Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Interviewing the #UndauntedWoman: Jodie Pierce

Welcome to the very first post in my brand new interview series - Interviewing the Undaunted Woman. In these monthly interviews, I'll be talking with women YOU nominate, asking hard questions about how your favorite undaunted women became the strong and admirable humans they are today.
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So let's jump right in and say hello to the woman of the hour: August 2017's Undaunted Woman, Jodie Pierce. Jodie is someone I've encountered many times in recent years - she's an author, a blogger, a wife, a crafter, and a friend. She's encountered struggles with mental illness, domestic abuse and assault, and in just the last year, she's survived the loss of both of her parents. She's still standing strong though, walking through each day with her chin up and her shoulders back, and while I am so grateful for her friendship, I also truly admire her strength.


1. Tell me about yourself - what's your story, and how did you become an undaunted woman?
I lived through emotional and physical abuse as an adult by men I thought I loved. I’d been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety and Borderline Personality Disorder. After my suicide attempt (drugs, prescriptions and cutting my arm in the bathtub-like in the movies), I had a stay in a mental facility for eleven days and I found mandalas to color which seemed to mellow me out, relax me and still do to this day. I have Fibromyalgia and bad knees and back which physically limit my activities. I live with these things every day and it’s just become a way of life for me.

2. Have you ever struggled with confidence and/or self-worth? If yes, how did you overcome that struggle - and if no, how did you avoid it?
I still struggle with self-confidence every day. It was this self-struggle that led me to do drugs and sleep around some, allowing others to dictate my behavior. But when on the drugs, I felt ‘free’ and I felt like my physical limitations were gone. After the suicide attempt, I met a great man online and we married within three months. Now, I have a great new husband who tells me every day how beautiful, sexy and smart I am. This has helped me to overcome the horribleness I’d endured in the past. When I was at my lowest, shortly after my suicide attempt, he and I met online and found an immediate connection both physical and emotional. He brought me out of the darkness that I’d fallen into and shed light into my world with him in it. I’ve always been an independent soul so yes, it’s silly that I needed a man to do that but I was spiraling and needed help. I was just lucky that it was him that came along as I’d finally found the right man for me.

3. What is the one thing you've survived that makes you feel most like an "undaunted woman?"
The physical abuse. It was so horrible, even though it was only just one year. The mental abuse was bad but the physical was so much worse. Luckily for me, he got an underage girl pregnant and had to leave his situation with me. So, I didn’t get myself out but my patience endured and came through for me.

4. What aspect of your current life do you find most rewarding?
Having a wonderful husband who makes me feel amazing and supports anything I wish to pursue.

5. What is your favorite successful strategy or coping mechanism for dealing with challenging people or situations, and how is that strategy impacted by what you've survived?
I think some of the ‘helplines’ associated with mental health, physical abuse and suicide have been a step in the right direction for helping others. Seeing a therapist over the years has helped me deal with my past issues. It’s not that I can’t talk about anything with my husband, I’d just rather tell a stranger my problems as it’s their job not to judge and just listen. This helps me feel better, anxious but better. Also, being able to adjust to circumstances and talk things out like adults instead of behaving the way I did when we first were together…I was very angry with everything at that time.

6. What other woman do you most admire, and why?
Anne Rice. She lived through losing the love of her life in Stan Rice and continued to pursue her writing career and be so successful. She is an amazing, friendly and humble person. I got to meet her in 2014 and she was everything I’d hoped she’d be and more. She is the reason I write about vampires. I loved vampires from a young age but never thought about writing about them until I read her book, ‘The Vampire Lestat,’ which really changed my life.

7. What one quality serves you best as an undaunted woman?
My focus. As much as I’ve been through, my focus has kept me driven, for example, with my writing. I don’t make a lot of money at it and will, honestly, probably never have a best-seller but I don’t let that stop me. I continue to put out books, books I’m proud of. I’m also kind of like a ‘dog with a bone’ when it comes to things. If there’s something I don’t know and need to know, I research the crap out of it until I find out what I need and more.

