When I first came across the Holstee Manifesto, I fell in love with its message and shared it immediately on Facebook and Tumblr. It was so refreshing to come across something that reflected what truly matters in life, something that encourages you to be who you are, to wake up to your life, and to be bold enough to follow your dreams. We all have the power to choose how we will use our time while we’re here, and the Holstee Manifesto simply reminds us of this truth. I believe that each of us are responsible for creating a life of value, meaning and purpose, and I also believe that we all have the power to transform our lives for the better, no matter what we have faced or are currently facing. My life is a testament to this. I grew up in a family that included alcoholism, drug addiction, sexual abuse, mental health issues and more. I was hospitalized for depression at 17. I had an unplanned pregnancy at 18. My mother died of brain cancer when she was only 56, and I have been living under the poverty line for almost 2 decades. Each of these events have shaped who I am today. For the better. I wouldn’t change a thing. My daughter’s arrival in 1995 completely altered the trajectory of my life. It inspired me to look within and make the difficult but necessary changes to ensure that she would not go through what I did growing up. After witnessing and experiencing so much dysfunction as a child, I was ready to begin my journey towards wholeness and alignment, if only for my daughter’s sake. So while my peers went to parties and did what most teenagers do, I left my family, raised a child on my own, and sought to transmute my pain from the past into something beautiful that would one day inspire others to do the same. Despite not feeling ready to be a mother, I turned out to be a great one. Paige is now 17 and I have more than succeeded in my goal of raising a child who feels loved, secure, safe and supported. Paige is all I could never be growing up. I am both proud and envious of this. She is my daily reminder of why I sacrificed so much, and she has been one of my greatest teachers along the way, wise soul that she is.  In 2009, I was fortunate enough to heal the difficult relationship I had with my own mother just days before she died. I spent her final week by her side, sleeping on the hospital floor and caring for the woman whose presence in my life had infused much anger, frustration and hurt over the years. One of the last things she did was apologize to me for not protecting me as a child. She also commended me for breaking the cycle. It was a full circle moment for me that validated all the work I had done. Breaking the generational cycle of dysfunction and thereby raising a healthy, balanced child with self-worth, is by far one of the greatest achievements of my life. Because of everything I have endured and overcome, I decided long ago to devote my life to inspiring others to look within and transform whatever it is that has been holding them back from living an authentic, passionate and meaningful life. I empower others to empower themselves through all the work that I do, and this is the reason I wake up and fall asleep with a smile each day. As the Holstee Manifesto states: “Live your dream and share your passion.” I couldn’t agree more. I do this every day and I’ve never been happier. I am the richest woman in the world. With immense love and gratitude for all things good.

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