Brave Face Mamas: Not So Random Thoughts Before Bed

Photo on 4-14-16 at 10.57 PM

The month of May is connected to growth and spring. Today is May 1st and I can tell you right now for the last four months I have had the most growth and the longest spring that I have ever experienced in my life. My life’s been filled with highs and lows over the last couple of months. There have been times that I felt like the pressure would surely overtake me. Then there were times when the blessings just overflowed. However, the more I take time to reflect, the more certain I am that this is just the way of life. There are no shortcut to greatness. You have to walk through the wilderness and the garden at the same time.

So tonight, I want to briefly talk about brave face. Now you probably are wondering “what the hell is Vanita talking about?” Yes, it is true I do have my #ownbrandofcrazy. And yes, I know there is a fellow blogger, editor or writer somewhere cringing because I put an italicized-bolded hashtag in the middle of this blog. But guess what? My blog. My rules. Okay let me get back to the definition of brave face. If you are a woman who is remotely responsible for other people, places or things outside of yourself you know brave face well. Let me give you a few examples:

  • The face you make when people ask how many children you have. You say none. Then they ask why. Knowing in the back of your mind this issue is causing tension between you and your mate.
  • The face you make when your children ask what is wrong as you try to balance your bank account with the feelings of anxiety, frustration and worry in the pit of your stomach.
  • The face you make at work to your colleagues after you have been up all night working on the master plan to create a better life for your family.
  • The face you make at church when the pastor is driving down your lane in a sermon, but you don’t want others to know you are suffering in silence.

Yes, that face. The brave face. I am here declaring that as we grow up and spring forth in the month of May that we, especially us mamas stop with the brave face. That face holds pain, hurt, toxins and crows feet. We need to get real about asking for help. We are not weak. We are not needy. We need help. We do a disservice to ourselves and others when we try to fake it ’til we make it. If we keep putting on the brave face we may never make it to the promise land. Or at least be too damn tired and worn out to enjoy it.

This can be the Year of Yes  and the Year of No. We can choose to have a Daring Greatly mantra and a I  Am Scared As Hell moment. Who told us we had to choose? When did society, your narrative, or your family help you develop the brave face? Can you remember the first brave face you saw as a child?

After reading this I want you to follow these instructions. Close your eyes. Take in and let our three deep breaths. Say the phrase brave face. Whose face do you see? Release yourself and any other faces you see of this burden.

Your future self will thank you!

In honor of Mother’s Day please drop a message in the comment sections about how or why your mother, grandmother or signifcant woman in your life put on the brave face. 

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Change Your Narrative w/Que Jackson: Not So Random Thoughts Before Bed

Que Jackson 100k Housewife

Have you ever had a friend that no matter how much time elapsed you would pick up right where you started from? Tonight’s #ChangeYourNarrative participant is very near and dear to my heart. She is less like a friend and more like a sister-therapist-comedian-adventure-seeker all rolled into one. Que Jackson and I have been friends since the third grade. We have cheered for each other in the best of times. We have cried for each other during the worst of times. Her story is one that will go down in history as to the power of praying without ceasing. From 7Mile to Belle Isle Que’s life has taken her on a journey to places seen and unseen. This Detroit Girl is now a Praying Women. When we seek God’s face there is no limit to the places He can take us.

Que Jackson was born and raised on the westside of Detroit, MI and now reside in Grosse Pointe, MI. She is an Interior Therapist for Behind Closed Doors. Que believes that your house tells a story. And before the work is done on the inside of the home, you must first do the work on the inside of you. Let’s take a look at how her narrative unfolds.

 

Tell us about your childhood. 

Thinking about my childhood I realized I was lonely. I was the only child for over 13 years until we welcomed my brother into the world. I grew up in a middle class family and was raised by both of my parents. They held “good” jobs and invested in real estate. Although they were financially secure, they were emotionally bankrupt. I would often go with my father to rehab a house or we would ride for hours looking for the next one to buy. This was our bonding time. He was direct, stern and not short on words…..harsh words, with a sarcastic sense of humor. But I loved him dearly. My parents were private people. They worked and kept to themselves. Friends for them was nonexistent and family was kept at bay. My relationship with my mother was nurturing although she was not affectionate. Hugs and kisses were not passed around daily in our home, not even between my parents. My mother was a class act. She was educated and confident. When she left for work she was dressed from head toe. She believed in keeping your house clean, dinner on the stove and having your own money. I wanted to be just like her and desperately wanted to make her proud. I always excelled in school and was accepted to one of the top high schools in the city. But by my 11th grade year I begin to struggle. The excitement of being around others fueled me. I wanted to hang out with my classmates and enjoy after school activities and weekend shenanigans but was often told, “NO”. I was sheltered at home and in private schools for years where rules, policies, procedures, drills and dress codes kept me bound. I replaced my curriculum during school with extracurricular activities outside of school. I felt free! But that freedom came at a price. I traded my home and education for friends, boys and parties.

