"Don't be afraid to dream differently from everyone else, your dream may be the one meant to transform us all." --Treka L. House
Have you ever met someone and felt an instant connection? When I say connection, I mean the fact of you liking them without even trying to like them and you feeling no need to wear a mask, you can literally let your breath go. I’m talking kindred spirits, since I’m a firm believer in our steps being ordered and our life being orchestrated for a purpose greater than ourselves. What I appreciate about her is that she is very honest, genuine and super supportive. She is intentionally raw, yet intensely peaceful. I was fortunate enough to be granted a sneak peek into her upcoming release I Am You and I can personally say that it is a life changer. This book will force you in front of a mirror and make you dig deep within yourself to push your mess to the surface for healing. It'll encourage you to appreciate what makes you you. Oftentimes, we sleep on ourselves and we are so doubtful of our capabilities, that we fail to effective progress. I Am You will comfort you as you take a mental journey through your life to arrive exactly where you’re suppose to be. It can be hard to look at yourself and point out all the ugly things that could hold you back, but it’s so necessary to move forward and become a better you. Let’s get into Ms. Tanea McClean aka TortoisWind and find out where her heads at.
What’s your inspiration behind I Am You?
Tanea:I Am You was inspired by LIFE. My life and the precious lives that surround me on a daily. I slowly fell into a deep depression because life began heading in a direction that I didn't want to go. As I struggled to snap out of it I began to notice I wasn't the only one hiding the disgust and pain that I felt for myself. So I began to write, just to release it. I didn't share my writings with anyone they were personal, and they left me feeling vulnerable - a feeling I was not use to because I trained myself to be STRONG through it all. Then I crumbled.
How would you describe I Am You?
Tanea:I Am You is a collection of short stories designed to touch the reader on a very personal level. The reader should walk away feeling like they just confronted themselves for the very first time. The reader will begin to recognize his/her own vulnerabilities and walk away with a desire to self-heal, self-motivate, and most importantly, feel the need to show self-love. The book starts off somewhat "dark" but will show the reader how to shed light on all situations.
How much of your own life influenced the composition of this piece of work?
Tanea:A majority of my life influenced this piece of work. In a way, it's me giving back to a world that has given so much to me. Some people would use the word "fell off," when describing my situation over the past years. To most, I had a decent life. Corporate job, purchased my first home, paid for my vehicles, taking care of my children, and enjoying life. Well, that is what it looked like from the outside...but internally I was not happy. Eventually I got tired of being "responsible." Life became very overwhelming and I felt like I was fighting this battle alone. I was either smiling or cussing someone out - my life was being lived from two totally different ends of the spectrum. The sad part is my children suffered the most.
What point are you hoping to convey to your readers?
Tanea:I Am You is trying to tell the reader that you are not in this by yourself. I may not go through the experience of your life but through you sharing - I really do. I want the reader to self-heal, then pay it forward. We are all hurting about something every day of our lives. Even if it doesn't effect you directly, it should effect you in some type of way - emotionally, spiritually, etc. We need each other to survive on this planet. If I can not find it in my heart to connect with the next human being on some type of level then we are all missing the point of our purpose on Earth. We are not here to serve "self" we are here to serve others - but if you are not at PEACE with yourself, then you are no good to others. The self-healing that I see happening through I Am You, is the same energy we need to possess in order to heal others. Look in the mirror and deal with your short comings before you go out and try to advise another on how to deal with theirs.
I’ve noticed that you use the pen name TortoisWind, what’s the meaning behind it?
Tanea:TortoisWind is a Gypsy Warrior Goddess! She represents wisdom, patience, confidence, change, and war! She is a native of the Universe - visiting planet Earth lol. I used her as my Pen name because it allowed me to re-create myself (Tanea McClean). I was tired of being who the world convinced me I was. She allows me to break free from all the "identifiers" that come along with being Tanea McClean. She represents FREEDOM, and when I write I feel so FREE.
What’s the difference between Tanea McClean and Tortoiswind?
Tanea:Tanea McClean would NEVER tell her business, let alone her struggles to the world. Tanea always felt the need to be strong and tough - but deep down she just wants to love & help everybody. Tanea wants to smile, enjoy life, and be happy, so she bottles up her emotions and goes to a secret place to cry, being forced to wipe her own tears, creating a feeling of being alone in a world so big. TortoisWind is a Warrior Goddess that could careless about what the world has to say about Life. She has specific instructions from "Up Above" and she follows her orders with no hesitation. TortoisWind is here to save this planet and she will not stop until her mission is complete. She gives a voice to Tanea, a voice that is used to heal and motivate those with whom she crosses paths. TortoisWind thrives off "Truth," she sheds light in a dark situation, and she is always prepared for war. This battle is not of flesh & blood...TortoisWind is here to fight Tanea's spiritual battle.
