We had a conversation about beating the odds and overcoming all the challenges that are stacked against you don't determine your outcome.
She has fought through cancer, violence and coming out of welfare into making a difference in women's lives.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Brittany, host of the "She Beats It Podcast"
My story is the story of beating the odds. I had all these odds stacked against me, and it first happened when I was pregnant with my first daughter as a teen and before that just experienced all kinds of trauma, sexual abuse physical domestic abuse as a teenager with my boyfriend. When I gave birth to my daughter, I realized that this world is bigger than me, and I can no longer live life on my own terms. I took her back to East Texas, where I was in college at the time, and I don't even think she was one year old, and my parents were so pissed. They were like, "GURL, where are you going?" We lived in the projects where they would not even deliver pizza. It was so bad, but I knew that education was the way, and I knew that if I made myself better, then she would be better. That's what happened. So I had my youngest daughter here; I'm a single mom of two and a breast cancer survivor story of beating the odds.
I remember being at this event with Bill Clinton and Jon Stewart, and I was called in the audience to speak with him. He said, how did you get here? You know all of these young people are the best of the best in the world. I said, " I'm not the best, Bill Clinton, my first semester was with a 1.9 GPA I'm a teen momma, I'm on welfare; I'm not the best of the best!" And he asked, "Well, what was it? How did you get here?" It's truly my own determination and resilience. Every day when I wake up, I will see her face, and I had breath in my lungs, and it's another day. I'm going to do I have to, so that's my story.
Wow, that's beautiful. That's first of all kudos to you when you were getting an education AND being a single mom. How did you manage to do that?
You know, honestly, I don't even know how I got through. I just always knew I had to. People say, "I want to take it day by day." I'm saying if I can even just make it to the next moment. The truth is sometimes day by day was too much for me. I would literally be praying and say, "God, you got to help me get to the next moment," and it's the same thing with my cancer journey. I was diagnosed with cancer at age 33, a year ago. Now I'm in menopause at 34 because of my cancer treatment. So it's been brutal like that by looking at my daughter's and reminding myself you can get through anything. Day by day?! That's too long! I need to just push through this moment. I just look at my daughters and remind myself that "You can get through anything."
What options do you have to quit? You can't! What kind of example are you setting for your daughter? So I just keep going.
I used to say they were my life, but I realized when they grow up, and they had their own lives. I had to become my own "why." They helped me early on and are infamous for me making better choices. Every day I'm at myself in the mirror; my God woke you up again today, girl.
So what is it that you do?
I call myself a recovering career coach because I hate career coaching. People want all these jobs. Well, do what I say, and you'll get the job, but no one listens, so I hated it. I was a public speaker. When I was diagnosed with cancer, I was making a lot of money, and it's like I knew money's not it cuz when you die, you can't take any of it with you through.
I launched this podcast called She Beats It to journal my story of kicking cancer's butt. Still, I realize other women were beating the odds and how I wanted to tell their story. So we talk about women beating the odds and life and business every week, and the podcast launched in April a day before I had surgery to get cancer out of my body. Now we have listeners all over the world literally different continents countries. And so that's what I do. I share stories of women beating the odds!
People in America should not be fighting to live. Some people go bankrupt because of cancer. I remember going up my cancer treatment and not knowing how to pay for parking, and I would usually part in valet. It was difficult to do anything, to even move. People are going bankrupt in America because of cancer, and it's crazy. I thought I had all this money saved, but this is not a lot of money when you get a $20,000 bill five days into the year. People are suffering, but even at the hospital, I'm always smiling, always Sharing Hope. I was hospitalized for 15 days, and the nurses are like, "Why you always smiling?"
Everyone was just down in the dumps, and I was just like smiling, cutting up, making jokes. There's this army of people behind me. My daughter's, my friends, the podcast listeners. How dare I have the audacity to quit!