 

What would you say was the narrative that was expressed to you based upon where you grew up, how you grew up and the messages you received?

What was expressed to me growing up was that as long as a man took care of me financially it didn’t matter how he treated me emotionally. Friends were in fairytales, they do not exist. I was taught that a woman was to look her best and take care of home. And, when you are in public, you are to hold your head high and never let people see your weaknesses. I was told if you work hard you won’t have to beg. Lastly, I learned that what goes on behind closed doors stays behind closed doors because it was nobody else’s business but yours.

 

How did that narrative play out in your decisions, actions and feelings about yourself?

This narrative almost killed me. I made decisions based on my emotions and not my situation. My actions caused me to drop out of high school and lose countless jobs. I’ve been homeless, had multiple repossessions and faced foreclosure. I’ve been a victim of domestic violence, attempted suicide and kidnapped. Self destruction or destruction by the hands of others was a constant staple in my life. I was alive but dead inside. But because I was taught that this was your business to own, I kept quiet. When I left home I was cute but behind closed doors I was a mess. Even though I was a Gifted Educated Diva, on paper it was still a G.E.D. This made me feel less than around others that had graduated and moved on to higher education. I was strong but weak for men that showed me attention. I took care of my house but it was never a home. And because I never saw my parents interact with others I never knew how to be a friend or what to expect in a friendship. My social circle was small and often friends were wolves in sheep’s clothing that tried to blow my house down. By the way, I was battling being a single parent and motherhood.

 

What was the catalyst or main event that made you say that narrative needed to change?

My narrative dramatically changed in 2005 when God said “ENOUGH”! I was laying in the middle of the floor and cried out to Him because no one else was there. I mean no one!! Every friend I had……gone. My boyfriend at the time left home and never came back……..yes, never! Gone! My closest family members…..gone! God had completely stripped me of everyone I knew in some shape, form or fashion. He removed all of my distractions. It was just Him and I. He began to replay the events of my life that brought me to my knees. I always knew God and attended church but I had never formed a relationship with Him. At that moment he said, “TRUST ME”. Let me give you what you need, so you can have what you want.” God had been so good to me and despite my trials and tribulations he kept me. I surrendered and begin to press into Him. I would talk to him and wait for Him to answer. He showed me there is no fear in love and I can’t be afraid to love myself. He told me that I am enough! Just the way I am. And that even though I was broken, I can be healed.

 

What is the new narrative in your life?

I understand that no matter what God is faithful. He provides ALL of my needs. That He knows the desires of your heart.  When you trust Him you will not fail. He is not man, He does not lie. I know that the devil uses distractions of any kind to keep you from fulfilling your purpose. Everything and I mean everything that was used against me has blessed me. What was used to destroy me, employs me. Having a relationship with God will help me in my relationship with man. Understanding the foundation of a home is the key principle in how people act when they walk out of the house. In order to be with someone else you must be able to alone with yourself. Imitating others is an insult to God because you were created in His image……be yourself. Therefore, I am unapologetically me.

 

How does this new narrative show up in your everyday life?

Everyday I wake up I walk in my purpose just like He promised. I am a housewife. EVERYTHING I lost God gave back to me! Now, I get paid to walk away.

 

What advice would you give someone who wanted to create a new narrative but didn’t know how to do it?

Get still. In order to hear from God you must silence the noise,  close off the chit- chatter, the gossip, social media and social circles. Pray without ceasing and fast. Write down your distractions, attractions and expectations. Whatever does not line up with the will of God get rid of it. Have patience so that you do become a patient.

WOW!!!! What a way to end this #ChangeYourNarrative Blog Series. The story of Que Jackson could be a motion picture. But it is her reality. She has created a new normal for her and her family. I am excited for the trajectory that God has for Que’s life. I am also excited for the number of people that will really be free and elevated by reading this story and the stories of the other women during the #ChangeYourNarrative Blog Series.

