Guest Post by Irene Watson, author of The Sitting Swing

11:15 AM

I'd love to introduce you to the author of a wonderful book, The Sitting Swing, that I had the opportunity to read and review. I'd like to thank Irene for blogging here today and I'd like to encourage all of you to pick up a copy of her book. You won't be disappointed.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Irene Watson, author of award winning The Sitting Swing, was born and raised in a tiny hamlet of Reno in the northern area of the province of Alberta in Canada. It was a farming community, mostly settled by immigrants from Russia, Ukraine and Poland during the early 1900s.

Two books that had the deepest impact were Change me into Zeus’s Daughter by Barbara Robinette Moss, and, Lost and Found by Babette Hughes. Reading both books inspired Irene to write about her own life’s journey, from growing up in a semi-abusive home to finally accepting that experience as a path to a spiritual understanding of life. She now shares her story in The Sitting Swing.

Irene is the Managing Editor of Reader Views, where avid readers can find reviews of recently published books as well as read interviews with authors. Her team also provides author publicity and a variety of other services specific to writing and publishing books.

Irene received her Bachelor of Liberal Studies, Summa Cum Laude, in Psychology from Saint Edward's University in Austin and her Master of Arts, with honors, in Liberal Studies: Psychology, from Regis University in Denver.

Today, Irene lives beside Barton Creek in Austin, Texas with her husband Robert of 43 years, and their Pomeranian, Tafton; their calico cat from a rescue shelter, Patches; and their rescued cockatiels, Clement and Elgin.

You can visit her website at www.irenewatson.com or her blog at www.irenewatson.typepad.com/irenes_weblog.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

The Sitting Swing shows us how guilt, fear and ignorance are borne by our children. Two distinct parts of the book look at an abusive child rearing and the process of recovery that takes place years later. On many levels this is a classic story showing us that change, growth, forgiveness and recovery are possible. It is also a heart warming healing story and a testament to the strength and courage of the human spirit. In the end it gives hope and freedom to those that accept the past and move forward by rewriting life scripts that have been passed down for
generations.

GUEST POST:

Friendship: Source of Balance and Identity

In The Sitting Swing: Finding Wisdom to Know the Difference, I tell the story of how I overcame self-defeating behaviors that held me back from being who I wanted. But no one succeeds alone. Had I not had friends to lean on, I might not have survived into adulthood or found the courage to fight my childhood demons.

Friendship is important for many reasons, but what I learned in childhood was that it provided an outlet, another viewpoint into the world beyond the narrow views of my parents and their culture.

My parents and grandparents were Ukrainian immigrants to Canada; they settled in a tight-knit Ukrainian community. By the time I was born, my parents had already lost their first child, my brother Alexander. I would be their second and last child—their only child—so they were extremely protective of me, barely letting me out of their sight, for the most part not letting me have friends, and limiting my interactions to our small immigrant community.

Being an only child, I longed for friends. My mother wouldn’t let me play with other children, except my cousins when we would visit them. In those few moments when I was allowed to roam the yard by myself, I would skip about, pretending I had invisible friends, pretending they were coming over for tea parties. I sensed the value of friendship then, from my lack of it.

When I started school, I didn’t know how to interact with other children. For one, I didn’t speak English yet—I would learn at school, but it didn’t help me build friendships with the other children. I observed the other children’s friendships, but I didn’t know how to make a friend or be a friend. It would be a long, uphill battle against fear of rejection and my own social awkwardness before I had friends of my own.

Things changed in the fourth grade when I became friends with Margie. Margie’s family was also Ukrainian, but they were Catholic, while my family was Greek Orthodox. My mother wanted nothing to do with Margie or her kind—that was enough of a difference to open my eyes.

It was Margie who helped me see beyond my family’s definitions of what was right for me. Margie had viewpoints that were different from those with which I’d been raised. If someone can dramatically shift your point of view, then the whole world around you really does change. And if the whole world changes, then you have to interact with it differently. Margie introduced me to a new world, and she gave me my voice.

When no one else would listen to me, I found that Margie liked to hear what I had to say; that encouraged me not just to speak, but to think for myself. I began to wonder why Mom never let me express myself. I came to realize I was not my brother and could not fulfill his place for my mother. This new reality was the birth, so to speak, of a new Irene.

Mom wasn’t happy about this. She made it clear she didn’t like Margie. She constantly had reasons to keep me away from my friend. She believed Margie was teaching me to hate my mother. What Margie actually did was make me see my mother in a new light—see that the world offered options beyond the ones my mother wanted for me.

I could write for pages about how my friendship with Margie changed me. Not only did she give me a new view on life, but she reined in my thoughts when my views were detrimental to me—in The Sitting Swing I tell the story of how she talked me out of becoming a teenage criminal. What is important is that Margie was my true friend for many years, so I grew to trust someone and to believe someone else valued me, which ultimately taught me to value myself.

When the dictionary defines “friendship,” it doesn’t talk about a friend being a source of freedom, or a source of identity (although we are known by the company we keep). But friendship is a door that opens us up to new possibilities, a path that leads us on a journey. Friendship helps us balance our family against the outside world so we find a happy medium, a sense of our own identity. Friendship helps us discover who we are.


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Every year we lose more people to AIDS. It hasn't disappeared and it's not going away anytime soon. I urge you to seek out and support your local AIDS Organizations. Encourage everyone you know to practice safe sex and to get tested once a year. Even if you don't think you are at risk, get tested. I didn't think I was at risk either, and I almost died before I was diagnosed.

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