Anger.

While watching FireFly Lane on Netflix, just now, I felt a swell of pain from a similar scene from my past. Then growth.. Like literally felt it. In fact, I’m still feeling it.

It’s true – it does hurt. Like physically hurts. I get it now!

Growth hurts.

Although it has me full of anxiety, it also serves as a confirmation, that I’m indeed, on the right path.

☮️

My mother.

The anger.

The resentment.

The abandonment.

The trauma.

Exasperating.😓

It’s eaten me alive for years.

I often thought I had no choice.

She hated me.

Don’t feel bad.

If I can accept that, I mean really accept it- that down deep to the bone, into your core, acknowledgement – the kind that takes years to work through – you can too.

Insert more anger here.

Only now as I sit here in my current journey of mindfulness, and finding my inner strength, I can clearly see that my anger is what was blocking our relationship.

It wasn’t hate.

It was anger.

It was the absence of love.

I was acting out my pain.

All these years carrying this heavy yolk.

I think the road just took a right turn on this, never boring road, of Freedom that I’m fortunate enough to be on.

This turn is going to hopefully show me how to process this surge of growth so I can move on to the next piece of trauma.

Music.

Music has always played an important part of my life for as long as I can remember. In fact, it begins with my name!

Often when introducing myself I am asked if my name is a result of The Beatles hit “Michelle.”

Michelle, ma belle These are words that go together well My Michelle… Although I do not know the answer to this question, it could very well be possible, as the song became a hit within a few months of my birth, in 1967.

I may not have grown into a Beatles fan, however, I have grown to be quite a fan of music. It’s been a tool of therapy for me. There aren’t many times when you will find music not being played in my car. My husband used to jokingly ask me when I pulled up in the driveway, what concert I was at -his way of teasing me about playing my music too loud. -I’m sure if we asked my kids, they would share their equal frustration with you.

There are some songs that can immediately take me back in time. Oddly enough, the best way I can describe is with a song; Trisha Yearwood, The Song Remembers When. The lyrics go like this; 

I was standing at the counter

I was waitin’ for the change

When I heard that old familiar music start

It was like a lighted match

Had been tossed into my soul

It was like a dam had broken in my heart

It goes on to say…

And even if the whole world had forgotten

The song remembers when

Reflecting back, pre covid, I was working inside various prisons throughout the State of California, doing program work with the people incarcerated. These drives would be anywhere from 3 to 6 hours long, depending on the location. Music would build my anticipation getting there, give me ideas on inspiration to share, and remind me of the painful memories I experienced being inside, reiterating in my heart, why I do the work I do. 

While being inside we would play up beat music to engage the people and hype the crowds. Dancing in prison was always the best part. Seeing families dance together, often for the first time in decades, even for the first time, or who can ever forget witnessing  the OG gangsta group of men getting their groove on while singing and dancing to, Tyler Swift “Shake It Off.” This is something that would bring a smile to anyone’s face. -Well, anyone with a heart, that is!

Then there is that dreadful ride home. You know, beat tired, hungry, smelling like “prison” and feeling heartbroken and inspired all at the same time. The return drive is where I process the guilt of being able to leave, the sadness over the ones who deserve freedom but cannot get it, and the grief over those who just don’t ever seem to get it. 

There is something magical about having the windows rolled down, wind blowing in your hair, and singing the words to your favorite songs as loud as you can. It’s like all the prison melting off me piece by piece as I take the time to properly process each feeling so I don’t take untreated feelings home to my family. (Other words; a wound up, lashing out mother/wife)

Similar, there is an abundance of courage and power that comes from hearing a song like, Girl On Fire, by Katy Perry. 

Oh, she got both feet on the ground

And she’s burning it down

Oh, she got her head in the clouds

And she’s not backing down…

Looks like a girl, but she’s a flame

So bright, she can burn your eyes

Better look the other way

You can try but you’ll never forget her name

She’s on top of the world…

I resonate with these words. On so many levels. It hits to the core that I will not back down. This journey of life after prison can be extremely challenging at times, but I always have hope that I will succeed. And no one can ever dull my flame, without my permission!

