Why The Worst Moments in Teemaree’s Life Were Huge Blessings In Disguise
By Bri’Ann Stephens
We live our lives waiting for the "when I have" moments to arrive.
"When I have a boyfriend, I will be happy."
"When I have a nice apartment, I will be happy."
"When I get a better job and start making more money, I will be happy."
Author, minister and speaker, Teemaree has her own motto:
She encourages people to live their best life now and stop waiting for “when I have.“
Teemaree's latest book, "Love For You Now" is filled with impactful affirmations and pictures that share the universal language of the one thing that conquers all – love.
She took the time to openly share her heart with us on how she overcame abandonment as a child, molestation, and the feeling of unworthiness. All of the those circumstances were blocks set up to stop her, but she kept going with her head held high.
Tell us about your experiences as young girl. At just 9 years old, your mother abandoned you. How did you cope with that loss and abandonment as a child?
Abandonment is a deep wound that has many layers to it. When my mother left me and my brothers, everything changed for me.
At 9 years old, I became the “woman of the house.” I cooked, cleaned, cared for my brothers, and often times my dad too, because of his alcohol and drug addiction. Still, after the initial sear in my heart at her first leaving, I understood her. She went through a lot while married with my dad – physical abuse, often being the sole breadwinner, etc. In some way, I was proud of her for leaving and doing something good for herself. That was my first way of coping. At first, I found the positive.
The second way I coped was through brut strength. You see, I have always had a strong will and a "get it done" mentality. So, even at that young age, it kicked in, and it carried me through for years. Just good old fashioned surviving.
At the time, I wasn’t really conscious of the deep pain I had inside. It wasn’t until I became a mother myself at 15, that the deep hurt set in. Once I became a mother myself, I could no longer justify any reason for my mom leaving us. It was really hard and I did a number of other things to “deal with it.” Things like isolating myself, not getting too close to anyone, and eventually I did things like drinking, smoking, and drugs.
As I awoke to my feelings and committed to healing my pain in healthy ways instead of merely coping with it, I was able to see and understand how deep that abandonment affected me. This is why I say that abandonment has many layers to it. It is very deep and very powerful in the way it hurts, propels, and even blesses.
And yes, it even blesses us. I couldn’t be the coach, minister, author, teacher, leader, I am today, without my mother leaving me. Even saying this now brings tears to my eyes because it is profoundly true.
Through it all, I have come to view my mother, the incident, and all of the people involved as huge blessings and teachers that assisted me in becoming who I am today. I hope that whoever is reading this, feeling abandoned, unloved, unseen, tossed aside, or misunderstood, can see this too. That this terrible ugly hurtful thing, is a gift. This is my life’s work. My commitment. To help birth the truth for those who can’t see it yet.
You are a very strong woman, honestly. You were also molested on different occasions, what advice do you have for young girls who are overcoming the trauma of molestation?
To any and all girls or women, to anyone who has suffered the trauma of molestation, I am so sorry. Molestation or abuse of any kind is terrible, deeply confusing, violent to the soul, and incredibly unfair. My heart goes out to you. I see you. It's not your fault. You did not deserve or attract that experience.
So often, these are not the words we hear in these situations. We are made to defend ourselves, to justify, to prove that it even happened. Often times, we are hurt again in the process of simply trying to get justice or freedom from the initial incident.
My darling, powerful, beautiful, miraculous women, girls, young ladies, I see you and I share your pain. It. Was. Not. Your. Fault.
Really getting this, is the key to overcoming this trauma. You see, when it happened to me (and it did at three different times in my life, by three different men I was not related to) I was always made to feel ashamed or wrong. I found myself needing to defend myself and justify my actions.
This hurt me very deeply and caused me to question my sexuality as a woman. I essentially shut down. I often felt I had to play down my femininity and my sexuality. If you feel this, please know and I say this with so much love and respect, shutting down, is a terrible mistake.
We overcome this trauma by remembering who we are and identifying what happened as the terrible thing it was, but nothing more. It is not worthy of you. It is not who you are and it does not represent your worth. You, my darling, are royalty. Remember.
What issues or insecurities were the hardest to overcome and how did you overcome them?
