Pearlette J. Ramos
Episode 29 16 August 2021
Not all who wander are lost
Pearlette J. Ramos
Lawyer and world traveller
Dr Pearlette J. Ramos is a leader, lawyer, social justice advocate, and writer. She is a world traveller who has expanded herself through travel and now coaches other women to do the same.
We talk about her upcoming documentary, Three (Extra)ordinary Women, which will chronicle the journey of three women who have each overcome personal tragedy and obstacles to triumph in their lives, while they come together to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
You can visit the Three (Extra)ordinary Woman documentary website here.
***To donate to help make the film a reality, please go here.***
Dr Pearlette J. Ramos is a transformational leader, lawyer, social justice advocate, and writer. She guides transformational journeys around the world, facilitates women’s empowerment workshops, and coaches others towards living life with passion and purpose from a place of authenticity.
She comes originally from Youngstown, Ohio and overcame significant obstacles including poverty, abuse, teenage motherhood, and dropping out of high school, to become a respected lawyer and world traveller.
[2:39] Pearlette tells us how she has adjusted her travel plans in the time of COVID. She runs a business guiding travel groups - mainly women - to places like Italy, Morocco and Antarctica.
[4:43] Pearlette's passion for travel stemmed from a traumatic childhood, where she would pray to God and would dream of a life, beyond the limitations of her upbringing. She overcame financial limitations, identity limitations, and the limitations of her own fears and beliefs to create a business involving travel.
[9:00] After practising law for 12 years, Pearlette went back to school to gain a Ph.D in Psychology. Her childhood experiences led her to believe that we have access to something beyond our minds, be it intuition or collective consciousness, and by tapping into it we can be led to live a fuller life.
[13:00] In accessing the power of her prayers, dreams and imagination, Pearlette believed in something better for herself, which was a source of hope and healing. It is in our power to choose to transcend our traumatic experiences, and positive psychology, awareness and conscious choice can help us do that.
[15:49] When one has been oppressed, seeing the oppression as a limitation that can be overcome and learned from is empowering. A very real example occurring right now for most of us is COVID. Pearlette used the limitations on travel imposed by COVID to achieve a greater sense of peace and equanimity
[20:31] As a solo female traveller. Pearlette has used travel to challenge and set tasks for herself, for example travelling to Egypt alone and more recently going to Antarctica, which is a journey she used as a catalyst to reset her vision for her life post-50,
[23:38] Pearlette is now exploring her creative side rather than her analytical side which she relied on for so long as a lawyer. She is expressing her creativity through the documentary project she is co-producing, entitled Three (Extra)ordinary Women which brings together her passions for travel, exploration, empowerment of women, and hiking.
[27:08] Three (Extra)ordinary Women tells the story of three women: Pearlette, Tami and Terry, who have each overcome obstacles and trauma early in their lives to achieve amazing things in the areas of social justice. They will climb Mount Kilimanjaro in September 2021 followed by visits to Zanzibar and the Serengeti.
[33:05] Tami had her mother murdered in front of her as a 6 year old child. Today she is an environmental activist in Dallas, Texas.
[34:31] Terry was born in Palestine and when the Israelis invaded Palestine her life became hell. She emigrated to America as a teenager and worked instead of studying so her family could join her.
[36:23] Pearlette overcame abuse as a child and lost her baby as a teenage mother. She is co-producing Three (Extra)ordinary Women and with Tami and Terry is currently preparing for the physical challenges of the hike which will begin on 8 September.
[40:18] Pearlette is working hard on bringing the documentary to life and hopes it will inspire girls and women who see it to be inspired to overcome whatever emotional, mental and physical challenges they have faced in their life.
Pearlette's website: pearletteramos.com/
Viktor Frankl's chronicle of his life in a Nazi concentration camp Man's Search for Meaning.
Tell me about your family life, what life was like in Youngstown growing up?
Actually one of my earliest childhood memories was of hiding the gun. Because my stepfather was an abusive alcoholic and when he drank, he got more abusive both to my mother and to my brother and myself. When we moved to Fayetteville, actually, Spring Lake was the city. And then shortly thereafter, I found out that I was pregnant. So I quit school when I was 15. And then my daughter was born when I was 16. And she lived for about four months and then died of acute bronchitis or pneumonia.
