Your crossroads. Your choice. by EJ Apicello – Excerpt, Guest Post

 

Welcome to my diary, my journey, as I tripped and crawled through the darkest time in my life- when I witnessed people that I held incredibly close to me shatter my very existence with their words and actions. The things within this book spine are extremely raw and exceptionally real. You and I are going to get very close, the details in this book, although oddly general, are incredibly specific. Yes, I realize what I just said and as you read my words you will see what I mean. As you silently gasp and mentally bitch slap me, please be kind because my story is just that – my story. It is not any more or less special than yours. In fact, the only difference between our stories are the choices we made at each of the crossroads in our lives. For most of my life, the choices I made were not based on my happiness but on everyone else’s. This book describes what I have experienced in my journey to finding my happiness and hopefully never letting it go. Sadly, it took me thirty-six years to find the strength I need to detoxify my life and self-view and find someone who is worthy of my awesomeness. Thirty-six years to shatter the negative foundation I had built shatter the ultimate representative I created to hide behind and begin the process of building a new foundation. Only this foundation will be built on strength, confidence and above all, happiness. So take a minute or thirty and sit with my story for a while. You never know what you might find out.

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Welcome to EJ’s real, crazy, emotional, probably too honest journey. She is an everyday girl in this everyday world trying to keep her head above water. Within the pages of this book, you will learn about the things that have broken EJ down and the steps she is taking to build back up. You will see, that this story is written in a unique, general, conversational voice, which was her choice. She wants you to be able to picture yourself in her shoes, relate her trials and tribulations to yours and see that you too can find your happiness. Even if you don’t realize this yet, every single one of us possesses things inside of ourselves that we didn’t know were there. It took EJ’s life taking a crazy right turn and dumping her at the lowest possible point before she could see the strength within herself. We are not defined by what we do, we are defined by the choices we make. EJ decided when she put pen to paper that she wanted her choices to start defining her as strong, confident, secure and above all else, happy. So, who am EJ? How about who she was – a self-loathing shell who put everyone else’s happiness before her own. Herein lies a story about finding that happiness and all of the ups and downs along the way. See who EJ was and who she is trying to become and maybe, somewhere in there, you will find out a little about yourself too.

Her latest book is the self-help, Your Crossroads. Your Choice.

 

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Book Excerpt:

I challenge anyone to argue with the following oh so utterly simplistic, almost ridiculously too easy to be real, truth. Here it is, people, be ready for your mind to be blown! Every choice has an opposite choice. And these choices come at a crossroads. A crossroads you are in control of. So go ahead, try and come up with a reason to argue that what I speak isn’t the absolute truth. I’ll wait. Come back when you realize you can’t think of a single one. Please don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I enjoy being right; I just know it’s hard to argue with such an insanely logical and straightforward truth. You see my readers, my new friends, it will hurt less if you accept this to be so. Everything in our world has two opposing choices, and these choices sit at our own personal crossroads, forcing us to embrace either the right or the wrong, the easy or the hard, the light or the dark. Throughout this book, you will see how I am working through this arduous journey with you by my side, priding myself on being a woman of logic and facts, but let’s be clear: I also believe in Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and unicorns!

What can I say, it gives me intense pleasure to know that while you read this book you are going to be kept on the edge of your seat! There will be sexy steamy bits, utterly hopeless bits, raw emotional bits, hilariously funny bits, and pathetic whiny bits. But I promise, if you stick with me, at the end of it all, there will be mostly strong, empowered, utterly-confident bits. But who knows, right? This is honestly an introduction to my journey of self-discovery not directed simply at you but at me as well. Welcome aboard my crazy train, I hope you enjoy the ride!

Please recognize that as you stumble through my jumbled musings and scattered thoughts that where I sit typing this, even on the last of the last of the last rewrites, I am starting at the same place in my journey as you are right at this very moment. The beginning, and I’m not sure what will happen at the end. This thought makes me both nervous and excited. Is my life going to stay the same, or will it take a completely different path, one that is still unbeknownst even to me? What a novel idea (wink, wink) that you will be right there to experience my holy shit moments as I experience them.

“Talking” to you like this is going to force me to have thoughts, feelings, and emotions that I haven’t allowed myself to experience before. This will be like breaking through the fourth wall just like they did during the movie Deadpool, which, by the way, is the best movie I have ever seen. It was like the movie was talking to my soul! I digress, though, and I must get back to focusing on the introduction, for this is my welcome to you, as if you were right here with me urging me on, especially when I feel like I can’t go any further.

I will admit this: I am being slightly selfish, I’m using you for some personal gain. Why would I admit this upfront? Well, because I think it’s important to be honest with myself and you, my new confidants, so that we have a clear understanding of what is to come. Be honest with yourselves too, you picked up this book for a reason. There is something you are hoping to gain from reading through my journey, sharing my experiences, and being able to reflect on them as if they were your own. Which is exactly what I would like you to do by the way. Put yourself into my shoes through my words. I purposely kept this book very generic, partially because I am trying to fly under the radar until I am so famous it doesn’t matter anymore, and partially because I want you to use this book as a sounding board for your own emotions, thoughts, and feelings. And please remember that is a good thing; it is one of the two biggest reasons that I wrote all of this nonsense down and worked so hard to get it into your hands, your consciousness, your world.

