Updated: Nov 11
Own Your Story.
Turn Your Wounds Into Wisdom
I’ve been getting a lot of emails and meaning to post my shame story but I stayed in San Diego, California a bit longer than I anticipated. Therefore I’m doing it now with the welcome post. My daughter just graduated from high school, which means I now have two daughters in college. Yikes!
Well her final interior design project was attending the National FCCLA Competition in San Diego. It was a week full of events for the Georgia participants and schools from each state around the world. She was invited to the national three years straight but due to Covid this is the first year she was able to attend. I’m proud to say she got a gold medal and something to show her college that relates to her chosen career path as a future interior designer.
However, my family of six loved everything about San Diego. The weather and environment made us decide to stay a bit longer. We enjoyed Coronado Beach, the San Diego Zoo, and Disney Land where I unfortunately broke my toe getting off the Splash Mountain ride, my surgery is Tuesday, September 6 so please pray for my recovery.
I swear I didn’t want to return to Atlanta. If you haven’t been to San Diego you must plan your trip today. I share this story because my life wasn’t always this exciting or joyful. My fiance hasn’t always been as consistent as it is today. Nevertheless, enough to vacate in California for what was supposed to be a week but turned into a month. In the past, I struggled with a lot of money blocks. However, my mindset coach helped me shift my self-sabotaging behavior and I began to see change in this area. I went from being an over-giver, feeling the need to rescue people from their personal and financial problems, giving away money each time I heard a sob story, and fearing success would change the people in my life so I would refuse to show up for my business like I should to feel safe, secure, and not responsible for everyone and everything around me that was draining not only my bank account but lowering my personal vibration. I had to learn how to set boundaries and protect my vibe.
I must say today I’m very grateful and truly blessed!
Having the ability to make the decision to stay longer just because I wanted to keep the high vibration rolling, I must say I owe that ability to God and His Grace. Because I’ve had my share of stress, darkness, and suicidal thoughts of just wanting to end it all. But, today I am in a better place. I am in a place of saying yes to my wellness, building a strong bond as a trucker wife, and balancing four kids, a dog, and a cat, along with five businesses. I’m mostly proud to celebrate that I’ve been in full remission since Fall August 2015 with my sugar addiction and emotional binge eating disorder. I’m also proud to say I am a recovered codependent people-pleaser.
I am no longer the woman who people please and says yes to everyone while neglecting her own needs or finances. Make no mistake, it was not easy, but the decision of saying “yes” to accept the student level of owning my shame story. Owning how I feel. Accepting what happened to me. And making the hard decision to start my emotional healing journey has helped me go from feeling broken, alone, and unwanted. To feel proud, accomplished, and grateful for the life I’ve chosen to build, rather than stay in pain and distress. Embracing my shadow self has made my life what it is today. And I teach those same tools to students all around the world who seek to heal and recover through my Life in Recovery and BodyPeace Programs.
When my students come to me to learn more about releasing their grief of abandonment and childhood emotional neglect so they can finally overcome, heal, and recover from co-occurring behavior patterns that involve codependency, people pleasing, financial stress, imposter syndrome, and emotional eating. The first task I assign them to do is to accept the student level. If they can’t accept the student level I know they are not ready to move forward to do the work needed to heal. If you can’t:
1. Share your shame story without blaming and pointing fingers at those who hurt you.
2. Feel the pain and allow your body to release it through anger, crying, art, or journaling
3. Accept what happened to you without blaming others or feeling ashamed or guilt
4. Offer forgiveness to yourself and others that cause you pain so you can move forward and begin doing the work needed to heal and recover. If you are not ready to do these four things, share your pain, feel your pain, accept what happened, and offer forgiveness all without blaming, complaining, judging, feeling guilty, or ashamed, and pointing fingers at those who hurt you. Then you are not ready to move on to the apprentice level where you will feel, face, and release the negativity from your life that no longer serves you.
The reality is, that you cannot consistently share your story and do nothing other than dwell on the negative situations. At some point, you are going to have to face the truth. It happens. It’s not right or fair. But it happened. Now what are you going to do to heal and recover from the pain so you can move forward into the life you were meant to experience? I once read a quote that said you are not responsible for the pain that was inflicted on you but you are responsible for how you feel as an adult. Taking full responsibility for our emotional wellness and mental health is a personal choice. It’s your responsibility to ensure you are happy and can cope with the stressors in life. It’s my job to help guide your path if you choose to allow me to be a part of your wellness team and support you on your journey to healing.
You must find the strength to say, “Yes, this happens to me. But that was decades ago and it no longer has to define who I could become. Or, how my life could turn out. I can choose to let it go and move forward while learning how to love and respect myself. I had no power as a child, but as a grown-ass woman, I determined how I allowed others to treat me.
It’s called boundaries. Assertiveness skills. Spiritual practices. Self-care rituals. Wellness goals and making my own damn decisions. Unapologetically. Being broken is a choice. So is being broke financially. We all have strengths and gifts that can serve someone else's life. It’s up to you to use them and get paid for using them. You deserve to live and experience life on your own terms!
Today I will share my shame story. I decided to let it go, forgive those who caused me pain, and heal my life so I could move forward. I was tired of feeling stuck. I pray you have the strength to do the same. It’s the first of healing and accepting the commitment to do the work needed to rebuild your life.
“They say, "Look before you leap." So look. But do not look for too long. Do not look into the void of uncertainty trying to predict every possible outcome, to evaluate every possible mistake, to prevent each possible failure. Look for the opportunity to leap, and leap faster than your fear can grab you. Leap before you talk yourself out of it before you convince yourself to set up a temporary camp that turns into a permanent delay on your journey into your own heart.”