Hello, everyone, and welcome to the New Earth lawyer podcast. My name is Geraldine Johns-Putra. I'm a lawyer based in Melbourne, Australia. I live and I work on Boonwurrung Country and I wish to pay my respects to their Elders past and present. Today we have with us Dr. Pearlette J. Ramos. Pearlette is a transformational leader. She's a lawyer. She's a social justice advocate, and director. She guides transformational journeys around the world. She facilitates women's empowerment workshops, and she coaches others towards living life with passion and purpose from a place of authenticity. She comes originally from Youngstown, Ohio, and she overcame significant obstacles, including poverty, abuse, teenage motherhood, and dropping out of high school to become today a respected lawyer, and a world traveller. Pearlette, it's a privilege to have you on.
It's my pleasure to be with you. Thank you for the invitation.
Now, one of the things that jumped out at me as I was preparing for this episode was that you're a lawyer, and a world traveller. And I thought to myself, well, what does world travel look like Pearlette in the time of COVID, so I thought we'd start there.
Well, it looks like certainly a little bit different than it did prior to COVID. And in fact, I had a trip planned for 2020 that I postponed just because people were feeling, you know, trepidatious, about travelling internationally. So I'm going to say it looks like responsible travelling, it looks like doing research on what the requirements are, and both leaving the country if you're going outside of the US, because obviously you can travel within the US or whatever, within whatever country you're in. But looking at the testing requirements to exit and to enter, and then obviously how to be the most safe but while still giving yourself the permission to explore the world and yourself. Because that's a part of what my a big part of my journeys are about. It's about exploration of your inner world as well as your outer world simultaneously.
So pre COVID, you were guiding groups, to places around the world. Could you give us some examples of some of the journeys you've been on with people?
Sure. And when I say people, it's primarily women. Although, you know, there have been a man, there's been a man or an occasion or two that have been on the journeys, but some of the places that we've been include Italy, Morocco, we've been to Antarctica and Chile, Argentina. Those are some examples. And we have a trip coming up. Next month, September 2020, to Tanzania. There's a group that will be hiking Kilimanjaro. And then after that we'll enjoy the Serengeti and Zanzibar.
Amazing. Africa is one place that I've missed out on going to up to now. I did South America a few years ago. I've done it twice. So all of the places you're talking about I really miss. How did you get into travel as a means of transformation?
Wow, that question is about my life journey.
Oh, well, we want to hear it.
It's about my life journey. So here's what I'll say. It's happened organically on some level and it was also inspired very much from my childhood dreaming. You mentioned some of the challenges I had as a little girl growing up in an abusive home and in poverty. And so what I would do, frankly, was to pray that God and my prayers included, dreaming, creating through my imagination world outside of the limitations of my upbringing. And I had hoped and prayed that I would one day, see the world. And so that was the seed that was planted many years ago.
And then life lived through me organically on some level. Because I had to get past a number of limitations I felt. Financial limitations, you know, it can be expensive, it doesn't always have to be. My travelling alone as a woman, you know, what will people think and will I be harmed. And then as I continue to express this life that was living through me of exploration, so now I say, I'm a navigator, I didn't know that I was a navigator. But I've come to understand that that is just a part of that spirit that I felt an energy when I was eight years old, praying that I've allowed life to live through me. And so who I am is not just a navigator, but I like to say I collect experiences. And you know, I add the two of those.
And you know, my prayer as a 52 year old woman, so it's been a while since I had those prayers at eight is not just to experience, the beauty and wonder of the world and what transformation can happen when you allow yourself the freedom to just be and to explore yourself. But it's also then helping to create those journeys for other women in particular, because we tend to be caregivers for others, and focus our attention, our finances, our energy, on caring for, you know, spouses, and children and communities, and then we kind of come last.
And so the, I'll say, organically, but maybe also not, the business that I've created, and it's really more of a passion that's turned into a business is one of wanting others to really explore the fullness of who they are. And to have spaciousness to do that and going away and allowing yourself to kind of be transported outside of the limitations of the identity that you have as a, you know, woman who does this, this and that. And who has this obligation into okay, I'm free, quote unquote, from that for two weeks, or three weeks or six days, whatever the time frame is, what do I want to explore within myself as I explore outside of myself? And then how can I integrate that in such a way that I come back, renewed and not just renew, because I've been away, but renewed because I've experienced myself in a more deep and profound way that I feel more integrated and connected, when I come back to my life, and I can bring that with me?
