Kimberly Bell is on a mission to help others discover themselves and live transparent lives. She has been through many trials in her early life. She's a survivor and wanted to share her story with others.
In her new book, Kimberly speaks her truth regarding her traumas. While, it wasn't easy to write the book or share her stories, Kimberly wants others to not have shame associated with their stories and know that others are out there to help you. You don’t want to miss Kimberly’s story!
Kimberly is a native of Salisbury, MD. She holds two degrees: One in Human Growth and Development, which is in the field of Psychology, and the other in Theology. She has served on the Ministerial Staff at St. James A.M.E Zion Church and completed 4 years of Conference Studies. She is a passionate speaker, minister and author of The Epitome of Kimmy: Accept & Embrace It All. Through her work, she uses her personal life struggles to inspire others to never give up hope and she provides insight into the realities that lay hidden beneath the surface of our society. She is also an advocate for Mental Health Awareness. She covers topics like physical, mental, emotional and sexual abuse as well as childhood abandonment, PTSD and healing from trauma.
Connect with Kimberly to learn more about her and her background:
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Keri [00:00:14] Welcome to the reCHARGE® Your Life podcast with me, Dr. Keri Ohlrich and Kelly Guenther. We are thrilled to talk to people who have made a decision that reCHARGE® their lives. Often they push themselves out of their comfort zones and took risks. We want to know about that decision point. Why did they make that decision? And most importantly, how can we learn from them? Kelly and I are passionate HR professionals, and together we co-founded our HR consulting firm Abbracci Group. We have talked to amazing people throughout our careers and listen to them as they made decisions that change their lives and knew that these inspirational stories would help others. And why did we call it reCHARGE®? It's based on a book I coauthored called The Way of the HR Warrior, and in it we have a leadership model CHARGE which stands for courage, humility, accuracy, resiliency, goal oriented and exemplary. We know that people used one or more of these qualities to help them make their decisions, and we want to learn from them. Now sit back, listen and be inspired by these stories, and then do something to reCHARGE® your life. Let's get to it.
Kelly [00:01:20] Hi, everyone, it's Kelly. We're thrilled to have Kimberly Bell as our special guest. Kimberly is a native of Salisbury, Maryland. She holds two degrees one in human growth and development, which is in the field of psychology and the other in theology. She has served on the ministerial staff at St James A.M.E. Zion Church and completed four years of conference studies. She's a passionate speaker, minister and author of "The Epitome of Kimmi: Accept and Embrace It All." Through her work, she uses her personal life struggles to inspire others to never give up hope, and she provides insight into the realities that lay hidden beneath the surface of our society. She's also an advocate for mental health awareness. She covers topics like physical, mental, emotional and sexual abuse, as well as childhood abandonment, PTSD and healing from trauma. Kimberly, we always like to start our podcast by asking, What do you do when you want to push yourself and expand your thinking?
Kimberly [00:02:22] What do I do? I normally each day invest in me. I get up and have a mindful and a quiet. Whether it's five, 10, 30 minutes with myself and my spiritual being, which is God, and tried to make sure that this is for me and my daily life, whatever choices that I have to make. They are the best choices for me. Whatever situation or circumstances arises during that day that I can go do them justice effectively and passionately. But being able to. Do it as a purpose for the world and to be affected by it. My dad would say many times in the field that I work, I work in the public sector. He would always say, you know, be mindful that people will forget your name. People will forget your degrees. People will, you know, forget your title, but they will never forget how you made them feel. So I always keep that in mind, so I push myself every day.
Keri [00:03:51] I love that quote about Kimberly. People will always remember, have you made them feel. Yes, because that's so and it just takes a second. It could be someone you met in line at the grocery store. And you just said one thing to them and was nice to. And it is that powerful and the plane we always hear these stories of. I spilled my heart out to this person that I don't know on the plane. And they've said things to you that you thought, Wow, I don't know your name. I'll never see you again. Yes, you did me. Yeah. Kimberly, tell me, because I'm so I because I can't figure out how to get it done, Kimberly. So I want your help. How do you like? I'm always impressed as you go. Like, I start my day by like some meditation and taking some time and really focusing and having kind of your mantra and what you're going to do for the day. For those maybe like me and Cal and quite a few people who I know who just kind of get up here like I got to get this stuff done. How did you get it to your point? Get yourself to the point where you're like, Nope, I take this time myself. Like, how did you create that habit? I think I would love to know.
