EAP Episode 5: Vanessa LeMaistre – Activating Soul Empowerment After Abuse and the Loss of a Child
Our guest on this episode of the Early Accountability podcast is Vanessa, a motivational speaker and author focused on lifestyle and personal development. Vanessa’s mother worked hard to ensure that Vanessa had a good childhood and received a quality education. However, Vanessa still had significant adversity to overcome in her formative years, including the feeling of abandonment by her father as well as enduring multiple years of sexual abuse. The practices of overcoming obstacles and applying positivity deeply impacted her in this time and eventually became the subject of the book that she is in the process of writing.
Vanessa was almost finished with her book when her son, Kamden, was born with a rare terminal disease. Losing her son after a short 9 months in this world taught her incredible courage, as she had a front-row seat to the joy and heartbreak of watching his life begin and end. In an effort to get better, rather than bitter, during the healing process after Kamden’s death, Vanessa reflected back to the previous hurts that she had overcome and began to seek help from a therapist as well as intentionally exercising her body and mind, releasing the stress that had built up.
Through her YouTube videos and social media posts, she encourages her followers to connect with their own souls, in whatever method works best for them, and use their found power to decide where to go after experiencing a loss or obstacle. She also advises her followers to seek out friends who can hold them accountable to the “something that only you can do”, a concept learned from The Law of Success by Napoleon Hill (1929).
Topics Discussed in this Episode:
- The strength that Vanessa has drawn from her childhood adversity
- The courage that Vanessa learned from the short life of her son, Kamden
- Not being a victim of your circumstances, but choosing to be positive
- The benefits of accountability
I feel like it’s important to check in with ourselves first and figure out where you’re choosing to get your resources and your information from.
GET IN TOUCH WITH VANESSA ON:
Vanessa LeMaistre is a Soul Empowerment Activist. Her platform provides a self-improvement/positive lifestyle brand to customers who are looking to feel whole within themselves. Vanessa has overcome a lot and believes if she could, so can you. Vanessa is very inspirational and she aspires to inspire. She provides inspirational youtube videos on her youtube channel: www.youtube.com/uareart and on her social media platforms, she promotes exerts and positive affirmations from her upcoming book. You can find her on social media platforms such as Ig, Snapchat, Twitter under the name: vanessasoulxo which is also the name of her website domain. Her Facebook is her first and last name: Vanessa LeMaistre.
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I seek my soul so often because that is who I really am. The skin I'm in is just my bodysuit that allows me to experience this place called earth. I'm never going to die for real because I am energy. Energy cannot be destroyed.. Finding my center is what makes me feel whole and connected to what I really am. I honor my soul because it is everything. We are one. ✨ – -@yoga -📸& styling by: @erica__stylez #believeinyoursoul #uareart #yoga #yogi #motivation #inspiration #meditate #soulful #spirit #heal #soul #warrior #goddess #nature #venicebeach #sunset #consciousness #yogahealsme #yogainstructor #privateyoga #spiritual #limitless #evolving #journey #life #infinite #positivity #energy #spiritual #namaste #divinefeminine
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Happy Birthday my baby boy living in paradise 🙂 I pray you are in bliss with all the other angels & babies celebrating U today. I'm so grateful u were born on this day 2 years ago. I ❤️u forever. Nothing can change the love we've exchanged & are still exchanging. xoxo #fbf #love #restinparadise #bestlove #kamden #zellwegersyndrome #mybabyforever #gfpd #love
Kimi: Kimi walker here. Hello, and I’m so excited to be back for another episode of The Early Accountability Podcast. The episodes just keep getting better and better and we have been taking away gem after gem from all the guests that we’ve had. Tonight, I have Vanessa with me and I’m so excited to have her onboard to talk to us.
Vanessa does a lot right now with lifestyle and personal development and just being a sense of inspiration and empowerment to people who may be going through a hard time or just looking for self-improvement.