Wow, so much in that Pearlette, there is a strand, well there are many strands I want to pick up on. The first one I'd love to pick up on is the idea that things come from prayer, and / or dreaming. So I've had that experience myself, when I was a child, I lived very much in my interior mind. And I used to construct quite elaborate daydreams. And at some point in my life, after I went to university, and after I started my legal career, and there were things that were happening in my life, where I would pause and say to myself, oh, my goodness, this is what I wanted when I was a child. This was the prayer I had to God or the dream that I was dreaming. Did you have that experience? You create this somehow through your intention and your longing?
Oh, God, I love that question. You just make me want to be long winded right here in this conversation.
Wow. Okay. So here's what I also have to say. After practising law for about 12 years, I went back to school, I earned a PhD in psychology. I focused on, the concentrations were spirituality and consciousness and what you just asked me hits, right square in the middle of that. And so I believe that. Wow, I believe that we're all meant to live an extraordinary experience and the longings that we have, I believe, I call them longing, intuition, the connection to what's beyond our mind because I believe that intuition or the collective consciousness is beyond the mind, the limitations of the mind. And so when we can access that as adults, but certainly when we're children, I think we have greater access, because we're not limited by the heart and personalities that we create to cope and live in the world that puts pressure on our uniqueness, who puts pressure on our creativity and curiosity.
And so to answer your question, yes, as a little girl who was, you know, abused, who was raised in poverty, who had like a lot of trauma, when by the time I was 16, I had quit school and gotten pregnant and gotten married, my daughter had died, it was just a very traumatic childhood. I still had a very sincere soul, spiritual connection, energetic connection to my dream so that despite everything that was happening in my life, I was always clear that there was something more for me than whatever was happening. And so the quest, the calling that I felt was, okay, this is what's in my material world. And then there is something else that's calling me forward. I'm just going to continue to listen to that, which is what I've done. Yes, that's the navigation, I think that we all have present. It's just deciphering those voices that we hear that says, oh, this is the world and this is what it is. Some would say, that's fear based, like, I have to live within the confines of this. And then there's this other aspect of us, that's always like, hey, there, there's this other possibility for you. And when we tune into that, then it's like, oh, well, what is that? And how can I express that more in the world? So yes, been aware of that.
And you know, just because of life, at times, I've been a great listener. At times, I have not. And the more that I've listened, that's why I say life is lived through me, at 52, my goal is really to listen to that voice and allow it to lead my life. And as I've been practising that, as a practice in the world, it's taken me to extraordinary places, not just all of the continents, because that wasn't my dream when I was eight. Yeah, my dream was to go to Paris, frankly, my dream was to go to Italy, because like, I thought all little girls wanted to go to Italy, in Paris, you know, but it wasn't like to see the continents and to, you know, traverse and now my longing is to be in the wilderness. And because I feel the connection of Gaia. Yeah, more profoundly. And so, as I've allowed it, to live through me and to listen, it's, it's taken me in directions I could have never imagined ever.
Well, a lot of your story reminds me of Viktor Frankl's book, the Search for Meaning. When he was in a concentration camp, he never let go of the larger reality. And that really got him through what he was suffering at the time. So my sense is, by holding on to, you know, that higher self or that imagination, that inspiration, you were able to overcome and not dwell in all of the trauma that you went through early. So you actually healed yourself. Would you say that that's right?
Wow. So I'm gonna say yes, and healing. Let me just go back a little bit. We're human, which means we have frailties. So the process of healing for many of us is just a lifelong journey, yet, I don't proclaim to be, you know, enlightened in an essay in any way, I'm certainly more enlightened than I was, when I was struggling in a consciousness of struggling, what I'll say is, it has shifted my mindset, having the the access to my imagination, and there's whole books now written on like the Biology of Belief, I had a belief system that was formed very early on, that I held on to despite what was happening in the world, and that belief system gave me hope, hope that my life could be better, despite whatever my circumstances were. And that hope and belief, then motivated me and my actions, because I write I've moved my actions in conformity with my belief system. And so and that helped me to develop resilience.
And there's all this area of psychology now called positive psychology, many of us have heard about the research that's been done on meditation and, you know, spirituality, on creativity, on mindfulness, on a whole host of things, strengths based research that says, oh, there's this way that we can evolve and grow despite challenging traumatic life circumstances and post traumatic growth is even possible. You don't necessarily have to be limited by the things that happened to you. As we raise our awareness, which is why consciousness is and awareness is so powerful, that we can actually then make it mean whatever we choose to make it mean. And it's in the power of what we make the things mean that get to determine to, to a great degree, what our outcome is not for everyone in every circumstance, because, you know, we live within structures, but in many cases, we can transcend those structures with a combination of personal action views and skills as well as I think strategy and support from others.