I want to leave you with my favorite quote from Que Jackson. Whenever I get in my feelings about the 2 Notorious F’s in my life Faith and Finances she reminds me of this one thing: “You can always rebuild two things in your life: your relationship with God and your credit.” Someone reading this needed to hear this tonight. I hope your narrative changes for the better. Most of us have already been through the worse.

Que Jackson can be reached on the following social media platforms:

Facebook   Que Jackson  

Periscope   Q.Jackson

 

 

Change Your Narrative w/Tequila Myers: Not So Random Thoughts Before Bed

Tequila Myers

 

Living in the midst of chaos and dysfunction can take a toll on the most positive experience. My actions as a parent show my children two narratives.  I teach my children everyday to either parent the way I parent or go in the opposite direction. Tequila Myers made the decision very early in her life that her narrative needed to change. Resiliency is rooted in adversity. In her own words Tequila tells us about a life of struggle, instability and uncertainty. But, the beautiful part of the “beautiful struggle” is that she is now on a path to show others how to thrive instead of survive.

Tequila Myers is a native of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She is the owner of the Perpetual Growth Institute where she focuses on business consulting, marketing, and personal brand management. Tequila is also a motivational speaker. Let’s take a deeper look into her narrative tonight in our #ChangeYourNarrative Blog Series.

 

Tell us about your childhood.

 

I grew up the eldest of seven to a single mother who tried her best to make ends meet. There were times we had no electricity, water, or gas, but we still managed with what we had. We even helped other struggling family members at time. My childhood wasn’t easy and I had to grow up very fast. I saw more than I should have and had to take on adult responsibilities at an early age. Our living environment was very hostile most of the time and affection was not present.

 

 

What was the narrative that was told instilled or expressed to you growing up?

 

Growing up I didn’t have an example of what a functioning family looked like. I never knew what it looked like to create a life and be in a secure, comfortable environment. Encouragement whether academic, school activities, or even what I wanted to be when I grew up was never the topic of conversation. Something in me felt there was more for me and as long as I took my education seriously, I would see it one day; so I embraced learning and used it as motivation. However, nothing around me affirmed this. In fact, everything confirmed the opposite. Society (magazines, TV shows, images around me) made me feel like I would have to use my external beauty and feminine wiles to elevate myself beyond that environment. The messages I received from this was that everything but my gifts and talents would open the doors I needed to get to where I wanted to be. That message made me feel like being beautiful was more of a curse than anything. Like it was all I had, as if I wasn’t smart, creative and a fast-learner. It was as if, those things didn’t matter because no one would ever pay me for having gifts and talents. I would never be good enough. For the majority of my teen life, I was under the impression that I had one option and one option only.

 

How did this narrative show up in your actions, decisions and feelings?

 

As I grew into my late teen years, I started to hate being pretty and would feel awkward when receiving compliments. I engaged in self-destructive behavior that I thought was helping me, but only added to the existing mental and emotional issues that I struggled with. Being raised in such an environment where I had to be an adult before my time, I made decisions that were not so smart and could have gotten me into a lot of trouble in hindsight.

 

What was the catalyst or main event that made you say that narrative needed to change?

 

At the age of 13 my siblings and I were taken into DHS (state) custody and my youngest brother was taken to a foster home. Because I saw so much at such an early age and experiencing the things I had, I decided that I wasn’t going to be that pretty girl who only had one thing to offer. I wanted to do what was in my heart and always on my mind. I wanted to live a better quality of life and experience what it felt like to have a family in a comfortable living environment. I felt a yearning to create some sort of success in my life that I could be proud of and that my mom would be proud of too. My sister and I even went as far as making a pact with one another to change our circumstances and do everything we had to remove ourselves from this generational cycle.

 

What is the new narrative in your life?

 

Elevate and Amplify. Reach one Teach one. I’ve always loved serving, volunteering, and being active in the community. As an empowering women’s business coach I strive to not only show women how to leverage their gifts and talents to create more financial freedom and flexibility in their lives, but I also work with youth and motivate them to let their circumstances inspire them instead of victimize them. I love to talk about the power of choice, because we all have a choice in the type of life we create for ourselves. The decisions we make today are the choices we have to live with tomorrow.

