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Apr 15 2010

Your Story

Inspiration comes in many forms. Inspire someone else by telling us your story. Share your dreams, fears, successes or any other piece of inspiration that may help someone else.

Face in the mirror
(Norman Rockwell Photo – The Girl in the Glass)

We are working on a TV Talk Show all about women. You could be selected to be a guest. So tell us a good story. Be sure to tell us the “How To” of your success and how you managed the “Emotional Roller-coaster” that we all ride.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.becausewearewomen.com/blog/?p=251

20 comments

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  1. marlene

    I can’t wait to hear all your wonderful stories. Women are so amazing. Check out the amazing women who are working on the TV Show with me –
    Corinna Sager – http://www.lifestyleintl.com

    Mariana Pagliere, President & CEO – http://www.figure5.net
    Jilayne Murty, Vice President, Client Services – http://www.figure5.net

  2. Candy Godbee

    At the ripe young age of 22 I moved to a new community. In an attempt to meet other women, I joined the Jr. Woman’s Club. It was part of the world’s oldest and one of the largest women’s volunteer organizations in the world, the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC). I was inspired by all they did for the community and to empower women. I eventually married, only to find out that (after 5 1/2 years of dating) the man that I married was not the same man I had dated. He became abusive. Oh, by the way, the organization has always tried to make women aware of Domestic Violence,. Yes, I heard all of the signs and was in denial.

    Then, I was asked to serve on the District Board of Directors. Sure, why not. After some time on that board, I was asked to serve as the District Director, which would also make me a member of the state Board of Directors. Well, THAT act of faith and trust in me, led me to look in the mirror one morning after being called a stupid bitch, who would never amount to anything and realize that something was wrong with this reflection! How could these women have the confidence in me to lead all of the clubs in this district and yet, this one person bring me down sooooo much? This was my lightbulb moment. I KNEW I was a better person that my husband would let me be. It was I needed to have the guts to leave an abusive marriage! This simple act of enpowerment changed my life.

    As I write this, I am preparing to be installed on May 21st to be the next State Director of Jr. Clubs for GFWC IL, which now puts me on the International Board of Directors! Another ironic thing, at the 2008 International convention, the organization voted to make Domestic Violence Awareness our signature project! With the beginning of this administration, Domestic Violence Awareness is our special focus, along with many Community Service Programs that empower women all over the world. Be sure to check us out at http://www.GFWC.org and http://www.gfwcillinois.org. Our latest achievement…we were chosen as the non profit winner of WEtv’s Pledge 24 in 2010. As such our organization is receiving 60 Public Service Announcements on WE during the month of April.

    The simple act of volunteering for a non profit has truly changed my life and empowered me to be able to speak publicly ( I thought I’d die the first time I had to use a microphone), have confidence in who I am and what I do, and oh yes…I am now VERY happily married! I feel every woman should participate in volunteering, especially when it involves empowering other women!
    Candy Godbee, Kempton, IL GFWC IL Director-Elect of Jr. Clubs

    1. marlene

      Thank you, this is quite a story. One of the most important support we can give other women is the knowledge that they don’t have to be abused in any way, by anyone. I have often heard stories of women who feel that they deserve the treatment. How Sad.

      I can’t agree with you more about empowering women. Read the post below – you may be able to relate.
      Please stay in touch and let us know how things are going. Maybe we can collaborate on BWAW event in Illinois.

      Have a wonderful day.

      1. Candy Godbee

        WOW!! I hadn’t given this story a second thought, and one of our club members told me that she liked my article here. I had to google myself to refresh my memory, because, as you can well imagine, I’ve been very busy traveling the state and country since my installation, and I do not check the e-mail I gave very often anymore. I’ve got loads of unread messages there.

        I’m sure glad she found it and refreshed my memory. Marlene, I would LOVE to network with you about hosting an event in Illinois. If we could work together on this, please e-mail me @ candygfwc@yahoo.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

    2. Jen

      Congratulations on your major accomplishments. It is so very encouraging for others to hear that it can and will get better once you learn how to love yourself.

