Native American from the Mohican tribe. Writer, Peer Specialist, YouTube Partner.

White Turtle Rainbow

I remember the first day I was diagnosed with a mental illness. I was diagnosed with PTSD because of the extreme trauma caused to me. I immediately thought it was a death sentence. That my hopes and dreams would never be attained and my life would be over. When the Doctors declared that not only was I disabled I was totally and permanently disabled than I realized my heart sank even deeper into despair.

My dream was to be a professional artist. Even though I had achieved my BA in Business & Management from Alverno College it seemed once I was branded having a mental illness than two, that doors were slamming in my face. It has taken my entire life of planning and researching, hoping and dreaming to finally achieve my career dreams. When I initially set my goal to be a professional artist my goal was to reach that point by 2012. When that date came and passed I was truly disappointed I hadn’t achieved that deadline. I even went through a year of Department of Vocational Rehabilitation only to find that these non qualified gatekeepers were only wasting me time and keeping me from my dreams instead of empowering me to achieve my career goals.

When I left Wisconsin all together and started a new path in my life in Omaha, NE. One day I woke up and said to myself I want on my tombstone to say I was a Professional Artist. That is when I took the calculated risk to throw myself into launching my own business under the name White Turtle Rainbow. I am finally living my dream after a lifetime of fighting an uphill battle. I have the ability to write my own business plans. I took special training with Lutheran Social Services on how to help people with disabilities achieve success with their own self employment plans. I went to hear Shannon Munn speak whose work was to highlight the success of how self employment plans can empower disabled people to create their own custom jobs that highlight their strengths and accommodates their disabilities.

I am living my White Turtle Rainbow dream escaping from darkness into light. Finding a path way out into the sunshine. I feel so empowered taking a chance on my dream for once. While I loved being an Artist’s Way Facilitator for 18 years, I yearned for my dreams to take flight and now they are happening. When I look at my business debit card with my name and White Turtle Rainbow embossed on it I feel so happy. When I check my email addressed to my White Turtle Rainbow business accounts and more and more emails keep coming in I feel alive. When I work with new clients and offer them services that really benefit their life and they tell me that I made a difference I am blessed to be of service. I am back on the game of life playing on the field. I am no longer on the bench. I am living my professional artist dreams. I hope you can too.

Wenona Gardner
President of White Turtle Rainbow


Comments on: "Stolen Child: The Story of Overcoming Disabilities" (1)

  1. […] Stolen Child: The Story of Overcoming Disabilities. […]

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