 

 

How does this new narrative show up in your everyday life?

 

I consistently work on myself, improving my knowledge of self and education. I work to be a better version of myself everyday. It helps me to remain focused on my ultimate goal, creating a greater impact globally and being the example for someone who knows they have purpose, but cannot see beyond the fog of their current circumstances and environment. I work daily to cultivate and nurture the relationship with my daughter to keep our lines of communication clear, to encourage growth and create a legacy of love by showing affection and expressing my love for her and our family (something I didn’t get as child). I have also learned that although I’m very strong willed and independent, my husband plays a huge role in my life and I respect, love and appreciate him more and more everyday. I learned that duality is the universe’s way of creating balance. This is something else I lacked as a child.

 

What advice would you give someone who wanted to create a new narrative but didn’t know how to do it?

 

Reject the download. I release what you’ve been told about yourself in the past, release what society tells you, release your own negative self chatter and channel that into an energy that motivates you toward your goals. Encourage yourself through affirmations and start small. Find ways to acknowledge the things you like about yourself and the talents and gifts you bring to the world. Take one step at a time and don’t try to run before you walk. Change is not an overnight process, you can’t rush it. Change takes time, but the decision to make change only takes a moment.

Change Your Narrative w/Marcia Whyte: Not So Random Thoughts Before Bed

Marcia Whyte

Michael J. Fox has a quote that I love. He says “I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God’s business.” Marcia Whyte lived a life filled with the push to be perfect in every way. There was no time for pain, no time for processing unhealthy events just the pressure to perform and not look weak. This strain effected her relationships as an adult.

 

Marcia Whyte was born and raised in Chicago, IL and now makes Knoxville, TN her home. She is the owner of GratitudeSpeak a relationship marketing business focused on equipping business professionals with the necessary people skills to operate with greater confidence and perform better. It took the love of a great man who showed her gratitude and allowed her to lay her head on the softest place on earth for her to become exposed to true gratitude. When vulnerability and purpose collide magic happens. This is the narrative of that magic.

 

Tell us about your childhood.

 

I had a middle-class upbringing as a baby boomer in a two working parents household with one sibling who was very ill. I was socially adjusted, but, there were lots of personality issues based on family drama.

 

What would you say was the narrative that was expressed to you based upon where you grew up, how you grew up and the messages you received?

 

Being the “healthy” child, there was always pressure to be the best at everything and put on a brave front no matter how deeply I was hurting. The adage “what goes on in this house, stays in this house” was deeply ingrained. I learned not to show weakness, vulnerability and failure was never an option. Our finances were very limited due to high medical bills and extras were always viewed as not to be expected.

 

How did that narrative play out in your decisions, actions and feelings about yourself?

 

As an adult, it was difficult to maintain relationships that were equally yoked. I wanted what I could get from my [potential] partners and consistently strove to be ‘perfect’ whenever in public, even when the relationships were no longer good for me. I wasted money trying to buy happiness and fulfillment, yet was never satisfied.

 

 

What was the catalyst or main event that made you say that narrative needed to change?

 

When I met my [late] husband. We were close friends for five years before the relationship changed into a romantic one and because he was my “safe place”, I could finally let my guard down and accept myself and show vulnerability. We worked in [almost] perfect synch, as he calmed my temper (anger issues) and I “lit a fire” under him (super passive personality). We were an epic team and losing him 19-1/2 months ago has made me realize that I have worth beyond looks and talent.

 

What is the new narrative in your life?

 

I birthed my company, GratitudeSpeak, out of a promise I made to him to share my story about making others know that they matter. Business relationships are more than what they can do for you and/or more than the last check/contract they signed for you.

 

How does this new narrative show up in your everyday life?

 

I am incredibly proud of how far I have come and how well my message is resonating within business cultures as well as in others’ personal lives. I’m very proud to share my experiences in a way that inspires, challenges and changes people to grow into stronger relationship-management skills.

 

What advice would you give someone who wanted to create a new narrative but didn’t know how to do it?

 

Find a space (in your car, at the beach, library in a bathroom stall, a quiet corner in a restaurant/coffee shop, etc.) where you can hear yourself think. Journal about where you are stuck or what you want to improve, take several deep calming, cleansing breaths and ask God to speak to you. Prayer, music, and meditation, can help turn situations around. Don’t try to tackle everything at once, and give yourself huge props for starting the process. It will take hard work, commitment and brutal honesty with yourself but the end result will be absolutely worth it!!! NEVER GIVE UP ON YOU!

