( ENSPIRE Health & Wellness ) Robert E. Blackmon Writes Book “Courage Behind The Mask: A Story of Life, Death and Surviving Covid-19” To Show The Importance of Telling Your Story
ENSPIRE Contributor: Naomi Stamps
Robert E. Blackmon carries many titles, including GIF/TikTok personality, author, lifestyle and fitness specialist, and Fashion Designer. His careful attention to detail and enthusiastic personality are traits that made him stand out and land opportunities to work with celebrities like Brooke Shields. He has always had a creative side to him since he was young, and it has evolved as he got older. For example, at the start of the pandemic, Robert E. Blackmon shared comical videos on TikTok, which helped build his online presence and brought smiles to viewers’ faces.
It was hard for him to maintain a positive attitude when his 72-year-old mother, who had pre-existing health conditions, caught COVID-19 in March 2020. She spent 79 days in a Detriot hospital, drifting in and out of a coma as she fought for her life. Feeling lost, Robert E. Blackmon chronicled his mother’s journey in a journal to help express his feelings as he waited for her miraculous recovery. He eventually turned his journal entries into an inspiring book called “Courage Behind The Mask: A Story of Life, Death and Surviving Covid-19.” It became an Amazon Best Seller detailing not only his mother’s COVID battle but the side effects that came after recovering from the virus. Robert E. Blackmon’s story shows that through the darkest of moments, there’s still hope.
ENSPIRE spoke with Robert E. Blackmon to discuss his new book and what the writing process taught him.
After writing your journal entries, you turned them into a book after being encouraged by your peers. Were you hesitant in telling your story? If so, why?
The encouragement came from my husband. In the beginning, it was only going to be a journal of sorts for my mom to piece together the events that happened to her. As time progressed, it became clear to me that to tell her to story, I needed those involved to share their experiences through the journey. That is what transformed the journal into a book. I was extremely hesitant. It was a very painful process to relive this nightmare, but it was necessary to tell the story.
When you were writing this, were you still making TikTok videos and working on other projects, or did you take a break to recollect?
The funny thing is I didn’t join TikTok until my mom was on a ventilator. My agent Amanda thought it would be a good distraction for me. When it came time to write the book, TikTok had become such an important part of the story that I continued making videos. I shared a few details about my mom with my followers, and they really helped me get through the writing process.
What was the most challenging part of writing about your mother’s journey?
That is a great question. For the longest time, I tried to remain clinical in my writing of the events. I didn’t want to get too personal or give out too much personal information. I discovered that I had to include myself and my personal feelings within the story, or it would not have connected with people. I never meant to be part of the story at all but found it was a necessary element.
Your book highlights the side effects of COVID-19 your mother faced, which include 80% hearing loss, lung damage, and six months of pneumonia. Why do you feel that the side effects of COVID-19 are often overlooked?
Simply put, the pandemic is ongoing across the globe. Outside of medical professionals, everyone else is focused on vaccines, masks, and individual rights regarding both. Most people view this as a live-or-die issue. The gray areas are rarely discussed. There are millions of people around the world who suffer from Post-Covid or Long-Haul-Covid issues. I feel that as time goes on, this will be more of the topic. Once the focus moves from Covid directly to preventable treatment, the mindset will change. Much like those who continue to suffer from direct physical and emotional effects from The World Trade Center 9/11 attacks in New York City.
What do you hope others will take away from reading your book?
Both my mom and I hope that people realize that Covid doesn’t just happen to “other people”; it can happen to you. Taking it seriously can save not only your life but the lives of those you love most. I wanted to share an honest scenario about what happened to a real person and how it almost took her life.
What has sharing your mother’s COVID-19 journey taught you?
This experience has made my mother a person to me. They may sound strange, but we often don’t look past our parents and such. It has taught me to honor the courage she has to live for not only herself but for me. I also have a better understanding of the fragility of life. Not taking one moment for granted is so important.
While Robert E. Blackmon’s story started as a therapeutic way to handle the worry he had for his mother, it developed into a story to encourage others that have faced similar situations. Sometimes we’re hesitant in telling our stories because it may be painful, embarrassing, or we may doubt our capabilities to tell an interesting story. Robert E. Blackmon shows we shouldn’t allow these fears to stop us from telling stories to show others they’re not alone.
Get a copy of his book on Amazon or Robert’s website.
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