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.
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
It has been hard for me to wrap my heart and head around what I am feeling. The left screams – the right screams back, the left spins, the right spins back. Who am I in all of this?I was a co-ed and a Capitol Hill intern myself when President Bill Clinton had his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. It didn’t surprise me at all - it was the Washington culture that I was privy to. Men in power seducing young girls with the implied promise of the doors they could open for them. Young starry eyed girls (me included) complied with this sentiment. Many were drunk on the access to power and a world that we had only seen through a Hollywood lens. I had dinners and cocktails with some of the most powerful men in the world, (men far too old in retrospect) naïvely thinking they were interested in me and my 21 year old opinions.It was just the way this world worked. So while it bothered me a bit, as I would realize that when advances were denied the calls and dinner invitations stopped coming with that power broker.... but not to worry, there was always the next lobbiest, Congressman, politico, strategist or head of international monetary fund right behind him with high hopes. At the time I didn't even know that I had the opportunity or the voice to be a part of a world that didn’t look like that. It was the culture. This was how I was going to make it big. I believed that I had to be granted “access” by a powerful man since I did not come from an East Coast elite family. I was not taught to think this way by my parents, yet culture submersed me in this false truth.Fast forward a few years, a lot of heartbreaks and broken promises at the hands of powerful men that I was in agreement with, I found myself in a very hard spot personally and financially. Then I had the realization that I was the only one who could work myself out of the hole that my choices had gotten me into. I kept looking for a silver bullet from one of these promise makers, but I was looking in the wrong place. I was the one who had given those men power. I was the one who had silently agreed to being complicit in this cultural norm that went against everything I felt inside or truly dreamed of, and now I would be the one to choose myself into a different life. And I did. It was not overnight success, and it was not easy, but day by day and choice by choice I found myself living a free life.And how was I able to make that change? Because in spite of all that is broken, I still live in the greatest country on earth. The country where you can go after your dreams and where hard work does pay off eventually. No one bailed me out, and yes I did come from a family where I was given the tools to understand the principle of hard work. I know not everyone knows that they have this opportunity, but we can teach them. I can inspire them. You can inspire them.SO this is who I am in all this chaos. I do not look the other way when President Clinton or Donald Trump marginalize women. I hope they have both stop abusing their star power. This issue is not Democrat or Republican as I see it. I am not failing one party or the other by denouncing this bad behavior. My job is to remind those who are marginalized to use their voice and make choices every day that match this new voice. Not just one day when there is a national march, but every day. Our world is not perfect, but I’ve been to third world countries where mothers sell their daughters for survival. Where things feel so hopeless that I don’t even know where I should start helping. We are lucky that this is not the case here in The United States of America. So today it continues to improve, because of your choices and mine, because of your voice and mine!With Purpose- Abi