Woman Wednesday: Claire

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.            


Q and A with Claire, from Olongapo City, Philippines, living in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

“You must be able to accept all the choices you made in life, forgive yourself for all of the mistakes you’ve made, move on, and just grow from it.”


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: I am a very creative person, so I love to create and visualize things. As a photographer, I am very passionate about capturing the beauty in every person and showing the world their true beauty. I often tell my clients my job is to show the world your true beauty and the beauty you have never seen in yourself before. I do not take pictures; I capture memories and I save them for you. As a life coach, I am very passionate about helping women find their voice, strength, and beauty while overcoming past hurts. With faith in God, I help women and anyone in need fill their God-given purpose in life. I developed these passions solely based on my life experiences on earth; it is what drives me to be the best I can be, so I can help more people in the world. I am currently in the process of finishing my 6 weeks program (Release, Reflect, Release, and Restart), my women’s empowerment BBBM website/blog page, and my book, Broken But Beautifully Made, which is based on my story, the stories that birthed my women’s empowerment platform.

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I grew up in a 3rd world country, the Philippines. Life was very simple, yet hard. My mom did her best raising 3 daughters as a single mother. I grew up in an environment that is all about family. All our relatives were always around and we did everything together…birthdays, holidays, and just simply hanging out after school and eating (Miryenda) afternoon snacks in Tagalog. Mom raised me as a God-fearing woman; I was very active in my home church in the Philippines. I was a worship leader, youth leader, and a vacation Bible school teacher for the kids. I have always been very passionate about helping others and making a difference…no matter how big or small it is. I graduated high school at the young age of 15 years old and college by 16. I love learning, reading, and just trying to become the best version of myself. I saw struggle at such a young age that I promised myself I would do whatever it took to be better than I was yesterday.

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Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: I have learned a lot of lessons from everything I had gone through in life. The one lesson that I find very valuable to me is understanding that it is not selfish to care for yourself first and to set healthy boundaries in your life. I learned to put God and myself first in everything I do in life. I learned to love me for who I was, for who I am now, and who I am to become. This is the one lesson I want anyone to learn from my lesson. You cannot love or help others if you are unable to do that for yourself. You must be able to accept all the choices you made in life, forgive yourself for all of the mistakes you’ve made, move on, and just grow from it.

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Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: Feminism for me is fighting for equality for women. Seeing us not by our gender, but by our ability to perform just as any other person can.

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Q: Is there anything else you would like to share? 

A: I am married to my amazing husband of 10 years now; his name is Richard Torres. We have one fur baby kitty named Mew. We have lived in NM for 11 years now, but my husband was born and raised in Albuquerque, NM. I am also working on getting my bachelor’s degree and only have 2 years left. I will be graduating with a bachelor’s in business administration with a concertation in project management. I am also publishing my first book in July 2020. I will be coauthoring with 10 other amazing women for a devotional book called The Heart of God for Her.

I am a creative entrepreneur specializing in life coaching and professional photography. As a certified life coach, I specialize in transformational coaching with a keen focus on breaking harmful patterns and overcoming guilt and shame. With a compelling backstory of my own, I am very passionate about helping women find their voice, strength, and beauty while overcoming past hurts. With a backdrop of faith in God, I help women and anyone in need fill their God-given purpose in life. I founded Broken But Beautifully Made Women’s Empowerment Platform in March 2019; God has had this mission in my heart for 2 years. I created BBBM as a platform that allows women to speak, share, and see that she is not alone! I have overcome many trials and tribulations in my life that allows me to relate with other women and to testify how God saved me every single time…As a coach my mantra? “I help you release, reflect, refocus, and restart—Are you ready?”

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Thank you for reading!

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Woman Wednesday: Kripa

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.            


Q and A with Kripa, from Fiji, living in Melbourne, Australia.

“Whilst the struggle was raw, real, and overwhelming, it was one of the best things that happened to me. It was the start of a deeply personal and spiritual transformation that brought me back to who I am and what I stand for.”


Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I am passionate about empowering women to be seen and heard with confidence through authentic self-expression and wellbeing. There is nothing more captivating than seeing another woman show up in her truth, authenticity, and wholeness. For those that love Netflix and have watched Self Made and Becoming, you will know exactly what I am talking about.