Additionally, during a family trip to Colorado to visit my grandson a few years back, we were in the car driving back from dinner when Sorry Not Sorry, by Demi Lovato began to play. A song that my son sings annoyingly loud. (Not sure where he got that from, lol) In the chorus there is a line that says “You fuckin’ with a savage” -only I thought it said, “you sad bitch,”- so you can imagine the fun they had clowning me when I, equally annoying and loud, sang the wrong chorus. To this day, there isn’t a time one in our family can hear this song play, whether we are all together or separated, that the memory of this car ride doesn’t flood our mind. Consequently, creating a small but meaningful smile to our face.

Then of course there are those songs I have requested to be played at my funeral. True story; I am obsessed with planning my funeral! I imagine everyone smiling as they sing the words to Ghetto, along with Elvis Preslely;

People, don’t you understand

The child needs a helping hand

Or he’ll grow to be an angry young man some day

Take a look at you and me,

Are we too blind to see,

Do we simply turn our heads

And look the other way, 

And of course all the tears that will be shed in the end while a beautiful version of Amazing Grace is being played. Dramatic, I know. Just like me.

Most recently, in my journey to healing, I have begun a Kundalini mindset practice. This is a religious type of experience within the Hindu tradition.

When awakened, Kundalini is described as rising up from the muladhara chakra, through the central nadi (called sushumna) inside or alongside the spine reaching the top of the head. The progress of Kundalini through the different chakras is believed to achieve different levels of awakening and a mystical experience, until Kundalini finally reaches the top of the head, Sahasrara or crown chakra, producing an extremely profound transformation of consciousness.[8]:5–6  –Wikipedia 

In this practice we use a mantra;  RA MA DA SA, SA SAY SO HUNG. Ra is the sun, Ma is the Moon, Da is the earth, and Sa is Infinity. Say is the totality of Infinity, and So Hung is “I am Thou”. “Ra Ma Da Sa” is the Earth Mantra. And “Sa Say So Hung” is the Ether Mantra. 

From the moment I heard this beautiful mantra, there was an energy that pierced through my soul. In spite of the fact of not knowing the pronunciation, or even what the meaning of the words,  I felt an immediate and powerful connection. Indeed, the minute it begins playing during our morning meditation gathering, I instantly recall that first experience. If not in my heart, always my mind.

Likewise, as mentioned earlier…the song remembers when.

Liberty call, liberty call.

Ultimately, joining the Navy isn’t a spontaneous decision, and you definitely won’t be shipping out the same day you enlist. Therefore, I knew for several months my son would be leaving for Boot Camp, yet still, nothing prepared me for that final departure September 21, 2019. 

I remember as those last few weekends approached; our last family day, the last time asking him to detail my car…or buying his favorite snacks for the last time. Geez, looking back on it I can’t help but chuckle. He’s joining the Navy, Michelle, not dying. Only sitting here today I can say without a doubt, a piece of me did die that day.

Saying that last goodbye, feeling that last hug, knowing I was saying goodbye to my “baby” while preparing to say “hello” to a new man. Further torturing myself listening to the Dixie Chicks sing, “Traveling Soldier” while driving back home. Still feeling his arms around me and hearing the fear in his voice as he reassured me he would be okay. If I only knew then how much music was going to be my weakness. And strength

One Friday night at a football game 

The Lord’s Prayer said and the anthem sang 

A man said folks would you bow your head 

For the list of local Vietnam vet.

Separation is nothing new for our family. In fact, I could write a memoir on that alone. Our family has spent several years apart, thanks to incarceration. In fact, six years of separate lives. Spending Mother’s Day year after year, in a visiting room, having to hear what my kids got for Christmas, and what their teachers are like since I was not able to witness any of it face to face. However, even in the depth of all these past painful experiences, I have never felt such a deep anguish like I did when my baby boy left for Boot Camp.

