Title: Braided Cord
Subtitle: Tough Times In and Out
Author: Liz Kulp
Length: 320 pages
Finalist for: Favorite Special-Needs Memoir
Message from the Author: "I was born an addict and ever since I was tiny I have overdone, overlooked, or overwhelmed myself. I was born with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, otherwise known as FASD. That means my mom drank while I was trying to grow in her stomach and because of her drinking some of my parts got mixed up and didn't grow too well. My differences are hidden and that's a real pain, because it is easy to judge a person by what you see. The most difficult parts of my life are caused from my brain which was probably the most affected. I have trouble learning new things and I live in a world that is louder, softer, harder, scratchier, noisier, shakier, slippery and more chaotic than most of the people reading this. I want you to imagine what it is like to feel the seams of your socks, the label on your clothes, the flicker of fluorescent lights, the mumblings and rumblings of every noise around you, and then try to learn new things. Overwhelming. Yes, that is what it is often for me. My mom's drinking ripped away who I was to be and helped create who I am today and what I am able to be. If she had known how it would change my life I bet she would have made a different choice. But she didn't, and we can't change how things are. I am as I am. I can't even talk to her about it. She's dead. I was a foster baby and then adopted. ... I had to fail first in order to succeed. And I failed over, and over, and over again. ... I am just one of hundreds of thousands of people whose lives are affected each year by alcohol consumption before breathing your first breath of air. For those of you who were not pickled before birth, who believe you are wiser than I am, I ask you to take my thoughts and use your brains to make a difference."
Excerpts from Braided Cord:
... my mind shouts louder. I think Mom might be trying to talk to me. I AM not LISTENING to her! "Her! My little girl friend!" my heart is screaming too. "You are so evil," my spirit is stomping up and down and down and up! "And I have forgiven you over, and over, and over, and over, and over again, for hurting my body, but now my mind and heart are gone too," my soul feels dead. I will live as proof ...
... I know that I have done some good things already in my life, besides just messing up. I know I am a talented person and I have a reason to be in this world. I just need to weigh out the good and the bad and hopefully I will make better choices and succeed. People don’t understand that when something finally gets into my head it sticks like glue ...
... I am grateful to Dewey, a regular "in heaven," a weathered man with loving bloodshot eyes, a godly missing teeth smile and yellow skin who sticks up for me and protects me like his daughter. He hugged me and says "I don't want to see you here again." He won't be around much longer and we have seen each other too many times. He is preparing to die. He is a Vietnam vet. His words of kindness are for my success. He has been my warrior angel. I will write for Dewey and the many.