I have always been fascinated with beauty, glamour and makeup.
Growing up I couldn’t get enough of my Glamour and Vogue magazines and am a huge fan of all the Old Hollywood movie starlets I was raised on.
I loved the glamour, the subtle seductiveness - I loved the power these screen vixens had.
I had big dreams about being my own boss one day and somehow being in the beauty industry.
I had gotten my cosmeticians license after high school and freelanced several years for Lauder and Lancôme.
I was on my way.
But somehow life has a way of taking you down another road...and taking you the long way around.
My story has a lot to it but the short version is one of drugs, dysfunction, denial, dependency, depression, disappointment, despair and a whole bunch of other words that start with the letter 'd'.
You see, I fell in love.. and very early on I felt in my soul I was spiritually connected to a man... a good man, a kind man, a charming and funny man with warm, Italian brown eyes...but with a cocaine dependency... and found out AFTER I left my family, friends, and job behind to go from Queens to New Jersey and move in with him.
Many wouldn’t understand. I didn’t at first either. Took many years to figure it out...but I couldn’t abandon him. I'm extremely loyal by nature and when I feel connected and bonded with another person I am connected and bonded for life. Ive never felt more comfortable and connected to another human being ever then with my Michael.
I know understand looking back he was meant to come into my live to be part of my journey.
I tried my best to help him and then tried my best to leave him...I was unsuccessful at doing either.
And when I couldn’t help him and I couldn’t leave him.... I joined him.
I thought I could save him.
I just ended up trying to save myself.
I thought I could love him thru it.
I just ended up hating myself.
I was isolated and alone.
I couldn’t stay.
I couldn’t go.
I’d been brought to my knees…. and it wasn’t very glamorous.
It was many years of hopelessness and trying to pick myself up and find the courage and strength to leave.
One step forward, two steps backward
I did a good job of hiding my sadness.
I did a great job of hiding my depression.
I did an even better job of hiding that I free-based cocaine for almost 18 out of the 29 years Michael was in my life.
I was now filled with so much self-doubt and had no self-worth.
I suffered from anxiety and was afraid to go out into the world and was completely isolated.... by my own doing.
I don’t know what happened, I had dreams and aspirations like everyone else.
I was educated and came from a good family and upbringing.
Many nights I would still be up at 4:00 -5:00 in the morning and would watch a repeated infomercial of a makeup artist named Alexis Vogel, and wished I could do makeup like that…. glamorous…. so glamorous. I loved it. I was hooked. But felt hopeless to make it happen.
I wanted to do for women what she did…transform them and make them feel so good about themselves. She became my idol then and still is to this day my favorite makeup artist.
The reasons WHY I fell into the black period and it took me so long to dig myself out are better left for another time.
But I would find comfort and joy during the black period with my babies…. my cats that my husband and I rescued over the years.
He wasn’t all bad…. he had a great heart and loved animals like I did.
He was my best friend, my only friend really.
We were buddies, partners in crime, soul mates, and I always felt safe around him.
We did everything together …and not just drugs.
We had many happy times and moments together, and my Michael was so much more than just someone with a cocaine dependency.
But still no one disappointed me or let me down more than Michael.
I knew Michael was addicted to cocaine…but it took me a while to realize I was addicted to Michael, and it took me an even longer time to finally pick myself up and say I wanted a different life and I cant save him, I can only now try to save myself.
It was the hardest thing I ever had to do...leave my friend....tear myself away from a codependent relationship.
When I did finally pick my sad, broken and depressed self up off the floor from not living the life I was destined to live, I realized I had two missions in what was left of my life.
1: To help women feel empowered, beautiful, confident, and believe in themselves.
2: To help abused and abandoned animals that are voiceless and alone.
It wasn’t easy to pick myself up and leave...probably the hardest thing I ever did.
It wasn't easy to start a business with no business or marketing background.
I was still isolated, still suffered from self doubt and anxiety and had no outside help from other female entrepreneurs. I didn't even know any.
I started just as the economy tanked in 2008, going three long years desperately looking for even a part time job, while trying to get my business up and running and living off of credit cards. I learned from making very costly mistakes and trying again and again.
One step forward, two steps backward… but I kept picking myself up and moved forward.
My ‘story’ isn’t all gloom and doom though as I’m not that person and that’s not my life anymore.
I have a new ‘story’.
I am proud of what I’ve come through and what I have accomplished.
Today I am a glamour and bridal makeup artist and the proud owner of DeeVa Beauty.com, a mobile makeup and hair service in NJ.
And when I started my business 10 years ago I wanted to figure out a way I could do what I like and enjoy and make a living at, but to also figure out a way I could help the animals...which is a HUGE passion of mine, so from day one I made a promise to ‘give back’ with a portion of every paid makeup service I do and donate to various animal charities.
I truly believe every person in business has the power to help and to change the world.
I see more and more business today doing this very thing and I'm so glad.
As Ghandi said..."Be the change you want to see in the world."
Sometimes God gives people a passion to speak up for others who cant speak up for themselves: the persecuted, the imprisoned, the mistreated, the disadvantaged and those who are denied justice.
Sometimes that passion comes from personally experiencing some tragedy or obstacle in your life such as abuse, addiction, depression, disease, or some other difficulty.
Its hard to understand while you are going through the challenges or pain that usually the worst things that happen to us in life lead us to the best things that will ever happen to us and lead us to our true mission and passion.
This is what happened to me and this is why my passion is to help the animals.
I feel deep empathy and compassion towards animals …all animals and I know it is because of my ‘story’.
And every unloved animal has a ‘story’ of abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
Their eyes tell a story of pain, loneliness, and a desire to be loved.
Love is the recognition of yourself in another.
My despair and loneliness bonded me for life with these sad and helpless beings that need help.
For it was in my darkest moments of loneliness that I truly connect with the lost and forgotten animals of the world.
I feel immense sadness and pain that any animal is living alone or confined...my soul is crushed when I think about it.
When my best friend died after 29 years together in 2012 from health issues, it was my two rescued poodles, Deeva and Lily, that saved me and got me thru it.
I was devastated, shocked, lost and lonely when I lost my husband and friend, and they gave me a reason to get out of bed every day.
They were my life....still are.
Animals will save you…and in return we must save ‘them’!!
Though I know better now, at the time I thought I was the only one in the world that had a story like mine and I needed to hide and never speak of it or share it.
I was ashamed of it.
But the truth is that I am who I am today because of it.
My character, my integrity, my loyalty.
Perhaps because I’ve been disappointed and let down so many times I’m now the most reliable and dependable person I know. I hate to disappoint or let down anyone.
Perhaps because of my loneliness I am very empathetic and can see myself in others situations.
I have experienced sadness, depression, lose and loneliness, and if I can not make these experiences meaningful, then no new experiences will help me.
I understand now that everyone has a ‘story’.
I want to use mine to help and heal.
Motivate and make a difference.
Inspire and bring hope.
Deep down inside of me I have a secret desire to be a motivational speaker, to empower, enlighten and motivate women to be their best, powerful selves.
To stop being afraid, co-dependent, and stuck.
I don’t know how my story will end, but nowhere in the text will it ever read “I gave up”!!
Don’t give up hope and never be afraid or ashamed to tell your story.
Today is my birthday
I am giving myself the gift of freedom from 'shame'
I have finally found my voice.
Thank you for listening.