Returning home after we left him at the hotel for that dark thirty departure that excluded the family;  walking past his empty room, tossing the dirty laundry he left for me in the washer and smelling his scent. Yes, this is the same scent I use to gag over…. the same laundry I use to complain and dread over having to wash. I was missing everything, his voice, his smile, his jokes, and especially that annoying smirk he gave when I said something he didn’t like or agree with. It was all so much. I just couldn’t stop my mind. It was like a downhill spiral of misery.. 

Suck it up buttercup…it’s only 8 weeks before you are reunited… are just some of the affirmations running through my head. Doing everything I can to focus on the joyous celebrations we had the weeks prior, playing miniature golf, eating all our favorite meals, and simply being present with one another. Something I wish we would always remember to do; only life has a funny way of fooling us by making us think there’s always tomorrow…only what if tomorrow doesn’t come. 

Then, just when I thought I was finally catching my breath, low and behold,  another song comes on that resonates with every ounce of my being. Occasionally someone would ask how he was doing, or those times I would have to drive by his old high school, or a spot that reminded me of his Track and Cross Country days. How about when I would stop at Subway to get him his snack cause Lord knows he can’t go more than 15 minutes without food….oh no, another song that reminds me; will it ever end.

Consequently, it didn’t take long before my old friends, Shame & Guilt, came alongside to personally escort me to that dreaded place of self pity.

You see, the reason my son made this career path was mainly due to the result from the financial hardship our family has faced due to my past mistakes and incarceration. Being the old man soul that he is, Zak found it more practical for him to join the Navy in order to save us the expense of paying for college.  

However, even in my deepest sorrow, somehow, through the beautiful Grace of God, I was finally able to fall asleep that fall night. I’m sure the bottle of wine helped.  

Just shortly after midnight, the phone rang. No! Not that scripted call I had heard so much about…could it be my heart stopped? You know, like the stories of people dying and then coming back?!  The pain paralyzed me as I attempted to walk downstairs to share the update with my husband, who was also experiencing the same grief of having to say goodbye to his favorite “buddy.” But instead, my body froze and I became silent. In place of, I laid on the hallway floor sobbing. Hello, this is Sailor Recruit Zackary Garcia. This call is to inform you I have arrived safely for Boot Camp. You will be receiving a form letter from me in the next few weeks with more information. First a pause, followed by a shaky whisper-like tone, I hear the words,  “I love you, mom.” Click. 

 Goodbye, Zak. Be safe and always remember, no matter how alone you may feel, we are always right beside you, I whispered to the skies above.

One of the last things I shared with Zak before we said goodbye was how I used to look at the sun rise each morning while in prison and take comfort in knowing that we were all under the same sky, in hopes that he would remember this during his times of being homesick.

The tears continued until they couldn’t, then I prayed.  For him, me, my husband, his siblings, and of course his loving girlfriend, Andrea. Oh no, how is this young love ever going to survive a long distance relationship?!  Who’s going to be there for him if she breaks up with him?!

Eventually, I was able to transform that pain for purpose. I invested several hours into researching and reading every article I could about his new life as a Sailor, and Boot Camp experience. Before long I was fortunate enough to find a group of Navy moms who were walking through the same experience. BINGO! Community to the rescue. This is a comfort I know well! 

Community. There’s something powerful about being surrounded by like minded people that remind you that you’re not alone, and that there is life after heartache. Then shortly after,  I found a group solely dedicated to his division, where I met moms and dad in the exact place I was! Then another that taught me the ins and outs on his upcoming graduation. What hotel to stay out, where to pick up my tickets, how to dress, and all the celebrated decorations I had to make and prepare. Yes, I have to do all this; you know because that’s what shame and guilt have you to believe.  Followed by the hard to find Navy mom shoes, shirts, and car stickers. Oh! Don’t forget the collection of anchors! Before long the family is teasing me about the shrine I built. And may, or may not, still have.