  3. merlena cox

    HELLO,
    SEEN YOU ON BRAVEHEART. THIS IS SO NEEDED IN OUR LIVES I HAVE FACED SO MANY INSECURITIES IN LIFE THAT I AM TRYING TOO TAKE ONE STEP AT A TIME TO REDESIGHN MY LIFE I WANT TOO EMPOWER WOMEN THAT ARE LIKE ME TOO MAKE OUR COMMUNITIES BETTER AND THE WORLD BUT FIRST I THINK I NEED TOO GET MYSELF TOGETHER THEN ON THE SECOND THOUGHT I THINK BY FORMING A LITTLE GROUP IN MY COMMUNITY COULD HELP ME GET THROUGH TOO I DONT KNOW I WOULD LIKE TOO CREATE A PROGRAM FOR UNFORTUNATE WOMEN THAT ARE WILLING TOO GET OUT OF POVERTY SITUATIONS BUT JUST NEED INSPIRATION TOO GET THERE OUTLETS TOO HELP CREATE A BUISNESS AND GET JOB TRAINING AND ALSO MOVE INTO CAREERS BUT RIGHT NOW I AM IN THE PROCESS OF RECIEVING MY GED .I WANT TO HELP SO MANY PEOPLE BCAUSE I NEED THE HELP TOO PUSH MY DREAM .SO THATS WHY I WANT TOO HELP SOME ONE ELSE I DONT EVER WANT SOMBODY TOO GET IN ASITUATION LIKE THIS WE NEED A CENTER WHERE WOMEN CAN GO 24 HRS A DAY OR AT LEAST 7 DAYS A WEEK 6 TO 7 HOURS OUT OF A DAY TO BE ABLE TO GET EMPOWERMENT I DONT KNOW THIS IS JUST ONE OF MY DREAMS THAT I HAVE THANKS FOR THE INSPIRATION THAT YOU HAVE WE NEED MORE WOMEN OUT HERE LIKE YOU.

    1. Candy Godbee

      Marlena, I hope by now you have had more time to adjust. If you read my reply above, you’ll see that I’ve been very busy. If there is any way I can help you start a group, please let me know. THAT is what I do in Illinois and I have connections throughout the country. I’d love to help you get the word out!

  4. marlene

    Merlena, Thank you for leaving the comment. You truly are a “BraveHeart.” Starting a group to help support you is a fabulous idea. Make sure that they are positive people, they will be a big help. Also, we all have insecurities, no matter what our life’s situation is like. The first step to help that is to surround yourself with positive people. Write down the things that you are thankful for as they will bring you greater abundance. Look at the positive things that you are doing, the groups that you are joining and that you are working on your education.

    We often only hear the negative things that people say – pay attention to the positive ones, the compliments. Start a compliment journal so that you can focus on the good things. Be sure to put this in the book at your first compliment –
    ” you are a “brave and courageous women who deserves only the best in life. Your gift to others is also your gift to you.”

    I hope that you will continue to follow the blog, I would love to hear from you again.

  5. Margaret

    I was born in a small polygamist commune in the mountains of Montana. My family was one of only six families who established that secretive community hidden high in the hills. From the time I was a little girl I knew that the only purpose for my existence was to have as many children as possible and give my husband other wives. I had been hand picked by God to be one of His “Chosen People” I was born to keep alive His most precious laws and works.

    From the time I was a little girl something inside me told me that wasn’t the life I wanted to live. But I was just a girl and choices about my future were made by my parents and community leaders. As a girl I was taught to always obey my elders and men with the priesthood, and since boys were given the priesthood at the age of tweleve they were given dominion over me. I was never taught to communicate my needs and never taught to defend myself. As conflict came into my life I had no idea how to defend myself. After a series of emotional, sexual and physical abuses I wanted out of my life. Unable to find the courage to end my life I chose to leave it behind instead.

    I left home at the age of seventeen and began making a life for myself in a world I had been told all of my life was evil and would conspire to destroy me. But I would rather take my chances out there in the unknown than stay in a life I knew could never make me happy. But happiness continued to ellude me as I carried with me all of the shame, anger and guilt from the experiences of my past. Fortunately I was introduced to spirituality separate from religion and I began the process of healing myself.

