Meet Louisville’s Leading Lady, Above all a Survivor
RaeShanda Johnson is a lot of things; author, entrepreneur, stylist, and motivational speaker, but above all, she is a survivor. RaeShanda volunteers her time and resources to Women Shelters where she inspires many. She also contributes to readiness projects such as Dress for Success. There are many obstacles that she has had to overcome to be the successful mogul she is today but has triumphed with grace. She shares her courageous story with us.
“I’ve had some dark days. If I can survive that, I’m no longer afraid to fail or fall”
RaeShanda was a young military member, wife, and mother that found herself in a hostile situation that is not so uncommon for many women. She was in a domestic violence relationship.
The Lyfe… What were some of your emotional and internal struggles that you experienced during this situation?
RaeShanda…Things will try to break you. I asked, “Why me?” Living within a situation where domestic violence is present is traumatic, and I didn’t want for me or my children to live in fear. I wanted to give my children some kind of normalcy. I didn’t want a failed marriage. I had to face some hard decisions like knowing that leaving meant I would have to live off one income and agree to take on the role of becoming a single parent.
The Lyfe…In so many instances where domestic violence is present, there are red flags and indicators to be aware of that may be indicative of a dangerous situation. Were there red flags for you?
“There are always red flags, follow your gut instinct”
RaeShanda…Yes, there were for me, two in particular. Pay attention to tone, and following my gut instinct.
The Lyfe…Did you have people around you that were aware of your situation that could help you?
RaeShanda…Yes I had a support system. I lived in Texas at the time so I was away from my immediate family. I was fortunate to have had coworkers and friends as my inner circle that were aware of my situation. They would call me and check on me, which was a blessing to have people to support you and be concerned and reactive when it comes to your well-being. We also tried couples counseling and therapy, but it just didn’t feel right anymore.
“Don’t stay in something not good for you”
The Lyfe…How were you able to exit the situation, and how did it end?
RaeShanda…I just reached a decision that this marriage and this living situation was not working, and it wasn’t going to work. I had a conversation with my ex-husband letting him know that I just could no longer do it. He agreed to leave our home. In December of 2004, I left Texas and moved back home to Mississippi. It was a humbling experience to move back.
The Lyfe…What did the next chapter of your life look like after deciding to move on?
RaeShanda…I made a plan. I received a job offer in Chicago that I accepted. I left my children behind with my family. Before relocating my children, I did the math and realized that wage vs. cost of living in Chicago was much different than in Mississippi especially when you have to consider raising a family. I accepted a job offer in Mississippi, where I could stretch my dollar further.
The Lyfe…There are emotional scars attained whenever abuse happens. Sometimes we can’t ever receive closure from the abuser. You took great strides in progressing your life, but emotionally how did you heal?
RaeShanda…I had to tell myself that it is okay to survive, and I had to forgive. Forgiveness is for you, not for them. It’s how you move forward. Non-forgiveness makes you hold on to the bitterness and poison.
“Give yourself permission to hit the reset button”
The Lyfe...What advice would you share with someone that is experiencing or has experienced domestic violence?
RaeShanda…Find your strength. You have to know and remind yourself that you are worth it and that it’s okay to be the exception. Make a timeline and set goals. Most importantly, celebrate the fact that you got out!
The Lyfe…How did All Is Fair in Love and Fashion come to life and what does it mean?
RaeShanda…After hurricane Katrina, I had to leave Mississippi. I relocated to Frankfort then Louisville Kentucky. All Is Fair is more than just clothing it’s a women’s empowerment through fashion. In working with women to style them I see a lot of self-esteem issues, inside of the dressing room women really become more than just physically undressed, so building esteem, promoting positive attributes and helping women to embrace and love themselves is what I am here to do.
To be a part of the AIF community, browse and shop at shopaif.com
Show this leading lady some love and support as she continues to uplift and empower by following her on Facebook at All s Fair in Love and Fashion. Check out her amazing ability to style to the nines from everyday fabulous to gorgeous evening glam. To really help get yourself refocused and centered, her book “A Diva’s Guide to God: Finding God in the Girliest Places” is a great read.
In 2005, The Black Dot campaign was a movement to help prevent and end Domestic Violence. The Black Dot Campaign enables victims who cannot verbally ask for help except for with a simple black dot. Please be aware and recognize this and prepared to call the police to get help. This is a campaign to help the most vulnerable victims of Domestic Violence.
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All looks for this article have been provided by All Is Fair in Love and Fashion.
The Lyfe Magazine and Pleasures Intimate Luxury Bar are proud supporters of preventing and ending domestic violence.