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Journey to Here (2013 VOF Week 2)

"Born that way"

Some people would describe me as naive. I’ve always been sincerely shocked when people aren’t “nice.” Needless cruelty can shock me into depression and hopelessness – sounds a little dramatic, doesn’t it? I think I was “born this way,” like some people are good with numbers or are musical. I think my mother helped my tendency towards empathy and compassion by not being so. First let me point out – I had a decent childhood, I wasn’t abused, I didn’t experience war, discrimination or the countless hardships that others have. But, as a naïve little girl growing up I did watch my mother occasionally “not” be nice. Once several of us were playing in an abandoned garage, kids that we didn’t know showed up and a little later my mother was there. I was too young to remember much of it – except when mother said, “Are you [insert ethic group]?” They replied, “No, we are [insert different ethic group]?”” Her response? “That’s even worse.” Their father came to our door that night. I don’t know what was said but when he left she turned to us and said “something” that made me feel like “I” was in trouble. Throughout the years occasionally something derogatory would be said or a vibe sent about someone, this wasn’t all the time or even often but it was often enough that I knew I’d be in trouble if I wandered too far from her personal world view. She also favored one of her children and did not try to hide this fact from the others. (Note to mothers - if you are reading this, favoring kids is cruel. If you favor in your heart, HIDE it.) When I got older mother had something to say about the girl in the neighborhood who got pregnant. I wondered why the girl was the problem, there was a boy involved wasn’t there? My parent’s marriage was rocky and as it got worse her ability to be “nice” declined. I fell in love. Even now I smile. Such a wonderful boy. Hugs. Kissing. Eventually sex. I experienced acceptance and love I didn’t know existed. Wow. After about a year we broke up. Heartbreak. Loneliness. I got involved with my next boyfriend out of despair. I got pregnant. Mother found out and called me on the phone screaming. I was out of the house in 15 minutes and didn’t go back for a year. I got married and eventually had two beautiful children. He became an alcoholic, loosing job after job after job. For a long time I denied what was happening from myself and from my birth family because I loved my kids and wanted very much for the marriage to work. And, why would I know what an alcoholic is? I’d never been around one. Eventually, it got so worse I knew I had to get my kids away from him and for them I managed to get the strength to divorce him. Since I had hidden from my birth family what was happening some of them were mad - at me. I had no job experience, got a very low paying job and struggled to support my family. Not once did anyone in my birth family ask how we were doing emotionally and/or financially. Soon I met and married my next husband. Looking back I know it was too soon because I was still traumatized by the first marriage. I loved this person but the marriage ended in divorce. I was so depressed I tried and almost succeed in committing suicide. Later I started college and after many years received my degree. This journey has taken the naïve I was born with and added empathy. I now strive for the commitment and stubbornness to reach out to others to create a better world.

Mom died last year. I miss her a lot.

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Helwa's picture

My condolences

Take heart and always believe that God is always here to support you. All will be well and pray

Thank you for your reply. I’m happy to know someone read what I wrote.

I almost didn’t post what I wrote because I felt guilty and like it wasn’t respectful towards my mother. I also did NOT want people to think I was feeling sorry for myself - but the assignment was to write about how we got to where we are now and I feel my mother had a huge influence on my life. I think it’s often human nature to remember with more force negative things, that’s too bad really. I am grateful that mother taught me compassion and empathy; it’s too bad she didn’t teach it in another way but ultimately I learned a good lesson and I’m happy about that.

Paulina Lawsin's picture

Thank you for trusting us

Thank you for trusting us with your story. Am sure you've heard about the book "Tough times never last, but , tough people,do". Our experience of a a tough life is temporary. We have the power to change our situation. That's what you did when you decided to get out of an unhealthy relationship and got an education. Your display of toughness and resilience is admirable.

I like it when you said " I now strive for the commitment and stubbornness to reach out to others to create a better world.".

May you have an enjoyable journey while helping create a better world.

Cheers.

PeopleWeaver's picture

Encouragement

Paulina,

Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate it. We all find inspiration in different places.

Jeanne
www.peopleweaver.org

Lortoria's picture

Courageous

Hi Jeanne,

It takes a lot of courage to be that honesty to so many people. I'm glad you found the strength to rebuild your life, and share your experience with other women who may be in the similar situations. Your honesty, no doubt, will be inspiring.

All the best in your future

Lortoria McDonald

lortoria@gmail.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/illumaink
New website coming soon!

Beverly Rose's picture

life's journey

Dear Jeanne,

Thank you for sharing the story of how you got where you are now. I did not get the feeling that you were feeling sorry for yourself - you were describing the journey of your life until now. I wonder how you got involved with World Pulse and how you might utilize it on your current life journey?

I look forward to hearing more from you.

In peace,
Beverly

PeopleWeaver's picture

Life Journey

Yes, that is how I hoped people would take what I wrote – just a realistic assessment of how I got to “now” in my life. I am happy to feel compassion and am glad of the lessons I’ve had to encourage my worldview.

To be honest I can’t remember how I learned of World Pulse, probably via the Internet. I’m always looking for good women focused websites, books, articles, etc.

I’m not sure if you’ve read what I wrote in VOF assignment 3 about the ladies I partner with but I hope to use World Pulse to strengthen the work I do with them. I hope to network, get ideas, and learn new ways of doing things, etc. by being involved with World Pulse. I would love to strengthen our programs and help give the ladies at the refugee camp a leadership voice. They are wonderful. Ideally, our projects could expand to other areas – but I’m getting a head of myself.

Thanks for your interest.

Jeanne

Mila's picture

Thank you!

Hi Jeanne,

Thank you so much for sharing your deeply personal story with us on WorldPulse. I really admire your perseverance to overcome your personal hardships to protect your children, continue your education and even working to create a better world. It would have been great to also read about how you found WorldPulse, why you decided to join and how it aligns with your future vision. Also, please keep the word limit in mind when writing--you were 144 words over! Out of curiosity, what are your current endeavors?

All the best to you on your journey,
Mila

PeopleWeaver's picture

Current work

Mila,

For the last several years I've worked with Congolese women refugees living in a refugee camp in Uganda. This is our own small partnership. We work to improve their economic situation, support each other and do community work. We started with small individual microcredit loans. The women have made remarkable progress.

To be honest I don’t remember how I found World Pulse. I spend a lot of time on the Internet reading about women issues and I assume I stumbled across it that way. I joined to partner, learn, and share. I’m always looking for new ideas and better ways of doing things. I also want to bring a voice to the ladies I work with.

Thanks for pointing out I went over the assignment word limit. I hadn’t realized that and will watch it better.

Jeanne

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