My Darkest Season…Lost and Confused
Fall of 2006, I was lying on the hard, cold floor in the bathroom of my first home in Monroe, Georgia. Wondering how and the hell did I get here, tears in my eyes, a razor blade in my hand ready to slit each wrist because I have had it. This wasn’t my first time considering taking my life. Once in childhood when touched inappropriately. Then again in 1999, I was in this same dark place, my heart shattered and broken from being deceived. But my best friend Bernadette talked me back into the light. This time she wasn’t here. No one was here to save me from my dark thoughts of not being wanted, good enough, or worthy of living.
I’ve spent many hours of my life looking for the place where I belonged. I spent a lot of my life looking for love. When you don’t feel like you’ve got someone in your life who really loves you, everything seems harder due to distorted thoughts. When in reality I was never looking to fit in or to be loved. But I realized that I was looking for my own self-worth, sense of self, and self-love. Those were the missing pieces. Because I never felt wanted. I never developed the skills to love myself. I didn’t know what it looked like to believe in myself. To defend my own needs. My worth. I lack inner strength, confidence, and self-belief. I didn’t know what that looked like. Or how to apply it to my life. I made all kinds of mistakes, looking for a place to belong, and feel wanted, and loved. But none of that matters now.
I had finally experienced the lowest point of my life. It had been a long, stormy ride. I was either in a storm, just got out of a storm, or on my way to a storm. I didn’t understand what all this darkest meant. I kept having recurring dreams of a tornado coming to destroy my life and home. I no longer wanted to be a mom. I no longer wanted to be a daughter, and for damn sure didn’t want to be a fucking trucker wife. With my head next to the jacuzzi tub, I was lost in the darkness and alone, with no friends, no family, no hope and to make matters worse my house was about to go into foreclosure. I was lost and confused. I had lost all sense of security, of identity, and I had no support system in place to help reassure me that everything would be okay.
It had been a long, hard journey that led to this fall. It was an unconventional lifestyle that I just couldn’t cope or adjust to anymore. For two years I rode it out. I had just found out I was pregnant with my third child. I was trying to be the best wife and mom I could. All while going to college, working part-time from home as a freelance writer, and being rejected for choosing to put my kid's well-being before a job by becoming a stay-at-home mom.
I had five thousand dollars to my name. Three cars, one of which was going into repossession. Two toddlers and one on the way. And a husband who worked as an over-the-road truck driver and was never home. And our home is about to go into foreclosure.
I became a mom because a family was my only goal opposed to one day becoming a millionaire. After my mom left me to live with my great-grandmother at five years old to pursue her career in law enforcement I promised myself that when I had kids of my own they would come first before anything and anyone. And one day I would be very wealthy so I could travel with them and show them the world and what could be possible.
What I didn’t know at the time was that when you become a mom, your identity changes. Life as you know it is over. Your body is not your own. Some of us have even experienced physical changes in the size of our feet and the color and texture of our hair. I went from a size 8 1/2 shoe to a size 9. Our internal organs have even shifted. Your schedule is not your own. It’s hard to find time for yourself because time is not your own. You can’t even pee in private. Your energy is spent on everyone else. Running errands, lifting loads of laundry, jumping through hoops to ensure everyone's needs are met- it’s no wonder many women feel lost and confused. They don’t have time to fill their own cup.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my family. I am so thankful to be a mother. First and foremost, my biggest blessing in life is my children. These gorgeous, intelligent children never cease to amaze me. Each day I fall more and more in love with their personality, their charm, and their bright energy.
Being a mother is the gift that keeps on giving. I learn more about my children each day as they learn more about me. I am absolutely a loving nurturer, so being a mom just always came naturally to me. The ability to carry four lives to term is something I never take for granted. It is truly something I wake up every day thankful for because I know some people cannot have children.
The fact that I get to experience this great milestone in life is a huge blessing. Being a mom is my strength. I've never once felt inadequate as a new mom. I just always knew what to do and how to treat and manage people. I believe that’s part of my gift as an Empath being able to feel others' feelings allows me the ability to treat them accordingly. The fact that my mother and father weren’t present in my life during my childhood was very traumatizing to me and I felt different and unwanted, although I know my family and mom both loved me I still felt unlovable. I learned later in life that was just part of dealing and coping with abandonment and trust issues.
Let me be clear, my mom and I had a complicated relationship as I grew up because I had always blamed her for leaving me not understanding the choice she made at the time. As an adult with kids of my own, I get it. The focus is on survival, securing the bag nine-to-five job, and just trying to make it in life. But that still doesn’t validate the broken heart my wounded inner child felt each day from her absence. But I did learn I had to forgive her for what she did when she was living in survival mode. She had to do what she had to do. I have learned to respect that. Most of us, at some point, exist within survival mode. We do all sorts of things that aren’t us and some things we will regret later in life due to trying to cope in life. As we awaken to our habits we become more aware of our patterns. We feel shame, regret, anger, bad, and wrong due to our past choices. But our past is no longer real. We must learn not to project our past experiences into the present. They are just stories we now tell to others. Life is lived in the present moment. The point of power is now. Therefore we all must learn how to forgive. Choosing to forgive is freedom.
