Last updated on December 13th, 2023 at 05:12 pm
In 2009, I was a reporter working for a New York Times regional newspaper in Northern California’s Wine Country. With ten years of daily news-gathering under my belt, I had survived multiple rounds of brutal layoffs, and the stress was getting to me.
I thought it might be time to take a break before I broke.
With my husband’s support, I left my job to write my memoir about growing up with three mothers: two very toxic and one wonderful stepmother. I had a notion that I knew a lot about resilience and that I could help others. I had also been collecting women’s stories for years, focusing on how they survived their own very toxic mothers.
I knew I should build a platform to support my book writing and research, which led me to 8WomenDream and Lord-have-mercy; they were coincidentally looking for more contributors to join their slate of dreamers. I slaved over my presentation and agonized over my story, plans, and dreams!
After a considered vetting process, I was turned down with apologies and encouragement to try again.
The Universe Gives You What You Need When You Need It
It was the most important turndown of my life. I believed what they said: That they loved my project. That they wished me well. They wanted me to apply again.
That “rejection” fueled my early work. Not in an I’ll-show-them sort of way, but more in a Wait-till-they-see-this! Way. I created a Toxic Mom Toolkit Facebook page, which I grew from 35 friends to currently over 250,000 visitors per month.
When I could pitch my contribution ideas to 8WomenDream again, I had much more to discuss and was deep into the creative process. Finally accepted as a contributor, I wrote about my dream of publishing my first book.
From this platform, I found and interviewed hundreds of women from all over the world. I curated extensive Toxic Mom Toolkit questionnaires, developing them into a wide range of mini-memoirs. Every person I spoke to increased and informed my work and made it richer.
I realized that writing my own memoir was nice, but what would be epic would be to marry my story with a rainbow of stories, each illustrating a different type of toxic mom. After my year of contributing was complete, I was fueled to tackle the hard work of editing, polishing, and publishing my manuscript.
Women had trusted me with their stories and told me amazing things, things they had never told another living soul.
They laughed and cried with me. They also encouraged me. I remember one lady, in particular, saying that while she was driving, she prayed for my book each morning. For three years of writing, which included many challenges, the idea of a lady praying for my book on the freeway kept me focused.
Starting from a broken place, with lots of help, I am now healed and an author. Along the way, I’ve learned that we heal others through sharing our stories.
Toxic Mom Toolkit is available on Amazon.com, thanks largely to the energy and encouragement I received from everyone I met during my online tenure.
What I find very poignant is that my book owes so much to 8WomenDream – literally. It seemed that as each obstacle arose, someone offered help and encouragement.
Other dreamers like designer Iman Woods created a killer book cover, and photographer Remy Gervais took my “sane and approachable” book cover headshot.
I’m so glad I opened myself up to the energy and creativity of this community. When readers hold a copy of the Toxic Mom Toolkit book in their hands, they may not know the story behind it.
But we will. We will.
Rayne Wolfe is a versatile and accomplished writer, author, writing coach, and freelancer. Her notable work includes ‘Toxic Mom Toolkit,’ a memoir that not only shares her personal journey but also features mini-stories from women around the globe who, despite facing the challenges of a toxic mother, have grown into resilient adults. As a seasoned journalist, Rayne has served as a former business columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle/Examiner Sunday and the Seattle Times, showcasing her ability to distill complex topics into engaging narratives that resonate with diverse audiences.
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