A Single Mom’s Valentine’s Day. One Woman’s Story…

By Guest Blogger Helen Georgaklis

My name is Helen Georgaklis. I have been a Financial Counselor for over 10 years. I run my own company full time while raising 2 children as a single mom both with little or no support at all. I have dedicated the past 6 years to helping women, both young and old in building their own financial wealth. My living is in managing their money, but my work is far more as a counselor than anything financial. This is my story.

I was born an Expo baby, 1967, to Greek parents; my father a Greek immigrant, my mother a first generation Greek born in Canada. I learned early on in life what survival meant, and have been doing just that since the tender age of 5. It’s from that point that I remember the very first beating I had from my father. I was physically abused as a child, to the age of 22, and had spent my adolescent life lying about the welts and bruises I had on a weekly basis right up until I got engaged to be married, but still living at home.

child abuse

My parents divorced when I was 19, mainly from the violence my mother could not endure any longer. She was a victim as well. When she left my father, I felt compelled and guilty to stay behind and live with him afraid that he would end his life. Pretty ironic given how many times he made me want to end mine.

After I got married at 23, I became pregnant on my honeymoon, came back from the trip, gave birth to my daughter, and my husband left when my baby was 8 months old. It was a disastrous union and produced a file at the local police station whereby every time I called, I didn’t even have to give my complete address. They already knew who I was.  I never pressed charges against my ex for two reasons. One, for the sake of my daughter, hoping that he would maybe become a better father than he had been a spouse, and secondly, because I had neither a job, no savings, and nor place to live, so I needed some financial help from him.

Survival once again, became even that more crucial. My husband completely feel off the face of the earth. My daughter and I survived on our own for many years, getting into the computer business where I first understood what it meant to be a entrepreneur. It meant my daughter being at the store 7 days a week with me as I struggled to build my business. Years went by, and I met a man who asked me to move to Florida. My daughter was 9 years old, and I had thought I finally met the man of my dreams.

Moving to Florida, living with a Marine, was one of the best and worst happenings in my life. It all ended very quickly because he was as controlling and abusive as my ex husband and father had been. My daughter and I left quickly, came back home again, with no job, no money and no place to live. My mother took us in, and we lived with her for over 3 years while I struggled again to find any job that would help me pay off my $30K US debt I had incurred during my time in the USA.

debt

It wasn’t until my daughter was heading into high school that I realized I needed to establish a career that would allow me the freedom to come and go as I pleased, given how necessary it was for me to be there for my adolescent daughter. There was nothing simple, and no easy answer, but I knew I had to do something, and quick.

When I first started my career as a financial advisor, I spent 12 hour days making one cold call after the other trying to build my business.  I realized in my many financial dealings with women, that many of us don’t know enough about money. Our relationship with money is a mirror image of how we relate to everything else around us.  But ladies, we need to educate ourselves when it comes to finances. It’s a must.

My struggle to survive through physical abuse, mental abuse, being molested, raped at 16, gone through years of alcohol abuse, and a very bad eating disorder (which I still struggle with today), it all became clear to me. It became clear as day why I had been through what I had; to turn it around and reach out to all the other women in this world who have a similar story.

Throughout my struggle with bulimia that started at the age of 19,  I ballooned to over 250 pounds. The abuse that I endured during that time from cruel cashiers at grocery stores, to sales clerks who gave me dirty looks, made my fight that much stronger. We judge people when they are overweight. I was guilty of it; we’ve all been guilty of it! Never again have I judged anyone who may not appear to what we may think is “the norm”.

don't judge people

But back to the story. Once again, 8 years ago, I thought I had met the man of my dreams. Having been a professional football star, in the USA and going into retirement, he kept saying how he wanted to settle down and raise a family together. I don’t have to tell you, that coming from a Greek background and dating an African American NFL player did NOT go over too well. My relationships with my entire family fell apart! Except for our matriarch, my 95 year old grandmother who met my very handsome man and just giggled at his height! (He measures 6’8” tall and weighs 350lbs!). But we decided to start our family.

