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She Arose From The Ashes With Help From These Women

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Due to the nature of the details of this story, names have been withheld for security purposes.

It’s a powerful tale.  This young woman stands as a testament to what is actually possible if you have a vision.  She is now a leader who has taken on the commitment to help others the way she was helped and one day will reach out to do so on a global scale.  As I read her induction speech during her entry into Soroptimist as a member at a recent meeting, I could feel her determination, energy and power and instantly knew she’ll be someone to reckon with in the years to come.  She’s now part of an organization to help educate and inspire women and girls around the world

She’s one to watch.  Here’s her story in her own words…

As a single mother, individual integrity has always been a core value which I have tried to carry into every walk of my life.

At age 14, I left an unhealthy home situation and couched surfed my way to grade 12, I graduated against all odds, and much to contrary belief it wasn’t nearly as fun as it sounds. Shortly after, I moved to Alberta where I met my daughter’s biological father, to me he appeared perfect.

In the beginning he was kind, and supportive of me going to school to establish a career of my own. Months after we started dating we moved in together roughly 45 minutes away from my friends. I did not know it then but the man I once knew would soon take 180 degree turn and go from a loving, caring man, to a relentlessly oppressive partner who would isolate me from everyone in my life.

We were together 3 exceptionally abusive years. Yet, no matter how bad the abuse, I could not leave. I loved this man whole-heartedly and in my own mis-perception of what love was I believed he loved me too.

A year and a half into our relationship I tried to leave. He was working up north and I told him I could not take the abuse anymore. He immediately drove home refusing to let me off the phone, promising that if I was not there when he got home he would kill himself. This was one of the many threats I received. In March 2010 I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. What was supposed to be the most beautiful experience, turned into a daily physical war zone with me desperately trying to protect my unborn child.

At 5 months pregnant my doctor told me to leave, and if I didn’t it was unlikely my daughter would be born with out complications at the very least.  Up until that point I had already been hospitalized for physical abuse twice.

 

I will try again tomorrow. ~ author

 

 

It took this wake up call to find the courage and strength to leave the man that had ruled my life for far too long under these circumstances.I left him and everything we owned together in the dust as I drove away, 6 months pregnant, a scared single mother who didn’t have a clue as to how she was going to do this thing people called life.

My story is one we hear far often, battered women pregnant and alone who find themselves with no options and stuck in the same victimized mind set that lands them on welfare, never believing that the goals and aspirations they once had are really within reach.

Those who know me well will tell you I am one of the most tenacious individuals they know and this is my saving grace because I, like so many others was told to “accept the fact that you are always going to be a low income parent” or asked “why don’t you just go on welfare you’ll never achieve anything anyway”.

These statements are hurtful at the very least and destroy any confidence and belief that you are capable of being something better, for yourself and most importantly your child(ren). My little girl was 3 months old when I went back to work almost full time. This was one of the hardest but most rewarding experiences I have had. I was completely self sufficient.

 

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My daughter is genuinely my greatest accomplishment and during that year I began to wonder about what trail I would blaze for her, would I make her proud? Would I teach her how precious and valued she is? Would I be courageous enough to show her that despite the many obstacles life throws her way she can still over come them and reach her goals, or would I take the easy route?

No one would blame me, after all, look at what I had survived, wasn’t that enough? As the days, weeks, and months passed a picture began to form in my mind. My sweet little girl would settle for things in her life, she wouldn’t strive or try for things that many would tell her are simply too difficult and this mind set would follow her in all of choices.

Once I could see this clearly it wasn’t hard to make my choice. So in 2014 my daughter and I left our home for a new beginning.  We started anew in Penticton, BC. I began a full time fall school schedule and worked 2 jobs alongside being a single mother and all that encompassed. It’s funny for me to now look back. I was coming into my first set of midterms and losing faith in myself when I found the support I needed.

It was a scholarship link on Yonic for the ‘Live Your Dream Award’.  I had found my “my soul sisters”! I can’t put into words the sense of belonging I felt as I read the core values of the Victoria Westshore Soroptimist organization and all they stood for. Every moment of doubt every failure was whisked away by the great women that had gone before and dared to be something larger than themselves.

LYD-image2015_edited

 

 

This fuelled an unquenchable desire to pursue my passion for math and global change. Currently, I am heading full force towards my Engineering degree at the University of Victoria. My daughter and I arrived in beautiful Victoria in June of 2015, and after my first semester at Camosun College I went and spoke with a recruiter at the University of Victoria.

Quite frankly I was shocked by the fact that under 15% of each Engineering class are women and that I should expect to be the only single mother. My first thoughts were that I can not be the only geeky math loving single mother around. My second thought was how many women out there have ambitions to contribute on a global scale and how many of those dreams have been pushed away and closed up in a box never to be revisited again, all because at its core, that choice required courage; and who really wants to step into the arena where there is no question you will be ridiculed, told you aren’t enough for your dream, but most importantly to face all of that alone?

The sad fact is, very few.

Scholarship programs awarded through organizations like Soroptimist International stands beside women in unity lending emotional and financial support. The people who have taken the time to put a foundation like this together have heard the call and come to the aid of so many already, imagine the impact this will have not only on us adults but our children, our future generation.  To me, that vision is something worth fighting for!

Courage does not always roar.  Sometimes it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow’.

 

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