If this is your first time here, welcome! My name is Mimi and this is my site 🙂 Thanks to the encouragement from my dear friend, Faith, who is also one of the Rising Women in this series, I decided to go ahead and participate as well. As a bonus, Faith has interviewed me on her podcast which I have included HERE. What an honor to share with each other and with you all!
Who am I?
I am a woman who is strong, resilient and always striving to be the best version of myself. While I certainly have my lows in life, you will never find me down for very long. I am extremely passionate about my family, personal growth and womxn’s empowerment. No matter where I am in life, or what shape things take around me, I am a woman who will never stop the journey of learning and growing.
Tell me about your family, if applicable.
I have 5 kids! 3 of them I gave birth to, and the other 2 are my biological brother and sister that my ex husband & I raised from the time that they were 2 & 4 until they were grown and moved out. Even though I didn’t give birth to them, they are my kids and I love them the same. They have grown into incredible young adults and one of them now has my beautiful grand baby girl. Their spouses are also my kids who I love dearly.
Another special part of my family is my ex husband and his wife. We have created such a special family dynamic and unique friendship. I’m so proud of how far we’ve all come and love that we work together as a family unit. It is for this reason that I believe anything is possible for families when you take full responsibility for your relationships and for your role as a parent. Sometimes love ends up looking different than we think it’s going to, but it is entirely possible to create a completely new dynamic that works for everyone. Because at the end of the day we made a commitment and with children involved, that commitment doesn’t end, it just takes a different shape. Our commitment to our children is always above our differences, and now our stand for families being fulfilled and workable always remains in the background of our lives.
What is your story?
For most of the memory of my childhood, I grew up in a drug and alcohol induced, and very tumultuous environment. I was mostly raised by my mother, and my father was in and out of the picture a lot because his relationship with my mom was so difficult. I witnessed a lot of abuse around me, and was sexually abused by a family “friend” for a number of years. Nearly the moment I turned 18, I moved out to be on my own. The hardest part about that was leaving my siblings who were 16-17 years younger than me. Things were only getting worse at home and I feared for what they would have to endure.
Shortly after moving out to be on my own, my now ex husband and I began raising my brother and sister. In our early 20’s we got married, and shortly after had our 3 children. We created the family that we wanted by the time we were 30 and while there was plenty of turbulence, I know we did an amazing job with what we had and what we knew at the time.
Into our 30’s we began our paths of personal growth for the first time. This ultimately led to the realization that it was time for our marriage to come to an end. This was a turn I hadn’t expected much long before and meant my future was now unwritten.
Going through a divorce is never easy for anyone and I certainly had my moments of darkness and uncertainty about life. I allowed the process of grieving to play out in my life and when I was ready, I saddled up and began my own journey of self discovery and healing.
What have you overcome to get where you are today?
My childhood is the biggest thing that I’ve had to overcome. I carried the weight and the shame of being sexually abused with me for a long time. I also carried a lot of sadness about the relationship that I never got to have with my parents. I always wished they had made different choices and made me and my siblings more of a priority. Now I can see that if it wasn’t for all of those things then I wouldn’t be who I am today. All of those things drove me to be a better, stronger and more driven woman.
The other thing big turning point in my life was the end of my 17 year marriage. I experienced so much shame, regret and failure around that. I could hardly look at myself in the mirror and face the woman I had been. The months following my separation were some of the darkest of my life. There were days I didn’t know how I would get through and nights that I drowned it all in alcohol. The feelings of emptiness were sometimes unbearable and I looked for things to fill the void. I thought I was trying to be tough, strong and brave on the outside, but on the inside I was deeply depressed. I let myself wallow for a while until I got sick of it all, and decided it was time to start pulling myself together again.
Currently I am embracing the single life. My relationship with myself is now at the top of my list. I am finally in a place of discovering and creating my life for me. Learning to be alone and loving myself deeper is a beautiful path that I’ve never truly been able to appreciate until now. Sure, sometimes I get sad and lonely. Sometimes I miss having a companion and all of the things that come with that, but I’ve got plenty of work to do in the meantime. For now, I’m dating myself, my kids and my dreams!
What has been your greatest struggle in life?
My greatest struggle has been learning to love myself and making choices that align with that. Don’t get me wrong, there are things that I’ve loved about myself throughout the years, like my resiliency and my ability to love. But really loving myself outside of the love of anyone else or any external circumstances has been a different game. When you really love and value yourself, making healthy choices and creating a healthy lifestyle becomes easier. It’s getting easier for me now… 🙂
Did you ever feel like giving up? When you felt like giving up, what did you do?
Yes! I feel like giving up quite often, actually. I think there are certain times and situations when we should give up. The thing is, I never give up for good. It’s usually just a pause, or an end to something, and it means it’s time for a change. Giving up can look a lot of ways. It can mean taking some time to wallow in my sadness for a little while, ending a job or a relationship. But I don’t think that giving up for me is ever a permanent thing. Giving up is a time to assess a situation and see what’s not working so that I can find another way.
What are some of the tools and resources you have used to work through and overcome those struggles? (books, counselors, workshops, programs, coaches, etc.)
I have participated in several personal growth programs over the past 10 years. There are SO many out there and I think the most important thing is that you find the one(s) that work for and call to you. Remember, nothing is the end all be all. Here are some of the things that have had the most significant impact for me and my life.
~I worked in depth with a coach/mentor for a year, Char Spirtos, who I treasure beyond measure.
~Lots of books:
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
This Naked Mind by Annie Grace
Untame Yourself by Liz Dialto
The Way of the Superior Man by David Deida
The Queen’s Code by Alison Armstrong
Motherhood’s Not For Punks by Patrina Wisdom
This list is always growing…
What are your gifts and how did you discover them?
My ability and capacity for love and my compassion for humanity are some of greatest gifts. Who I am as a mother to my children is a gift. My intuition and my internal power are gifts that I am learning to hone in on and utilize in my life more now. It is often all of these things that lead me in life.
Tell us about your tribe and the importance of having one.
I think we all feel alone sometimes and the importance of identifying who your tribe is so important. It doesn’t have to look a certain way and it doesn’t have to be one group of people that all know each other. Your tribe can include all sorts of people that you’re connected to. I have so many special people that I am so thankful to call my tribe. They include many of my family members, as well as many women that I have grown friendships with over the years. The women in my life who are on their own paths of self growth and discovery, and the ones who are committed to making a difference in the world, are the ones who always lift me up and keep me on my own path of greatness.
What do you want other women to know who are feeling lost, and/or experiencing their own tragedy and/or struggles?
It’s okay to be where you’re at. It’s okay to have bad days. Don’t beat yourself up for the struggle and the darkness. Know that the time will pass and it will get better. It’s okay to be and feel alone sometimes, but remember that you’re not alone. Be sure to reach out to the ones who remind you of your greatness. Reach out, get the help, the love and the support that you need. Take yourself to places and people that lift you up. Eventually the strength will become greater than the struggle.
This project has been such a joy for me to facilitate and I’m so thankful to all of the ladies who join and share their stories. I hope that comes across these pages finds some strength and inspiration to move forward and to rise above their own struggles and shine as the amazing women they are.
To listen to my Rising Woman interview with Faith Shevlin, go HERE.
Much love and light to you all.