Although our relationship has evolved over the years, my childhood taught me that a mother's love is undoubtedly one of the most important forms of love in a person's life. Without the bond and emotional connection, you will seek love and the need to feel wanted and belonging from outside sources. Your sense of self, self-esteem, and self-worth takes a major hit when that source of love isn’t present. That was part of my downfall along with understanding how to process my emotions. At the time, I had so many feelings of hurt, confusion, and shame, and I kept them bottled up inside me. The only thing I could let out was anger. I admit, at times during my youth it was not my best moment but I was acting out my pain. I was existing as my habit self in autopilot choosing to relieve the pain in my childhood taking it all out on my stepfather who had nothing to do with why I was in pain. Most people will have no clue that their behavior comes from their own beliefs and the effects of their adverse childhood experiences ACEs. I believe my parents didn’t care about me and that it was my fault they left. Therefore, I felt unwanted, unloved, and different for a long time. I took my frustration out of my stepdad whenever he tried to tell me what to do. I know many of you can relate to this behavior. Most of us spend our entire lives living on autopilot. Stuck in the past. Distracted by unresolved pain. Going from one thing to the next, acting out our emotional blocks. Our conditioning and how people treated us run deep and so many of us are completely lost in these painful memories. Becoming conscious is a practice. But many of us are unaware because we do all we can to suppress our pain and develop addictions like sex, food, alcohol, drugs, shopping, gambling, rescuing, fixing, and saving people to escape our pain.
I dated during my youth but never really connected on a deep emotional level. I started to sleep with anyone who made me feel special and important. Until a friend sat down and talked to me about my behavior. She told me to never let my sexual partner exceed one full hand. What she meant was more than five partners should be your limit. I took that to heart and stopped my behavior to ensure it never exceeded my full hand because I didn’t want to be perceived as a whore. Best advice ever for a young girl who was broken and looking for love and approval because her sense of self-worth was tied to the approval of others.
When I met Devon things felt different. He became that source of real love for me. He is the love of my life, even though at times I can ring his neck and be back cuddling on the couch as if nothing ever happened. And when I first met him I told him straight up that family was very important to me and I wanted four children so they never felt alone like I did in my childhood. He was the first person I ever talked to about my upbringing. Whenever I had children, I knew they would always be the most amazing love of my life. They would be put first before anyone and anything, even a career. And I would guard their mindset and emotional well-being at all costs.
To be a mother really shows you the love you are capable of. I would gladly die for my children. I want nothing more than for my children to feel the endless love my heart has for them and for each of them to have all the happiness in the world. My emphasis on family is very strong. I want to raise my children to know that no matter how far we are, our souls are connected and that nothing can ever break our bond. There is nothing any of my children can ever do that can limit my love for them. This is the type of motherly love I wished I had growing up and will always have for my four children. I’ve learned the first attachments we have as children, set the foundation for our adult relationships.
For those of us who’ve been through trauma and have emotional blocks, we also have coping mechanisms, core beliefs, and attachment wounds that cause all different behaviors. I learned I had an insecure attachment. Plus, I know all too well how those of us who suffer from low self-esteem tend to attach negative meanings and painful memories to all of life’s events. Good or bad. Due to our damage perception even when good things and good people enter our lives our damage perception immediately triggers anger, sadness, or fear. These emotions rapidly become familiar and induce a false sense of security. We hold onto these wounds as security although we hate feeling this way. We do this because we don’t know any other way of coping. We feel different. Our family doesn’t understand how we feel. Friends can’t understand why we do what we do. The stronger the emotions become, the greater our tendency to attribute incorrect behavior out of insecurity. The more we do so, the further our self-esteem decreases. Not knowing what we are feeling, and what we are recreating with our behavior is the trauma we experienced when we were misunderstood in childhood for whatever reason.
As for me, abandonment and neglect were my hidden wounds until they manifested in my adult life. I desperately wanted to be seen, heard, and have my feelings validated. As we evolve it becomes more clear that we fear rejection and do all we can to prevent the disconnection of love and experiencing the loss of love again in our lives. That’s why emotional healing is so important. Understanding your wounds allows you to talk about how you feel and feel understood as well as a chance to give yourself what your parents failed to give you love, and respect, and consider how their actions affect your needs and feelings too. You now have the opportunity to love yourself enough to allow people their truth, while learning to still live your own life without the need to seek approval or become codependent on others. You live and let live without expectations.
What many people fail to understand is that success in life looks different for each person. I consider myself a success not because of my private nutrition practice or my doctoral degree, but because of what I have accomplished as a wife and mom. I am the woman I am today because of the life I didn’t have.
I’ve come to learn that family life is good and it’s also very challenging. It’s good because you will know a love like no other. It’s challenging because perception changes. Your becoming a mother changes the way your husband perceives you, especially as a stay-at-home mom changes with time. It changes the way you perceive yourself, and it even changes the way the world perceives you. Who would have ever thought I would get judged or shamed for loving my children and putting their well-being first? And here’s the real tricky part about being rejected and losing your identity, no one prepares you for it because they can’t. Just like no one can prepare you for being a trucker wife.
It’s something you have to experience for yourself. I hate to admit that in the trucking world, only the strong survive.
Healing Generational Trauma and Ending Cycles
Before this life, I was making good money as a Telecommunication Installer Technician traveling all fifty states living in hotels putting in telecommunication telephone equipment for companies like Bell South, AT&T, and Verizon. For me, this career was my chance to get out of my comfort zone, to see the world; to encounter people who didn’t look like me, sound like me, or experience the world the same way I did. No more dependent relatives, double-wide trailers, people sitting under trees drinking or talking to folks whose ambition stopped at securing a nine-to-five job with retirement that had absolutely nothing to do with the dreams they spoke about. Now don’t get my words twisted. Nothing is wrong with double wides, survival, or family helping each other but I have always been a dreamer. I have always had dreams and wanted to see the world. Those things were never in my experience. I saw them in my dreams. Living in Panama City I was exposed to many different cultures due to the Air Force and Navy base and I missed that when I moved to the small town of Marianna to attend a cosmetology program. The environment was black and white, along with some of the mindsets. I have always had an interest in the lives of different cultures. I’ve always thought that anything was possible in life if you believed. That mindset is what brought me and Devon together. We both wanted to travel and see the world. Working in the field of telecommunications taught me perspective and exposed me to how other people lived and made money; it expanded my dreams and goals outside of what I saw in Marianna and Panama City, Florida.
