West Island author's memoir: The Joy of Life

West Island author's memoir details finding joy when the scars of childhood trauma run deep

How many of us run through our day on autopilot, portraying competency as we get through our chores and family obligations without an actual thought about our happiness? Or worse, we know we aren't content, but we hide it deep inside because we believe our joy doesn't matter, that we don't matter. It's a scary thought that we bury deeper, refusing to investigate their origins.

Olga Munari is a woman who had everything that most North American women aspire to - husband, children, beautiful home, and full-owner of a successful business. But Olga was a woman who held secrets that kept her from finding joy. On the outside it was one thing; inside, that was another story begging to escape.

"I felt insignificant," the 55-year old author confides in the first chapter of her bestselling 2020 memoir, The Joy of Life Now What? published by the Montreal-based Smiling Eyes Press.

During her childhood and adolescence in Outremont, Montreal, Olga felt she didn't fit in with her family and friends. These feelings of inadequacy reach new depths at the tender age of 10 when Olga is a victim of sexual abuse. Her coping mechanism - hide who she was and what she felt, putting up a front of being a tomboy so everyone can revel in her strength and not expose her as a "small unsure child" or detect that she felt "unworthy" of love.

Now What details how these insecurities followed her into adulthood and in her marriage, inciting her to create strict routines and tasks that reflected what she thought a proper woman should do—never questioning if these chores she pushed onto herself fulfilled her.

As fate would have it, Olga was thrown a curveball - breast cancer. Olga writes in her memoir, "Cancer saved me." We see a transition happening in the story and a new understanding emerging in Olga— "Beating cancer was my second chance at life."

She begins to chart her way in hopes of finding joy in her life.

Olga writes about the therapies and those that aided her into addressing her issues with f