It has been almost one year since I left a stable, high paying job working for the Federal Government, took the savings I had, and started Forget Me Not Advocacy Group. For almost six months prior to this event, I worked hard to get the paperwork in order, obtain our 501(c)3 status, establish a Board, and test the waters. Things seemed great. I received tons of positive feedback about how important and much-needed our work was, and even held a fairly successful first fundraiser. I was encouraged and excited about starting down this new path to educating our young people and community on domestic violence. We were going to create change and that was all I needed to know.
On a personal note, I was breaking free from the chains of “corporate America” by focusing on something that meant something to me personally. I’m a hard worker, but I’m also a free spirit, and as a survivor of sixteen years of abuse at the hands of my husband, I’m not a big fan of control. Let’s just say my job was not a place where controlling people could be avoided. All in all, I was not happy across the board and knew that I could be doing something better with my life. I had more to give and I wanted to be the person I was born to be, not the one who was dependent on a job for a paycheck.
For the past year, I have worked to build my personal name (as an author and speaker) and Forget Me Not Advocacy Group’s name (as a nonprofit in place to stop domestic violence before it starts). I’ve put in more work and hours than I ever put into any job. I’ve worked late into the night, on weekends, and even on holidays. But it never seemed like work because it was on my terms and doing something that I loved and believed in. We have made great strides for sure.
Forget Me Not Advocacy Group is now a somewhat recognized name in South Florida. We have made connections with multiple non-profit groups and social service organizations. Our peer group has grown and we have reached thousands of people with a message of hope. Progress is being made.
On the personal front, I finished my memoir and put it out there for the world to read, and hopefully learn from. I’ve had the opportunity to share my story with a number of organizations and individuals and to educated many on domestic violence and teen dating violence. We are successfully creating a podcast series to raise awareness on taboo topics with the hope of reaching even more on this new platform.
Things are happening. But in all of it, there has been an aspect that I try not to talk about. There is an undercurrent that scares me in ways I never expected to be scared. I fear losing ground, I fear losing momentum and the chance to reach other people, and I fear losing the energy needed to maintain what I’ve set out to do.
As I write to you, I’m facing a number of decisions, none of which encourage or enlighten me. Trying to find a balance between what is and what I wish to be is not something I’m good at. But I’m doing my best at staying positive and making my way through this maze, reminding myself that my path is mine and mine alone and that, sometimes, the road gets bumpy. I share this with you because that is the whole purpose of this blog, to share as I grow and hopefully reach others along the way. None of us are perfect in our journey, even when we think we have a grasp on things. This is a lesson I keep getting taught along the way.
Today, I shared some lessons I’ve learned in the past year on my personal FB page. Some of these are things others tried to impress on me earlier, but I failed to acknowledge (“I can overcome” was my mantra), and others are important lessons that were specific to me. Some I’ve heard from others in the nonprofit world, or entrepreneurs, who have experienced the same struggles. I thought by sharing them on this platform, I could expand on how these lessons came to be. So, here they are:
– Most importantly, I’m blessed to have my boyfriend by my side because he has stood next to me in this journey and never once told me what I needed to do. He listens, tolerates, hugs, and loves me no matter what kind of mood I’m in. He never judges me. He allows me to be unapologetically me.
– You need to have money to make money (a saying I hate but proves to be true)
– You cannot follow your dreams and be rational at the same time. You literally have to step away from rational thinking and do what it takes to make your dreams come true.
– You are on your own – people do not understand your need to be free and follow your dreams and few will support them (even on the most basic level). I’m thankful for those who have.
– If you live outside the box you are fighting an uphill battle. Society is set in its ways and you’re expected to play along.
– No matter how many times you fail at making a dream sustainable, it does not change the dream.
– I still don’t like being told “I told you so” and will continue to fight for the life I want and deserve, rational or not, supported or not.
– People will ignore you when you make them uncomfortable. And this empowers me to speak out even more.
– I still harbor many bitter feelings and broken thoughts, which often make me feel hypocritical, but I’m learning and growing because I’ve chosen to be me and nothing can take that away.
– No matter what, I will continue on this journey to freedom. For me, that means doing what I love without being controlled by another (partner, boss, money, etc.).
– Knowing that you touched the life of another, reached a broken soul, stopped an abuse from taking place, or were the voice for someone who has not yet found their voice is the most wonderful feeling in the world. ♥
Perhaps you find these lessons helpful, and perhaps you do not, but they are mine nonetheless. Hopefully, in sharing, they can inspire others to strive for their goals without feeling let down or alone. Maybe they will inspire some to make a change in how they support those around them.
Thank you to all of those who continue standing by my side as I take this journey. I know I still face many ups and downs. Here is hoping that there are more ups! ❤
For more information on Forget Me Not Radio, you can visit www.amydaumit.com/podcast.