After working over the road Devon and I no longer just wanted a family of our own we wanted land and to build a house not just buy a doublewide and land package like everyone else we knew. We wanted to build a home from the ground up. As an act of faith, we bought five acres of land in Florida. We didn’t know God had different plans for us. Like many of my cousins who also bought homes but ended up moving for a better opportunity. We too would leave. We never knew that our home would be built in Atlanta, Georgia.
While life over the road was gravy. I was also experiencing health issues from eating the Standard American Diet. I ate lunch off of roach coach trucks in Miami. I ate fast food for breakfast and ate at restaurants for dinner. In short, I wasn’t living a clean lifestyle. My husband Devon, who was my boyfriend at the time and I cooked maybe two times a week if we had a hotel with a mini kitchen. Our mindset at the time was like most people's, why bother cooking when you could eat out?
As we were out and about we looked around as we drove or walked, well, just about anywhere. What you saw was a vast number of quick foods, whether neatly packaged up in a convenience store or available at a drive-thru for 99 cents. It was very tempting and we gave into the fast, cheap, and easy unclean life. What we failed to notice at the time was all the obesity. Dull, sickly-looking skin. Dark under-eye circles. All the people move as if they’re decades older than they are because they’re worn down, they have no energy and their life force was damaged due to all the toxins. But soon we would see the truth.
I loved my career. I loved the challenge of powering up BDFB once I understood how to do it, wiring equipment so the system could function and putting the equipment together was very exciting. I love work that keeps me busy, focused, and solving problems. I got paid really good money to do it. My first job out of high school making $70,000 a year for three weeks of training was pretty sweet. When my mom found out how much I got paid she couldn’t believe it. But although the pay and lifestyle were sweet like everything in life it has its downside. My health was a major concern for years. My digestion system could not break down or process the heavy-laden toxin food I use as fuel. I avoided seeing doctors because we were working ten-hour shifts and I didn’t want to take off.
One day at work I was complaining about being hot. My butt and stomach were in pain and I could barely sit down. I had to lie down because I felt dizzy and so much pressure on my bottom I could barely sit. The lead man of our project Jim told me to lie down in the office. His wife BeBe asked me a thousand questions including the last time I had a bowel movement (yes we had that type of relationship). She was like a second mom to us always watching out for our wellbeing and yes she was white, imagine that. I was like I don’t know maybe two weeks ago. She and a coworker dropped their mouths and were like Nikki are you kidding me? I was like what, I only eliminated waste every 2-3 weeks with the help of edema. Note: I was a young twenty years old to be exact, in my childlike mind I didn’t see anything wrong with this, it was my normal lifestyle. I was constipated, so what? Take a stool softener, a fleet and you’re good to go. Right! No, wrong. She went straight to the phonebook. Yes, we had phone books back then and she scheduled an appointment for me to see a gastroenterologist that evening. Jim let Devon and me off from work with pay to go to the doctor to see what was wrong.
Once I got to the doctor I told him what I was experiencing and he did a rectal exam and saw that I had a hole above my anus which is why I was in such pain. Due to all the straining from an impacted colon, my skin was torn due to the pressure which in the medical field is known as an anal fissure. Sometimes it can be restored in the office but my tear was severe and I had to have emergency surgery. I didn’t know how bad it was. Because I didn’t feel the tears. I just felt pain every time I eliminated waste or should I say pebbles. I assumed it was from being constipated. I had no clue that constipation could tear your skin apart.
Again, I was too young and naive to think of getting a mirror and looking back there. I yelled at Devon, “Why didn’t you tell me I had a hole in my asshole, you are down there more than me?” All jokes aside. The thing about this experience is I was never referred to a nutritionist nor was I educated about the condition of experiencing chronic constipation. I was never told how to heal my gut or anal fissure. Nor how to prevent it from happening again. I was just told to eat more fiber. So, that’s exactly what I did. I went back to the hotel after my surgery and continued to eat the Standard American Diet. Only this time I ate more raisin bran and more cow’s milk which caused more harm than good. To find out later, years later part of the reason I was experiencing chronic constipation was because I had a gluten and dairy intolerance. By consuming so much wheat and dairy I was clogging up my already slowed-down digestion system. The food I was consuming was making things worse. On top of that, I didn’t drink water. Nor did I eat fruit or vegetables. My entire diet was gluten, dairy, junk food, and fruit juices. Or you can say “SUGAR.” I was always hungry, bloated, constipated, and miserable. I suffered from anemia, skin eruptions, and fatigue, and was diagnosed with diverticulitis (inflamed intestines) on top of still not using the bathroom. Since I did not receive any advice or guidance I didn’t know how to deal with any of these conditions other than eat more fiber and self-medicate with a pain pill which I rarely did because I hate medication. Later, I did my research via the internet, which ultimately led me to learn about nutrition-but we’ll get to that later. My body was not clean and I had no clue how to live a clean lifestyle.