But then! The best group of all! My Mafia Hookers! Ahhhh, comfort for the heart. Like an old trusted friend. More effective than wine, and almost as good as a shot of tequila. 

I know…what kind of Navy Mom group refers to themselves as Hookers?! My kind of group, that’s who! Remember, I’m not like the other moms since mom’s who love their children should think about their kids before committing their crime…thanks, shame and guilt, I needed that reminder…NOT!

Within just a few short days the ladies in this cult taught me so much about what was ahead. They shared their experience and hope with me. Before too much time passed, long I realized how incredible this journey was going to be. Not just for him, or me, but for our entire family. Without even knowing it our family instantly grew by millions. We are now part of a bigger purpose. We are THE United States Navy Family!  I am about to be a fully certified Proud Navy Mom. AKA Hooker! In this group,  I learned more about the Navy and his future as a Nuclear Power Tech then he even knew! There were times he would ask me for the information he needed. The resources were lifesaving, and the friendships remain priceless treasures.

These amazing ladies embraed me. Even after they learned of my past. Instead of asking how similar Orange Is The New Black to real life prison, they simply smiled and said “so-who cares!” I will forever be inspired by the lessons I learned from my Sea Sisters, and how they helped me carry my grief. Sometimes their suggestions were to head for the bar, other times it would be a bath or book, but nevertheless, they were always there to root me on and encourage me to not give up.  However, the best part, they took off  their boots and shoved ‘em up ol Shame and Guilt’s butt! Don’t mess with a Navy Mom; especially the Navy Mom Mafia!

Everyday I would write to Zak; weird how that time in prison taught me the power of a letter and how I would later turn that into a blessing for my own son. I would write to him about all the things I wanted to hear and the things I missed while being away; the weather, the everyday activities, the dogs, what we had for dinner, and how ridiculous I was in my sorrow of missing him. -And every day I would pray for a return letter. Only they weren’t arriving as quickly as I desired.  For 2 weeks straight I would go to the mailbox, and for 2 weeks straight it was empty. Then my Hookers told me to sign up for daily mail notifications with the US Post Office. What?! They have such a thing?! They sure the heck do! And with a few simple clicks on my phone, I can now see an image of each and every piece of mail coming my way! It didn’t speed up the mail, or even stop the tears, but it did something to stir excitement. Additionally, they told me when to expect the calls and the time of day they came, they validated my frustration with the drill sergeant that wouldn’t look to keenly on me shipping a birthday cake to him, and even shared how to schedule my flight out so I wouldn’t miss that  famous, “I’m a Sailor” call. I wonder if  Zak even knows how his exhaustion prevented that call from being as impactful as it should have been…

Before long I had a few more trinkets of happiness; I found “Lil Zak” who is a Beanie Baby like stuffed person in uniform. He was only about 5 inches tall and fit perfectly in my hands. I carried him everywhere, would stuff him in my purse, sit him on my desk while drinking the Starbucks coffee he hated that I wasted money on, held him close to my heart when I cried, threw him a few times after not receiving a phone call or letter, and even threatened to make him into a vudu doll and stick needles in him. Haha, I really am certified crazy, aren’t I?!!?

Lil Zak quickly became a legend. Well in my mind at least. He went to family dinners, a Rams game, and to CIW, a women’s prison in Corona that I revisit as a volunteer. He ate at Wahlburgers, and joined me and my friends for Happy Hour at the restaurant his sister worked at. One of the coolest things he joined in was meeting Van, my best friend’s baby, when he was born. Eventually before long, Lil Zak helped replace Shame and Guilt with Laughter and Purpose. Just like he does in real life, my “stand in son” was there to remind me I still have value and a purpose, that I am more than my past and that being a previously incarcerated mother doesn’t define me. And why I think this was such a crippling time for me…you see, Zak has always had a unique way of making me feel loved, accepted, and forgiven. We connect differently. I can see his emotions in his body language, I can tell you when he is in pain just by looking at him. 