 

When we are fed the narrative from the cup of life that our voice does not matter it puts us in a different space as adults. It takes a special kind of love and commitment from others to help us see that we do matter. Our voices matter. Our stories matter. When God sends someone special our way their imprint on our lives will always outlast their physical presence. Marcia Whyte birthed GratitudeSpeak out of that love.

 

For more information about Marcia and GratitudeSpeak please visit these social media platforms:

 

Facebook    Marcia Whyte-Biz  or  GratitudeSpeak w/Marcia Whyte

 

Twitter       @GratitudeSpeak

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Change Your Narrative w/Ava Eagle Brown: Not So Random Thoughts Before Bed

Ava Brown

People often say that we need to face our problems head on. In the narrative of Ava Eagle Brown her life hinged on how fast her feet hit the pavement running from the mean streets of her hometown. Faced with obstacles that would seem insurmountable to the naked eye, Ava knew she had to spread her wings and fly so that she could live the life that would impact the lives of many.

Ava Eagle Brown was born and raised in Jamaica and currently lives in London. She is the owner of Ava Eagle Brown Consultants. Ava is an in demand transformation coach, author and speaker who is not afraid to break barriers or try new things in her business. Come along as we travel with Ava through her narrative of moving from pain to purpose.

 

Tell us about your childhood.

 

I grew up in one of the poorest areas of Jamaica. In this community I learned life lessons of perseverance and survival. From a young age, the belief that I was destined for more than the community recreational activities of sex, raising babies and going to the farm gave me the courage to forge a very different path than the one expected. The need to find food often won out over attending school. My adolescent years were encased in the dark shadows of incest and sexual abuse. And as a young adult, I experienced the frightening occurrence of being held up at gunpoint. These chain of events caused me to flee my home country in order to save my sanity.

 

What would you say was the narrative that was expressed to you based upon where you grew up, how you grew up and the messages you received?

 

I was told I would not amount to anything. The people around me were not role models. As a result, I felt that my only hope was to have babies and go to the farm.

 

How did that narrative play out in your decisions, actions and feelings about yourself?

 

As a child I struggled with low self esteem, low morale and generally lived a life of hopelessness to an extent. I acted in ways that were based on my environment and disliked my childhood.

 

What was the catalyst or main event that made you say that narrative needed to change?

 

I have had a few. But I would say the one that pushed me the hardest was when my husband made love to me one night and the next night he reported me to the police for harassment. I knew something had to shift. And that shift had to be ME!

 

What is the new narrative in your life?

 

Oh my new narrative is simply regardless of where I have been and what has happened to me I know and have proven that I have the tools to make the shift into the direction I want. Today I am on my Purpose Walk and that is what I teach my clients through my coaching and rewriting of their stories.

 

How does this new narrative show up in your everyday life?

 

My new narrative makes me happier, free and more aligned with the inner diamond that I am inside.  It allows me to transform lives daily in my business. I help broken women and men who now see me as a role model of possibility. My motto is the word IMPOSSIBLE says I’M Possible.

 

 

What advice would you give someone who wanted to create a new narrative but didn’t know how to do it?
I would say to them that the first step is to identify that you need to make a shift. Once that is done then you need to understand that change does not come without a decision. So move from wanting to change to actually implementing the things needed to change. Yes, it will be challenging, but, if I can do it so can you. You just need to take the first step towards change and the process becomes a lot easier as there are others who have crossed over. They are ready to take your hand , BUT you have to be willing to make the first step. My life is a rollercoaster ride that breaks hearts, motivates, inspires and fuels the desire for change.
Ava’s narrative touches on many issues that girls and women around the world experience daily. It is our job to let them know that they can be in it but not of it. There is healing, joy and life on the other side of the pain. We must reclaim our joy. However many need a helping hand to go through that process. Will you be like Ava and use your pain to fuel someone else’s purpose? The world is calling. Answer the phone.
For more information on Ava Eagle Brown’s services please visit her social media platforms.
Facebook  Ava Eagle Brown
Instagram @Avabrown24
Twitter @avabrown24

 

 

Change Your Narrative w/ShaDonna “Mo” McPhaul: Not So Random Thoughts Before Bed

Mo's Heroes

Those who protect and serve this country need people who will protect and serve them once they leave the armed forces. ShaDonna “Mo” McPhaul is on a mission to provide knowledge, information and resources to some of our most vulnerable–our veterans. As the founder of Mo’s Heroes  her mission is to significantly reduce the homeless veteran population through prevention, outreach, support services and community partnerships. Mo has a passion to help those who are forgotten. Mo answered the call to serve her country at the tender age of 18 years old. She is now positioning herself to serve a vulnerable population as they transition from soldier to civilian. Lets take a look into how Mo ended up on this path of service.

