- Okay, so you feel cruddy. Nothing fits. Nothing taste right. Your hair won’t cooperate, the job, home, partner, and small humans you are responsible for and love are out of sync, and the bank account threatens to bottom out. It is Okay to not be Okay with troubling truths, but it is Okay to admit you are overwhelmed.
- Okay, so your way is not the way things are going. Life is chuck full of bumps, detours, and blindsiding. It upsets and rattles your balance. Give yourself a moment, a day, or a week to stop and re-work the immediate priorities. It is Okay not to be Okay when crap happens, but it is Okay to take time to process and plan.
- Okay, you really don’t like words and or actions of others. It is uncomfortable, elicits negativity, and is escalating into anger. Don’t sit in seething silence. You need to advocate. It is Okay to not be Okay with an action or idea that affects your life, but it is Okay to speak up for yourself.
- Okay, so you are alone and disconnected from everyone. You are feeling sorry for yourself on so many levels. Have a good cry. Let the tears flow, and the tissue boxes deplete. It is a physical relief to just blubber all of the negative emotions. When you are done, wash your face and throw away the tissues. Find that friend who is always there. Take a walk. It’s Okay to not be Okay with sadness, but it is Okay to have a private pity party.
- Okay, so you are feeling inept. Everything is piling on your plate and spilling over. Juggling everyone is exhausting. You have only two hands and less than fifteen hours of conscious hours to get it all done. Ask for help. There is no shame in reaching out for advice and assistance. It is Okay to not be able to do everything solo, but it is Okay to accept a helping hand.
Be mindful of yourself. Be honest about your feelings and abilities. It is Okay to not be Okay, but it is NOT Okay to not being Okay all of the time. Seek out professional help if not being Okay morphs into your normal state of being. Your emotional health needs to be a priority so you can be an active participant in your life. Okay?
Antoinette Truglio Martin’s
WOW! WOMEN ON WRITING TOUR
Hug Everyone You Know
During 2017's National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, She Writes Press published Antoinette Truglio Martin’s touching memoir, Hug Everyone You Know: A Year of Community, Courage, and Cancer. It is a 2017 USA Best Book Awards Finalist in Non-Fiction: Narrative and a 2018 Next Generation Indie Book Finalist: Non-Fiction Women's Issues.
In 2007, Martin believed her call back doctor appointment was routine, maybe a scare, nothing worse. Her shock at receiving a Stage I breast cancer diagnosis was instantly compounded by her own deep fears. As a self-described wimp—afraid of needles and uncomfortable with sedation—how was she going to get through this?
Antoinette started her fight against cancer with words. She began by journaling and by writing emails to Her Everyone—the large close-knit family and circle of beloved friends wanting to offer their support, especially those who were fighting breast cancer alongside her. The emails not only helped to keep Her Everyone informed, they gave cancer less of a presence in Antoinette’s life, since she wasn’t repeatedly updating people or saying the word “cancer” over and over. The practice of writing calmed her and also gave her space to focus on living: on the house that wasn’t selling, an exciting new job, daughters in college, and summer beach plans. She signed every email with a reminder to “hug everyone you know.”
Those emails and journal entries are at the heart of this memoir, which gives the book an immediacy and raw power.
Hug Everyone You Know is a memoir about how Antoinette found the courage to navigate her first year of breast cancer treatment. It’s the story of how a community—colleagues, family, friends—rallied to support her. The book is moving, brave, informative, and occasionally funny—and it speaks to us all.
Praise for Hug Everyone You Know
“…a well-written, concise telling of what it’s like to be hit with a cancer diagnosis and the human thoughts that accompany it, like ‘how do I tell the family?’ and ‘what do I tell them?.... In five words: she writes a good story…. Martin’s persona is optimistic; you just want to hang around her and it’s that attitude that got her through. Not surprisingly, gratefulness is part of her mantra. So are hugs.”—The Suffolk County News
“Filled with fresh air, light, and life, Hug Everyone You Know is an intimate conversation with an intelligent, funny survivor. The voice rings true, and the insights resonate well beyond the cancer moment. Highly recommended.”—Joni Rodgers, NYT bestselling author of Bald in the Land of Big Hair
“… a compelling memoir about the importance of community while navigating a life crisis such as cancer. As an oncology nurse and a cancer survivor myself, I found Martin's writing to be a refreshingly real depiction of life as a cancer patient. Her writing is a testimony to the endurance of the human spirit, the importance of love and community, and the need for hope every day of the journey.”—Lee Ambrose, StoryCircle Book Reviews
“Martin used journaling and emails to “My Everyone,” her group of close family and friends, to get through her diagnosis, treatment, and recovery from early-stage breast cancer….The account reveals the value of keeping a journal as a means of coping with one’s fears and acknowledges the support Martin received through sharing her experience rather than trying to shield others from her illness.”—Library Journal
“…how does one wake up from a nightmare like Stage 1 breast cancer? For Antoinette Truglio Martin, the answer was in her community — her family, friends, and close “everyone.” In this memoir, she documents how staying connected with the people in her life helped her to find the courage to embrace her reality and to transform it into a life-giving experience….Martin writes with natural humor and readers will find a lot of encouragement and hope in her writing. This book will show readers the power of human connectivity and how sharing our experience can become an inspiring journey, not only for those who listen to us, but for us who live it….a gift to receive, use and pass on. This book will give readers the strength and the inspiration to name their suffering and to triumph over it. It’s exciting, informative and, above all, entertaining.”—Christian Sia, Reader’s Favorite
“This is a beautifully and honestly written account of the challenges that face women and families confronting a breast cancer diagnosis. It passionately illustrates the ability of women and their ‘Everyone’s’ to find their strength and demonstrate their love.”—Karen Schmitt, MA, BSN, Director, Cancer Services Program of Manhattan New York Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia Executive Director, CARE Shared Resource Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center
“…Being in the medical field, it’s a shot of reality seeing it from the patients’ point of view, with the day-in and day-out struggles of life compounded with the diagnosis. This book brought a face to breast cancer and I feel privileged and honored that she shared it with me. I will hug everyone I know, now and forever.”—Barbara M. O’Brien RN, Director of Cancer Services Program of Staten Island, Staten Island University Hospital
“…beautifully captures the terror and anxiety—as well as the awkwardness and occasional humor—that follow a diagnosis of breast cancer, and the salvation to be found in the love and support of family and friends.”—Andrew Botsford, Editor and Visiting Professor, Stony Brook Southampton MFA in Creative Writing & Literature
About the Author
Antoinette Truglio Martin is a life-long Long Islander, teacher, wife, mother, daughter, and friend. She is the author of Hug Everyone You Know: A Year of Community, Courage, and Cancer—a memoir chronicling her first year battling breast cancer as a wimpy patient. Personal experience essays and excerpts of her memoir were published in Bridges, Visible Ink, and The Southampton Review. Martin proudly received her MFA in creative writing and literature from Stony Brook/Southampton University in 2016. Antoinette had also written the children's picture book, Famous Seaweed Soup (Albert Whitman and Company), and was a regular columnist for local periodicals Parent Connections (In a Family Way) and Fire Island Tide (Beach Bumming). Her blog, Stories Served Around The Table, tells family tales and life's musings. She lives in her hometown of Sayville, New York with her husband, Matt, and is never far from her “Everyone” and the beaches she loves. Since being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2012, she strives to not let cancer to dictate her life.
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