That’s right, get on out the door you crippling emotions. I don’t need you anymore. I’m now Navy Mom Strong! Pack your belongings and get out of my way – I got business to handle!

The following 8 weeks continued on to be some of the most intense days of my life. I found pain I never knew, but I also found a much desired and welcomed strength in my pride for him.

My son is Sailor. My Sailor is my Hero. While we all have Heroes; I raised mine! He does something other kids his age don’t do. He chooses to serve his Country and flight for Freedom, while others are choosing which classes to take or what concert to attend.

Finally, at last, Pass In Review came. It was November 19th, 2019, in Great Lakes, Illinois. Cold as hell, and far from Sunny California, but worth every minute. I can still feel the thunder of emotions I felt sitting on those stadium benches listening to those bay doors roll up and feeling the vibrations from the marching feet as they entered the room…only they all look the same…which one is him…didn’t he get the letter that told him I’d be on the right side, and to make sure he waved as he marched by…just kidding, well about the wave, that is.

Shortly after, we were all reunited again over a big platter of BBQ food. Mom, dad, older sister, Lil Zak, and my United States Sailor. Serving together, like Military Families do. He now has as many Mommas, as I have Sons.

The night ended way too soon and before long he was returning back to his new Chief of Command. Ready or not to say goodbye, I no longer had a say in his coming and goings. Someone else dictates that. But fear not, there’s a Mafia of Navy Moms on standby, just in case they need to be reminded who the real boss is. Meanwhile, we let them think they are in charge. After all, it’s good for the man’s ego.

In the end, as I sit and reminisce on one of the most celebrated occasions in the life of a Navy family, the words that echo aren’t those of the scripted call, instead they are, “HEAR THIS HEAR THIS! LIBERTY CALL, LIBERTY CALL!!!!!”

Day 3.

The fact that I’m writing today’s update at 8pm should give you an idea of how the day went.

It’s been challenging today. I woke up tired. Like really tired. A deep exhaustion that I couldn’t shake.

I ended up going back to bed after my mediation class, with full intentions of simply resting my eyes…3 cups of coffee and an 2 hours later, I made it to the shower.

Needless to say I was a couple hours late for work…luckily I’m not micromanaged and have that freedom. But the real problem was I just couldn’t get my mojo. I could feel myself sinking. I kept pulling out life jackets (practices I have heard or tried these last couple of days) but none fit.

In complete desperation I finally just surrendered and accepted the come down.

I’ve been running full steam in excitement (school kid rush) – and I started school – for real.

Eventually I got in my car, took a drive, and listened to some music. Something I NEVER do. It helped, but it wasn’t the cure.

Finished some paperwork and packed my stuff to head hone- I get in the car and as I turn my head I see the most amazing and beautiful sunset. I get out of my car (not realizing I leave it running with the door wide open with my crap on the seat…

I run into a colleague who begins work talk. I put my hands up in a gesture that tells him to be hushed, and force him to walk with me.

We talked about family and then we just stood there and admired Gods canvas. I asked him if the new moon had anything to do with this and after a puzzled look I explained about my new journey. He chuckled and we carried on. (Go back to day 2 and the Trump supports) 😂

I get to my car and receive a text message thanking me for forcing him to stop and smell the roses.

It was all well. Even if it wasn’t. I was present with my fatigue and accepted it. All I had to do was not do anything until it passed.

I guess it’s called a journey for a reason. It’s not a cure. It’s not an easy fix. It’s a practice. There will be good days and difficult days.

I’m committed tho. And for today, that’s all that matters.

But really- does the moon impact the sunset?! I’m really curious.

Goodnight, Michelle. I love you. ❤️

Day 2.

Much less eventful than yesterday. (Insert laughter here)

However, just as meaningful. Today was also my first day back to school, so with someone like myself, it’s a stir of craziness, and a bit ‘all over the place’ these last 2 days.

