WWE Superstar, AJ Mendez, will sign her new book: Crazy is My Superpower Wednesday, April 19th @ 6:00pm at Meltdown Comics in Hollywood, CA.
- Each person attending must purchase one or more books from Meltdown Comics to have any items signed.
- AJ will personalize and take photos, no memorabilia please.
- Signing begins at 6PM. Line up is first come, first served.
- The event is FREE, if you want a signature you must buy Crazy is My Superpower book.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dee Dee DeBartlo, DeBartlo & Company
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WWE Champion AJ Mendez Brooks’ literary memoir is a raw and powerful account of how her greatest weakness became the key to her success, in and out of the ring
“AJ Mendez Brooks is a stunningly gifted writer. Crazy Is My Superpower is at once breathtakingly honest, hilariously funny, self-deprecating and incredibly inspiring. I absolutely loved every page of this book.”
—Julie Klam, New York Times bestselling author of Friendkeeping and You Had Me at Woof
“AJ Mendez Brooks’ candid account of her struggles and success offers young women a wonderful role model regarding how to be yourself, stand up for what you believe in and embrace the ‘crazy.’ AJ’s story promotes empowerment, not just through physical strength, but through emotional strength as well.”
—Dr. Jen Hartstein, family psychologist and author of Princess Recovery
“This compelling memoir, written with heartfelt humor and strength, shows how AJ persevered over circumstances that a lesser human would have been destroyed by. She is truly a superhero.”
—Caroline Rhea, actor, TV host, and stand-up comedian
Former WWE superstar AJ Mendez Brooks, known in the ring as AJ Lee, isn’t your typical wrestler. (And not just because she’s only 5’ 2”.) Neither a damsel-in-distress nor an Amazonian vixen, she’s instead a scrappy powerhouse, a feminist, and a self-described nerd who regularly geeks out with her 4.11 million Twitter followers about topics like comic books, junk food, puppies, and video games.
But AJ wasn’t always so comfortably herself. In her new memoir, CRAZY IS MY SUPERPOWER: How I Triumphed by Breaking Bones, Breaking Hearts, and Breaking the Rules (Crown Archetype; Hardcover; $25.00; On Sale April 4, 2017), she shares her incredible journey from an awkward, insecure girl in an unstable home to an internationally recognized wrestling phenomenon. It’s the honest and unflinching story of her long road to self-acceptance, including her struggles with bipolar disorder, and all the twists, turns, and turmoil that made her who she is today.
Long before she entered the ring, AJ was a quirky, quiet girl, the youngest of three growing up within a highly dysfunctional family—in the kind of household where chaos reigned and she and her siblings often took care of their parents, instead of the other way around. Her father dabbled in drugs and hung with a dangerous crowd, and her mother, who had undiagnosed bipolar disorder, could be erratic and cruel. Destitute, they were evicted twenty times before AJ turned ten, moving every few months, sleeping on relatives’ couches, shopping for dented cans at the supermarket, and salvaging toys from dumpsters. They were, as AJ puts it, “straight-up pilgrims without the scurvy.”
AJ was born premature and asthmatic, and as a kid, she felt weak, uncoordinated, and above all powerless. She struggled to fit in and act “normal,” and when that didn’t work, she tried to embrace her aesthetic as “the tiny weirdo in baggy clothing who always looked angry.” She escaped her torments by devouring comic books and video games, inspired by their tough and unconventional female characters. But it wasn’t until she discovered professional wrestling that she realized superheroes could be real. Sprawled out in front of the TV watching WWF with her brother, she was fascinated by the strong, confident, badass female wrestlers she saw onscreen, kicking butt, taking names, and fighting their own battles. Tired of feeling small and pitiable, AJ decided this was her dream: to become a professional wrestler. Or as she recalls the decision: “I felt like a freak and outcast, so naturally I would want to run away with the circus.”
AJ trained hard, gaining more than a few bruises along the way, but eventually earned a WWE contract. As she came up in this male-dominated sport, she resisted industry pressure to dress provocatively and instead carved out a space for herself, creating an ass-kicking persona that reflected her nerdy interests—right down to her signature Chuck Taylors. As a three-time Diva champion, she gained a legion of devoted fans, including young women who were inspired and empowered by her style and her attitude. AJ retired at the height of her career on her own terms, having done what she set out to do: find her inner strength and show it to the world.
But the road to becoming a wrestler wasn’t AJ’s only difficult journey. In CRAZY IS MY SUPERPOWER she opens up for the first time about her bipolar disorder, confronting her demons, and changing her life for the better. Her mother’s illness cast a shadow over her life, as did her family’s insistence that it didn’t exist – illness was weakness and the Mendez family was anything but weak. AJ struggled to balance her ambitions with the need to take care of her mother. Saddled with this immense responsibility, her own symptoms, like panic attacks, insomnia, and depression, became harder to ignore. She started to realize that she needed help herself, and that the first step was to be brave enough to acknowledge this simple fact.
