Growing up, I was never quite like everyone else.  Sure, I was a bit awkward and clumsy but that didn’t stop me from being full of life! As the only child to parents who were already in midlife when I came along, (can you imagine?!) they had their hands more than full with my inquisitive nature–I loved asking questions until finally mom would put her foot down & tell me it’s time for some silence haha! Fast forward to school days when teachers were equally frustrated by alllll the talking…but at least I kept things interesting right?! It seemed even during games other kids enjoyed laughing at my “accidents” til out on their team then realized how not funny it really is 😉

Blending in became my survival tactic as I grew up. From being made fun of and told to be quiet, it quickly became second nature – a habit that would hang around for life. Others said I was “normal” but deep down was the truth: this shy girl had learned how to survive by keeping her thoughts locked inside and doing what she felt others wanted from her – even at the cost of pleasing herself! Over time, these habits seemed like part of who I was; always easygoing, with no voice worth making waves over… or so I thought.  Until one day when everything suddenly changed…

It all started with a few little whispers of doubt in my head. Before I knew it, questions were flooding in – “Why am I okay with this?” “What do I want out of life?” Suddenly, cracks appeared everywhere and everything felt like it was crumbling around me. 2011 had been an especially tough year; tragedy struck close to home. That’s when the shock really hit – that’s what made me question why I wasn’t fighting for myself more. Why let others decide how things should be done? When will I take control?! All this became too much and somethin’ had to give…it was time for change!

It was like a floodgate of emotion had been opened up. For all the years I’d kept my voice hushed, in 2017 it started to become too strong for me to contain anymore – and BOOM! My whole life imploded; after two decades together with my partner, our marriage ended, and along with it my 25-year career of hard work that went down the drain. Others were confused by what happened and sadly, some turned their backs on me when I needed them most. After living so long without using its power, my voice barely registered above a whisper…but this time around things would be different!

By 2018, my voice had presented me with a dilemma – “Come alive or else”. I couldn’t be passive anymore. For the first time ever, it was essential that I fight for what I deserved and knew would keep me healthy. My life literally, depended on it.  And through this process of self-advocacy, something wonderful happened: My unique voice was not only accepted – but celebrated! It wasn’t too much; it wasn’t weird or strange; no –it simply spoke to who I truly am deep down inside…a snarky yet compassionate woman full of inquisitive intelligence and strength who is willing to help other women find their voices as well.

Ladies, don’t you dare hold back anymore – your voice is inside of YOU and it’s ready to SHINE! It might seem faint at first but just keep on whispering until YOUR VOICE gets strong enough that people are sure to take notice. And when they do? That spark will ignite a whole movement — we can make history with the power in our words. So put your heart behind each one and let your voice be heard loud & clear- because together, WE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD!

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