Little did she know, that desire to teach would lead her to teach in a different way.
After high school, she moved to Baltimore to attend college. She was excited to take the next step in her life. As any other college student, she wanted to go out and party. She loved music and went to shows in the area. One group caught her attention because she loved their music. One evening after a show, one of the band members approached her. From that point, they both fell in love. However, love didn’t last long.
For eight years Lori felt she was dead. The person she was born to be was no longer. The nice, well dressed, smart, intelligent, loving young lady was gone. Her chance to graduate from college was taken away. The musician she met that fateful night after a show had taken her to the lowest level of her life.
Lori remembered the first “accident”. It was just a simple push down the steps. She thought it was innocent and that he didn’t mean it. However, like many domestic violence cases, it didn’t end there.
The accidents became more frequent. A slap to her face. A spit on her lips. He even kicked her in the stomach while she was pregnant. It continued to gradually progress. She, like many others, asked herself, “Why me?”
To the outside world, they appeared to be the perfect couple. Behind closed doors, the abuse continued. She kept the accidents a secret, hoping that someday it would end. Lori covered the bruises; she hid the pain. All the while, the abuse became severely worse.
There were times when she wanted to end her life. Thank God, her son gave her the strength to continue. He was the only reason her outer-shell still walked this earth.
Prayer Changes Things
Lori turned to God. She prayed often asking God to give her a sign to get out of that toxic relationship. She didn’t realize it but her ex-continued to cheat on her.
One day, she prayed harder than before. She said, “God no matter how you show me, give me a sign to get out of this relationship.” That sign became crystal clear.
One day he came home and said he needed to talk to her. Lori was surprised because he was actually calm. He said he wanted the relationship to end. Lori remembered becoming upset and crying. In the midst of her crying she stopped, looked up and said, “God, I hear you loud and clear”.
She got the answer that she was waiting for. Lori grabbed her son’s diaper bag, picked him up and left. She promised herself that she would never return to that relationship again. She told him, “I am answering to a higher power”. He said with a smirk, “You’ll be back”. She never went back. Despite his efforts, she never went back.
She was free but she was still hostage to her own mind. Lori was free of the abuse but she had no self-esteem. Her inner beauty had been destroyed. She grew tired of living in her own sorrow. One day she looked in the mirror and began having conversations with herself. She told herself she was someone special. Lori told herself she was beautiful on the inside.
She kept doing this until it became her mantra. Lori took it a step further and made her first t-shirt for herself. She wanted to prove to herself and the world that she was beautiful.
She wore her shirt daily to the gym. After years of rebuilding her life from the ground up, she felt reborn. She went back to college and got her degree.
Beautiful Became Her Name
“Beautiful” became her name. As she shared her story with others, she found that there were more women just like her. She felt if a t-shirt helped her, it would work for others, too.
She told women that it wasn’t just a shirt. It was ‘the beginning of a new you’. In order to purchase a shirt, they had to be ready to face their inner demons.
The response was amazing. Women in the movement are feeling empowered. They feel uplifted. They feel BEAUTIFUL.
Lori’s goal is to rebuild women and to have them love themselves no matter what their unhappiness was. With that, she started “The Beautiful Movement”.
The Beautiful Movement empowers women of all walks of life to love their inner beauty. She said, “There is no color, no religion, or nationality; we are one.” The t-shirts that she’s made are for women that are ready to begin a new version of themselves.
Advice to Others
I asked Lori what advice she could give to others? She answered, “I tell my queens today that before you get in any relationship, interview your potential mate. I often joke with them a lot. I tell them to interview them, in the same manner, you would if you were making a major purchase. There is no difference between interviewing a realtor before you buy a house and interviewing a potential mate.”
“Your life is just that important and you should take your time in choosing your mate. Also, a person is going to show you who they are upfront, believe them. Pay attention to their actions. If they are calling you names, in the beginning, it won’t stop. In fact, it will get worse. If they don’t have respect for you, in the beginning, they won’t have respect for you in the end. I always tell them verbal and emotional abuse leads to physical abuse.”
“If they are already in a relationship, make a plan to get out when it is safe to leave. Decide and plan where you will go if you have to leave home (even if you do not think you will need to). This should be a safe place where you can call for further assistance. Determine who would be able to let you stay with them or lend you some money.”
In the end, Lori wants to stress to everyone, “Please keep the movement going. It’s time to reach one & teach one. Our inner beauty is everything and it’s time to love our inner beauty again. My pain is free. The movement is now. Join me…”