I grew up in a conservative family and culture where women stayed at home, made sure meals were available on time, and looked after children whilst men went to work to earn an income to provide for the family. A woman was seen through her meals, upbringing of her children, and upkeep of the house. Her role was to work behind the scenes and not be seen or heard for who she really was and what she desired. This way of living was defined by customs and traditions which were passed down for many generations and shaped a lot of who I was and who I became in my earlier years.

 

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Following the tradition, at the age of 22, I found myself in an arranged marriage to a man who neither my family nor I knew much about. I moved from Fiji to New Zealand with my then-husband and 12 months later, I moved to Australia. After being married for three years, moving to two countries, having bought a house in Australia within 12 months of arriving, and having a good job, I was deeply unhappy and felt unsafe and unloved. This marriage was not built on love; the idea of an arranged marriage is to fall in love once you are married and as you get to know each other. My parents, grandparents, my great grandparents, uncles, and cousins have been in arranged marriages, which have been quite successful.

Unfortunately for me, I was married to a narcissist who knew my family and friends were far away and the only person I could rely on was him. I tried marriage counseling, personal coaching, changed my work arrangements, and no matter how hard I tried, there was nothing I could do to save this marriage. When we divorced (culturally a big no-no), I found myself homeless on the streets of Melbourne with no roof over my head in a foreign country with $0 in my bank account and no family or friends. I hit rock bottom.

The only thing I had was my job. At that time, I had two options, to stay or to move back to Fiji with my family. I chose to stay.

Whilst the struggle was raw, real, and overwhelming, it was one of the best things that happened to me. It was the start of a deeply personal and spiritual transformation that brought me back to who I am and what I stand for. Through my struggles, experience, and journey, I met so many other women who were going through similar experiences who needed help and support and most of all wanted to be seen and heard for who they truly were.

My own journey and experience became my passion and has been for many years except, I did not fully realize it until I found more and more women asking me for help, support, and guidance which gave birth to my business.
I help my clients by sharing the same tools, techniques, and resources that have helped me to go from:
✨Being homeless to owning two properties
✨$0 to multi-six figure income
✨A narcissist relationship to soul-mate love
My biggest achievement by far has been my ability to be myself 24/7 and unapologetically show up in my divine truth in alignment with my purpose, passion, and path-priceless.

 

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: On 28 December 2019, I lost my father, my best friend. He passed away with stage 4 cancer. He was such a brave man and he never gave up. My father was my champion, my mentor, and my greatest supporter. He taught me to value education (he was a top performer in his class, but he was forced to drop out because he failed English being his second language). Among many other things, he taught me the values of kindness, care, love, and independence.

Losing him has been the biggest wake-up call for me. In his last days, I learned many things; he wanted to travel, retire (he was 65), spend more time with mum and his children (we all live in different countries). His passing has made me realize that LIFE IS TOO SHORT and enough with the excuses.

After being back from his funeral, I hired two coaches so I could start to serve more deeply and do what I am here to do in this lifetime which is to empower 5 million women to be seen and heard and to protect the planet and its inhabitants (around the same time as the Australian Bushfires). This is what motivates me, this is why I show up, and this is why I do everything I do.

Getting this clarity for me has been priceless and being able to serve and support other women on their journey a blessing.

PS My grandmother passed away on 7 May 2020 (she was the last grandparent alive for many years and was a pillar of strength for me and my family). She was a strong woman who lived through hardship and poverty and raised seven children. She was one of the strongest women I knew and her passing has made me even more determined in my mission to serve, empower, and show up for women who know there is more to life and want to live a full, happy, and healthy life which is their birthright.

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Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: Happiness is not something you seek; it is something you feel. It is available to you whenever and wherever you choose whilst being you.

 

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Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: Feminism to me is being who you are and showing up in your wholeness, fullness, and being-ness. It is about embracing all parts of yourself; the feminine and masculine while being AUTHENTIC to who you are at the very core of your being. It is about embracing and living in alignment with your divine truth with ease grace and flow.

 

 

Thank you for reading!

I’d love to connect with you!

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Website: https://beingyou11.com/

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Woman Wednesday: Lisa

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.         


