I’m so excited to have Christy Birmingham as our guest today. I first met Christy a few years ago on Twitter and we became fast friends. Although we had an immediate connection, as I have gotten to know her I have come to admire her as a woman who…lives her truth…so I decided to ask her to share about her journey. I know you will find her as inspiring as I do.
Christy, thank you for visiting with Bertha and me today. For several years now, Bertha and I have been focusing on Truth. In fact, TRUTH is our one word intention for 2015. Bertha defines it as…knowing… owning…and living your truth. What does truth mean to you and how does it show up in your day-to-day life?
Hi Jane and Bertha! Firstly, thank you for having me over for a cup of tea and the chocolates. You both know me so well! Now, for me, the word truth means being true to myself, at my very core. It means not always doing what is popular but what I feel is most in line with whom I am at this time. It is a base, I suppose, from which words and actions flow. It can change in content over time too, as we are always growing as we learn in life.
I agree with you completely that our truth changes as we go through life. It’s encouraging to hear that you are living your truth. Has this always been the case? Was there ever a time in your life when you either weren’t aware of your truth or weren’t able to live it?
Absolutely. In fact, I think the primary reason why I am so comfortable with who I am today is because I struggled with it in the past. When I got to a point of feeling very low, largely because of an abusive situation, I now realize I had shifted my entire identity to be who someone else wanted me to be. I felt empty. Today, I feel very Christy, more than I have been in many years.
How did you go from an abusive relationship and not knowing who you were to feeling Christy? Was there a turning point for you…something that got you back on track?
Ultimately it took a fall to a bottom so low that I never want to see again. I no longer cared for myself or understood me (not that I wanted to try to) to the point that I tried to take my life. I recall a particular turning point was when I realized that if I was going to be alive, as I my attempts had obviously been unsuccessful, that I would try to help women who were also in abusive situations or struggling with mental illness. I just knew I had to try to make a difference in some way if I was ever going to be happy in life. Today I understand that my life is about so much more than that one focus but my purpose to help others is still a huge part of me! Helping women is an essential part of my truth.
And you do make a difference and help women through your poetry, book, and blog. What advice would you give to a woman who is struggling to stand in her truth?
Good question! I would say the best advice is just to listen or read advice and not worry at first about understanding it. Sounds funny but let me explain. Not everything will make sense when you first read it or hear it. I heard so many words from specialists who were trying to help me feel better when I felt so low. I listened but kept thinking, “You don’t understand me.” Then, with time, some of the words started to make sense. It took time. It took patience. Then, more of the advice made sense. I think you can’t rush the process of understanding inner truth, and that is my main advice to any woman struggling with who she is at her core.
I hadn’t thought about it like that but I’ve had the same experience…heard something a thousand times and it meant nothing…then all of a sudden the light bulbs go off. That is really sound advice. Thank you so much. Before you go can you tell us a bit about your book…Pathways to Illumination?
Yes, Pathways to Illumination is a book I began writing when I was in the process of healing after the attempt on my own life. It was when I had the moment of realization that I could utilize what I had learned to help other women or anyone who struggled with an abusive situation, depression or anxiety. I am so proud of the book because of its rawness and that it does not hide from issues that are not always easy to discuss. I have heard from people who explain that the read helped them feel stronger too; that makes it all worthwhile to me. Pathways to Illumination is a poetry book with a sequential format that tells the story of a woman struggling to rise above difficulties within and around her.
I have read Pathways to Illumination and it is truly a raw and honest account of your experiences. I know that it will help many women for years to come. Thank you so much for being with us today and sharing your truth. Bertha hugs!
I know you’ll want to visit Christy…so here’s her contact information…and remember to connect on Twitter…that’s how we met!
Christy Birmingham is a poet, author and freelance writer in British Columbia, Canada. Her debut poetry collection Pathways to Illumination is available exclusively at Redmund Productions. If you haven’t been to her blogs Poetic Parfait and When Women Inspire, check them out. You can also find Christy on Twitter.