So it's like that interplay between that part of you that is divine, shall we say, for want of a better word, and part of you that's human that's living here. So the divine gets to live through the human and the human gets to shape the human experience, or really the most fulfilling life. And you talked about expanding your life so that it can be meaningful. The most meaningful way to live life is to have that perspective and to see it as a really this wonderful, almost candy store of possibility, and work with that divine self to create more exciting opportunities for yourself, is how I would see it.
And I think the challenge is when you feel like you've been oppressed, because you've been oppressed, or you've been abused, or you're in poverty, and you're struggling, and even if those aren't the cases, because we struggle in various ways every day, right, with mental health challenges, work related stressors, in the work that I do with, with lawyers, as well as women who are lawyers, you know, feeling a sense of helplessness to the system, whatever the system is, whether it's familial or work related system is one of the challenges, it's how can you be in the world and be of the world? So yes, this limitation is here, this physical limitation, right, this psychological limitation, this work related limitation, and feel a sense of freedom, because freedom is a state of mind. That's what I, it is a state of mind. So if I free my mind, from okay, this is happening, and there's a way for me to experience, you know, joy in the midst of this or contentment in the midst of this. Let me just be curious, how do I access that within myself? I think is one of just the challenges of being in Western society right now.
Because we all have experienced limitation, let me just say this real quick, because you mentioned COVID, well in a roundabout way, and travelling during COVID, I find it very ironic how we have, as generally, people have responded so differently, to not being as free to travel, you know, or not being as free to spend time with their loved ones or to go to restaurants even. And I set an intention. And so this is an example for me, I set an intention going into COVID, like the lockdown, of how I was going to be because it shapes my mindset, because I live an intentional life. It was like, okay, I love to travel. And I do a lot of it when we don't have the situation. But I didn't want to be, I don't want to feel negative about the experience, like, oh, God, I can't do this like I would normally do. I didn't want to run a tape around feeling deprived. So I was like, hmm, what intentions could I set for myself, during the next however long this would last, that would expand who I am even in the confines of this limitation, because I'm not going to go as much as I would normally go? And here's what I discovered. And I'm just, I'll be really brief. First of all, I didn't know how much running back and forth travelling, how taxing it was, because I did it all the time. I just did it all the time, it was normal. But sitting with, you know, myself for longer periods, I reimagine what that time would look like. And so I started spending more quality time with myself doing various activities. I started teaching more, you know, online. And what I found was now that, you know, well, during this last five or six months, as people were gearing back up, I was like, oh, my nervous system had calmed down. I was actually more relaxed.
And so, you know, it begs the question for me, how can whatever's happening in life, how can my response be one that really helps me to maintain my equanimity in here? And so I'm still very curious about that. Because it's happening again, right? It's like, oh, we were able to go now this is happening. And so it's so easy to feel a sense of powerlessness and frustration, when these forces outside of ourselves are inhibiting us or we feel inhibited. And yet, there is the capacity to create within our own experience. Well, in light of this happening, how can I experience my life differently in a way that might expand me?
Well, let's bring that thought sorry, Pearlette...
Bringing that thought to women, solo female traveller, and I have been a solo female traveller a lot, in fact, when I did it years ago, in my 20s, I went to China on my own, and everybody around me worried about it, even though it was a very structured adventure. And after that I couldn't get enough. I loved it. I loved doing it on my own, making my own decisions, going where I felt guided to go. And so tell me how you would take that sense of breaking through limitation as a traveller, and how it pertains to women?
Well, I'll give you one of my own practical experiences. I used to travel with a girlfriend back 15, 20 years ago, when I first started, I was talking with a woman at work, we decided to travel together because we both had no one to travel with. And we were afraid at that point to travel alone, we did it for two or three years, we would just write down on our list the top 10 places we'd like to go, and then we match the list. And that's where we'd go. And then her life situation changed and she started working in her own business and she couldn't, for various reasons, go. And I had a decision to make, whether I was going to stop going because I didn't have a partner, or whether I was going to go alone. And I was scared to go alone. Because you know, the world's a scary place. Because what are people going to say? What am I going to do, I have no one to talk with, I need someone to share this with you know, I had a whole list of reasons.
