“My Story”… Who is She Idealist?

This post has taken me a few days to get my nerves up to readiness to write.  A girlfriend of mine brought it to my attention that many of my readers may not know “my story”, so how could I expect them to have any grasp on what I have been through and how big of a deal it is that I am still so optimistic and “idealistic”.   This is the background on me… the girl who’s still 100% idealistic after and in-spite of everything.  Below is the ‘after and in-spite of everything’:

I have never put “my story” into writing.  This is hard… deep breath in… slow exhale… here goes…

“My Story”

Who is “She Idealist “?  Hi!  I’m Sonya… “She Idealist”.  I am 2nd of 6 children (I LOVE BIG FAMILIES!!)  I was born in Sunny Southern California – Bellflower, CA to be exact.  In a little hospital which no longer exists.  My biological father’s name is Gary.  My mother is Linda.  Together they had 4 children; Tonya, Sonya, Aaron & Angela.  There I am… 2nd oldest… Sonya. 🙂  –> that’s my cheesy grin! hehehe  My birth father was extremely abusive; physically & mentally.  The very very few (4 total) memories I have as a child… still to this day haunt me in nightmares.  (I am not comfortable, yet, giving out specific details in this blog… I am not sure yet of the full purpose of this blog, so the reader’s digest version of my life will have to suffice for now… to at least give you some perspective on “me” and who I am… where I come from.)

When I was 6 years old, I remember a sister of my birth father’s come to take all of us 4 kids for a short visit.  We were instead kidnapped and not returned.  We were gone for 6 months until we were found and taken by the state and placed in an orphanage.  I remember washing dishes in what was like an assembly line… ugh, I still to this day HATE washing dishes!  lol  I do remember losing my 1st tooth there!  While eating a peanut butter & jelly sandwich! That was a good memory of mine.  🙂

God’s hand kept us all safe & miraculously together!  In a place where even most 2-sibling families separated into different foster homes, we were ALL 4 chosen by one foster family and kept together!!!!  We lived in that foster home through the end of my 2nd grade school year.  We went to a very nice private Catholic school that year.  I remember liking the Catholic school very much.  Oh… I remember seeing lightening bugs and tasting honey suckle!  Those are two good memories from the foster home!! 🙂

All that time, while my birth father was then finally in jail, my mother was fighting the court system to prove her innocence in order to get us back.  We were able to have a couple visits with her – at least one that I have seen pictures of – while we lived in the foster home.  Finally… after almost 3 years… my mom got us back!  I was now 9 years old and entering the 3rd grade.  We were once again back with our mother & living in Buena Park, CA with her and our grandfather at his big house in CA.  I LOVED Buena Park… still it is where I consider myself from!

This was the BEST time of my life!  Growing up in Orange County, taking the city bus to the beach, roller skating to the roller rink, riding our bicycles through the neighborhood, earthquakes (which I’ll take any day over a tornado!)…. all around I was so happy!  One thing I quickly did, and held onto, was to create this “dream-land” of picture perfect in my mind.  I guess I sort of created a glass dome around myself, and kept my mind protected from anything that I didn’t want in it, that would corrupt it.  I did not like any of my memories… and I much preferred my movie-land world which I idealized.

My mother did remarry, when I was 13 years old, to Bob… my “daddy”!  Everything was once again picture-perfect… until 1 year after their wedding… he left and divorced her.  Why?  He simply freaked out… he was 6 years younger than her… she had 4 kids, and they had just had 1 together!  He didn’t think he could provide well enough… so he left.  Told her that he was never coming back, and when she said she was waiting for him, he told her she was stupid to wait.  My mother though, is a prayer warrior!  I, being her ‘right hand helper’ was right beside her every night on my knees, next to  her bed, helping her pray for him & his return.  I learned A LOT about spiritual warfare and the power of prayer and how to pray those years.  Yes, years (plural).  4 years later… they were remarried!!!!  And still to this day, he chases her around the house, grabbing her butt! haha  Oh how I love them!! 🙂  I LOVE YOU MOM & DAD!!!!

Back to me…

…fast forward to High School graduation.  I was betrothed once before my actual marriage… to a Marine.  Unfortunately, he ended up with my best girlfriend from church… yeah… ouch.  She and I are no longer friends.  lol  Two month later, I met Colin… on a Friday.  What I didn’t know was that my daddy, Bob, had already met Colin & talked to him about staying away from me… twice!!  Obviously he didn’t listen… because we met, and one week later had our first date.  Two short months later were engaged… much to my parents anger and disappointment.  My parents did not approve of him.  Actually, a lot of people didn’t approve of him… even his friends were betting on how long we would last.  I suppose I was the one not looking that closely.  We were married on July 11, 1998, less than 2 months after I turned 20.

