I was privileged, this past Friday, to attend the Sunny95’s tribute to 20 outstanding women in the Columbus, Ohio area. I went to this great tribute to support a good friend — Michelle Wells. I won’t get a lot into her story, she can do that just fine for herself. Check out https://tinyurl.com/h65x2af or http://www.lovemelikeaprincess.org if you’d like to learn her story, for yourself.
No, I’d much rather tell you a bit about what brought us together. You see, I’m a massage therapist — bet you didn’t know that, didja?? — and I have an idea. A plan, really, to build on this idea to make something a reality. It’s something that’s going to take me a bit of time to build up, because I have to build my professional skills and knowledge a bit before I can embark on this plan. This plan is centered around working with battered women; using massage as a gateway, if you will, into their learning to own their own bodies, their very selves.
As I said, it’s going to take a while to really flesh itself out. Anyway. During school, I had the great joy of meeting Emily, who is the HR person for Kenneth’s Salon. I was so excited, I just knew I was going to go to work for Kenneth’s! I gushed about my idea to Emily, and she was as excited for this goal as I was … and then I flubbed the interview. Long story short, I work for Massage Envy, as I’m building my personal business.
However, Michelle also knew Emily. As she was talking with Emily one day, Emily said “You know, I know someone else who wants to work with battered women,” and she told Michelle she should look me up. This, actually, was the first way I learned to respect the natural force that is named Michelle … because I’m terribly difficult to find online. If you don’t have any idea who I am, or whom I’m married to or friends with, you just can’t find me on Facebook. Because I’m working on becoming more professionally viable, that’s changing a bit and people can start looking up my website, my FB site for my business, so on and so forth. But at the time Michelle began seeking me out, there was next to no way to find me. She ended up finding an obscure link to my activity with Extra-Life.org, and contacted someone there and asked them to send me a message.
When they got in touch with me, the first thing I thought was “Wow, good for her, she found me!” Not only that — she didn’t take “No” for an answer. She kept digging. Seeking. Looking. Talk about tenacity!
Then I met Michelle. We began talking, and discovered that we have a shared history, in the lives we’ve lived. We know each other because we can recognize where each of us has come from. And one of the first things I learned about Michelle was that she was going back to the gym. That had, during very harsh and difficult times, been her respite, her escape, and she was going back so that she could reclaim that part of you. “So,” I thought to myself, “she also knows the importance of self-care. Very good, that means a lot.”
Over time, Michelle and I have grown a friendship that is based on a mutual recognition of each other, and a mutual respect. When I can, I offer her massage; when she can, she offers me networking. When we can, we hang out and just talk with each other, reaffirm each other’s goals and directions, help each other iron out some ideas.
I have learned that Michelle is as stubborn as I am; however, she also knows, as I do, when it’s time to set the stubbornness by the side and let the other person “win.” She ain’t the most technologically savvy person around, but she knows how to collect people who are, who can do what she can’t. She’s not afraid of not knowing what to do, how to do it; she’s learned how to delegate and rely on others to do their jobs. That’s an amazing ability, not sure if most people realize just how difficult that is to do.
Michelle has also shown me, however, that she’s enormously compassionate. She is a warm-hearted, but reserved, woman who will pour herself out to help others. I’d like to see her spend more time on self-care, but I do know that she’s doing what she can, and she’s still going to the gym regularly. Oh, did I mention I also learned that Michelle is a bodybuilder? No wonder the gym does so much for her! For that, I also applaud her. It takes much dedication and willpower to be a professional bodybuilder; she’s done it before and, who cares if she’s 50ish — she’ll do it again!
When she has a place for me to come, I will go there and work, as a volunteer, with battered women who are going through workshops with Michelle to gain entry into their new lives. I will do this because I believe in the dream that Michelle has; I share this dream, actually. The dream is that one day, we will be able to give battered women the strength to break the cycle of abuse that they live with. It’s a dream that has to start small, locally, but has the potential to spread like wildfire. It is our hope that it will spread, and we will work with each other, supporting each other, building each other up, as well as those around us and with us, to make this dream one day become a solid reality.
One day, through the efforts of people like Michelle, battered women will find their voices, and will roar with a determination to stop the abuse. I am honored to have been able to share your night with you, Michelle; I am honored you sought me out so that we could find ways in which we can work together. I am in awe of your “Watch Me” attitude, and also inspired by it. I will enjoy sitting back and watching the world learn your mettle, woman.
Thank you for reaching out, and thank you for your friendship. People like you give people like me the fortitude to keep on goin’.