Many of you know that I do communication skill based competitions, and that this is part of my plan to educate people about domestic violence ,as well as obtaining some specialized skills that are part of my Radiant Woman program.  Probably a lot of you knew that I was preparing to compete in Atlanta next week.  I found out tonight that I am not going.  It came down to them needing an exact headcount for meals and things today, and I still didn't have my plane ticket. 

Not for lack of trying, mind you.  I have talked to everyone I could think of, trying to find more sponsors, and it just didn't work.  I should tell you, just in case you don't know, that I am a disabled single parent, with undependable child support, and other things have to come first.  That is as it should be... but I am definitely dealing with the inevitable let down that comes when you work your hardest, and things beyond your control don't go the way you want.

I am not superwoman.  I know that in my head... am reminded everyday, but when it comes to competing, I know what it is to get "in the zone" and just do it.  There is nothing like the feeling that comes with being there, and having that single focus.  Making a difference... it changes lives, beginning with my own.  That is, of course, once I get there.  For me, as I suppose for many of us, the journey is the hardest part of the challenge. I am not going to let what happened sideline me, though.  That's what happened last time, that I could have done different.  When I lost out on 3 airline tickets to South Carolina (my last competition) at the last moment,  I was so devastated that I could barely function for weeks.  It's not that I didn't feel the same depression tonight.  Only that I know I can't allow myself the luxury of stopping everything I have going for me.  I know I am meant to do what I am doing, to be my personal best, and touch as many lives as possible along the way.  Sharing hope, strength, survival...

The women here at cafemom, especially those involved in domestic violence survival, education,  and the Foundation...are my true heroes.  And tonight, when I was at my lowest,  I got a letter from a friend who needed support... it reminded me that that is my purpose, along with raising my daughter.  That letter, and the one that followed it, brought me out of my inertia and reminded me that while I was mourning the loss of an opportunity, the real tragedy would be mourning the loss of a life to domestic violence.  I don't want any more Olga's.  Beside that realization, my own loss paled in significance, as it should.

There will be other competitions.  I know that in so many ways, I am just getting started.  I know what I was put here to do, and the journey ahead really is clear, with or without plane tickets. Tonight I am thankful for cafemom for a whole new reason.  You all reminded me what my focus is, and what is really important. For that I am very thankful.  I love you all.  

Take care of yourselves and Stay Safe,


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Feb. 1, 2008 at 8:05 AM I am so sorry your unable to go to Atlanta. But at the same time I am proud of you for your strength in accepting your letdown. You are such an inspiration and help to those that need it and that is definately your calling among other things as well. Your awareness of your  strengths and goals is something that alot of women have not achieved, including myself. I wish I was as strong. I just recently suffered a letdown and unfortunately not accepting it well. Sometimes I would like to give up but something stronger than me won't let me. Each hurtle, which there are many that comes my way, I deal with and struggle to get over it. I admire you for so many things. Take care, Arisa, your friend, Pam

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