Meet Annie –
In her own words…
“She believed she could so she did” is a mantra that really has become the theme to my life.
My teenage years were nothing short of a tornado. A low self-esteem, attention seeking, mean girl defined much of who I was and was a catalyst for many of the choices that I made. I felt that titles mattered; “popular”, “pretty”, “athlete”, “flirt”, “adored”. I spent so much time trying to mold myself to fit those titles that they were who I became, when in reality I had no clue as to who I really was. I tell this because it lays the foundation for my unpredictable journey.
Being a young woman with no handle on who I actually was, made me extremely vulnerable. I strived for attention but many times received it in all the wrong ways. My lack of identity lead me to embrace a relationship that would affect my life forever. Describing that relationship now, I would say, it was abusive. I was constantly being controlled and manipulated. I was made to feel like I was nothing, that I had no real value to contribute to this life. This person defined who I was and I believed it.
I became pregnant at the age of 21. My son Zach was born on October 3rd, 2005. Little did he know, he would save my life. Becoming a mother brought on a love that I had never imagined existed. I wanted to be the best me I could to be in order to provide him with the best life. Everything changed. “She believed she could so she did” is what would describe my future.
Since then my life has been about empowerment, self-love, and using my voice for good. I am inspired by the opportunities I have had to work with teenage girls and share my story. Becoming a teacher became my platform when I was assigned to teach “at risk” youth. I was blessed every day to walk into a classroom and feel like maybe I could make a difference. It wasn’t ever about the subject I taught but the relationships I built. I saw myself in a lot of these kids and realized maybe through my story and my voice I could make a difference.
Today I am a high school counselor. Every day I have the opportunity to listen, to help, to encourage, to share, and to inspire. While titles for many don’t really define who they actually are, my journey of titles is my story. You know the saying, “You can’t really know someone until you have walked a mile in their shoes”? It’s something I preach daily, because it’s easy to assume we know someone’s past and who they are but really we have no idea. If you walked in my shoes today, you would see a woman, who has overcome, who has decided to define her own life, and who has chosen to use her voice to empower others to become who they want to be, not what they think they should be.”
Participants in this project will be supporting the efforts of Dress for Success Worldwide – Central. We are all stronger together and it is my sincere hope that we will be inspired by each other’s stories. Now is the time to celebrate as well as encourage one another. Tell your story!***