But, here I lay on a cold bathroom floor feeling disappointed with my life and all I had experienced up until this point. I felt hopeless and wanted desperately to end it all. The thing is I don’t know if I had passed out or what had happened all I can remember was laying on the floor and opening my eyes to see my daughter Navione hovering over me asking me for some juice and tossing an empty sippy cup at me. But now I was on the floor and she was gone. I remembered the razor blade and searched the floor for it. I couldn’t find it. Oh, my God! Navione took it, the only thought swimming through my head. I got the strength to get myself together and ran into the bedroom to find her. She wasn’t there. I ran into her bedroom to find her and her sister Natavia playing on the floor, with no razor in sight. My heart was racing and I was really out of breath. I went back to the bathroom and slid on the floor. At that moment I realized I needed help. Not the kind of help that came from counseling and antidepressant meds although I could use them with all dark thoughts I had. But no, I needed spiritual intervention. Supernatural help. I prayed a heart prayer my best friend Bernadette's mom had taught us in high school. She said whenever we prayed to God to make sure it was sincere and from the heart and that He would always answer our prayers. In other words, make sure it was not a selfish prayer like I want a new car for graduation. But sincere. I remember saying and feeling this sincere desire ‘God I will do whatever it takes to act right and be grateful for the life you have given me. All I wanted was not to feel those suicidal thoughts and painful wounds anymore as they were consuming me, weighing me down, and eating me up inside.
One thing I did learn from the year I lived with my granddaddy Blue-buddy and grandmother Carrie after his mother who raised me died was that you must believe in something bigger than yourself. For me, that belief was in God. I called on God and gave thanks that my girls were safe and asked for his strength and favor. I knew my life needed to change or the next time I would be dead. I’ve had three major life events that I’ve not been strong enough to handle, cope, accept, and adjust to. Each one manifested thoughts of darkness. Thoughts of not being wanted, worthy of love, acceptance, and belonging. All effects from my childhood abandonment issues, low self-worth, and a weak sense of self.
As I prayed I felt a strange pressure around me and suddenly I was at peace. I had that same feeling in my childhood after my unfortunate event. No weapons formed against me have prospered, I thought. I got up to go to the sink and splashed cold water on my face, hoping that I would find a way to cope with this life I agreed upon. Thoughts popped into my mind, I needed my lion heart, as I am a Leo. I looked over at the trash can and there it was the razor I was missing. I don’t know how it got into the trash can. But I was very thankful for it being there. Who knows what would have happened if Navione had got a hold of it? Knowing my child she would have probably told her sister to sit still while she cut her hair. I’m not sure but I’m sure glad it supernaturally got out of sight for not only her but for me also.
I thought of how awful it would be if I had died in the bathroom. My kids are home for days alone and my husband comes in to find his wife and unborn child gone. They all would have been in counseling for the rest of their lives from the trauma. It never occurred to me how my action would have affected them. I thought that’s how my mom felt after her own choice. All I wanted to do was stop the pain I was feeling. Just like all my mom wanted to do was to create a better life for herself. The rejection, criticism from mom shaming I was dealing with, the loneliness of being a trucker wife, the guilt of living an easier life than the moms who shamed me, the financial issues, and the 24-7 childcare without a break to take care of my own needs and health. Was all too overwhelming. At that moment I thought of Navione, Natavia, and my unborn child and wanted to live. I knew the life I wanted for them and I knew no one could influence or guard their thoughts like I could. I never told a soul about that day. My husband knew I was going through a rough time but I never burdened him with my weakest moment-my shame story. He had enough on his mind trying to deal with our financial situation. The fact that the reason we were behind was because a manager at his company wasn’t paying the drivers on time. He kept saying the money wasn’t cleared yet when he got it, they would get it. Sometimes that’s the nature of the business in the trucking world when you work for a small agency.
This went on for two months. It doesn't take long to try to play catch up when you have bills that have fallen behind and not enough money saved. On top of another mouth to feed I rather not be another problem he had to deal with. He was doing the best he could with the knowledge he had at the time. I believe that situation affected him more than he ever thought. Because until this day he has always worked for himself rather than trusted a company. I don’t blame him. It’s a good thing to bet on yourself rather than depend on someone else to save you. That’s what my mindset was at the time. If I had to cope and adjust I was going to have to do it alone. And that’s exactly what I did!
I’m not a princess
I don’t need saving
I’m a queen
I got this shit!
You Must Do What Works Best For Your Family
Four years earlier, no one could have told me that my life would turn out that way. Like I mentioned before, I was traveling, happy, making my own money, but making poor food choices. I was living a dream of traveling and planning a wedding. I had no intention of stopping working and becoming a stay-at-home mom. I didn’t even know what a stay-at-home mom was at the time. I sure didn’t see mom shaming and being rejected for my choice of becoming a staying-at-home mom in the future. But yes, it all happens.
After we decide to cancel our traditional wedding due to high levels of stress we choose to keep it simple and private. Just us and our moms. We went to a travel agent to see what our options were. Once we decided on the location we booked a hotel room at a resort, bought plane tickets for both of us and both our moms, and flew to Montego Bay, Jamaica to get married. It was the best choice we ever made. We had a blast and everything was easy and beautiful. I know most women dream of having an expensive wedding with hundreds of guests. I tried to plan a wedding but it just didn’t feel right. I was more stressed and aggravated than anything. We had just returned from the Bahamas for the weekend. We skipped out on Easter to clear our heads and to just get away from all the drama and excuses around money for dresses and tuxes and food and who knows what else. I had already bought half the decorations and flower girls' dresses. But I said forget it all, this drama is not even worth the trouble. So I canceled it. I decided to focus all my energy on work and enjoying my life. Working in Miami made it very easy to hop on a cruise and leave it all behind. And that’s exactly what we did. After we returned from the Bahamas we made the decision when we went to Atlanta to check on our house we would go see a travel agent and that was that. When the time felt right to get married we would do it, on our terms.