Kimberly [00:05:04] Keri, it was a process, trust me. So I knew I went through a lot of things that didn't work out so well. Good ways. And most of it helped me with the book was the anxiety, the worry that being stressed overcompensating for my kids waking up in the morning and it was all about them, you know? And don't get me wrong, it's I have a minor. I have a six year old and it's still about her. But at first, like I said, I had to go do. This was a process, and I had to continue to be mindful. What affected me negatively and where I had to make a choice of this is not how I'm getting the best result of Kim, not the wife, Kim, the Kim, the human being that God created. That is not perfect, but these these repeated repeated patterns or behavior and even built support system is this is not working. It's just not working. So I had to do a lot of investing in me and praying and understanding accepting my. Especially with the way that the book is titled The Epitome, The Essence of me, we all have personality traits, we all have characteristics, we all have different backgrounds. Like we talked previously about, we all have a story and sometimes we we have to, you know, reach deep inside our self and invest in our self and understand, you know, how we are as far as our personality was. This, you know, because of the way you know, we were born as far as the calm child, the peaceful child that dramatically shocked the passionate one. You know, so I have always had a loving spirit. I had always and but I never took the time to invest in me and to understand who Kim was and who Kim is, you know, and trust me, I even with doing that. I also wanted to know where these flaws came from, where these repeated negative behavior came from, where this abandonment and for is the fight for justice, flight and run come from. And that's where the book started coming out of me of accepting my foundation. My foundation was shaken and broken, and I had to take the time to invest in me, to rebuild to to to transform better, a better quality of life. But I had to choose that, and so was choosing that I had to work on daily choosing that decision to go ahead and make me the priority.
Keri [00:08:27] Mm hmm. That that choosing it, choosing like you said, that we might not all have the best foundation. And there's a lot of us that struggle with not having the best foundation when we grow up and that choosing that daily choice and I love what you said on what's the how is it going to be the best? That's Kimberly today. What's the best results like? What? How do I kind of get there? And it's not about anyone else. It's about me and what I'm kind of bringing every day. And like you said, it's a it's a choice. You got to dig deep. Look at it and then make the choice to do that. And during the day. Yes. Not so impressive. Thank you. And I appreciate that. It's a process. Sometimes it's like it's like today for me and sort of is the best. I might have been yelling at my dog a little too much. So she used to come out from under the bed to go to doggie daycare, and I was like, You need to get out of that bed right now. That was that I wasn't bringing my best, Kimberly.
Kimberly [00:09:28] Right. But I do have some days. Sometimes I'm off track. But the mindful that just because I'm off track don't mean I can't get back on it.
Keri [00:09:38] Was it made right? Does it mean you can't make up for it just days away? Exactly. It just means you got to readjust and use some humor like you just laughed and you know, like you just got to get back on track. So, Kimberly, what was the decision you made or was made for you that changed the trajectory of your life? And what are some of those charged qualities that you use to help you work through that?
Kimberly [00:10:04] Well, I would probably use. Family. Getting the courage, OK? To. Except my my my journey, my story from the beginning. And then embracing everything else.
Keri [00:10:29] Hmm. How what? So because I mentioned not a lot of us have the strongest foundation. And some of us uses an excuse, maybe to not be our most wonderful selves throughout the rest of our lives. And some of us use it and become even stronger and more inspirational. And it sounds like that's that's the path you chose as I'm going to be stronger, going to transform, I'm going to I'm going to be help others. What how how was that process in that journey for you? Like how can? How did that courage come up for you and how did you were able to use it?
Kimberly [00:11:08] It was very hard because the foundation it took me to. Gained the courage in my later years of life and that. Capitalize on my memoir, my first book of putting it all on paper for the whole world, my truth now what I had to deal with and freed me and not only freed me, but I wanted it to free others. Hmm, yeah. So how are you? Go ahead. I'm sorry.
