood up and began picking up the things strewn about the room.  She finished by making the bed and closed the door. A few steps away was her room, the walls cloaked in the life she had pretended would last.

No time for that now. She needed to pack and decide where she would go. It didn’t matter really; anywhere would be safer than here. After throwing some items in a duffle bag she left, just like that.

She did not leave a note and when I called, she was not home…

In the end I am glad I went the other route, but it is interesting to think about where it could have gone from there.

There were a lot of pieces that I didn’t end up using and I’ll try to remember to share them with you from time to time over the next few months.

Thank you reading!

 

Throwback Thursday!

Gotta love Facebook! Today it reminded me that on this day two years ago, I wrote the following post. It was only my 2nd blog post on Insane Roots and now it resides (edited version of ‘course)  in the pages of a book that will be on shelves everywhere in less than a month!

Insane Roots – A Memoir: The Adventures of a Con-Artist and Her Daughter to be released February 2, 2016!

It just goes to show you if you put your mind to something, there is no stopping you!

I will always be thankful for my crazy mother, my insane roots 🙂

My Crazy Mother

January 14, 2014

They say a mother’s love is the most generous love of all. But what if the love she has for herself is so much more important that she forgets about everyone else? Is it possible that her actions may merely be the result of her regrets from a life she never had a chance to live? The only living result of which she can claim no credit for; her daughter. Strong, resilient, and determined. All qualities that may not have been taught to her by her mother, but surely hold themselves the result of her actions. A life-time filled with pain, deceit, and unanswered questions.

Trying to find oneself amongst a past that is scarcely dim with truth, yet sturdily iridescent with hope, oh where to begin! I do have fond memories of our time together, yet every time they begin to take me away I end up bumping into the grief of their vagrant existence. A little girl so filled with hope her eyes sparkle, only to be let down, by the one person she needed to lift her up. I have always felt somewhat less like a daughter and more like a convenient addition to my mother’s con-schemes; no one would suspect a mother or her sweet little girl.
Looking back I revel in the amazement of how oblivious one can be to the ridiculous behavior that is so obviously displayed in front of them. It is amazing what one can chose not to notice or find a way to justify from the need for normalcy. Sometimes the painful truth is just too much for a child to handle.
The more I begin to write, the more I begin to remember. The hardest part of trying to begin my story is coming to grips with the reality of its truth. Putting it into words, somehow makes it more real than it ever was while I was living it. At the time I was experiencing it, I was focused on getting through it. Now that I am reflecting on it, I am having to really understand the gravity of it all.
In the best description, I spent my early childhood as a fly on the wall of my mother’s crazy life.
Have you ever talked to a fly? I bet they would have a lot of interesting things to say!
I know I do….

My mother is so many different people and if anyone knows the real lady underneath all the baggage, it would be me. Keep in mind however this is a women who barely knows herself and therefore the ‘real’ deal is sometimes hard to find. But I was a fly on the wall of my mother’s life and although my time with her has been limited, I would never change a thing. I am who I am as a result of her actions. I like to think there is a little good in everyone and I hope this book can give insight and understanding to those whose lives she touched in some way; good or bad. I have been blessed with so many wonderful people in my life that I would never risk losing just one of them for the changing of a moment. Life is an adventure and she just made it so much more interesting than the ordinary turmoil’s of childhood. We had adventures and met a million friends along the way!

If my mother had been more straight edge and wholesome, I may have missed meeting the people I now hold dearest to me. My life might have been less chaotic, but I am not sure I would be the person I am had it been any different. Please enjoy the tale of our excursions and remember the phrase, “You can’t choose your family”. It has so much relevance.

 

Christmas

Happy Holidays everyone! Please enjoy this festive audio teaser of Insane Roots – A Memoir: The Adventures of a Con-Artist and Her Daughter.
To set the stage, this was my first Christmas in my new home after my mother and I were separated. I had not had a Christmas without her up until that point in my life, but my Godmother did her best to make me feel loved.