And yet by that time, I had felt such joy by experiencing the world I didn't want to stop. So I looked at the limitations. Like I feel scared because of these reasons. And just say I had 10 reasons. And I'll call that my ego self. My ego self said you can't go because of these reasons. And then I created a list of all the counters to the ego, reasons of this is actually how you can go and this is how you can go safely. And this is how you can take care of yourself. And I created for myself an adventure that I could not deny. And I had always wanted to see the pyramids. And that was like the next on our list. So I went to Egypt by myself. That was my first solo trip was to Egypt.
And I I'm gonna say it because it's so true. I had probably a better time that I've ever had with anyone for several reasons, one of which I'm not going to give all the reasons but one that was really powerful that I use in all of my my journeys. Now when I go alone, I give myself a task to transcend. I call them warrior tasks. I give myself a task that okay, on this trip, I'm going to get over this limitation. So on that trip, it was going alone.
So I created like this wonderful adventure for myself that I was gonna do all these things. And I did all of those things. I came back like, oh my God, I did that. This is fantastic. On other trips now and I'll give you one when I went to Antarctica I mentioned in 2018 that culminated my travelling to all of the continents, which at some point in the last 15 years had become, 20 years, had become one of my goals. And the task there was really to do some self inquiry on I call it a rites of passage, I was 49, about to turn 50. And there are some ways in which I wanted to leave behind certain habits, I'll call them structures in my personality I didn't really want to carry with me into my 50s.
One of those, for example, was, I had always considered myself to be an intellectual, left brained type person, you know, analytical, I'm a lawyer. And yet there was, Spirit was calling me to express my creativity in the world. Now, what I had been doing for 15 years or so had been taking photos, I love photography. My website is full of my own photography, by the way, but I didn't share it with anyone because I didn't think it was good enough. I was in this judgment on that is not good enough for anyone else, but me. And so that was one of the limitations. I was like, you know what, I don't really want to take into this next however long I'm going to live like, it's not good enough because, and I have this desire to express my creativity. So I'm going to leave it in Antarctica.
So I jumped in the Antarctic as my warrior task to myself with the idea of cleansing my body, cleansing my mind, cleansing my spirit and energy and leaving that behind, and emerging as okay, in this next however many years I get 50 plus, I'm actually going to allow myself to express the fullness of myself whether that's my logical, you know, analytical self or if it's my creative self, and from that, in part, this documentary project was born because it combines all the things that I love: women who I think we're fantastic and amazing, travel, which I'm passionate about exploration, and then also changing the narrative about women and in particular women of colour, and doing it in a way that combines women's empowerment, the beauty of hiking, which I'm passionate about hiking as well. And so this creative endeavour was really born out of, remember I said, I go and then I come back different like I'm, so now I'm going to practise this in the world. I'm practising demonstrating what I committed to when I was away, when I was really centred within the fullness of myself. Now I get to bring it in, incorporate it into who I'm being. And so a long winded way of giving you an example, but it is a full example of how I started and then where I am right now with that,
Well, I really want to get into the documentary that you're creating. There is one point I want to make though and that is that sense of women expanding themselves and then connecting with places on the Earth. So hearing you talk about what you were going to do in Antarctica, so it had an impact on you, but you would have had an impact on Gaia there. I've been to places where I have wondered why I was called to go there. And then I've realised that there was something mystical or special. I've been to Orkney in northern Scotland. I've been to Maui. And those were a couple places where I came back from feeling like I was changed. And I couldn't really explain why. But it was an expansion of me into those places, and then allowing something from those places to come into me, which is really the gift of travel.
And connecting in nature.
Yes, yes, I can't understate that. But I do want to talk about Three (Extra)ordinary Women. That's the name of the documentary, please, I'd love to hear all about it. I think everyone listening or watching this will want to hear about it.
Sure. And I'm just going to give a brief introduction because this, I love lawyers, we have such a capacity, I think, to create, and we do all the time. And I don't think what's happened to me and my experience is unique in that we're all multifaceted and have so many different skills and abilities that we can express and sometimes we allow ourselves to do that. And sometimes we don't. And so I just hope like, here's my prayer for anyone who is listening and or watching, it is that if you hear you know, an aspect of yourself really calling you forward to step into something that you don't feel comfortable with, that you just follow that, be curious, you know, in a humble, curious kind of way of what is that and allow yourself to really experience whatever it is that you're feeling called to experience in a way that might enhance you. And that's how the documentary was born.