Keri [00:11:45] You know, I was so excited because I'm like, How did you get the the courage to place? Because we were just talking to someone the other day too, about that courage to put it out there and put it on paper and let you know who you are. How long did that take? Was it always kind of like, did you immediately go, eventually, I'm going to do it? Or was it in your head, Kimberly? Like, Are you got to be crazy that I'm going to like, tell everyone this story, right?
Kimberly [00:12:11] Well, I had bits and pieces of my journey that drew out my dear out, my life even in. And the career that I've chosen different jobs were able to, you know, share bits and pieces when it was appropriate about, you know, staying in school or, you know, you don't want to do that. You don't want to quit school because I can talk about this personally. And you're going to have to go back, you know, and and you know, so when things were appropriate, like I could, you know, it was always in my mind different pieces of my journey to inspire. And I would share, you know, immediately I was raised with my adoptive father that tried to build that foundation with me that was broken, that tell the truth. Kimmy, if you don't have anything else to give the world, you give your truth. You don't have to hide your true if you don't have to hide your smile. But don't be scared to tell your truth. Now, on the flip side, I was having his wife, which is my adoptive mother, which is when they adopted me. She is her. She's. It was kinship. Finally, that was the name that they called it because she was my biological father sister. She was the oldest of them, so she really she was my paternal own. But at that time, you know, I was it wasn't explained any thank. And she was and they were both in the era, even though the flip side, he was telling me to bear the truth in their era. And that generation back then because they were a lot older, is what was stayed in the home. What was what was done in the home state and home, no matter what, it was good or bad. You do not go out in public and talk about what is going on in the home unless they did now. They did a lot with the the pastor and that was their era and the generation, whatever you know, need it to be addressed. They would go straight to the pastor and have a meeting. The pastor would come to the house. I remember having a meeting with the pastor when I first got my when I first got pregnant with my child, my first child at 15, and that was very mentally an anguish for me, but I dealt with him. I mean, this was like, you know, I'm going to be around. He he was very compassionate. And he ended up being the pastor at the time that I did my trial sermon under. He end up being someone that I call it my papa. But it was still a mental anguish for a young 15 year old for that first experience to have to sit down. Now finally, with, you know, your parents and say, You know, I'm going to have a baby. This is not. This is bad. You know, this is bad. So getting to what we were just talking about, I had that flip side. She would say to me she would encourage and say, with that, what's going on in the home stays in home, she would say, and it would be a repeated statement. Now, when we are out in public because I was still in my hometown when I was dropped off and given to them and made to stay with them without any talk of this is where you're going to stay. I was told that I, my dad, was going to come back and he never did. So I was never reunited with my biological mother and my siblings, and I was never reunited with my father. He ended up having more kids by my biological mother, and they ended up getting divorced and he ended up remarrying. But I never reunited with neither one of them. But I would. We would have a conversation repeatedly from my. Now, new life with my adoptive parents, my adoptive mom would encourage and say when we are out in public and you see someone so or someone comes to you, you let them know where you are. You were your parents. Where are your parents? I'm your mom. Because people are nosy. Yeah, but I knew Gary. I knew the truth about my friends. I stayed with my mom and dad up until I was five and six. I want to go back there to this moment and my dad. But you're telling me, you know, so yeah.
Keri [00:16:59] What how did you how do you reconcile then these two pieces of advice as a kid, it's so hard, right? Your brain is forming. So now you're getting the two important people in your life who are now raising you, one saying Speak your truth and the other one's like, Well, just in the house, though, let's be clear. Don't don't don't say that us, which I think a lot of people have right then that they really don't look like insane because what goes on inside the house is not what is portrayed outside the house. So how how did you reconcile that?
Kimberly [00:17:33] I didn't. I lost my voice. I had to find it.
Keri [00:17:37] Um, talk about how you found your voice. Thanks. I think this is so critical for especially women to hear because we were talking about earlier before the podcast that a lot of times we don't see people of color women represented in lots of places. And so how did you find how did you find that voice? What was kind of your journey to find it?
