When I reflect on my life today, I am grateful for the dark experiences from my past. I wear each negative and gut-wrenching experience as a badge of survival and strength. Sharing those experiences, overcoming my fear and exposing my vulnerability provides me the knowledge, courage and vigor to live my best life. It provides me a freedom that liberated me from unsubstantiated feelings of unworthiness. I now know that there are no limits to what I am capable of accomplishing.
Part of my progression came from writing my book, “Protected by Purpose.” While touring the country. I have been fortunate to meet many dynamic individuals who are struggling to find their voice. There have been countless occasions where people have confided to me that they have a story to tell. But they are afraid to be vulnerable. They fear the judgement of others. Believe me, I can relate. I once dwelled in the shame of my past, fearful of being socially marginalized for the things I did and experienced early in my life.
By all accounts, the odds were stacked against me. I was born to parents who suffered from the disease of addiction. My dad spent time in prison and subsequently died from A.I.D.S. My mom and I survived domestic and physical abuse by her live-in boyfriend.
I dropped out of high school, had no self-value or moral grounding, sold drugs and attempted suicide, resulting in a brief stay in a psychiatric unit all before the age of 18.
Here’s the truth – I do not come from power or privilege in society. But I have come to realize that I am not less important than anyone else. I grabbed hold of my potential and found my own sense of power.
My definition of power is unapologetically being my authentic self at all times, flaws and all. I have come to a point in my life where I am unafraid to pursue my dreams and ambitions. My dreams are not self-serving nor necessarily tied to money, though I understand that wealth enables privilege. I am not naïve to that truth. But, my biggest desire is to make a positive impact on the lives of others.
One of my good sister friends, Dee C. Marshall, once said, “I love that Dorinda is the kind of leader who is unapologetic about using her platform and spotlight to bring awareness to things that many people are uneasy about like HIV/Aids and sex trafficking, drug abuse, addiction. Bless you for not being an average corporate executive unafraid to ‘touch’ real issues."
It’s simple. I do not allow my corporate title to confine me in a box. I am a dynamic and complex woman, passionate about raising awareness on issues directly related to social, gender, racial and economic inequity. I understand that these issues go beyond my scope of work within Corporate America. As a woman of faith, I am obedient to God’s word, that “to whom much is given, much is required.” I am certainly grateful for the opportunities my corporate career affords me, but I understand my life has much more meaning.
Sharing my story has enabled me to inspire individuals of all races, ethnicities and gender who are struggling to find their purpose and identity. Many have confided their secrets and feelings of shame and unworthiness. They tell me stories about what they’ve endured or are currently going through. I am able to respond by pointing out my own battles and how these experiences are simply moments in time. Once you get through the moment, it will be a valuable memory and a lesson learned from that experience.
The simple gift of sharing my struggles has inspired others to open their hearts to new possibilities. Of the people I have met along the way, I’ve seen the heartache behind their tears. Knowing that my story, and often a big hug, has helped them begin to face the pain they hold deep within has provided me an immeasurable sense of meaning and purpose.
I know that sharing my story is part of my purpose in life. I am an example of a young girl who battled many demons, survived and used those experiences to blossom into a phenomenally blessed woman living my best life, filled with joy and prosperity. My resiliency, faith and strength enables me to stand proud in owning my #BlackGirlMagic!
Peace and Blessings,