Kimi: Vanessa, thank you so much for being here. I’m so happy to have you.
Vanessa: Hi, Kimi.
Kimi: Hi. You have been doing such amazing things from your YouTube videos, and what you’re posting on social media. It’s just been a huge inspiration to even me and I know other people. So I would love for you to just introduce yourself and tell us where you’re from, what you do and kind of what has led you into what you’re doing now with your series and empowerment.
Vanessa: Sure. So I’m from Miami, Florida. My family is from the Caribbean; they’re from Haiti. I grew up in a pretty middle class home. Went to private school most of my life and I was raised with a single parent. A very loving mother who did everything on her own and she made it her duty to give me the best education she possibly could.
I will say I did have to go through a lot of adversity growing up. Although she was very loving and she provided me with her best, I did experience being abandoned by my father from birth and I did experience sexual abuse from the age of 5 to 14. So going through such extreme adversity at such a young age definitely geared me and really helped me build a muscle of how to be positive, how to look at things in a brighter light, how to overcome obstacles because as we all know we’re all going to be faced with obstacles at some point or another in our lifetime. And I do feel like going through those experiences has helped shape me into the person that I am becoming and into wanting to build the platform that I am currently building.
I’ve been building this platform for about 5 years now and I’ve been writing my book since I graduated from college. It’s a self-help book which should be coming out this year or next year. It’s all about positivity, believing in yourself, finding that strength, but it’s also very real. It’s not so cookie-cutter. I get straight to the point and I feel like that’s what the world needs.
I feel like living in today’s world where people are evolving collectively people are being thrown answers left and right. I feel like it’s important to check in with ourselves first and figure out where you’re choosing to get your resources and your information from. I think that is very important.
And oddly enough, I actually finished my book 2 years ago or 3 years ago, my first draft. But once I finished and I thought ‘’here I am. I’ve overcome so many hard things in life and life is great and I’m onto a new path,’’ I ended up going through one of the biggest adversities I could have ever imagined.
It was also a blessing at the same time because I was fortunate enough to have the privilege of raising a son of mine named Kamden who unfortunately after he was born, we found out he was diagnosed with a very rare fatal disease.
So I was just like, ‘’Oh my God, is this real?’’ I was fortunate enough to live with him for 9 months where we were able to give him so much love. And he taught me so much about life and fighting and loving and how to look at the brighter side in life no matter what you are facing, no matter how dark things may become. It also brought out a lot of personal growth within myself and my self-esteem issues that were coming up where I was just learning to be vulnerable, learning how to use my voice.
Sometimes I feel like we think like we’re going one way in life and the universe will be like, ‘’Nop. I’m taking you this way so you can go this way instead.’’ And my belief is that you just kind of need to surrender to that sometimes and go with that flow. Because I truly believe every single person was born to do something.
There’s this great book – honestly, it’s my favorite book I’ve ever read – it’s called the Law of Success by Napoleon Hill written in 1929. Where he spent 25 years studying the most successful people and he figured out their formula.
And in this book in the very first chapter, he states that there’s something that only you can do that nobody else can do like you can, so why wouldn’t you do that? So that’s what really motivates me. And after losing Kamden, on the physical plane, it really has only pushed me further with my mission and with all that I do want to do and give back to the world.
Kimi: First off, thank you, thank you for sharing because I know that is very hard to do and a very intense experience to have to go through. Especially the age that you were and the age that he was. If there are other men or women out there who have experienced the loss of a child, especially the loss of a child so young, and I know we’re friends on social media and I saw some of the journey, how are you able to really pick yourself up and move forward the way you did? It almost seemed like it wasn’t that long after it seemed like you were pushing through to even record and still give motivation to other people. How did you find the courage or the power to do so?
Vanessa: I’ll say a few things. For one, my son Kamden taught me the courage to have because for him to come to this lifetime to go through all that he went through at such a young age only to leave at such an early point, the blessing in that was to be able to witness life from the beginning to end. Because one of the doctors when I had him told me we all have an expiration date it’s just a matter of when.
