I’ve put my heart and soul into this novel over the last two years. Already, as of the last time I looked at my KDP dashboard, 129 copies have either been sold or downloaded by readers on Amazon Kindle, or in Paperback/Hardcover editions! I can’t believe so many have already invested in Mily’s story. She and I thank you all, new readers and old, for that incredible show of support!
I know there’s a lot of us talking amongst one another right now,
And we’re all quite upset about the recent attacks
on our right to privacy
and bodily autonomy
So yeah, this is another one of those videos –
So if you don’t make it to the end, thanks for stopping by –
And if you do watch all the way through, thank you –
Because I’ve been suppressing all these feelings ever since
Something happened to me in back April 2020.
*Sensitive Content Warning*
Most of you probably haven’t seen this news story:
“Naked Man Wearing Only Homemade Face Mask Invades Kirksville Student’s Home”
which was published after midnight following the incident
on April 7, 2020 in Kirksville, Missouri.
That Kirksville student?
Yeah that was me.
It was my first semester as a Master of Arts in Leadership student
at Truman State University, where I was specializing in
Intentional Writing and Creative Nonfiction.
And WHAT a time to decide to go to grad school!
Most colleges and universities in the country, including mine,
had justmade the decision to close campuses and
move to virtual learning for the rest of the semester –
And I was sort of rocked by that in general at the time –
My introductory & foundational coursework for Leadership was
focused heavily in organizational theory & decision-making,
Which quite frankly became both fascinating and absolutely terrifying
as each and every system and body I was studying was absolutely
just like – ripping apart at the seams:
I remember starting a lot of writing assignments in those days like
WHAT EVEN IS A DECISION?
WHO IS MAKING DECISIONS??
HOW DO I DECIDE WHAT TO WRITE RIGHT NOW???
Anyway, my professors were great,
and they gave us all a LOT of Grace, especially in those first days
. . .
April 7th was a Tuesday.
I was just getting the hang of Zoom,
Which all of us understand Now,
Was so utterly new and alien to most of us,
No matter which generation was dealing with it
And it was sunny, and 72-degrees,
and there was a light breeze,
and I spent all afternoon pumping myself up,
sitting in the sun on my front porch,
talking with classmates about our Reading Journals –
Here’s an excerpt of mine from that week –
“Definition of Literacy in a Digital Age” expresses NCTE’s position on a variety of developing curriculum standards. They say that, eventually, “learners need to move from content consumers to content curators to content creators.” I think that’s why there’s lots of us feeling shook right now: we have no idea what to do, but we know that we all have to step up soon, most of us whether we want to or not. This isn’t the school we hoped for, but at least we chose to be here; there’s agency in that. I think about those K-12 kids and the questions burn. It’s time to get loud. Now what do I say?
I’m rambling, I know. It’s just that I can hardly stand the people who keep acting like there’s nothing frightening about all this. […] I’m a graduate student and barely know where to look for answers. Can you imagine being nine?
By Kailey Ann, ENG 507G – Theory and Practice of Teaching Writing | March 31, 2020
That Tuesday was a good day.
I was just getting the hang of things.
I talked to my parents later that evening,
first my Dad and Bonus Mom,
then my Mom on FaceTime.
I had asked my family to share some stories about our family
because we were practicing writing memoir and
biographical texts in that class,
Theory and Practice of Teaching Writing –
And on that FaceTime call,
Mom and I talked about my Great-Grandma,
While I sat on my front porch in Kirksville,
and we laughed,
and after all that,
right at 9-0’clock,
I told Mom I was going to pick up my books and crap
and then watch AJ (my husband) on the News at 10 –
*Hoosier love you, love you, love you too, talk to you soon, okay love you bye*
That’s the closest TikTok sound I could find to what I heard
right after hanging up –
I whipped my head around, and there was Buck
(that’s what I call him)
Standing in the shadows – A complete and total stranger
BUCK ASS NUDE
Sneaking up behind me in our side-yard.
I stood up at once, turned square to face him –
I was roughly 3-feet off the ground on the porch –
Balled my fists, and hollered,
Buck Ass took off running through my back yard.
I called 911.
So it all happened very fast.
I hung up on 911 in panic and
Ran out of the house through the front door –
I made sure to slam it tight behind me –
And listen, in that state of mind,
Survival Mode: Fight or Flight,
I was able to analyze things very quickly.