You’re a bit eccentric per your own words, will we see much of that in your book?
Tanea:Eccentric: a person of unconventional and slightly strange views or behavior. LOL, yeah thats me! You will probably have to ask some of the readers when it drops lol. In my Universe I am as normal as they come. I am often told I think outside of the box - I Am You, is a unique way to tell a very similar viewpoint of life's ups & downs. This book will probably make people that already "know me" look at me like - wow I didn't know she was that deep. The book is broken down in several "short stories" if you will - covering a range of topics - suicide thoughts, insanity, low self esteem, love, patience, anger management, and success to name a few. But the topics may not just jump out at you - I like my use of metaphors in these writings.
What can we expect to see in the future for TortoisWind?
Tanea:Well I actually thought I Am You was going to be my second book. I had the title but had no clue what it was going to be about. It emerged as I was writing my now second book by default, GodZodiac. I am too excited about this second book! It will probably end up being a series of books or a trilogy at the least. I have been working on it off and on for the last 6 years. It is Fantasy - but I know the Universe is going to love it! I predict it will be as BIG, if not BIGGER (my real prediction lol) than your Harry Potters, Twilights, and Hunger Games to name a few. I know those are huge claims but I am telling you. GodZodiac is going to be on point!
Also, TortoisWind will be co-starring in a new indie film coming out soon, "We All We Got,'" and I am featured on the Sound Track. The movie is written & produced by another self-published author, and friend of mine - King D Son. His book is out "Brain Surgery - The Book" available on Amazon.com - great read. I play the main character’s Girlfriend and there is actually a scene that I was able to assist in writing, and there will be a big plug for my book, I Am You - so I am excited about that.
TortoisWind is also writing her first movie script - and working on the audio book for I Am You, stay tuned!
Is writing your only career pursuit?
Tanea:No, I love writing stories but I really just want to own a little t-shirt shop on the coast of some beautiful beach and sell cool shirts with great quotes and designs. Honest to God truth - I just want my own t-shirt shop, but set it up like a lounge or coffee shop, and talk to tourist from all over the world and sip on some cool drinks - alcoholic & non alcoholic lol.
Give us three "Good to Know" facts about you.
Tanea:I am an Aquarius All Day Long - and the world needs to know and understand this! (Laughs) I live up to the characteristics so if you do your research you may understand me and get offended less lol. This is also the reason I think lightning fast, I am an air sign - my mind is going 1 million miles per minutes and I can't stop it!
I say out loud what everybody is thinking. I have got to work on this! Me at a football game is pure entertainment. I can not control what comes out of my mouth - I try every week to not say anything, but it's like the energy in the stands is choking the words out of my throat into the atmosphere - I can't even help it. I was born like this, real talk. Once I have this burning desire to say something - I can't stop it from being said. The funny thing is, when I am at the games people look disturbed by my yells, cheers, and insults to the coaching staff. But when I miss a game, everyone is telling me how much they missed me, and they need me there. Like I said - I just say out loud what everybody is thinking!
I stopped eating meat and dairy about 6 months ago. Never in a million years did I think I would be able to do this, but I did - cold turkey (No pun intended). Black folks be like - "You don't eat no meat? No chicken, no fish, etc." I'm like - no meat! It wasn't that hard. I am very competitive and my Yoga instructor told me her and her daughter just stopped one day - so I was like if they can do it so can I! The reason for stopping was because of my diabetes - I was struggling with it, even with taking 2 different insulins, but I was not going to let it defeat me. I went to Yoga one morning and my instructor asked me what was wrong I told her my fasting blood sugar numbers were in the 300's every morning and she handed me a book. It talked about the "Vegan Life Style," and the results of other diabetics so I said to myself, "it's worth the try." My numbers aren't perfect but I feel so much better! I look healthy, I feel healthy, because I AM HEALTHY. I didn't wait until my numbers were out of control to claim my health. I claimed my health before the situation even got bad, and God directed my path to have me around the right people.
What else do you want your audience to know?
