#IAmASurvivor are stories from women of all walks of life, telling their stories of survival. Everybody is a survivor and all stories deserve to be told. These stories are all in their own words.
The plight of a daughter, the seventh child born to parents who could barely read and from a culture that is flawed; is a journey fit only for a conquering soul!
My ultimate purpose here on earth is continuously being revealed one day at a time as Esther Hicks would say.
As the third of four daughters, it would seem that I was strategically positioned in 7th place. According to my mom, who in her defence was a victim of a royally messed up Indian culture, propagated and facilitated the ignorant mindset of treating daughters as if they were the slaves, the hired hand, the person who’s only goal in life should be to serve the brothers, the fathers, the elders and ultimately their husband. It’s of no importance for a daughter to be educated or be entrepreneurial – that was considered a waste of money in my family and better left to the boys. At the age of nine, I was already responsible for preparing dinners for our entire family. The expectation: it better taste great, or else! Yes, I was at the mercy of the back of my mom’s hands or at the mercy of any other object that was within her reach. Let me say, she has pretty good aim, so I learned to run really fast!
At the prime of my teen years, my family emigrated from South America to Canada. I was a sixteen year old in a new country with no friends, no money, no social life and no ability to finish high school because we spent every penny on airplane tickets. Why? A better life for the boys! Having an uneducated father who was also an alcoholic in denial only added to the “nightmarish transition”.
A month after our arrival I started flipping burgers at a fast food chain. I did that for a few months and then later got myself a full time factory labour job making binders. We needed to generate more money in the household so we could afford housing and food. This continued for three years. Fifty percent of my earnings were contributed to the household and the balance I saved to support my education at a later date. I had no idea when that would be but I knew I had to do more than an arranged marriage to a possible alcoholic husband and just wait to die. That’s what I was observing throughout my childhood and when my older sister got forced into an arranged marriage, I knew I HAD to do something different. I schooled part time over eight years while I worked full time in various positions. Eventually I landed myself a superb corporate company where I stayed sixteen plus years in various capacities and then left to pursue my entrepreneurial goals.
A mom, a wife, a sister, a friend, a colleague, a partner – women facilitates a lot of roles and I’ve certainly done them all and then some.
As a mom, I was first challenged by myself to be a different kind of parent than that which I knew. To parent my children in a manner that encourages them to find their best selves. Ironically I am blessed with two girls and I love every minute of it. My parenting style is more about teaching them and showing them how to harness their own inner strengths and gifts to achieve more than they think is possible.
Through their early years there were challenges and disasters which I thought would break me. For instance, like the time when my eldest was misdiagnosed with scarlet fever, or when her pediatrician scheduled a surgery which was totally unnecessary at two months old. Thankfully my motherly instincts lead me to stand against that decision; today she holds a master’s degree in neuroscience and never had that surgery.
It doesn’t get any easier when life throws curve balls, but harnessing the courage within; does give you the momentum to keep pushing forward. I found this out rather quickly when my youngest at one year old was caught behind a reversing car. She lay screaming for dear life between the two front wheels of the car. Helplessness was never in my superpowers. I reached down, wiggled her out and held her in my arms wanting to take her pain away. What I couldn’t do, the great universe did! She never shed a drop of blood. She had a cast on one arm for three weeks to heal a broken bone but did not need surgery. Nothing short of a miracle! Today, she’s a bright young woman who just completed her under graduated degree in business law. These are but a few instances only. Every day brings new challenges for growth AND new opportunities to explore.
Amidst everything else, I was blessed to have had the opportunity to follow my dream career. After my sixteen plus years in a corporate job, I had the opportunity to go to hair school. Something I was fascinated with since my teen years. I was the only mom in a classroom full of teenagers who had no interest in being there because they were either on social assistance and they had to do something to get the money or their parents footed the bill. I stayed focused on my path, head down and endurance up.
What started out being my bliss career, with thousands of dollars spent and hours upon hours of training – was a disaster in the making. I was forced to walk away. After ten years my body was no longer willing to take the continuous physical abuse. My joints gave up. Most days ended in excruciating pain and exhaustion beyond belief. Worst, I was not generating the income I was used to having from my corporate job. This was a challenge that quickly spiralled into a struggle. It took every ounce of will power within me to let it go. I felt lost. What am I supposed to do now? Why did this happen after I’ve spent almost forty-five thousand dollars over the years in training? Why now, when I’m at the top of my game and I started my own training company which is flourishing? These and other questions kept me up many, many nights.
The pain, the anxiety, the feeling of unworthiness all converged to one epic disaster.
What started out like any other morning, enjoying my cup of coffee on the floor with some simple warm up stretches turned into a complete disaster! By the evening that particular day, I was at the nearest emergency room and spent the next three months confined with no ability to walk on my own. I was completely dependent on my family to chauffer me everywhere, make the meals, clean the house, and they all had full time jobs or school. My husband’s biggest task was carrying me up the stairs, and then helped me to take a shower every single day. Several x-rays, ultrasounds, MRI’s and Specialist appointments – to this day no one can give me a plausible explanation of what happened to my knee. Today I am so grateful to be fully mobile again. I was determined to walk again, to be independent. My goal was to return to my prized position as a functioning mother to my daughters. A true test of mind over matter!
Needless to say, my dream career came to a screeching halt. When I finally learned to let it go mentally and release it to the universe, I woke up one morning with a brilliant inspiration for a new business venture. I’ve finally learned that I have to release that which is no longer serving me in order to create space for new initiatives. Browsing online I found the perfect training to get me started. All those years of cooking as a child is now the pillar behind my new found idea. I can finally say I am thankful for the years of learning and experimenting. I also had a startling discovery with my diet when I was immobile. I decided to give up all foods containing wheat from my diet and within three weeks I was able to put the crutches against the wall and balance myself on my own feet. I didn’t do anything extravagant or major like climb the stairs or grocery shopping but it was a huge step in the right direction for my healing and recovery. Eight months later, I was able to keep up with my family as we toured Spain mostly on foot.
E-dacious is a brand of wheat and dairy free solutions. The inspiration to create such foods was primarily drive by the fact that wheat and dairy free meals helped me to heal when the medical profession couldn’t. Developing and sharing the E-dacious brand is now taking me to the next phase of my journey. Although I’ve cooked without recipes my entire life, I am creating recipes for a blog and an online course to teach others how to incorporate tuberous roots, grain and legume beans into their menu plan. These foods are the core of a South American diet. Additionally, I’m designing a line of wheat free baking mixes. All of which is strongly connected to South American tuberous foods containing no sugar or dairy.
I have no idea what challenges are ahead.
What I do know is that we can either face the challenges and push the boundaries or die slowly with regret and self pity. I’ve since learned to release my mom from the bitterness and injustice I felt for so long. She is still alive and I actively participate with a few other siblings to take care of her well being. You might be asking: where are the boys? Well, they are each on their own journey which does not include her well being. Nevertheless, I feel each new day is a gift to me. I have within my grasp the ability to champion my aspirations and be an example for my children. If you are reading this article, know that you too have within you the courage, the will power and the determination to give the world your best self! Blessings!