The hardest insecurity I have had to overcome has been a feeling of unworthiness. I mean, this goes so deep that it will still rear it’s ugly head from time to time, especially when I'm stepping into bigger roles, sailing unchartered waters, conquering new lands.
There is still that voice, those questions, that say do you belong here? How are you going to do that? Who are you to do that? Will it be ok? The feeling of unworthiness has been the hardest because it has been so deeply embedded by the traumatic childhood events I experienced.
Yet, it has also been my greatest blessing because I have and continue to overcome it and I now get to help countless women live their best life now by sharing those ways with them. There are many ways; affirming, remembering, visioning, and more. I specialize in identifying the way that works best for the group or person I’m working with and infusing joy through the process because things are always better and easier when they’re fun! Transformation through joy. It’s amazing.
When did you develop a passion for Christ and ministering?
Me and God go way back. I was often lonely as a kid and from an early age I sought “the truth.” I would walk myself to different churches, see what was going on, try them out. Yes, me and God have been on a long walk together…I have studied many different religions and have seen wonderful truth in all.
But Jesus, Christ, is my heart. For the longest time, I did not feel comfortable saying I was a “Christian” because I didn’t identify with the title. What Christ teaches and for those of us that truly wish to be like him, it is beyond what I think any one title can hold.
But, I deeply love him. I seek to love and know my oneness with our Father the way he did, and I hope to serve humanity the way he did. All of this is fairly new. Meaning a few years now.
Roughly 4 years ago, I started to change inside but I was still very much doing my own thing. As a kid, even though I had this deep passion for truth and God, I thought all I ever wanted to do was be in the entertainment industry and so I was doing that and just studying and changing on a personal level. It was just a personal passion of mine.
Pretty soon though, I got the call to change my outside to match my inside and got promoted into not only personally working for God, but also professionally working for God. I love it. Being able to take every mistake, every pain, every seeming injustice I experienced and now use it to glorify God and set myself and others free in the process is the greatest gift in all the world. It brings me immense joy.
I thrive off my ministry, writing, and coaching. Seeing others overcome, achieve, and awaken to the truth of who they are is priceless. Gosh, I’m crying just talking about it. Glory to the Lord.
What lead you to become a motivational speaker and what advice do you have for women looking to pursue a career in motivational speaking?
Before my book “Love For You Now” was ready for publishing, I went to a Hay House convention for writers. I knew I wanted to start empowering, uplifting, and supporting women to live their best life now but I hadn’t really spoken it officially.
At this convention, I shared my writing with over 500 people and never felt so naked in my life! For the first time, I had no character, story, or talent to hide behind. I was not in “entertainment” anymore.
It was just me. My thoughts. My words. My stories. My life. I was trembling. After sharing, the response I received and the feeling I felt from taking that bold action was all it took. I knew from that moment on, I wanted to use my gifts, trials, and blessings, to empower others for the rest of my life.
So, my first tip is go bold. Where can you share your story? Most likely you have a few ideas now. Go for it, reach out, and share it. Go bold.
A second tip I would like to share for women interested in becoming public speakers, is to check out Toastmasters.org. I have been a part of this organization for coming on 2 years now as a mentor, a leader, and a speaker. It provides great training to those interested in public speaking and leadership, at a very low cost. They also have clubs and meetings every day and most time frames of the week.
What are 5 things you'd like to check off of your bucket list?
Travel the world, visit every continent, and every world wonder. Australia, Africa, Machu Picchu in Peru, and Bali in Indonesia are a few that come to mind…
Lounge naked on a private tropical beach where the weather is warm and the sand is soft. Perhaps because to me that represents freedom, beauty, and acceptance of self and nature.
Share the ways that God loves us, wants us, and really is here for us all the time, so more people can awaken to the magnificence and purpose only they can express. Truthfully, I plan on doing this for the rest of my life.
Enjoy an extreme helicopter tour that takes you around with the doors off. I love thrills and have toured in a helicopter 3 times now, but not with the doors off yet!
Eat at a Michelin star restaurant and discover food presented to me by a passionate artisan that has dedicated their life to being a world class chef.