Book excerpt: Leading by Example: Dealing with Childhood Trauma as a Type-A Somewhat-Sorta-Kinda-Occasional Adult by Kelsey Quinn

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From the Blurb:

Taglines also considered for this book:

An Uptight Capricorn Realizes She Can’t Control Everything and Has a Breakdown for 200 pages

Things I Didn’t Say in Therapy for Fear I’d be Committed

How to Be Uncomfortably Self-Aware and Stupidly Honest About It

Do you like to read books about people who generally know what they’re doing and have their life in order? If so, walk away, this book is not for you!

In Leading by Example, Kelsey Quinn shares her personal account of all the ways she’s tried (and mostly failed) to deal with her emotional issues after living through child abuse. With unnerving honesty and head-strong determination, she dives into topics like forgiveness, vulnerability, and shame as complex trauma responses come up in her day-to-day life.


My father didn’t love me; he didn’t even like me. I suppose that’s as good a place to start as any. That’s the beginning of the story, anyway.

You should know what you’re getting into! This isn’t an easy story to tell, and I think it probably won’t be easy to read either. My father wasn’t a good man, and that affected my life in more ways than I can count.

I wrote about the worst days I ever lived, the worst things I ever did, and the worst thoughts I ever had.

I wrote it all down exactly like I would tell it to a friend, and I hope that’s how you read it.

I hope you imagine us sitting on your couch, drinking a cup of tea with blankets in our laps, so we’re nice and cozy. Or maybe imagine us in your car having one of those emotional late-night talks.

I hope you imagine my hands waving about in big, exaggerated gestures because I never know what to do with my hands! I hope you see my eyes a little wild and squinting as if I’m completely focused on something I don’t particularly enjoy. If I’m being honest, I probably have the vibes of a spooked animal, tense and ready to run at any given second, so imagine me that way too.

I hope you hear these words with a southern drawl, and I hope it sounds like I’m ranting and raving because mostly I am. I talk fast, loud, and pointed. Never did learn how to be gentle with it.

I hope you imagine me struggling to get it all out because that’s the truth. The most honest thing I can plainly say.

It’s not an easy story, but it’s mine.

I’ll try to lighten the mood with some humor, but I’m not very funny, so take that with a grain of salt. It’ll mostly be puns and enough Catholic jokes to get me excommunicated.

But please, if you do nothing else, imagine me laughing at my own jokes because I truly, truly do!

I am also keenly aware that if you’re anything like me, even with my bad jokes, all of this might be too much at any given point. Some of these stories might be too hard to hear, and at some point, you may have to put it down. You may even need to skip something you’re not ready to deal with yet.

That’s okay. I’ve set it up, so you can take what you can and leave the rest if need be.

Each chapter can be read on its own and understood in its own context. You’ll probably need to read the next chapter to understand the background, but after that, you should be good to go. If you set it down and don’t come back for 6 months, it should be fine to pick up where you left off.

I promise I won’t take it personally!

And if you’re worried about it, spoiler alert, I turn out just fine in the end.

Mostly fine. Fine-ish. Ignore the explosions in the background; I have it under control!


Kelsey Quinn is a proud San Antonio girl. She has a Master’s in Vocal Performance and sings opera. Everyone generally agrees she should have stuck to that! Instead, to everyone’s deep dismay, she decided to spill the family secrets and talk about her feelings. When not doing all that, she can be found hanging out with her dog and binge-watching Netflix, reading fanfiction, and/or spamming the group chat with far too many memes.

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