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Antoinette Chase - Planted But Needed Water - All Woman - Jamaica Observer
All Woman

Antoinette Chase - Planted But Needed Water

THIRTY-EIGHT-YEAR-OLD Antoinette Chase has experienced her fair share of hardships. Having experienced first-hand abuse in various capacities, this author and life coach has documented how she was able to bounce back from a physical and emotional relationship (marriage) that almost cost her her life, to today inspiring women all over the world.

Now living in Canada, Chase authored the inspirational and motivational book Planted But Needed Water: A True Story about Faith, Resilience and Self-Belief, which is her documented testimony of her struggles in Jamaica and Canada, and how she overcame them despite the various challenges. It goes in depth about how the former Jamaican media personality was able to succeed despite the challenges, as well as detailing the psychological trauma she endured as a child, and mostly the adjustments of living in a foreign country with no support system.

“I was born in Kingston to a single mom who had me at the age of 17; I have no idea who my dad is, and at the age of three months I was given away to my adopted grandmother,” Chase told All Woman.

At age 12 she moved back to live with her mother, and it was here that she endured various forms of psychological abuse.

“During the time I was living with my mother, I was convinced she hated me. I would get beaten for no reason and repeatedly I was told that I was 'a mistake' or she 'should have flushed me'. Even being a Christian child, just going to church, school and home, the outcome was the same. All I did was fight to be recognised as a blood daughter and at one point I gave up on fighting. My late Bishop Elder NS Harrison saved my life. He said, 'even if [I'm] broken, press on and don't give up'. I used that up to this point of my life as fuel to take me through my seasons.”

But just when she thought life couldn't get any worse, she endured even more abuse when she got married at age 26.

“My ex-husband was a police officer who was very abusive physically, until at one point a firearm was drawn to de-escalate a fight,” she shared. “I got divorced in 2015.”

Chase has been working with Mustard Seed Communities and various women and youths in crisis for years.

“My story has had an impact on them and I made it my purpose to continue to inspire youths and women all over the world, that regardless of what they have been through it's not over unless they give up on themselves,” she shared.

The St Andrew Technical High School graduate, who was the first from her generation to attend university, moved to Canada in 2013 in search for a better life, and to further her studies. It was in that environment that she channelled her pain into the book.

“I graduated from the University of Technology in 2012, this was something I knew had to be done because I was told by mom that I wouldn't turn out to be anything and would be pregnant by 17. So this was like a 'look at me now mom' moment. In addition to this, I'm from the ghetto and I had no support system, so doing this by myself with God as my help, there is no word to describe how I felt.”

But Canada was no bed of roses initially.

“It was having to start all over, regardless of your academics and experience. Jobs that you would never imagine yourself doing, you had to do it in order to eat. Not having anyone that you can call on for a meal or warm clothes, not knowing where your next meal is coming from or when your student status will change. Family back home still expecting you to support them even when you can't pay your bill…” she shared.

The 188-page book, published in November last year, can be found on Amazon, Kindle, Book Depository and Eagles Nest Pentecostal Church. It is dedicated to Chase's late grandmother Deloris Williams and aunt Janet Williams because they started the nurturing process for her at three months old, by stepping up as her providers at that critical stage in her life.

All Woman sat down with Chase last week to discuss her book, and her journey to success.

AW: How was it moving to a foreign country with no support system?

AC: Being the daring and driven individual that I am, I knew it would be tough, but I felt that surviving 30 years in Jamaica with everything else that I had been through, then this new chapter would just be another mission to make things possible. It was tough. I've bawled, I asked God why me. It was the hardest I've worked in my entire life just to eat. But this type of situation humbles you and it brings out strength in you that you had no idea you possessed.

AW: But you would have been used to struggle, especially financially, as you related the challenges you had growing up.

AC: Yes, my mom worked, she tried her best to take care of us, but being a single mom, she struggled and she was having a lot of challenges with parenting. I can relate to her as a mother myself because it's tough with one child and I can't imagine what she was going through with four at the time.

AW: Who has been your tower of strength throughout your struggles?

AC: I believe that God has a way of sending us angels especially when we need them the most. I've had so many tough times and total strangers showed up for me and helped the way God had intended it to. In Jamaica I had my best friends and business partners Ella, Kemeca and Judian who were there from the initial stages, and my sister Nikesha. They kept me sane through university and even when I moved to Canada. I remember months I would go without food here in Canada and I would see a message from Ella saying 'check your account', religiously, without me even saying anything.

In Canada, my adopted Williams family has been my major support. Pastors Basil and Carlene Williams saw something in me and they helped to position me into my destiny. They showed up in my life at a time when I gave up on people and they never left. My husband and close friends Wally and Tamara who I think are my biggest silent cheerleaders, they operate underground but they are ever present. Carlos and Roosevelt are my sponges, they can recognise when all is not well from a mile away and just like that, those issues would be resolved.

AW: What is the significance behind the name of the book?

AC: Planted But Needed Water to me is self-explanatory — it just depicts the naked truth of my testimony. The name was a cry for help…I'm a seed and my intention is to grow and produce to my maximum capabilities but I have struggles, I need help. Will I wait on help? Will I grow? Or will I die?

AW: What are some of the challenges you endured when writing the book?

AC: It was so hard; this was the hardest thing I have done in my life. This book is my diary transferred into a book. I've been through a lot in my life and my family and friends had no idea until the book was published. I was coaching women who were abused just like me; they were sharing their stories and I felt like a hypocrite. After I started unleashing my experiences, I realised how much of a relief it was for me. And I was able to help my clients more.

The challenge was not writing, the challenge was publishing. The thought of letting everyone know my business scared me. But once I overcame that barrier, I had persons all over the world reaching out to me.

AW: What can people gain from reading your book?

AC: They will be motivated and inspired. Some may even get a bit teared up, but it will be tears of joy and lots of mixed emotions.

AW: What impact has the book had on your overall career?

AC: It has been a life changing experience for me. I've had people write me or even walk up to me after a seminar and say I stopped them from killing themselves, or “I'm now a better mom because of the strategies that you mentioned in your book”.

AW: What's the relationship like now with your mom?

AC: I have a great relationship with my birth mother now. I've told her repeatedly that it's not her fault and she could only raise us how she knew, plus she was trying to manage her personal giants.

At the end of the day we all have giants, and regardless of the size of our giants, it is still spelt the same way. So we must decide on the steps on how to execute the take down.

AW: How would you encourage other young women who might have gone through the same experiences you did?

AC: As a life coach and motivational speaker, I used my story to motivate, fuel and inspire others. I often say to them, 'STAY PLANTED!! Do a personal autopsy! Constantly check your blind spot. Examine your circle! Everything you are going through is necessary, God must be preparing you for something BIG. Look at yourself as a seed… once a seed is planted the ultimate goal is for it grow, if that seed is thrown anywhere regardless of the surface or condition and its purpose was to grow then damn sure it will and nothing will stop it'.

AW: How does it feel knowing that you were able to overcome the challenges?

AC: I feel blessed… I can truly say I'm successful and God has navigated my journey even if at times I felt like He had neglected me. Every stage of my life was a lesson learned. These lessons I'm still using to propel me as an individual.

 

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