Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I Am My Sister's Keeper

     In 1991, I decided that I had enough.  I decided to take back the control of my life when I separated from my husband.  With two children and mounting debts, this decision was made with much fear and concern about my financial well-being.  The relationship had been plagued off and on with bouts of Domestic Violence.  For a year I often pondered to myself, "why did I stay so long"?  During the two years after my separation, I spent a great amount of time reflecting on the choices that led up to the relationship and my experiences of Domestic Violence.  I came to recognize that each moment I failed to honor my personal truths, I chose to compromise what I "felt" to be in my best interest for the sake of staying in the relationship.  Each of these moments were a reflection of what I was beginning to believe about myself and what was possible in my life.

     For a period of several years, despite the fact that I was in my early 20's, I had already began to think that their was no hope for me ever accomplishing any of the dreams and goals that I had prior to becoming a teenage mother. So I began to believe "his lie" when he said, "no one else would ever want you or love you because I had a kid". This lie began a series of lies that I began to believe and accept as "my truth". 

     My plans to complete college was derailed by my second pregnancy and so I accepted the reality that my first responsibility would have to be towards my children and that somehow I would have to do what I had to do until I could do better. But God. Their seemed to be a revolving door in our relationship where I would leave and then come back to him.  This went on for years.  Finally after hearing God's word spoken with an authority and in power I had never witnessed before in my life, my attitude about my life and my approach began to be transformed.  So I decided to leave him.  This time I thought for good.  But instead, after getting back up on my feet with a new job at Marriott Hotels and a new apartment, I decided to give him another chance, hoping that somehow we could make it work for the sake of our children.  We eventually got married.  That was a mistake.

     Fortunately for me, the foundation of God's word that I was receiving began to develop and fan an inner strength I had never experienced in my life. Despite my rocky marriage, God's word began to enlarge a bigger vision of my life then I had believed to be possible. After a transfer to Marriott's Courtyard division, I began to pursue and acquire management and leadership positions.  I felt an overwhelming unction in my spirit to position myself to be as financially independent as possible.

     The training and development of my leadership skills with the Courtyard division enabled me to tap into unrecognized potential. As my confidence in my professional abilities grew so did my self-confidence in my ability to lead my life with or without a man.  During this time, I will admit, I was no saint.  For that reason, I wanted to make sure that the marriage could not be saved before I would make a decision that would alter the lives of three other people.

     When we had a physical altercation at the beginning of 1991, I knew that in that particular moment, my decision to leave my marriage had been sealed. I knew that I did not deserve to suffer physical abuse, nor did I believe any longer that I was damaged goods because of having children out of wedlock in my teens.  I was fortunate that the support and encouragement from bosses and a few co-workers reinforced the new vision I held about myself and my life. He wouldn't leave the home we were renting, so I began to make plans to move and start over again.  My son, Blease decided to live with his father.  My daughter Dee and I moved to an apartment.

     It took a few years for me to rebuild a strong sense of trust in my decisions related to relationships.  The damage inflicted on my self-esteem and sense of self-worth was subtle.  Today, my sense of self-worth dictates what I accept in any relationship.  After my period of introspection, I came to the awareness that I taught my husband how to treat me by accepting and tolerating behavior that violated my personal truths and beliefs. I have sense then established a zero tolerance for any indicator that someone may use any of the forms of Domestic Violence in a personal relationship.

     My first hand experience with Domestic Violence gives me the understanding that each situation is different and that the question, "Why did you stay"? is often a fully loaded question with as many diverse answers as is the diversity of individuals who suffer the damaging affects of Domestic Violence. Domestic Violence strips an individual of their self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence.  It is protected through silence. Yet, it is a destructive force that steals, kills and destroys hopes, dreams and human potential.  If it had not been for the grace of God and the support network of many co-workers, I'm not sure if I would have had the courage to leave for good when I did. Many times after I moved, I wondered if I should reconsider my decision just because it would have made it easier for my children and I wouldn't have had to face my fears that I would never pay off the debt I owed.

     I had to concentrate my energies towards redefining and rebuilding my life based on a new and revised script.  My new script has continued to evolve and inspire me to make the most of my life, now.  My company, The SaySo Group is the host of The Power of You! Empowerment Workshop for Women series being held in Columbia, SC from October 2010 through April 2011.  We have designated SisterCare, a United Way agency, as our community partner.  SisterCare provides support services and resources to battered women and children in Richland county and several other counties. We will donate ten percent of our ticket sales of all "live" workshop events held in the Columbia and surrounding areas to SisterCare.

     The first workshop in our The Power of You! Empowerment series takes place on October 16, 2010 at the ML Smith Community Development Center, located at 5213 Farrow Rd. in Cola, SC from 10am until 4pm. Ticket price is $35. Includes lunch, a gift bag with Monya Parker Grant's CD, ARISE! and a Special Workshop Edition of the book, You Are Stronger Than You Think! by Jackie Capers-Brown, available only at The Power of You! Empowerment Workshops. Workshop Presentations includes:

  • In the Spirit - Rev. Irish "Sha" Brown, Associate Minister, First Nazareth Baptist Church, Cola, SC
  • What Love Got to Do With It?- Jaime L. Rohadfox, Visionary/Founder of Women of Divine Aspirations and Host of R.I.S.E.U.P. Blogtalk Radio, Charlotte, NC
  • How She Did It? - (Small Biz Success) Christine Mabley, District Manager with Avon, Cola. SC 
  • Girl, Get Your Money Straight! - Jannis Millhouse, Black Enterprise Financial Fitness Contest Winner, September 2010
  • Fit and Fab - Kim Samuels, Drew Wellness Fitness Coordinator and Personal Trainer in Cola. SC
  • Keynote: You Are Stronger Than You Think! -Jackie Capers-Brown, Author, Speaker and Owner of The SaySo Group, Cola. SC
  • The Power of You! Award winner
     The Power of You! workshop's mission is inspired by the scripture II Timothy 1:7, but God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and self-discipline. (New Living Translation)  The Power of You! Team of Experts and  Partners serve as a source for inspiration and empowerment information.  The expert advice, tips and resources provided at each interactive workshop  enables participants to be proactive towards manifesting the seeds of greatness that dwells within their potential.  Each presentation increases the attendee ability to walk steadfast in her faith and in a spirit of power, love and self-discipline.

     From places of pain, the grace of God has empowered me to connect with others from various human experiences. Stirring up the flame within my spirit and the desire in my soul to use my experiences to help others influenced my decision to begin this workshop series.  Our team of presenters will equip participants with practical tools and resources that challenges "lies of limitations" that hinder them from exercising the  power of their inner strength to create the life they want to experience. One of my personal core truths is that our lives are only limited by how far our faith, thoughts and actions will take us.  One of my company's, The SaySo Group, core truth is that our service and products will inspire others to enlarge the vision that they have of themselves and to provide resources that enables our customers to actually experience life from a new and fresh perspective of possibilities. We believe that everyone has the power to create positive impact in their life and in the world. For additional information and online registration for this workshop go to http://thepowerofyouwfw.eventbrite.com/.