June Clemons: Three-Time Cancer and Spousal Abuse Survivor
What makes me a beautiful disaster?
Let’s see: I’m a three-time cancer survivor and a survivor of spousal abuse. Now, I didn’t know I had thyroid cancer when I had the surgery in 2006. All I knew is that the doctor said that I had nine modes in my thyroid. When they start talking biopsies and sticking needles in my throat, I said “Nah, just take the thyroid out.” When the doctor said after examining the nodes in my thyroid and three of the nodes were malignant (cancerous), I said “whew!” Little did I know that it was going to be my battle with that stupid S.O.B. called cancer. The following year, 2007, I found out I had breast cancer in my left breast. The day I was having my thyroid surgery, my mammogram was also scheduled. So, I said to myself, I can skip a year. I mean every mammogram has been clean. One year won’t hurt, right? Yeah. Right. Later in 2006, I was in nasty car wreck where this guy who driving under influence, hits me on the driver’s side going 75 mph. It was raining, cold and wintertime; around Christmas. So, when he hit me, he knocked me and my daughter into the ditch. That night we met the jaws of life. When they got daughter and I to the hospital, they checked daughter for any damage, (I demanded that) before I would even let anybody touch me. They cut my clothes off me and immediately notice I had severe bruising all on my left side from my knee to my arm. Got x-rayed and they determined that I had no broken bones. I’m like any accident you can walk away from was a good accident. It wasn’t until next year when I found out that although I walked away from the accident with no broken bones, I got a constellation gift: breast cancer.
I had gotten married to a guy that I was the one and I thought I was going to be happy, right? I mean, he was an ex-con but I was always told that you never judge a man or woman by their past. At least that’s what my heart said. My head was saying ‘slow your roll, girlfriend!’ Got married, fought breast cancer and then ended up having to fight for my life and my daughter because, wouldn’t you know
it? My, now, ex-hubby was secretly a crack fiend. He tried to beat on me while I was recuperating from my reconstruction. My daughter saw him hit me and so she hit him, (she got those hands from her mama). When he went to swing at her but missed, I went crazy and beat him. Just picture the scene in “What’s love got to do with it” and multiply that by 10. In the end, I lost my home and everything I had and ended back home with my mom. But not before my daughter and I had to make a
run for it and hide out in an undisclosed place for a while. When he tried to break into a gun shop that when he got arrested on a B&E, (breaking and entering) to steal a gun, which was a federal offense, he got locked up and after two times, I got my divorce with him fighting it every step of the way; trying to control me from
prison. NOT!!! The cervical cancer was the last cancer and I end up having a full
hysterectomy in 2013. Throughout all of my cancers I wasn’t allowed chemo. I found out later, that chemotherapy would have killed me because my body couldn’t handle it.
What had life been like for you?
When you go through cancers; especially breast cancer or cervical cancer, it does something to you, mentally. You have dug your way back from what seems like a grave of sorts. It doesn’t help matters when you got women and guys secretly (and not so secretly) throwing all kinds of shade at you. Totally jacking up your already jacked up self-esteem. Life wasn’t easy for me after going through all of that. I became super depressed, weight going up and down like a yo-yo, getting into relationships with guys who were no good for me. Then my daughter got a wild hare up her butt and decided to be disrespectful to my mother and myself to the point where we fought, (she was 21 by then). So, she moved out; and I throwing mega shade and mega lies about my mother and to whomever would listen. She boots stomped all over my heart. I came so close to suicide.
What happened for you to turn it all around?
Three things happened. I started therapy. I became a nanny for this beautiful child named Michael and became a housekeeper for my beautician and his husband. I met Gigi Hoggard; the woman responsible for turning me onto the
Beautiful Disaster clothing line.
I started therapy because I knew I couldn’t keep going on the way I was. That I had to talk to somebody; somebody who wouldn’t judgmental. Somebody who help bring some clarity into my life. How I became Michael’s nanny was kind of simple. My beautician who was named Chris Farmer was doing my hair and he asked me what was I doing that summer. I was still healing from the cervical cancer, so naturally I wasn’t doing a thing except sitting in my darkened room being depressed, feeling like I was a failure as a mother but most of all, as a woman. So, when he asked me if I wanted the job, I said yes. Let’s face facts. There was a huge benefit the job. But when I met his son, something in my heart just exploded. He was a special kid and when he started public school, the system told his parents that he wouldn’t pass kindergarten. I became hell-bent on proving those ‘snooty-booty’ folks wrong and in the process, became kind of mom-like figure to the child that little guy like crazy. It was challenging but when you are doing something out love, whatever the challenge you grabbed ahold of it and beat it like it owes you money. By the time I stopped working with the guy, he was in the third grade.
I met Gigi Hoggard through a boudoir photo shoot. She had business cards in my beautician’s salon so I picked one up. I never heard of a boudoir photo shoot. So, on a whim, I scheduled a shoot. She was so freaking cool!!!! She looked like one of those hot rocker chicks you would see in the rock videos; I’m an eclectic when it comes to music. She was wearing really cool shirt and it had Beautiful Disaster with
the skull with the bow on it. So, I complimented her on her t-shirt and she told me about the clothing line and where I could find it. I did the shoot; looking hot and sexy and the rest is history!
What is my life like now?
Well, I think you could say that I am like the phoenix, that I have risen from the ashes and became what I always was; a beautiful, strong African American woman who is also very intelligent. Since then, I have two master degrees; one in Business Communication and the other is in Adult Education. I still see my therapist but through the many bad things that happened in my life from childhood weren’t my
fault. The relationship between my daughter is a lot better now. We are on a new level of closeness. Most of all I don’t look at the scars on my body and cringe. In fact, I have begun to love me all over again and I do mean ALL of me. I am single but it’s by choice because throughout this journey I discovered if you want positivity from a relationship and somebody to truly be into you, you got to truly be into yourself first.
What makes me identify with the Beautiful Disaster brand?
Beautiful Disaster is more than a bunch of really cool t-shirts, yoga pants and hats. It is a testament for women who have been through pain, heartache and hard times. It is a testament of having things in life throwing it absolute worst at you and you not only survive it. You come out stronger, fiercer and magnificently beautiful that what you were before went into it. And everybody knows that true beauty
withstands any storm. I am a Beautiful Disaster…and I’m proud of it!!!