We first met Chelle at one of our workshop pilots and we knew when we met her that she was an amazing woman.
Chelle shows true courage by sharing her story and she does so in hopes that it will empower other young women in Aotearoa.
She has regained her self love by surrounding herself with positive, uplifting relationships and finding a new passion for being fit and healthy.
Her journey is incredibly powerful, we encourage you to read on.
Can you tell us about your journey towards self-love?
I have been on this journey for a few years now and I feel that this is a journey I am still on today. Growing up I was always focused and had really clear expectations for how I wanted my life to be. I graduated high school and went straight to University to study early childhood education. I had dreamed that I would finish with my degree, enter the workforce and save to buy my first home. I was determined, motivated and I felt like nothing could stand in my way.
That’s when I got caught up in a whirlwind romance. He had this incredible confidence about him and swept me off my feet. Everyone seemed to like him, he was always the life of the party and he was only interested in me. I felt like I had hit the jackpot. I thought he was the guy of my dreams.
He quickly became involved in everything and everyone in my life. This involvement then turned into complete control and my perfect guy turned into someone I feared. The abuse started with isolation. I was a girl that loved being social, out with friends and especially spending time with my mum. She was my best friend. After gradual manipulation I was completely cut off, I wasn’t even allowed to drive. It left me with nobody to talk to or spend time with, except for him. I was alone. Before I knew it, I was being controlled. Everything from what I wore, how I behaved and when to have sex was dictated to me. I didn’t understand the difference between true love and an unhealthy relationship. I also didn’t know that someone you loved could rape you and sadly, this is something I learned many years later.
It took me a while to realise the extent of what was happening to me. I let it get to the point of physical abuse before I left. I still vividly remember the night it happened. I had done something he didn’t approve of and he stood there completely emotionless and slapped me across the face. He had never hit me across the face before, and it was this incident that prompted me to leave the relationship. I was left shattered and devastated but at the same time I was mourning someone I had fallen so deeply in love with.
Reconnecting with myself was a slow process. I was lucky I still had the support of my mother, sister and best friend to help me along this journey. I made an effort to become social again and put in time to repair foundations of friendships that I felt had been damaged by being so isolated.
I made a promise to myself that I would continue to work on regaining my self love - and I did. I focused on becoming the best early childhood teacher I could be. I still ensure I put in my best to this day. This year I joined the Body Love NZ Bootcamp sessions and I have found a new love for exercise and being healthy! This has allowed me to regain confidence and become even more comfortable in my own skin.
I must admit, being on this self-love journey has become even easier with the love of my life by my side. I’m so grateful to have met a man that truly supports me, loves me, makes me laugh and inspires me to be the best version of myself.
I have now been married for over a year and continue to enjoy the exciting and new experiences with my husband. We are growing and developing a life together, creating our own little family while still being able to enjoy the extended family and a large group of friends. I will be forever grateful for the love and support shown to me which has empowered me to now be in a positive and loving space.
What does self-love mean to you?
To me self-love is a journey. A journey that, at times, can be so fulfilling and at other times, so difficult. I have to stop myself at times from either being tough on myself or putting myself down. It’s about remaining positive, courageous and determined, mainly for myself but also for others around me. It is about finding the little things in life that make you feel grateful and make you smile. Self love is reminding yourself that you are enough and it’s about embracing the real you.
Why is self-love important to you?
Self-love is important to me because I look at it like it’s this little motivational voice in my head. A voice telling me I can do anything and achieve anything I set my mind to. It reminds me to laugh at myself every once in awhile and not take everything too seriously. It helps me remember, life is short, we need to enjoy who we are, move out of our comfort zones and be vulnerable.
Tell us what makes you proud of the woman you are today.
The thing that fills me with pride is reading over this journey and being able to reflect on how far I’ve come and look at where I am today. My story, as hard and sad as it is has shaped me into this confident, courageous and happy woman. I am proud that I was able to be vulnerable and let in a man who truly is the love of my life. Also, I am proud that I have the courage to share my story in hopes that it will empower and support others.
What does a healthy relationship look like to you?
A healthy relationship, I believe, should be based on absolute respect, trust, communication, love and of course, laughter. You should both be free to be the people you are without fear of judgement.
If you could share one piece of advice with our readers what would it be?
You are enough, you are more than enough. Never forget the importance of yourself and don’t lose who you are for someone else.
Thank you again Chelle for showing your strength and sharing your story with us. We love you!
There is an enormous amount of courage that goes into sharing stories of our past and how we became the fabulous women we are today. At Prepair NZ we think that this courageousness is the most powerful way to start shining a light on such an unspoken topic.
We've said before we want our stories to spread like wildfire across NZ, sparking conversations and helping to burn out domestic violence in our country. If you've been inspired to ignite your flame and share your story, click the link below.