My guest post today is from author, Todd Allen Smith. In it he talks about a world so different to my own. I don’t fear random mass murder in my country, and I’ve been very lucky in not fearing others who may be homophobic. But that’s my world.
Todd’s story is one of strength and recovery. One where, like any good author, he has weaved his life into his latest book.
Too often the news reports on another mass shooting in the United States. Sometimes the coverage may even span a couple of weeks for a particularly horrible event, but for the survivors their stories and struggles continue. I know this first hand as a survivor of a mass shooting that occurred ten years ago as part of a city council meeting in suburban Saint Louis.
This experience inspired me to write my fictionalised memoir Murder, Romance and Two Shootings. This allowed me to write the book on my own terms with a focus on my journey to recovery, sharing very personal memories of coming out to my family and the death of a close friend in a gay bashing in which the killers have still not been found.
Although the book focuses on my recovery and relationships, I still share the details of being shot. The book opens with me in the emergency room after surviving the mass shooting and being examined by the doctor. It then jumps back in time to the first time I was shot.
Even after all this time, it is still weird to say the first time I was shot.
The first time I was shot was as part of an attempted robbery. Like most shootings in the United States there was no national news coverage of it. But that doesn’t mean it changed my life any less than the second time when I was asked to give a news conference on the details of the mass shooting.
Along with these major events, I deal with the everyday struggles, like how am going to get to doctors’ appointments when I can’t drive and how will I pay the mounting costs of hospital care without health insurance. When I was shot that first time, I was living with a high school friend and his then boyfriend. As anyone knows who has lived it, it isn’t easy being the third person living with a couple. Especially, when you don’t have a job and the boyfriend is wondering how you will pay your bills. Adding recovery from a gunshot wound only makes things harder.
But as the title promises, there is also romance. While not all relationships are good ones, I do get to tell the story of my now husband who stood by me the second time I was shot.
It is my hope that those reading the book realise that if they are struggling, turn to those that love you and friends that care about you. Most of all don’t turn on yourself. I want people to hold on and remember there is always a better tomorrow. It is easy to forget that when you’re in pain. I know that. I had to choose to keep going. I decided that having survived two bullets, I was not going to let someone with a gun take away my life. I willed myself to the fact that better days were ahead for me. That is how I survived and what I share in my book.
Connect with Todd at these social links-