Post Title – Aimee Eddy Gross: Memoir Writer and Anti-Bullying Advocate
Editor’s Note: I met Aimee about five years ago through Pennwriters, a state-wide writing group we both belong to. It was through her blog, I began to know her. I learned more about her compelling story when she joined the Fellowship of the Quill (our weekly critique group). One of the things that most impressed me about Aimee is her authenticity and her ability to walk through the doors God opens for her in sharing her story. She seems fearless, even when she is taking on something completely new and different—like a major television interview.
Aimee is a true advocate, whom I greatly admire. Both in her life and on her blog, she tackles myths and misunderstandings regarding mental illness. It’s all about everyday life and education. Aimee lives intentionally, blogs faithfully, and does live her best life “in the light.” Like many others, I can’t wait f or her memoir to come out!
What interests and hobbies do you pursue?
I love to do woodburning. I received my first woodburning kit from my uncle for Christmas as a kid. For a while it was just a hobby, but recently it has become a small business. I’ve been woodburning magnets, Christmas decorations, pictures and etc. and selling them to friends and family. The money has been going in a fund to get my memoir published.
Can you briefly tell us about your journey and some of the obstacles you have overcome?
I have a learning disability. I learn differently than others and must find ways to work around my challenges. I’m a slow reader, I have problems with math, I have a hard time with editing my writing. Because I have this disability, my teachers and classmates thought I was stupid, and I was bullied throughout school. In high school I proved them wrong and graduated with honors.
I am also a breast cancer survivor. I have the BRCA gene and had a double mastectomy and full hysterectomy. I have also gone through 8 surgeries. In October I had back surgery due to a broken bone in my back.
Can you tell us about your book?
The crew and me at the family garage
I have written a memoir called Escape to the Family Garage; Family Love Overcomes Bullying. I have finished self-editing it and soon will have it professionally edited. My memoir is about how I was bullied in school and found love and acceptance at the family garage.
I show how bullying by both my classmates and teachers slowly triggers mental illness and the only thing that keeps me from hitting rock bottom are my loving parents, grandparents, cousins, and my uncles and Dad who work in the garage. I escape into my imagination with my siblings and cousins as we make forts in the junk yard, play on a old dune buggy, walk across semi tires and much more.
What motivated you to write your memoir?
My motivation to write my memoir is to tell my story so I can educate people about how serious bullying is and to help others who are being bullied. I want people to see bullying is abuse and hurts the victim emotionally and the love of family is important. I want to help a child who is going through what I went through and educate teachers, parents, principals and many others on how damaging this type of abuse is.
What has been the most challenging part of your book journey? The part you like the most?
It has taken me over four years to write my manuscript because I had to relive the abuse I went through. I had to be that child being put down daily all over again. I had to take breaks from writing it because at times I became too emotional.
The part I liked the most was reliving the fun times I had with my cousins and family. Also writing this helped me release some pain that has weighted heavily on my heart.
Do you have a favorite scene?
This is a scene from chapter 14 of my memoir. My Uncle Tim is test driving a semi after working on it and I am riding with him.
Uncle Tim turned the key in the ignition, backed up, and turned around. Before I knew it, we were on the road. My Uncle shifted gears and pressed down on the gas pedal.
“We’ll go to state line and back.” Uncle Tim smiled.
The state line to Pennsylvania was a mile away. Within minutes we hit fifty miles per hour. Then sixty miles and seventy miles per hour. My heart raced. Everything around me became a blur. I felt invincible like I was sitting on top of the world. The sun was brighter than ever. I could almost reach out and touch it. All the pain I had felt from early that morning was gone.
Suddenly, I was flying within the sky looking down on the world. I was far above my classmates and teachers. No one could hurt me. I was free. My classmate’s name-calling were only whispers on a breeze. They drifted off into the clouds away from me.
Look at me. I’m way up high. Donna and all her friends can’t get me up here. I can see everything. Everyone looks so small.
I looked down and saw a small dot that looked like Donna. “Ha, ha, Donna, you can’t get me up here.”
What do you feel the proudest of achieving?
My proudest achievement is rising above bullying and reaching recovery from mental illness. I struggled with mental illness through my childhood and into my adult years. Reaching recovery is one of my greatest accomplishments. I’m not cured, but I know how to manage it and I am happy with my life.
What are your writing goals by the end of 2021?
My goal is to have my memoir published. I’ve been dreaming since high school to have a book published and I can’t wait to hold my published memoir.
What message would you like to leave with my readers?
Don’t let life’s challenges or disabilities stop you from accomplishing your dreams. You can rise above bullying, mental illness, cancer, and many other obstacles to accomplish your dreams. Fight to keep going no matter how hard life gets.
Aimee Eddy is an insightful overcomer who advocates for other strugglers. After conquering mental illness, bullying, cancer, and more, she has the life experience to encourage others through her writing. Her essays is in Change Your Life by Alexander Kovarovic. She serves as assistant to the director for the National Youth Internet Safety and Cyberbullying Task Force. She writes a blog about recovering from mental illness called Finding The Light at aimeeeddygross.wordpress.com.