I am Women’s Bean Project: Danielle

Working at Women’s Bean Project has been a very humbling experience. It has challenged my character and my routines. It’s challenged my thoughts of where I’m going in my life and what I aspire to be. Working at Women’s Bean Project has also made my dreams come true. I started here wanting to go into some sort of peer coach training, and I’ve been accepted into a school despite not having a GED. I had to advocate for myself and use my network to accomplish that. The biggest hurdle obtaining career has been my lack of education. I’m a hard worker and reliable but I felt in the past that wasn’t enough to move on with my dreams. 

Working here taught me to trust myself and allowed myself to trust other people. It’s helped me move forward into my goal of being a peer support specialist. It’s been an opportunity that I’m grateful for, and it has been rewarding to watch other women grow into themselves. 

Before coming to Women’s Bean Project, I was in a deep drug addiction that led me to my death bed in 2017. I was an IV user that resulted in two separate staph infections requiring me to stay in the hospital for almost a year. The second time I ended up with it I almost lost my leg due to an abscess. I was alone and I was dying. I realized I didn’t want to die. Being in that circumstance gave me a whole different perspective in having a second chance to live. I took everything for granted. When I was staring death in the face, it was a rude awakening. I needed to figure out how to re-gain my integrity. I had to sit with my feelings, regret and remorse for all the things I did to everybody I loved and mainly myself. That’s when I truly started to reach out for love and to forgive myself for the things I did. 

 I wanted to see my children grow up. All those things flashed through my mind. I spent a lot time thinking about my family and what they would go through emotionally by how I would’ve died. I wanted people to remember me in a good light. It was like empathy was finally seeping into me. So I made the decision to live and realized life doesn’t just give you what you want. You have to fight for what you want. 

I had to consciously erase everything I had learned before. It felt like I was a child because I had to re-learn how to think, re-learn how to speak and re-learn how to walk. I had to be honest and own up to everything I did in the past to be able to grow. I set a starting baseline for myself to fall back on. Without that I wouldn’t be able to achieve any of my dreams or goals. 

It is kind of surreal sometimes thinking about what I’ve accomplished because I had to start from the bottom and do it myself. I’m proud of the woman that I am today. I can do anything because of what I’ve already done, and that is what continues to drive me. I’m able to provide for my family which I hadn’t done before. I’m able to keep commitments that I didn’t before. I can say “no” when I need to. I wasn’t able to stand up for myself in that way before. I’m proud of that. I’m proud of my children. I’m proud of the people that they’ve become and will be. 

I’m excited about my future. I have a curiosity for different experiences, and I have ambitions in life that I didn’t have before. I choose to look beyond what was the “normal” to me. I believe that I can have anything in my life that I work for whether its mental, physical, or material. I’ve challenged myself in proving these things are tangible to me. I want more now since I’ve accomplished these challenges of myself. 

The feelings of love is my why. It’s the most intense high I’ve ever experience. Keeping that alive by fighting the “fear of fears” is worth it because I can’t embrace love without that fear. Love is the true face of serenity- that is my why. 

My children who I’ve brought into this world to raise are my responsibility. I didn’t fully comprehend how special this blessing was in the beginning, and now I nourish them with the love and integrity they deserve. 

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