One of my favorite quotes is from one of the most impactful women in my life, other than my mother. My mother introduced me to this amazing, talented, and purposeful woman: Dolly Parton. My first experience with Dolly (like most people) was through her music. It was the Jolene album, released in 1974 which included songs like the title track ‘Jolene’ and ‘Coat of Many Colors.’ I have a very close relationship with this album. As the oldest of 4 children (all separated by about 18 months in between) my mother’s only escape from us was to BLAST this record and vacuum at the same time. As a mother myself, I have had many moments that made me wish I had a turntable and a loud vacuum from the ‘70’s. This album became my friend as every song told a story and every story had a message.
Since my childhood, I have continued to love and follow Dolly through all of her endeavors: music, movies, concerts, books etc. The greatest moment for me as a fan, was taking my mother to see Dolly, live at the 50th anniversary of her induction into the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, October of 2019.
Like so many of us, I struggled (and sometimes still struggle) with knowing “WHO AM I?” I went through most of college not knowing that answer, as I jumped from major to major. This continued through my early adult years, as I dated ALL the wrong men, and accepted ALL the wrong jobs right out of school. I went on to grad school, for lack of any better direction of who I was – and ended up with a lot of debt, a degree that most people couldn’t understand, and still the question: “Who the hell AM I?”
At some point, I decided I wanted to be exactly what my biggest role model was: a stay-at-home mom, just like my own mother had been. After dating around for a while, I was set up on a blind date and fell in love with the man of my dreams. The best man I had ever met. He was kind, smart, hard-working, and had good values. The best part? He wanted to have a stay-at-home wife. And so it was.
I got married. I had two beautiful babies. I stayed home and was a good mom and a good wife. I did all the things I thought I needed to do to be just that. Nineteen years later, I find myself a single mother of a 15-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son. I have 2 small dogs, a beautiful home, an ex-husband that is still my dear friend, 3 businesses that I own and operate, and a podcast. Despite ALL these things, I’m STILL questioning…WHO AM I? It has taken a global pandemic, riots in my town, meeting the President of the United States, becoming the unofficial spokesperson for Kenosha, a hated woman by many for my spoken beliefs, a renewal in my Faith (that I had lost for many years), and a health scare to finally answer the question.
I have found out who I am, and I do it ON PURPOSE, to many people’s chagrin.
A Daughter, Sister & Aunt
A Damn Good Friend
An Attention Seeker
A Creator of Jobs
A Motivational Speaker
A Small but Mighty Pain in the Ass, Who Rarely Accepts “No”
Kimberly Warner and I am Fearlessly Authentique. I CHOOSE to be me, on purpose…just like Dolly said. It only took me 45 years to figure it out.