This time last year, I’d been listening to Christmas music easily since September. Hell, I’ve started Christmas music in July in past years! But we’re nearing November, and I’ve only listened to a few Christmas songs so far, and that is because of morning music videos a friend and I share daily.
Why haven’t I been listening to Christmas music yet? This is highly unusual for me! But, fear not. I have a theory. And it’s a good one.
My theory is that perhaps I was reaching and pulling and grasping for the Christmas season to come ASAP because it makes me happy, clearly. It tames me. It controls my rage. It pulls me from depression and wanes my anxiety. Perhaps I’ve been creating artificial happiness by means of Christmas.
The twinkle of colorful lights wrapped around my beloved Christmas tree catches my eye, redirecting me from heartache. It’s decorated with fragments of my heart; reminders of beautiful things and wonderful times with each ornament, and it makes my heart full and happy. The garland on the fireplace, the stockings nearby, and the Christmas music in the background helps me forget my troubles, and instead think of love and warmth and family.
While I’m of course looking forward Christmas again this season, it is not in the forefront of my mind… yet.
Because I’m legitimately happy already. I do not need to create artificial happiness. Sure, I’d like to change a few things to be able to spend more time with my son and doing the things I love, and I am working on doing just that. (Just like you should if you’re feeling conflicted). But wow, what a change the Spring, Summer, and Fall of 2021 have been compared to the last three years of my life. By this, I mean freedom. I mean happiness. I mean openness and transparency. I mean moving forward with my life and being able to help others instead of being stuck in a smoldering firepit, waiting for the heat to finally seize so I can blow away like the ashes and fall on entirely new land where I can be free.
I’ve landed, my friends. I am free, without chains, bars, and locks. While reading those words probably made you think of incarcerated criminals, victims feel the idea of these things as well. It was years of lack of control, feeling chained up, behind (what felt like) bars, locked up, worried, afraid, all while waiting for sentencing to be finalized.
But here we are. I’m public speaking. I’m writing more and more books. I’m blogging. I’m making new friends and falling more in love with old friends. I have family in BACA, I have family in The Boutique Station, I have family at my job, and I have my blood family. I feel like the richest girl in the world having love and support, and freedom to do all of the things I’ve always wanted to do.
Helping others, sharing my message, and being a voice for survivors makes me happy. Spreading optimism and hope, advocating against sexual violence, teaching the community that there is only ONE cause for sexual violence (the perpetrator), being an activist, giving back to the community, writing letters on pen and paper, and giving time to others makes me happy. It’s far more rewarding than anything I’ve ever done, other than being a mother.
Sixty-two days until Christmas, my friends. But here I am, already happy.
Danielle Louise Leukam
What have I been up to?
Round one of edits on my thriller tentatively titled The First Sister: A Dangerous Bloodline are done! I'm hoping to have this published by the end of November or in December. Date to be determined! Of note, this is a novella. Far shorter than my memoir.
I've written a second children's book that will be called Never Stop Exploring: Adventures of Erin and Brad. It has the same lovely characters as my first children's book. But before I go further with illustrations, I'm going to be working with the family of one of the characters to be sure I have their blessing. =) I hope to have this done late December or in January of 2022.
My book of twelve sexual assault survivor stories is still being worked on by two local professionals adding their professional touch to each story. I'm honored these brilliant ladies have agreed to work with me, and I cannot wait to see the final product! I can't give a timeline on this because it's currently out of my hands, but perhaps early 2022.
I'm also working on a sequel to my memoir. It is tentatively titled ANOTHER Four Pounds of Pressure: The Report. Release date for this is next spring or summer of 2022.
And finally, I've added the "Book Online" feature to my website! You can book me to speak at your event! CLICK HERE to find out more information!
Thank you everyone for your support!