Kimberly [00:18:02] Yeah, I went through a lot and I had to once again go back into the foundation and accept that my silence and losing my voice and triggered other events. When I got my first marriage, I wanted to say and then my second marriage, I said, I don't want, I don't. I am questioning this. I really don't think I'm. I'm ready for this. But yet the feedback, the response was, you learn to love him. Yeah, he loves you. He's older. He's accepting to kiss by you. It doesn't matter whether he's 11 years older than you, you. This is what you need to do. So I shut back down, I shut down. So I had to accept everything that I went through that changed. That triggered this mentality of me to shut down and say, OK, my voice doesn't matter. Tell me I had to, you know, embrace and say, no. My voice always didn't matter. Now I have to build that epitome, that essence of me and be vocal and stand for my truth. Choose what life I want, what life I deserve, what life is is is created for all of us to have, and that's to have love, be loved and give love. Hmm.
Keri [00:19:39] I was about to say amen, but then I realized that I was wrong, and right now.
Kimberly [00:19:44] I think I was waiting for the Amen!
Keri [00:19:48] I don't know why would I was like, Do I say amen right now? I'm going to say it. I'm going to say it, because that's what it deserves. What? OK, so now you have the the children in front of you and you don't want them because I know how important it is for you to mentor and for other people, because that's why you wrote the book. That's why you put your voice out there. That's why you put your truth out there. So what is the advice that you have? Because I know as we get older, we don't want people to make the same, but we know they might make the same mistakes but make them shorter, right? Like, don't speak for as long as we did. So how do you what do you say to the young ones or people who are is, as you know, as old as we are and they're still struggling with that? What some of your advice?
Kimberly [00:20:34] Well, I currently, you know, was thinking and. I always try to personalize, because even even when I was in the pulpit speaking, I was very transparent and I said, whatever I would say to come out my mouth, Lord, let me be able to live and understand that what I've what I say, I have lived. I don't. I'm doing. I never want to be that. And that fakeness, I can only be as real as I can. And that is that I'm I'm speaking what I've lived, you know, so. Transparency at his best is what I could, you know, say to those this older that can understand what I'm saying. Be as real and as authentic as you can be to know that your voice do matter and to accept. Your. That was the situation and the circumstances that it's either been in the past or the present that, you know, that needs needs a change that you have to choose. That cannot continue to go the way it's going and only we can have all the help. And I'm a big advocate because I do have a support system and part of my support system is mental health therapists. Thank God for the two that I had in my life because I don't think I would be great at this right now. And I had also was speaking to one when I was finishing, you know, continuing to complete my book, my memoir during COVID. When COVID had just first hit and then it was released in August of last year. But I needed that support. But besides that, support the number one factor. Was me was choosing and accepting this is this is the release, this is the freedom for me and from this day forward, once I'm freed. I don't. I'm I'm I'm free. Indeed, I'm not going to go back in debt bondage. I'm accountable now for my behavior and my response. To any circumstances and situation, but I'm not accountable, and I will not hold myself accountable or responsible for anybody else's behavior and conduct. Hmm. A scene that was there accepting my rejection, my abandonment, my my non relationship still with my biological mother. Me still living in my hometown with the book release of people that's in my hometown and still able to walk around in faith without any anxiety that I had in years before. Will I see you at the grocery store when I say how long? How long can I keep talking to me? Will this be the time that she wants a relationship with me and my children? No. Too much, too much anxiety. Yeah, well, that I had to be free from now here, if it comes, it comes, but I'm not expecting it. I'm not ready for it. I'm not yearning for it anymore because I did my part and I'm free with that. Hmm. And then another key thing. I'm not responsible for what they did.
Keri [00:24:10] There you go. That's the amen to love that they had. But you are not responsible for what they do.