The highlight for Day 2 is by far this quote from Yung Pueblo, who may just be my new favorite. “true power is living the realization that you are your own healer, hero, and leader. it is when you share your truth with compassion and peace. your power grows when you make progress in your own freedom and wisdom. those who are truly powerful do not harm themselves or others; instead, they use their energy to enrich all they know with love.”

Oddly enough, it not only speaks to my heart, it contains many meaningful words, that have spoke to me over the years; healer, leadership, compassion, peace, freedom, and love.

I have been fortunate to have many influencers in my life since returning home from prison. However, none of have been like the one that I think of right now. I remember first meeting this person and thought; hmmmm, what’s his story. He didn’t have the same vibe as everyone else….but I wasn’t convinced that was a good thing. He very well could have been other one of the Trump Supporters who thinks the complete opposite of me, lol (There were a lot of those around at the time)

Long story short- he was nothing like them. That different vibe was Leadership. He was a Leader. A leadership that was rooted deep, and a quality that drew me in.

He became my hero.

I wasn’t sure if I wanted this man as a father, brother, uncle or therapist…true story! Fast forward; the attraction was his mindset. His focus was on him, not anyone else. If he continuesly looked deep into himself and spent his energy on being the best version of himself, great leadership would automatically follow.

Without going through it all, his light is what led me here today.

However! Today when I heard that quote, I realized, I am my own hero. Not this man. Not his practice. This lifestyle is what is going to heal me. Not another person. And! Everything he has – I can have too. Only better, because I’m a woman.

My Journey To Healing. Day 1.

Not really day 1. Seems as if I have made this attempt several times over. Was all that work before a waste of time? Did I have it all wrong? Does any of that count?

Yes it mattered! Yes it counts! This is just a deeper level. The work before was part of the path to get me where I am today.

You see, in my journey of change, I have learned that even the small steps still get me to my destination. Every thing I do towards being a better version of myself matters. It has all led me to where I am today. It is all important, and it all matters.

However, I’m not going to lie. I truly hope this is the final destination to finding my place of healing. It’s been a desire of mine for several years.

I also know myself well enough to know that I jump in both feet, and that I also jump out, just as quickly. If things don’t go perfectly, I throw it all the door. Perfectionism is one of my problems…it comes from always wanting to be liked and accepted…

Mindfulness, however, isn’t something that is fully mastered. It is a journey within itself.

So with that, I am happy to report, that todays class was really cool. I got up, like a kid on the first day of school, had some coffee, a little God time, and then went to log in for my 6am class. Only it wasn’t connecting. OMG – I knew it! Nothing ever goes accordingly….yada yada yada. Old tapes, over and over.

As soon as I pushed stop to those old tapes I was logged in.

But your late. It’s 6:02. You can’t just jump in. Yes- all that from 2 minutes, lol

Oh yes I can! And yes I did!

I learned that I don’t know what a Breath of Fire is. I also learned that everything Zoom isn’t bad. There was a sense of comfort knowing no-one could see me. You know, for the side of me that thinks everyone is looking at me, lol.

Most importantly, I felt in the right place. I felt compassion for myself and an eagerness to be a better version of myself.

In my preparation for this journey, I spent some time creating my “spot’ and hung up some pictures that reminded me of happy times, and also as a reminder of my goals.

One of those pics is of me and my two daughters.

As I held my hands over my heart giving myself compassion, I glanced at that picture. I began to cry. My thought…I want to be a better mom to you two. I want to be what you need.

Shortly after speaking those words, the victim in me wanted to chime in – but I put that victim back in her place and said “NO” – I WILL BE EVERYTHING YOU NEED, AND MORE!

Positive thinking. Staying hopeful. Trusting the process. -A healthy mind is a peaceful mind, and being a victim is not healthy.

The class ended with this quote; The healer you have been looking for is your own courage to know and love yourself completely. -Yung Pueblo

This may be the end of Day 1’s class- but the beginning to a new morning and opportunity.

Ra Ma Da Saa Saa Say So Hung…hopefuly I got the right. And even if I didn’t, it was right for me.