Our marriage started rough.  I was and always have been very outgoing, head-strong, and optimistic; which for someone of his… demeanor is a bit of an opposition.  Most of our first year, I was in tears to my mother and church friends, asking what I was doing wrong… what could I be doing better… how could I change to fix this???  It’s not that we didn’t have good moments… because we did.  We just had a lot bad ones too.  That is NOT why we divorced though!  I was raised very firmly that “you marry it, you deal with it!”  And boy did I marry it! lol  In spite of any bad… I never stopped trying to make it work, to make it “perfect”.  I did everything I could think of, and most of what other people could think of too!  I worked so hard at creating my version of “perfect” for him… for us.  We were married for 8 years.  We would still be married to this day had he not…. (to use an analogy taken from “Sex and the City”)…. colored in other coloring books!  And that is what I cannot stand for, nor does the Bible.  And for lack of a better phrase, his adulatory, was my “ticket out” of a bad marriage.  Because like I said, without that (or him being physically abusive), I would still be dealing with him and married to him.  I didn’t even cry when I fully found out.  I wasn’t hurt… I was just plain angry.  I had never felt anger like that.  I went 100% cold inside… no happy, no sad, nothing.  We were living, at that time, in Oklahoma… he had moved us there in our 4th year of marriage in order to be by his mother and work on her ranch with her and their Clydesdale and cattle.  I moved out with the children & started the paperwork for a divorce out there.  I did not want to be stuck living in OK though!  That was not ok with me!  lol  I hated it there… the weather, the terrain, the bad memories.  I ‘went back’ to him and told him he had to move if he wanted a chance at trying again.  He wouldn’t go back to CA where all of my family was from, or to TX where I had a grandmother.  After that, I didn’t care where I went, as long as it wasn’t flat.  So, I literally took out an atlas, and threw a dart at it!  It landed on TN!!  I researched and decided on Nashville (with Chattanooga as a close 2nd because of the outdoorsy side of it) as it was the biggest city with the best shopping! Yes, the Green Hills mall made my decision. 🙂

We lived together here for about 3 months.  The final night was him coming home to a smoked-filled house from the oil pan catching briefly on fire, and my dousing it out… and him yelling at me for dinner not being ready yet.  I left that night.  Packed a suitcase with only enough for a week, and left.  I had to wait out the rest of a full 6 months in order to be considered residents and be able to file for divorce here in TN.  And it started… the beginning of a 2 1/2 year divorce!!  It was a nightmare… he was so hateful and mean!!  If I had known anything about the law, like I do now after the fact, things would have been done SO differently!!  He would have been in jail for attempting to run me down with his truck, because I would have known to get a protective order, instead of “not wanting to get him mad”!  ARGH!!!!  Yes, that’s me yelling… I did not say that every day is easy and the world is peachy-keen, or that I see rays of sunshine all of the time.  Some days are a struggle to not just scream out loud.

There is A LOT more – the worst part – to the story of Colin after the divorce, which will not go public… not now.  I will simply say, for those of you who have had nights where all you can do is drop to your knees onto the floor and scream in tears… and cry out for it to be a dream and go away… I understand.  There are so many things that I understand.  A mother’s worst fears… I understand.

……….deep breaths help.  I promise they do.

…you know, I have a theory.  I think that sometimes God allows things to happen to certain people, knowing they have it in them to push through and to make a difference because of it.


It has been a bit over 5 years since I moved to TN.  4 1/2 years since going through the divorce.  No, I did not expect to be single still! haha  In fact, I was engaged once again… to a great man, named Mario.  We were together for 2 1/2 years, and engaged officially for a whole month.  A very very Sicilian man – and who doesn’t like Italians, right?! – who unfortunately allowed his insecurities to get the best of him.  When those insecurities sky-rocketed beyond red-flag levels once we were engaged, when they should have subsided… or at least leveled out… I freaked out and backed out completely.  One thing I don’t do is being scared.  I was left very very disappointed.  I never expected him to change like that, and it just disappointed me that it didn’t work out.  (It took us about a year after the break up to talk again… we now catch up about once per month, and are good friend.  He is still a great man, and always will be… I have never said otherwise, nor will I ever.)

I have only been in 2 other relationships since my divorce… both to younger men (which is odd, because I normally prefer to date older).  One I left feeling foolish for getting my heart involved in.  The other I left wondering what went wrong… I’ll jump to that one now.  Only because it ties into the next story though! hahaha

Summer 2009.  June 12th to be specific.  I received a phone call at 2:30 pm from my next door neighbor, Eddie.  “Sonya, I don’t care what you’re doing… drop it & get your a$# home!  Your house is on fire!  …No, I’m not kidding, flames!  fire!  Get your a$# home now!”  I was at the modeling school, with my children, teaching a class that afternoon.  I ran down the hall, told the other teacher to watch my kids, and ran out the front door as I yelled to the director what had happened.  I have never driven down the center lane before… I did then!  I pulled down my culdesac to see 8 firetrucks, the fire chief and the news channel!  All I could do is stand back and watch as they threw things out of the house, still burning with flames.  Chainsaws cutting through the front of the house to stop the flames from overtaking the main-level from the basement where the fire started at the breaker box which shorted out.  Everything was in there… all of our belongings, all of our memories in print or in possessions or keepsakes, all of our food, all of our build-up after the divorce… and all of my camera equipment as I am a photographer!  Unfortunately, I was renting and I stupidly did NOT have renters insurance.  We lost… everything.

The kids went to their father’s house that day, so they wouldn’t have to see or experience any of it.  My boyfriend of that time, Jason, drove down from a job he was working at in KY (with the guys he was working with) to make sure I was okay.  The next day, was a pre-scheduled sky diving trip Jason & I had planned for a joint birthday present for ourselves.  With nothing more to do besides look at a blackened house… of course I still went!  This was one day that I needed a distraction! LOL  SKYDIVING IS AMAZING!!!  It was the perfect distraction & release.  (Side note: If you like driving fast….. that feeling….. you will LOVE skydiving!)

We drove back from the trip, dropped our friends off, and Jason took me back to the hotel which Red Cross put me up in.  And proceeded to break up with me.  Why, I still don’t know!  LOL  Oh well, at least I know now.  Yes I cried… I broke harder than I remember breaking… my house burnt,  my photography company was gone, my boyfriend broke up with me… all at once!!!  The tears though, were very short-lived… oddly short-lived.

Here’s the thing… When in 2 days you lose EVERYTHING except for your car, the clothes on your back, and your children… nothing else matters!!!  Plus, you seriously stop dead in your tracks… look up to God and say, “Okay, I’m listening!!!”  God doesn’t wipe your slate clean without purpose!  And my slate was glistening sparkling not a crumb left clean.

That Monday (just 2 days after the house fire) I started  a “job” as an Executive Assistant… which ended on November 1st!  It was with a start-up company, who said that they were still on investor money, and since they had not seen a profit yet, that they had to restructure and let 4 people go to save $400k per year.  Horrible timing!  Not because of the holidays… however that is horrible timing on it’s own!  However, this was horrible timing because I had just taken every dime of my salary for that past month and a half and handed it over to my new attorney for her retainer fee, as my fabulous ex-husband is taking me back to court currently to fight for the kids (which we currently have 50/50) as well as more child support crap.  Yes, I pay him child-support.  Why?  I always make more… if that says anything.


Blessings??  Plenty!!  We now live in a larger much nicer 3 bedroom ranch home… on one of those nice large deep lots that has several large old trees in the deep front yard.  A fully fenced in back yard with a covered patio with the perfect tree-house tree!  My son and daughter have their own bedrooms for the first time ever!  They were each gifted antique complete bedroom suites!!  They both had brand new pillow top mattresses bought for them!!  Blanket sets were given to all three of us!  Friends gave us grocery gift cards, and another a couple much needed bottles of wine! 🙂  And even recently, a lady down the road from us gave us a Christmas tree and decorations!!  It is amazing when you can do nothing else but trust in God for His provision, and know that only He can do it…. He does!!  We have never gone without food, warm beds, or gasoline in our car.  God promised to give us all we “need”… so, we trust in Him, and so far… we still have all we need!!!!  And then some!!!

Listen… God is good!  All the time!  He will never leave you nor forsake you.  He never promised we would not go through trials… He only promised we would not go through them alone.  Remember the famous Psalm 23 “…though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…” see he was walking through it!  THROUGH IT!!  I know my battles are not over… as even still I endure them, yet I know that there are so many which are so much worse off.  That is how you have to look at it.  Just drive down any downtown street and see how many people are cold, hungry & homeless.  Thank the Lord that I have a roof over my head, and clothes on my back.  Borrowed or passed down clothes, but clothes!!  (From stylish friends thankfully! hehehehe  Hey… you can take the girl out of CA, but you can’t take the CA out of the girl!)

Listen… if I can still be 100% idealistic, hopeful, optimistic, faithful… after and in-spite of everything… anyone can and should be!  This is my goal; to share this point.

Good night all!

Sonya… “She Idealist”

By Sonya Mae

I am a very unique breed of person. If you ask my mother, she would say that I am a very old spirit who should have been born in the 40's or 50's. I love old womens' fashion...when women dressed like women! If you ask my daddy, he would say I am the biggest dressed up tom-boy he knows, who is way too into cars and climbing trees! I was a ballet dancer and choreography major in college until 20yrs old when I retired due to a neck injury. Besides still dancing through ballroom, latin & swing styles, my current passions are cars (seriously...I took 4 yrs of auto shop, and drool at the sound of a loud engine rumble!), fashion & interior design, and creating moments that last!

I love helping people find their strengths! Finding their happiness and their smile! (Everyone looks amazing when they smile!) I love showing people how to be genuinely happy by simply changing their mindsets and attitudes. I do these things in as many ways as I can, using many mediums. As well showing people how they too can do something they may not have thought they could. there's a will, there's a way!

I am a mother of two (2) amazing children, who make my life beyond blessed, and I always do my best for them. I love to spend as much time with them as I can and want them always to be learning... I am very proud of them! And, GOD comes first & foremost in my life!!!

I am...
Sonya Mae aka SheIdealist

12 replies on ““My Story”… Who is She Idealist?”

Hello Sonya,

I joined your blog about a week ago. I don’t remember which of my friends shared your post, but I wanted to know more. I too am in a transition/journey. For all I know, you may be someone in my social circle and we’ve met. I’m just a guy and not always the brightest:) Anyway, I just read your blog about who you are. Thanks for sharing that! Funny enough, we have some similiar parallels I guess? I was even a foster parent and adopted a sibling group of four…plus one other:) I too was a firefighter (retired) and have thrown many other peoples personal belongings out the window. It was always tough when the fire displaced a family, especially with young children. Well I could o on and on, but I simply wanted to say hi and thank you for sharing. Everyday I learn something new about relationships and life, also about myself. I will follow your blog for another perspective and source. Again thanks!

OMG, Sonya! First off, I apologize that I am just now getting around to reading your blog!

I had no idea what you were going through while in Oklahoma and what you have been going through in Nashville, and I certainly had no clue of what your life was like in Cali. I hate so much that I was a part of your life, but did not provide the support you probably needed then because I was too wrapped up in my own bad situation. I commend you on being so brave to share this with everyone. I always saw you as the girl that was so happy, resilient, and in control, so it is really incredible to read what you were actually dealing with on a day-to-day basis.

You are truly inspiring and have already touched lives in wonderful ways. I know you will continue to do so via this blog and by other means. I wish you the best in your endeavors and look forward to reading more of your blog. Here’s to more goodness in our world! xoxo

Firstly, I apologize for only now replying to your comment here. I want you to know that I have read and reread this comment of yours, and every time it brings a new smile to my face. I do still, and always have, appreciate you and your friendship. I may wear my emotions and thoughts on my sleeve, however you are right… I was never one to share any ‘problems’ or such from my life…. those I seclude to myself. I have learned since then the harm that process does, and am – in this medium as one way – finally letting others into those areas of my life. It has been being engrained into my that God puts others into your life for a reason & that I / we all should learn to lean on those God puts closest to us. Love you girl! xoxo!!

I do appreciate your response and kind words. And I agree that people are put into our lives for a reason. I hope that from now on you will look to me as someone in your life who you can share the good and the not so good parts of your life with. We all need confidants who we can trust to not judge us and support us unconditionally. Hopefully we can be that for each other. I love you back hun and I wish you the best in life! Keep in touch!

My friend, Nancy Gent, forwarded me your blog. She thinks you might be able to be helped by me and the work I do. I guide people with conscious breathing to help them live with peace & passion by healing their past, especially their childhood. It’s a very gentle and powerful process that uses the power of love to heal. Let me know if you want to talk. Blessings, Juliana

I have had the PRIVILEGE of knowing you on a personal level. It was “once upon a time”, I’ll leave it at that, although I have a grin knowing that you know. I wish I had been a youth of a stronger mind and not been crazy enough to lose contact with you. To this day you remain one of my favorite people I have known. Losing contact with you (albeit, a brief 6 months) recently, was disheartening, for I had just found you again. I don’t and will not question your reason, but I was sad and then I felt worried about you, then I trusted that Sonya is ok. I was THRILLED when your face showed up on my screen again, REALLY THRILLED. It’s amazing some of the things we don’t let go. I will keep digging in your blog for stories, I find them uplifting. You are TRULY inspiring. I was a fool not to be at least a loyal and devoted friend. I hope I can have the chance to be that friend for you again one day. God Bless you and your family Sonya. You have a loyal friend in Cali should you ever need him……….

Eric! It is always fun when you get reaquainted with high school friends. Especially old high school boyfriends!! LOL Thank you for your very kind words, as well as your concern… truly. Yes, Sonya is always okay. I pray all is well for you.

Dear Sonya,

As a childhood friend in CA, I always new you were a strong and beautiful woman. I miss you when you moved and we lost contact. Now that I found you again, I have found your words haveinspired

Lisa, I had to search your email address to see who you were! lol Thank you so much. I am glad that we have found each other again… it is so special to have the friends in my life that I had so many years ago. 🙂 Sonya

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