Q and A with Lisa Maslyk, Winnipeg, Manitoba

“I truly wish I had gotten into it when I was younger, but it felt like such a big leap that I wasn’t ready to take at the time. Now that I am in it, I realize that it wasn’t such a big leap at all.”

 

Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I was born in England and moved to Canada when I was 10. I grew up in an entrepreneurial family. My mom and dad were always trying new businesses from full-size kit cars to online t-shirt designing. This is probably where I got my business mind. I ended up going the college route into a steady job but always yearned to do something else. It wasn’t until my kids were old enough and didn’t need me or my time as much that I finally ventured into network marketing and acting. It’s funny because both of these careers have really served each other!

 

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Q: What are you passionate about?

A: [Because of] acting and learning, I am way more comfortable presenting myself online and doing videos. My network marketing business has given me an income stream when I am in between acting jobs. Currently, I have several streams of income online. I have one direct sales company that I have been with since September of 2019. I am with this company because I absolutely love the product, so it made sense to me to sell it. I also am an affiliate for several other companies. 

My main focus for my business development and growth right now would be Pinterest and YouTube. I do like Facebook and Instagram, but feel there are too many restrictions in place, and Pinterest is growing so fast that I think everyone should be there! I am very seriously thinking of putting a course together to help other entrepreneurs understand how to use Pinterest for their business!

 

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Pictured: Me on set, ready for acting! I played a doctor in the 2020 movie, “Rage Can Kill.”

 

Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: I absolutely love network marketing! I truly wish I had gotten into it when I was younger, but it felt like such a big leap that I wasn’t ready to take at the time. Now that I am in it, I realize that it wasn’t such a big leap at all, in fact, it runs very parallel to the business world that I stepped away from. It’s just that now the earnings and the income go to me instead of the company that I work for!

 

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Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: To me, feminism is being able to earn the same amount of money as any other person for the job that is being done. I like what I do because the effort I put into it gives me the same rewards out of it. There is no discrimination of any kind.

 

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Thank you for reading!

I’d love to connect with you!

Click here to check out my IMD acting profile.

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Woman Wednesday: Thao

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.         


Q and A with Thao, Newark, California

“It’s best to live life to the fullest of our ability, and it’s critical to keep going and get back up when life knocks you down.”

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I am passionate about connecting with and helping people! I have been a stay-at-home mom with a home-based business, but prior to that, I was working in corporate in the human resources field. Despite being great at my HR jobs, I was not fulfilled. Then I became a full-time stay-at-home mom, and that has been challenging. For years, I felt guilty about not fully enjoying being at home with my kids as much as I thought. The thing is, I know to my core that I’m made for more. It was not until I decided to take a huge leap of faith last year and started my home-based business that I finally feel empowered to create my own joy.

I now have a balanced life in that I get to be home with my children but also have something of my own! Aside from the flexibility, what I love about my current job is I get to help and impact other people’s lives in ways I never knew I could. It brings meaning and purpose back to my life all because I learned to listen to my gut instincts and did it despite uncertainties.

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I grew up in Vietnam and immigrated to the United States when I was 9 years old. Growing up, my parents had a successful home-based bakery and were extremely busy with their business that there was no family structure and minimal quality time. Needless to say, I was an unhappy child and didn’t feel I had anyone to go to. My upbringing definitely had a huge impact on the person I’ve become. I struggled with self-esteem and insecurities as a child, and this played well into my adulthood despite having a bold and outgoing personality. However, I’ve done well academically and achieved both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees by the age of 24.

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I was ambitious, focused, hardworking, and driven. It wasn’t until after finishing my master’s and entering the real world and workforce that I became more lost than ever. For the first time, I didn’t know what I wanted to do in life! I went into HR, left it, came back to it, and then finally left it altogether after having kids. I desperately tried to figure out my purpose and direction in life, but I wasn’t able to do it for years. I think my self-awareness, resilience, and persistence have been instrumental to my growth and overcoming challenges. After I became a mom, I have been secretly living with depression and anxiety. Finally, I had the courage to share my story last winter on Facebook. It’s mind-boggling what these mental disorders can do to someone’s self-belief and ability to enjoy life. I realized during my darkest moments that the one person who was always there for me despite anything has been God. My struggles have indeed deepened my spirituality and commitment to redefining my life. The only person who could bring real change to my life is me and only me. I am not a quitter!

Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: I have learned that no worldly achievements will bring lasting meaning and happiness to my life if I don’t make an effort to develop myself and become the best version of who I am meant to be. Self-growth is the best gift anyone can give to themselves and has personally helped me cope with my mental disorders and life challenges in general. Unfortunately, there’s still a stigma in our society and in most cultures about mental illness. I want to be the voice of people living with mental illness and show others that it is definitely possible to thrive in life despite your mental conditions. I also want young people to know that it’s okay to not know what you want to do in life. Some of us still couldn’t figure it out in adulthood! It’s best to live life to the fullest of our ability and it’s critical to keep going and get back up when life knocks you down. I also wish I was less fearful of trying new things for most of my life. Now, I’ve learned that doing things despite fear is the key to unlocking my best self and best life. It’s never too late!

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Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: For years, women have been limited by what we can do, and feminism to me is about breaking boundaries and glass ceilings. I see the ideal world of equality, and if that is desiring the same rights and privileges as men, then call me a feminist!

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Woman Wednesday: Mecyll

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.         


Q and A with Mecyll, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany

“My family struggled financially so much that we reached the point where we had to mix rice with used oil, soy sauce, or salt just to have a flavor. From breakfast, lunch, and dinner, we varied what “flavoring” would we add to the rice. It was a hard life. Buying a kilo of rice and a can of milk for the family were already big hurdles for my parents. At the time, I didn’t have enough notebooks for the next school year. As someone under constant pressure to be a straight-A student to please my parents, I had to get notebooks.” 

 

 Q: What are you passionate about?

A: First of all, I love to create. A crazy one—I’m someone who loves to challenge the status quo. I think I was born to make something unique, creative, and unusual. These depict my works, whether writing fiction (I write stories on Wattpad), making notebooks, or creating other forms of art like painting. If you saw one of my works, you could instantly say, “Oh, I haven’t seen such a notebook, travelers’ notebook, or planner!” I guess this is where my talent can be seen.

 

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Pictured: A journal created by Mecyll. Click here to check out her Etsy shop. 

 

Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I always feel different from peers I hang out with. Ever since I was a kid, I had been distraught by the fact that I couldn’t relate to others that easily. If needed, I have to consciously change my character to not isolate myself from other people. At times, it becomes too much to bear.

At a young age, I felt anxious, controlled, self-loathing, and depressed in an extreme way. Given the financial crisis my family faced at the time in the Philippines, I grew up in a hostile environment. And showing my feelings about it was unacceptable.

Introverted, I don’t necessarily feel shy or whatever, but I often find myself in an awkward situation, looking to escape/withdraw from other people. I find interacting with a crowd draining, especially if I have to meet them many times a week, for example.

 

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Pictured: A journal created by Mecyll. Click here to check out her Etsy shop. 

 

As a result, I turn to art. I love to learn new things I find interesting. Notebook making, for example.

Because of my inability to express my emotions socially, I express them through creativity. A creative outburst, if you will. Fourteen years ago [in the Philippines], my family struggled financially so much that we reached the point where we had to mix rice with used oil, soy sauce, or salt just to have a flavor. From breakfast, lunch, and dinner, we varied what “flavoring” would we add to the rice. It was a hard life. Buying a kilo of rice and a can of milk for the family were already big hurdles for my parents.

 

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At the time, I didn’t have enough notebooks for the next school year. As someone under constant pressure to be a straight-A student to please my parents, I had to get notebooks. Otherwise, I’d be doomed. I was 12 years old.

 

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Pictured: A journal created by Mecyll. Click here to check out her Etsy shop. 

 

At that age, I felt like I didn’t want to burden my parents anymore by asking for some pennies for a few notebooks, including the cheap ones. It felt worse when I happened to visit my cousins, who had boxes filled with nice new notebooks. I told myself, “This is how comfortable they are that they could easily buy them whenever they want to.” I know I wasn’t. My parents couldn’t afford them.

Looking at my younger sister who relied on me a lot, I chose to suppress the negative emotions built up and became stronger for her. I had to do something so we wouldn’t bother our parents—who were already in an absolute financial obstacle. So, I reached out to my aunt.

