I was 19.  I was in college.  And, my #MeToo story is Domestic Violence.

As the wave continues in the United States, with more and more stories of sexual assault coming forward from all areas of life, I didn’t feel I had a place to share my story of domestic violence.  This was my thinking until a friend said the following, “If all the women, who have been assaulted by a man, sexual or not, posted their #MeToo story on Facebook maybe then the world would finally see how big this problem is and finally do something about it.”
When I read that, tears formed in my eyes.  Even though it was over 30 years ago, even though I share (almost in passing) of this toxic relationship, even though he’s the Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde character in my new book, even though this crisis transformed me into the woman I am today, even though I love the woman I am – it still FUCKING HURTS!  The tears I’m wiping from my eyes tell me so.  These tears are telling me I need to finally share my FULL story.  Not just the part that doesn’t hurt, but the full ugly story.  These are the same tears, you see the women on TV shed, even though their assault happened one, two or three decades ago.  It still HURTS!

I feel raw and extremely vulnerable.

What I feel may be missing from many of the #MeToo stories is hearing how women have triumphed despite the trauma.  This triumph demonstrates how strong women truly are versus a misconception of weakness.  I know there are many women who feel they just survived their situation.  They don’t feel as if they’re thriving, but in my case I say triumph.  Women need to see how other women have triumphed after such violation so we can change the dialogue in our country, and in the world.
To be honest, when I completed the first draft of this article, it was 6-pages, typed, single-spaced, so I decided to share my #MeToo story with you in parts.   It’s still going to be a long article because I’m not sharing my story on my blog.  I’m sharing my intimate story of pain and triumph with you.  If you don’t have time at the moment, come back and read this when you have 30-minutes to reflect.  If you don’t care, it’s okay to delete this email and unsubscribe from my list.  If you don’t care, you’re not a woman I can help.  I’ve made it my life’s purpose (my Dharma) to give my time to women who want a better life.

When you read my articles, view my videos, attend my classes or become a client, you see an empowered woman exuding self-worth in front of you.  You see a woman who loves men.  You see a woman who owns her own business.  You see a woman living in her dream neighborhood experiencing life with both of her partners.  This is who I am now.  Over the next couple of weeks, you’re going to finally learn the full story of my journey to get here.

If you want to know how I triumphed, then read on…

With all the low self-worth I could muster (being sarcastic), as I was exuding the confidence and charisma of a Tick, I was 19 and in my first relationship.  I was engaged to a boy where my mindset was “just feel grateful that he chose me”.  He was this gorgeous wavy-haired Adonis who could have any woman in the world, but he chose little ole me.  My inner voice kept whispering in my ear “don’t fuck it up”.  Worse yet, my family would say the same…out loud…not in their silent voice.  If anything happened to the relationship, it was my fault.
I was a timid introvert.  I wasn’t the girl who got asked out.  I didn’t have my first boyfriend until I was 18.  I even entered college still a virgin.  My inner doubt, perfectionist tendencies, and my self-perception were massively low.   I was always trying to prove my worth to others.  Always chasing the pat on the back.  But it never worked and I never felt accepted, appreciated or understood – just twisted in knots.  This is what I thought of myself.  This was the disempowering recording that played 24/7 in my mind.  I lived in a state of constant fear.  By not accepting myself, I didn’t feel worthy of love.  So when this Adonis professed his love for me, I could kiss the ground he walked on.
My mind and feelings were betraying me.  This is why they were the first places I started my healing journey.