Tanea:I need my audience to know that I am not normal - therefore, I am not trying to be. Normal is whatever you make it, sounds pretty boring to me. Dare to be you. We do not have enough of you out here because God only made one copy. So with that being said - LET ME DO ME. Not that you can stop me, but embrace this woman known as Tanea McClean for who she really is - she loves this planet for real. There is not much I wouldn't do for the next man.
Also know that I am a BIG TIME SEATTLE SEAHAWKS FAN - 12th man in the building! When we lost the Super Bowl last year I didn't sleep well that night and I remember waking up in the middle of the night and asking God to comfort all the players because I knew they felt worst than I did, and I was feeling pretty dayum bad! I didn't watch "First Take" with Skip Bayliss & Steven A. Smith until it was the finals for Basketball with Lebron James and Company (Grizz Fan don't get it twisted, Go Memphis!). I am very competitive and I will talk slick to you about your team if they are not MY TEAM. Don't try me.
Last but not least - I love Turtles! Turtles make me smile for no reason no matter what type of day I am having. I live in the country so I am blessed to just see them walking down the street - minding their own business, not bothering nobody. Ahhhh, I love turtles. My best friend in 4th Grade Brandie Lynn Bell gave me a real turtle for my birthday, wrapped it in a box and everything and from that day forward - turtles have represented comfort & happiness to me.
If anything, what did you discover from writing I Am You?
Tanea:I learned how to be vulnerable and not be ashamed. This book is me definitely stepping outside of my comfort zone, especially for my first book. I feel like I am exposing my soul. There are things that are revealed that I didn't want certain people in my life to even know about, but I had to share it because it is going to save somebody else. God allows you to struggle so that you can be comforting to others when they struggle. My life is not perfect by far. I am still in the struggle but I know how to be at peace during the midst of my struggle. People were disappointed in how MY LIFE was turning out - some walked away or shunned me from their life because of my bad choices or bad luck. I thank God for them the most. My ego was like "fuck'em!" - but God’s grace was like, "forgive'em." I realized their feelings were not generated because of anything I was or was not doing in my life. Their feelings were generated from a place of lack in their own life, and they needed someone strong like myself to figure this thing out so that they can move forward too - dependence is a lot of pressure for one person. You cannot carry the weight of the world on your shoulders alone but if you allow the world to attempt it - it will. And you will crumble underneath the same world that you were trying to hold up, and when they realize yo ass fell down, they won't turn around to pull you up...they just find somebody else to crush. I Am You was written to help those that have been crushed by this world to get back on their feet, and get back out here and help the next man up that was crushed by the world.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Tanea:Don't take life personal - God has a plan and he sent you here to live out His will. Smile in spite of circumstances and don't get caught up in what this world has convinced you of - I Am You, so I know better :)
What were the challenges in bringing your book to life?
Tanea:The biggest challenge was being vulnerable and willing to expose my soul. I finished writing I Am You in December of 2014 - It was another 3 months before I really started working on the publishing of my works. I was still uncomfortable with sharing part of my life with the people that I loved. I really didn't care about strangers, but the ones that I have been faking the funk for all this time are going to "judge" me. This was my challenge, getting past the content of the book mentally. The way I got passed this was allowing my mother to read the transcript. It wasn't easy for her to read - she texted me and said she was overwhelmed and could not keep reading at that point. She said, "I just want to save her." And I thought to myself, "I already saved her." So I texted her back and said, "I Am You - she is already delivered."
When can we expect the release of I Am You and where can your readers find it?
Tanea: My book will be released this fall. Additionally, be on the lookout for www.tortoiswind.com and www.iamyou.life, which will be up and running in a few weeks. You will defintely be able to stay abreast what's happening with and the positive things to comes from TortoisWind on those sites.
In life we experience so many turburlant situations that have the capacity to break us, even when we strive to be dynamic. In the mist of our storms, we desire understanding ears who have the right formula of words to snatch us from our dark places, but we normally hear from those that try to convince us that it'll pass, words to persuade us that our emotions are lighter than what it actually is for us or there will be a lack of words period. As much as we want to express how we feel without looking insane, it's not always possible. Reading the unfinished copy of I Am You and listeningto Tanea openly express things she's felt, made me feel as if she had been inside my head. For me it was finally amazing to have someone understand my feelings exactly, it was a bit emotional for me actually. I Am You will no doubt be an epic and jolting read. Personally, I look forward to the feedback of her readers when her book is released. I would like to thank Tanea Mclean for allowing me to view your book before it was released. Also, I truly appreciate you granting me opportunity to interview you.