I shared my sentiments with her, who lived with us on weekdays. In turn, she shared her skills of binding with me. That was the first time I was able to bind my old notebooks, recycling my old spring notebooks for reference and binding the remaining blank pages together to make a new notebook. That was my way of life for years, until I finished high school.

 

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Pictured: A journal created by Mecyll. Click here to check out her Etsy shop. 

 

Fast forward to the present, I didn’t expect that the skills I learned from her would eventually become appreciated by others. As I explored the world of notebooks more, I discovered that I could also create travelers’ notebooks and other types of journals in my own version. Although I feel anxious every time I show them online through Etsy and Facebook groups, they applaud each piece I make, which is unexpected for me.

 

Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: Being different is great when you fully accept it in your heart. Of course, you long for social interaction and want to belong to a group of people; however, if it would compromise your character, your true self, for the sake of it, it’s not good.

I learned it the hard way. I had a lot of excuses to deny who I truly am, which lead to my inner demise. Even at present, I am in constant agony in every aspect of my life because of trying to be someone others want me to be. I beat myself spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally just to get out of the black hole inside me.

These are outcomes of trying so hard to make an identity that society finds acceptable. Rather than embracing myself, I chose otherwise, which was wrong. When you feel different, keep in mind that your uniqueness is special. From there, you can express yourself in art uniquely as well. In a way that is only you.

 

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Instead of loathing yourself for being so different—even in your marriage—show how unique you are in your own way. So as a word of advice, it’s best to embrace who you really are rather than trying to change yourself for the sake of satisfying the crave of social life. Be the real you.

 

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Pictured: A journal created by Mecyll. Click here to check out her Etsy shop. 

 

Many people praise my notebooks because they’ve never seen anything like them before. Some are willing to pay the high price to get them. Again, this business is an outcome of reflecting on the worst circumstance of my life in a deeper way. In my early years, I could have played a lot with other kids and enjoyed life in my teens. I didn’t. I wasn’t able to do it as part of a sacrifice to be the overachiever of the family. But look where it has brought me.

The pain got me here. The pain of economic distress and the pain of being unable to connect with other people easily brought me to where I am now.

 

Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: I grew up in an Asian family, so I have a different view of how feminism is for me. So, I am not sure how this works for Western culture or for others in other parts of the world who might be reading this blog.

Where I grew up in a part of the Philippines, we have this stigma in which women aren’t able to express themselves completely. Our country might be rapidly progressing; however, not so much for our culture. Even in our own homes, the issue of inequality among women exists today.

I remember my mother wasn’t able to have a career or do things she enjoyed when she was younger because my father prevented it. She had to be a mother, not a single woman. There were expectations that she could no longer do the same things she used to enjoy because she had to take on the new role marriage cast upon her.

Where I grew up, only the men had the right to show how angry they would get or how pissed they were that they could lash out without warning. There, only the men have the right to do whatever they want. A woman, on the other hand, has to keep her emotional turmoil to herself and resolve it on her own. I’ve seen my mother and my aunt (who taught me binding) on the verge of a breakdown many times, but they managed to keep going with suppressed emotional turmoil. While doing so, they had to do their roles our society had assigned to them.

I guess we’re all familiar with a high percentage of women suffering from different eating disorders, self-harm, and other destructive ways than men. Why am I so familiar with it? You might be asking. This is because I, too, am suffering from these. For more than 10 years, I suffer from an eating disorder and have problems with my emotional regulation. By acknowledging suppression, it became a way to become stronger.

 

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For me, women have to urge themselves to stand for what they think is right for themselves. It doesn’t matter if you’re single or married or widowed. We can’t just fight our emotional battles alone and in a dangerous way. We’ve got to love ourselves as much as we can and be equal with men in enjoying what we want to enjoy. In my case, it’s my notebook-making that saved me. Otherwise, I would have succumbed to deeper negativity and worthless life. A life without direction.
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Disregard what other people say. As my sister told me this morning, “Keep yourself first.” I guess this is what feminism is all about. It’s not about the gender, it’s about the message we’ve got to share to the world.

 

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Pictured: A journal created by Mecyll. Click here to check out her Etsy shop. 

 

I’d love to connect with you! 

 

 

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