8. What one quality are you most looking to improve in yourself?
My anger. In seeing a new therapist, she asked me to keep a journal of my anxiety levels. I’ve found that when I have a higher level of anxiety, I also have bouts of anger to go along with it. I never realized how angry I am and how much I tend to take it out on my husband, even if he’s not directly involved. Guess the ‘you always hurt the one you love’ reigns true here.

9. If you could do any one thing right now to help other women become undaunted, what would you be doing?
Volunteering at a women’s homeless shelter and public speaking. I would love to travel the world, speaking about my experiences and how I got through them, and that they can do it too. This is what I did with my book, Inside My Head ... I gave exposure to what it’s like with being Bipolar. More awareness needs to be brought to the forefront of society. It no longer is taboo and needs to be spoken about.

10. If you could stand in front of every woman on the planet right now and speak into their hearts, what would you most want to say to them?
‘You are beautiful, talented, and deserve the best in life. You can do anything you put your heart and mind to. Life is going to present its challenges and tests but it's how you come through them in the end that you should be most proud of.’


Thank you so much for taking the time to hang out with me, Jodie! I think this was a great start to this interview series, and I loved the way you opened up to share your strengths with other women. I can appreciate your sharing about how angry you get with high anxiety levels as well, because anger happens to be one of my defense mechanisms too, and it's one of the things I like least about myself.

I truly appreciate you being so willing to come and share with my readers!


Thanks so much for taking the time to hang out with Jodie and I today - I really appreciate you're being here, and I know I can speak for Jodie and say that she does too! I'd love for you guys to leave an encouraging comment for Jodie below this post; even the smallest encouragement can mean the world to someone recovering from trauma.

In the meantime, if you'd like to follow my everyday journey as a writer, a mom, and an abuse survivor with PTSD, subscribe to this blog by filling out the "subscribe by email" form in the sidebar. It may not always be easy to read, but hopefully we'll inspire each other along the way.

To get even more personal come over to Patreon, where you can sign up to sponsor and support my writing journey. You can subscribe for as little as $1 a month, and that dollar gets you access to all sorts of content - including photos and mini-blogs from my personal life and advance access to my fiction writings! For a little more, you'll get to read my poetry, listen to podcasts, and even get your name on my personal mailing lists - and the best part is that as my patronage grows, so do the benefits for every patron! Our goal right now is 25 patrons; when we hit that goal, I'm going to start posting daily PhLogs!! (Click that link. Most are subscriber-only, but some are public - I think there's one about flappy labia, too.)

As always, my brand is built on the concept of what I write and who I'm writing it for. "Love Stories and Lifestyle for the Undaunted Woman." But what's an undaunted woman? Click here to find out more about what it means to be undaunted and how you can nominate your favorite undaunted woman to be interviewed - right here on the blog! This first interview was a thrill for me, and I'm so happy to have been able to share it with such an amazing friend. The second interview will come up at the end of September, and I can't wait to introduce you to our next Undaunted Woman!

In the meantime, if you'd like to follow my everyday journey as a writer, a mom, and an abuse survivor with PTSD, subscribe to this blog by filling out the "subscribe by email" form in the sidebar. It may not always be easy to read, but hopefully we'll inspire each other along the way. To get even more personal, come over to Patreon, where you can sign up to sponsor and support my writing. You can subscribe for as little as $1 a month, and that dollar gets you access to all sorts of content - including photos and mini-blogs from my personal life AND advance access to my fiction writings! For a little more, you'll get to read my poetry, listen to podcasts, and even get your name on my personal mailing lists.

For those who just want the inspirational parts of my content without all the personal aspects, connect with me on social media - that's where I like to share all sorts of things, from self-care tips to mental health quotes to song lyrics and more. But however you decide to keep in touch, whether you're a first time reader or a long-time loyal follower ... from the bottom of my heart, thank you for being here.

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