Greetings, my name is Teresa. I would like to share a little bit about myself and how the Women’s Center was there for me when I needed a soft place to land. First, a little bit about me and how I came to this place in my life. I am fast approaching 50 years on this planet. I am a mother of two grown children and at this writing I am now a grand mother. I left an OK, although emotionally, spiritually, and physically draining marriage of 27 years. That included the house, most of my belongings, my grown children, and a marital income almost in the $100 thousands. I left because despite years of therapy and failed efforts to include my ex in the healing process, I was dying inside. Fear kept me in an unhealthy relationship for decades. I took those fears and measured them against a bigger fear, that this was how my life was going to be until death. I chose to fight for me.
I moved back to Lansing with no friends and no social network, except for my mother and siblings. I had no job and only the money in my check book. Luckily, I could live with my mom. I applied for every job I could think of using the classifieds and Michigan Works. I continuously fought feelings of desperation, hopelessness, and loneliness. I was overwhelmed. I needed support, something or someone to lend a listening ear and time to gather my wits about me. I am not sure how I found the Women’s Center, but I called and explained my situation. They gave me a list of services they offered including Job Seekers, private counseling, and support groups…It definitely sounded like what I needed. I received help updating my resume through one on one time and in the job seekers group. Other members and staff gave insight into resources I had not thought of or were hesitant to try. Finally, with a good resume in hand and contacts at Sparrow I am now gainfully employed and buying my first house. Weekend workshops, geared to aid body, mind, and spirit allowed me a chance to feel good about myself and take care of me. Additionally, the speakers that were brought in helped with self-esteem.
Beyond the financial concerns I came in with, the center offered access to a supportive therapist at a price I could afford. These private sessions were immeasurable in my journey back to wellness and empowerment. The Not So Happy Endings support group gave me a safe place to vent, heal, hear other’s stories and gain wisdom from their experiences. We supported each other when times got rough or a new hurdle presented itself. It became for me a social bond that helped fill the void of loneliness. It is so important to know and feel that you are not alone. That it is not just you out there alone in the chaos of life.
In closing, the Women’s Center offered me a place where I did not have to explain or defend how I got myself into such a difficult place. They focused on what I wanted, what I felt I needed in a way that helped to empower me. I did not feel judged or helpless. I truly knew that they are there for their clients not just as a business income. Payment for services rendered was never mentioned. Thank you to everyone who touched my life. Blessings.
Originally posted Summer 2008.