This is a transcript of a presentation I gave recently at a local Ballarat event. I wanted to share it with you as it represents a new direction for my business and this site.
Please note that it includes affiliate links.
So, I was in this support group for women who have experienced domestic violence and we were all sitting in a circle telling our stories. And as the women told their stories, they seemed to get more and more gruesome and I began to feel like more and more like a fraud. He didn’t hurt me. I didn’t have any bruises. I didn’t fear for my life.
I said I felt that I didn’t belong. I told them my story of emotional and psychological abuse, of the giant lie that was my marriage. They told me that the how didn’t matter. The fact that I was there did.
As weeks went by and I heard more and more stories and understood more and more about what had happened to me and about the strategies that abusers use to get into your head, I realised that while he didn’t break any bones, he broke my mind.
As time went on and I sat in the group and took part in the activities, the blinkers fell from my eyes. I saw injustice against women everywhere. I saw misogyny, I saw sexism, I saw emotional abuse, where everyone else just saw normal male behaviour. I began asking questions? Why? Why was the world like this? Why were women treated so poorly? How did this happen?
The group facilitator, who was also my therapist, told me that it happened over centuries and millennia. That it wasn’t always so. She told me to read this book.
And eventually I did.
I learnt that the examination of mankind’s history itself was skewed by the patriarchal bias.
I learnt that the opposite of patriarchy wasn’t matriarchy, it was equality. That patriarchy, or matriarchy for that matter, were the expression of a society shaped by the domination paradigm.
And I learnt that in times past, centuries and millennia ago, humankind lived in the equality paradigm. And to this day, some societies still do.
So after reading this book, I read some more. I educated myself. I realised that the length of a woman’s hair was seen by some as a political statement. As was the presence, or otherwise, of body hair. I realised that I was making political statements with just about every choice I made. I realised that feminism wasn’t dead and that I needed to step up and be vocal about my choices and about the changes that still needed to be made.
All this learning and reading helped me discover what I stood for – Equality.
Another book that our facilitator drew upon during the year with the group was this.
She photocopied the stories from the book and we read and discussed them together.
We learnt about Vasselissa, and the bone woman and Bluebeard’s wives.
But what we were really learning about was intuition.
How it’s always been with us. How it was always whispering to us and how, over time, the more we were abused, the more we stopped listening to it. We buried it deep inside.
But the group helped us remember. Helped me remember. Helped me remember the times I didn’t listen to it and helped me see that I still had it.
Over the years I began listening to my intuition again.
And what exactly is our intuition?
It’s that inner knowing, the gut feel. The whispering that tells you quietly what the right thing to do is, no matter what your rational head says.
Psychologists tell us that our intuition, our gut feel, is our combined wisdom and experience, that is very subtly able to apply everything we have learnt over the years to any given situation, not just the facts relevant to that situation.
I say it’s more than that. It’s something deep within us. Is it our soul? Is it our connection to the divine? To god? It’s definitely something more than just us.
But equality and intuition, were not what got me through those dark nights, evenings, afternoons and mornings that followed me on the journey through my marriage break up, my recovery from abuse and the heaviness and despair of sole parenting, although listening to my intuition helped a great deal.
What got me through those dark times in the middle of the kitchen floor, as dusk was falling and I had no idea what to cook for dinner and I knew I had to sell the house and I had two small kids to look after and I was howling with pain – were my kids.
When my then husband went to jail, I was all they had and I knew I had to get through this mess somehow. My kids needed a parent. My kids needed me. And they ended up saving me. If not for them, I probably wouldn’t be here today.
Being alone, being a single mother, was the most scary thing I could have imagined for myself. And suddenly, here I was living it.
But I’m a never giver upper. There were ups and there were downs. I had my blog. I began going to blogging conferences and meet ups. I met other crazy people like me who put their whole life on the internet. I found my people.
Inevitably, I began to learn all about social media and then more and more about digital marketing. It seems that you CAN teach an old dog new tricks. And even a whole new industry.
I got a full time job. I was good at it. I got a promotion. I bought a unit. I quit that job. I sold the unit. We moved again.
And then, finally, I got brave enough to pack us all up and move to Ballarat, on the basis of intuition. I started a business. Actually, two.
I moved on with life. I listened to my intuition and I was guided by what I stood for. They both determined the kind of business I wanted to run and the kind of person I wanted to be. Not everything I touched was a success, but I’m a never giver upper. There have been ups and there have been downs.
My children are thriving in their new environment. I am, too.
When we arrived here, I threw myself into networking. I made friends, both through my business and through my kids. I wasn’t afraid to put myself out there, to say hello to strangers. And now I’m the most connected I’ve ever been. And connection is really, really important to me.
Most of all, I am the most authentic and free me I’ve ever been. I am not perfect, but I’m not pretending to be someone I’m not. I’ve spent such a big part of my life trying to be someone else. Now, I’m no longer trying to fit into somebody else’s expectations of what a woman or a mother, or an entrepreneur should be. Increasingly, I am marching to the beat of my own drum.
Although I am still fighting with my own expectations. These can be the hardest to overcome.
So what are the lessons here for you, what can you do to break through whatever is holding you back?
First, figure out what your WHY is – What would you die for? More importantly, what would you live for? What can you not do without in your life? Why do you do what you do? What gets you out of bed in the morning?
For me, that is my kids.
Second, discover what you stand for. What do you believe in above all else? There may be more than thing, but there might be one thing that stands out, that makes you tick. What would be the one thing you could change in the world, if time nor money were an object? What do you want your legacy to be? Sometimes it’s easier to ask – What you don’t stand for? and find your answer that way.
For me, that’s equality.
Third – listen to and use your intuition. Don’t shut it down in favour of rational thinking. If you’ve forgotten how to use it, whenever you have a decision to make, sit quietly with it, see what thoughts come up. Let them come and let them go. See what is whispering at the back of your mind. That quiet whispering voice, is your intuition.
These three things helped me go from a terrified, small thinking, beaten woman to an entrepreneur who will try anything at least once.
I finally discovered that I am who I am and I am enough.