25 Faces: Dana Williams

25 Faces

25FacesPink-02
25 Faces celebrates the amazing women in my life who continue to inspire me day in and day out. I hope this story brings out your best as well. Join in the conversation below, or on Twitter and Facebook. Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for another inspiring narrative!

I’m quite blessed when it comes to my Zumba family. Dana Williams is another one of my truly inspirational instructors, whom I’ve had the opportunity to Zumba with her for about 3 years now.

Dana is a 50-something divorcee. She has spent nearly 27 years in the ministry as a wife, speaker, teacher, and writer, and in 2010 she launched a personal blog about her journey to shed titles and rediscover herself in the wake of her divorce.

25 Faces - Dana Bennie Williams

Kate: You mentioned to me before that you once lost something very important. Can you tell me about that?
Dana:
I’m not sure when I lost it. Actually I wasn’t even aware it was gone until I went looking for it. After being married over 20 years to a minister accused of various forms of financial deceit, I think it went into hiding. I don’t blame it, actually. Hiding can be a comfortable and happy place, for a season.

I didn’t want to acknowledge that my identity had become enmeshed with my husband’s legal and moral troubles, but it had. After my divorce, I started a very long, painful journey to find the person I was originally intended to be. You see, when we enmesh with another’s dysfunction, we lose who we really are…or who we were meant to be. As women, we are taught to take on our husband’s name. There’s a lot of power in that. Our name is our calling card to the world of who we are.

K: Can you tell me a bit about your personal journey to rediscovering yourself?
D: When I finally had the courage to come out of hiding – not an easy thing – I started the long road to find…me. After three years of therapy (the best gift I ever gave myself), and peeling the layers of self-deception and co-dependency, I can see “me” up ahead.

Throughout this molting season, I’ve been able to teach my adult children the value of knowing who you really are in the eyes of God and the world and not to lose sight of this in the wake of finding “the one.” It’s been a long shedding process, but empowering.

I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I really like “me.” Hi, my name is Dana Williams, and I like me.

K: Do you have any advice to others who are on the journey to rediscovering themselves or for those who think they may have lost themselves and want to find themselves again?
D: Find a good therapist!!! I wasn’t kidding when I said this is the best gift I ever gave myself. For many years during my marriage, I realized I needed help with everything I was navigating, but I kept saying, “We can’t afford that. I have God, I don’t need a therapist!” I know without a shadow of doubt God uses therapy to help us grow. The other thing that was paramount to my healing was surrounding myself with girlfriends that would keep me in check, encourage and pray for me, and remind me that I AM beautiful, wonderful, and worthy of all that God has for me.

K: What’s next on your journey?
D: Anything and everything! I have many books and articles in me that need to get out into the world. I would love to re-marry again – so I definitely see the love of my life in my future. I plan on being the best “me” when I’m 60, 70, 80, and beyond. I plan on being one of those dancing grandma’s we see posts about on Facebook.

I have a saying, “You are only given one body, one soul, and one spirit. You have to take care of all three cause it’s all your gonna get!” I live by this daily. I exercise regularly, pray without ceasing, and check in with my girlfriends regularly (and occasionally with my therapist now that I’ve graduated from therapy).

The best is yet to be!