Amara: Author of Eternal, Defilement: an interview by Greg Beckham
Amara is the author of “Eternal Defilement”, a memoir of her life up to the age of eighteen. My intent for this interview is to allow the reader to learn some important and intriguing information about Amara and also get some general idea of her process, both as a survivor and an author. Let’s get started.
Greg: Can you tell me about the inner drive that made you feel you had to share your story? Basically, briefly, the story of how you came to write a book) For example: (I was sitting at the kitchen table one day and… or, I always knew…)
Amara: I always knew I needed to tell my story but I didn't have the guts nor nerves to face the whole truth myself let alone share it with the world. Writing a book was a dream that I held onto all my adult life but I knew it would require me to dig deep inside myself and let out all the hurt and pain. I was so afraid that when the darkness came out I would go insane and the little bit of life I had would be over. I did not want to tell my story for pity or for any selfish reason. I want all abuse victim to know they are not alone no matter how horrible their stories are and together we can support each other. I want to change lives, I want people to feel the love they need to grow and be happy, and I want the world to take abuse more seriously. One day I met my co-author RJ and the story flowed out of me like a dam was broke. Writing this book was the one of the hardest things I had to do in my life.
Greg: Did you have help writing the book? Say a little about if so, who, or if not, how did you feel about it?
Yes, I have an amazing co-author named Reynold Jay. I met RJ on a website called hub pages after he left a comment on the hub that I had written. He told me that I could easily be a professional writer and that caught my attention immediately. Writing has been a favorite hobby of mine for as long as I can remember but I never wrote anything but poetry. I emailed him and told him I have an amazing story to tell and that was the beginning of this book. I know without meeting RJ this book would have remained inside of me for the rest of my life. He is a blessing in my life and I will always carry a special place in my heart for him. I must tell you that RJ kept this book as I wanted it and only offered his opinion on things, which was very important to me. Through the emotional breakdowns while writing this book he was patient and supportive and he also introduced me to a few of his friends that were instrumental in keeping me writing when I could not go on.
Greg: Were you influenced or inspired by anyone else’s work or story before writing your book? If so, who and why?
Amara: The stories of the many people I have come across who are suffering from current abuse or past abuse is my inspiration. I want to share my heart with all of them. I want to hug them all and help them in any way I can and this is not only my inspiration but my purpose.
Greg: Who are your heroes? Why?
Amara: There are two heroes in my life that I truly adore. My Grandmother who recently passed away was the strongest women I have ever met. She was the Queen and the rock of my family and was there from my birth to her death. Grandma was a Indian Chieftain who lead our family with great strength, love, grace. My other hero is my mother who has sustained such hurt and pain but never shows it. She encompasses everything that a mother should be and I am so grateful to her for not breaking down. I embrace her strength and dedication to her family and friends. I cherish her more than she will ever realize.
Greg: Do you advocate publicly? Why or why not?
Amara: Yes, I have help over eighty children who were being abused physically, mentally, or emotionally. At one point I have had over ten teens in my home not including my four daughters. I could never help anyone if the courts had to be involved because I did not have the means to take care of them but I had something so much more important and that was love. The most amazing thing about the people that I have helped is they didn't care that my home was poor or that we barely had food. I provided a atmosphere of love, warmth, and acceptance and that is what was important to them. Currently I have a three year old girl staying with me and a thirty-one year old women that I am helping. My home will always have an open door policy for anyone in need. I want to help on a larger scale now and I hope this book will open that door for me.
Greg: As a child, did you feel love for your father, in spite of the terror you felt? What was that like?
Amara: Wow, this is a hard question to answer. I have always loved my father and that is what has caused me so much pain and destruction. There is nothing I desire more in this life than to receive his love back. Love for my father is the reason I am still a broken hearted person and I will remain that way until my death. My father openly shows love for all my siblings except me and that is not just hurtful but defiling. While growing up he would spoil my sister with gifts and hugs while I would be in the same room just watching. I remember the big smiles, tight hugs, and fun kisses he would give her. I began to dislike my sister and brothers because I knew the treatment I got was because he could not break me like he did them. I could not and still cannot accept what he has done and for that I will never get his love. I would rather die with a broken heart than allow him to treat me as if nothing happened. The love of my father is a feeling I wish I could erase from my heart, mind, and spirit.
Greg: Does knowing how your father was raised, with generations of abuse behind him, offer you any forgiveness for, or peace with him?