AJ describes discovering her disorder with her typical humor and candor—“The first time I went to see a psychiatrist I was dressed like Carmen Sandiego and just as determined to not be found.” Her honesty is raw, radical, and deeply moving. Her diagnosis wasn’t the end of the world; in fact, it helped her in her day job. As a wrestler, she took the darkness she’d spent years trying not to look at, and channeled it into the wild-eyed “crazy ex-girlfriend” persona that fans loved for her passion and unpredictability. What most people view as a hardship, AJ embraced as inspiration, shattering the stigma attached to mental illness.
AJ’s writing is full of wit and heart. In CRAZY IS MY SUPERPOWER, her natural talent and one-of-a-kind voice make for an engaging and compelling read. Among AJ’s many frank and funny observations about life in and out of the ring:
• On growing up with a complex family dynamic: “I have the fun parents that take us to R-rated movies… and who will encourage me, at age fourteen, to get a tattoo (I will decline, saying, ‘I feel like one of us needs to think rationally about this’). But having the ‘fun’ parents can have its drawbacks… Fun parents accidentally spend the rent money on a new pair of sneakers for themselves… Fun parents party hard… Every time I opened our refrigerator to find nothing but a forty-ounce Budweiser, I would ugly cry.”
• On her first time watching the leading ladies of the WWF: “I was floored. I had thought spandex-wearing heroines had only existed within the pages of my comics or pixelated games. But here were real-life, flesh-and-blood ass kickers. Some of the women were jacked and tough as nails. The others were gorgeous blond bombshells. All of them were confident, interesting pieces of the show. I watched as they received brutal beatings and doled them out twice as hard…I needed it to be real. I needed to experience the power and strength with my own hands in real life.”
• On whether professional wrestling is “fake”: “It is an entertainment business like any other, but with the caveat of sometimes breaking bones. Just because something is planned doesn’t meant the physicality hurts any less. If someone tells me they are going to punch me in the mouth, does that make the punch hurt any less just because I know it’s coming? I’d argue it takes bigger balls to know that pain is coming your way and not run in the other direction. When done right, pro wrestling can and should be a work of art.”
• On misogyny and the perils of being a woman in the world: “Asking a woman to smile is either a creepy invasion of personal space or a rude assumption that a woman needs rescuing. We are not damsels in distress. I’m a self-rescuing princess, thank you very much… And misogynists, please shut the f**k up… Step up. Be kinder. Be smarter. Be better. Or just smile real pretty for me, so I can punch you in the teeth.”
• On dealing with mental illness: “My family did not believe in mental illness. They thought it was a creation of pansies who couldn’t tough it out when life got rough. And then it screwed us without even having the courtesy to buy us dinner first… What I wish for anyone reading this who feels even the slightest worry that something could be wrong inside of them is that you find the strength to talk to someone about it… Just taking the time to put your mental health first, acknowledging that it deserves respect and care, and accepting help when you need it, can save your life.”
• On playing “crazy” in the ring: “I had spent so long ignoring my bipolar disorder, I was still used to being in denial about it, and sometimes untrained in controlling it. Would reaching deep down and pulling it to the surface only serve in helping it to consume me? Or would it be the perfect way to hide in plain sight?… I got in touch with the deep, dark corners of my mind I had tried to never look at for too long… I picked the worst qualities I knew I was capable of and my character proudly shouted them from the rooftops… To me, I wasn’t playing crazy. I was discovering my superpowers.”
In CRAZY IS MY SUPERPOWER, AJ’s unique charm and oddball sense of humor shine, as she tells her fascinating story for the first time. AJ’s tale is a brave confessional about embracing your weird, your weakness, and your crazy, and turning those things into your greatest strengths.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
AJ Mendez Brooks is a former WWE wrestler and three-time champion under the ring name AJ Lee. She currently works with several animal rescue and youth-oriented non-profit organizations. She lives with her husband, their rescue dog, and her Xbox in Chicago.
ABOUT THE BOOK
CRAZY IS MY SUPERPOWER
How I Triumphed by Breaking Bones, Breaking Hearts, and Breaking the Rules
By AJ Mendez Brooks
Find out more at www.ajmendezbrooks.com
More Advance Praise for
“This book is for every young woman who couldn’t find a seat at the lunch table. AJ Mendez Brooks writes about loneliness, mental illness and finding her place in the world with genuine vulnerability and perhaps more importantly, genuine strength.”
—Amy Koppelman, author of A Mouthful of Air, Hesitation Wounds and I Smile Back
“AJ Mendez Brooks not only pulls no punches in the ring, her pen is just as mighty and ass-kicking. This woman is 5’2” of raw talent, heroic honesty, and gut-busting humor, and her roller-coaster of a story of triumph over Dickensian roots, search for authentic selfhood, and redefining what it means to be female in the world left me both breathless and feeling like I should be jumping up and down in some loud stadium somewhere shouting, “Yes, yes, oh my god, f**k yes!!!!!”
—Deborah Copaken, New York Times bestselling author of Shutterbabe and The Red Book
“AJ Mendez Brooks is the role model we desperately need in today’s culture! Authentic and inspiring, AJ embraces her challenges, bravely discusses her past, and shows us all how to turn pain into power.”
—Emily Roberts MA, LPC – “The Guidance Girl” psychotherapist and author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girl’s Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are
WWE Superstar, AJ Mendez, will sign her new book: Crazy is My Superpower Wednesday, April 19th @ 6:00pm.