    There have been a few years between then and now with highs and lows and now pure joy. I don’t know that there is enough space here to go into details but following a mid-life re-awakening I have come to understand that the purpose of my story is to inspire others to free themselves from the pain of their past. I recenlty finished a book based on my healing process. It is my passion to help other women find the joy that is their birthright and become the magnificent women they were born to be. There is a short video on my you tube site that briefly shares my story and inspiration to make a difference in the lives of others.

  6. marlene

    Margaret, As I told you on our linkedin discussion, I read the Elissa Wall book – Stolen Innocence, and was astounded. I also had an opportunity to talk with her when she attended my event in 2008. The courage it takes to do what you and she, and others who strike out on their own from this situation, is incredible. I would love to read your book. Possibly, when we get the TV show up and running, you will consider being a guest. You are truly an inspiration to many.

    Thank you for leaving your comment.

  7. Lorna Blake

    I was born to teenage parents in rural Jamaica. My father refused to participate in my life and my mother was abusive physically, verbally, and psychologically. When I was eight I was sexually abused by the man in my mother’s life. I never told her because I didn’t feel safe. I kept it a secret for almost 20 years.

    During my teen years I was very depressed. I hated myself and was very sad, lonely and miserable. I longed to find a man who would love me. At age 19 I met a man who I thought loved me. And even though the relationship was abusive from the beginning I eventually married him.

    Fast forward a couple of years. I was being physically abused. I felt isolated with no job, no family in the country where I was living. I called a hotline where they told me I needed to leave in order for things to change. He had gone out shopping. I packed some clothes in a suitcase and left in a hurry. I had no home or family to go to. And I was scared.

    I stayed with a church friend. I learned of a self development program that could help change my life. And I went after this course like my life depended on it. It lasted six weeks and within four weeks of the course I found my confidence to land a good job! I was able to rent my own apartment.

    I began to get to know myself, like myself and take care of myself. I felt like I had been reborn! I went after my goals and dreams with a sense of urgency… I pursued a degree in social work because I wanted to help empower women. I graduated with honours while having two babies. A few years later I facilitated this same course at a women’s centre and taught women in my church community how to become empowered.

    It’s my life’s work and I feel very passionate about it. Today as a women’s coach and speaker I am grateful for my life. Even as I’ve been liberated from my bondage my goal is to help other women love themselves, honor themselves and live their best lives!

    1. Jen

      My story is similar- I applaud you for making the decision to leave when you did. You saved your life and are probably saving others with your speaking. Thank you for sharing.

  8. marlene

    Lorna, what a compelling story. Hope that many people read this and feel empowered to make the changes in their own life that will help them be freed from their own bondage.

    Thanks you.

  9. Mary Lynne Hallot

    …Self Esteem ponderances about Purple and Suicide!
    I never saw a Purple Cow; I never hope to See One; But I can Tell you, Anyhow, I’d rather See than Be One….but I digress. Hmmm! Rumour has it that Indigo is Purple in drag and when Indigo becomes red faced, and blushes she becomes Violet! I know this ‘cos found objects wash up on the shores of my computer about Violet. That is why I trawl my screen like a beach comber to stop Indigos from becoming complete emotional invertebrate Shrinking Violets! See! There will be no suicide on my watch…so anyone out there experiencing this shade of Indigo…let me know!

  10. Jen

    This is just a small part of my story. The article was published in a womens periodical, California Women magazine, in 2008. It took me a long time to talk about it but I am so glad that I did. I volunteer at a womens shelter sometimes and, when requested, tell my story to the other women. Thanks for offering a safe place to share.