Kimberly [00:24:21] And I think for years, I held that guilt and shame. I was responsible for the first child molestation, the confusion that I had in my mind at 12, 13. If this is what sex feels like, if this is this is this how love is between an uncle and and and a niece? Yeah. Is this what goes on in a Christian home that they say what goes on in home stays in the home? Is this is how I had to accept Keri. This is disappointing because you know what, God? I was just starting to feel free and relaxed in my new hometown, in my new home. That that I felt that now I could I. I would be finally protected when. It was disappointing, and I had to go back and receive that disappointment and cry through it and say, yes, that hurt, but I wasn't responsible for that disappointment when I felt like no one fought for me. Now this is why I get so angry and I have to use the coping techniques differently as an adult are being done unfairly or not feeling that I have justice or not feeling that someone is going to fight for me because you know what can be? This came from that beginning of that foundation. So you're free from that guilt and that shame. You are not responsible for those actions. It happened.
Keri [00:25:59] Exactly. I mean, that is so you are not responsible and that like when you said, I've set myself free from that is the most powerful thing that someone can do for themselves, right? Is amazing. And your life changed when you said that and when you behaved, when you acted on it and you let their crud go, that's them. That's them.
Kimberly [00:26:25] So they it ties in with the courage of the book. And you know what? You're absolutely right, Keri. I started now and I see myself now depending on fighting for me. Yet who for just me now, a free me for a healing. I'm still in the healing process.
Keri [00:26:44] Me to say, well, I was thinking I was like, I will always be in a healing process. For the most part. You know what I like? Does that ever stop them? Like, probably not. But it gets easier and better every day. And but I just I love again that message of that's them. Like, It's not for you to be blamed for it. Hold that shame to hold that secret because like that, then the abuse just continues, right? So once and then it continues by holding it in and the shame and the secret the secrets, which is just even more destructive sometimes than actual event.
Kimberly [00:27:28] And I'm finding I'm getting in relationships that I'm not supposed to get into, or even if I did, but beating them up for my past because I'm expecting that. Just this fight from me right now.
Keri [00:27:45] Yep. Yeah. We put a lot of stuff on our other people in our lives, right? And but you've done such an amazing job of reflecting on that and realizing that, OK, that's again, not on them. That's me. Now, what am I putting like? What kind of crud am I putting on this other person is I'm expecting them to fight and get all upset about injustice. Yeah. So, oh, it's such. What a great story to share with people of the healing and putting yourself at a first and letting go of what other people have done. And just like, that's your again, that's your karma. That's your crap. That's like God will judge you on that. Like, I am out, like you have taken way too much energy. Telling us a lot is, why are you giving them all this energy? Because they're not giving you this energy. Like, don't stop. Like, let them let them out. Like, go live your life and set yourself free like you said and put you first, right? And I just think, Kelly, I know, I know Kimberly definitely spoke to you and putting yourself first in your voice. And what are some of your other thoughts and the beautiful message that Kimberly has for our listeners?
Kelly [00:29:03] One of the most impactful things we've seen from the podcast has been the theme of self-awareness. Kimberly and I think what I've been hearing is a common theme throughout your episode in particular, and what you shared here today is the idea of how you've had to develop it so quickly and so early in your life of feeling your feelings and having to really be aware of how of what was happening to you so early in how like the fear, the abandonment and just having to reconcile someone telling you a lie and every day really having to sort of check yourself and check others and that that you've endured so much of what you've endured. Most don't ever have to endure in a lifetime, and you've had to go through so much in just the short time you've been here. So. You know, did you have a support system as a friend group, did you have people within? I know, you know, that idea of of of keeping things close to the vest at home, obviously. Did you have friends that you could at least connect with and feel somewhat quote unquote normal?
