GUEST POST: The House on Sunset by Lindsay Fischer
By Lindsay Fischer
Lindsay Fischer was once a high school English teacher with dreams stretching far outside the classroom. When her boyfriend of a year-and-a-half cheated on her, Lindsay found herself alone, looking online for a replacement. His name was Mike.
That’s where the nightmare started.
The House on Sunset is a memoir, a collection of reminiscences, scattering the ashes of two broken homes and putting them to rest. Each chapter offers a different glimpse inside the cycle of intimate partner violence, where honeymoon phases and traumas coexist.
Everyone could fall victim to abusers. This book bravely displays the reasons a quirky, twenty-something teacher would, and did.
You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should've behaved better – Anne Lamott
It’s easy to say you’ll give your guts with the world, but a strong desire to tell your reality doesn’t always make it simple to detail the hardest moments in your life.
Especially for trauma survivors.
There’s a guilt associated with giving away intimate family secrets or, in my case, moments that diminished my tough façade for the softer, more vulnerable me. I survived an abuser who wrecked my life in far more ways than just emotionally.
Physical, sexual, financial and spiritual abuse all intermingled in such a disastrous way I didn’t realize they were happening until it was too late.
Yet when it came time to heal, I was terrified to share my story. Maybe my family and friends wouldn’t understand why they needed to be a part of my abuse memoir, especially when
I’d pushed them out of my life (read: he alienated me from everyone who kept me strong).
And then there’s the part of owning up to my mistakes, my imperfections and shame and regret.
Writing what’s scary is telling the truth, but in some ways I felt I was betraying others, and I debated the value of putting my story out there. Was it really worth all of the emotional aftermath I might face?
With a commitment to finish my first draft, I told myself I didn’t have to publish if I didn’t want, and that helped ease the tension enough to get the pain out of my head. Butt in chair. Just write already, okay?
Fast forward to six months later, after a bit of editing and a ton of shitty moments of self-doubt, and I was going through the motions of cover design, finding a formatter, and creating a book trailer. Though it seemed the book would breathe on its own, fears of what if still harassed me.
I think every writer deals with this in some way, even if their books are fiction: we question our bravery and conviction as much as we question syntax or plot lines.
Here’s what I know:
Writing The House on Sunset was difficult, but not nearly as hard as actually publishing it. I say this, however, with the reality of publication behind me and a much larger appreciation for what delving into the blackness provides, because as soon as I faced my fear, wrote, and published anyway, the real magic happened.
All of the stress, the heartbreak and trauma, all of the resentment I might have had for other people or situations, vanished.
For the first time since leaving my abuser, I truly felt free of the shame I’d carried on my back. No more hiding, no more secrets.
Just me being authentic, raising awareness, and providing what I knew I could contribute to the world.
Did every person on each page love what was written? No. But they behaved appropriately, asking me questions about their participation and we squashed their anger or confusion as fast as it came, and some of the relationships I questioned the most have been repaired or even grown strong.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you what you can and can’t write. Never stop yourself from the generosity of sharing your story, because there are people who need to read yours before they are ready to share their own. If someone has a problem with what you’re writing, it’s more than likely a them issue, something you can’t control one way or another, and there’s always time to heal whatever negativity pops up (or not, your choice).
You own your story so what you do with it should always be up to you, and if you’re authentic and your heart is in the right place, nothing should stop you from helping the people who need to hear your voice so they can begin to use their own again.
Lindsay Fischer graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Science in secondary education, English. An avid reader and learner, Lindsay took her passion for words into a classroom before starting a writing career. Life pulled her from the classroom, providing an opportunity to use her voice against domestic violence, blogging under the pseudonym, Sarafina Bianco, since 2009.
You can find her words at survivorswillbeheard.com and speak directly to her when she hosts #domesticviolencechat on Twitter. Lindsay hopes to be an advocate for women, men and children who still live inside the nightmare of their abuse.
She currently lives with her husband and three dogs, including Watson, in St. Louis, Missouri.
Author Site: survivorswillbeheard.com