Author Interview: Inexplicably Me: A Story of Labels, Worthiness, and Refusing to Be Boxed In by Chelsea Austin Montgomery-Duban Wächter
Some authors – and their books – just radiate joy, no matter the tough content between the covers. Inexplicably Me and its author, Chelsea, are that pair. From the moment Chelsea contacted me about her recent memoir, I could feel the tenants of the book: love and compassion. Chelsea was kind enough to answer some questions I had about her writing experience! Check out our interview and pick up Inexplicably Me, out now!
Inexplicably Me: A Story of Labels, Worthiness, and Refusing to Be Boxed Inby Chelsea Austin Montgomery-Duban Wächter
Published by: Health Communications Inc
on May 3, 2022
A hilariously moving and inspirational memoir of a girl with two gay dads, navigating her way through life with joy, love, gratitude, and an excellent sense of humor.
As the daughter of two gay fathers in the 90s, Chelsea has always had a different outlook than some people. And yet, her message is one of universal importance – love is the most important force in the world. Through her moving and at times hilarious memoir, Chelsea reflects on how we are all much more similar than we are different.
Living “two doors down from normal,” Chelsea quickly learned that society loves to put people in boxes, but these boxes do not always reflect how we feel about ourselves. Through Inexplicably Me, Chelsea works to bring people together in love and acceptance and to illustrate that, while her story may seem worlds away from others, we all strive for happiness and love.
From sharing the stage with President Obama when she was only eighteen years old, to her father spending her senior year of college in federal prison camp, to her biological mother dying of cancer when she was only 56, Chelsea explores her painful and joyful experiences with the hope that readers will find inspiration to face their own challenges and embrace their own joys.
Inexplicably Me is a bridge for those who fear what they don’t understand, as well as a possibility for those who have lacked love in their lives to see how they can start to access their self-worth, begin achieving their dreams, and start loving themselves again. Most of all, it is a reminder that everyone will have an opinion about who you are supposed to be, but you, and only you, get to decide exactly who it is you want to be.
Interview with Chelsea Austin Montgomery-Duban Wächter
Inexplicably Me is your memoir. Were there parts of your life you wanted to include but couldn’t? Parts you knew right away were essential?
I was really lucky that the majority of the feedback I received from editors was not that I needed to remove much, but mostly add more, which was super exciting.
Mostly what ended up on the cutting room floor, so to speak, was from one of the first edits my husband did for me. I was writing the book right after our country had elected a new president and I certainly had a lot of feelings about that. And because of that, I wanted to include some more political beliefs and opinions I had. Truthfully, my husband was right when he told me that if I wanted to reach a larger audience and help people see things from my perspective, I couldn’t alienate them right off the bat. It ended up being a huge personal growth opportunity and certainly had me working through some of my own unrealized hypocrisy and for that, I am so grateful.
When it comes to stories I knew I was going to include, I knew without question that I would share the story of my birth, the first time I learned what “gay” meant, and when I got my first period. Those are the experiences and moments I have been asked about the most in my life and they’re stories I absolutely love to tell. I knew I couldn’t answer every question I have received over the last twenty-some years, but I wanted to include the ones that I felt people were the most curious about.
There were definitely parts of my life that I wanted to keep private and things that maybe I would’ve included but felt that some of those moments might be a better fit for a book in the future…so stay tuned!
The overwhelming message in your book is about love and compassion. What was it like balancing that message with some of the tougher parts of your life?
I deeply believe that you can find love and compassion in any situation and the harder it is to find, the more gratifying it can be. That being said, through grief and my daddy’s incarceration, finding love and compassion was definitely quite difficult. It took getting all of my thoughts down onto paper and then going back and looking for where I found moments of love and compassion even when they weren’t as apparent.
I believe it’s incredibly important to be honest and realistic and talk about things that aren’t always butterflies and unicorns. Sometimes life was really challenging, but that doesn’t mean that those moments lacked love, it just means that it looked different at that point in my life. I would say especially in those challenging moments I learned compassion. When I’ve had to put myself in someone else’s shoes, learn what empathy sounds and feels like, and take steps to show up for those I love, I have experienced so much compassion and been given examples of the myriad of ways that love and compassion can show up. Should I say it again? Love and compassion…
What is one thing you would tell a person picking up your book for the first time?
“Get ready friend, this book gets really personal…”
All jokes aside, my hope for whoever picks up this book is that they can experience self-love, compassion, and acceptance and through that build a bridge to connect with humans in their life that may look or act differently than they do. It is my belief that the best way to connect with others is through laughter and tears and I hope that Inexplicably Me can provide you with both. If nothing else, I hope you feel like you have a friend with you while you read over some of the most intimate details of my life because I share them with you with the greatest joy.
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