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Jill’s Story

The name caught my eye as I soared by, lost in my own chaotic world. How it pierced my apathy and disorder I will never know, though my gratitude exceeds my wonderment. “Women Empowered”. The words beckoned to me. I was at a critical stage, once again, where I had stopped at a crossroads of life, realizing I was up against my worst enemy, myself. Becoming a woman was a struggle I cowered before, not a challenge I welcomed. I wanted empowerment. I just didn’t know what it entailed. I didn’t know that it involved looking at the things in my life that scared me the most.

By the age of twenty six, I had a variety of ailments, professional dead-ends, and a hefty five figure debt I’d convinced myself I was not morally bound to pay. College and credit cards seemed like someone else’s burden. The education and band-aid repair offered through credit seemed my right of passage in an unjust world. Not only did I not owe the money, but also the world owed me something.

My cynicism had eroded my better judgment. My defenses were up, my arguments poised for delivery. The first few meetings were difficult. I was not pleased, nor trustful, of confessing the weaknesses of my past. I was not open to having my arguments questioned. However, after a few weeks of deliberation and debate, I decided to bring in every bill I’d shoved away, surprisingly careful never to throw out. I brought every concern about my past, present, and future. I laid the embarrassing, overwhelming mess before my facilitator, Kaye.

As my shame subsided, I was relieved to find a true advocate before me, someone who would willingly and freely help me untangle all of it. I wasn’t alone. The questions and defenses I had were legitimate. The mess wasn’t insurmountable, nor was it avoidable.

Within a few months, I had taken the binder provided by Women Empowered and I had filled it with every tangible piece of evidence I’d collected form living irresponsibly since I began living independently. I hole-punched the mess. I organized it by subject and date. Kaye helped me organize it into priorities.
I learned what stuff could not be ignored one day longer. I learned what I needed to do to survive. I learned to Stop Think Of Possibilities (STOP). I saw the possibilities becoming realities.

In just under a year I went from being a young adult holed up in her parent’s basement without any direction, a pile of debt, and a pit of anger, to being a young woman with a decent savings and checking account, a clean bill of health (after many, many doctors’ meetings), and a bright future. I weeded through the possibilities to see which would benefit me the most, without disrupting others.

Women Empowered is an incredible program in that it teaches women the tools they need to live. Unfortunately, budgeting and decision-making are not skills addressed in schools. Many schools and people depend on families to teach these skills or perhaps for kids to implicitly acquire these skills through observation. However, I am proof positive that a few sessions of honest, encouraging help, in a non-judgmental atmosphere, will benefit the most mixed up and overwhelmed of people to see the cold, hard facts of life as just that: cold, hard facts. The power is in the approach, in the individual’s ability to create and maneuver within a reality that fits her. It’s not a matter of riding the wave of fate; it’s a matter of creating your life.

I am forever grateful for the empowerment this has created in my life. I am certainly a better person for having gone through the sessions.