Eight weeks after we returned home from our honeymoon I found out I was pregnant with Navione. Boy was I shocked, and excited all at the same time. My mom had been asking us for years when we were having her grandbaby. When I told her the good news she was so happy. Everyone seemed happy as well and congratulated us. The entire experience was beautiful apart from the morning sickness. It wasn’t until Navione turned six months old when I found out I was pregnant again with our daughter Natavia that the shit hit the fan with all of the mom bashing.
When I gave birth to Navione, my friends, family, and extended family instantly rallied to support and congratulate me. They came to my baby shower, were there after the baby was born, and talked with me about the joy of parenthood. Six months later, when I had found out I was pregnant again, was happy with motherhood, and decided to not return to work, these same women began gossiping behind my back about how “I’m always pregnant and won’t get a job.” I had changed. I was happy, enjoying life, a lot less needy, and my topics no longer revolved around what wasn’t working in my life. I guess they couldn’t handle it, but that didn’t make the criticism, gossip, or hurt any less painful.
I have never forgotten how I was treated. All I heard like it was on a tape recorder was, “You just had a baby and now you’re pregnant again.” It was like I was dwelling on this because even when I went to Walmart or Target and even the grocery stores I would have women come up to me and compliment how cute my kids were. But they always seem to sneak, “Oh, I feel for you.” Or “Wow, you’ve been busy.” They made it seem like all I did was stay in the bedroom having sex. I was a trucker's wife. I hardly ever had sex. I just happened to get pregnant back to back on the times Devon just happened to be home. The only person who understood how I felt and what I was going through was my best friend Bernadette who had six kids herself. She told me the next time someone had something smart to say, to just respond with, Oh, don’t feel for me because I have so much love in my life. Now, that made me smile. A new perspective. Don’t hate on me because I got a lot of love in my life and yo’ ass don’t. Wow, how blessed I felt in that moment for being a mother. Love cures everything. Sooner or later reality proves people's motives and shows how they feel; this is my perception. People talk about me behind my back and I just sit there like “DAMN. I Got Myself A Fan Club.”😎💋
The thing is I worked the entire pregnancy with Navione up until eight months pulling 750 cables. Powering up BDFBs. Wiring types of equipment. I did it all. With this pregnancy, I chose to stay home and folks found out I wasn’t returning to work after Natavia was born, this became a problem. Why I don’t know. You would have thought they were paying my bills. At the time it just made financial sense to stay home. I was in college and couldn’t afford childcare for two kids at $150 per child while working a part-time job. My entire check would have gone to childcare. Walmart jewelry doesn’t make that much.
Folks who live in small towns surrounded by families who take care of their children while they work couldn’t understand how childcare could cost that much. Or how is your mortgage a thousand dollars? I guess it became an issue because in their mind if they had to do it (go to work) so did I. It came to a point where I even felt guilty for having an easy life. Because when you talk to other women, you hear their story. We hear about all the guilt, worry, and self-blame. These working mothers would talk about feeling guilty for spending too many hours at work. Then I’ll hear stories about how they wished they did have enough time to cook nutritious meals for their family, another form of guilt. When you go visit their homes or drop by unexpectedly they would keep apologizing for the messy house or the laundry piling up. I never judge them, I get it. I have four kids of my own. Then they would lay in on the comments of how I have plenty of time to do these things because all I had to do was sit at home and watch TV. Now, that’s that shit that burned me up. You don’t know my struggle. Don’t project your insecurities of not feeling like you are a good mom on me. Own your weakest and recreate your life. Don’t bash those of us who are trying our best to keep it one hundred. I never judge folks. We all fall short. Support is what we all need.
Because if you knew my truth. You would keep your comments to yourself! I was in school full-time. Working part-time, trying to complete my internship hours of three years, and running an Avon business on the side. I was just as busy as they were with no outside help. I wasn’t at a club or cheating on my husband. I was being productive with my time. I hate feeling like I have to explain myself. But I share this so you can understand the truth. Well, at least my truth. They would have known this if they had taken the time to ask as opposed to judging me for what appeared to be an easy life. That was a painful amount of guilt to swallow silently and alone. I have come to learn that guilt is a state of mind. You start to eliminate guilt when you start changing the way you think. That became my focus working on my mindset, talk, thoughts, and feelings.
I learned that the best revenge is to boss up physically, mentally, and financially.
When I didn’t live the life they chose for me I guess it was time to show their true color and place blame in my direction. And boy did they let me know with the sarcastic comments and mom-shaming I endured. My mother-in-law even gave me an ear full, which I didn’t tell my husband until later after I was fully healed about the situation. I’m sure she doesn’t remember the conversation she had with me because it was years ago. But it’s cool now. We are all good. At the time I’m sure she was worried about her son's well-being. At the time I didn’t get it nor did I like it. Because words hurt and stick with the person who was being put in check so to speak. Especially when someone is doing a crossword puzzle and at the same time asking you a hundred questions about why you’re not working and when you are going to get a job. But as a mother now I do understand where she was coming from and respect her for it. At the time I was just shocked at how she handled the situation being that she had six kids of her own. If anyone could understand my struggle she could. How I dealt with the situation could have been dealt with better. Rather than keep silent or make choices in reaction to my fear I should have spoken up and voiced how I felt and explained to her my decision of staying home. At the time she wasn’t aware of my childhood experience. I’m not even sure if she was ever aware of it. Either way, none of that matters today. Instead, I took it as a threat and I just rolled my eyes and silently under my breath (because I didn’t want to disrespect my husband's mother). I love her like my own mother. I was like not you too, enough of the damn mom shaming already!
