DOZ Issue 37 November 2018 - Page 28

to believe in ourselves, and I think that’s so important because when you start to believe in yourself you carry yourself differently and you have the confidence in yourself unlike when just your friends and your family can believe in you. And so I think people need to start with that anytime they’re faced with that adversity because we can rely on other people to believe in us but if we don’t believe in ourselves, we will never get to where we want to go. That is so true. Thank you for sharing that. Leia, you have a very inspiring story that needs to be told and that a lot of women need to hear. So, in what ways are you using your story, your journey, to help other women? Well, I have kind of already been a mentor (she laughs) to many of my friends who have experienced divorce since I’ve been divorced. A good friend of mine, she kind of went through this probably like a year after me, and I kind of joke with her that I am her therapist (more laughter) because I’ve been through every step she went through. I’ve been through all those different phases, you know, the shame, the emotional stage, and then trying to dig yourself out of that emotional stage to move on. And so I’ve been through all those steps, and so I know exactly what she’s going through. And I have helped a lot of my friends already which is nice, but since my commencement speech was aired on Goal Cast, I am also now answering all these messages on social media from random strangers (she laughs) which is actually pretty interesting, and I actually love it. People are inspired by my story, and I appreciate that, but they’re also wanting just to hear, okay so how did you handle this? What DOZ Magazine | November 2018 would you say about that? And I am more than willing to share my story because I feel like I have a reason to be here and I have a work to do, and I believe that I am here to help people and if my story can help just one person I would forever be grateful. I remember after my commencement speech, I walked down from the stage that day, a lady, who was sitting my row she also had graduated, was crying and she grabbed my hand and she said, I wasn’t going to come today because I’m going through a divorce and I didn’t have someone to take care of my son. And she was like, I’m so glad I came today because I heard your story. She was like, I’m never going to give up. She was like this You know when they say you hit your rock bottom I never had been there is exactly what I needed to hear, and so that moment for me I was so happy because I was like that’s all that I want to do, I just want to help one person and now to know that millions of people are seeing this speech, you know a lot of people are feeling inspired by my story it’s truly a blessing and I feel like probably another reason why I had to go through that valley is to get to where I am now and to help other people. Yes. Yes. Definitely to help other people. What do you find most fulfilling about your life today? I think that I’m pretty proud of the fact that I am a single mother 28 who owns her own home who can pay my own bills who can do everything I want on my own. I’ve always had a relationship in the past and even before I was married I was in another relationship, and I’ve always had these long-term relationships and to actually know that I can do this on my own, that I can be a single mother and that I can be accomplished I can be a role model for women is really fulfilling for me considering everything that I’ve been through in the past. I know that I can get through anything. I know that no matter what obstacles are thrown my way that I’ve been at the lowest of the lows, and I’ve rebounded, and so I know that nothing can stop me from achieving my goals and with that kind of mindset, positive mindset and always giving a hundred percent and never giving up. So what makes me feel great is that I can do it, and I know that I can do it because I’ve already done it. Yes. You have done it! Awesome! Thank you so much. Leia, I find that a lot of women are not able to recover from a divorce, but you have recovered. Now, for those women who are not able to recover and at best become a shadow of their former selves, what are they missing? What is it that you have that they don’t have? I think I touched on this a little bit, but I think the key has to be believing in yourself. You know, no matter what obstacles are thrown at us, we will never progress, we will never get out of that, we will never overcome those until we can believe in ourselves and know that we can do that. I know that my faith, my faith is as strong as it’s ever been and that’s because I hit that darkness and often times