 

Tell us about your childhood. 

 

My younger brother and I were raised by a single mother. My mother was married twice. Both step-dads played a very important part in our lives. We have a huge family of aunts, uncle, and cousins so there is never a dull moment when we all get together. We all took care of each other.

 

What would you say was the narrative that was expressed to you based upon where you grew up, how you grew up and the messages you received?

 

Growing up, I had to take on a lot of responsibility at an early age. I never saw my mom unemployed, as a matter of fact she always held down two or three jobs to ensure my brother and I never went without anything. Reflecting on my life now, is why I work as hard as I do to make ends meet.

 

How did that narrative play out in your decisions, actions and feelings about yourself?

 

Being responsible as a child and seeing my mother be responsible imprinted it in my DNA that I must be a responsible adult. I am very proud of the adult I have become. However, there are moments where I find that I take on more than I should and it can become overwhelming. But, I do feel that all of this is preparing me for life after the military.

 

What was the catalyst or main event that made you say that narrative needed to change?

 

After I had my son in 2012, I knew I had to step my game up and be the best example of a responsible adult. I’ve always thought of myself as being pretty responsible, but having a child really put it into perspective. Do I get everything right? No. Do I try and are my intentions and heart pure? Yes.

 

What is the new narrative in your life?

 

My new narrative is “just go for it”. I realize now that I will never be “perfect” not that I ever thought that I would be. I’m always going to do my best. Will failures and disappointments come? Yes. Will I continue to hold my head high no matter what? Yes. Do I care about what others think about me? Yes, but I won’t let that affect my morale and self esteem.

 

How does this new narrative show up in your everyday life?

 

I face major challenges and I fight minor battles everyday with what seems like everyone. Today I’m careful about what I say and how I react to different situations in my life. I know that I don’t have to attend a battle that I’m invited to. I don’t have to respond or even give any energy to negative situations that don’t mean anything to my life.

 

What advice would you give someone who wanted to create a new narrative but didn’t know how to do it?
I would encourage people to just stay focused on their dreams and don’t give up when the times get hard and people treat you bad. Stay positive and always try to see the good in every situation. I know it’s easier said than done. But it will help you in the long run. Last but most certainly not least, pray about everything and pray for everyone. Even pray for the people who are not so nice to you.

 

 

To make the commitment at a very early age to serve your country is life changing. Mo was just out of high school when she decided to dedicate her career and life to the armed forces. Imagine going from raising your hand to ask to use the restroom and the next month raising your hand to take an oath to protect and serve our country. That was a great amount of responsibility to rest on the shoulders of an 18 year-old. However, Mo has vowed to use her resources and knowledge wisely after leaving military life so that other veterans can be equipped with tools to acclimate them to civilian life.

 

Thank you ShaDonna “Mo” McPhaul for protecting and serving from both sides of the table.

 

For more information about Mo and Mo’s Heroes please follow these social media platforms:

 

Facebook   Mo’s Heroes 

 

Instagram  Mo’s Heroes 

 

Twitter        Mosheroes

 

 

 

 

 

 

Change Your Narrative w/Rasheena Perry: Not So Random Thoughts Before Bed

Rasheena Perry

As we start the last week of the #ChangeYourNarrative Blog Series, I am excited, honored and humbled at the story of our next narrative changer. Her story is truly a testament to God’s unchanging hand and His unmerited favor. The adage that what doesn’t kill you will ultimately make you stronger applies to this narrative. Rasheena Perry is a woman on a mission to (Re)Purpose, (Re)Define and (Re)Align her life to impact the lives of women who have been hurt.

