Why did you write this book, Hurt Used To Live Here?
Using the words I recorded in journals and notebooks I kept as a young girl, I now bare my soul within these pages by sharing my truth. I share my personal struggles with the world to help others and give them the support and love I never felt as a young girl. I don’t want anyone to ever feel, what I felt growing up, but in my years of healing I realize that I am certainly not the only one. It was a lot of hurt and pain but there are ways to get through it, to do more than just survive. Reclaim your worth, your dignity, your self. He will see you through it, and He will put people in your path that will help along the way.
I am sharing my story with you, so others, who have judged me without knowing the silent pain that I carried, will finally understand. “Never judge a book by its cover, first open it and read it.” As the Bible says, I am making it plain, and writing it on tablets–making my life that open book; a book that includes a vision of hope, faith and victory that many desire, but few have claimed.
At the end of my story, you will have cried, laughed, had chills or even gotten upset, feel hurt or feel loved. But at the very end of it all I want you to take my words, then write your own story, or rewrite your story with a new path of healing, love, and faith. Then you too can share with the world and change someone’s life. It starts with a thought or the spoken word and ends with change. In the beginning was the word. And the two most powerful words on the planet are: I am. Anything behind that should be positive. I will say that I am single mom of two wonderful boys, I am a business owner, I am a writer, I am a college graduate, I am a friend, I am a woman, I am stubborn, I am real, I am a best friend, I am loving, I am worthy, I am forgiving, I am a fighter, I am beautiful, “I AM” wonderful, I am God’s child.
What’s the story behind the title?
Hurt Used To Live Here is just that. I used to be a bitter, anger and hateful person. I hated waking up in the morning not knowing what my day would be like. What would happen next? I want you to know me for me and not the lies that have been told about me and understand that Hurt Used To Live Here and that Hurt doesn’t not live here anymore.
What do you hope readers will glean from reading your book?
I hope readers will get to know who I am verses who I was and know that everyone has a story. We all have a past but that doesn’t mean we are still living in that past. I want to be the voice for the ones that are still ashamed today and afraid to speak their truth and understand that what happened to them was not their fault. They are not alone I am UR voice!!
How long did it take you to write this book?
It took me 10 years to get the courage to put my life in a book because of fear of judgment, the fear of letting people in my life, the fear of losing people that was close to me. After finding my purpose, I realized that my life is bigger than you and me and my purpose is now.
What was your regimen to complete this book?
My duty, as a survivor of sexual assault, domestic violence and mental abuse, is to be the voice for others who have been impacted by different forms of abuse. My calling in life is to share my story and be an encouraging voice for others to not be ashamed and embarrassed of what someone did to us. I am no longer ashamed to say that I am a survivor of being molested, raped and fondled six times in my life, being raped by my father at a tender age, having both of my children out of rape, being homeless, losing my family in one year, being in a domestic violence relationship and thinking that a black eye was love. After trying to commit suicide three times is when I found my calling and my purpose in life. My life is bigger than me and I want to continue my journey and with your support will help me get closer to my goal in being the voice for others.
How did you arrive at this career choice? Was it a deliberate decision or a gradual and natural evolution?
I took 45 pills and laid in a closet hoping that God would finally take me this time because the first two times didn’t work. I wanted to end my life and be with my brother again. As I laid there I realized that I wasn’t near death and I was wide awake and I couldn’t fall asleep. I took it to the next level and grabbed my children and we got in the car and I explained to them that we were finally going to go home and be happy again with our family. No more eating bread for dinner, or eating can goods for breakfast. As I drove to find a cliff to drive off of, I realized this is real and it’s time to be happy again. As I got over, my body was no longer driving that car and something took over me and my body and all I can remember was pulling up to a church and a lady taking me out of a car and grabbing my children. A family took us in and that’s when I found my purpose and knew that it’s time to share my testimony to help others.
What separates you from others in your field? What is unique to the experience that you create?
I walk with my head high and with grace and know that my past does not determine my future and I will take every struggle that I endure in the past 20 years and use it to help others and not be ashamed of my story.
My ability to love for the first time in my life and give without expecting anything in return. I didn’t choose my life; my life was chosen by him who wakes me up every day. What I went through in life not a lot of people would have made it out. I stand before you a healthy, smart and willing and able woman that will give her all to help anyone. My purpose is not to be rich and famous. My only purpose on this earth is to help motivate and inspires others to not be ashamed of their past.
For those considering entering this arena, what skill sets do you recommend mastering? What traits are most conducive to success?
When you find your purpose, never give up and follow your dreams. No matter how hard it is, never give up on what was destine for you. You have to understand that not everyone will understand your passion and hearing NO should make you stronger not weaker.
How do you stay at the leading edge of your craft?
By believing that my life has a purpose and it feels great to hear that I have inspired someone else to speak up and speak out. #iamurvoice
Do you think that there are any widely held misconceptions about what you do? If so, what are they and how do you work to dispel them?
Yes, I was always told that what’s done in this house stays in this house. Not everyone should know your business. What happens to you isn’t the end of the world and you will be fine. As I grew up, I always had to play it cool and have no emotions and feel no pain. I realized that my life is bigger than you and me and there is no way I can continue to walk around with a smile on my face and feel empty on the inside. I have to take a stand and be the voice for others.
How do you map out your goals? How do you measure your success?