And so when I was in Antarctica, I had this vision really, for how I'm going to live 50 plus. And it included my incorporating many of the things that I'm passionate about. I went to law school because I wanted to help women. And I saw how I believe the laws were disproportionately impacted women and people of colour. And then I got sidetracked because I ,like many aspiring law students, I got a lot of debt. And I was the first person in my family to go to college, and certainly law school. And then so I got a job that could help pay for my bills. And so a part of this journey for me at 50 was okay, now that you know you're in a better financial position, and now that your children have matriculated through college, and I was able to help them. Now what is what is really calling you.
And as I listened in that journey, because by the way, we were three days on the sea, it was just me and me. I journalled and wrote and cried and released and got really clear, like the things that I'm passionate about. I had limitations in my mind. Like, I can't make money doing that. So I can't do that. So then I had to kind of work through oh, what are these limitations, being curious, like, really, you think that might be something that you need to look at? Maybe that's not true, you know, that sort of thing. And so as I worked through that process, I came to, my passion has never changed around women's rights issues and social justice, and I really want to devote the rest of my life focus there.
The second piece was I love travelling and expressing my creativity first through photography, like I mentioned, and then through videography, which I've organically just started doing through time. And then I was like, maybe there's a way that I can bring all of these things together. And I just left it as a question. And what I wrote is my prayer, and my mantra was really divine love creates through me, that's my mantra. Divine love creates through me. And I was like, okay, the divine, whatever it is, you'd have me do. You know, that's my prayer is that I am clear, and I can distinguish when you're talking to me versus my ego, talk to me, and that I will follow. So just humble heart and willingness. Over time, essentially, this is what happened, I have a commitment to travel. And I'm just going to do it until the day I die, or I'm no longer able to do it. I had reached out to a number of friends and said, hey, I want to go on this trip to Tanzania, because I also consistently create goals that allow for me to challenge myself physically. You know, running marathons. And that's what I mean physically doing things that help keep me engaged with exercise, basically.
And the short of it is three, three of us or two additional women stepped forward to say they would like to hike Kilimanjaro. Another couple of women said that they wanted to go on the other places, but they didn't want to hike Kilimanjaro. And I was talking with someone about this journey that we're going to hike Kilimanjaro, and we're going to go to Zanzibar and to the Serengeti. And the person said, oh my gosh, that's like amazing. You just don't normally hear about women doing this sort of thing. I said really? It's the kind of thing I do all the time. And women that I know, like we just do this kind of thing all the time. And he said no, actually Pearlette that's, I think that's really inspirational. And I said, you think that's inspirational. And so it started off very humbly like that. And then I had a conversation with Terry, and Tami, who are the two other women who are going on this journey. And so from that initial spark and seed being planted in my mind, I looked at our individual life stories, and I saw a theme that ran through each one of our stories. And so basically, the documentary tells the story of three women who have experienced early childhood trauma, who use that trauma to inform their lives, and who developed resilience as post traumatic growth, and who now have engaged in and have been, in some of our cases, lifelong, engaged in social justice activities. And so it tells, and just real briefly, Tami, her mother was murdered in front of her when she was six years old. And so it tells her story of how, what meaning did she make out of that? And then how did she become, you know, an environmentalist, and she works in marketing for a Fortune 500 company and engages socially, politically in Dallas, Texas.
1975, June 7th. I was in kindergarten, and I saw a shadow of a man walk across our front yard, our front lawn, in front of the windows, to our front door, knock on the door. Just so happened that this guy was stalking my mother. He shot through the door and the bullet struck my mother in the chest. I didn't know what to do. I was scared. I was you know, screaming. And, and she was present. And she told, you know, she told me that she loved me. And you know, I was saying you know I love you too Mommy, you know, I love you too. And my mother bled out there and passed away before the ambulance could get there.
Terry is from Palestine. And she was 10 years old when Israel invaded Palestine. And when she was 14, she was sent to the US because she was politically active and her, she says her mother thought she was a liability, so she sent her to the us away from her family. And then she was told that she had to drop out of school to take care of her family and to bring them to the US. And so for three years I say she was an indentured servant from 15 until 18. She worked as a dishwasher to raise money to bring her family here. And then she went on to support her family after. She still supports her mother.
Yeah. Okay. Are we ready? Okay, Terry, take one.
I was born in the city of Ramallah, seven mile north of Jerusalem. My life was wonderful till aged ten. Israel invaded the rest of Palestine, and we became under occupation. And my life.
