Don't Hurt Yourself: A Memoir Of Healing Through Grief, Trauma & Addiction

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Don't Hurt Yourself: A Memoir Of Healing Through Grief, Trauma & Addiction by Reese, Denayja, 9781667832562
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  • ISBN: 9781667832562 | 1667832565
  • Cover: Paperback
  • Copyright: 4/12/2022

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I am Denayja Reese. In the incarnation that you are meeting, I am a Strategist/Producer/Writer/Host with a varied career background that includes Entertainment, Tech & Event Production. I am a Black, gay woman in my thirties. I was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. I went to art school for Fashion Marketing & Management in San Francisco, CA. I am an Aquarius sun, Pisces moon, Scorpio rising with six planets in Capricorn. I am a friend to many and a sister to some. I am a weaver and a builder in my community. I am living with depression and anxiety. I am coping with the racism, patriarchy & capitalism that fuels this society. When I was eighteen, my entire world was turned upside down. Having no sense of how to cope with my grief and trauma, I descended into addictions to alcohol, drugs, sex, self-loathing and destructive behavior.

I started writing this book in 2018 and had always planned to release it some day. However, as I was working on it in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic took over the world and began claiming millions of lives, finishing it suddenly became urgent. Something I've worried about throughout this time is the immense amount of grief present that didn't exist in the "Before Times". This pandemic has killed more people than all of America's wars combined and left millions of children orphaned or without a primary caregiver. Suddenly, my story was not just something that I thought was entertaining or something people might enjoy reading. It became something that I felt could actually help people right now. I know firsthand that our collective culture does not know how to support grieving people. I cannot claim to be an expert on the subject myself. However, I do intimately know grief and the way that it can change the trajectory of someone's life.

This is not a self-help book. This is the story about a young woman so full of my own grief that I was ready to meet death because I could not figure out how to deal with it. This is my story, told in five parts.

Confrontation, an examination of the things that have contributed to my pain. Creation, an understanding of the various ways that pain has manifested in my life. Inspiration, when I arrived at the moment I chose life over death. Reinvention, featuring the changes, decisions, and actions that nurtured my healing. And finally, to the freedom I've
found now.

I cannot promise that the tools that have worked for me will work for you. I am sharing my story in the hopes that they do because there is so much pain in the world right now. I know much of that pain very well. The journey I've been on for the last six years has been about alchemizing my pain and turning it into love. I have learned to love myself in all my greatness and my gruesomeness. I want you to love yourself just as we have been taught to hate ourselves, with tenacity and repetition. I want you to unhinge until all the doors are off and there are no roadblocks to freedom.

When given agency over our futures, we can create the environment, internally and externally, that either promotes our growth or contributes to our daily demise. I used to think I needed a rescuer. Someone who could make my broken pieces feel whole. I realized at a certain point that the truth is that we have to rescue ourselves. It is not about being made whole, it is about returning to the truth of the wholeness we were born with.

I have healed in places in which I thought I would bleed forever.

I believe that you can too.
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