Joy Studio - Suzy's story

I would love to hear your story? What are the experiences that shaped who you are today?

I am adopted, found out from age 5. Always felt a little different though but my childhood was happy enough. I became a nurse at age 18 and was married at 20. This is where my painful story started. After less than two years of marriage, my husband out of the blue, raped me. This continued frequently over a three-year period until I had enough and told him he needed help. We eventually separated and divorced and I had custody of our baby daughter. I remarried in 1991 but sadly, my second husband was murdered at Wainuiomata in 1993, leaving me a widow at age 29. We had a one year-old son. I then got into violent relationships and experienced physical, emotional and financial abuse. Along the way I lost custody of two children due to the violent men and suffered a complete mental breakdown in 1999. I have gradually rebuilt my life over the last 10 years when I left my last marriage. Today I am 57 years old, I can look at my journey and see how far I have come. Sadly, I do not have my two daughters in my life but I pray that changes one day. I am blessed with my two sons and have two grandsons now. My Christian faith has also gotten me through my trials. 

Tell us about the time in your life when you felt the most powerful?

I felt the most powerful when I left my violent relationship in 2001. I had enough of being controlled and beaten so I got out, that time for good. 

What is your inner attribute that you like the most?

My inner tribute I like the most is that despite my journey of great loss and grief, I am able to be kind and empathetic to others 

Joy Studio - Suzy's story

Are you at ease with your own body and age?

As I’ve gotten older in my 50s I’ve accepted my body and who I am. I’m happy being me.

What would you try to do if you felt that you couldn’t fail?

If I could, I would train to be a counsellor to help women cope with grief, violence etc as I feel I have earned a degree in grief just from my own life! 

Research shows that a lot of women want to know that the work they do is significant, meaningful and embodies their highest potential. What do you think?

I’m an Enrolled nurse and currently care for two vulnerable people in their own homes. My work gives me much joy and satisfaction to help others. 

Joy Studio - Suzy's story

What words of wisdom, based on your personal experience, would you like to share with others who struggle to see their own inner light and inner power?

We are all beautiful and we can all overcome adversity in our lives.

What do you do to let your hair down or as a self-care ritual?

At age 57, I have recently joined a leisure marching team. These ladies who are older than me are very inspirational and I’m loving the fitness, friendship and fun. 

Who are the women that you find inspiring and have influenced you in some way?

The women who have inspired me are Louise Nicholas, the lady who was raped by police in Rotorua years ago. I contacted her when I was going through my issues and she encouraged me. The late Princess Diana inspired me – she was able to rebuild her life after divorce and helped many people.

Joy Studio - Suzy's story