Amara: No, I could have understanding if he tried to change or offered some sort of real emotion. I don't believe you can ever forgive someone who causes severe abuse and I know people will challenge me on this statement. In my opinion the word forgive should not ever be associated with abuse. Imagine this, you ruined my thought pattern, you ruined me ever having a successful relationship, you ruined my relationship with my family, you caused me unbearable pain and heartache, i have mental illness because of you, you changed the course of my life, basically you ruin any chance of me having a normal life, BUT I forgive you. This is impossible in my mind and I don't believe my opinion will change. The only thing that he could offer me at this point is his love and a apology which will give me some peace. I could accept his apology and it would make me happy that he is finally owning up to what he has done and I will leave the forgiving part up to God. People say If I forgive my father I could move on from the pain but how is excusing him going to change the years of damage.
Greg: Do you think that he could have chosen another way to be? Please tell me why you answered the way you did.
Amara: Yes, he made a decision to abuse his family. As humans it is our obligation to analyze our lives to make sure our decisions are not doing an injustice to another. He could have stopped the cycle of abuse but his mind was not strong enough to do this. My father made the decision that came easy to him and for that he ruined lives. If he felt he could not raise a family I would have respected him more if he just walked away forever. No one can make another person act a certain way, it all boils down to who you are within your heart. I guess my father was weak and evil.
Greg: At what age and under what circumstances were you first able to share your story outside of your family?
Amara: This book is the first release of my full story and all the hidden secrets that has haunted me my whole life.
Greg: How did you cope with the abuse? What emotional or mental skills did you develop to help you that may help others?
Amara: I develop a personal relationship with my mind. Yes, I said a personal relationship with my mind which to some will sound crazy but it is something everyone should do. When I was young all I had was the thoughts in my mind and I began to learn my mind as it was teaching me. I started to analyze a person eyes, voice, physical movements, expressions, personality and I began to know what a person was going to do before they knew. I also develop a alter ego named Amara who is not that hurt little girl but a fun, happy, well rounded person. Amara came about because I could not stop the dreams, the obsessive thoughts, or the unbearable hurt and I knew I could not live being Sylvia (my real name) anymore. I had to learn to deal with the wounds of Sylvia at the appropriate times so I was not a wreck all the time. When it's time to deal with Sylvia I analyze, dissect, and try to dissolve the thought or emotion. I find that they never go totally away but as long as I deal with them they don't bring me down.
Greg: What advice would you be able to give to someone in this same situation?
Amara: You are not alone and your story is important and don't let anyone tell you different. Do not let the abuse define the person you are but find the person you are within. Don't get caught up with the words heal and forgive because sometimes these words can hold you back from moving forward. I thought I was a failure when I could not heal and wanted to end my life. Take time to analyze your emotions and thoughts and try to deal with them or ask someone to help you make sense of them. Don't ever be ashamed of what you feel or think just don't act on thoughts that could be harmful to someone else. You have the power to live a happy productive life just don't wait too long to realize this. Your mind is so powerful and can help you so much if you learn how to use it. You have to have the strength to change your life and that means making very hard decisions. For the rest of your life a bad day will slip through and that is OK, allow the junk to be released. Remember someone in this world cares because I do.
Greg: What, if any, effects, do these experiences have on your relationships today?
Amara: The question will be answered in completeness in my second book but I will say this, I am 41 years old and never had a man love me.
Greg: Do you feel that sharing your story has helped you heal or grow? If so, how?
Amara: No, Sharing my story did not heal me in anyway because that word only exist in a medical sense to me. You cannot heal a life, you cannot heal the thought process, you cannot heal the pain, and you cannot heal the deep wounds. What you can do is deal with them, learn from them, help someone else with what you have been through.
Greg: Looking back, is there anything you would do differently?
Amara: No, I am the person I am today because of all I went through, every decision I made, and how I dealt with it all. Inside myself may not be all together but I am able to put that aside to help others. I have raised four wonderful daughters who suffered no abuse which I am so very proud of. I live to never cause anyone hurt or pain and try to help as much as possible. Never do I judge someone because I don't know their story. I am humble and that is the greatest gift I could have been given. I don't regret anything that I have done or been through because the only thing that matters is who I am today and who I strive to be.
Greg: Do you have plans for another book, and if so could you tell us a little about it?
Amara: Yes, I am in the process of writing the second edition to Eternal Defilement which will tell my story from age eighteen to the present. I believe this will be the most important book because it will show how abuse affects every part of your life years after the fact.
Greg: Thank you for the interview, Amara.