Ieisha Gilliam, Author of Shebrews

Pensacola author Ieisha Gilliam shares inspiring journey in “Shebrews”

In her 36 years of life, Pensacola native Ieisha Gilliam has held many titles: she is a mother, daughter, sister, and aunt…and now, she is able to say she is a newly published author. 

Ieisha recently published her first book, Shebrews, a reflection of her own personal journey to overcome trauma, sexual abuse, depression, grief, and more. Ieisha hopes that by openly sharing her journey to healing, others will identify with her story, be inspired to tell their own, and create a purpose from their pain. 

Ieisha was always a quiet child and was very reserved-  the exact opposite of her older sister, who was very outgoing.There was a time in Ieisha’s life where she stopped speaking for an entire year. During this challenging time, her mother encouraged her to write out how she felt and to draw her feelings, in order to help express them.  Though she had lost her voice and will to speak, her mother found another way to encourage her to come out of her shell.  Since Ieisha didn’t know how to express her feelings for a very long time, beginning to keep a diary and starting to journal helped her learn how to articulate her emotions. Now, everyday she writes something, whether it be what she thinks or is feeling. These experiences in her youth helped her  develop a passion for reading, English, and creating stories. 

“Words are powerful! Life happens to us all and we are all affected differently. I hid my battle wounds for years and suffered in silence; I made a lot of mistakes. Through my story, I talk about what happened, self sabotage, being a high functioning person with depression and more,” Ieisha explains. “Life made me sit down, deal with my mess, and heal.”

As an adult, Ieisha worked  in the corporate world doing sales for 12 years. During this time, she had to learn how to be very vocal. Having this job forced her to go from very timid and shy, to more outspoken. Her career also led to her taking an interest in helping others with  credit repair. 

Though Ieisha had begun to find her voice and was journaling daily, she didn’t realize how she was walking around carrying so much pain. She appeared to others to be fine, because she made sure on the outside she always looked good. Ieisha later took a writing class in an effort to improve her writing skills.  From the very first class, she felt as though God was giving her an opportunity and an assignment to write down her life’s story. Though Ieisha had never planned to tell anyone about much of her trauma, her mentor and writing instructor, Mrs. Jenkins always encouraged her with empathy and positivity. As she finally began to write, Ieisha began to see how closed off she was to her loved ones. She knew that she needed to heal from her past pain, so that she could be free to “live in peace, not pieces,” as she describes. 

Through Ms. Jenkins’ coaching, Ieisha was able to write out her entire story on the computer. Though the entire process took about 6 months, about mid-way, Ieisha hit a metaphorical brick wall, as she began approaching difficult topics that she didn’t really want to confront.  However, she knew it was something that had to be done for her own personal growth, and in order to help others. Ms. Jenkins reminded her that “If you can’t talk about it, then it’s holding you captive.” Her mentor encouraged her to process her past, and get it through the pain of her past trauma. Ieisha finished her book with two phases of editing, which took about a week. 

Becoming an author was important to Ieisha, as she had a deep, persisting passion for reading and writing. “I honestly would rather write to someone instead of talking to them. I can get a clear view of what I want to say, and write an amazing story so that the person can fully understand me,” she explains. “Why say something that I can’t reverse or say ‘I’m sorry’ for later? It’s better to write it out first. I recognize the power of powers and how they can sometimes cause offense or pain. Words can hurt.” 

Shebrews is Ieisha’s details life story and carries readers through her healing journey. Ieisha navigates sexual abuse, depression, and grief that previously shut her down. As she got older, these experiences shaped into developing the negative patterns. One of the most relatable chapters in her book is titled “Superwoman with No Cape,” which speaks on depression. Ieisha’s depression didn’t present as most people’s symptoms usually do; as she outwardly didn’t seem depressed or exhibit the typical signs. While she wanted someone to help her, she also would push people away. Ieisha never publicly acknowledged that she wasn’t okay, until she confronted her past while writing her story. 

Throughout the story, Ieisha works to find her voice within. She had to learn to be the person that she wanted to be, and had to develop the confidence to “show up” and stop lying in the background. She had to stop closing her own doors and canceling her own opportunities. Self-sabotage has held her back for so many years. Ieisha changed the way she spoke to herself, and began to speak life into herself. Soon, she recognized her self-worth and stopped dulling her own light. “I deserve to have a great life. Those times I get nervous or doubt tries to creep in,  I remember why I started on this journey. Reading Shebrews, I hope readers get inspired to heal and that I can empower them to be their true self.”

Earlier this spring, Ieisha was able to have a book launch for Shebrews. Though she always knew she wanted to write a book, she didn’t initially want to tell her story. The launch event gave her an opportunity to really celebrate finally doing so. Many of her friends and supporters had never been to a book launch before, and they wanted to see what a book signing was like. For her to be able to create this experience for her community was incredible. Two different speakers who knew Ieisha well spoke on her growth and personal story. The event was a huge success, where she was able to mingle with people and show a different side of herself, going out of her comfort zone. No longer afraid of talking about what she had been through, people now were able to understand why she acted the way she did at certain times. 

Ieisha considers herself an “old soul.” Aside from reading, drawing, and journaling, Ieisha treasures the simple things in life, such as enjoying a good cup of coffee each morning, praying and devotionals, doing puzzles, and spending time with her beloved daughter and family. For her, “less is best,” as these simple joys help take her out of any negative mental space. 

Through writing and publishing her own journey, Ieisha wants to encourage and show others that they too are able to acknowledge and give a voice to their pain. Ieisha believes that while no one is exempt from pain, through the pain we can develop a sense of strength. 

Ieisha offers words of wisdom for others who may be suffering. “If you just keep going, it will get better; there is always a rainbow at the end of the storm. Write it out, try to find one person who you can share it with, or even text it to someone if that makes you more comfortable. It is okay to share your story.”

“There is greatness growing inside of you,” Ieisha confidently states. From someone who was previously comfortable in the background, Ieisha Gilliam has now come to the forefront of her life! “The things that happen to us, do not define us. They will not dim our light,” she promises.  The last chapter of Shebrews explains where the name of the book comes from; and how we are each brewing our own greatness. 

You can purchase your copy of Shebrews on Amazon HERE, and also find more information on Ieisha Gilliam at her website, www.iamshebrews.com. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook @Ieisha_Gilliam and, if you are in the Pensacola area, feel free to shoot her a message to purchase a copy of Shebrews!

 

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