I recently had the pleasure of recording a podcast with my dear friend Gail Davis and her awesome son Kyle. I loved the dynamic of the mother-son conversation, especially as a mother of my own firecracker little boy. I have known Gail very well for years, and realized that maybe we should all sit and do a podcast for our friends to catch up on our stories! Apparently, I was full of surprises, because there was a lot of new material uncovered during our session. I wear a few different hats: entrepreneur, CEO, friend, advocate for women, single mother, 1 in 4, spokesperson, speaker, designer, leader, boss…. I love that these are all just hats that I can take off or put back on. The possibilities for all of us are endless. Please listen and share with your friends. I hope to inspire someone who may be suffering or struggling to find the light at the end of the tunnel.
Flipping the Script on #metoo -
Two years ago, I stepped out of the abuse victim closet to tell my story on national stages and participate in what would become a healing process for not only me, but also our society. Once the Mary Kay cosmetics campaign went viral, I felt very lonely, and naked. Even though I knew the statistics on domestic violence (1 in 4 women in the United States will experience abuse in their life time), it was just not something anyone talked about. But, I wasn’t alone for long. Soon, after every speech, a line of women would be waiting to share their “Me too” story.
Now we have seen it played out on our social media feeds through #metoo. Now we all know that my story is a societal epidemic. Now we are starting to understand my story (#metoo) is our/OUR story. This is not just limited to romantic relationships. It is rape, it is molestation, it is child abuse, and it has happened to you or many you know.
Truth be told, Hollywood has known and accepted this behavior for years, and not just from Harvey Weinstein. I left Hollywood over 12 years ago, and “bad behavior” from actors like Kevin Spacey, Tom Cruise, John Travolta (and the list goes on) was widely known. The term 'casting couch' just didn’t become a term on its own. Young girls in Hollywood daily meet men who are “producers” with access, via their bedroom. Harvey Weinstein is now the face, but he represents a sickness that is pervasive amongst those that control the media.
So, we have spoken up as a collective. Now what? We have two choices: 1) We can feel sorry for ourselves with anger and fear, hating everyone in power, and create another imbalance -or- 2) We can take healthy action. I can tell you from personal experience it is a mental shift to move from victim to healthy. For me, it took recognizing that I had not loved myself and that I had allowed this abuse. That was the worst. Why did I make an agreement to be treated that way? In turn, as a society what are we allowing? We can control what we watch, what we allow our children to watch, where we spend our money, where we spend our time, who we elect, who we make famous, what magazines we buy. Do YOU, dear reader, know that you are in so much control? Are you conscious of this? We all can make 2 or 3 changes to the ways that we are living our lives that will promote healthy shifts for us personally and collectively.
As a fashion designer, I am here to remind you that you and your daughters are perfect and beautiful just as you are. I have launched and will continue to invest in The Purpose Project, which was created to shake up both fashion industry and societal standards. In a time where we are all craving authenticity, I traded in a modeling agency for my very own, beautiful clients - women of all shapes, sizes and ages. These Women of Purpose were chosen because they inspire us daily by the way they live their lives and the character they possess. These women have powerful stories and are graceful examples of all of us.
Every day in my store, a woman tells me she can’t try something on because she doesn’t look like the model in the picture. Every day a woman walks out of the dressing room and points out her flaws to me. Healing begins with self-love, and so I ask you, my dear reader, join my movement and start celebrating our true beauty. As we love ourselves, we will also love each other back to a healthy strong and balanced version of what it means to be a woman. We will reshape the world that our daughters and sons will become adults in.
Please come see our Fall 2017 Women of Purpose Installation from November 15th - December 14th at my store in Uptown Dallas, and check out the Purpose Project page (embedded link) to learn about each Woman of Purpose. We are also accepting nominations for the next group of women which will be announced in the Spring. Please send nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org - subject line “Women of Purpose Nomination.”
I have a serious question for you. If you had only 1 month left on this earth, how would you live each minute, hour and day differently starting now? Why would you suddenly have time to do things you want to do instead of things that you “have” to do when you actually were almost out? Now, I ask, what is SO important that you can’t make those changes when you actually have an abundance of time.
I’m no expert, but my experience with this has been so transformational that I would be remiss to keep it to myself. I lived on a hamster wheel with the illusion that I had no time for quite awhile. I had almost no time to take care of myself, no time to cook a healthy meal, no time to grocery shop, no time for a regular yoga practice, no time for a trip to anywhere non-business related, and on and on. Life was passing me by, and I had NOTHING personal to show for all the time I didn’t have. Three years ago, my friend Darrin invited me to Peru, and that was where time stopped and my life was forever changed.
What seemed like 2 lifetimes went by but it was only 2 weeks before we were back in Dallas. To my complete amazement, the world here hadn’t ended or even really been impacted by my absence. People around me responded positively to the changes that I had taken the time to make. I was nice, clear, focused and efficient because I had refueled and recharged.
The good news is that you don’t have to make a trip all the way to Peru to begin taking back your time. It is about awareness, changing your mental reel, and making baby steps. Where are your bad habits? What little changes could you make on a daily basis that would give you back your time? What dreams are lying dormant in your heart that could be fulfilled? What routines and habits are eating your time?
Let’s get started. First, who is stealing your minutes? Is it the notifications on your phone, other people’s emergencies and lack of planning, Hollywood, Facebook, Snapchat, happy hours that last too long, staying up to late and being too tired to get up and start your day right? My yoga teacher training guides at Yanashala have suggested that with a daily practice your bad habits will DROP YOU. (Yes, because of this process I have found the time to take yoga teacher training in spite of the fact that I am a single mom with a company to run.)
