I stood before the mirror of the lobby corporate tower, reflected by the image of a woman dressed in a silk shirt, trousers, and heels. It was a familiar image, most assuredly—Paula Howell, a modern-day woman, mother, entrepreneur, and wife. Yet, as I gazed into the mirror, a melancholic discontent engulfed me.
What had brought me to this moment? Perhaps prompted by the impending arrival of my 45th birthday, the weighty divorce papers resting on my desk, and the witnessing of my daughter's second-grade journey unfolding. These catalysts catapulted me into a realm of introspection, demolishing the walls of my prescribed security and projected success.
My early year values were rooted in a solid Catholic upbringing, anchoring my innocence and grounding a naivety around boundaries. It was at the age of 9, grooming started by a trusted family member, who later sexually abused me at 12. I survived through dissociation, recognizing that within society's perception of perfection, success, and beauty were the ideal decoy for trauma.
The abuse was finally exposed when I was sixteen––exposed and then promptly dismissed. It was in that unspoken acknowledgment I began to comprehend the intergenerational cycle of my family of "ignorance as bliss." Within an atmosphere of dissolution of my self worth, I found solace through journaling, discernment, and, later, therapy.
Following profound personal growth and extensive healing, nurtured through a genuine friendship, which later solidified at 21 when we were married, I re-assessed my outlook on life, relocating to Australia together, I earned a Bachelor of Education with honors in Early Learning Development and Psychology. Additionally, I became a Certified Neuro Linguistic Practitioner and Time Line Therapist.
At 30, I braved into entrepreneurship by launching Jessi Howell Cosmetics. The brand embraced the ethos of "Why fit in when you can stand out?" aimed to inspire self-acceptance, with a notable portion of PUD line proceeds donated to child advocacy groups. It was in its conception I discovered respite in overexertion and accomplishment, society-celebrated addiction.
I was an accomplished adult, a loving wife, holding positions in academia and entrepreneurship, yet I still faced challenges that made me feel powerless, unworthy, and void of self identity. In those moments, I turned inward and sought inspiration from luminaries such as Maya Angelou, Stuart Wilde, Wayne Dyer, Tony Robbins, and Iyanla Vanzant. Additionally, I reconnected with source energy through meditation and silent hikes, using these practices as tools to find support and inner strength.
After seven years of estrangement from my immediate family, coinciding with seven years of marriage, I reached a pivotal realization that our friendship would always remain steadfast. Consequently, we divorced, leaving everything behind. I embarked on a new chapter waiting to be written in British Columbia, Canada.
I remarried at 39, and we welcomed our daughter, Paige. As the CEO and founder of a leading education consulting firm, a homeowner, and the adored wife, I seemingly had it all. However, the stark reality hit me: life had repeated itself. I saw familiar patterns in my daughter's eyes, reflecting my disillusionment with reality. Within my self-constructed "witness protection program," I bore witness to these patterns. This forced me into a radical acceptance of my truth, accompanied by intense grief and yearning for safety over the turbulence of self-growth. I decided to separate from my husband, creating space to confront unresolved wounds, including past abuse, workaholic tendencies, struggles with balancing motherhood, issues of self-worth, and boundary setting. Each revealed truth brought forth a whirlwind of emotions—fear, sadness, shame, anger, grief, and uncertainty. Setting boundaries and expressing raw feelings were my realized kryptonite.
In a place of profound release, I found my breath, self connection and a steadfastness in survivors. As a Transformational Coach and advocate, I founded Blanc Paige Ink, determined to break society's cycle of ignorance. Today I share my story, as the most transformative step, liberating me from the weight of long-held silence. Through this vulnerability, I forged genuine connections with others. This enabled me to embrace every part of myself while encouraging others to do the same. This journey revealed my capacity to give and receive conscious love, permanently altering my life's course. No longer silenced by shame, I've realized that success takes compassion, patience, and courage. Through connection, we can triumph over the Goliath of stigma, rewrite and dismantle the narrative, and forgive.
Today, as I gaze into the mirror, the reflection is consciously chosen, bound by nothing, free. Beyond the reality of this human experience lies a tapestry of words woven with threads of extraordinary strength and self-compassion. Blanc Paige Ink is a testament to the power of self-reflection and resilience, inspiring the embrace of individual narratives. As you forgive self, and lean into self-compassion by honoring past, and present self, you dismantle previous notions of what life is supposed to be and start scribing one that you consciously construct.
Visit Blanc Paige Ink or reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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