 

Rasheena was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and currently calls Spring Lake, North Carolina her home. She is the CEO of Rasheena Unscripted, LLC. Rasheena is a Minister | Transformational Catalyst | Playwright | Author | Leadership Development Strategist | Organizational Trainer | Coach | Singer. Even though she wears many hats she still makes time for her wonderful children and her community. After reading Rasheena’s narrative I knew instantly she was a force that was built to rise up for the Kingdom of God.

 

Let us take a closer look at her narrative.

 

 

Tell us about your childhood. 

My childhood was very dark, painful and confusing. It formulated many of my first impressions, which later affected my young adulthood, career, friendship, and marital and spiritual opinions. I was born in the heart of Brooklyn, New York better known as “Bed Stuy–Do or Die.” I am the daughter of two teenage parents, both of whom were strung out on heroin, cocaine and I can only imagine what else. Needless to say, neither of them was in the position to raise me. I eventually left to live with my grandmother. Life with my grandmother was seemingly the best thing for me. However, little did I know that later in life I’d be left with a story that had to be told. I was raised in the church from a newborn babe. My grandmother attended regularly so I really had no choice. My first impression of love and rejection was formed at an early age. At five years old I began the journey that I refer to as “On My Own!” It started with my father showing up on my fifth birthday and running downstairs to get my present from his car; I’m still waiting. My grandmother was 73 years old when I was dropped off to her. She had less than a first grade education. I was forced to teach myself. Homework was never checked because she couldn’t read or write. Nevertheless, I was an A student and remained that way throughout my school years. I spent the next nine years seeing my mother sporadically, and even then she was in no condition to mother me. In fact, I ended up rescuing her; saving her life. I experienced and witnessed things no child should have to. I’ve found her unconscious with needles still in her veins from where she had been shooting up heroin. I was forced to stop her from bleeding out and dying. Most 7 years olds don’t know how to tie something around their mother’s vein to place pressure on it and stop the bleeding; I did. To my dismay, I had several more years of practice.

 

The madness doesn’t stop there. At the ripe age of ten, it was time for me to learn all about being a woman. My molester uttered those words. Seeing that he had been our pastor since I was a toddler singing in the “Tiny Tots Sunshine Choir,” I trusted him. Because, after all he was my pastor. In all honesty he was the closest thing I had to a father. My grandfather was the neighborhood drunk and emotionally detached from everyone in our house. So, from the age of ten until twelve my pastor molested me daily. Then at twelve he began to violently and repeatedly rape me; at church during services, when no one was there, in the churches make shift Christian Academy that was a rodent infested abandoned factory, and even in dark alley ways. Whatever his fetish was that day, I was forced to fulfill. He warned me that my grandmother would never believe me and that my drug-addicted mother wouldn’t even care. I tried to tell and my grandmother’s response was, “Pastor is good to this family and whatever he wants, that’s what you better do,” and so I did. We lived in the projects a good distance away from the church. Walking this far was dangerous for a child. As a result, the neighborhood men and young boys would grab me up in the alley ways, elevator shafts, stairwells and even rooftops and force me to do sexual things that I never even heard of, nor could my young body stand. I fought back once, and I was then dangled off the roof of my twelve-story project building. You would think I was begging for my life; instead I was begging for death! “Drop me I begged and pleaded,” but they didn’t. There’s more, but I’ll stop there.

 

What would you say was the narrative that was expressed to you based upon where you grew up, how you grew up and the messages you received?

The narrative that was expressed to me was, “You are nothing, you come from nothing, you’ll never be nothing, your life has no value, your body has no worth, no one will ever love, nurture or respect you and all you will ever be good for is sex!” Educating myself, setting goals and having dreams were pointless for someone like me, because it’s not possible to make it out of where I come from.

 

How did that narrative play out in your life with regard to your decisions, actions and feelings?

The way that the narrative played out in my decisions, actions and feelings is twofold. On the one hand it fueled my fire to exceed everyone’s expectations of me. So I taught myself, I paid extra close attention in school and I was determined to always excel in whatever I set my hands to do. I was an achiever and I was successful in my academic and athletic pursuits, except there was never anyone there to see it because no one cared. On the other hand, I became a woman in a child’s body. I was confused, hurt, angry and out for revenge. The worst thing about that was, I was not after revenge against the people that let me down or even the ones that violated me. I was after my own self! I hated me. I was unlovable. I was worthless. I was stupid. I was gullible. I was a spectacle. I believed I was a failure before I even had a chance to experience life. And to add to my screwed up life I was now pregnant at 15. I literally hated everything my life represented, I didn’t trust people, church or myself. I believed I was better off dead!

