My Hero

My hero is 6’8″ and 200lbs.
He’s the strongest man I’ve ever met. I’ve seen him singlehandedly lift stoves and 40″ cabinets.
He was born with 30/2o vision.
He never gets sick, and he functions well on less than six hours of sleep each night.
He also catches thieves and champions the weak from time to time.
In short, he’s my very own Superman.

This man is my hero is because he keeps my dreams alive.
Because he’s a loving father to our daughter, even though he works twelve-hour graveyard shifts and doesn’t see her as often as he likes.
Because he likes goofing off, pulling pranks, and texting me stupid memes all day long.
Because he bugs me when I’m working, but supports my writing, even though I’m losing money and forcing him to pay for almost all our living expenses.
My hero was there for me when I had mental breakdowns, anxiety attacks, panic attacks, post-partum depression, severe family problems, financial difficulties and everything else in between.
My hero knows exactly how to cheer me up, and understands what makes me tick.
This man rooted for me when no one else even knew I needed support.
He stopped me from hurting myself.
He talked me out of self-deprecating thoughts and behaviors.
He taught me how to be patient, rational and sane in a world that drove me insane.
He taught me how to fight for myself.

My hero is flawed, though he will never admit it.
His ego is an over-inflated balloon that can’t handle a single pinprick.
But it’s his unshakeable confidence that keeps us together.
It’s his level-headedness that keeps us coherent in an increasingly chaotic world.
It’s his intelligence that keeps us informed.

I love him despite all our past problems.
I love him despite all the growing pains early on in our relationship.
I love him because even after all these years, he still kisses me every day before work and calls me as soon as he’s off work just to chat about how my day’s going.
I love him because he can read my mind, and he knows me better than anyone else in the whole world. He’s my true soulmate, and I knew that after the first week we met.

I’ve crafted many a book boyfriend, and they’ve all come and go…
But Justin Quiring…he’s my forever.

Not every husband would be supportive of their wife the way Justin is of me. After all, we’re not rich. We could use a full-time second income. But when I told him I wanted to make writing books my business and my career, he said, “Okay, you don’t have to work.” When I think about how easily he made that decision, sometimes I want to cry.
Justin works long, grueling hours so I don’t have to. So I can stay home, look after our daughter, our house, and focus on my writing career. Not every man would do that for his woman. Not every man can do that for his woman.
I found a man who’s been my biggest cheerleader (but also constructive feedback giver) since day one.
February 2014, two things happened. My daughter was born, and I set out to accomplish something I’d dreamed about since I was a child. I challenged myself to finish a novel. Since 2.5 years ago, I’ve learned so many things. Met so many people. Wrote over 500,000 words.
The one constant throughout my writing journey has been Justin.
Justin was there when I swam in self-doubt.
When I got my first reader.
When I got featured on Wattpad.
Justin was there when I hit ‘publish’ on my first book, then second, then third…
Justin gave me tough love when I got discouraged and lost my way.
He cheered me up when I faced setbacks and negative reviews…
He told me to be mentally strong when I wasn’t.

I’ve suffered from depression and anxiety attacks on and off since I was thirteen. In my past, when winter arrived each year, I wanted to crawl into a hole and shoot myself. Every fucking day was a struggle. I didn’t want to wake up. I didn’t want to eat. I couldn’t sleep, and I got sick every single month. I felt aimless, hopeless, and all alone. No one understood how to care for me when I became depressed. My parents’ reactions oscillated between outrage and confusion. No one knew what to do about my troublesome behavior.

My hero kicked depression in the fucking ass. He was there for me, for better and for worse.
He’s no doctor or psychologist. (I’m the one with the degree in Psychology for God’s sake.) Yet somehow, each time crippling anxiety and/or depression threatens to incapacitate me, my hero is there to save the day. He fights for me, and sometimes against me, so I can save myself. Because when you’re depressed, when you’re overwhelmed by a panic attack, sometimes you need someone to give you a kick in the ass and remind you why you need to keep fighting, and not give in to your demons.

A lot of my books feature protagonists who fight a host of inner demons. They fight demons because I’ve fought, and still fight demons. We all have demons; most of us don’t know how to vanquish them.
My demons are the worst kind. They are the kind that nobody understands because they are not quantifiable, visible or tangible. My demons are the hardest kind to defeat because no one understands what they are and the extent of damage they can cause.
No one has ever been able to see through me and fight my demons the way Justin has. He vanquishes terrors that suck me dry whilst still keeping the good parts of me intact. He keeps me grounded. He’s my compass and stronghold when I’m lost in a sea of crises and mixed priorities. He sets me straight and keeps me going forward, not backward. Always. He’s my beacon.

I haven’t regressed, and I haven’t been majorly depressed for over a year now. It’s a huge milestone for me, and I’m grateful I’ve reached it. Justin and I met in 2012. Which means, he stayed and fought for me for over three years and didn’t give up on me, when a weaker or less patient man might have. That’s why, ladies and gentlemen, today I celebrate my greatest hero. My partner in crime. My one and only.

I love you, Justin.
Thank you for loving me.

xoxo Jackie


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