Thursday, May 7, 2020

Inside the Mind: Jessi Beyer

Welcome to Inside the Mind where we here at The Faerie Review interview authors and creators.
Our guest today is Jessi Beyer, the author behind How to Heal.

Lily:  Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview Jessi, How to Heal really hit home for me as a fellow trauma survivor. I know talking about trauma, even admitting you have experienced it can be hard, so what made you decide to write this guide to healing?
Jessi: I honestly wrote it as the guide to everything I wish I knew when I was healing from my own personal trauma. I went to one day of talk therapy and literally ran out of the building because it was so uncomfortable for me. I wish I knew that these natural and integrative therapies existed, and I hope that, by sharing my story and these therapy options, I can spare other trauma survivors the long and twisted road to healing that I took.
Lily:  I completely understand that, your book would have been perfect for me when I was starting. I found the information on different therapy options to be extremely helpful, how did you choose which therapy options to include?

Jessi: It started with me taking a nature-based therapies class my senior year of college. That got me intrigued in the idea of natural and integrative therapies. I’m pretty sure I then just Googled “natural trauma therapies” and pulled the first few that came up. As I interviewed some experts in those therapies, they mentioned other therapies that piqued my interest, so I included those, as well. How To Heal is by no means a comprehensive guide to all the natural and integrative therapies for trauma healing, but I feel like it gives a good overview of some really powerful ones and gives enough different options that at least one of them will appeal to every reader.
Lily:  I have to admit I wasn't even aware of a few of them before now, but I can see how each of the could help the healing process. Is there anything you hope readers take away from this book above all?
Jessi: Even if you don’t pursue any of the healing methods, I hope you understand that you are heard, that everything you’re feeling is valid, and that you don’t have to travel this road alone if you don’t want to.
Lily:  That's a great takeaway, especially with how isolating trauma can be. Was it difficult to write this book, even though you don’t discuss your trauma in detail?
Jessi: It was more cathartic than anything else. I sobbed while writing the whole first chapter, but the words just kept pouring out of me, and it was so healing to get it all out of my head on paper. It’s also been enough years since my trauma and long enough down my healing journey that it’s not as sharp and painful as it was. I don’t think I could have written this book three years ago. I wasn’t ready.
Lily:  I'm glad you were able to make it through without reopening wounds. Now we’d like to talk about you as a writer. What’s your favorite thing to drink while writing?
Jessi: Honestly, most of the times I get so engrossed in writing that I forget to drink anything! I’m a sucker for a good, cold glass of lemonade, though, so I’d have to say that.
Lily:  Lemonade sounds amazing right now! What is your ideal writing setup/environment?
Jessi: I like writing from home, where there’s no one else around me, so that rules out coffee shops. I wrote most of How To Heal sitting on my couch with my dog curled up next to me, and I’d say that’s a pretty ideal setting. I will say, though, that a few sections were written with one hand because either my cat or my dog was lying on the other. That probably wasn’t ideal!
Lily:  Hehe that sounds perfect actually. Do you prefer to write by hand or type up your first draft?
Jessi: Type, absolutely. I cannot write fast enough for my brain, and it gets a bit frustrating to always have to slow myself down.
Lily:  I'll try to take notes by hand when reading sometimes, but I usually can't read my notes if I try to write as fast as I think. Let’s finish up with some fun questions and get inside your mind. Do you have a favorite artist?
Jessi: I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know much about art, but there’s a photographer from Cannon Beach, Oregon, named Ron Keebler that I’m a huge fan of. He has this beautiful photograph of Cannon Beach from Ecola State Park that I’m going to have hanging over my dining room table someday.
Lily:  I love good photography, and I can see why you like his work. What’s your dream home like?
Jessi: Oh dang, I could talk about this for hours! To keep it short, I want to have at least 50 acres north of Seattle where I build my own home. It’d be about 2100 square feet with three bedrooms and an open floor plan in the kitchen, living room, and dining room. As far as the feel, I’m definitely going for rustic. I have a few items on my house wishlist, and one of them is a hand-sculpted wooden end table in the shape of a black bear. That should tell you all you need about the vibe I’m going for!
Lily:  That sounds like a great dream home! Would you rather have a flying carpet or a car that can drive underwater?
Jessi: Flying carpet!
Lily:  I'm too scared of heights (I don't even like getting on our kitchen stepladder) for a flying carpet even though I think it'd be a great way to see the world. What’s your idea of the perfect dinner?
Jessi: My friend’s Mexican chicken casserole with a side of chicken Caesar salad and my family’s chocolate screwball cake for dessert.
Lily:  I might have to make a screwball cake for my birthday now. What kind of phone was your first cell phone?
Jessi: It was this little red slider phone with only the number buttons. I couldn’t text and I didn’t have internet on that phone, but dang, was I a beast at pressing the right combination of buttons without looking to make my phone play my ringtone at the most random of times!
Lily:  I don't think I could ever do anything on my phone without looking at it, so that's pretty neat. Do you usually go with your gut or with your brain?
Jessi: Is it cheating if I say both? If my gut isn’t into it, it’s an immediate veto. If my brain isn’t into it but my gut is, I’ll probably find some way to approach the situation that minimizes the risk but still allows me to follow my intuition.
Lily:  Sounds a lot like my approach. Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
Jessi: A quick tip for first-time authors! There were so many times I didn’t feel qualified to write this book. When I saw that almost every other author in my field had a PhD, I almost gave up. When a family member called me out of the blue and told me that my book was unethical and that I had no business writing it, I almost gave up. I’m so glad I didn’t, because this book has already made a difference in people’s lives and connected me with some incredible individuals. If you don’t feel ready or qualified to write, write anyway. You have a story inside of you that the world needs to hear.
Lily:  That's great advice. Imposter syndrome and sometimes people can really get into your head and mess with your confidence. How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Jessi: You can connect with me on Instagram and Facebook! You can also read the first three chapters of my book for free here and find links to buy my book here. Feel free to drop by my website, or check out my LinkedIn or Pinterest.

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