 

What was the catalyst or main event that made you say, “Hey, this narrative has to change”?

The primary event occurred in 2009. After many attempts at suicide this last one was almost a success. I had gotten married and was a proud military spouse. I achieved my dream of giving my children a better life and opportunity. However, three years into my marriage I was informed by the military police that my husband was taken into custody for alleged child molestation. The roller coaster of emotions, confusion, anger, resentment and then love for him sent me into an already existing cycle of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. I suffered with these issues all of my life, but because of my religious beliefs I just tried to pray it away.

 

Then, on December 19th, 2006, I determined that I was tired of praying and I would make them go away myself. So, I overdosed on numerous medications. I found unconscious by my children who called some members of my church. They tried to help me. They feared if the paramedics were called my children would be taken away. Eventually, I began to have seizures and I started to fade; they had no choice but to call for help. The paramedics rushed me to the hospital, pumped my stomach, took blood work, ran tests and only found a small amount of Nyquil. This was not even enough to harm an infant. I knew how many bottles of pills I had consumed. I knew how much alcohol I had consumed and I knew that I should be dead! But God! He saved my life; he kept me here without a trace, without a side effect, without any damage to my brain. This was when I realized, that my life had a Divine Purpose! This was when I realized that man and God were two different entities. The men may not have loved me or seen my worth, but my real daddy did.

 

What is the new narrative in your life?

My new narrative is to (Re)Purpose, (Re)Define and (Re)Align my life. I made a conscious choice to change my narrative! From that moment forward, I stopped saying I went through this and began saying this is what I came out of. I turned my pain into purpose. I no longer saw myself the way everyone else saw me. I saw myself for who, what and whose I was. I redefined my identity that then caused me to see myself through the eyes of Christ. I accepted that with my purpose I had a vision and it was time to turn my vision into action. Next, I had to realign my life because my former path could not take me where God had predestined for me to go. From there I began to turn my disappointments into success.

 

How does this new narrative show up in your life everyday?

It shows up every day in the way that I serve others. I offer them the tools and resources that God offered me to come out of darkness into His marvelous light. I help them recognize that it’s not about where you’ve been, but it’s all about where you’re going. I take the God-given opportunities to share this message with women who are where I was. I recently debuted my Stage Play entitled “Resurrection, It’s Time for Me To Live!” In it I became naked and vulnerable and I stood in my truth and relived the horrific events and traumatic experiences from the beginning to now. The events in my life have built character, integrity, tenacity, compassion, and commitment and prepared me to fulfill my assignment on earth. Everyday I share my message through my lifestyle, through social media, through my prayer groups, on speaking platforms, dramas, poetry, transformational coaching and the unadulterated love of God.

At present, I am in the process of releasing a Book & CD Compilation Project called “Unbreakable, One Woman’s Journey from Gutter to Glory” and the cd called “Unbreakable.” In addition, I am also preparing to host the “Image Awards Ceremony”. I will be honoring 15 women who have survived similar experiences and are on the path to recovery.  Each woman will be presented with a scholarship to attend the RePurpose, ReDefine and ReAlign Coaching Academy. I’m actively seeking sponsors to cover the cost of the scholarship at this time.

 

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to change his or her narrative but didn’t know where to start?

My advice would be to tell them that the choice is yours! We are the governor of our own emotions, so we can decide to see the glass half empty or half full. If they truly want to change their narrative; they must change their perspective, which will set them on the path to changing their life! Remember, it happened for you, not to you. That’s my perspective. What’s yours?

As I read Rasheena’s narrative I thought about the thousands of students I have encountered over my span of 10+ years of working in pre-college programs. The faces of my middle and high school students swirl in my mind as I take in every trial and tribulation of Rasheena’s. We may walk past Rasheena’s everyday and not pay attention to their pain or their promise. Let her narrative be a reminder that if the still small voices pushes you to reach out to someone in pain–go immediately. Their life and death just might depend on your action. Life is more about how you finish and less about how you start.

 

Re-write your own narrative and watch miracles happen.

 

To stay connected to Rasheena via social media please visit these sites.

 

Facebook    Rasheena Perry

 

Instagram  Rasheena_Unscripted 

 

Twitter       @R_Unscripted