And what does that mean?
That's mean hell. If just simply with one sentence. Hell. Your life stopped being your life, somebody took care, somebody took charge of what you do, when you do it, how you do it. Even inside your homes, you could be sleeping at two o'clock in the morning, and soldiers will come into your house, take your dad, put him on the wall. And you're standing there, screaming, because you thought they're going to shoot him.
And so and then there's my life story. And you've heard a bit about me. And I know both of these women personally. And yet the theme is we have this early trauma. And we each made it mean, something that was empowering to ourselves. And my thought was, oh, there's a way to tell the story that juxtaposes all the things that I love, women. storytelling, the beauty of nature and travelling. I had never been a filmmaker before, but very much open. And then I started really feeling the call to create. Yeah, so I've been pregnant, it impregnated with this idea that really started sometimes like they start. And then as it evolved, I, I owned that this was my story to tell. I had there's a director Her name is Cio Lorenzo and I have a co producer who are, her name is Sheena, and, with the Georgia box office. They have the industry experience, I don't have industry experience. What I have is a creative mind that I've honoured that I actually do have a creative mind and a whole bunch of other skills, including the legal skills you need in order to formulate contracts and negotiate deals and follow through which is where the fullness of me is present to birth this project.
Okay, so you're on the road now, because the Kilimanjaro trip is happening in September?
You're preparing for it?
Yes, we actually the three of us, Terry, Tami and I just had a training hike in Colorado. We did the second highest point in the contiguous USA and the highest point in Colorado, Mount Albert l ast month, and I actually just came back from this last weekend. I did not, I didn't summit Mount Rainier, but went to maybe the 10, 11,000 foot space before coming back. But we're each training in our respective areas. And we'll be taking the Machame route of Kilimanjaro over the course of seven days, beginning September the 6th, or September the 8th.
September the 8th.
The goal is to summit and the summit is 19,341 feet. I feel as though I've been climbing mountains all my life.
Kilimanjaro is the same thing. Everybody think it's so high. It's so mighty. It's so big. It's unattainable. You cannot do it. You know, take a special person. It does not.
My dream for the documentary is that women around the world will see it, to see the trauma that Terry, Tami and I have experienced to maybe reflect on whatever happened in their lives and what they made it mean. Cause each one of us made it mean something. And there's a role I need to play. I want women to claim their place in making a change in the system.
I'm going to put the link in the description on YouTube if you're watching it, and it'll be on the episode page. And people can donate to help bring this to life, so there's actually a link, because it's going to be an amazing story to actually, you know, manifest and put out in the world. I wish you every success.
Well, thank you for that, I would like to say two things. And one is about courage and courageous leadership. And this is called forth quite a bit of courage. On my point, on my part, I've mentioned a couple ways in terms of seeing myself as a creative, because that's not how I identified myself. But also this notion of climbing Kilimanjaro. I didn't mention, Terry is 64. She's the eldest of the three of us. So we're all technically middle aged women, we're not athletes in the traditional sense. And so this, we've each had to go, okay, what preparation and training do I need to take on personally in order to do this in a way that honours who I am and where I am in my life right now? And then what do I have to get past?
You know, the limitation of I can't because I don't like being cold, for example, we can't use the bathroom like there are no public facilities, we're going to have to camp out, none of us are outdoors people in the sense that we can for seven days. You know, what is the wear and tear on each one of us? To what degree are we going to get altitude sickness? I say that because there's just physical ramifications, right when you're going on any type of journey, as well as mental and emotional ones. And a part of the distinction I want to draw within the documentary , and why I want it to be seen all over the world is I, my desire is that girls and women will see it and possibly identify with some of the internal emotional challenges or the trauma that we've experienced, to understand what we made that mean, because we made it mean something empowering to ourselves, as opposed to being disempowering. And to really show the metaphor of climbing mountains, physical mountains, outside of ourselves, but also emotional, you know, mental, or psychological mountains within ourselves. Because how you climb mountains in life is how you overcome whatever the circumstances are. So really excited about exploring that, again, showing that relationship between inner and outer that I talked about a little earlier and showing it in, you know, in using media as a very, hopefully powerful medium to connect.
It brings together so many strands, Pearlette, thank you so much for coming on. Thank you for sharing your wisdom, your journey, your insights, and I'm looking forward to seeing Three (Extra)ordinary Women in the not too distant future.
Thank you so much. I appreciate you.