Who are you and what do you do for a living?
If this is your first time here, welcome! My name is Mimi and this is my blog :) Thanks to the encouragement from my dear friend, Faith, who is also one of the Rising Women in this series, I decided to go ahead and participate as well. As a bonus, Faith has interviewed me on her podcast which I have included HERE. What an honor to share with each other and with you all!
...And now I know why some of these questions were so tough for some of my women! ;)
Who am I? This is a tough question and I feel like it's always changing. Currently, it has nothing to do with what I do for a living, which is an interesting and evolving discovery. More on that later. If you would have asked me this a year ago (or even a few months ago), my answer would have been so different. Today, I feel like I love who I am more than I ever have. This has been on of the gifts of being single for the first time and the longest period of my life. This has also made me a woman who knows what I want and is no longer willing to settle. I am a woman who is strong, resilient and always striving to be the best version of myself. While I certainly have my low tides in life, I am a woman you will never find down for very long. I am extremely passionate about my family, personal growth and women's empowerment. While I might put up some resistance at first, I'm always open to looking at my own shit, acknowledging my wrongs and growing from them.
I'm still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up! I have a lot of experience with office management in several different fields. I also have some experience in women's health and lifestyle coaching. However this has been an evolving topic for me for many years. Just recently I made the choice to leave the job I had been at for almost 3 years to pursue something new and the entire plan fell through. Queue quote: "If plan A doesn't work, remember there are 25 more letters in the alphabet!" My big risk quickly turned into what could be perceived as an epic fail, but I chose to see it as time to create something new and fast. Within days, I had probably close to 50 people reaching out to inquire about my services. I could hardly believe I was suddenly in a position to choose who I wanted to work for and how much I wanted to charge, all while working from home and being able to tend to my family more. I now have a handful of virtual assisting projects that I'm working on while at the same time trying to figure out what's next on my path. As a single mom, finding my career path has presented a totally different challenge. I'm super committed and motivated to figure out what it's going to take to create financial freedom for myself. I'm working with my coach to create a plan and while things are really uncertain right now, I'm completely surrendered and trusting the process of my actions. Sometimes it's really scary, but it's also super exciting to be in the world of the unknown.
Tell me about your family, if applicable.
I have 5 kids! 3 of them I gave birth to who are 12, 14 & 15. The other 2 are my biological brother and sister that I raised from the time that they were 2 & 4 until they were grown. Even though I didn't give birth to them, they are my kids and I love them the same. They are now 22 & 24 and one of them now has my beautiful grand baby girl. Their spouses are also my kids who I love dearly. Another special part of my family is my ex husband and his fiancee. We have created such a special family dynamic and unique friendship. I'm so proud of how far we've all come and love that we work together as a family unit. It is for this reason that I believe anything is possible for families when you take full responsibility for your relationships and for your role as a parent. Sometimes love ends up looking different than we think it should, but our commitment to our children and our stand for families is always at the forefront.
What is your story?
For most of the memory of my childhood, I grew up in a drug and alcohol induced, and very tumultuous environment. I was mostly raised by mother, and my father was in and out of the picture a lot, I believe because his relationship with my mom was so difficult. I witnessed a lot of abuse and was sexually abused for a number of years. Nearly the moment I turned 18, I moved out to be on my own. The hardest part about that was leaving my siblings who were 16-17 years younger than me. Things were only getting worse at home and I feared for what they would have to endure.
Shortly after moving out to be on my own, my now ex husband and I began raising my brother and sister. In our early 20's we got married and had our 3 children. We created the family that we wanted by the time we were 30 and while there was plenty of turbulence, I think we did an amazing job with what we had and what we knew at the time. Into our 30's we got serious about our paths of personal growth. This ultimately led to the realization that it was time for our marriage to come to an end. This was a turn I hadn't expected much long before and meant my future was now unwritten.
Going through a divorce is never easy for anyone and I certainly had my moments of darkness and uncertainty about life. I allowed the process of grieving to play out in my life and when I was ready, I saddled up and began my own journey of self discovery.
What have you overcome to get where you are today?
My first reaction to this question is, well, I'm not there yet! It's so easy for me to see all the work there is still to do. But I can also acknowledge how far I've come. My childhood is the biggest thing that I've had to overcome. I carried the weight and the shame of being sexually abused with me for a long time. I also carried a lot of sadness about the relationship that I never got to have with my parents. I always wished they had made different choices and made me and my siblings more of a priority. Now I can see that if it wasn't for all of those things then I wouldn't be who I am today. All of those things drove me to be a better, stronger woman.
The other more recent thing that I've overcome was the end of my 17 year marriage. I experienced so much shame, regret and failure around that. I could hardly look at myself in the mirror and face the woman I had been. The months following my separation were some of the darkest of my life. There were days I didn't know how I would get through and nights that I drowned it all in alcohol. The feelings of emptiness were sometimes unbearable and I looked for things to fill the void. I thought I was trying to be tough, strong and brave on the outside, but on the inside I was deeply depressed. I let myself wallow for a while until I got sick of it, and then I decided it was time to start pulling myself together again.