I shut the door tight because I knew it was hard to open:
It had one of those old latches so to open it from the inside,
[You had to turn the knob and the latch above it at once]
For it to open – And I knew that would give me more time –
I was just deciding which way to run –
That decision took milliseconds –
I was Captain of the Track team in high school –
I know how to TAKE-OFF –
When, to my utter horror, I heard the door opening behind me –
Remember realizing Buck Ass KNEW how to open my front door from inside –
And I decided to turn around and face him instead of running into the dark street –
FIGHT or FLIGHT
FIGHT was the right decision because
As I pivoted I saw Buck Ass – Full Frontal –
Light blue mask covering the lower half of his face –
Hurtling with his arms wide –
He meant to tackle me but I dropped to my tailbone like a stone –
I broke it actually –
But that was better than Buck tackling me
BACKWARDS off the porch –
I pulled my knees and elbows to my chest to kick him,
But at that point he was on top of me,
Bare balls on my knees,
And he locked his arms around my shoulders and
Tried to pick me up.
I stared Buck Ass dead in the eye,
And he never made eye contact with me – NOT ONE TIME.
And I was bellowing “HELP!” –
I got it out five times when –
I watched his eyes shift up – to the road
and he let go, straightened, and leapt off the porch,
Ran straight past the group of five fellow Truman students
who responded to my shouts from the house across the street –
And Buck Ass plowed straight down S Fible Street,
Never To Be Seen Again.
Hey, I’m Okay.
I’m Alive Today.
The Cops came and AJ,
who was the evening news anchor at the time,
had heard our address on the police scanner at the station
and was home like, right after the police got there even though
he drove quadruple the distance –
That’s what happened.
Scary, I know.
But the worst is what came after, because I was…
Not many people know that long before all that,
I battled with PTSD — For reasons unrelated to the Masked-Invader event,
and that I’m not lead to share at this time 🙂
And the reason that’s significant to me is,
I had just completed 9-months of CBT
*Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
Which thanks to my counselor was
A wildly successful experience for me;
So I started grad school feeling Powerful, Healed, Metamorphic –
Feeling like this fully functional, capable, joyful person –
The person I’ve always been and had been trying so hard to
Get back in touch with –
I was ready – To study. To learn. To apply myself to the great challenges facing our nation and world as the first wave of the Pandemic wrought so much havoc – Feeling so properly placed, so grateful to have chosen the program I did –
And then some Naked Guy had to go and ruin it all.
It wasn’t just that it was my first semester in grad school; it wasn’t just that I was totally new to virtual learning; it wasn’t just that there was a Global Pandemic so, all the businesses, schools, and public spaces closed; it wasn’t just that I had nowhere to go so I sat feeling trapped where *Something Worse Might Have Happened*; it wasn’t just that all my Cognitive Behavioral Therapy didn’t prepare me to get stuck in FIGHT when I’d only ever warred against FLIGHT; it wasn’t just that when news of the break-in spread, people made cruel jokes in the comments on Facebook like how ‘defenseless and stupid I must be to just curl up and scream’ like that’s anything like what actually happened it’s just how certain people read “fetal-position”; it wasn’t just that I couldn’t fall asleep without the distinct feeling of being struck by lightning – which I have been before actually; it wasn’t just that the President was Impeached in the House but not the Senate, or that our Government was so busy with the Trial that they missed the Planning stage of COVID-19 Crisis; it wasn’t just that every time I tried to get on the Zoom class and read the books and write the papers, I just kept running to my typewriter and hacking out the ever-storm of thoughts and flashes tearing me limb-from-limb internally
*I had some psychosis at that point in time*
as all the stress of everything exacted too-high a tax on my mind and my body and my spirit —
In April 2020, I weighed somewhere-abouts 140-pounds. I remember that because I was so, so proud of myself for getting healthy at the Dunes all 2019, losing 70-pounds over the course of the year, eating better, hiking, traveling to see AJ and our cats on the weekends while he job-transitioned to Missouri, and I finally joined him full-time to pursue my Masters degree –
But that last thing didn’t happen; I had to drop out.
By my 27th birthday in July 2020, I weighed only 107 pounds.
That’s when I said DAMN TO ALL THE TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS because I HAD to go home and let my parents cook for me because I COULD NOT EAT, I COULD NOT SLEEP, and I was WITHERING AWAY and felt absolutely, completely powerless to stop it.
I wasn’t helpless. I have a loving hero of a life-partner named AJ,
And we survived this.
And I have avoided talking about all this because
I didn’t know what I wanted to say
Trauma rains; I’ve overshared on many occasions
But never had it all out like this –
I’ve dismissed a lot of early drafts I’ve written
addressing topics like violence against women and stuff
Because, I never felt like I was saying enough,
Never felt like it was really adding to the conversation,
Like I was really helping others understand that as women,
The issue we face is that the world isn’t safe,
And it places undo burden on us, who
Now, factually in the United States
Don’t the same Equal Rights as… many of you.
IT’S THE 21ST CENTURY!
See, I hate to play the ‘What Might Have Happened’ game –
It can be dangerous for people like me,
Who suffer things like
hyper-sensitivity, heightened anxiety, hyper-vigilance, and
Let’s say, ‘Baggage’
Like environmental and situational triggers,
worsened by stress, and rest, and everything else –
To tread down the “WELL IT COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE” road –
It could have been worse.
