L.Y. Marlow found her passion to prevent and finally end the cycle of abuse when she realized that it now threatened the life of her infant granddaughter, the fifth generation of her family to be a victim of unimaginable, life-threatening violence. She halted her 20-year corporate career and founded Saving Promise to raise her voice and join with others to end abuse as a way of life once and for all.
L.Y. followed her grandmother and mother onto the path of victimization. But she rejected it when she began to care more about the baby she carried in her 17-year-old body more than herself, and told her abusive boyfriend that he couldn’t hurt her or her baby any more. His answer was to kick her in the abdomen with his boot. L.Y.’s way out was education, which she pursued for 16 years at night while working and being a single mom. She got an MBA and worked for IBM to “create a new glass ceiling” until she became ill and was told by her doctor that it was not the lump in her breast that was killing her; it was her way of life. His famous words to her were, “Change your life or change your life expectancy.”
Get Still and Reflect on Your Passion
Before passion and purpose was “a thing,” and certainly way before working from home was even considered, L.Y. told her boss at IBM that she wanted to work from home three days a week. She decided that she wanted to write her story in the form of a novel called, Color Me Butterfly. It won 10 awards and L.Y. thought she had turned the corner on abuse. However, the same year the book came out, her daughter was almost killed by her abuser, and he threatened to kill Promise, who was only six months old. In desperation, L.Y. wrote to Oprah, looking for a voice louder than her own to finally stop the abuse. But when Oprah didn’t answer, she realized that stopping the violence was her purpose and it was her voice that had to be amplified to end the cycle of abuse.
Don’t Look at the Monster
L.Y. pointed out that young people today had not been born yet when she wrote Color Me Butterfly, so she turned to non-fiction and told her own story—the story of the generations of women in her family that accepted abuse from their mates as part of their relationships. In her book, Don’t Look at the Monster: One Woman’s Journey to a Purposeful Life, L.Y. shares her life struggle, including her ah-ha moment when she realized that everything that happened to her was either “a gift, a lesson or a blessing.” This viewpoint transformed the way she looked at her suffering from that point on. The “no” response from Oprah became a gift. Returning to abusive relationships became lessons. She took a close look at her own monster, faced her fears and set out to win this fight for herself and the future generations of women in her family. What drives her is the knowledge that she isn’t the only one being victimized. There are many more women and generations of families that accept violence as a way of life. She carves a new path with Don’t Look at the Monster to get still and choose your own path, an empowered path that refuses to be the victim of a bully in the guise of love.
Focus on Prevention
L.Y. says that all of her efforts –trying to raise money and trying to change the trajectory around abuse –is to get people to focus on prevention, rather than reacting once the abuse has happened. She advises listeners to, “Try to find the gift, the lesson or the blessing in whatever you’re struggling with.” She launched “Monster Rise” as a platform to help women confront their fears and show them they can do anything they set their mind to do. She says that on the cusp of COVID, she sees this time not as a time of quarantine, but as “a time to become still, reflect and to say, when will I reemerge? When I emerge, who will I show up as?”
Visit LYMarlow.com and take the master assessment to find out what your monster is. She invites you to get it out of the closet. She is also offering a free strategy call called “FAST,” through which she helps women figure out their vision and mission in only three days. To find out more of L.Y.’s story and perspective, listen to or watch this podcast. And be sure to get the whole heartbreaking, transformative story of using her passion to end the cycle of abuse in her book, Don’t Look at the Monster.