Featured Friday: Danielle’s Journeyby Featured Friday | 9 months ago
I would love to start this off by saying I am far from a writer so I apologize in advance, but God has been pushing me to share my journey. It has taken me many years to be able to be this raw and vulnerable but what I realized is sometimes the things God allows us to go through isn’t for just for us.
I have been pretending to have it all together for so long that when I finally started to look back at my life I realized that it very much resembled a Monet painting; from a distance, it was beautiful but up close it was just globs of paint. I found myself getting married to my best friend with a child and still hadn’t dealt with the pains of being molested as a child. I remember talking to my then fiancé (one the first people I ever voiced what happen to me out loud) about the molestation as if I asked for it somehow and it was my fault, I wore this terrible thing like a garment of shame. I never felt worthy of his or God’s love, my fiancé truly became a rock for me in that moment he helped me realize that I was a victim. Being molested by someone who was so close in my family was very hard to mentally deal with, now imagine never telling a soul, not even your father who raised you on his own for many years. My adolescent years were rocking because of this burden I had to carry but God was still there.
Shortly after our wedding and new baby on the way I remember praying to God about the visions he gave me about owning my own business, yet I was still working a 9-5 that I was miserable in. Just as I was taking steps to become an entrepreneur I was hit with the blow that my oldest child (6 at the time) was on the autism spectrum. I have a new baby, a child on the spectrum, I am someone wife, and I still have dreams of my own that I am trying to chase. At this moment to say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement.
As the years passed as they often do in mommy-hood I began to have this passion to make a better future for my children a reality and the only way I could see this being possible was through God blessing me with my own business.
I often laugh to myself about the rooms God has puts me in that I have often felt I am underqualified to be in but you know the saying “God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the ones he calls. This saying never became truer when God took me out of my old job and handed me a luxury hair business (Espy hair) that I didn’t know at the time would change my life.
As my kids got older I started to realize how different life was for my older son London than my youngest son Jaiden. London is just one of the most beautiful souls you will ever meet, at first conversation with London you wouldn’t pick up on his autism (other than the eye contact he won’t make). If you ever said hi to London you were now his friend, he tried so hard to just fit in and be normal. My youngest son Jaiden is just the life of the party, so charismatic and is always the cool guy on campus. I didn’t really focus on the differences till I realize the bullying and difficulties London faced weren’t kids being kids because Jaiden never had to deal with any of it. Society has us all numb to simply being kind and considerate that we’re are telling people it’s okay to be cruel if that person doesn’t fit into your standard of perfection.
Just as I was juggling the difficulties with my oldest son’s disability, running a new business, I found out my grandmother-in-law had cancer. Watching my grandmother-in-law Ophelia Cameron go through losing her hair gave me the motivation to make her the best luxury unit to not only give her back her hair but also just a pick me up to know she was going to come out of this. When I first presented her with the unit I literally felt pure joy, now I started to see a bigger vision for the luxury hair business God had just given me. I decided that right there and then I would donate a unit a month from our sales to continue to spread this joy. Grandma Ophelia died shortly after receiving that unit, and all I could think of; is God why would give me hope if you knew you were going to take her?
It felt like when it rained it poured because the bullying for London got worst, I just remember feeling like God has allowed so much to happen in my life, is he even there? This became a very dark time for me, I started to feel like a failure. I felt as though I had this great business; I was now failing in my personal life. Depression is different for everyone but I believe this was something I had always dealt with from childhood after being molested, I believe it just began to grow.
As London got older school life became even more difficult for him but he always saw things through rose-colored glasses which protected him a lot. London didn’t have friends until about 6th grade, those two friends became a wealth of information because I got find out how bad things really were for London. Just recently things took a turn for the worst when London was attacked at school by one of his peers for just simply trying to fit in. I always told London his autism was a gift, God didn’t make mistakes and the rest of the world needed to catch up. Nothing hurt more than having my words thrown back at me by my son “I don’t want this gift mom, God did make a mistake” “I’m a mistake and people just want to hurt me, they will be better off without me”, he screamed with tears running down his face. I remember trying to fight back tears and telling him “you are one the most amazing people I know” and him cutting me off and saying you have to say that you’re my mom. How could the person who gave you life and has your laughter tattooed on their heart not matter more than then the cruel kids at school who don’t even know you?
I’m not going to lie this is the part I was drowning and had dark thoughts of suicide, I often cried in the dark alone and come out in the day smiling like it was all okay. I finally decided to share with my husband what I was dealing with, I felt like saying it out loud made me weak.
I started praying and talking to God again which was very hard for me to do. I was angry and hurt about everything he had allowed to come against me and my family. I started to realize that this wasn’t only about me, I had to speak my truth to help some other mom who spent her night crying on the bathroom floor or another mom with an autistic child who often questioned if they were going in the right direction for their child. We often suffer in silence when the healing comes from sharing and having a great support system around you.
I have been working for myself now for a while and God never ceases to amaze me in what he continues to do. Women are remarkable and together, we are unstoppable.
Follow Danielle and her company, ESPY Hair on Social Media: