Candlelight Conversations Volume 9: Billi Ewing

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOU! WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT?

The easiest question is often the hardest for me, as I have struggled to see myself beyond a bulleted list of “roles” and “things.” But I understand these things encompass who I truly am, sooo… I am Billi Ewing, a native Daytonian, the youngest of 3 sisters, the mother of 2 beautiful daughters, 26 and 16, and a precarious 9 year old son; a devout believer, a devoted wife of 19 years, a Pisces through and through, a gifted vocalist, born leader, communicator and Promethean change agent; an artist, an advocate, a survivor, my father’s namesake and my ancestors wildest dreams!

I am passionate about my children’s present and their future; building and maintaining a culture of community where I live; raising awareness about brain tumors and being your own advocate when it comes to your health and well-being; paving the way and setting a positive example for future generations; empowering and encouraging parents to play an active role in their children’s lives and helping the disenfranchised and under served populations experience an improved quality of life in my community and beyond.  

WE BELIEVE THAT JUST LIKE BROKEN POTTERY PUT BACK TOGETHER WITH GOLD, WE ARE MADE WHOLE AGAIN IN SPITE OF OUR TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS AND ARE MORE BEAUTIFUL AND UNIQUE HAVING BEEN BROKEN. WE WOULD LOVE TO HEAR YOUR KINTSUGI STORY!

Having now learned about this art form and philosophy, I wholeheartedly agree that I have a Kintsugi story!  For as long as I can remember, I’ve possessed this unique gift, ability to overcome monumental obstacles in my life with a bold yet graceful posture. From teenage pregnancy at the age of 15, to losing a parent at 30, unexpected job loss at 34 and a brain tumor diagnosis at 37 – each time I’ve been severely broken, I have picked up the pieces, laid them before me and asked myself “How can I fix this and make it beautiful again?”  I’ve since learned that each period of brokenness was necessary to prepare me for the next. The daughter I had in high school was accepted & headed to an east coast ivy league college the same weekend I learned I’d lost my job as an urban charter school administrator. She was graduating from that prestigious college with many accolades the same year I received my brain tumor diagnosis. Had I not gone through that experience first, I wouldn’t have had the faith and fortitude I needed to overcome this one.  

I was 15 years old when I first willingly and publicly revealed the broken pieces of my life, making the front page of our local newspaper the first day of my 10th grade year.  I wanted other God-fearing girls with straight A’s in loving, two-parent, middle class homes with a positive self-esteem to know that we were not “exempt” from this happening to us.  That same revelation motivated me to share my story again 22 years later when an MRI revealed the vision issues I’d been experiencing in my right eye were being caused by a slow growing meningioma entangling my optic nerve.  I wanted other young, healthy African American woman to know brain tumors were not exclusive to older, Caucasian people, as most online resources displayed. And for everyone to see that there is LIFE - a beautiful, prosperous life - after brain tumors.

Acknowledging, owning and sharing my story of repeated brokenness with the sole desire to enlighten and encourage someone else has garnered me a personal collection of Kintsugi heARTwork that I proudly display!

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I am passionate about my children’s present and their future; building and maintaining a culture of community where I live; raising awareness about brain tumors and being your own advocate when it comes to your health and well-being

Billi Ewing

SHARING YOUR STORY AND OWNING YOUR TRUTH IS SO IMPORTANT! HOW DO YOU PROMOTE AUTHENTICITY?

I consider it a blessing that being authentic comes very naturally to me.  I don’t know if it stems from my transparency centered Pisces water sign, my DNA or a perfect synergy of the two. But “To Thine Own Self Be True” is sage instruction that I’ve always chosen to follow.  I promote authenticity by acknowledging, owning, celebrating and correcting the individual characteristics that comprises the whole me. The thought of traversing through life as someone else is frightening, exhausting and a bit selfish because I would be leaving the world with a void that God intentionally created me to fill.  Coming to that realization was not without some very trying times but the feeling of walking in your truth is freeing, euphoric and holistic. And as the birth mother of 3 amazing children and the earth mother of many more, it is my responsibility to show them the way, the truth and the light!

HOW DO YOU PRACTICE SELF-CARE AND SELF-LOVE?

To be honest this is fairly new, unchartered territory for me, one that I’m trying to get better at daily. Becoming a mother at 15, I have, knowingly and unknowingly, put myself on the back burner for more than half my life, placing the needs, wishes and desires of my children before my own.  Finding a “free moment” to schedule some “me time” are far and few in between. Those necessary moments of solitude often come during the wee hours of the night when I technically should be resting.  But all is not lost. My oldest daughter, who recently became a Yoga instructor has shared with me some of the wellness gems she’s learned along her journey such as meditating, reciting positive affirmations, removing toxic thoughts, purifying the atmosphere with sage and just taking a break whenever I can.  Listening to music and performing instantly transports me to my happy place, so I do that as often as I can. You can often catch me holding mini one-woman concerts with the stolen moments I get in my car riding up and down the highways and byways. I’ve also incorporated essential oils into my daily routine, making things such as natural shower sprays for a spa-like treatment.  

My mother always instructed my 2 sisters and me to “Drink Water and Pray,” to keep us in optimal physical and spiritual health.  So, I read my bible every day and keep a bottle of water by my side.  I’m continually working on more positive self-talk, incorporating healthier eating habits and increased physical activity for overall wellness.

NEEDLESS TO SAY, WE ARE BIG PROPONENTS OF AROMATHERAPY. WHAT ARE YOU FAVORITE SCENTS?

Yasssssss, me toooooo! – Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Patchouli, Jasmine, Ginger, Mint, Peppermint, Tea Tree, Lemon, Linen/Cotton, Sandalwood, Lavender, Ocean, and anything clean/fresh scented!

YOUR STORY IS ONE THAT PERSONIFIES COURAGE AND RESILIENCE. WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHERS WHO ARE THRIVING TO OVERCOME AN OBSTACLE OF FIND BEAUTY IN THEIR BROKENNESS?

When a person is in the midst of a challenging time in their lives, it is common for someone to say, “Everything happens for a reason,” as an explanation for what they are going through or an expression of hope and encouragement. Although stated with good intention, the receiver of said “reminder” may not find it comforting or reassuring as they watch their child suffer through an incurable illness, or unexpectedly lose a parent to a tragic accident or witness the loss of innocent lives in a senseless school shooting.  But what I believe we are trying to convey with that sentiment is that there is a higher power in control that is orchestrating every moment in our lives. My courage and resiliency is fueled by my faith in God, and his promises. Facing the Goliath’s in your life is a lot easier when you were given the title of CONQUEROR before you even went into battle. You walk a little taller when you know that weapons may be formed against you, but they will not prosper. My advice to all is to take the time to cultivate a strong, spiritual foundation that you can stand firm on when shaky ground comes about. Build you a village of people that envelope you in positivity and love. And know that every trial you face is just adding another beautiful chapter to your life story.

WHO DOESN’T NEED AN INSPIRATION? WHAT INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS DO YOU TURN TO FOR YOUR DAILY DOSE OF INSPO?

I LOVE TO LAUGH! I’ve had a lot of rough days since my surgery, so a good, hearty cackle is like medicine to my soul! I have the best LOL moments from: @iam_cking | @kevonstage | @treynkennedy | @spiceadams

I also LOVE MUSIC and am a low-key dancing machine! When I die, I want to come back as @kidathegreat mixed with @queenteddy.  And I love the beautiful sounds that come from: @lalahhathaway | @ledisi | @missjillscott | @feofficial

Most importantly is my SPIRIT and @curlynikki | @iamiketodd | @bishoptdjakes | @willsmith consistently share a word, meme, story or pic that gives me exactly what I need in the moment.

And I get my daily fix of HOPE, ADVOCACY and AWARENESS from @uchealth | @hope4greymatter | @uc_walkahead | @natlbraintumorsociety

WE WOULD LOVE TO CONTINUE TO FOLLOW YOUR JOURNEY! HOW CAN WE STAY CONNECTED WITH YOU?

Instagram: @billisbelievers | @billi_nicol

Facebook: “Billi’s BElievers – From Tumor to Triumph” | @billisBElievers

Twitter: @BilliNicol

YouTube: BilliNicol

LinkedIn: Billi Ewing

Website: Coming Soon

Email: billisbelievers@gmail.com