The best part about working on this magazine is meeting the women willing to share their stories, because not all stories are easy to tell, and not all of them have happy endings. I read some and think, “I don’t know how she endured that” or “I wish I had the guts to do what she did.”
However, each story represents a woman living among us, and the struggles she faces easily could be our struggles. Seldom do we choose our challenges; we rise to them.
Take Michelle Fimon (p.28), for instance. She was already dealing with multiple life challenges when breast cancer brought her to a screeching halt in 2008. What she did with the next three years defined her as a woman. She made the most difficult physical choices of her life. And she used her illness artistically and for a greater good. “My life course has changed, but not a minute is ever wasted,” she said. “Being a survivor is a journey that has many dark moments as well as the gifts one discovers along the way. It’s the contrast between the two that makes all the gifts even more precious.”
Marlene Petersen (p.32) had a goal to be in better shape before her 40th birthday. Though her mother’s cancer was excuse enough to suspend her own goals, Marlene persisted with yoga for 30 days. The practice not only gave her control over her body, it calmed her mind. “I try to accept every day for what it is and to live for the moments we have now instead of worrying when they might end.”
Tiffany Hunsley (p.35) became addicted to methamphetamine, manufactured it, sold it and couldn’t break free from its grip even when she became pregnant. A program called Drug Court gave her the chance to turn it all around. After she decided she was worthy of a clean life, she completed her degree and is now helping other addicts. Tiffany begins and ends every day on her knees in prayer. “I’m helping others now and paying it forward.”
Any one of us could be diagnosed with cancer, or lose a parent to illness, or find ourselves in a situation that we despise, even though it came about through our own choices. What’s important is how we respond. We can curl up in our dark cocoon and surrender hope, or we can write poetry, practice yoga or commit to helping others who have walked our path.
Enjoy reading about a few women who made it through the darkest cocoons and are now