This blogpost has been a very long time in the making. It’s not that I’ve been developing the site a long time, or that I even have written much on it yet. What I’m trying to say is much life has happened and a shift in my mindset to birth this work.
I’ve been on a journey. A very long painful journey; finding my way after the death of my firstborn, Sargent Michael Brandon Harrell. Brandon as he is known to everyone. I’ll share his story later, but he went to be with the Lord on January 17, 2017.
My husband and I realized before Brandon died we needed to follow a more minimal lifestyle. We had read Marie Kondo’s book about the KonMari method of only keeping things that give you joy. This was in the fall of 2016. My life was too fast paced and I was thinking about what I could do to bring more peace and happiness into my life.
We had decluttered most of our kitchen and bedroom. I had found another word called “hygge”. (creating an environment of coziness in everything you do, a Danish word). I was focusing on creating a healing environment in our home. A sanctuary of sorts.
Fast forward to 2019, two years after experiencing the most traumatic thing a mother can experience, I found myself looking back on 2 years of being paralyzed in most all areas of my life. I had no idea how to get moving again. Mike and I had stopped minimizing, and our home looks cluttered again.
I had done NOTHING in my business for 2 years. I had not written much. I had done nothing with my essential oils business. My life consisted of going to work, and coming home to veg in my recliner. I really didn’t know how to move forward in my life. (I felt defeated by that since I was a wellness coach, and was guilting myself for staying stuck in my paralysis and grief.
I had become very angry with God, and my faith had tanked. My house was cluttered. My weight increased to be the most I had ever weighed. I was basically dying emotionally and didn’t care. Actually, I did care a little, and it was having that LITTLE measure of hope which was saving me when one day I received a letter that turned my life back around.
Early in January, 2019 I came home from work and had received a letter from a dear Facebook friend, Jessica Montgomery. She had enclosed a little bag of tea, and instructed me to get comfortable, and when I had time to really read her letter, to make the tea, and get cozy and comfy while I read.
Jessica began to share her life story with me, (she is married to a veteran), and how her life had dramatically changed a few years ago after being introduced to One To One Women Coaching Women. She sensed I may be ready to explore what I wanted my life to look like now. This organization has a component related to caregivers of veterans with traumatic issues. Brandon was no longer living, but I had been a caregiver to him and she felt I might benefit.
I applied for the program and was accepted! This felt so right for me, and I knew I was ready to do the self-work needed. After speaking to a few coaches, and filling out all the paperwork and questionnaires, I was matched with Laurie who is an absolutely awesome coach!
What I was looking for in a coach was someone who believed in a more natural lifestyle and someone who could help me get my business back on track. What I realized in the first coaching session was I needed to get my LIFE on track. ME… Not my business. Not yet, anyway. There was one question Laurie asked me and it has been life changing.
Laurie basically asked me to tell her when the last time I remembered experiencing real joy and happiness in my life. I immediately said before I married. To clarify: I have been basically happy in my marriage, (I mean, everyone works at marriage) and I had three of the best children anyone could have asked for. The reason for this answer was when I married, I officially stepped into a role of ministers wife and I found myself trying to fit into some mold to be accepted. I never felt I measured up to the “role”.
After our first session, it occurred to me that my joy and true happiness had ended long before getting married. I could trace my slow emotional demise back to age 12 when my family moved to a new home. I won’t get into the circumstances about all that in this post, but I began to be bullied when I entered 7th grade and this is something I had never experienced before…EVER. Bullying of some sort followed me all the way through middle school and high school. I experienced this at school and at church.
By the next week’s coaching session I had revisited my childhood mentally and made another discovery. This discovery has been KEY to unlocking years of self hate, low self esteem, and feelings of unworthiness and not being good enough. I decided it was time to address this and no longer allow it to be “my story”.
By the way, coaching is about moving FORWARD not psychoanalyzing the past. If you need deep psychoanalysis, you need a psychologist or psychotherapist, not a coach if you cannot work through this.
My exciting discovery is at some point between adolescence and adulthood I allowed my name to be shortened. My full name before marriage was Mary Joycelynn Damron. Everyone I grew up with knows me as Joycelynn. My mother and some friends still call me this. As long as I can remember in my early adulthood, I dropped the lynn, and was called Joyce by everyone. I was Joyce in college. This wasn’t a conscious decision that I remember. It happened though. From that time forward until recently, I invited others to have a voice in how I lived my life. At some time in my early adulthood, I lost MY voice…I lost My joy… I lost Joycelynn… And I’ve found her again. I’m not letting go of her…ever again.
There was something very freeing about inviting “Joycelynn” back into my life…
This website is about finding my way back to me. I lost my way long before I lost my son. I settled and said yes when I meant no. I said no when I wanted to say yes… In so many areas of my life. I became someone who wanted to make sure my life measured up to others…To those who didn’t have a vote in my life, but somehow I gave them permission to have a vote.
I know by finding my voice and sharing it, this message will resonate with others of you who have lost your voice at some point in your life. I’m giving you permission to find it and take it back.
When my son died, I thought I did too. I didn’t realize I was already dying slowly. Going through this intense loss in my life has made me realize life is too short to try and please people. It’s too short to live a life that isn’t authentic. I have one life to live and I’ve decided to live as authentically as I can. To let my yes be yes, and my no be no. I’ve taken my joy back.
I’m Authentically Joycelynn…