Imagine yourself sitting in a dark room, looking at a window covered by thick, black velvet draperies. This room is completely void of the light of life or your future. You have been sitting in this room for years blinded by the darkness of your heavy past and you don’t know what is on the other side. As you quietly and patiently sit in this room feeling a bit unsettled you wonder what might await on the other side of the gloomy drapery but you never dare to take a peek for fear of exposure to what is unknown.
The drapery aggressively blocks you from seeing the beautiful sunny day and feeling the heat of life. I see your light and I see your potential but until you make the decision to pull back the drapery and expose yourself to the light, you will forever be hiding your authentic self from the beauty of the world and depriving the world YOUR inner light.
Fast forward five years. You’ve pushed open the draperies and have allowed yourself to live in the light but just like all pasts, they dwell in our subconscious. From time to time you find yourself sitting in the void, dark room but now you know what the light feels like. The drapery may fall back from time to time but now that you have opened up your awareness and this allows you to see the opportunity and continue to fight to keep the light in.
I write this article with a very specific intention. I intend to help every woman hiding behind the past to courageously step forward and expose the past to someone they trust to help eliminate self limiting beliefs and unhealthy behaviors.
Over the ten years in the Health and Wellness industry I’ve have hundreds of conversation about body image, fear and worthiness. I’ve find that women’s mindset about their worth greatly prohibits their success. Through my time in this industry I’ve met a very empowered and influential woman, Regina Rowley.
Regina Rowley is unlike any one else I’ve ever encountered. She is a women’s safety advocate, fitness coach and group fitness instructor. She speaks from the heart and her voice is heard all around the world. I told Regina of a connection I’ve discovered over the years with many clients troubles with their food control and exercise. Upon really digging deep emotionally with some of these women many times I found that their struggles began at a much younger age. There was a real connection between sexual abuse and the ability of these women to view them selves as real people or worthy of weight loss and kindness to their body.
I know this is a topic from which many people shy away but the truth is, sexual abuse is real and can cause years of self-neglect and suffering. I want to share with you Regina’s story as a survivor and an expert in women’s self defense. This article is heavy. It touches on topics some of you only hear about in the news but if Regina can tell her open her heart, show her venerability and shed some light on an abusive past, I know you can too. I also know even if your past is not a traumatic one, you know someone whose past still haunts them and effects them with daily decisions. Maybe, YOU can help them pull the black velvet drapery back and allow them to see the full potential of their future!
It’s important that we preface this article with a quick peep into Regina’s past. Along her journey she did have a turning point but before this time Regina comes from a post of sexual abuse and an unhealthy Family.
Regina: “Health was not a priority in my family even though I had a sibling who was a brittle diabetic and passed away during childhood due to that. They monitored her diet but the rest of the family was never adjusted. For me, as a parent, that would have been a turning point to bring health into my family but for my family it was not.
As I got older, I had some very serious health issues and had to make the choice to make the change or I would not be in the physical health I am in today. Why I made those changes, I don’t know. I don’t know what inside of me is different from the rest of my family.”
When I asked Regina to allow me to interview her she told me from the very beginning, “Erika, At this time, I’m really struggling to keep my health a priority. I’ve had some recent contact with people from my traumatic past that have thrown me into an emotions curve ball. I have not responded to it the way I thought I would. It’s had a very negative impact on me to the point where I sought counseling. This interview will be very Raw.”
For many years Regina wore this burden on her heart and didn’t not seek help and even in times when she felt it was under control, it has still managed to unexpectedly sneak back into her life. I asked Regina, “Can a haunting traumatic past like this ever go away? “
Regina: “We can learn to overcome and thrive. We are emotional beings and there is always the possibilities life may throw a curve ball and we readdress the feelings at that particular time. With that said, professional counseling can help you reduce the impact of these curve balls.”
The constant variable in life is that there is no constant variable and the only thing absolutely certain in our life is that there will be change. Here is the definition of change.
The key word here is ‘different’. Experiencing different is scary and fear paralyzes us from making choices but if you never make a choice on anything, you will always do nothing. On the other hand, sometimes change is made as the result of fear.
For example, I sought Regina’s programs and personal self defense lesson as a reaction to a scary experience but I continue to workout every day as a proactive measure to my fear of the consequences of leading an unhealthy life.
I asked Regina, “What do you think keeps women from coming forward to face their fears in order to become better versions of themselves mentally and physically?
Regina stopped and paused for a moment. Then she carefully and thoughtfully spoke these words. “ You know, society in general says, ‘If a woman looks like this, then this woman is beautiful.’ So a woman that has been assaulted in the past my subconsciously feel that if they do not look like what society beautiful then maybe nobody will want to assault them.
It’s a way of protecting themselves. If there is so much pain from their previous experiences sometimes they can not make that trade off to be healthy. They guard themselves from the fear of a recurring past. If this is the only way they know to guard themselves then this is where they will stay. This is their defense line.”
Regina and I both see fears of others but in different situations. Regina sees women with fear that feel they are not worth protecting and I see women with fear that feel they are not worthy of a better and healthier life. I asked Regina, “It all boils down to how a woman values her worth. Why might some women fear they are not worth protecting or losing weight?
Regina: “When a woman is assaulted, someone else has said, ‘Your thoughts, your opinions and your preferences are not important.’ They have taken away your voice because their desires are more important than yours. When someone takes your voice and your liberties from you and there is no one there to advocate for you, it’s very difficult to find the confidence to advocate for yourself.
We all need help because we don’t have the skill or ability to handle everything life dishes out. It doesn’t matter how many months, years or even decades have passed, anything can trigger it again. There is no shame in reaching out for help.”
It’s time we all stepped forward and become proactive with our fears. I want every woman to pull back their dark draperies and see the light for what it can be. In that light, there will be fear once we accept the fear, embrace the fear and prepare for the fear we can collectively encourage other women to reach out for help and do the same. Regina said her intentions of this article is to give courage to women who identify with her experiences to seek help so they too can be comfortable being their authentic self.
There is only one YOU in this universe and none of us are guaranteed a tomorrow. Embrace your fear and welcome the pain and tears of your emotions because only then can you live authentically. I plead with you, do not deprive the world of your authentic self. You are amazing and worth a happy and healthy life.
Join Regina in the I am Priceless Movement. #Metoo may have started as a hastag, but here’s an way to take it too the next step…
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