Sneak Peek of Insane Roots: The Adventures of a Con-Artist and Her Daughter!

With all the great news surrounding the book this week, I wanted to share my excitement by giving you a sneak peek inside the pages!

Here is one of my favorite excerpts, I hope you enjoy 🙂

Insane Roots – A Memoir:

The Adventures of a Con-Artist and Her Daughter

Wait . . . What?

Even though life was really great at my godparents’ house, I thought about my mom a lot. Eventually, I started to doubt the story about her being in the hospital; it just didn’t match up. We were never able to visit her, she never wrote, and I was never able to call her when I wanted to. Whenever I voiced these concerns, the answers were very vague. They never acted as if they were trying to deceive me but more like my questions made them uncomfortable, and they were quick to change the subject.

Then one night, after dinner, Maryellen and John took me into the kitchen to talk. For a while, they just stared at me with long serious gazes.Until, in a low comforting voice, John looked at me and said, “Tiff, honey, we need to talk to you about your mom.”

Just then I felt something click. I looked up at them and said, “She’s not in the hospital is she?”

“No . . .” Maryellen replied. “She’s in jail.”

Oddly, somehow I wasn’t surprised. I never remembered her being in jail before, but it still didn’t seem to startle me at all. However, what they told me next knocked me on the ground.

First they explained that my mother had left me at the hospital and arrived at our apartment to be met by the police and arrested on several charges. My godparents stepped up as my foster parents and I was then placed in their care. All of these arrangements had been made during my close-to-a-month-long recovery in the hospital. Completely under my nose and at no time did they ever let on that something was amiss? That is strength in its truest form.

After it was clear that I had grasped this, they went on to explain how there was a bit more to my mother than she let on. Quite a bit more actually. Turns out my mother, the neglected youth, has not one but two sets of parents. I am not sure why, but it never seemed odd to me before, maybe because most kids have two sets of grandparents, and up until that point I had only seen either set a handful of times. I never really gave much thought to the idea that they were all her parents. I knew that they all lived in Illinois. We never saw both sets at the same time, but outside of that I had not given it any thought.

Here is where it gets crazy.

Maryellen and John explained to me that my mother had been adopted when she was very young by the cousin of her birth mother. The details of which have always been a bit fuzzy for everyone. There are several stories and I don’t know if anyone, aside from those involved, really knows the truth. What we do know is that Mom was the only one given away out of six children. Her adoptive mother was not able to have children, but she wanted them desperately. Her and her husband adopted my mother when she was two. They always told me it was because she had an eye condition that her biological parents could not afford to fix, so they offered to adopt her because they could. There are other versions of this story, but no one really knows which to believe. Regardless of what is true or false in the case of her adoption, it is clear that the entire situation did a number on her psyche.

On September 18, two days after my tenth birthday, my mom was deemed by the courts as an unfit mother. So, when she was done serving time, she was going to be released into the custody of her adoptive parents. In addition to this, she was granting them custody of me when she was released. This meant I had to leave. I had to leave and go live with people I barely knew.

I slumped down in my chair and went over everything in my head. At the time, I thought it was the worst news, but I tried to focus on the positive. At least I would get to see my mom soon. She would be held in a facility close to my grandparents’ house until her release and that meant we could go visit. I didn’t care if it was in a jail; it would just be nice to see her.

Maryellen and John reassured me that I would still have a little time with them before I had to leave, and I was starting to warm up to the idea of a new adventure, until they told me the rest.

After my mom was arrested, her entire cover was blown. As it turns out she had been on the run since before I was born. She went AWOL from the Army and then left for New York sometime in 1980. Shortly before I was born she met a woman whose identity she stole and had been using up until her recent unfortunate incarceration.

She had been operating under a completely different identity for the last ten years. The name we all knew her by and the name on my birth certificate belonged to a totally different person. Not only was she several years older than I thought, but apparently her birthday was in August instead of October. I was learning my mother’s name for the first time. At this point, I was speechless…

Official Release Date: February 2, 2016