And imma keep you smiling. I'm so thankful. I remember looking at a picture of flowers on the wall.I've always been this girl; I don't like flowers, don't send me any flowers dude, I'm going to throw it. But the picture of the flowers that I'm now grateful for that I never was before. I'm so thankful.
And I think that I'm not thankful that I was diagnosed with cancer, but I'm taking for every single lesson cancer has taught me cause now I stop to smell the flowers when I go in the grocery store and I see the different colors of the produce, the aroma, the wheels rolling in the store and I am so thankful for all of that.
Now with that being said like how do you define Beauty?
To me, people always say Beauty is on the inside. I believe that. I also think outward. Beauty is important. I used to be this girl who didn't know I was beautiful because of what people said about me. I looked at my self and said, listen, I could be in a room with Halle Berry, and I'm still the saddest chick in there because I realized that when I was created, Perfectly Imperfect. Whatever I see in the mirror is beautiful to me and no, and it's so it's outward. Still, it's also the Manifestation of what comes from within.
Whenever it's like a near-death experience, you appreciate life a whole lot more, and it creates a paradox shift. I also had like a near-death experience myself. The big paradigm shift is this concept; anything could happen anytime, any day.
And you have to have to redeem your time. I remember this one time, my boyfriend in high school beat me up publicly in the theater. He grabbed me by my neck and was lifting me off the floor. I'm 5'9" So imagine what it took for me to get off floor right trying to choke the life out of me and I didn't get it. I was young, but now I understand.
Every single day is a blessing. I know you have bad days too. I'm like, "Listen when you have life, every day is a good day."
I'm just grateful to be here. Grateful to be alive. Life is Grand. Good, bad, ugly, it's grand.
Sometimes it feels like I have PSTD from being at death's door all the time. Every time going to the doctor, wondering, will I get to see my kids grow up?
What stage was you in when you found out?
When I first went in, I was at stage one. My mom put me on an appointment at another hospital. When I went to the other hospital, they found cancer in two other places. So had I stayed with the other hospital, I may not be here today.
At the end of my diagnosis, I was at stage 2B, but it was so aggressive and rare, and they're like, "You're so young."
I've been through a lot. I remember being in a psychiatric hospital praying for you all my life. Don't wake me up tomorrow, please. I'm sick of this life.
This was 5 years ago, and it was like Nah, I'm not done, I've got work to do, and I was the first person in my family to be diagnosed with cancer.
And I was PISSED! What did I do to deserve this? I remember the nurse came in and asked if I had any family history of cancer, and I said, "no, I'm the first person."
She looked at me, and she said, "sometimes God says I choose you." and she walked out of the room.
And I was like "HANG ON. WAIT..."
I mean, the resilience is strong, and I know I asked this before, but how do you push through all of this?
I will tell you, I have bad days just like everyone else, and I'm not always smiling. I'm not always happy and that always in the best mood, but I have a rule. One of my podcast guests taught me this, she talks about when she has a thought, 60 seconds is the only time she'll entertain that thought. If I'm like, "my life sucks," it can only suck for 60 seconds. Then I have to get up and move on, but I recognize that this is hard, and that's ok. You've been through worse. How dare you quit? So for this 60 seconds, I'll have the biggest pity party ever. After 60 seconds, I'm done with it. We keep moving, and we keep going.
We have some fierce women out here! Not only kicking cancer's butt but also domestic violence, abuse, all kinds of things we gotta keep going.
Struggles are often disguised as seeds to your success. I would not be able to go through the things I've gone through; I would've not been able to get off welfare and make good money had I not been able to recognize that it was a seed. Being on welfare and being disciplined to get a degree taught me, girl, you can do anything!
What advice would you give to somebody who's listening to this?
I would give the advice that I told you a little while ago when people say make it day-to-day, and if you can't make it there today, that's ok. Get to the next moment and then the next moment and then the next moments because the moments will add up, and they will become hours and days, and they'll becoming weeks. Next thing you know that you've overcome this struggle. DON'T GIVE UP.