So seeing the courage that he possessed really taught me that hey, if he could fight through all that he fought through then I’m sure I can do it too. So that was one very inspirational aspect in my life that helped me.
Another is reflecting back to previous traumatic experiences I may have encountered in my life and asking myself, ‘’How did I get through this? What are some of the things that helped me?’’ such as seeing a therapist, knowing that I’m going to need outlets, knowing that I might need to exercise my mind, my body, my stress levels so that I can remain sane and so that I can still become better through this and not become bitter from this experience.
Kimi: Absolutely. And I think you pointed out a really, really important detail that sometimes we need to work and make sure that we’re actually putting in the work to heal ourselves. I know I used to do a sexual assault survivor group when I worked at the university and one thing I used to tell survivors is that regardless of when it happened, whether your assault was in childhood or whether you were a teenager or whether you were an adult, your power always is in that you choose how it goes from here. No one can have control or should have control over your healing. That’s the one place where you have to say, ‘’Okay, I’m going to be responsible and I choose how this goes forward.’’
I think you brought up a good fact about how you put things in place to help and guide you. Whether it was therapy, things that made you feel good, those mind-body outlets to really help you keep yourself together and heal and progress forward. You’re telling people very huge, important things.
What made you decide to do the platform that you do now as far as reaching people and encouraging them?
Vanessa: I’ve had a calling for a few years. Growing up most people were like, ‘’What do you want to do?’’ and you were like, ‘’I just want to be successful in whatever I want to do but I’m not too sure exactly what that is.’’ It started about a year after I graduated from college. I was with a girlfriend who said, ‘’Vanessa, you love reading these books, you love speaking, you have a great voice when you talk, and you’re naturally inspiring and you like to encourage others. So why don’t you become a motivational speaker?’’
When she stated that a light bulb went off and I went off to California, I started writing a book, I started doing speaking engagements. So that has been prevalent for a few years now but it wasn’t until Camden came into my life that my calling became this extreme.
For me, it’s imperative for me to at least inspire some people. I feel like if I have gone through as much as I’ve gone through, if I’ve felt as low as I’ve felt before, and if I’ve kind of, like what you said, chosen how I want the outcome to be or how I want the rest of my life to be, then I know others can do it too.
Kimi: That’s awesome. So tell us a little bit more about how that looks. I know you do YouTube videos, you post things on social media, I know you said you’re writing a book. What are some topics and things you talk about in your videos so that others may know what kind of guidance you give people or what kind of prospective you give others?
Vanessa: I am very much into healing as you’ve mentioned. And that word can be a little limiting. For me, it’s really about connecting to your soul. Whatever that looks like for anyone because everyone’s soul is very unique and different. The topics that I have are pretty diverse.
So some of the videos might be a guided meditation video or it might be a talk about how when I was 12 years old how I was very suicidal. Very, very real topics that people might want to explore within their souls.
Kimi: Yes, I think that’s important. And I know it’s funny you said that everybody’s soul is different and sometimes everybody’s need for healing or the place that they need is different. Funny that we actually went to the same college but I did not meet you until I landed in Miami. And I believe everything happens for a reason, I know, so it’s crazy. It feels like even though you went to FAMU I’ve known you forever but I didn’t meet you until we met in Miami. And actually at the time when I met you was when I was going through one of my deepest spiritual transformations in my life.
And we met at 305 Yoga and Terry, I always till to this day tell people, she was one of my greatest spiritual teachers because I really learned a lot about myself and it really took, honestly, peeling a lot of layers back for me to even be aware that some blockages that I had even existed.
I know you said about your friend and how they were motivating you and telling you about your book. How important are, and I’ve been talking a lot about this week, how important are accountability circles to you or going to different places to get inspiration? What is your perspective on that?
