People fear what they don’t understand and hate what they can’t conquer.
This past year has been a make or break year for relationships, a year like no other. Remember the saying “Where focus goes, energy goes”? And, boy, does our energy ever go to the doom and gloom if the world is focusing on that.
Keeping the news off certainly helps, because when you listen to it, you’d think things couldn’t get much worse. I can tell you honestly that I know of no one who has contracted this virus. Where we are, the numbers are low. Yet there’s a huge outcry against lockdowns, against stopping travel, against being prevented from visiting friends, going out to restaurants, and basically being able to do what you want. Then there are those who point out the injustice in a segment of society basically buying their way to the front of the line or using their positions of power to do the kinds of things everyone else is being ordered not to do.
Of course, now we are seeing society rail against the kinds of double-talk and privilege that have always existed, previously unacknowledged by those in positions of power. Right now, there is a spotlight on inequality. It will make you crazy if you think about it, especially when finding the alternative to doom and gloom is now more essential than ever.
Yesterday was the first time in a long time that I actually had four whole hours with no one in the house but the cat. He, of course, did what cats do: sleep. I can tell you that I took a moment to just sit in silence. I’m not kidding! I really, really enjoyed the silence in the house. I realized it had been a long time since I’d had a quiet house and some time just for myself, without having to pack up my laptop and retreat outside to find a quiet spot to write where no one could bug me.
It’s release day for my newest book, Hiding in Plain Sight. Focusing on the doom and gloom, the heavy baggage of a troubling childhood, is something Billy Jo has always struggled with alone. Remember Billy Jo McCabe, whom you were first introduced to in Don’t Catch Me, from the McCabe Brothers series? There, she was a troubled teen in the foster care system, a system that had completely neglected to protect her. Now, as an adult, she’s searching for her birth mother while working a job in the same system that failed her.
While accessing confidential information from her personal file, Billy Jo reads all the dirty details that have been written about her, all the inaccuracies and labels, the distorted truths about what a social misfit and problem she was. Can you imagine reading something inaccurate about yourself? What was documented about Billy Jo didn’t tell the entire story. Pulling a knife on someone could have you labeled dangerous, but what if pulling a knife was the only way for you to protect yourself as an unprotected teenager placed in an unsafe home? Labeled a liar, a runner with anger issues, Billy Jo knew no one would ever believe any accusations she made.
Billy Jo McCabe has certainly been expected to overcome a lot. But how much is still haunting her? Never able to make peace, she finds that her focus is always on the past, on trying to right a wrong, to find out why she was tossed away like garbage. Yet her feelings of never being good enough or deserving enough now drive her to fix a very broken system. In many ways, she is still trying to save the little girl she was, the girl no one would hear.
If anything, Billy Jo is a reminder that you can’t change yesterday, but you can certainly change today and tomorrow. Even though bad things happen, what you do with those events can make all the difference to you or to someone else. If you’re focusing on the past, you’re going to keep reliving it. But if you look forward and keep your focus forward, that’s where your energy goes. Either you can become a product of your environment, or you can take the negative and make it a positive.