My WHY behind joining Fitted for Work as a Volunteer Mentor this week
Last night I couldn't go to sleep without writing this article to then realise that today is my birth mom's 71st birthday, funny how things happen for a reason, without you realising it.
This story could take a bit longer but I have decided to put in on paper instead of a video. After randomly looking at photos lately, I feel so at peace with my story and it is also my biggest "WHY" for joining Fitted to work as a Mentor. I thought that by sharing it with you, you could also get inspired to do something that has meaning to you as much as it does for me.
When I heard about Fitted for work in 2020, I was told that it was to help women who are experiencing disadvantage, get back into the workforce. That's exactly what I was looking for. Wait... let me backtrack because you need to be on the same page as me to understand where I'm coming from and why I connected so well with it.
In January 1990, I was adopted from Brazil, I was 2 months old, I was then raised in France. I had the chance to live and work in the US, UK, Singapore and now Australia. 2019 was the year that I would turn 30 and I wanted answers. In order to get ready to hear those answers, you need to physically get ready and know that you can hear the worse, that people will not want to talk to you, that you might also never be able to find those answers. It is such a difficult process and when I think about all the years of doubt I still have knots in my stomach.
In 2014, in one of my interviews, Siba asked me what made me strong (thanks for the challenging interview question Sibs haha). I told him that knowing where I came from and always reminding myself + always facing difficult situations with my head up was what made me strong. He seemed surprised that I had shared this but satisfied, good ! This is truly who I am after all.
I always knew that I came from a very poor background in Brazil, this constant reminder helped me stay down to earth and always appreciate what I had. Life was not always easy, even in France but we pulled through everything and I am proud to have gained great life values from a young age which helps me appreciate even more everything I have now.
Back to 2019, to make this long story short, after finding my birth family unexpectedly in 48 hours, the months of shock and denial of what I was going through, I decided to learn Portuguese in 7 months to then head to Brazil before moving to Australia and meet my birth family. I had a feeling that it was 2019 or nothing. Those of you who know me well, know that I always have those weird hunches and will not be surprised at all. With covid, it seemed I was right once more and thank god for that.
December 2019, Teofilo Otoni, Minas, I found welcoming women, interested to see me and keen to get to know me. Time perhaps stopped for a day and this day was great.
What struck me the most ? My thoughts after that whole day ? I'll give you a few:
- I cannot believe that at 71 years old my birth mom does not know how to read and write - This makes me angry, I want her to get more in life but I cannot change her life and need to let go.
- How do the women of my birth family not have access to everything I had access to ?
- How unfair is it that people still live in this poverty in our days and do not have the chance to have the mentors I had in my career and life ?
- How can I help or make a difference with what I saw and know ?
My hubby and I have answered part of it by supporting my birth mom and sending her food during the pandemic. She is aging and I did not want her to risk it. She already had a tough life I wanted to help her. (She never even asked me for anything, aways thankful for the help).
The second thing I found was to find a way to help women with disadvantage where I lived. Now, you see where I am going with this right ?
As a business owner, I have been rethinking my priorities and what is important to me all week. Part of the answer is, helping people climb the ladder - whatever that ladder is to them. We'll climb it side by side and at their pace, more than often, it is happiness in the next professional adventure or the current one to make the day to day life easier and peaceful.
I am grateful and excited to join Fitted to Work as a Mentor and support women in their growth. I feel like this brings me closer to changing things for my birth family somehow. We may never meet again but I think that if we all start to give back when we see that we are doing well, maybe the world will start shifting. The pandemic is teaching us kindness, let's spread it together and be stronger.
Anyway... see you soon?
Please find a photo of me and my birth Mom below, what a day it was! Parabens Mãe.