I think we all have those moments where we realize that something is meant to be.  Tonight I had an opportunity to share my Annual Underwear Drive with some amazing people at an event in Boynton Beach, hosted by the CEO of Tip Top Organizing, Jaclyn Gross. It began as a wet and rainy night and despite my leaving early for the event, I got caught in a downpour and heavy traffic.  I thought I was going to be late, but made it just in time, which was a good thing, because it doesn’t bode well for the Guest Speaker when she is late!

I shared the “stage” with Stephanie Stanford, who is also a Motivational Speaker and Lifestyle Coach. Stephanie is a delightful woman with a fabulous attitude and brings a brilliant message to all!  thank-you-wallpaper

I say that tonight was meant to be, because I had the opportunity to speak after the event with several very special women, with whom I could connect to on many levels. Had I not been there, there’s a chance that I wouldn’t have been able to make those connections.

There have been times where life is a struggle and when I just feel like giving up and going back into the corporate world. But then…then…a night like tonight happens and it reminds me of why I started in the first place.

I started because I was that woman….

I was that woman, who felt “stuck” in an abusive relationship and doubted my own self-worth and didn’t believe I had the strength to get out.

I was that woman, who felt stuck in a body that I didn’t want to be in, but the thought of losing so much weight was so overwhelming to me, that I had given up trying. I had lost weight so many times during the course of my life, but I had always gained it back and gained even more than I lost.

I was that woman who didn’t feel that I was worthy to have love and acceptance, yet I wished for it always.

I was that woman who wished…wished that my life could be different, but I didn’t know how to change it. Obviously all of the things I had been doing, had not worked.

What I didn’t share with the audience tonight, is that I was that girl who was bullied throughout school and into adult life because of what I looked liked. I was the young girl who was abused by her step-father, who after he unsuccessfully tried to sexually molest her, he began a campaign of emotional, mental and verbal abuse and no one stood up for me.  I was that child who was thrown away by her parents and sent to live in a group home, until I aged out at 18 years old.  I was that college student who was raped on campus and the campus police would not file a report because they said it was my word against his. I was that same college student who became pregnant as a result of the rape and made the brave decision to have the baby and give him up for adopting. I was that woman, I have walked in the same shoes that many of you have walked in.

But then…in the midst of my darkest days, when I realized that if I did not change my life on many levels, I was going to die. Whether it be by the hand of my abuser or die an early death because of my morbid obesity…I had to change my life.

I am no longer that same woman, I am the woman I have become now, who has learned from the adversities of the past and works endlessly and tirelessly to help other woman who are just like I used to be.

With a renewed mindset, focus and determination and for the first time, putting myself first, making ME a priority, I discovered the secret that I had searched for all of my life and finally after 43 years, I succeeded in changing my life.  I left the abusive relationship, moved 1200 miles away to Florida and began the journey to where I am today.  I am still on that journey and tonight I was reminded of why I had all of those challenges in my past and that is my purpose, to help others find their inner strength, to help others make a plan to move forward on their own journey and to help them achieve success, where in the past they have felt the defeat that I once did.

Oh yes, tonight was meant to be. I feel it inside and I am so happy that I had the opportunity to speak and share my passion for helping others, share my journey and bring awareness to the needs of the women and children at our local Domestic Violence Shelter.

Thank you to Jaclyn and to all those who greeted me with warm smiles and hugs.  I pray that I touched your hearts in a special way and know that my door is always open to you!


Robbyn Ackner