“You can say some of the simplest things to a person, and it will literally change their lives.”
When Diamond picked up the phone to call Rachel from Rise Gatherings, she had no idea the seismic shift their discussion would bring to her life. During one of Diamond’s darkest emotional times, Rachel brought her hope, encouraging her to attend the Rise Weekend Getaway and offering to bring her on as a Rise Ambassador, just to make sure Diamond would attend.
Though Rachel would not know until months later, her words of inspiration could not have been more timely. Diamond had thought about ending her life earlier that very day.
“From the moment I picked up the phone, Rachel spoke life into me,” Diamond said. “She didn't even know how she affected me.”
“She realized something in me that I didn't see myself, and I knew that I had to get to Rise.”
Since then, Diamond has never missed a Rise Gathering.
Diamond, now 30, grew up in a consistently unstable environment. Her mother had bipolar disorder, and her family often struggled to make ends meet. As an adult, Diamond experienced domestic abuse. She recalls how it began physically, but grew to a cage of mental captivity. Using hands was not necessary when she was already so traumatized from the past.
While trapped in this relationship as a college sophomore, Diamond became pregnant during and she gave birth to her first daughter when she was 21.
Diamond had to endure domestic violence and postpartum depression simultaneously. Four years after the birth of her first daughter, Diamond gave birth to her second, all while struggling to carry the weight of her childhood and her present struggles. Yet she anchored herself through her daughters and worked to be the best mother she could be.
“Bringing them into this world was not an easy decision to make. I was scared both times. But what I've learned from them is that the love that I was searching for, in the wrong places, I feel as though God provided it. And I always had it in front of me, between them,” Diamond says. “I've realized that the love that I've always prayed for is within my children, even though it came from the darkest time of my life. My children are a gift from God, and I thank God every day for giving me them.”
For her daughters’ sake and her own, Diamond knew she had to revolutionize her life and her mind. Like an unstoppable force of nature, she fought for herself and for her children, bringing herself to therapy and changing her mental attitude, investing in the Diamond she wanted to be.
“When a person is so in depth in their domestic violence relationship, they feel as though there's no one that they could go to and that would understand,” Diamond said. “If I could tell my younger self, if it was somebody else that was like me, I would tell them that you are the love that you put out, and you deserve to be treated with respect, integrity, and to be loved the same as everybody else.”
Right as Diamond began settling in on her journey of self-healing and prioritizing her needs, COVID-19 hit, blocking her from many of the resources she needed. For the first time in a long time, she felt truly alone. Dark thoughts creeped in once again, stifling the inner light Diamond had been working so hard to cultivate.
“I prayed to God one day and I asked him, ‘God, surround me around people that see the beauty in me, or surround me around people who are open minded and positive,’” Diamond recalls.
At one of her lowest moments, from the depths of dark struggle, Diamond once again found the strength and the faith to fight for herself. She researched women’s wellness retreats where she could regain her spiritual healing and peace. It was through this research she found Rise Gatherings.
“It was a place that I could go and I knew that I could be at ease, and not feel bad for what I went through,” Diamond said.
Though Diamond took a first step by finding Rise, she needed someone to help her commit to attending. Her phone call with Rachel brought sincere encouragement and understanding, and in one of Diamond’s worst moments, Rachel’s genuine power to connect brought Diamond a courage she had not felt in months.
“That day I spoke to [Rachel] was a dark day, and she brought light to it. Her spirit is just beautiful,” Diamond said. “I don't know how she knew to say those things to me, to let me know that I was such a special person and I had so much about myself that was positive.”
The course of Diamond’s life was shaped by the power of access to a fellow woman who could raise her up, and when she arrived at the Weekend Getaway, Diamond found more women just like Rachel.
Diamond felt Rise’s electric energy, and she formed community through the Rise spirit, creating bonds with women from many different backgrounds who all searched for connection and fun and in turn could support each other.
Through workshops at the Weekend Getaway, Diamond re-learned to appreciate the importance of investing in herself.
“I tried to beat myself down. Sometimes I say, ‘Well, you can't do this, you can't do this,” Diamond said. “What I've come to realize is that the things that I'm imperfect at, or I struggle with the most, or me being who I am, I have to use that and realize that those characteristics about myself are what's going to make me be better. So I no longer try to push myself down or be my own worst critic.”
After working with Rise and committing to self-love, Diamond now wants to help other women who experienced domestic violence find strength. She returned to college and is currently a senior at Trinity Washington University, getting a bachelor’s in Health Administration with her focus on mental health. She will graduate in Spring of 2023.
Diamond hopes to one day run a healthcare facility of her own, specifically devoted to women’s mental health. She wants to act as a guide for young women where they can access the healthcare providers and therapy they need.
“I realized that if I had the resources of the things that I want to provide, a lot of things in my life could have turned out differently,” Diamond said. “So I want to provide that, not only to my daughters and to my children. I want to provide that to other little girls and other women who are facing domestic violence and dealing with mental health issues or postpartum depression and things like that, that they're not aware of, because there’s no one there to bring them to this awareness.”
Diamond feels that awareness is key, and talking about domestic violence is the only way to try and stop it, even when the prevailing culture is to hide it away.
“I feel like if the awareness that is put out is more in people's faces, you'd be surprised how many lives you can save,” Diamond said. “I just feel like we need to bring more awareness, we need to go to those communities, we need to go reach out to those people.”
No matter what her future holds, Diamond knows that Rise will be a part of her life, continuing to fuel her with love and compassion. She will never stop telling people how Rise changed her life and saved her life. Just one phone call, one bond formed between women, helped Diamond access the strength she had all along.
“Rise is love. Rise is strength. Rise is me. Rise is integrity. Rise is hope and rise is life,” Diamond said. “Life is worth living, despite what you go through.”