    Stepping Out of a Battered Relationship – Surviving and Thriving in Life and Business

    I woke up and practiced my “attitude of gratitude” prayer. It was my 40th birthday – a day I never believed I would see.
    I am a creative, professional woman, a business owner, a loving wife, step-mom, daughter, sister, aunt, and loyal friend…and I’m also a domestic violence survivor.
    Like a lot of wonderful people I know, I grew up in an alcoholic home. My parents divorced when I was young. I lacked confidence at a very early age and was terribly shy. I learned how to take care of everyone except myself and got really good at it. I was nicknamed the “mother hen” in class, at work, in life.
    Although I never had an addiction problem myself, I was drawn to people who did and they filled my life. My first three relationships were long term and abusive. I didn’t know what it was like to have healthy relationships. I didn’t know who I was or what I liked or what I wanted out of life. I isolated myself from my family and lived a very lonely, very scary existence.
    My father had a nervous breakdown when I was 23 years old. I was the only relative allowed to visit him in the psych ward and I saw him at his very worst. Therapy was a huge part of his recovery and I went with him to show my support. I listened and learned and realized that maybe there was something to having a support group. Something changed in me during that period. A silent strength began to blossom. I checked out other groups besides the AA and ACA meetings I was attending with Dad. There were groups for battered women and counselors who worked on a sliding scale to help women like me. My boyfriend had no idea that I was going to therapy on my own. All he knew is I was spending more time with my Dad and he didn’t like it. My boyfriend continued to drink and use drugs. He apologized and brought me flowers after the really bad nights, but it was getting old. I finally got it that I couldn’t “fix” him. When he started his gun and knife collection, I knew it was time to leave. If I didn’t, I surely would be dead.
    I came home on my lunch break one day, packed as much as I could carry, and left my apartment. Yes, it was MY apartment. Everything was in my name. Another lesson learned. I was $25,000 in debt when I left, but I didn’t care. I was alive.
    I moved back in with my Dad who was clean and sober now. I sought credit counseling and slowly paid off my debt. Once I started to take care of myself, the universe rewarded me with opportunities. I met the wonderful man I married and bought my first home. That was BIG. I never thought in a million years I could be married or own a home.
    Over the next few years (with my husband gently pushing me), I took more risks. I learned how to make friends and keep them. I learned how to market myself. I joined several networking groups and met some fabulous women. I found mentors in groups like eWomen Network; women who were running their own businesses, what a concept! Every networking meeting, I felt stronger and more positive. I added life-coaching to my list of tools to further gain confidence.
    In July of last year I started working with my husband full-time, helping to grow our family transportation business. We work hard, support ourselves and set goals.
    I told my Mom I was writing this article and she said, “Do you really want people to know about your personal problems?” I thought about it and almost didn’t submit the article. I’m definitely not a professional writer but I do have a story to tell. It is my hope that by sharing, someone who may be struggling will read this and hear my message; even though bad things happen to good people, the bigger and better things can happen too. You just have to open up and be ready to accept the gifts. I know that all of my life experiences have helped me become who I am, and for that, I am truly grateful. My forties are proving to be the best part of my journey thus far.

  11. marlene

    Jen, what a story. Our hope is that other women who are having the same types of issues will read your story and have the courage to change. You are empowering many women. Thank you.

  12. Dr. Niama L. Williams

    I am so humbled by the stories here, so pleasantly, powerfully humbled!!!!!! And at the same time I want to shout from the rooftops: I’m losing weight with virtually no effort!!!!!!!!!

    My reinvention is totally the result of a wonderful man and God bringing him into my life.

    I watched a very ugly, angry divorce proceed starting at five years old. My mother was furious for years, and I only now begin to understand the nature of that fury. My father, I realize now, was not my father and insisted on silence about who my real father was.

    That’s another story. Let’s just say that I was raised to be a career woman, alone. If a man came along, fine, but don’t count on it and don’t count on him to stay.

    I was 35 before I met a man who shook my psyche up enough for me to even consider a relationship of my own. He didn’t have the courage necessary though and so I stayed alone and mended the men friends who came my way. I was great at solving their problems and then letting them move on. No one wanted me; they just wanted to be friends.

    A great believer in love and romance, will watch a good romantic comedy in a minute, I was stunned when love placed itself at my door during my 46th year. We had been friends first, and then when I lost my apartment (new Ph.D. who couldn’t find an academic job), I moved in with him. Wasn’t even thinking about love; he was my minister friend and that was all.

    We lived together almost a year and then I realized I loved him. Hit me like a ton of bricks. Totally unexpected. Why did it happen? Day in, day out, unconditional love. Washed my dishes. Opened my doors. Loved me even when it was day 3 in my nightgown and no shower.

