Winning and Finding the Hero in the Mirror

A Story of Winning and Finding the Hero in the Mirror

by Bambi Lynn

As a little girl, I didn’t know what dreaming was. Too caught up in a life of survival, I never had a chance to think about who I’d be when I grew up. Life had always been a constant cycle of trauma, burying it so that it didn’t hurt as much, more trauma, and repeat. For so long, I thought life just stood still. I looked at all my schoolmates and imagined how it would feel to have their lives. It was as if I was stuck in a snow globe, and while everyone around me was living their lives, I was being shaken around in the pain and brokenness that I lived in.

            When I got to high school, I had an English composition teacher that I constantly butted heads with. She’d tell me, no gum in class, and so I’d chew gum in her class. No matter what she said, I always tried to have the last word. I spent a lot of time in the corner of her classroom with the aforementioned gum stuck to the tip of my nose. Regardless of how much trouble I caused, I really did love writing, and I did like her, but I just didn’t want anyone to know that I liked her since no one else liked her, and everyone thought she was odd.

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            One day, she gave the class an assignment that required us all to write a short story. We were to imagine we were looking out a window, and then tell the story of what we saw. I chose to write about my bedroom window that I snuck out of almost every night, escaping my reality for a few hours.

With no idea if she knew the story was actually about me, I was apprehensive when she called me to her office after class. I stepped into her office trying to hide the fact that I was nervous. She was at her desk going over papers but looked up when I entered. She invited me to sit, and when I did so she began to explain to me that I had a gift, and someday I could use that gift and be known as the girl from my high school that went on to become an author.

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Although I didn’t really understand everything she was saying, when I left her office, I felt something different. For the first time in my life, someone believed in me. I felt important. I mattered. Me, Bambi Lynn, the girl who was never worth anything, had significance. It was like nothing I’d ever felt before, and truthfully, I wasn’t even sure what ‘significant’ meant, but I knew it was important.

A Story of Winning and Finding the Hero in the Mirror by Bambi Lynn
A Story of Winning and Finding the Hero in the Mirror by Bambi Lynn

Single Parenthood

            Years went by, and I quit school because I ended up pregnant. Between pregnancy, a mother who said, “You make your bed, you lie in it,” working a job right up until my due date and trying to navigate single motherhood as a young teen, those were difficult years. Even amidst the struggles, however, in the back of my head, I knew I had a gift. I could write stories in a way that allowed the reader to really feel the emotion, almost as if they were right there in the story.

            I became a mother to six amazing children and had the privilege of homeschooling them for 27 years.  Because I’d gotten pregnant so young, I’d dropped out of school in the 10th grade. I had no education. I’d gotten my GED, but that was it. Despite all that, I had a passionate desire to teach my children at home. Now that they’re grown, half of them say being home schooled was amazing. The other three have a more negative perspective. Whether it was amazing or not, all of my children are great writers. Writing and government were two of the most important things to me when teaching my children, and those two things are the ones all six of my children know well.

Journaling

            I journaled often during those years, writing stories about my feelings, and feeling significant because I was doing something I, or anyone else, didn’t think I could do. There’s that word again, significant. When you come from a trauma-based home with a drunken father, a mother that didn’t know how to parent, and the level of poverty that left you wondering where your next meal was coming from, natural instinct makes you hide in the corners whenever the slightest conflict arises, shrinking into the shadows, afraid to be noticed. Years of living that way will leave you hungry and searching for ways to feel significant; ways to matter.

I started doing a lot of writing on Facebook and people commented constantly, telling me to write a book. I sat around a table with women, asking them about their stories, and they’d tell me. Stories of pain, heartbreak, and betrayal; stories that had been buried for decades; stories that somehow, they found comfort in telling me.

            For 15 years, I’ve worked for two companies that allow me to go into people’s homes, to sit at their tables, listen to their stories and to share mine. My desire was that when I left their home, they would feel heard, that someone cared, and that no matter who they were or what they’d been through, they were significant.

Waiting for the Right Moment

            For 30 years, I’ve gone to the beach every January on my birthday and I’ve asked God if it was time for me to write my story, and for 30 years the answer was no, but this year when I went to the beach and wrote down my goals and my passion for the coming year, I knew in my spirit and in the depths of my soul that this was the year. I came home and I wrote my story, and I wrote every day for nearly four weeks. I called a girlfriend every night and I read to her what I had written.

She was an editor, but she informed me that she would not be editing my book because she felt that this book held a deep significance, and she did not want to take my voice out of my book. I began searching for an editor, and I prayed, asking God to give me someone to edit my book.  A name popped into my head, and I called this acquaintance right away. She told me that she wanted to begin editing and that she would be honored to edit my story.

Starting from Scratch

With no idea how the writing/publishing process even worked, I joined every kind of writer’s groups and social media platforms, watched YouTube videos, read books, and I still didn’t understand the whole process. And to tell you the truth, I still don’t, but on June 9, 2023, I became an author, holding my book in my hand. I never could’ve dreamed that this day would happen. It brought me back to my English teacher in seventh grade, sitting in her office and telling me that I had a gift.

I didn’t know what I was going to do to market this or how I was supposed to promote it, but I had a great launch party. Then I went to a couple festivals, and some of the writer’s pages talked about entering writing contests where you give them your transcript, and they take it apart word by word, look at it from every angle imaginable, and judge it. I told my son about the contest, and he simply said, “Why not, mom?”

A Story of Winning and Finding the Hero in the Mirror by Bambi Lynn
A Journey of Josephine by Bambi Lynn

Winning

I entered the Bookfest writing contest never thinking I’d actually win. I kind of just entered it so I could put it down as content on my author pages and my other platforms. But God had a different idea for me. I think he wanted to show me that no matter what I have been through in my life, no matter how many ups and downs, no matter how much trauma I’ve endured, and no matter how many times I have been broken to pieces that I am still held in the palm of His hands.

Today, October 21st, I received an email saying that I had won first place for the cover of my book, social media platforms, and website, and I had won second place for the content of my book, the inspiration flowed from the pages, and for the manner in which it had been written.

            I wrote on social media as well as one of the writer’s pages about my winning the contest as well as a bit of my story on how I couldn’t believe that a woman with a 10th grade education that had lived through poverty, teenage pregnancy, trauma, and a life that was seemingly hopeless, had just won a writing contest! There was a group of people who thought my book was something of value.

I know that we’re always told that we don’t need someone to tell us that we are significant because we already are, but as a young girl who was broken down her whole life and grew up still looking in the mirror every day, wondering if she was significant, today I was able to look into the mirror and say, “Yes, I am significant. Yes, I am important. Yes, the reflection that is staring back at me is my hero and that is where home is.”

Today is a milestone for me, and one of great significance. I am still a work in progress, a woman in my 50s still looking for ways to fit in, but I am serving a God that consistently finds ways to show me that I always have.

Bambi Lynn, author of The Journey of Josephine

Facebook: The Journey of Josephine

Email: josephine.ourstory@gmail.com

Website: healingthroughstories.com

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Susan Day
Susan Day
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