Before my divorce was even final, I found myself in a new relationship, smitten in new love and I dove all in with both feet. I closed my eyes to the red flags and held strong to the fantasy that love could endure all. In some ways, this showed me love in a whole new light. It taught me some beautiful things about what's possible in romance and a relationship. In a lot of ways we were a mirror and a catalyst for each other's growth. It was fun to live on cloud 9 for a time, but it wasn't realistic. We tried to fit into each other's molds and it didn't work. I would venture to say that this relationship was one of my greatest ventures in learning about myself. I value honesty, loyalty and integrity more than ever now. What I've had to overcome is the guilt around the choices that I made, the shame around the things that I let break me that weren't mine to own, and the ways that I let all of those things impact my relationship with my family. Even now, almost a year later, I can say that I'm still learning and discovering from that relationship and I'm thankful for the clarity it has given me since stepping away.
Currently I am embracing the single life. My relationship with myself is now at the top of my list. I am finally in a place of discovering and creating my life for me. Learning to be alone and loving myself deeper is a beautiful path that I've never truly been able to appreciate until now. Sure, sometimes I get sad and lonely. Sometimes I miss having a companion and all of the things that come with that, but I've got plenty of work to do in the meantime. For now, I'm dating myself - and my kids ;)
What has been your greatest struggle in life?
My greatest struggle has been learning to love myself and making choices that align with that. Don't get me wrong, there are things that I've loved about myself throughout the years, like my resiliency and my ability to love. But really loving myself outside of the love of anyone else or any external circumstances has been a different game. When you really love and value yourself, making healthy choices and creating a healthy lifestyle becomes easier. It's getting easier for me now... :)
Did you ever feel like giving up? When you felt like giving up, what did you do?
Yes! I feel like giving up quite often, actually. I think there are certain times and situations when we should give up. The thing is, I never give up for good. It's usually just a pause, or an end to something, and it means it's time for a change. Giving up can look a lot of ways. It can mean taking some time to wallow in my sadness for a little while, ending a job or a relationship. But I don't think that giving up for me is ever a permanent thing. Giving up is a time to assess a situation and see what's not working so that I can find another way.
What are some of the tools and resources you have used to work through and overcome those struggles? (books, counselors, workshops, programs, coaches, etc.)
~The most awesome and profound tool that I've ever had has been the work that I've done with Landmark. For the past 6 years I have consistently participated in their programs and I have continually made progress on my path of personal growth. It has been THE thing that has helped me to let the past go and to always have a say in who I get to be in my life.
~For the past year I have been working in depth with a coach/mentor, Char Spirtos, who I treasure beyond measure. This has given me the greatest leaps in my life in the shortest amount of time.
Untame Yourself by Liz Dialto
Open Your Heart by Tanya Paluso
The Universe Has Your Back by Gabby Bernstein
The Way of the Superior Man by David Deida
The Queen's Code by Alison Armstrong
The Single Woman by Mandy Hale
Motherhood's Not For Punks by Patrina Wisdom
Money, A Love Story by Kate Northrup
You Have 4 Minutes by Rebekah Borucki
I'm sure there are more, but these are the ones on my Kindle that I can think of right now.
What are your gifts and how did you discover them?
I think I have a lot of gifts that I haven't really delved into yet. I know that my intuition is an incredibly strong gift that I'm learning to listen and tune into more. I believe my ability to love and my compassion are also gifts. It is often all of these things that lead me in life.
Tell us about your tribe and the importance of having one.
I think we all feel alone sometimes and the importance of identifying who your tribe is so important. It doesn't have to look a certain way and it doesn't have to be one group of people that all know each other. Your tribe can include all sorts of people that you're connected to. I have so many special people that I am so thankful to call my tribe. They include many of my family members, as well as many women that I have grown friendships with over the years. The women in my life who are on their own path of self growth and discovery, and the ones who are committed to making a difference in the world, are the ones who always lift me up and keep me on my own path of greatness.
What do you want other women to know who are feeling lost, and/or experiencing their own tragedy and/or struggles?
It's okay to be where ever you're at. It's okay to have bad days. Don't beat yourself up for the struggle and the darkness. Know that the time will pass and it will get better. It's okay to be and feel alone sometimes, but remember that you're not alone. Be sure to reach out to the ones who remind you of your greatness. Reach out, get the help, the love and the support that you need. Take yourself to places and people that lift you up. Eventually the strength will become greater than the struggle.
This project has been such a joy for me to facilitate and I'm so thankful to all of the ladies who joined in sharing their stories. I hope that everyone who followed along found some strength and inspiration to move forward on their own paths and to rise above their own struggles and shine as the amazing women they were born to be.
To listen to my Rising Woman interview with Faith Shevlin, go HERE.
If you are interested in working with me to receive the support you need to become your own Rising Woman, please email me here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Much love and light to you all.