Till tomorrow…

I’m back!

Crazy how time gets away. Has it really been since October 2018 since I’ve been here?! What about all those blogs I wrote in my head…how did I never get to those?!?!

So what will my return topic consist of? What’s important enough that I just spent 30 minutes recovering my account? Hmmmm. Not sure.

But what I do know is that I don’t like the burden of “things I’d like to get to”- there is never enough growth for me with that state of mind.

I’ve been saying I want to get back- but yet, I never seem to find my way. Before too long, it’s been, “too long” – then before I know it, I’m beating myself up with all the self doubt and unworthiness. But not today!

I have value and I have worth. I’ve had stellar days and I’ve had some painful ones. But somehow things always work out.

I have been sick for the last 12 days or so. No COVID- thank goodness- but because of COVID and the similarities of my sickness, I’ve spent a majority of that time planning my funeral. Yep- a little drama queen- but that’s who I am!

I’ve come to realize through this experience that nothing is the same anymore. COVID has changed us forever. Working through the sniffles is no longer an option. Employers and staff don’t appreciate your coughs and runny nose like they use too.😆

You know what else has changed? Self Care. It also requires a pandemic plan review!

You see, part of my illness was exhaustion. There were days I couldn’t even find the strength to shower.

At first I wondered what the hell was wrong with me. I’ve been pressed before. I’ve worked long hours before. I know hard times and I know hard work.

But what I don’t know is COVID-19. None of us do. I have never lived thru a pandemic before, so why should I be beating myself up over my lack of knowledge?!

The point to all this:

🤔

• know your body

• step up self care

• be kind to yourself. The kindness you give to others.

Times have changed. Pushing through colds and stress use to be my middle name. In fact, I thrive in these times. Nothing like being able to roll up your sleeves to get a job done!

But today I need to stop and remember to breathe. You know, like that Apple Watch reminds you to do…step it up. Remember to always check in with yourself to see what you can do for you.

We always seem to think we’re okay- till we’re not.

Take a minute, everyday, to care for your soul. Nurture that girl! Comfort her, encourage her, and be compassionate.

Welcome back, everyone. I hope to see more of you.❤️

Women.

“Scientists found women were more resilient and lived longer overall — even during good times. When life expectancy increased, women still outlived men by an average of between six months and four years.

The gap was most pronounced during hard times, however. When famine hit Ukraine in 1933, young females lived 50 percent longer than males.”

You can’t deny the strength of a woman. We are warriors.

This last weekend I spent time with some of the most resilient women I know. The pain they have had to endure would bring most to their knees. But yet, there they stand, ready to learn then leadership skills to take on more. In spite of it all.

So many times I’ve wanted to quit. So many times I’ve been ready to toss in the towel. But for one reason or another, I haven’t. But these ladies have even lost those things. The very things that kept me going.

I’ve seen hard times.

They’ve seen worse.

I’ve endured trauma.

Theirs far succeeds anything I had to endure.

I’m blown away.

Yet, I’m honored.

I’m honored to be in the same gender category.

We are queens.

We have strength like no ones business.

We get shit done.

We see a need and we so something! We don’t just sit there and wish for it to better. We find solutions! We learn new skills so we can become stronger!

If you are still not convinced of your power come hang out with this squad! You’ll be introduced real fast!

Imprisonment-denying us of our children-reinforcing trauma…it’s wrong. It’s a form of cruelty. We need to find a better way. This is not the solution.

Putting me in a cage, categorizing me as unfit, increasing my shame; won’t make me better. It makes me bitter.

Removing our kids from us doesn’t protect anyone. It continues the cycle. You take the kids, they grow up and lose their kids…until finally one says “enough” and that cycle breaks. Find that one and help her!

Science may of studied it…but I’ve witnessed it. Women kick ass!!! Let’s stop calling her shameful names and instead give her the tools to transform into the leader she truly is!

Second chances are often the first chance…