Local Author Shares Struggles in New Book; Autograph session for Sunday

Faith in God and discovery of self-love prompted Union Intermediate School teacher Tanya Robinson-Freeman to tell her story as a co-author in a new book released earlier this year.

To show her gratitude to everyone who supported her, Robinson-Freeman is hosting a book signing at her local church this weekend. The signing will take place this Sunday, July 17, at St. Thomas AME Zion Church at 810 Bullard St. in Roseboro. The book signing will last from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m

Robinson-Freeman’s book You Don’t Have to Stay There is a co-authored anthology with seven other authors that tells relatable, real-life stories and difficult experiences that each of these authors faced throughout their lives, and the many Ways they endured their past pain. It is filled with motivating and inspirational stories designed to help others who feel stuck in their own pain, to show that they can get out of this situation and that “you don’t have to stay there”.

These other authors include Cynthia Marie, Dawn Lester, Stephanie DuBois, Charles DeWalt, Diamond Rogers, Charlotte Gillespie, and Ayanna Foust.

For Robinson-Freeman, this was the first time she had written and published her work. She shared how the process began for her, with conversations with her old classmate and friend Marie being the catalyst.

“I actually connected with an old classmate and a sister from a church we both belonged to in New York,” she said. “She said, ‘You know, I was thinking about you,’ and of course I was like, ‘oh, well, that’s always good.’ So she said, ‘I want to know if you’re interested in a project I’m working on,’ and I said, ‘Sure, tell me a little bit more about it.’”

“So we ended up having a live Facebook chat and she started explaining the project to me, her vision, her idea, and I was like, ‘Yeah, sure, I’ll do it,'” she continued. “After that we went through their ideas of what the story should be about, which was great because I had already thought about writing a book and calling it ‘While Going Through the Storm: Lessons Learned’.”

Now that her place in the anthology was secured, she began writing her chapter, one that explores personal paths she grew up with and how she came through it all. Her chapter encompasses the many negative obstacles she faced as a young black girl in New York and, more importantly, how she overcame them.

“My chapter in the book was basically how I grew up and some really negative things that happened to me in my life,” she said. “Horrible things like being bullied, being verbally abused and being mocked because of my dark skin. As I got older, I realized that there was nothing wrong with my skin. My skin is the color it is because God chose to make me that way.”

“My curly hair, coarse hair, how tall I am, everything, and the fact that I’m here lets me know I’m not a mistake,” she said. “There is absolutely nothing I can do about the color of my skin, so I embrace it and I love myself. I am not what people call me, I am who God says I am and God says I am blessed, I am anointed, I am saved, I am forgiven, I am all and one big old bag of them fries.”

“Like it, love it, don’t care, I am who I am and I won’t care what people say about me,” she added. “I’m comfortable in my own skin and I love myself.”

Robinson-Freeman said she is grateful to the many who have supported her along the way and to everyone who is planning or even thinking of attending the upcoming book signing.

“I just want people to come out, be blessed, get your autographed book and a little token of my appreciation for coming out and supporting me,” she said. “I just appreciate everyone who has already supported me. I’m so thankful and grateful, and I’m grateful that there are so many people who love me — and they’re not just saying it, they’re showing it to me, and having said that, I’m so overwhelmed with gratitude.”

Robinson-Freeman also gave a special thank you to her friend Marie for including her in this project and giving them the opportunity to fulfill their shared dream of helping others tell their story.

Reach Michael B. Hardison at 910-249-4231. Follow us on Twitter @SamsponInd, like us on Facebook and visit our Instagram @thesampsonindependent.

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