You have no doubt heard many inspirational stories and of many others with their hardships and struggles. I am no stranger to a lifetime of hardships and struggles and it is how we choose to survive these curve balls that truly defines us. My life does read like a crazy ass tale of chaos and pain alongside the good.. What people do with that chaos defines them. Some have chosen a darker path & others choose a path that allows them to be a beacon of hope for others. Through many such struggles I have become the woman I am, choosing to be a vessel for good. Now I am not trying to make myself sound great or even someone pathetic just being honest.

As the youngest of six children, and only girl, I tended to be ignored a lot. Growing up in a household surrounded by boys, I loved being a duck. My mom used to say that she had five boys and a duck because I hated a lot of girly things when I was younger. Stick me with Tonka trucks and Transformers and I was happy. Unfortunately, I was dressed in pink, frills, lace and forced to be a "real" girl. I retreated into my own world and my mind of imagination. I was the hand me down thrift shop divorcee kid before it was cool to shop at thrift shops. Bullied severely for being different (I was told I was chubby child too) and desperately trying to live with a rare medical condition that was unheard of back then, a rare form of Aquagenic Urticaria (a severe water allergy).

I grew up with a Challenge Accepted tough girl attitude and whenever life beat me down, I would fight back. Being a quirky awkward imaginative child in a very strict Christian Southern Baptist household I was not allowed to be my true headstrong self.

At the young age of twelve years old, I was left with a family member for the weekend so my mom could deal with my grandfather's funeral. During this weekend I was beaten, raped and sold to the family members friends. I managed to escape and hid until my mother came home. (breathe just breathe - talking to myself). She blamed me for giving the men the wrong idea's and it was shushed by the family. I spent the next year spiraling and ended up selling myself to the streets by the age of 13. This went on for 3 years and mom never knew because she worked double shifts as a motel clerk and house maid. The only reason it stopped was because I was picked up on my 16th birthday by an undercover officer. I was sent to a juvenile detention in a city 3 hours from where we had lived. It was there I started to attend a really cool fringe High School.

In high school and throughout the early adult years I was a lot like the bad boy or girl (in my case) nature and threw myself into multiple relationships. Using my body, looks and my outgoing personality to get me through life. I masked the brokenness within me by throwing myself into a very outgoing and wild life. I learned that short skirts made me popular, being flirty and fun gave me the attention I seemed to crave. Using lovers and friends as an escape from the harsh reality's life dealt me.

I settled into a bad marriage at an early age and had two incredible kids because of it. Divorced and a single mom at 25 years old I had to pull myself and my kids' lives back from the brink of homelessness and poverty time and again. I went through Hell multiple times for my family and I feel I had to go through Hell to try and save my family again and again. Each time another piece had been stripped of me. My daughter lives with autism and schizophrenia, my son suffers a learning disability so life was never easy for them. I gave up good careers willingly to help them advance in life. I could have left them in the healthcare and school system but chose to fight for them as no one fought for me.

My children are my will to live and they are my best reason in life. Choosing to stay at home to teach my kids and be present in their lives no matter what the sacrifice. I created my own businesses so they could be alongside me during their struggles and achievements. We would work together as a team and we have found many strong families that have never been blood relation. Where blood family may have failed us, others stepped up. I remarried and it was good for the first few years as he was a great dad to my kids but not a great husband.

Life became toxic for us and I stayed because of his relationship with my kids. I didn't think I deserved a happy ending and had it drilled in me that women should have a husband. I had gained so much weight and retreated within myself for many things. I lost my want to be crafty and creative, my fun-loving goofy personality was locked away and I lost my self-worth. My children gave me purpose but I focused so much on helping them succeed that I let myself suffer. Don't get me wrong I love being a mom and raising my kids, I just forgot that I was worthy too.

At the end of November 2020, I lost my successful business (landlord refused to renew lease), my home (lived onsite) and then my second marriage of ten years broke apart. I went to live on my son's couch for the month of December. I literally lost everything (except my children) all in the span of one week.

The Christmas season was upon us and as someone who is obsessively in love with everything Christmas, I was barely able to get off the couch most days. Christmas became painful and I actually walked for two hours in the cold and snow just to escape the emotional pain that day brought. I walked until the cold made my body raw, I retreated to a friend's shop (I had the key) and fell into a deep depressive state until late that night when I trudged the path back to my son's couch. My days had consisted of to the bathroom and back to the couch, I stopped eating and barely drank anything all the month. My children were deeply concerned but I lost all will to live and didn't care about anything anymore. A Facebook post about an online group call GISH came on my news feed which was weird because my notifications were turned off. I decided to click the notification and my children pushed me to get involved. It literally saved my life from severe depression and a deep desire to no longer be alive. You see I have lost nearly everything in my life over and over. I have lost homes, careers, friends, family and have been forced to restart too many times.

