finding my voice | a storytelling challenge

Justine Musk said, "Stories are not an escape from reality.   Stories are how we shape and understand our reality.  We create the world we live in by the stories we choose to tell about it." 

In 2013, I started a series on my blog called Soulful Beauty of the Week.  I asked women I admired to share wisdom they've gained from their experiences:  the a-ha moments, the realization of dreams + desires, the truth about their wins + losses.   I offered a space for them to share the stories that have shaped them. When I asked Saunya to tell me about a turning point in her life, she said:

"After my father passed away in December of 2011, I went through a rough patch where I felt so empty inside. The most important man in my life was gone. It was like a wide open gaping hole in my heart that no one person could fill. It was during this time where God worked on my heart the most. He showed me so much about myself that I didn’t know before. He taught me how to depend on Him and not other people or things. He taught me how to love Him! Throughout this time I looked to God as my source of comfort and realized that He was THE source of comfort. I fell right into the arms of the One who loved me most and that patched the hole in my heart right on up. I grew up. I was restored. I became a woman."

For this writing challenge, I’m asking you to think about the chances you've taken, how far you've come, all the women you have been and the seasons you have experienced.  Imagine yourself a witness, watching your story unfold.  Think about the details — what you saw, heard and felt —  when you stepped into the unknown and made a significant life change. When you met someone who changed your ideas and expanded your mind. When you thought a setback would break you and it didn't.  When you got sick, when you got well, when you found God, when you challenged yourself.  The birth or death of someone important to you.   With these examples in mind, this is the writing prompt for the challenge: 

In 200 words or less, describe a major turning point in your life.  

If you would like to participate in the challenge, email me your answers to the prompt above (200 words or less).   All submissions will be posted here on All the Many Layers.  I will share some of the submissions on my Instagram page with the hashtag #_FindingMyVoice_.  No worries if you prefer not to share your name, you can submit anonymously.  The submissions that are shared on Instagram will be entered to win a signed copy of one of my books.  The submissions that get the most likes from my Instagram family will win the challenge.   

To submit, send me an email with the subject line:  FINDING MY VOICE.   Include your response to the prompt  (200 words or less) and whether or not your want your name and/or social media handle included. 

This challenge will be open until Friday, September 28.

Brittni A.:

I thought I found my soulmate. He was pretty convincing when he would tell me he thought so too. So convincing that I can still see myself grabbing the warning sparks of intuition, putting them into a jar, twisting the lid shut, and telling myself to smile at all the pretty stomach butterflies. Long story short, I dropped the jar...okay he threw it. Everything else in my life felt like it shattered. That was the first time I could actually feel my heart hurting. And then the things that brought me peace my entire life stopped working. But in some odd way, recognizing I couldn’t depend on those things somehow helped me save myself. Despite how uncomfortable I felt trying to fight the darkness in ways I never had before, I realized how much being a fighter isn’t just some character I call on in desperate’s a part of me. Now, I acknowledge how strong I am just for...acknowledging that I felt weak. Lost. I stopped myself from believing I might never love again. I keep finding new ways to heal myself, and now the healing goes beyond this relationship alone. 


The moment I realized not everyone is deserving of my love. The taste of betrayal is caustic. It singes the very essence of your spirit, making you question your character. Deceit is bitter sweet. The lie tasted so good once it initially rolled off his tongue, dripped from his lips and caressed my ears. Once the deceit was revealed as such, the pain was unbearable. The kind of pain that made me shy away, isolate and disconnect. The heavy weight of the blame I put on myself for being so foolish broke my heart into a million pieces. I recovered but discovered, not everyone deserves a love so pure, so rare, so authentic.


So I stood there staring at him in silence, with the gnawing feeling in my gut that “it’s coming”. Please not now(I thought), I’m tired, I can’t do this. After the last episode, I knew that when this day came it would be the last; or my last. I was prepared to risk it all. Then he threw me to the floor. I quickly jumped to my feet, not wanting to be taken advantage of while I was down and spatted out, "If you hit me you better kill me because I’m fighting back."

This would have to be episode number toomanytocount within 3 years, and I’m only 16, and he’s...... too damn old to be with me, but he swings, connects and I grab.... I grab every single dread I could, and with the little strength I had I continuously threw blows to his head. The rage behind my blows were so real, so distracting, that the damage he was trying to inflict on me was non-existent. He finally yelled to be let go, but I knew I couldn’t trust him. Shortly thereafter, It was the end, but for me a liberated beginning. It took me 10 years, 3 equally disappointing relationships, mending with my parents and a life transition to surrender hurts like this one and begin a love like no other, with myself. There may be a love/hate relationship at times, but I can tell you with all honesty that this love has never hurt.