2022 Bold Beautiful Perfect: Romy
“We find strength from within as we internalize the immense love that God has for us!”
Tell us about yourself, Romy!
I was born in Colombia, South America, and I traveled between the US and Latin America until I joined the US Army at the age of 18. I feel that rich cultural experiences have helped me to value diversity, hard work, and to be resourceful and self-reliant.
After my tour of service, I was a school teacher, a business owner, and an active member of my community. I was the mother to five very active boys, and I loved the freedoms of self employment to participate in school activities. I often took them along to business meetings and volunteer opportunities. As a gallery owner, I was recognized as one of the Top 50 Business Women in Mississippi, Top 10 Community Leaders in South Mississippi, Unsung Hero for African American Cultural Diversity on the Gulf Coast and I sat on several boards, some for non-profit organizations that helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
After the birth of my fifth son, I experienced postpartum depression and the first signs of fibromyalgia. I continued to work as a successful female entrepreneur, raising five boys, volunteering in the community, all while being active in my church. As women, we often place our loved ones before ourselves and somehow think it is selfish to prioritize our health. We may also value the price of makeup, perfume, clothes, kids’ and household purchases over the cost of aiding our physical and mental wellness. Let’s skip over my divorce, selling the gallery dreams, the car accident, and all the drama in between, and fast forward to the wonderful place I am in today! 🙂
Today, my amazing husband and I have a blended family of 8 wonderful, creative sons, and 10 precious grandchildren that keep us very busy. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to be a homemaker and spend time with my family, friends and, yes, myself. My story is actually pretty amazing! Because I am unexpectedly a homemaker, I have had time to dedicate to our family’s health. I don’t use medication for fibromyalgia, depression, or ADHD, and although I still struggle with some mind fog, I solely rely on nature’s way to healing. Every day I practice yoga and exercise, I drink a plant based dense nutrition shake, and I take copaiba and lemon oils in my water so I can fully enjoy life pain free without medications that will undoubtedly negatively affect another aspect of my life.
In 2019, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia after living with flu-like symptoms, pain, depression, and mind fog, but nothing was found or diagnosed as a root cause. The entertainer, Lady Gaga, shed light into her daily struggles with this disease and how it affects many overachievers; it is thought to be a consequence of emotional or physical trauma, stress or an accident. Fibromyalgia is classified as a mental disorder characterized by chronic widespread pain, fatigue, emotional stress, cognitive dysfunction; however a physician can’t find anything physically wrong with your body, they can only acknowledge that you are suffering from abnormal pain perception processing and all the symptoms associated with this disorder.
I have spent the last 2 years studying natural solutions for health and wellness as an essential oils specialist, practicing online meditation, and as of late I have consulted with a nutritionist and health coach adding much needed exercise and dense nutrition to my daily routine. I find myself valuing my existence a little more every day just for being alive; not for what I can accomplish, but for what I can offer. Who knew that at 54, I could feel wiser and healthier than I have in years! It is my hope that my personal transformation will be an example of what can be overcome with committed lifestyle changes. Please, read food labels, ask questions, stop buying processed foods, be the example children need, exercise, drink water, and practice gratitude. Don’t do it for looks, but for life itself! It can be a slow transition into wellness, but we just have to keep moving in the right direction.
How did you come to understand your inner beauty?
I learned to appreciate everything around me before realizing that I too, was made beautifully and lovingly by our Creator. Finding gratitude for all that surrounds me started with silence. I think when we are busy being someone to everyone–busy with work, busy with kids, busy with being busy–we don’t stop in silence and meditation. When I was broken and exhausted, I found silence; maybe that is why growth happens so often to people who have struggled. We find strength from within as we internalize the immense love that God has for us! We find it by surrounding ourselves with loving people, with a deeper appreciation for family, friends, and life experiences. Love is so healing! With the unconditional patient love my husband offered me, he helped me to feel that I was also worthy of receiving love. I experienced love in the gratitude from strangers when I volunteered; I found my greatest joy when my family or friends ask for my company. Gratitude for every such little experience, respect for life, and appreciation for other people’s experiences grew into admiration for beauty that we cannot see, and that beauty, is love!
What parts of your story can you share to help women to understand their own beauty?
It is your beautiful smile, and the joy you offer with it, that gives a glimpse to your heart and inner beauty! Ever notice that someone smiling is always glowing? Our beauty is so much more than what we see in the mirror when we brush our teeth! Do we smile to the mirror? We should! 🙂 Until you know your true worth, listen to the voices that inspire you, the prayers that lift your spirits, and accept all generosity of those who care about you! Sometimes I have to practice smiling, I find myself pouting a lot when I am alone, now I consciously smile and exercise those muscles cleaning our kitchen! 🙂 It isn’t always easy, there have been times of sorrow, so I turn on some uplifting music, I dance by myself, I accept every invitation and loving gesture, until I come out on the other end! Working out also helps, by keeping true to yourself and your health routine you are working on your inner strength. Most of us will make time for ourselves when we are too exhausted to go on for others. Hopefully you have someone in your life that will invite you to meditate, to hold your hand while you rejuvenate and take care of yourself. When you see someone that inspires, don’t be afraid to ask what you can do to live that joyful existence you aspire to as well. Your beauty will be the serenity, the passion, the acceptance, and the joy that you share as part of the beautiful collective of love!
Tell us about your experience with the photo shoot.
I am so grateful for the photoshoot because I finally worked out like I should have been doing all along and would you believe I am totally off my antidepressants due to this new routine! Imagine how grateful I am! I always “planned” to work out before summer, but I never really did, until I had the deadline to be at the studio. I worked out every day to fit into clothes I used to wear, so I am more than grateful for the motivation! Brittany, the makeup and hair artist, greeted me at the door with a mixture of excited calmness that made me feel right at home! How can you be excited and calm you ask? Well, I was asked to “trust the process” and I have practice listening to that very same advice. I could have forgotten everything at home and they had clothes, jewelry, everything I could have needed. When Brandi walked in with her camera, she seemed very ready, and with a loving patient voice, she asked if I was ready. When I hesitated, she said, “Take your time; we are here for you.” I think what I really heard was, “Take your time; we love you and we want you to be comfortable.” Although I was super nervous, I loved the experience and actually I am surprised at how excited I still feel after seeing the photographs! Brandi really shoots only superstars because we all look like movie stars!
Anything else you would like to share?
I was excited to represent homemakers. It is a humble place to be when our worth is mostly tied to our accomplishments, and our current position offers no certifications or awards. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to share my story and I hope to inspire other women to care for themselves while caring for their family, to find value in the mere fact that God chose us to be part of this world, that we are seen even if we haven’t even noticed ourselves!
If you suffer from inflammation, depression, fatigue, pain or any illness, would you consider committing to a lifestyle change for 1 month? It may change your life! I would be so happy to share the books I have read, the courses I have taken and to bounce ideas with you! Living without pain and good health can make a difference in how we view life’s journey, and there are many experts out there, we just need to find what works for us and commit to it! 🙂
You are more beautiful than you know!
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International Award-Winning Portrait Photographer
Brandi Stage is an international award-winning portrait photographer based in Bay St. Louis, MS. She creates an exceptional magazine-style photo shoot and timeless heirloom portraits for women, men, children and pets in her studio or on location.