In my mind, I was like fuck this shit. Me and my kids are gonna be ok. I don't need anyone. I’ll show you all. I’ll do this without any of your help. And guess what? That’s exactly what I did. After that day I never made an effort to visit anyone. Nor did I ever ask anyone for help. Except that one time after our house foreclosed on and we moved back to Florida. One Friday I had started a new job and needed a babysitter. I had just started the job and couldn’t call in and my mom had to work that Friday. She was already keeping the kids on her days off so I told my husband but he couldn’t take off his new job so he asked the only person we knew who didn’t work, his mom, if she could keep my son on Fridays until I got off at 1 pm. She told him no because she was going fishing. I was like every Friday! Or, today?
I was hurt. I ask my husband, “She does know that’s why they made strollers.” He just ignored my bluntness as usual and let me figure it out. By now I was just over it. I kindly quit my job like I always did for this reason and never once have I ever asked anyone but my mom to help look after my kids. I was so hurt. I built a wall around my heart. I started saying no to all events. I focus on my family and in times of stress I escape with food.
But in that bathroom I survived. Hearing no once again and not receiving support from the very people who judged me for not working was hard and confusing but I am strong and I will survive. And I did! It was time for me to take full responsibility for the choice I made to become a trucker wife and mom of four. I left Florida and returned to Atlanta since the lifestyle balance wasn’t any better. If I wasn’t going to have the support in Florida why stay in a dead town where I wasn’t happy and couldn’t even see my husband? With that in mind, I decided to stay in the hub where all the trucking jobs and opportunities were. At least I got to see my husband every two to three weeks back then. If I had stayed in Florida we would never have seen each other. So the choice was simple. Twice a month was better than no months. I said I agreed to the trucking life so I gotta do what I gotta do to make life and a long-distance marriage work.
Agreeing to the trucking lifestyle has been overwhelming and very challenging for me for two reasons. First, of all I live in Atlanta with no friends and family so having a full-time job was never in the cards for me without the support I needed to help with the kids. Over time, if a kid gets sick or needs to go to a school activity I would have to be the one to take off. I even tried working within the school district and they still look at you crazy when you ask to take off. My child is standing right beside me holding their stomach and about to pass the fuck out and they look like you don’t have anyone you can call. No, it’s just me and my kids. My husband travels for work. No one understood the trucking industry. No one understood why he couldn’t take off. The look on their face was like that sounded like a YOU problem. We hired you to do a job and that’s what we expect you to do. As a businesswoman, I get it. Point taken. We just didn’t have the finances in that season to hire outside help. We either made too much for government assistance or the bills took the little we did have.
Secondly, when my husband left to go over the road he triggered my childhood abandonment issues. I didn’t know I had childhood abandonment issues until six weeks after my husband started working in the trucking field. Today, I feel so bad about how I behaved. But I didn’t know I was projecting the pain of my conflicted relationship with my mom onto him. Up until that point, our relationship was going well. We each gave each other complete freedom to be ourselves. We felt safe with each other, and reliable, and didn’t feel responsible for each other's happiness, we took responsibility to create our own. We weren’t codependent on each other in an unhealthy way. It was perfectly interdependent. Until it wasn’t!
It all started when he wasn’t coming home as often. His absence finally awakened me to the understanding that I was officially a trucker wife with codependency traits manifesting. Married but living apart as if I was a single mom. Talking about a burst of panic and separation anxiety. I felt as if I couldn’t breathe like a fish gasping for air. I started having trust issues. I needed him to keep reassuring me that he was coming back home and that he wasn’t leaving me. In my mind, he was leaving me for his truck. It never occurred to me to think he was leaving me for another woman. Hey, it sounds cray cray but that’s the abandonment wound talking. The same thing my mom did when she left me to live with my great-grandmother for her profession. I guess my wounded inner child was like, not again. I’m being abandoned, forgotten, not wanted, not loved, and never will I be able to feel a sense of belonging. I didn’t know what was going on. Or what any of it meant at the time. Or what to make of all the crazy thoughts going through my mind. I never behaved this way before. I had intrusive thoughts of him not coming back. The separation anxiety was killing me!
Up until that day on the floor, I felt that everything I had done up until that point, everything that had happened to me-from mom shaming, dealing with my childhood abandonment issues, coping as a trucker wife, and learning to deal with my health and self-esteem issues-had not stopped me from having a quarter life crisis, mental breakdown, to wanting to commit suicide. I thought I was going through a spiritual experience and they would have to lock me up in a mental ward from having a nervous breakdown. I had to learn how to deal with my dark side to understand how to live in the light that God was trying to direct me to. Every once in a while I feel amazed, but I was so depressed and felt so hopeless that day on my bathroom floor.
Because I was so concerned with how other people treated me and their opinions of me, I didn’t take the time to let myself feel connected and flow with the season I was experiencing. I was stunned at how I let other people's opinions and guilt rob me of my confidence, energy, and productivity. Sometimes we get in our way. Sometimes we hold ourselves back from the success we deserve by sabotaging our efforts. I learned my self worth was tied to others' approval. I was too busy crying over not belonging when I experienced mom shaming. I didn't get a chance to enjoy the time I had with my children while they were little. Instead I was depressed. My life was supposed to be easy. I was supposed to enjoy that season. But I was too busy chastising myself over things that didn’t matter or that I couldn’t control. I can’t tell you how many resumes I sent out during that season trying to get a job like those women who shamed me. I was trying my best to fit in their world and gain approval.
