Thursday, April 14, 2016

A Conversation with Kristy Dominiak

What am I doing reading a mid-life crisis book? My friend, Kristy Dominiak wrote it, that's why! It's not the typical thing I read, but I was surprised to find myself swept up in a tale that could happen to anybody. A general dissatisfaction with "is there all there is?" along with the desire of having some excitement in a marriage led Kristy deeper into discovering who she really is.

We met four years ago because both our daughters were in Mr. Z’s 5th grade class together and became friends. I still remember the first time I went to their home, and heard the story of how they acquired it. Kristy told me she was writing a book about their journey. That night I didn’t want to leave … I was enjoying myself thoroughly out on their back porch, rocking gently on the swing-bed. And today we complete the conversation that started more than four years ago. She has published The Shaken Snow Globe  and life as a published author is busy with speaking engagements! So I am grateful Kristy took the time to write to me.

I enjoyed your book very much Kristy, and have a new respect for having come through the challenges of dealing with your past without wrecking your marriage. I have an even greater respect for your husband.
Congratulations on the publication of The Shaken Snow Globe. It is a very intimate portrait of a woman trying to find meaning in her life. You have bared yourself. Did you have any fears going public with this? What do you hope for?
Most of my fears came from wondering if the story was well-written. Since I am not a trained writer I was insecure about whether or not my story would read smoothly and resonate with readers. Ironically, I did not have fears about going public with the personal nature of my story. Unlike the woman in the beginning of the book, my self-worth no longer comes from what others think I am (external labels), but from who I am on the inside. Since my husband and children supported the telling of my truths and love me for who I am, I had nothing to fear. My hope was to bring light to those who are living in shame and show that all humans can stop living in fear and are worthy of true joy. 

Well, I’d say you are a natural storyteller! You needn’t have worried one bit.
Whilst reading your book, I got the feeling that “Is this all there is?” is not as uncommon as we’d like to think. I have thought this very thought at various stages in my life – as a student, a scientist, and a stay-at-home mom. Do you think our culture is setting up our girls for disappointment? I am concerned that young women nowadays are not preparing even remotely for marriage and motherhood.
I believe the thought “Is this all there is?” stems from a culture that has emphasized the pursuit of happiness as an external thing. As a culture we have a tendency to think, “Once I get this or do this, then I will be happy.” I don’t believe true happiness can be found in the external, but only within our own faulty skin. If we continue to promote looking outside of ourselves for happiness and love, then yes we are setting our children up for disappointment. If one can learn to unconditionally love her imperfect self, then she can unconditionally love another imperfect human. One cannot give what she doesn’t have for herself. I learned to love myself exactly where I am, and thus can truly love others exactly where they are, including a husband and children.
Your faith is very important to you. Yet I was surprised that even being raised in the Church did not prevent you from flirting with the “near occasion of sin.” Do you think the preparation you received as a young woman enough? What do you wish you’d been taught or told that would’ve saved you from some of the heartache you went through? What would you do differently for your own children?
I think my religious preparation focused on the rules of the church, not the heart of the church. My faith stemmed from knowing about God, without really knowing God. Religious rules defined my self-worth and I believed I could earn love from God and others. I wish I would have been taught love is not earned - it’s unconditional. We try to teach our children there is a balance between rules and heart, and we need both. Without compassion, rules are just rules we will eventually break, because no human is perfect. The God I now know loves us as perfectly imperfect humans. Heartache and failure are inevitable, so the key component we talk about in our family is grace and the true meaning of unconditional love. Love is not earned; it’s only received with our free will.
You make an excellent distinction between knowing about God vs knowing God as a personal Father. As a convert, I found myself falling in love with the Person of Jesus Christ and it has made all the difference in the world.
Forgiveness is a huge part of your book. I’ve heard that it is one of the hardest things to live with – a sense of betrayal. Please share some tips on truly forgiving, even if you cannot forget.
In order to forgive, I believe you have to forgive yourself first. I learned it is not my fault if someone wrongs me. I am not to blame if I love a person who then betrays me. I cannot predict evil acts nor expect perfection from human beings. When I was able to acknowledge my own faults, forgive and love myself, then I was able to do the same for others. True forgiveness can come to light through humility and compassion. I learned to love my perfectly imperfect self the way God loves us all. When I experienced that kind of unconditional love, I could truly forgive others of their imperfections, because mine are forgiven too.
PTSD. I’m coming across this more and more in casual conversations. Are you discovering that more women have experiences like yours they bury in a closet? Do you still struggle with it?
Unfortunately, more women than I care to count have come forward with their stories of assault. Some are speaking their truths out loud for the first time. I see a common theme for the secrecy – shame. Women ask themselves the same questions, “Could I have prevented this?” “How could I love someone who would do this?” “Why didn’t I stop it?” Buried thoughts like these can fester like an undetected disease effecting every aspect of life. My trauma had stopped me from feeling worthy of being loved and trusting my heart, and unbeknownst to me, I was self-sabotaging my relationships. I did not have internal self-worth. PTSD treatment shed the light needed to see my hidden wounds and be able to address healing them. By not hiding in shame, I hope to give other women courage to escape the darkness. We can’t heal what we don’t acknowledge; we can’t acknowledge what we can’t see. Life is always evolving, and I am always learning more about my true self. My challenge is to stay vulnerable and open, despite my fears of being hurt or feeling shame. There is no shame or fear when you live in the light.    
Shame. It’s a terrible thing to live with. I know this too well … and I still struggle. Perhaps your book will give me the courage to be honest and humble as well.
What’s next? Are you writing another book?
To be honest, I’m not sure what’s next in the big picture. For now, I am enjoying meeting the wonderful women that have come out of the shadows to discuss their lives with me. It has been a humbling experience and I am blessed by the positive feedback from so many women. I haven’t ruled out writing another book, but for now I am peaceful letting God lead me down my next path. In the meantime, I’ve been asked to write short inspirational tips for 30 Second This endeavor will keep me writing and fully engaged with my spiritual journey.
Yes! I’m glad you will keep on writing. The world needs your voice.
Is there anything else that you’d like to talk about?
Thank you for this opportunity to express myself beyond the book. People often ask, “Why put your family in the public spotlight and share all the intimate details of your life?” It is a fair question and one I do not take lightly. Going public with the good, bad and ugly of one’s life is not for everyone. I would not have shared mine without the blessing of my entire family. I could have led a happy life without making my life public; however, I would have not felt fulfilled. I want others to feel the same peace that has graced my life. Since my prior worth had been defined by my pride, self-righteous rule following, and external attributes, I had to demonstrate true transformation is possible by setting pride aside and providing for others the hope of change. Life is a never ending journey, and despite our flaws, all humans are worthy of peace, joy and love. Thank you for taking an interest in my story.
Kristy Dominiak

Thank YOU, Kristy for taking the time to write such thoughtful and beautiful answers to my questions. I pray that Shaken Snow Globe will find its readers and give them hope and courage and joy.
You can learn more about Kristy at her website.


Mirka Breen said...

Congratulations to Kristy for the courage to bear her inner-most tribulations. This is an act of courage in itself. She can call herself a writer because A. she wrote, and because B. bearing one's soul for others to see is what artists do.

Vijaya said...

Mirka, I agree completely!

Olivia Madison said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.