I create a vision board and write things down in my journal or mirror that I can visually see daily. The hardest part was living it so anything after that should be easy. I push for things that I know are reachable. I know that before I open a facility that will house women and children and get them on the path of healing, I know that I have to build a foundation and a team that will help me succeed and reach my goals. I know before I try to change the law on how they think putting a time frame on statue of limitations on sexual assault is helping, it’s not. Some people live with this hurt and pain for so long they buried it or think it’s OK, when it’s not. You did the crime and you should be accountable for your actions and a time shouldn’t determine when someone should speak up.
Who do you consider to be your peers in your field? Who do you see/use as examples for you to emulate?
I consider my peers people that can relate to me and people that want to help others. That can be young men and women. Not everyone has to have a story like mines but you must have the same passion as mines to understand my drive and goals.
Name two of your top role models: one from your industry and one from outside of it.
Oprah Winfrey is a one of my role models because she has also comes from the struggle and made her way to the top and never once quite despite her past.
I consider my manger Kathy Taylor my role model because she has taught me things about myself and taught me that giving up is not an option. She believed in me since day one and stuck by me even when I wanted to give up on certain things in my life. She has taught me that I have a gift not a lot of people have and with that you can change lives. She is a great manger, person, mother wife, friend and supporter and for that I will always love her.
Name three books, works, performances or exhibits that changed how you view life and/or yourself.
Let it Go: Forgive So You Can Be Forgiven by T.D. Jakes. Reading this book allowed me to forgive the people that did harm to me and if you can’t forgive them then he can’t forgive you. I wrote my mother and my father a letter forgiven them for what they did to me. I will never forget what my father did to me but I do forgive him for being a sick man. My mother and I are on a path of healing and loving each other.
Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. She taught me that all negative thoughts are attacks on the mind. Never let someone’s actions control you or your actions.
For Colored Girls film by Tyler Perry and Woman Thou Art Loosed by T.D. Jakes: I know you said three but these two movies took me to a place where I once was from the beginning to the end. After a while in life you begin to feel numb to life itself, you begin to think that everyone is out to get you and do harm to you. I used to give my body away before they asked for it because I felt like I was in control. I used to feel like I was a waste of space on this earth and God was punishing me for being born. I never prayed for a fairy tale wedding or a big house. My prayers were:
“Dear God if you really do exist, please take me from the place called HELL and let me die in my sleep. If you can’t do that then let me get killed today and that way, I won’t continue to be punished”.
Everyone has a story but not everyone has the courage to speak out about it. I am UR voice and I will continue to speak out about my past until the world knows who Joyce Reed is.
Why do you consider continued learning important?
Everyday laws change, everyday things happen and every day is different from yesterday. I want to stay informed about and knowledgeable about what’s going on in this world and reading is what I love to do. I never want to stop learning. How can I teach someone if I don’t know it myself?
What affirmations do you repeat to yourself that contribute to your success?
My journey has taught me that although at times I am not feeling my
most confident, my voice matters. I see other men and women who are dynamic or who are recovering from traumas and have forgotten that their voice matters. We have to remind ourselves every single day that our voice matters.
• My voice matters
• I am strong enough
• Your voice matters
• You are strong enough
Deuteronomy 31:6 – Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
What role does technology play in your day-to-day life? How do you utilize it?
Social media is the new thing these days and that’s where everyone goes to get news, tips and ideas. I utilize that by reaching out to my audience and updating my supporters with news on my next event or charity works I am involved in at www.hurt2heal.org and www.iamurvoice.com
What software, app or other technological innovation has made the biggest difference in your life and/or career?
I would say Microsoft Word because without it I wouldn’t be able to write my book and began to work on my second booked titled “Speechless No More” It’s time we tell our story. Coming this summer 2016.
Please define your personal brand.
My personal brand is being the voice for the ones that are still ashamed and embarrassed to speak up and speak out about the things that happened to them in their life. My brand is motivation, inspiring and empowering others. #iamurvoice and bringing awareness to the community and allowing men and women to have a voice.
My personal brand also includes my non-profit, “Hurt 2 Heal” that offers a voice for individuals impacted by all forms of abuse. Our mission is to renew awareness and support the healing and restoration process of individuals impacted by abuse, by providing the necessary resources and tools needed to promote individual and family healing.
What is your favorite vacation destination and why?
Maui is somewhere I dreamed about and always wanted to go and would be a place to go relax and put my feet in the red sand and feel free.
The fun comes after work and I would love to go to India and film a documentary and help change laws and lives. India is one of the most verdict countries right now in rape cases. India: Asian Continent: Total Cases Report “1, 64,630.”
If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
Allowing the death penalty for rapists and child molesters. People have no idea that when this happens to the victims that we lose everything inside that we once believed in. We become completely dead in the inside and damaged for the rest of our lives if we don’t have that help or support. Just sending them to jail to me is a cope out and they need to feel what we felt in that time while it was happening to us. They need to be blasted on the air ways and newsstands everywhere.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I think I need to have more confidence on the way I see myself. I have self-confidence but sometimes I don’t see what others see in me. I’m living in my purpose and helping others comes naturally but I can’t take all the credit because God is the one that helped me through it all.
What does it take to be iconic? In your estimation, who has achieved that status?
1. Have a purpose beyond money.
2. Be a symbol of excellence to which others aspire.
3. Have admirers.
4. Stick to what you know and believe in it. You don’t have to be famous globally to be iconic.
Iyanla Vanzant has definitely achieved that status and has come from the bottom back to the top and took her struggle and story to help others. I admire her in so many ways.