    I saw how much he was carrying when I moved in and helped him gently evict an abusive mother and reclaim the life he’d put on hold to help her. We both had histories of abuse, neglect, rape, and we loved and cared for and nurtured each other. He told me that at 12 years old he had asked God to be the husband he knew he could one day be. Two marriages, two divorces and then, late in life, me.

    What we have together is truly unusual, and the real change for me? I gained weight to protect myself as a young person and it turned into 400+ pounds by the time I hit 40.

    Now, for the first time in my life, I am losing weight, EFFORTLESSLY, because the hole in my soul is being filled with fulfilling work (I am creating an intuitive counseling practice and I plan to open a literary arts center in September 2011) and the love of a man who truly worships me.

    I am eating less simply because I no longer want more, and I have gone from 424.5, to 402.3 and just today I weighed and I am, ta da!!!!!!! Drumroll please: 393.7. I haven’t been under 400 pounds since 2006.

    Change is difficult; can often be unpleasant. But sometimes it slips up on you while you are living life. And then, oh then it can mask true joy!!!!!

    Love and blessings,

    Dr. Ni


    Dr. Niama L. Williams
    http://www.blowingupbarriers.com
    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/drni

    And my goals for 2010:

    Dear Jess222 and all of the Women who are participating in this discussion:

    Brava to ALL of you for caring about the younger generation.

    As a former adjunct professor of English and literature, I want to say a special BRAVA to Jess222 for speaking INTELLIGENTLY about feminism and to the other Poster who spoke equally well about gender equality.

    I would merely add two things, perhaps three:

    1. Feminism is essential for 21st century living for both men and women. Men need escape from their cultural strictures just as women do. And let’s face it, Ladies, that women still earn far less than the amounts men earn is just tired in 2010. How many women are heads of households? The old idea that men head households is just that, OLD.

    2. A deep understanding of gender issues would help so many people in our cultures, Canadian and American. If we could truly understand how gender roles are taught and the assumptions we are taught as well as the expectations, we could truly liberate EACH OTHER. I live with a man who enjoys housework, and is honored that he can contribute in a way that frees me up to be an entrepreneur. And don’t think he isn’t head of the household and I am happy, perfectly content to let him be so. He opens my doors and washes the dishes. I’m in heaven and no, I don’t loan him out. 🙂

    3. There is a real dearth in terms of education that many of our young people are dealing with, and which their parents have dealt with as well. You want something concrete? Well, here is my agenda in Norristown, Pennsylvania.

    I saw the results of poor education in English and writing at my local high school when I substitute taught in 2008. I mulled and mulled and just this year I came up with a plan: The Norristown Academy of the Literary Arts (NALA). We will teach elocution, diction, recitation, and creative writing. We will rejuvenate the instruction of English by providing published writers to assist certified English teachers at the high school.

    Our ultimate goal is to make NALA a “finishing school” in the oldest and best sense of the word. So that these young people have all of the social graces that will make an employer of merit fall all over themselves to hire these graduates.

    Oh, and we are just beginning our fundraising drive because what? WE WANT NALA TO BE FREE FOR ALL STUDENTS.

    Our first goal is to purchase our headquarters, a wonderful old home in East Norriton, Pennsylvania, a stone’s throw from Norristown. We need to acquire this property and then get it renovated and up to code.

    Why a home in East Norriton and not a storefront in the “borough” (read: poor section) of Norristown? Because we want our young people to see better so that they do better. Environment, and the possibilities your environment introduce you to, make a difference, if only in mindset. And every successful entrepreneur will tell you, mindset is what matters.

    Once that’s accomplished, we start looking for board members and hiring writers. We want to provide homework help as well, so there will be a small computer center and experts in Math, Science and English to help with homework five days a week after school.

    We have big goals and massive needs. The first is to come and speak to your group or organization as we begin our fundraising. We accept tax-deductible donations through Fractured Atlas in New York; they are our fiscal sponsors (see the website once it is up).

    The website will be back up sometime Wednesday, May 19, 2010, in the late afternoon, and you can find out more about our company there. NALA has its own page, and if you email me or send me a message, I will happily mail you a brochure and postcards giving even more details.

