Just like the butterfly, my life went through similar stages to become radiant and the beauty that I feel inside. January 1, 2014, the egg to the butterfly was hatched. It was like any typical birthday morning. My husband got up before me and made breakfast. We talked and he asked me what I wanted to do for the day. Like always, I told him I just wanted to spend the day with him as he catered to me…LOL. We finished our breakfasted and I went to the bathroom to wash my hands to only be greeted by him with him holding an envelope. I always loved getting cards from my husband. So of course I was all excited. I remember opening the beautiful red sealed card that he handed me. I read all the contents in the card and he said turn the card over, I flipped it around and there it was, I was given a gift of a 6 month Pole Fitness membership class by my him. What a surprise! He knew how much I talked about wanting to do pole fitness but I never had the courage to do it. I screamed to the roof tops. I dropped to my knees clutching the card to my chest in complete shock. I cried for at least 20 minutes. I could not believe I had gotten this fabulous gift from him. I could barely stand to my feet to thank him. But I’m pretty sure he knew he scored big with me with this gift. When I finally got it together, I called my sister and yelled in her ear and she had no clue what I was talking about. She just knew my husband gave me a gift of a life time. January 5, 2014, the Caterpillar emerges. This is the stage of the butterfly that loses its old skin in order to grow. I walked into AlterEgo Pole fitness of Hoboken, NJ where I met my instructor Caprice Burrell. All I could say was, you have got to be kidding me. Yes, I was in complete shock when I walked into her studio. I looked around and there was nothing that resembled me. Meaning no one was of my size. Everyone was very thin, in shape or that’s what it seemed like from the outward appearance. At this point, my heart began to sink. I didn’t want to move my feet from the floor. Ms. Burrell must have taken notice of the uncomfortable look I had on my face and she came to me quickly. I whispered to her, “have you ever had a plus size student before” She put the most radiant smile on her face and said “I sure did” and she grabbed my hand and walked me into the class. We talked a little and she reassured me things will be fine. Her speech wasn’t working at this point. Because I was already in my thoughts of “This isn’t for me. I’m never coming back here again.” Class began and I could barely keep up with the warm up exercise. I was sweating and all out of breath and that was just the warm up. The time has arrived for me to get up on this pole. Let me remind you that I was one of the shyest people one could ever meet. I didn’t really want to do anything that would draw attention to me. It was my turn to get up on that pole and mimic what the instructor had instructed us to do. To my surprise, I did it. From that point going forward, I started to feel a confidence I have never felt before. I was getting a little bolder and stronger as the weeks and months pasted. When I say I was quickly shedding the old me and becoming the me that was hidden and buried so deep inside, I couldn’t even believe it was me. This change didn’t only happen in my pole fitness class, this change began to happen in every aspect of my life. One day during class, I was introduced to another instructor who was doing a workshop at a transitional home and she was looking for a volunteer to help run the program. This hit home like a home run for me. Without hesitation, my hand went to volunteer. The reason I wanted to do this was because it was dear and very meaningful to my heart. That was where my life began. My children and I once lived in a transitional housing that housed single woman and children who were having a hard time in life. This was my opportunity to finally give back to a place that gave to me. I walked into that home and the emotions of my past began to flood my soul. I wept for a few minutes before walking in because it was my reality all over again. The women in there were walking the same path I once walked. They asked me to speak and I could barely muster up a word. I looked in the faces of mothers and remember that was once me. At that moment, words from my soul began to roar. After I finally spoke, one of the mothers walked up to me and hugged me and said, “You just gave me the hope I was looking for. My heart smiled and I looked her in her eyes and said, “Your current situation, isn’t your permeant situation.” That’s when I knew I was set out to inspire, uplift and motivate the next person. I remember taking a deep breath and slowly letting out the air as if I had just delivered a baby. During that volunteer session, I met a few great women. One of the women kept telling me how pretty I was and she saw a confidence in me that she admired. She told me about a plus size pageant that I should go watch and maybe even I try out for. I went, I loved it and yes, I tried out for it. June 5, 2015, this is the resting stage of the butterfly that I took shape to become a better her. On this day, I walked across a stage to receive my Associates Degree in Health Care Administration. This day was like Christmas to me. I waited and waited and waited. I struggled through my classes because I had so much going on. My oldest son had enlisted in the Army National Guard, I was at pole fitness class 2 times a week. I had to maintain a healthy and happy marriage and my job as a mother to five and MeeMa (grandmother) was always a never ending pleasure. My plate was full. It took longer than expected and I even failed a class or two but I never gave up on completing my classes. I walked across that stage with my family in the audience and I felt like I had won the world’s biggest prize and I felt amazing. I posted my graduation moments on Facebook and the feedback I received was outstanding. I found out that I inspired some people to go back to school. Again this was another sign that I was set out to inspire others. At this point, I asked God what was my purpose in this life and I knew, it was to inspire others through my life! December 12, 2015 the butterfly has finally emerged. On this day, I walked in my very first pageant. This was the time that I was about to become a face and name that I wanted to the world to know and see. Not because of a pretty face but because of the soul I have. Let me tell you this, when it came down to me having to say a speech in front of an entire room full of people that I didn’t know, my nerves were on edge. I started out strong and my nerves got the best of me and nothing else could out. So I had done an unsuccessful speech. The audience got quiet and my heart pounding got louder. I apologized the audience and walked down the remainder of the runway. I felt so defeated. However, I did walk away with the title of Ms. Social Media of the Ms. Full Figured New York Pageant. Again, I took to social media and posted my experience and once again, the feedback was amazing. I was offered to come back and compete in the Ms. Full Figured USA pageant. Because I FAILed (First Attempt In Learning) the first time, I was elated to do it again but this time on a larger stage. During the time of preparation for the pageant, I was working hard to correct the errors I made the first time around. I took model walking classes, worked closely with my management team, took makeup classes and done countless hours of preparing my speech. My focus going into this pageant was to be a better me this time around. I wanted to prove to myself that I can conquer any challenge that was set before me. I knew I bombed out while I was delivering my speech so this time, I had to nail it. April 16, 2016, Detras Powell was called to the stage and I knew my moment has arrived. I took a deep breath, said a quick prayer and took to the stage. “Good evening family, friends and honorable judges. My name is Detras Powell and I’m from Jersey City, NJ. I am a confident, bold and humbled curvy woman who has learned her value because of self-love. If I am crowned Ms. Full Figured USA Plus, 2016, I will continue my efforts in uplifting, inspiring and motivating all those who still don’t understand the impact Self Love can have on your life. This thing called Self Love is something we all should have. My name is Detras Powell, Have a wonderful evening!” The audience let out a cheer that let me know my mission was completed! I walked down that run way with my held high and my chest as broad as an eagle. Once I reached the back stage, I literally cried because I did what I set out to do. That speech wasn’t even what I had been practicing all those months. Those words just flowed from my soul out to the audience. I placed 2nd Runner up and also received the Rising Star award that night! I was on top of the world. I took to Facebook again and posted the pictures that were taken that night and again the response was outstanding. I was receiving inbox messages from people I never met in my entire life. I even receive a message from a mother from another state who was so inspired by my accomplishments that she wanted me to talk to her daughter who is also Plus Size and that alone put the icing on the cake for me. I knew God built me to inspire! THE BUTTERFLY HAS EMERGED!