Locked in the Tower: How I escaped after fifteen years

1 Oct

Can I be honest with you? This is something that might leave you a little shocked. (I appreciate you giving me this chance to share.) Sister Leadership is all about empowerment, connection and self awareness; in essence, it’s about Rapunzel getting out of her tower. But here is my admission: I told you about my earlier relationship where I felt trapped in my marriage and ashamed at the failure, well that relationship was my tower, my entrapment. And you know how long it took me to escape?

Fifteen years.

I’m not joking.

trapped from within

Here’s a little more personal truth: Even after I left that relationship (after finally overcoming the shame I felt in breaking that vow I had promised, in good times and bad), you know what I did? I jumped right into another bad relationship! And after that, another!

Did you know:

If you follow the original story of Rapunzel, she was expelled  by the enchantress to the desert to survive totally alone, which is really just another form of isolation, not any kind of freedom.  Do you see what I’m talking about? Fairy tales aren’t for little girls, they’re warnings for grown women repeating the same patterns.

So Rapunzel and I (and maybe you too, if you can relate) kept ending up in bad situations; hoping to be rescued, looking for a prince, and continuously finding new ‘towers’ of entrapment  in search of happily ever after. At one point, you have to ask: “Why the heck is this happening to me?”

Oh my goodness, if I’d only had a fairy godmother years ago to make this point (Meet Sister Leadership! We like to see ourselves as the real world equivalent of your fairy godmother):

  • Before we can change bad habits – we need to become SELF AWARE.

It took cancer to wake me from my consistently poor choices. When breast cancer hit, I was physically forced to stop, to slow down, look within myself AND to challenge how my life had arrived at that point. Questions I had been asking like: “Why is a good man hard to find?” suddenly flipped into “What about me is attracting these bad seeds?” Suddenly, I realized that all these bad relationships weren’t a string of coincidences . . . they were mirroring personal issues that I needed to address.

I was building my own towers of entrapment for fifteen years. Yowzers.

What an ‘ah ha!’ kind of moment. When I started looking inward for answers, I began to connect with Neuro Linguist Programming (NLP – in which I’m now a master practitioner and coach. Go me!) and found support in understanding my baggage and acting to create change.

Here’s my fairy godmother Sister Leadership tip of the day:

Take Responsibility.

(And believe me, if I could have heard this 15 years ago I would have done my best to follow the advice, and it would have been even better if that advice had been given in a safe space and carried through with support during my re-examining and attempt to change. Wow – that would helped so incredibly much; we don’t need to suffer to be happy . . . funny how so many people think it’s necessary. But suffering and happiness are contradictions. You don’t need to take the hard road.)

It’s a small sentence with huge implications. Taking responsibility can start with asking for help, and can be as big as restructuring your whole life. One step at a time, claim the responsibility to become self-aware.

The fairytale doesn’t specify how long Rapunzel was out in the desert, or how long she was trapped in the tower . . . but it was a long time indeed. For me it took fifteen years before I woke up to self awareness. What about you? Are you at the point where you can flip the questions and turn them inward?

Maybe like me, you could use a little fairy godmother support in living an incredible life and having the love you deserve. One thing is for sure, we all deserve a happily ever after, and we all need to look within to create that reality.

Camille Boivin is founder of Sister Leadership, bringing her knowledge of resilience, perseverance, and changing perception to others. Camille is currently accepting applications for the Women’s Executive Network  Senior Executives Wisdom Peer Mentoring program. Applications to this exciting and knowledge-sharing program are available here.

Read more from Camille as she aspires to  help women explode their success. For more posts and experiences, join Camille at her Sister Leadership page, connect on Twitter, and follow on Facebook.

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One Response to “Locked in the Tower: How I escaped after fifteen years”

  1. Marie-Claude Lessard October 1, 2012 at 09:07 #

    You are very courageous Cam to share such intimacy with the world. Kudos to you Sister! May your story be one of inspiration to all the Rapunzels out there still locked in their towers!

    To your booming excellence, MC

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