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.
Thank you so much for having me here, Jane and Bertha. You are a wonderful part of my life, and I am proud you asked to be here to chat with you. Sending much love!
Christy…the pleasure was all ‘ours’…you are a beautiful woman with a powerful story…and a good friend. Thanks for joining us! <3
Enjoyed two of my favorite people sharing their heart! Make that three… I see Bertha here, too. Isn’t it amazing how some of us, while being abused, think that it is our fault… all because we don’t know our truth?
Oh Mary…I’d say we’re the Three Musketeers…but with Bertha…well…who knows what we are? I absolutely agree with you…when we don’t understand our truth it’s easy for someone else to take advantage of us and hurt us.
Thank you, Mary. It’s tough to get to that truth but when we get there, it’s a big moment for sure. Wonderful to see you and so nice of Jane to have me here!
Great guest post and I like the prompt that led to this interview “Living our Truth!”… I agree with Christy when she states that our truth changes as we go through life…. That’s Life! (That’s what people say!).
Thanks Jane & Christy for this Guest post… Best wishes~ Aquileana 🙂
Thank you Aquileana…I so appreciate that Christy was willing to share her truth with us. She is an incredible woman. Thank you so much for dropping by and commenting. 😉
Yes, it changes as we develop, and I think that’s a lifelong journey. Thank you, Aquileana for the support, and Jane’s idea for the post was wonderful!
I was deeply moved as I read this post. I am very proud of you Christy. As a victim myself, I can relate to the word ‘truth’ and how much it took you to eventually find strength and be able to value yourself. Thank you for sharing.
It was a powerful piece, Joycelin. Thank you for your comment and your own personal truth and courage.
Thank you, Joycelin. Finding value takes time and patience, for sure. I appreciate your words so much!
Christy is such an inspiration as a poet as well as a woman. Thank you for sharing this conversation with us!
I couldn’t agree with you more Judith! Thank you for stopping by and commenting. 😉
Awe, Judith! Thanks for taking time here and for enjoying the conversation. Jane and Bertha are great hosts!
So glad this blog alert came flashing out on my page while on FB. What a fabulous interview you three! 🙂
Thank you DG…Christy is an amazing woman with a powerful story…I’ve been wanting to share it for a while but the time wasn’t quite right until now. 🙂
Yes she is! I was glad to make acquaintance with you too through Christy. I’m also happy to say I’ll soon be reading your ‘Bertha’ book, can’t wait! 🙂
Oh…I’m glad to get to know you, too. I’m so excited that Bertha will be paying you a visit. Do hope y’all have fun. 😉
Deb, you are a wonderful support! Thanks 🙂 And you’ll adore the Bertha books, I just know it!
I surely did adore the Bertha books! <3
Thank you so much Debby…I truly appreciate your feedback. So glad we’ve connected thanks to Christy! 😉
Wonderful guest post and I’m always inspired whenever I read what Christy has written. I found this through her blog post and am grateful to you both for making this public. Christy is truly an inspiration but not only to women who have suffered in various ways, but to all women.
She exudes strength, perseverance, self assurance, determination, faith and hope. All these are vital to our everyday living. Thank you again and Congratulations to you both!
I totally agree with you Lauren…thank you for stopping by to honor Christy. 😉
Lauren, I’m glad we that separate conversation about your comment here and once again I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your beautiful words. I treasure them – and you!
Wonderful interview. Christy, you such an inspiring person.
Thank you Tricia…I agree…Christy is amazing! Thanks for stopping by.
Thank you, Tricia. Jane made the interview process such a welcoming experience.
I am so pleased I got a chance to read this! Wonderful and inspiring, I knew Christy would be, lovely to see others adding to the conversation. Thank you for hosting my friend and making it such a open discussion.
Thanks for your comment Valentine…Christy is an amazing woman and it was my privilege to have her here. 🙂
And thank YOU Val for being supportive and encouraging me when I need it. I am thankful for your friendship.
What a fun post! Isn’t is wonderful that we can connect with folks on Twitter who become real friends?! Awesome!
Sheila, I do love connecting with people from all over the world via social media and have made some wonderful friends…Christy is one of the best of the best.
Thank you for sharing Christy’s work with us. Lovely how you highlight such amazing women on your blog. Blessings
Thank you Debra…Christy is truly an amazing woman. Thanks for visiting.
Thank you for allowing us to get to know Christy Birmingham a little bit more. I am a fan of hers (and yours) and it’s great to hear more about each of you in this interview. I think it is admirable when one can share more of their story to help others (and in turn help themselves too!). YAY!
Teresa, It is totally admirable of Christy to be so candid with her story. I’ve wanted to interview her since Pathways to Illumination came out but didn’t know exactly how to go about it until now. Glad I waited…
Teresa, so true that in helping others we are rewarded too. It’s such a positive cycle that is more powerful than the negative one. Thank you and it really was so kind of Jane and Bertha to have me here!
This was a wonderful, heartfelt and honest interview with Christy. I met Christy through blogging and am always amazed at how she reaches out to support women through her blog and her poetry. She is truly an inspiration.
Michelle, she really is as kind and generous as she is inspiring…Christy is a special woman.
Oh Michelle, so kind. Your words mean a lot to me, both here and at the other places we meet with words and smiles. Jane made this a space where I could open up and I thank her so much for it!
Christy is a very mature soul who has touched the depths of pain and lived through the layers of life’s dissimilitudes. I like her approach of reaching a “truth” about the inner self, and still be objective. Not to many people are this capable, or have reached this level of maturity.
Maria you are so right about Christy. I admire her so much and appreciate the ‘Christy’ that she brings to the world.
When I first read your comment Maria I had to take time to fully understand the depth of what you were saying. Now that I do, I say thank you as it is quite the compliment.
“Not too many people” I meant.
“Truth is a base…from which words and actions flow.” I love this and all you share here, Christy. Thank you for sharing your truth and strength.
Thank you Deb…Christy has an incredible story and a poet’s way of sharing it. 😉
Thank you for appreciating the post, including the poetic touch, Deb. Jane was a wonderful host and so nice she had me here to visit.
What a beautiful interview and soul! As a poet and a writer, words often carry messages that we may not understand until we hear them…until. While I climbed out of my own hole, can I tell you I read and re-read certain books until I got the message. Even now, I can go back and read them and see where I was in my life (I dog ear, underline, highlight, asterisk and date whatever passage speaks to me at that time)
Going to check out Christy’s websites now!
Peggy…thanks for your comments. I agree, I have heard things and even said things over and over and then one day…they just click or click in a different way. Have fun at Chrity’s place. 😉
Thank you Peggy for taking time here and for checking out my sites. I am glad that particular note understanding messages made sense to you and that you go back and reread lines means you are always learning – which is wonderful! Jane is an amazing woman so to have her invite me here means a lot to me!
I stumbled upon this post so late but I am so glad I did! This is a wonderful post, so honestly shared and I loved to know more about my dear friend Christy. I am so happy to note how you rediscovered yourself. Thank you so much Jane and Christy.
I’m so glad you found it Balroop. Christy is an amazing woman, as you already know, and it was my honor to share part of her story. Thank you for joining us.
Thanks Jane & Bertha and Christy 🙂 You are all awesome and inspirational powerful women 🙂 Hugs
Thanks Hella…Christy is amazing and I so appreciate her and her story. HUGS!