“Only through God, can anything happen Bobbie Jean”, my great Aunt Do-Do (Dolores Myers) said to me when I was a child and her foster child. I carried it all through life. I never really understood it until now, at almost 35 years old. Although my life has seemingly been a short one, I have experienced many kinds of abuse.
I arrived in Winfield with my four teenage sons and two suitcases, yet again running, for the tenth time in one year, from my abusive husband.
I felt I had no hope of my dreams. My dreams were to provide a safe and stable environment for my boys and to someday become an attorney. I felt it was only a matter of time before he found us and we were going to have to move, yet again.
I was afraid of my own shadow and paranoid he was going to kill me or worse, my boys. I was raising angry, and rightfully so resentful young men, destined to repeat the cycle of abuse. Honestly, I felt I was a worthless mother, wife, and more importantly I was a worthless as a woman. I felt I had no business raising young men.
Through various community programs, I started to find my self respect little by little.
One day, I walked into this wonderful, amazing place, the Eagle Nest, with a treasured woman. This woman is a dear friend and the advocate for OARS. Which as far as I’m concerned, the first step to finding myself.
We were there to find clothes for the woman I was, so I could dress to succeed in the working world. I was new to Winfield and really did not understand the impact of what this building and these ladies would have on me, as a new woman contributing to the community.
June 11, 2007 was the first day of the rest of my life. That day, I started the F.L.I.T.E. classes at the Eagle Nest.
I honestly thought this was going to be another high-priced, useless program invented to shove me off another cliff. I had heard positive things about the program from many “advocates” of various programs in town, but it was my experience that “advocates” were supposed to make their programs “look good”.
But that first day, I knew immediately this program was different. Completely different. What? I was a lady? These ladies, these pillars of this community wanted me here? They wanted me to eat lunch with them and they were providing lunch. Wow! A wonderful lunch, not bread and water. We blessed the meal together and together, as equals, we had lunch. I was amazed, shocked, and relieved at the same time.
Later that day, I was to receive another shock. I was asked what I wanted to get from the program, by Gayle McPherson herself! What? I was somebody? My input mattered? The answer to all of my questions…YES! And she wanted to hear me say it! Huh?
From that day forward, I didn’t question, I knew and know, I am a woman, my opinion matters, I am somebody, and I am going to be someone positive in this community. These particular words will forever ring in my mind.
“If you say it, own it!”
And…I get it!