I am strong

-Hiking Acadia National Park, Mt. Desert Island, ME, August 2012

I have sat down time and time again to write my story, but it all seems too much, too long, too stressful, too hard. And, then in almost a meeting of fate I came across "A Beautiful Body Project" and "Birth Without Fear" and "The Thinking Moms Revolution" and a myriad of women and mamas who are all overcoming the masks and labels society inflicts upon them and their children all within a few weeks of each other and I just know these are signs that it is time. I have felt sadness and anger and strength and beauty and a re-inspiration of all that is and has been to my story and I am now ready. I am strong and beautiful and speak up and stand out because of my story. There really is so much to it, and it is still being written, but I now feel the desire to share my story, so here's a start...

My life has not been scarred by trauma and hardship and guilt and fear, but enriched because of it. My life has certainly been tough, but also full of amazingly strong moments and people and connections and spirit all intertwined to create what is me, my family, my soulmate, my children. I am strong because of all that has happened to me, my family, my births, my kids, my journey. I am strong because I have seen abuse, been at the hands of it, and have risen because of it. I am strong because I have been chased, handled, harassed, assaulted, and raped and have risen because of it. I am strong because I have been clinically depressed, anorexic, anxious and fearful and have risen above it. I am strong because I have had kidney infections, stomach ulcers, hypertension, panic attacks, and numerous health issues, but have risen above it through healthy food and life choices. I am strong because I have been poor, without, starving, and weak, and have risen above it.

I am strong because I was told I could have trouble conceiving a child after losing my menstrual cycle completely for several months while anorexic and depriving my body of so much nourishment that I was melting away, losing hair, breaking nails, fading skin tone. I am strong because I did start eating again and got healthy and healed and had my first baby at the age of 24 with the love of my life and soulmate forever. I am strong because I went on to have three more beautiful children with my love, my last one completely natural, and now have one more on the way. I am strong because I gained 60 healthy pounds in my breasts and belly with each of my pregnancies, and lost it all and got back into shape with each one. I am strong because I breastfed my first two children until they were three, and my third until she was four, and gave them the best start possible for a healthy life to come, even though back when I started I knew no one else who breastfed their children that long. I am strong because with each birth I learned to speak up more about my needs for birthing and grew confident in trusting my instincts as a mama. I am strong because with my fourth baby on the way I am planning a home water birth and know that my body can do it without a doubt.

-Stand Up Paddle Boarding, 6 months pregnant, 4th baby, Lake Siskiyou, Mt. Shasta, CA, August 2013

I am strong because even in the face of vaccine injury, toxic overloads, and chemically fabricated foods, I have taken the path to do whatever it takes to heal my kids and rid our lives of the poisons that we are so inundated with from those trying to profit from our demise. I am strong because I have learned more about my own very similar needs from my kids' special sensory needs that together as a family we learn to navigate our modern overstimulated world and make our own path hand in hand everyday. I am strong because I have fought for the health of my children and now educate to thousands the importance of a toxic-free life for all children and people.

I am strong because each new day I am more confident in my role here on earth, trusting a path I sometimes can't see, but know that it will always lead me to where I need to be when I need to be there. I am strong because I turned my head on convention and sold my house and everything in it to live in a 256 square foot RV so that I could travel and live sustainably and focus more on my family and less on the stuff that filled a home. I am strong because I am running two businesses with my husband and partner for life on the road full-time with three kids in tow, life learning across the country, and consciously connecting with families while co-creating change to better our world for our kids, our future. I am strong because I have taken several leaps of faith and huge risks and have learned so many lessons and have had so many adventures that my life is full of rich experiences. I am strong because I have still stumbled upon roadblocks and hardships and breakdowns, yet I have learned that they are just reminders to slow down.

I am not broken, or broken down, or weak, or starved, or poor, or too skinny, or too big, or too sick, or too victimized, or too traumatized, but I am strong because of all of these things. And, as a writer, I am strong for writing not just everyone else's story, but for finally starting to write my own. I am strong for being a part of the conscious collective that is also speaking out and standing up for themselves, their families, their kids, to create a ripple of love and self-love and confidence and unwavering strength that all together is contributing to tearing down the wall of social fear built by the powers that be and those shadows that reflect those powers. For, the power is within us all, it is within our hearts and passions and it is what is changing the face of strength and power as we speak.

I am strong, you are strong, we are all strong. The shift is happening as the walls come down and the fear is fading as our collective self-love grows. So, ignite it like a flame and grow it inside with all your might, because we are the calm we are seeking in the world and we are the love we have been waiting for.

Angela Malson