Why This Book?
Melissa contacted me after she found the book I wrote with TJ Leyden, entitled Skinhead Confessions: From Hate to Hope (Sweetwater Books, 2008). She explained to me that after reviewing it, she felt that if any co-author could help a reader to journey from a very dark place to one of light and healing, it would be me. I was honored, humbled and frankly, scared. But in that moment of connection, I knew it was perfect. I didn’t know how much my inner life would change as a result of writing some of the hardest things that many children suffer: abuse, violence and sexual violence. As Melissa guided me through the journey of her past, I became more and more impressed with how this amazing child, teen, then young woman would stop amidst the chaos, make the best decisions she could with what she knew, pull up her boot-straps, and face life again—with such incredible faith and bravery. She is one of the most courageous women I’ve ever met.
May you feel connected to her story when you read it. May you feel compassion for others who have gone through similar pain, humiliation, shame and fear, and may you feel inspired by the other side of it. Her message is one of choice – no matter where we come from, we can decide now to live a life of joy. She is truly an inspiration.