We had the good fortune of connecting with Christina Custodio and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Christina, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I’ve been creative for as long as I can remember, though I didn’t always recognize my abilities within the creative realm. When I think back, I was often making up songs about my day, teachers, friends, or just situations we were in, to the tune of well-known music. English essays were enjoyable and easy to write. Putting words together always came easy to me. It never occurred to me that wasn’t something everyone could do.
It wasn’t until soon after September 8, 2015, when I realized the impact my words had on the world around me. That was the day my thirteen-year-old son Isaiah experienced a brain bleed while on the football field and almost died. It was a day that changed my and my family’s lives. A couple of days following his emergency brain surgery, I started a Facebook page to keep friends and family updated on all that was happening. Each day I chronicled every part of what we were experiencing. I shared the good, bad, and even the ridiculous. I shared my faith and how it impacted all forty-four days and nights I spent in the hospital with Isaiah. After just a few weeks, I had an unintended following of thousands.
Writing about real-life goes beyond creativity because it’s real. However, sharing words that inspire and move others toward a certain emotion or action requires creativity of words. I never intended to become a writer. I still struggle to define myself by that title. I have come to realize; however, that is who God created me to be. I simply was not called to that position until much later in life. I believe I was being prepared for 40+ years to get to where I am today. Though it came through a difficult circumstance, I am thankful and now realize God was rearranging the universe to line things up just the way they happened.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I now have a book coming out this Fall called “When God Changed His Mind” about the time I spent in the hospital with my son as he fought to not just live but to gain everything he had lost back. He had to learn how to walk, talk, read, write, and just about everything, all over again. It was undoubtedly a challenging time for him, but also me as his mother. In addition, my husband and two daughters spent a month and a half adjusting to life without me, going through the same journey on a much different path.
I did not initially pursue a career in writing. Instead, it pursued me through life circumstances. I decided to accept the challenge and not only have the book about my son coming out in the Fall but was also a part of an author compilation book called “She Writes for Him: Black Voices of Wisdom.” In addition, I also have a book on racial reconciliation that will be published sometime toward the end of this year or early 2022. After the death of George Floyd, I found myself speaking about my struggles as a Black woman in a predominately white world. However, I wanted to connect with others in a way that was not confrontational, but inclusive, allowing all types of people to see themselves in the experiences I shared. My book will deal with not only racial unrest but political and religious discord as well.
I continue to find gratitude in the midst of all of my circumstances—difficult or not, as they continue to guide me to who God has called me to be and share with others. I have learned that we each have a story to tell, and it’s important to tell it. We never know how it will change even one person, and that person can change the world.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well, I live in Greenville, SC. and we have the most beautiful and unique downtown. I would take them to more than one of the many incredible restaurants, walk down through Falls Park (in the middle of downtown), where we will find an incredible suspension bridge stretched over the Reedy River and gorgeous waterfall, and catch a show at the Peace Center. Maybe even hike through the woods of Table Rock.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My son Isaiah has been an incredible example of joy amid trials and is the person who really inspired me to write. My husband Ozzy and my daughters Abrianna and Olivia are also constant sources of love and encouragement. They make me believe that what I’m doing matters.
The picture of me and my son: Amy Gray Photography Headshot: Mary Denman Photography