I recently got to read Nadia Davis’s debut book, Home is Within You. This brutally honest memoir takes us through key snippets of Nadia’s incredible life, including a scary brush with death, her dedicated legal work to exonerate a wrongly accused young man, and her battles with alcohol dependency and drug addiction. This book is definitely a tear-jerker and will pull at your heart strings, but it’s also inspiring as we watch Nadia come out the other side as a stronger, more resilient, courageous person.
I had the privilege of being able to go more in depth with Nadia’s process in writing this memoir, as well as how she’s sharing her journey to recovery with the world. Read on to learn more about the Home is Within You.
What inspired you to share your story with the world?
It was both a spiritual inkling as well as the suggestion and urging of many people. Suggestions to write a memoir came after I assisted in obtaining the freedom of Arthur Carmona, a wrongfully convicted youth, while following in the footsteps and inspiration of my father, and during which I suffered yet survived a near fatal car accident. It was then put on the shelf as a future goal due to priorities as a mother and after marrying a public official. Unaddressed childhood trauma and chronic pain began to overwhelm me, which led to our separation and my entering a highly abusive relationship and more serious trauma. The idea of writing a memoir was long lost.
But the dream was reignited after an arduous seven-year journey of recovery. I knew deep in my soul that everything happened in full circle for the sole purpose of helping those who were struggling. Ultimately, after reconnecting to my true self and the home within me, something beyond kept nudging me to put pen in hand. Once I set my mind to write a memoir as though I was writing to my sons, it began to flow out organically. It felt like a spiritual healing high as well as returning to working in my element. Nothing has felt more meant to be.
What were your major obstacles in bringing this memoir to completion?
The major obstacles to bringing the memoir to completion were most definitely practically, both in terms of time and funds, as well as my learning curve with the publishing industry, and sometimes fear of judgement.
How long did it take you to complete it, from first draft to publication?
It took about a year and a half to complete the first draft, with several edits and drafts thereafter, another three months. I was very disappointed with the editor I hired and ended up having to do a ton of work removing repeated words or unneeded paragraphs prior to it being ready. The final one printed is not as perfect as I’d like it to be.
Were you scared of how the public would view you after sharing such vulnerable and intimate details about your life, such as suicide attempts and your struggles with substance abuse?
Fear about others’ judgement never overwhelmed or stifled me. It came and went. Fact is, my entire life had been controlled by public shaming in the press, let alone my own as a result. The book is titled “Home is Within You” for this precise reason. Once I discovered that the only truth is we are infinite spirits—whole, perfect, and complete regardless of what anyone says or does, including oneself—fear of judgement subsided considerably.
I love how you weaved such heartfelt and thoughtful letters to your son throughout the memoir. How old is your son now? Did he enjoy reading the book? What were his thoughts?
I have three sons. Diego is 18 and in college, and Harrison and Elijah are 6 1/2 years old and in kindergarten. Diego read the entire book in less than five days. Diego and I had long conversations about the memoir on drives back and forth from his college. The first time I saw him after he completed it, he walked up and hugged me with a huge, proud smile on his face. He said he understood so much more about me, my family history, and the underlying sources of difficult times in his parents’ marriage. He said he now understood what I meant by “It” in terms of an infinite spirit we cannot explain in science and what people sometimes refer to as “God.” Diego is studying astrophysics and sees the unanswered questions about beginnings of the universe as “It.” He also said some parts made him cry because of what I’d gone through, and others made him extremely angry because of what others did to me. Ultimately, he repeatedly says it helped him, and is helping friends he has given the book to. That, my friend, meant everything to me.
One of my favorite lines was “anything anyone does is either an act of love or a cry for love.” Has this knowledge helped you continue to forgive those who hurt you and to feel more centered in your path toward healing?
Absolutely! And it continues to help me everyday, both on my own path, and even more profoundly, in the healing sessions and work I now do with others. Relationships are opportunities to grow and heal. Cries for love often arise through actions or words that hurt another person. The “hurt” can be taken less personally when this is remembered. More profoundly, the recipient can ask themselves: What core past wound is being triggered in me that needs healing? What can I do now to recognize and work on it? To better love myself? The result is relationships become easier and are experienced with less judgement and fear. Love has no fear or judgement.
Do you have any advice for others who are wanting to share their personal stories with the world?
Yes. Your story and truth matter. Telling your story and truth is profoundly healing for yourself and others. Don’t let shame stop you. Recognize when your mind is attempting to impede you from sharing your story to the world. When this happens, sit, breathe, and connect to the truth of your story. Because the truth does not shift or change, nor come and go, it will serve as your source of inspiration and perseverance to keep writing. Just do a little every day.
What advice do you offer for those who are currently struggling with substance abuse, PTSD, and other mental illnesses?
Remember that you are not alone, relapse (in sobriety or mental health) is nothing to be ashamed of, and recognize how courageous you are for being on the path of recovery walking towards the light and freedom from bondage.
Your mind uses attack thoughts (shame) on self and others to separate you from the truth that you are an infinite spirit, whole and complete, regardless of what you have or anyone else has done or said in this life. Begin with baby steps of finding a sense of safety in your own body through breathwork. With that safety and calming, everything becomes a tad easier. Call a trauma therapist today. Trauma work is core to addressing and understanding everything else.
Every week I offer free healing sessions through Instagram live and also provide individual healing sessions for a small fee.
About Nadia Davis
Nadia Davis is the mother of three sons, a writer, attorney, and kundalini yoga instructor. She graduated from U.C.L.A. with a degree in Sociology, Loyola Law School with a Juris Doctorate, and has received numerous awards for her work improving the lives of others, including the John F. Kennedy Jr. Public Service Award, Woman of the Year, National Womens’ Political Caucus, and Hispanic Woman of Year, LULAC. Nadia lives in Southern California happily co-parenting with the father of her three sons.
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