I am going to introduce you to the many faces that I wear, or should I say wore, throughout most of my life. You will also be here to discover the parts of the new me that I am in the process of piecing together. With that being said, it is imperative this early in our bud-ding relationship, that I share with you the vast clarity I have found while writing this novel and you see the clarity of your choice while reading it. It took me up until the moment the first letter was placed on the page, over thirty-six years, to realize that in spite of the very logical, black-and-white way of processing things that I so absolutely rely on, it is time I accepted that I too am layered in shades of gray, just like everyone else.

 

The Inspiration Behind Your Crossroads. Your Choice.

Close your eyes. Imagine yourself getting caught in the rain. What about being stuck in traffic when you absolutely have to make it to that appointment on time. What is your perspective? As I was walking the halls of my job, I came across a poster with the following message: The glass is filled with ½ air and ½ water. So technically, the glass is always full.

This struck me as quite an interesting concept because I have always lived my life in black and white, right and wrong. I am learning through this journey of discovering my confidence and strength in my own choices, however, that trying to categorize life into only two sides, two colors, is not possible. Life is a million shades of color because life is all about perspective.

 

You Are In Control Of Your Perspective

Perspective is based on choice. Isn’t that so ironically annoyingly simple? It is your choice to look at your life as being full of happiness and joy or sadness and anger. What do you regularly choose? How do you perceive your actions and reactions to life?

If you have been keeping up on my blogs then you know I have spent my life living in a constant cycle of “what if”. What if school gets canceled. What if I get cancer. What if this boy breaks up with me. What if I take this big leap in life and fail. An endless diatribe of useless thoughts and wasted energy.

Believing that I could have control over life, which by its very nature is uncontrollable, gave me a false sense of belief that I somehow would be able to avoid any negative things happening to me. It was a simple equation: constant worry + control = my pathetic universe. I had no perspective.

My Sad Bubble

I lived in my little bubble trying to control everything and everyone around me. I lacked an understanding of how much bigger this world was and how small

I really am.  This sustained me for the majority of my life. On occasion, when something negative happened, I found a viable reason, explained it away in my mind. Case in point, when I was pregnant with my daughter.

Despite all of my planning and plotting before and during the pregnancy, I still had to have an emergency cesarean section. This was quite a disappointment for me because I thought I had this pregnancy mapped out from its very inception. I’ll explain just how deeply my crazy ran.

In order to keep my employer happy I wanted to have my daughter somewhere in the warmer months. As I have mentioned before, I am a woman of science so I calculated the month I would need to get pregnant for the timeline to work and patiently waited for it to arrive. Without going into too much of an awkward biology lesson, I was charting my fertility and knew the exact date that M1 and I had to “do the deed” in order to become pregnant.

 

The Best Laid Plans

While this may become a thing in the future, we have yet to figure out how to tell a woman she is pregnant the minute fertilization happens, so I was forced to wait the obligatory time my body needed in order to split those cells and begin growing that new life.

Finally, those two long weeks were over and I could take a test to see if I was pregnant. Secretly I already knew I was, I mean I had planned it so it should have worked, right? As I had predicted the test was positive and so began the process of having a baby. I worked with my doctor to do what I needed to and knew the exact date that my baby was due.

That day came and went. And so did the next and the next. I was brought in several days past due and told that my fluid levels were low and that labor needed to be induced. I was fine with that because I had already told myself my uterus must have been too comfortable – the baby wasn’t ready to give up its prime real estate!

When labor began I waited for my body to respond to the induction drugs, and waited and waited. My doctor was soft spoken and positive and after too many hours gently suggested that M1 and I begin to discuss the possibility of a cesarean section. At this point it was one in the morning and I had been awake for over 24 hours and in pain for about half of that.

The fact that my body wasn’t able to complete the process was not acceptable and as the doctor was slicing my abdomen open I was yelling over the curtain, “Tell me the reason! What’s the reason that I can’t do this on my own!”

 

Failed Perspective

As the first cries of my daughter rang through the operating room the doctor shouted back, “She is asynclitic! Her head was tilted in the birth canal and got stuck!” Wouldn’t you know, it wasn’t the cries of my new baby girl that put a smile on my face right before I passed out, it was the knowledge that there was a scientific reason for the labor to not happen naturally.

Please don’t get me wrong, typing this admission makes me cringe because what kind of a mother does that make me? I’ll tell you. It makes me a real one. I lacked perspective in that situation. I was not looking at the bigger picture, the welcoming of a new life into this world – looking at what I had accomplished. Instead I was focusing on a so called failure which was seen as such only through my warped perspective.

So do you have a glass half empty or glass half full perspective? Can you throw out that method of thinking and look at the glass as always being full? Try and recognize over the next week when you are losing your perspective and bring it back.

 

 

 

 

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