When I first announced that I was going to become a self-development expert and write this new book and talk to women, my bold declaration was met with many questions. These questions ranged from, “Cool - how?” to “Don’t you have to go to school or, like, learn something to do that?” to “What does that even mean?” And, honestly, I didn’t know how to answer all of the questions that came at me. What I did know was that everything that had happened to me ever had prepared me for this. You might be wondering the same thing, so I thought I'd share with you a little bit of the into from the new book, by way of explanation:
When I was twenty-two I was one half of a break up that was like a car crash. He walked out of the relationship unscathed by the disaster, while I, on the other hand, was bruised and broken to pieces, scarred and changed forever. The depth of my grief and the process of my healing baffled those around me. Why did I hurt so much? Why did it take me so long to get over it? The people around me were patient but lacking in understanding, which made me feel even more alone. Following this period in my life, I became obsessed with survivor stories. The act of experiencing an event so maddeningly tragic as to be left frantic and lost and unable to relate to people fascinated me, and despite the events in these other women’s stories varying greatly from my experience, they made me feel less alone. I sucked the marrow from these stories. I read Lucky by author Alice Sebold, the brave memoir of her rape. I lost myself in Strange Piece of Paradise, Terri Jentz’s true story of her brutal attack by a man who ran her over with a truck and then hacked her with an axe, and then her journey years later back to the scene of the crime to study face-first the mysteriously terrible thing that had forever changed her. Every year now I read what I consider my favorite book, White Oleander, the story of a girl thrown into the foster care system when her mother murders her lover and is carted off to prison. Astrid, a beacon of survivorship, is shot by one foster mother, starved by another, attacked by a dog, jumped, and sexually abused, among other things. I tore articles out of magazines, like one about a woman who was attacked in a storage unit and had to break through a wall to another unit to escape.
It wasn’t just the horrible thing that happened in each story that captured my attention, but the strength in each woman as well- each woman's process of rebuilding herself. Each woman fought to survive, cleaned her wounds, stitched her skin back together. None of these women spent time pretending to be ok. They learned to throw punches. They battled their attackers in court. They faced themselves in the mirror. They talked (or wrote) about what happened to them. Survival doesn’t mean “I didn’t die,” it means, “I’ve rebuilt a life worth living.”
I didn’t die when my heart was broken so badly, but what matters more is that afterward I created a life for myself that was filled with hope, with strength, with love. I am filled with the desire to be the absolute best person that I can be. I’ll never be a perfect person (where’s the fun in that anyway?); What I mean is that I want to be the best me I can be.
"But Kimberly," you’re thinking, "many of your readers have not been brutally attacked, left at the altar or suffered a great loss recently." Let me assure you, we all have something in common with my collection of survivors. Each of them was forced to rebuild her life for she could not possibly go back to being the person she was before. Neither can you. Do you want to be stronger, better, smarter, more challenged and satisfied, have more fun and in essence be more authentically you? Then you cannot, either, go back to being the person you were yesterday.
Why do I want to be a self-development expert? I want to help other people figure out how to be the best versions of themselves, too. What makes me an expert? Having failed epically many times myself, but also having discovered ways to succeed. Plus a few things like love, empathy, the belief that everything is possible, and my habit of collecting stories.
This new book is just that - I’ll be sharing with you lessons from my own successes and failures, some of my favorite stories, ideas that have contributed to my own self-development, and a slew of empathy, love, and my belief in you.