Vanessa: I notice a huge difference when I do have accountability from friends or peers or people that I can rely on that are supportive. I just feel like it literally is the catalyst that takes someone from surviving to thriving because it’s so simply for someone to say, ‘’I want to do that.’’ Or ‘’Yeah, I’m going to plan this or plan that.’’ And it never gets done. That is so easy to do. Whereas you have someone that is not only supporting you and encouraging you but they’re also challenging you and holding you accountable.
Right now I’m blessed to be working with a fellow friend/mentor named Gerald who’s starting out his businesses which are multiple. We meet at least once a week to work together. Although our work is not done together and it doesn’t coincide, it’s very helpful and beneficial that we do hold each other accountable.
Kimi: Great. So what would you say is your personal mantra or your words to live by? What is it because I really want to know because you are such a strong, strong, strong woman? The strength you’ve shown has just influenced me so much. Even though it’s my first time you telling these parts of your story, I’ve watched it on YouTube and things like that and I’m just like, ‘’Oh my God, this is just so deep. How is she doing it? How is she getting by?’’ so I definitely want to hear your mantra so I could have some of that through osmosis or whatever [laughter].
Vanessa: First of all, for me a lot of my mantras change and some don’t. I have some that I’ve been using for years. One of them that I came up with when I was 21 years old that I still use to this days is, don’t judge just love. It is so easy for us to judge others and it puts us in a negative mood. I personally think it’s irrational to judge people. If I catch myself judging others then it really is a mirror and a reflection to myself like, ‘’Wait a minute, then that must means that I’m judging myself.’’ So I try to wipe all that out and just love people as much as possible because I believe more love, more love, no matter what, more love. Because love is something that’s infinite, it’s something that is real, and it’s something that has no limits. You can constantly pour love into anything and everyone. So that really helps me.
Another one that I’ve recently posted is May everything I think, say, do, and feel be in perfect alignment with my divine purpose and my higher self for my highest good and the highest good of all. Because I feel like it’s just pointless if we’re out of balance and not in harmony with what our souls endeavor truly is on our journey. Those are my two main ones but every now and then I’ll have a different one like for the week, or sometimes I’ll do this thing where I’ll go in front of the mirror for a few weeks, a few days, a few months even where I will literally look at myself in the mirror and tell myself, ‘’I approve of you. I accept you. You are beautiful.’’ Because living in today’s world with things that happen to us or can happen to us and with even something as small as the way we grew up, can really affect our self-image and our self-esteem and how we present ourselves, and our productivity, and our potential.
Kimi: Yeah, that’s definitely very true. That’s a whole other show. We can talk forever about that. So I want to thank you, thank you, thank you so much for being here. This was amazing as I knew it was already seeing everything you’ve been doing and I’ve been very touched and very blessed by all that you’re doing and putting out there. So thank you for having the strength and courage. Please let everyone know how they can follow your journey, how to connect with you, I know you’ve got a new site coming up. So just let know how we can follow you and people can hear and watch a little bit more of what you talked about and stay tuned with all the stuff that you have coming in the future.
Vanessa: First of all, I want to say, Kimi, thank you for all that you’re doing and thank you so much for having me. I think it’s very, very positive what you’re doing and what you’re bringing to the world. Different ways you can find me is through my Instagram name which will also be the name of my website that is in progress right now. It’s called Vanessasoulxo. That’s Instagram, Twitter, snapchat, and then my YouTube channel is actually YouTube.com/uareart.
Kimi: Okay, beautiful. I remember that. Yes, I like it. That’s great. This is wonderful. I know you’ll be back again because it was like 3 different additional episodes. I know you’ll be back and I hope you’ll be back and grace us with your presence again. So thank you so much Vanessa for your time and just sharing your vulnerability with us. You’re touching so many lives. Just continue what you’re doing and thank you again.
Vanessa: Thank you, Kimi.
Kimi: Thank you. Bye-bye.