Now back to my story…

When this Adonis came into my life, there were glaring red flags, but of course, I chose to ignore them because I couldn’t believe my good luck in snagging this guy.  After 2½ years of dating, where I felt he was my McDreamy, soon after getting a 1-carat “ring on it”, my Adonis (aka Dr. Jekyll) turned into Mr. Hyde.  After getting the “ring on it”, his attitude was “I own you”. That’s when the ugliness started and the red flags turned into a blazing inferno.
He was a smooth operator, a true manipulator. It started with comments like, “I don’t like what you’re wearing, go change your clothes.”  Mind you, he liked what I was wearing before he proposed.  Now, he didn’t want anyone else looking at what he felt he owned.   The first time I said, “No. I’m not changing. Are you serious?”  That’s when I was met with a slap across my face.  I wasn’t a physical match – he was 6’5”, 215 lbs. to my 5’1”, 115 lb. stature.
So what did I do?  I did what you think most women would do – I told my family.  I was then asked, “What did I do?”  I never challenged the authority of my family, especially my Grandmother, who was the matriarch.  You just don’t do that in the Latin and Caribbean culture.  You just suck it up.  He sweet-talked and manipulated everyone to think I was the emotional basket-case.  Of course, I had no physical marks, it was just my word versus his charm.  I was the one left feeling alone and unsupported. Which then fed into me feeling more unworthy.
It took me a year and a half to get enough courage to plan my escape – to get my freedom.
It took me leaving with just the clothes on my back – to get my life back.
It took me calling my mom from a battered women’s shelter – to finally get the support of my family.
At this point I was now 22, a college graduate, living in a new State and living a holy hell with my fiancée. I know you’re wondering what happened or how I escaped?  I’ll get to that.  Only my mom and daughter know the full extent of what happened, until now.
Before the #MeToo Movement, my story of domestic violence remained a part of my history, but I’ve never shared what actually happened to me, including living at a shelter.  Me, a college graduate from New York City, the toughest city in the world, and here I am in a damn shelter in the south.
The embarrassment felt by many women who’ve experienced domestic violence or sexual assault is immense. Some people who haven’t experienced this violation flippantly say, “She should just leave.  Why did she have children with her abuser?  Just call the cops!”   As I reveal more of my story, you’ll learn how HARD it truly is for many women to escape.  I don’t call it, “a relationship to get out of” or “a man to dump” because women in these circumstances aren’t just getting out of a relationship or dumping some pile of dog shit.  These women, WE, literally have to ESCAPE for our lives!
This is why every time I sit to write more of this article, tears always well up.
From my healing, teaching, and studying, I learned why I attracted such a toxic relationship, but hindsight is always easy.  I also learned I had multiple chances to get help, step into my power, but I chose to side with fear so I continued with the same behavior, yet expected different results.   That is called insanity.
I get asked all the time, how did you get out?  How were you able to turn your life around?  How were you able to forgive and move on?  And lastly, when people hear I was in a toxic relationship that turned violent (without knowing any details), they’re in shock.  They say to me, “Really?  How you carry yourself, no one would ever know.”  This is exactly why I’m sharing my story now.  I love myself now, I exude charisma now, so many of you don’t know the deep struggle I experienced to get to where I am now.  Many people who have succeeded in life were served a shit sandwich, but you can learn how to transform it into a gourmet meal.
This is how my Love Goddess Program was born.  Back then, I just wanted change.  I just wanted to stop the pain, heal the pain and get my life back.  It first took me 10 years to work through my toxic patterns and the limiting beliefs I had surrounding my self-image and self-confidence.  It took me ten long freaking years because I was embarrassed and I wanted to do it on my own.  I’m smart, I can do this.  That was just an excuse.  Yet again, I wasn’t owning my worth since I was resisting getting help.  Everything else was more important.
After 10 years of the self-help struggle, I bit the bullet and sought help.  Now I was in my early 30s, recently divorced with a 2-year-old.  I did therapy, went to self-help seminars, became a member of a spiritual center, started yoga, and joined a Goddess Circle.
Because of my project management skills, and how my brain operates, I had to develop a process for me to follow so I wouldn’t lose my mind.  I had to create a process for me that would be long-lasting and permanent versus just pacify me with a temporary band-aid.  This is what I had to do if I wanted I better life and I now had a daughter to consider.  I didn’t want her to experience an abusive relationship.  I wanted to teach her how to be a strong woman.  But I had to do it for myself first. Teaching my daughter to be a strong woman when I wasn’t is called hypocrisy.
So the first 2 test subjects of my transformation plan were myself and my daughter.  The same daughter who’s currently studying in South Africa for 4 months with her University, Johns Hopkins.  While there, she’s working with an international humanitarian program for women and children teaching them mindfulness, body-mapping, and meditation. And, she just turned 20. You know what I was dealing with at her age.
By doing the work to rewrite my life story, I learned how to transform my self-image and self-confidence.  This is where I started, this is where my daughter started and this is where all my students and clients start.
The woman writing to you now didn’t spring out of the womb oozing confidence and charisma.  I worked at it, continue to work it and I reap the benefits each day.
So I invite you to consider joining me in the next Love Goddess Group Program.  Registration just opened for the 2018 class of motivated women who desire to own their worth and experience the life they want.  You no longer have to wonder how to change your circumstances, I’ll teach you.  You will then have the skills to make permanent change in your life.
I spent 10 years wandering in the land of lost self-help.  You will only need to invest 6 months of your time with me.  I encourage you to review the details of the Love Goddess Group Program.  If you’re ready to uplevel your life and finally achieve your goals, then we’ll chat to see if the program is a good fit for you.  If it’s not a fit, I’ll be honest with you and let you know what may be your next best step.
Your 2018 will be significantly different than your experience in 2017 if you choose happiness over fear.

Next…My Great Escape

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