    Thank you for letting me blather on, and if you want to donate or link us up with organizations or people who might be so moved, please feel free to do so.

    I want NALA to work in Norristown FIRST and then expand to other states and perhaps to other countries. I want our young people’s future to NOT be a Wendy’s cash register. We want more and BETTER for our young people; they DESERVE more and better.

    Love and blessings,

    Dr. Ni


    Dr. Niama L. Williams

  13. Marlene

    Niama, thank you for sharing your story. WOW! Would you consider attending one of my inspiration breakfasts and telling your story. If you are interested, send me an e-mail directly to the e-mail here.

    Congratulations on your weight loss. What is your goal? I am confident that you will achieve it. How wonderful is all of this. Thank you.

  14. Valencia Ray MD

    Personal reinvention for me is a life long journey. I don’t believe there is a single point in time that we “reinvent” ourselves. As I look at my journey I can see how I transformed from a girl with long braids and pretending my dolls were babies. Later in that same day I could transition to running through the neighborhood and playing softball or basketball in the afternoon. It was within ten years that I would reinvent myself once again to enter medical school. Later I morphed into an eye surgeon, entrepreneur, wife, mother and spiritual teacher.

    What makes me want to share my reinvention story at this point is that I think that the time is ripe for us to realize that we are co-creating our lives anyway, so the more conscious we are about this process, the more empowered we will be. We as women, or all humans for that matter, were never meant to cling to the known and expect static predictability for our lives. Life is always evolving and when we pay attention, we can unfold into the “Magnificent Me” that we already are. It’s about letting out our light; not trying to find it outside of us.

    I entered this world feeling rejected as far back as I can recall. I essentially lived the first 5 years of my life playing alone, and feeling unloved, unworthy and that there was something wrong with me. As I made my way into the school system, I was able to find affirmation through teachers, friends and academic achievement, however, growing up on the south side of Chicago and having to live with a sense of fear and threat to my safety only added insult to injury in the area of confidence and self-esteem for me.

    While I have completely resolved the issues of unforgiveness I held against my family because of the turmoil and conflict that I went through within my home, I will say that those years of isolation and having to find the way to finance my education and take care of myself caused me to make some tough choices at an early age. It encouraged me to look within for the answers and to stop searching for security, love and self-esteem outside of myself. So, after years of searching for security in the world of form and trying to control life itself, I finally met my match.

    I was confronted with the reality that living as “life is tough” and forsaking my feminine qualities for the out of balance aspect of the masculine competitive energy can only take you so far and the destination is not a pleasant place to live. Also, giving our power away as women in exchange for an inauthentic relationship and affirmation is not the answer either. Over the last decade, I have made my way clearly back to the balanced center of living from the collaborative efforts of my heart (spirit) and head (human), with the heart fueling the process.

    I have been able to consciously release the FEAR –Fictitious Evidence Affecting Reality – of “not enoughness”, victimhood and self-judgment. As I have come to love and accept myself, my love relationships with others have only been on a constant upward trajectory. When the time came for me to sell my practice and to now help others to eliminate these “cataracts of the soul”, I was clear and confident enough to move into my next phase of reinvention consciously instead of kicking and screaming.

    It is these “cataracts” that block the light that we already are and keep us from seeing the light in others as well. Why am I so willing to take this leap? One reason is that I know it is the next phase of my purpose; another is that I love to be able to inspire others to do the same. We are all born to shine and to share our gifts and talents with others. It saddens me to see people live lives of “quiet desperation” in exchange for the illusion of playing it safe.

    I’m still that physician at heart who wants to help raise the quality of life on our beloved planet, and to help others to see and expand the vision for their lives. I will also say that the advent of the new brain science, blended with ancient wisdom principles are dynamite in blowing off those blockages to our light and is poised to help us at such a time as this. I’m here to inspire, and show others the way to empower themselves to live an abundant, whole life!

  15. Marlene

    WOW! I am overwhelmed by the stories. If we could only get all of these stories out to the world, think of how many women would be positively affected. You are all so amazing. Thank you for sharing.

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