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Finding My Sunshine (A Memoir) by Shannon Leith McGuire (Book Spotlight / Author Interview)

FINDING MY SUNSHINE by Shannon Leith McGuire
Content Rating:  PG+M for bad language, anger, and suicidal thoughts, clinical depression, and assault
 
“What if that someone was you?” Shannon had been so quick to blame others for her anger. She knew she was drowning in darkness and pain; being born with a learning disability made her feel defeated by life. She tried drinking heavily in order to quiet the demons. After being kicked out of college, Shannon took a leap of faith and started working in a nursing home. That’s when her angels appeared and the miracle began. The insight and wisdom she gained from those elderly new friends led her on an inspiring journey of discovery and self-acceptance. Each of us has our own path. Some of us just need angels to help us find it. This is her story.
 
 
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Bio: Shannon was raised in a small town in Eastern Montana, where you leave your car keys in the ignition and your front door unlocked all the time. The kind of place where sunsets and sunrises can be seen for miles on the horizon. Where the spring crickets and frogs resting in the irrigation ditches helped transition the days into a calm resting night. Where the winters can get so cold, air can freeze.

It was only after she was academically suspended by the college she was attending, that she became a Certified Nurses Aide (CNA). She did her training in Billings, Montana and it was there she learned how to take care of others and bonded with the geriatric population.

​For over five years, Shannon worked in the same nursing home where she received her training. The work was hard, but it grounded her and helped her find balance in what had become a deeply unbalanced life. It was not until she was a CNA, at one of the hospitals that she had a dream-three nights in a row-that she was going to become a nurse.

She currently resides in Tampa, Florida, where you may hear her laughing with her husband of over 10 years,  scuba diving in the ocean, taking walks with their rescued pit-bull dog- Darby, or dancing together to life’s music.

 

In your book you wrote how disappointed you were when you found out you had Poly Cystic Ovary disease and that you had always wanted to have 4 boys. Did you ever think of adopting?

Yes, I did. However, I knew for some time I could not take care of myself. How was I going to be able to take care of children?  I was not put together yet, and it took many years for me to feel like I was able to care for myself. I did not have the money to work with a fertility specialist. It was something I had to come to terms with and accept. It was not in God’s plans for me to become an actual mom.  So, I am a mom to my rescue dog, Darby. 

 

 

What is your pet peeve?

One thing I learned from my time in counseling with Tom is to be truthful.  I found that if you are honest in the beginning, everything really will turn out okay. There is no reason to lie.  Lies start a domino effect and people get hurt. Sometimes you cannot take back what was lied about. Saying “I am sorry” after a lie is owning up to the action, and it changes everything. I learned you only are as strong as your word. 

 

 

There are many memoirs out there about people’s lives. What makes yours so special?

 Like so many other memoirs, mine is about finding myself and finding a balance. I write about how I was trying to survive; I had darkness all around me. Counseling helped me shine the light on the darkness, and really helped me own up to my insecurities, anger, and hatred of myself. I realized I never was a victim of life.  I just needed help; I denied myself for many years. My hope is my book will help others get help earlier and live their best life and not wait so long to get it like I did. I hope others learn that mistakes are not a life sentence, and you can get better. But first you must admit you need help. That is the first step. I hope I make it easier for people who are struggling to find their way and let them know it is okay. And, let them know their lives can be SO much better.

 

 

Tell us more about your rescue dog, Darby.

Pit bulls have such a bad rap. I have learned a lot about the breed from watching Pitbull’s and Paroles and reading up on them on my own. We wanted to help.  We were on a web site, Pet Finder, and we saw her.  She looked like she had road rash on her right shoulder, and scars all over her face, but she was still smiling. We made an appointment to go meet her, and she was lovely.  She had healed stab wounds all over her body and her tongue needed to be surgically put back together. She was found when police did a raid on where she was living.  Jimmy’s Angels rescue center took her in, cared for her, and brought her back to life. We fell in love with her. They came out and did a home check. She has been with us for a little over a year now. She is living proof what a little bit of love can do to change someone’s world.  She goes everywhere with me.  (And she snores louder then my husband.)

 

 

Tell us more about your favorite resident. What drew you to her or him?

I have so many favorite people I have taken care of over the years. But I guess the 2 that I truly bonded with were Betty Ann and Phyllis. I talk about them in my book. I guess because they were once broken also, and both shared it with me.  They shared with me their stories and how they got through the tough times and struggled with addiction (alcohol) as well.  I guess what drew me to them was the rawness of how they were.  They too had one-night stands, got drunk at parties, lived by the seat of their pants, did what they needed to do to get by.  They helped me realize mistakes are not life sentences. It is just life.  They helped me stop taking things so seriously and being so hard on myself.

 
 
connect with the author: website
 
 
 
 
 
Disclaimer: All questions and answers were constructed by the author and/or their representative. 
 
 
 

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The Many Personalities of Me by Miss Yael Gottesman aka Bailey Gee (Book Review)

Comprised of poems hand chosen by the author, The Many Personalities of Me tells a story of struggle, triumph, heartache and above all perseverance. Stories and poems based on first hand experience from my every day life living with mental illness.

Contents:

Stranger in the Mirror
Footsteps in Reflection
The Loneliness Pandemic
Bigger than Life
Because of You
An Ativan, an Invisibility cloak and my thoughts …..
Jekyll and Hyde
Blade of Glory
A Different Kind of Drought
Lost
Tired
Faded Memories
People ask me
2012
She wonders
Today I went to a funeral
Cross my heart
New blood

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)

 

Miss Yael Gottesman (Bailey Gee) opened her soul up when she wrote The Many Personalities of Me. Through her poetry, she shared what it’s like to live with an abuser and mental illness. 

As a person living with her own set of mental demons, several poems moved me drastically: “Stranger in the Mirror,” “Tired,” “Lost,” and “An Ativan, an Invisibility cloak and my thoughts.”

A few touched so close to home that they were painful to read—those involved cutting. Example: “Blade of Glory” 

I know for a lot of people they get great comfort in knowing they are not alone, that other people have gone or are going through the same situations as them. For me, it makes me face things I have worked hard to bury. I know I’m not taking the healthiest route, but it’s kept me moving forward for over 3 decades (the decades I realized I was different). 

I do commend Miss Yael Gottesman (Bailey Gee) on expressing her emotions, all her struggles. I do hope she keeps moving forward and never finds herself in another toxic relationship or situation. She has shown a great deal of strength, so I have complete faith she will find her happiness one day. 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: 1/2

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Bailey Gee is a graduate of her local colleges creative writing program, and has since published two books. She has a special interest in writing poetry, which tells a story about her life experiences living with mental health issues. Her books are a prime example of perseverance and strength, and is a reminder to anyone going through similar situations, that they’re not alone. Bailey is currently working on her third book of poetry to be released later this year.

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