Buck Ass could have tackled me from behind if I hadn’t turned to fight,
and I might have fallen face-first off porch,
three-feet down into the bushes,
on a dark street in Kirksville, Missouri,
And Buck Ass couldhave done a lot worse to me.
Praise J, it didn’t go that way.
But I don’t think it’ll take that big of a leap for most y’all to get that,
I’ve already walked down that “What If” path more than was good for me,
And my hope here is that others will think about how,
When Systems We All Tend to Agree Are Broken
(We Just Don’t All Tend To Agree On the 5 W’s and H)
Make Backwards Decisions About What Half Our People are Allowed to do
to Safeguard Our Own Mind, Body, and Spirit…
Well, We ALL have to STEP UP and FIGHT.
Because losing protections like we just did with the Supreme Court’s overturning
of Roe vs. Wade on Friday, June 24, 2022
Does not ‘save lives’ no matter what Five out of Nine Justices said.
Stripping away a woman’s right to a safe abortion is
Not an Act of Valor –
I mean it’s ludicrous –
If something like what happened to me –
That whole thing about the MASKED NAKED MAN who
Targeted and sexually assaulted me I just told you all about?
– happened NOW to someone else in Missouri –
A State where, like many states,
There were pre-existing Trigger Laws in place,
Which took effect between ‘INSTANTANEOUSLY’ and ‘DAYS-LATER’
Making the practice of medical abortion ILLEGAL,
EVEN IN THE CASE OF RAPE AND INCEST –
It is alarming to me if the audience can’t make the jump to my point from here.
I just want to share a few things I’m thinking.
I think that women should reserve the right to their own Personhood.
“What a tragic thing” is not an appropriate or adequate response
to a survivor of sexual violence;
Prioritizing the ‘personhood’ of an unborn fetus
overthe life of a fully-manifested Person bearing the injuries of their survival
before their healthcare provider, is despicable;
We need Agents and Allies for Change,
Because we need to address the problems we’re really facing,
And guys, this is just one win for the Evangelical State,
Who are at this moment threatening the lives and safety of our People
Here in the United States –
In the NAME OF JESUS CHRIST, No Less.
I must confess,
If it weren’t for my PERSONAL SAVIOR, J –
There’s no way I’d be telling this story,
Or saying any of this for that matter.
I ain’t trying to SAVE anybody,
and this is as humanly tactless as I can be:
There are Radicals in the Christian Church,
and there are ‘Christian’ organizations and leaders
who are responsible for making grabs
at Our Free Peoples’ Entitled Rights & Liberties,
and these Actors manipulate slews of folks in pews,
using ill-conceived notions of Righteousness,
and FALSE teachings and meanings of Scripture,
to make $$$ and force their agenda on people who,
despite a Constitution which MAKES PLAIN
THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE
Seek to install Government Leaders who’re ‘ON THE SAME PAGE’
So that Church&State become one and the same,
So their beliefs are upheld before any ‘divergents’
In spite of the fact that our Founding Fathers
who were undeniably also ‘Christian,’
Expressly wrote that the separation of these systems was vital
To our very survival.
And it seems to me if THOSE FOKES like MOST OF THOSE WHO CLAIM
TO PRAISE THE NAME OF JESUS
WOULD KNOW THE GOOD BOOK WELL ENOUGH TO KNOW THAT
THE POINT OF READING IS TO LEARN
HOW TO HEAR HIM ON YOUR OWN.
I hear, loud and clear.
I’ve got the Holy Spirit INSIDE of ME, MY Person, heard?
So I’ve got any and all conversation on-lock.
And I do not require assistance our outside review.
Thank you all for listening to my TEDtalk.
Author Made in Indiana, USA.
Follow @bykaileyann on social media for frequent writing updates!
Quit finding lines and crests Betwixt others’ thighs and chests – Search for the person right off – Request and recite all given names, honorifics, I-pronouns, and epithets – She’s Jane He’s John They’re Jack Doe – Bother to be certain whom and speak to – Permit eyes to hold gazes – Realize hunting for sex grazes And lingers shameless Leaving traces of baseless assignments and conscripts – It’s defining defiance of the purpose For objective terms and phrases – How might fixed body types and expectations change The shape of human-being, Or make shallows of new-thinking?
: Every year was the grade I was in until it wasn’t anymore;
it was easy for me to know we’re special because writing the date on my papers turned my mind to what my daily achievements meant;
K-12 public school ’99 to ’12 ‘The Last Class’ we called ourselves how many of us? and joked about counting down to the End of the World and then we did Once stop class – I was in Prob & Stats – and we seniors watched seconds go ANALOG wholly tuned-in to the ticking ‘End of the World’ as we knew it Then;