January’s Gem is certainly a force to be reckoned with. Constance D. Johnson was born on December 26, 1980 in Columbus, Georgia. She is a poet, song writer, public speaker, and a loan processor. She ventured into writing at the young age of 17, while on a journey of self-discovery. In 2011, Constance published her first poetry CD entitled Liberated Love. Determined to live out her dreams, Constance has spoken at numerous women's conferences, weddings, and poetry events. She's a lover of life and dares to live in the moment. Her story is sure to touch us all.
In The Beginning…
AC: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
CJ: I wanted to be a counselor. This was influenced by my aunt, who is a psychiatrist at a prison. I always looked up to her.
AC: What made you happiest during childhood?
CJ: Family gatherings during Christmas were the best. I love my family to the fullest.
AC: What was your biggest fear as a child?
CJ: I was shy. I did not feel that I was worthy. My weight was an issue during my childhood. My family made a big deal out of my weight. I didn’t want to stick up for myself. I would say that I had a rough childhood. I would even say dysfunctional. Don’t get me wrong, my parents did the best that they could, but certain things that went on affected me. My mom and dad were out there. My dad was a provider to us, and that was the way that he showed his love. He didn’t show love in emotional ways. It was hard for me to believe in myself and feel confident. I didn’t receive the affirmation that I needed. As a result, when I got older I didn’t know my worth. I experienced depression. I sought out love in the wrong people.
AC: What was your safe place?
CJ: My Grandma. She comforted me and was my stability.
Her Growth Through Faith and Healing
AC: How did you overcome feelings of low self-esteem?
CJ: Through my relationship with God and my weight-loss. I had so much junk to deal with. I’ve dealt with depression, even went through two nervous breakdowns. At times God will break you down to build you up. I was at the point where I had to look at myself in the mirror and deal with myself. God put it in my heart to believe that I could conquer my issues. I began to work on myself mentally and emotionally. I decided that enough was enough.
I started working on my diet and exercise routine, and initially lost 40 lbs. on my own. I had the gastric sleeve surgery June 29, 2013. My highest weight was 485 lbs., and I have lost 176 lbs. in 2 years.
AC: What are your diet and exercise regimens?
CJ: For the first 6-8 months, I worked out 4-6 a.m., 4-5 days per week. I then went into a title boxing gym and worked out there for 7 months. I would go 4-5 times per week, for an hour a day. I also took swimming and dance classes. Now I work out with my boxing coach (and sometimes by myself) in my own gym 5-6 days per week.
My diet consists of lots of fruits, veggies, and protein, up to 1500 calories per day. I’m not perfect, so I do have my cheat days. But I never stop working out, even if I’m sick.
Finding Her Voice
AC: In what ways has your healthier lifestyle improved life for you?
CJ: It has certainly helped me to deal with depression. I’m more confident as a speaker and poet. After a boyfriend and I broke up, I experienced major depression. After that, I started writing. A coworker invited me to a spoken word event, and I went and performed. I then began to study the artist around me so that I could perfect my art. I wanted my voice to be heard. I now feel worthy, because I trusted God and left the past behind.
AC: What makes you happy?
CJ: My relationship with God makes me happy. Life is constantly changing. People change. Their motives change. God is a constant. He makes me complete.
AC: What do you feel has been your biggest accomplishment, so far?
CJ: My weight loss, finding my self-worth. There is definitely correlation between how you feel about yourself and how well you take care of yourself. There was a time when I would lay in bed, eating. I just knew that I would end up having a heart attack. Thank God that didn’t happen!
AC: Are you where you want to be in life?
CJ: I’m not where I want to be as a speaker, motivator, and poet. But I feel like I’ve found my stride and I’m going after it. I’ve published a poetry CD, entitled Liberated Love. I have a YouTube channel that is an avenue for me to offer inspirational messages and my poetry. I feel that my purpose is to be a speaker-to encourage and motivate people, especially the woman who has not yet found her strength.
AC: Do you have a song that you consider to be your life’s theme song?
CJ: Well, no, I wouldn’t say that I have a theme song. I do have a favorite musician. I love Kem. I admire his music, it’s like poetry. I respect his struggle and how he uses his gift. My favorite song of his is When Love Calls.
AC: What would be your advice to your younger self?
CJ: Be true to yourself. Be present in the moment. Celebrate yourself because you are more powerful, intelligent, and brave than you understand. Keep God close. Struggle builds character, so don’t sweat the pain.
From Constance to You
AC: What would be your advice to other women who are dealing with issues such as weight management, feeling less than beautiful, and women who don’t feel worthy?
CJ: I want to tell them that we are children of God and He is our affirmation. We all have a reason for living. Cry out to Him because he always hears. You will discover who you are and it will change your life. Trust in God. He wants your light to shine bright.
What I’ve Gained from Constance’s Story
· Our struggles are often intertwined with those of our loved ones. Though their actions may sometimes impact us in a negative way, it is not usually their intention to hurt us. Consider this when dealing with issues of forgiveness toward people in your life.
· Be persistent in pushing through life’s struggles.
· Through faith and dedication, you can find God’s purpose for you and happiness is sure to follow.
· We must take care of ourselves-mind, body, and spirit!
Words cannot express how grateful I am to this Gem, Constance Johnson, for sharing her story, and being so transparent about her experiences. She is certainly a motivator! To show Constance our appreciation for her openness please do the following:
1. Comment on this post to let Constance know how you were moved by her story.
2. Share this interview with others who may be inspired.
3. Visit and follow Constance on YouTube. Be sure to comment on the videos that you view.
Until next time, continue to be blessed!
Be Inspired! Be an Inspiration!
Antoinette C. is a blogger who delights in all things that foster unity and growth in women. After all, if the woman is happy and fulfilled, so is her family and community. Through Truly Charmed, Antoinette will introduce you to women who have inspired her, and who will, hopefully, do the same for you! Here's to your charmed life!