Secondly, what small daily steps can you take to start this process? I am starting with a new morning routine that includes drinking warm lemon water, and a 7 minute yoga practice. I would love to know your thoughts and ideas. What tools can WE share with each other to get results and take back our time?!
A friend of mine popped back into town this past week, and we caught up for lunch. The last time I saw her, she had been frail and drained, but the girl sitting across from me now was healthy and full of life. She had packed up her life and moved to Hawaii two years ago. It had obviously been the right move for her. When I asked her what she had been doing to regain her life force, her answer was simple. “I have been BEING with me.” I stared at her, paused to reflect, and she hurriedly added, “Which is hard by the way.” Thank goodness she added that for my benefit, because my pregnant pause had been full of questions to myself. Could I do this being alone with me thing right here in Dallas? It is funny, because as a single mom I am home almost every night after bedtime technically “alone with me”. But am I really? Between social media, netflicks, hulu, HBO, and especially any crime drama that my apple tv has to offer, I never really have to be alone with me. Oh and let’s not forget my trusty old friend Sauvignon Blanc who accompanies me while I follow the news media frenzy around real life crime dramas.
It is an addiction, a sickness even. I hear a story about a shooting, a terrorist attack, or any other horrific event in the world, and I immediately want to know all. Who did this and what is their story? Why did they do this? Was it a surprise to those close to the perpetrator? I refresh my news feed for new updates on the story, and fortunately, the press spoon feeds me story after story that feeds my rubberneck craving. Obviously I am not alone in this interest as media content is driven by numbers and data.
So this brings me to the question. What if together, as a collective, WE stopped opening those news stories and turned off our notifications? What if WE stopped glorifying such behavior and feeding this energy? Would the media stop focusing on the criminal and would less violent crimes occur? Would the media be forced to find a higher ratio of inspiring stories of hope and human goodness instead of the constant stockpile of negativity? Also if WE were all more focused on being, who would WE be?
So after my lunch, I went home and gave it a try that very night. At first it was terrifying. What do I do without a crutch, a newsfeed, a glass of wine? There is a panicked feeling that I should be doing something. Then after a few deep breaths, the panic subsided, the peace set in and I realize I could get used to this! This was actually what I needed! I realized I needed more time and accountability to create space which lead me to sign up for yoga teacher training, I learned a new song to sing to my baby at night, I felt peace and not fear. I challenge you to try it this week, and then please report back and let me know what your experience is and what BEING looked like to you!
You could say that I stumbled into purposeful living “accidentally on purpose”. I remember when (he who’s name I do not EVER say), my former fiancée and abuser, would tell me, “Someday you will thank me for all I have done for you.” It may seem kind of sick, but I would say that honestly I do thank him. I am so grateful that I got to glimpse how hard life can be when you choose to surrender your choice to the will of a bully. On the flip side, how resilient the human spirit is when it decides that enough is enough. My victory over the physical, and even worse, emotional abuse that I endured thanks to the aforementioned “him” redefined my future.
Through this lens, I suddenly became aware of the invisibles. Those human beings who exist whether or not anyone sees them. That shirt that I bought for the bargain price of $9.99 suddenly was not such a bargain when I understood that it came at the cost of a life. I tasted and felt what it was like to be trapped, and after that I could see the human sewing that t-shirt, an indentured servant with no way out, possibly chained to a sewing machine with a bed on the floor. I could see the plight of human beings being trafficked day in and day out, maybe even sold into the brothels by their parents at the innocent age of 16. I could also see how few people saw them or cared. That question now alludes me day in and day out.
How can I inspire others to care if they don’t have such a personal experience as I have had? How do I inspire YOU to care?
My theory is that today’s American woman controls the purse strings of the world. We may not have equal pay just yet, but we are primarily managing our household economics, from the food we are feeding our families to the clothes on their backs. We are a sleeping giant – just waiting to be awoken. The American woman, as a collective, is more powerful then anyone can possibly imagine. When SHE finally gets her rhythm, understands her spending power, her influence and her inner strength – it will be an unforgettable moment.
This is why we are launching the Purpose Project. So many of our clients at Abi Ferrin are living and breathing examples of female leadership in a currently chaotic world. We knew it would be powerful to bring them all together and to highlight them through a fashion platform. We were tired of being dictated by industry standards regarding who represented our brand on our website. We love the beautiful models that have represented our brand for years, and we will keep using them, but not singularly. We will, from here on out, use a true reflection of who wears our brand, and who represents our brand. Women of all shapes, sizes, and ages. Women who inspire us daily by the way they live and the character they possess. These women have powerful stories, some have challenges they have overcome gracefully from paralysis to abuse to raising children in the spotlight, and ALL of them have helped us build the dynamic and life changing brand that we are today.
These woman of purpose will continue to grow as a club of sorts. A group of women who will no longer sit silent, who are consciously living, consciously raising children, and consciously spending their household income from the food they feed their families to the clothes they put on their backs. Quality is not just determined by thread count, but by the story behind the brands that are being supported. Who Made Your Clothes? Was it a tribe of people who cared about each other and about you? We can’t wait to share their stories through the launch of The Purpose Project. Please check them out on our website and join us in spreading the word that WE are the solution. Please join us in this peaceful movement.
With Purpose and Love- XO Abi