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In my Room

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“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you”                                                      (the late great Maya Angelou)

I was already on a spiritual journey when I met my husband in 2009. It was the lowest point in my adult life. My days were filled with sadness, and I had no idea how I was going to move forward or get my life back to normal. I had just lost everything I had worked so hard to accumulate. Everything was gone right before my eyes; my home, my car, my finances and my self-confidence. The recession in 2008 was devastating, to say the least. I had been in the financial field for over 17 years, in control of my destiny on a daily basis, and now didn’t feel prepared for what was going to happen next. (It was similar to what we are all going through right now with the coronavirus.) 

Then one day in June 2009, my life changed. I met my soulmate, my lover, my business partner, my future husband.

A year before all this happened, reading had been my favourite pastime. My collection was heavy on self-help and spirituality. I had just read a book by Jentezen Franklin, a spiritual leader and pastor in the United States.  The book was entitled “Right People; Right Place; Right Plan,” and I found the lessons from those pages were manifested right before my eyes.

I am sharing this from a space of vulnerability and honesty. I believe a mature person will know when the feelings are right. Your sense of discernment will open up, and you will feel it in your soul and spirit all at the same time. For me, it came suddenly; I was not looking for a soulmate or any romantic relationship. Dating was not on my schedule. Sleeping had become my favourite pastime. I was down and out.

We met on a busy Friday summer afternoon in a lineup at a local bank. It was all by faith and divine appointment. Destiny had collided with opportunity. It was the perfect setup for what I had read in the book. It was an awakening of being in the right place at the right time with the right person, just as the book had said. We exchanged business cards and went along our separate ways. Phone calls kept coming in; messages were left in my phone mail.  One particular message was different from the ones I had heard before. I was curious to learn more.  I decided to respond to the message and accepted a coffee date. The rest is history, and five years later, we were married.

It is important to understand what constitutes a healthy, loving relationship. Always knowing that your needs are met, you are both giving equally and freely of yourself. I always knew what my love language looked like; I knew if I found a partner that gave me attention and spent quality time with me, that would be the person who would have my heart.   Andrew passed the test with flying colours.

Being in love for the last eleven years has been the most empowering experience in my life. As much as we are an interracial couple, we have not knowingly faced any discrimination. Even though there are many cultural differences, our blended families have adjusted well. 

It is very important for a woman to develop her strength while still maintaining her femininity. For me, I am at my best when I give my all. My femininity is protected in a secure covenant. This way, I have the utmost freedom to be a strong woman.

I am able to reach the depth of intimacy to nourish my relationship with my husband spiritually, emotionally and sexually.  It is easy to exchange intimacy throughout the day, both personally and professionally. Luckily for me, we are business partners.  We interact daily even though we maintain our own workspace. We are compatible; we view life through the same lens.  

My husband is the only human being that can occupy my Room. With that being said, you wonder, do we ever fight? Of course we do. He drives me nuts, but I like him as a person first, so those feelings allow me to be his friend and forgive the behaviour. Conflict in a healthy relationship is ok. It is ok to allow the other partner to express themselves, whether it’s anger, sadness or any other emotion. (“Every time we fight, love wins.”)

Despite this, our working relationship is very important to both of us. We create together and work very well as a team.

To occupy my Room means that I allow myself to be completely vulnerable. However, vulnerability also allows for healthy boundaries, a place where I can be respected and be allowed to own my feelings. Intimacy is the catalyst and is the place where we both can express ourselves and our love for each other freely. Every relationship needs nurturing to reassure each other of the commitment and growth along the journey, and we have that.

To many of you, I may seem overconfident, but that is far from the point. I operate from a space of security and deep trust, and we operate from a sense of high self-esteem. Our life together is worth more than a marriage certificate. We are so deeply connected; it is like we are joined in mind, body and spirit; it is like we occupied our personal spaces before. 

Our souls are eternal, and so is our covenant.  In my Room, that translates to contentment and peace of mind.

Shelley Jarrett

Shelley Jarrett

Shelley Jarrett brings a wide range of expertise to the table. With a degree in Social Work, she has worked with women and supported them in various ways over the past three decades. She also believes strongly in partnerships and collaborations, and is very supportive of developing business objectives and business skills through learning opportunities. Shelley has been featured on several print media outlets and mainstream TV Including CHCHTV to talk about her journey of producing W’at Abowt Us documentary and most recent SHIFTNOW E-course. Shelley is a Board Member of the prestigious Art Gallery of Mississauga Advisory to the Board of Canadian Centre for Women’s Empowerment Shelley has merged her passion for community development and the arts. Shelley is the founder and Publisher of SMJ Magazine, an Image, lifestyle and business online publication, with limited printed editions. For seven years and 30 issues, she has overseen the publication of original stories on arts & entertainment, beauty & fashion, health & wellness, faith & community, as well as giving entrepreneurs a platform to tell stories about their business. Online SMJ Magazine’s App can be downloaded on Google Play Store and Apple Store. In 2019 Shelley produced her debut film, the award-winning documentary W’AT ABOWT US. Eight women from all 5 major cultural backgrounds tell their stories of truth from #metoo and beyond, gender-based harassment and abuse in diverse locations. Earlier this year, Shelley added a regular podcast to her responsibilities, called Building Healthy Relationships. Shelley has won numerous awards over the past eight years including a few recent ones below. • In 2015 one of the 100 Black Women to Watch in Canada by CIBWE • In 2016 and 2017 nominated for a MARTY award as Publisher of SMJ Magazine • In 2019 the Women Entrepreneur Award in Celebration of “Small Business Week” • In 2019 the Woman Achievement Award in recognition for outstanding contribution to the community re: International Women’s Day • In 2019 the Excellence Achievement Award for film and media from Glorious Women of Wonders “In keeping with my goal of raising awareness and education, it is vital that we continue to push for changes to gender based violence, systemic racism and varies women’s’ issues. I feel it’s all our responsibility to continue to raise our voices and demand societal change.”

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