Oh, hello dear! Sorry, it’s been so long but I have been rather tied up in the lavish life of becoming an author. OK, OK, I know, where I left you last I was completely freaking out.
However, the book is done, and in the hands of the editor. The cover was thoughtfully crafted and graciously gifted by my talented niece. The book is set to release on Kindle just a week from today and in paperback two weeks later. I couldn’t imagine in my wildest dreams that I’d write a book but I must, of course, confess it has been my biggest dream. Ever since I could identify the comforts of book reading and storytelling as I child, I had this inclination to write. Whether in a journal, a short story, or a school report, the feeling of transferring thought to pen, pen to paper, felt like a true release, a true transfer of energy. Writing my book, “Flipping Awesome”, was no exception. The healing and insight I’ve experienced whilst writing this book surpass any profit or recognition I could hope to expect or receive. I wrote the book in hopes of sharing my story and relating it to whoever could find comfort in knowing someone shared the same experiences, thoughts, and feelings while navigating this journey called life. What I did not expect was to come to new revelations, new truths about myself and ideals.
As I guide the reader through circumstances, tools, beliefs, and self-evolving resources that helped me transition from a life turned upside down to a world turned on its head I shined a light on the blind spot I’d ignored for years. During the review and preliminary editing process, a theme with-in my struggles, limits, and setbacks glared at me through the print. It was clear, I’d been struggling with substance abuse, and moreover alcohol abuse for much longer and more severely than I had ever thought. My affinity for cocktails and brews was not a surprise but my sabotage, my self-medicating, and susceptibility to binge drinking was. On the outside looking in it appeared to me, at least before the review, that I had quite a handle on it and could take breaks at any moment. But as I read the book and review the events in my mind and my heart, the overwhelming theme was a tendency to self-medicate and self-soothe. Alcohol numbed all sensation, whether it be joy, pain, discomfort, disappointment, or gave a falsity of confidence, courage, and prowess. So, as I delved back into my spirituality and made my way back into my faith, I chose to give up alcohol for Lent. In Catholicism, Lent is celebrated in honor of the forty day period Jesus spent in the wilderness, avoiding worldly temptations. Christians, for forty days, pay homage to the period by giving up something for forty days to deepen their discipline and faith. I chose alcohol. At day twenty I made a conscious decision to give up drinking altogether.
It’s important to me and my journey that I feel present, affected and supported. My consumption of alcohol, I found diminished, diluted, and often times degraded some of the most memorable experiences. That is not to say I didn’t make some amazing memories over a glass wine, or a cocktail with friends. But I can say that it’s also been a common denominator in lapses of judgment, illness, conflict, and distraction. It is now time that I see my life without my beer goggles and come into life as it comes and forms around me.
Another beautiful prize the project has rewarded me is a deep, newfound, closeness to a distant relative. My eldest brother, a half-brother on my father’s side, passed away when I was seven or eight. I don’t remember much of him other than the fact he was my father’s first child fathered out of wedlock during a teenage tryst during his upbringing in rural Wisconsin. Joey Jr. passed away at the young age of 20 years old. My mother tells me stories of the young, almost identical clone, of my father’s namesake. Apparently, he spent some time with us in NY when I was an infant. Unfortunately, I don’t have any memory of him nor did I ever get a chance to meet or visit with him during my childhood. I don’t think I’ve ever even heard his voice over the telephone. But when he passed I remember the sadness, remorse, and regret I could see in my father’s eyes and demeanor. When the opportunity came to write the book, I knew instantly that I would reach out to the talented young woman my late brother brought into the world. My late brother not only mirrored my father in looks but in life. He to entered the journey of fatherhood in his teens and by the time of his death he had fathered four beautiful little girls. All of them grew to be beautiful, strong, opinionated women. All intelligent, independent and talented. I had the pleasure of meeting one in particular years ago and followed her journey closely. Her family, mother, step-father, and sister stuck by my father closely for years to come and we were able to stay close as well. We followed each other on Instagram and Facebook and developed the unique and loving family dynamic we have now. When I stepped into this journey, of exploring my creativity as a writer and healer, it only felt natural to reach out to the ones I love and supported to support me and my dream. My talented artist of a niece, Lisi, was the first person that came to mind when considering artwork and design for my book cover. She delivered, exceeded, and brought to life my vision. As I reviewed the final book-sleeve and e-book cover I was just so overcome by emotion. I felt this warmth and the overwhelming feeling that destiny played a huge part at this moment. The baby girl and baby sister of the young late Joseph Anthony Torres Jr., years after his life’s end, collaborated in ways no one could ever have imagined. I feel so much closer to my niece, my brother, and the person that brought us all together, my father. My feelings for and about my father have wavered throughout the years. However, none of this would be possible without him. For all it’s worth, he is truly a key contributor to me fulfilling and realizing my dreams and potential. My father will continue to be a key influence and truly the biggest loves of my life. This whole project has opened my eyes to the true abundance and love that surrounds me and us all on a daily basis. I can’t wait to share my work and my journey with others. I hope in some way I can inspire a few or even one person to do the same. There is such a healing in sharing our stories. I look forward to sharing more stories and to hearing more of your stories as well.