My brother-in-law Dale would tease me, he said he never saw anyone send off a hundred resumes at one time and still didn’t get a job. It’s funny now but at the time it certainly was not. I was like a crazy lady pushing a wave back into the ocean rather than letting it flow. I did this each week and the door was closed shut. That should have woke me up but it didn’t. I steadily pushed to try to make something happen that was never meant to manifest. I was still trying to force the issues. I seek approval on a crazy level trying to fit into a world where I never belonged in the first place. I felt so disconnected from myself. The quality of my life had been compromised by my inability to do more and feel less. I lost touch with the very things I needed to experience a meaningful life: a strong connection to my feelings and my ability to hear my own inner voice and authentic self so I was able to act on her wisdom. Instead, I was disconnected from God. I was disconnected from love. I lost faith. At that moment I had chosen to trade in faith for fear. I was chasing a man or woman and not grace.
It wasn’t the end of my struggle. No, just the beginning. Although I never thought of committing suicide again. Instead, I manifested other issues to deal with, after that, I began to use food as comfort and developed two eating disorders. The problem was all me. Not people. Yes, they influenced a lot of it. But had I known how to cope in difficult situations and process and regulate difficult emotions and had the skills needed to defend myself properly, I could have responded correctly. I cared too much about what others think. I worked hard at managing the perceptions of others to avoid confrontations, conflicts, exclusions, rejections, and feelings of guilt. I allowed people to rob me of time with my kids, energy, and self-esteem. I did that. I own that! It was all me seeking approval trying to fit in and have a sense of belonging. I long to experience a sense of fulfillment and purpose but I’ve centered my entire life around “should” and “pleasing others” instead of what I valued most, family.
Today, I am no longer a people pleaser, or an emotional eater, my self-esteem and self-confidence have improved. I have reinvented myself. I’m no longer doing marriage counseling either. Instead work as a nutritionist, intuitive spiritual counselor, folk herbalist, hoodoo practitioner, visual artist/designer, skincare wellness consultant for Avon, and mobile notary and loan signing agent. I was moving on and hopefully, moving up. I created a task to keep me busy and focus on my own life. My moving on leads me on a path to self-awareness and spiritual awakening. I now understand that love is a responsibility. It’s a choice. No one has to give it freely no matter who they are. Therefore you gotta learn to choose yourself regardless if others choose to choose you or not.
I learned that when one has a difficult start in life, the universe has a way of balancing everything out. The mom shaming, the childhood abandonment, the eating disorder, the digestive issues, the not feeling good enough, the inability to cope as a trucker wife and balancing work and family life all was part of the darkest I had written in my soul contract and part of my shadow life. But we all know for every season there is a reason and for every cloud there is a rainbow. This is my shame story and the story of my shadow. It's light coming out of darkness.
And I hope that after you read the next section, the in-depth journal of my shame story during this time of stress you are inspired to find your light in the world. Don’t procrastinate and worry too much about what others think of you or your life. Guilt can only grow when you’re constantly thinking about what you “should” be doing, rather than just being true to yourself and your happiness. Learn from life and do what feels true to you and what is best for you and your family. Learn to Live and Let Live. Start living today by starting your emotional healing journey. Thank you for sticking with me thus far. Our journey is almost over but not quite yet. I still have lessons to share to inspire you to heal and recover.
Excerpt from LonerWife Diaries Series Book 1 Shattered And Lost Who Am I
Written by Dr. Nikki LeToya White
It’s your turn. Share your shame story. Make the difficult decision to let it go and start creating the life you deserve. By doing the work needed to heal and recover from codependency, emotional eating, financial stress, and imposter syndrome caused by abandonment and childhood emotional neglect. For the rest of this month I will post wellness and self-care tips as each September we focus on wellness. I like to call it September Self-Care. The reason behind this 30-day workshop is to reboot from a lazy summer that most of my clients tend to have. It’s time to get back focus and level up.
Life Love You and So Do I!
Help Developing A Plan For Self-Care
Do you want help developing a self-care plan that works for your busy schedule? Do you want accountability in implementing a self-care plan? If you or someone you love is struggling to maintain optimal mental and emotional health, consider reaching out to Spiced Life Conversation Art Wellness Studio and Botanica. We are a Metro Atlanta, Conyers Georgia area. We are a coaching and counseling practice with empathetic, skilled counselors and recovery coaches who can help you set goals, develop a self-care routine, and move forward to build a more fulfilling life. Our team would be happy to work with you either just for a couple of sessions to develop and implement a Self-care plan or longer term to work toward overall better mental health within our membership site or other programs.
About The Author:
Dr. Nikki LeToya White MSEd-TL, Ph.D. RHN is the founder, director, and full-time board-certified trauma-informed nutritionist, folk herbalist, and wellness consultant at Spiced Life Conversation Art Wellness Studio and Botanica. She created Spiced Life Conversation, LLC
Art Wellness Studio and Botanica provide the Metro Atlanta area with counseling and coaching services where clients are carefully matched with the right program for healing abandonment and childhood emotional neglect trauma that cause codependency, emotional eating, financial stress, and imposter syndrome as it relates to fear of success and being abandon. We help you begin your emotional healing journey with ease. Recently, we have expanded to include an online membership site so we now provide support to people living all over the world. All of our recovery coaches provide at least one evidence-based treatment to assist in your recovery. Dr. White is a big proponent of self-care and helping people live a fulfilling life! She has been in full remission with both codependency and emotional binge eating disorder since 2016. In living a life in recovery from sugar addiction. Loving her low-sugar balance lifestyle.
Dr. Nikki LeToya White