Kimberly [00:30:21] Yeah, I had, I had. And and it's amazing that you asked that because I've got, you know, I'm still in my hometown and I had some beautiful childhood friends that have supported my book and they have reached out. And I remember, you know, in my elementary days of being misdiagnosed with at that time, I, you know, the testing wasn't as vital as there they are now in the 70s. And they had said that I had mild retardation, but really, it was PTSD, really what I went through. I just could not remember. And for, you know, the six years in my elementary was was really challenging, intellectual, but I had a wonderful resource resource teacher. And still, to this day, I think I ran into about five or six years ago. She would remember me by face, and it was just such a good re-united time because she was just like she had always said and she wouldn't let me go. She that was my first support system that I remember that didn't look like beyond the church, but didn't look like us. And she, even though she had addressed it to my my parents to maybe had me be seen by, you know, someone, you know, outside she was trying, but they wasn't there wasn't by my dad. We're talking about prayer and you know that that was that was the that was the outcome of them. But she said, you're such a special child. She said, I don't care how many years you're going to have to stay with me, but I'm not going to give up on you. And that that words resonated in my mind forever, that that was one of my first encounters. Besides, I had some wonderful childhood friends and that as I started getting older, as you were saying with me not being free, I can look back at times how God was placing other people in my life and different, different times that spiritual, spiritual mothers in the ministry that was there to help. That would give me some nuggets about my, my own identity and me being a female and me being a young female. Not so much about ministry, just as far as myself and having children, you know, young and stuff that I had a God mom, I remember. Like I said, not being free and not as you were saying, Kelly, about that self-awareness and really invest in me. I pushed away for about a year and a half. I stopped calling her. I stopped connecting and she. As soon as I decided to all look back and it was one of those feelings of it wasn't coming from the source, I want it to come from. She was not what I yearned for all my life, which was my biological mother relationship. So I wasn't willing to, as HR was saying, free and not hold that responsibility on me and just letting go that an expectation and saying it's OK to let it go. It's OK, it will. It will be OK to let it go and move forward. And so I'll never forget when I did finally pick up the phone and called it, it was just like I never missed a beat. And she was right there. But it was. And we still have a beautiful relationship. She is my God, my God. But I just encourage listeners to understand my story and to know. And they felt that that pool, when people are coming, you know, in their life, that doesn't look like them, that doesn't talk like them or whatever, but is there to to help that progress in their journey to be easier or to make it to the next step. Embrace that. It doesn't have to look like you. And it doesn't have to come from where you want it to come from. But no, it's a purpose plan for your life, you know? And I had to I had to embrace it. I had to embrace this. So yeah, I throughout my life, I really was blessed with now with the season of my life, I'm I'm getting now more with the self-awareness of immediately cutting off what my support system that I know that's going to have me digress. And it's not healthy for me without any. Without any without any time spent of analyzing it, playing with my heart, what should I? I mean, but I really care. And how is this going to hurt this person's feel now? You know, so at best, starting with a lot with me, like I was telling your daily that because I have been using the time and I'm continue to use at the time to reinvest in Cannes because I'm so worth it. I had to rebuild this back up and find my self worth to. And that's why I'm just now thinking about the book in the cover of the book. How that's so important. Now when I look at that cover and I look at that only picture that I have on myself because I don't have any infant pictures of myself or pictures of me and my my sister together, me and my biological people together. It was it was very important for me, and I think the guy that helped me publish the book to be as real as I could be. And I said, You know what? I said, I want one of my child put yours on the air. And I said, Just give me a minute. I want to had the very first one that I ever had. And so now when I look at it, I if you tell me if you would it five years ago looking at that picture, I would have got sad. Now, when I look at it, I look at such a beautiful, beautiful little girl that had and that's been worth creating and love in such a loving little girl that that deserves that abundance life that God created there for.
Kelly [00:37:11] Yeah, well, I mean, thank you so much for sharing your story, Kimberly, and to your point, we certainly encourage everyone to connect with you. We will include a link to your book and to all your information. Again, thank you so much for being part of our podcast and we encourage everyone to to connect with you. Thank you so much for being a guest on our podcast.
Kimberly [00:37:33] You know you're more than welcome. It was an honor and a blessing, and I appreciate sharing this with you.
Kelly [00:37:40] Thank you. Thank you for listening to the reCHARGE® Your Life podcast. Please sign up for our newsletter at Abbracci Group. dot com and follow us on social media. You can find us on LinkedIn at Abbracci Group.com. Instagram at WarriorsofHR and Twitter at Warriors_HR. Remember to subscribe to our podcast, leave a review and please tell a friend and be sure to drop us a note on how you are recharging your life. We can't wait to hear from you.