Why Susan is a Phoenix

Thank you to Susan Millard who is the first to take up my invitation to contribute a tribe story. Here are her answers to some of theΒ 25 Not-too-Scary Life Questions Worth Asking Yourself. Susan also updated her tribe story with the contribution of a family collage, posted November 15th, 2016.

Why did you choose the image of the phoenix?

I love this image and have adopted it as my new favourite picture that captures how I feel today. It is representative of how I feel about where I am coming from, where I am, and where I am going. My past is now a pile of ashes and, like the phoenix, I am emerging into my exciting new future.

What is your favourite quote? Why?

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind, don’t matter.

Dr. Seuss
I like this quote because it reaffirms my right to be myself. I don’t need to conform to a certain way for others. The people that really matter to me won’t mind me being who I am, and those that will only accept me if I think, feel or act as they do don’t matter.

What are you known for or would like to be known for?

I am known for my writing. I filled out a form for the eye surgeon this summer and an assistant commented about the length of my answers to the questions. She asked if I was writing a book. I simply asked her if she wanted to know the answers in detail or not. She got the hint! Writing has always been my best and truest form of expression.

What would you like to stop doing?

I would like to stop being a people pleaser. I matter too, don’t I? I just wish I could stand up for myself when I want something and not feel so guilty for wanting it. My first thought is always for others around me. If I have money, I spend it on them first; always them. If I make myself a priority and spend money on myself, I would feel like I am being selfish. I don’t know where that comes from but I would like to find out one day and figure out how to rewrite that programming.

What does being creative mean to you? Are you creative?

collage of family photos made by Susan Millard
Collage made by Susan Millard. Added to her tribe story, November 15th, 2016

Being creative means creating something unique, be it written work, artistic endeavours, making videos, crocheting, making jewelry, or other forms of expression. It is the act of bringing something into existence that was only in your mind but using your skills to make it into a reality where it can be shared with others. The second part of the question…yes, I am creative.

What kinds of people energize you and what kinds of people drain you?

People that energize me are the ones that are positive and affirming and encouraging. My friend Cindy is like that; she always makes me feel good and I feel like I can do anything. People that drain me are those that do nothing but complain about everything. The ones that are so needy I feel like I have to constantly reassure them and listen to their woes. Those are the ones my therapist called energy suckers.

When in your life have you felt at a dead end?

I felt at a dead end when I was married to my first husband. He was abusive in more ways than I care to think about, much less talk about. I remember feeling like my whole world screeched to a halt and there was nowhere I could go and nothing I could do to make things better. I got so stuck in that dead end that I thought the only way out was death.
Luckily I got help after the overdose, and slowly life started turning around. I eventually got away from him and made a vow to myself that I would never give my power away again. No one was ever going to bring me to that point again. That is when I started to really care about my life and happiness. I am hoping the idea, information and challenges on this site will help me become the best me I can be.

Finish these sentence starters…

I used to be a woman who was everybody’s doormat. I had no opinions, feelings or thoughts of my own. I was the wife, mother, woman who contorted herself to be and do what was needed so others would be content.

I am now a woman who knows her own mind and, after doing a lot of hard work on myself, has climbed out of the depths of the pit of despair I was in for years. I can finally see the sunshine and I mean never to even go near the edges of that pit, much less back in it.

I want to be a woman who commands attention and respect from those I meet. I want to be happy, purposeful, and productive. I want to be a woman who can be assertive and get my needs met without feeling guilty about investing time, effort and money into ME. It is my turn!

I hope you will consider contributing to Tribe Stories. You’ll find the three easy steps here. And please leave your comments for Susan in the comment section below.Β 

Join the tribe:


  1. Wow, thank you Karen for featuring my tribe story. It looks spectacular on this page. I am pleased to be the first to contribute and would like to encourage anybody reading this to take up the challenge and share too.

    1. No, thank YOU for contributing, Susan. I’m delighted you were willing to contribute and humbled that you trust all of us enough to use your full name when you shared such intimate details of your life. Your choice of the phoenix as your image/your symbol is perfect in so many ways.

      1. You’re welcome Karen. I trust what you said about this being a safe space to connect and share our tribe stories; our profound journeys. What better way to demonstrate that trust than to put myself out there and see? πŸ™‚

    1. Susan will probably reply as well, Anna, but I wanted to jump in to thank you for responding to her tribe story. It’s so nice for her to have positive responses when she takes a risk as she has done. Thank you.

    2. Thanks Anna, I feel like my profound journey has indeed started and this website is going to be a great place to deepen the experience and learn some self care tips, challenge myself to grow and learn and explore my creativity. πŸ™‚

  2. That guilt feeling is so familiar! I am always the first one to help out and be there for friends and family, and I enjoy buying gifts whenever that happens (not so often due to our lifestyle), but, when I spend money on myself (not so often, because of our priorities and being on a budget), I feel extremely guilty about it. Why is that? Things to me have to be useful and either add to our food locker or be a necessity to survive/travel/live in comfort. It would be nice to be able to treat ourselves more and spend money on “just for fun” activities! πŸ™‚

    1. I know, right? That is one of the things I am consciously trying to change whenever it comes up. I am aware of it now and am actively challenging that dynamic each time it happens. Hopefully, one day it will become automatic and an everyday type of occurrence to feel that I matter too – to stick up for myself against my own worst critic, me.

      Your comment has made me not feel so alone, so thank you! πŸ™‚ I am not so weird and there are other people just like me that feel guilty doing the same thing others have no problem doing. We all need a little pampering now and then and we all deserve it, darn it! πŸ˜‰ Try to do something just for you Liesbet, even if it is something small, you deserve it too. πŸ˜€

      1. Every evening (two so far), for about ten minutes, I am sitting in the hot tub of the house we are staying at. It feels good! But, then I have to dry off, rinse off and dry off again, so that works against my lazy nature… πŸ™‚

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