Each time I went through that it took another piece of me. My children (now young adults) and the online group saved my life. Gave me the kick start I needed to regain myself. My depression was so bad that I even contemplated death, figuring I was no good for anyone. My son walked in on me as I was about to end it all. I was a burden that kept screwing everything up for my family and myself. He held me through that night and stopped me from killing myself. A simple comment on something I posted filled my heart with the inspiration, I needed. It was a long battle but I decided that it was a war for my life. I had joined a couple of online groups and pushed my inner self to not hide from fear.

Through the friendships and support I gained from random people I never knew before at the online groups it sparked a newly rediscovered drive to create a new me, I was inspired. It was a hard month and the new year proved to be a new promise.

I celebrated my 44th birthday on January 6th ,was inspired and rejuvenated to find my true inner self again. I had lost seventy pounds in a short amount of time from stress, depression and then a deep desire to regain my old self. For many years I gave up on taking care of myself to take care of others which don't get me wrong isn't all bad. My mental health and physical health suffered locked in obesity and self-hate, now I am back to a fitter and much happier person. Not to mention I can enjoy the finer things that being slimmer offers me. I had lost my energy, will and sexual desire, I had blamed it on menopause and being too fat to enjoy those things. I was so wrong. Losing seventy pounds gave me the confidence to strut and dance my way to a fitter more fabulous self. With feeling good and enjoying the finer things I also regained my libido back like a hot damn (sorry not sorry). I had always had a very high sexual appetite and after years of being sexually ignored by my husband, I began thinking that I was dirty and disgusting to want the gratification of sexual release. Being told that chubby people weren't beautiful enough to enjoy those things, instead of using it as a way to get thin, I just retreated further into my obesity and self-hatred.

Being thrust into the single life at my age reignited my confidence and if anything, I am more powerful now for I have wisdom to go with my confidence. A now much sexier 44-year-old version of me allows me to enjoy life again. I can exude my confident playful self without using it for negative reasons. Releasing the tease and fun side of my personality that has lain dormant for far too long. I am anxious for clubs to open back up in the city near me so I can go dance again. I love to dance and I can now feel the confidence to do so in public. I am also looking forward to letting loose the energy and passion that I now exude on the projects I have taken on. I am a workaholic which actually makes me happy. If I am not working or keeping busy, I am not a happy healthy person. Some people are just better people when they are keeping busy. Don't get me wrong I enjoy me lazing on the couch watching my favorites shows (once in a while).

I was recently nicknamed an Emotional Support Canadian by online friends. I want to inspire others that are locked inside themselves like I was to let their fun and playful side to flow through. Music flows through my earbuds constantly and it helps me dance walk wherever I am. Standing at my desk I like to keep moving and so I have my laptop raised to move along to the upbeat playlists. Classic Rock, Dance/Pop and Inspirational Power music keep me motivated. Music also helped me get off the couch during the depression and I will forever be grateful to the bands that helped me regain me.

I enjoy walking through the mall and out in the community again. Seeing others smile at my free positivity and feel inspired to dance walk too. I have been stopped and asked why I was dancing; I just say why not. Celebrate every moment because you don't know what you're missing until after you let it slip past. I recently celebrated my new body by getting a tattoo. I had wanted one for over twenty years and wasn't able to get one until recently.

My kids chuckle and tend to be a bit embarrassed because of me (which I love to embarrass them). I just have let my fears rule my life too long. Freedom to express my inner self now flows back through me. I have been accused of being too passionate, too committed and too outgoing. I don't think being the best example of yourself is a bad thing. I may come on too strong to many people but it is who I am. Don't get me wrong I still have my weak moments but I have a support network to help me feel better for myself and others. I have learned that a good cry cleanses the soul.

By helping others, it has allowed me to be a beacon of good in my community and for the online communities I am a part of. Through this confidence I feel better about reaching out and sharing the love. For years I have always tried to speak about embracing your failures and fighting to reclaim your life with the mantra Challenge Accepted and ignored my own words for too long. Nearly giving up on myself and this mantra, I am even more passionate. Living my motto, You Are Never Too Old to Learn or Too Young to Make A Difference. Inspire others through just being your best self. You never know who is watching or how one small act can make the difference on someone's life. Those that struggle the most can have some of the best strength for they have fought the hardest and yet also have the most to give.

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June 03, 2021