I got pregnant and went on to give birth on November 30th 2006 to a healthy 8.5lb baby boy. His father watched, held him and then 2 days after he was born, left, never to look back, not even for a moment. He left without offering a penny for his newborn son, nor an “I’m sorry” or an explanation to me. This was a man that I had financially supported through my pregnancy as he began to adjust to the concept of having to figure out what to do with his life after retirement from football. He had turned and walked away to begin building a life with a stranger he had met at a club.

Overnight I was in yet again, for the fight of my life. To survive life with a newborn, and a teenage daughter, with no help, financially, physically, or mentally. He left me in a position that brought me to the brink of bankruptcy. I resorted to lying and stealing formula and diapers. I couldn’t even breastfeed because the stress caused my milk to stop. I was up every 3 hours to feed my son and all I would think of is how to end my life. I had not at all planned on being left like this. This was not supposed to happen, again! This one hit me hard.

So once again, survival at this point was crucial. I fought back, I fought hard, and I’m here today, to tell every single woman out there who has been left hurt, broken-hearted, with empty pockets that you can do WHATEVER you want to do. YES U CAN! But you have to believe and you must never quit! I don’t have that word in my vocabulary. I am here for the sole purpose of wanting to erase poverty amongst women, whether they are single or not, because in the end, we are all emotional beings that sometimes just get tangled up in the web. We MUST take care of ourselves, PERIOD!

So fast forward to today.  I am the proud mother of an 18 year old daughter, and 3 year old son. Before I became a parent, I was on a path of self destruction, and didn’t care if I saw tomorrow. I have lived with enough pain to last me a couple of lifetimes. But today, I care. My children are my oxygen and my reason for living. Without them, I don’t know if I’d be here writing this Blog post. I thank God everyday for what I have and am eternally grateful for my 2 gifts. And because they are here, I want them to be proud of who they are, where they came from, and to always help others no matter what they are going through.

proud mom

Determination, focus and a lot of prayer has allowed me to tell my story, and reach out to all those who feel they just can’t go on. Dreams can come true, you can survive, and tomorrow can be a better day.

To the ladies in my life, they have played a bigger role in my survival than they will ever know. Institutions may call my ladies “clients” but they were the reason I kept going. Every time I was able to shine a brighter light on a woman’s financial future, it made everything that I had gone through worth it! It was therapeutic for me. As much as I helped women build a proper retirement, they helped me heal.

To all who said I can’t and to all of those people in your life who say you can’t, I’m here to say you can. Sometimes life is like a game of poker, and you aren’t always dealt the best hand at the table. You have to bet that you can get through being dealt the worst hand, and make it the best hand it can be.

life is like a game of poker

You don’t have to be a hero. You just have to take it one step at a time, keep at it and don’t ever give up. And to all the single women and moms who were without a Valentine last night, this one’s for you.

Thank you,

Helen

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Helen Georgaklis is the founder of my 99 Book Series (www.99-series.com). I hope her story has touched you, inspired you, and made you appreciate all you have. I hope her message of hope, determination and resilience will stay with you in your hearts for a long time. If you have any comments or questions for Helen, I encourage you to post them right here.

xoxEDxox

22 Comments
  1. I am Helen`s partner in the 99 series. From the moment we met(thanks to my
    wife suggesting I attend one of her financial conferences) I believe she was
    gold -and told her that
    I suppose amongst many things, the biggest lesson Helen has taught me
    is that still even today, women simply don`t get a fair break
    With all the media, all the hype and even with Oprah(god bless her)
    women who dare to dream face unigue challenges.
    The gold in Helen is that she doesnt care. Meaning , she has her dreams
    she has her vision and will never, never allow nobody or hurdle stop her.
    I confess I am nieve here because having an 18 year old daughter who I am
    very close with and always encouraged her to be whatever she wanted to be.
    For me , there is no difference between my daughter and son. I love them
    both and only see two wonderful people on a great journey.
    To me , the only defination of love is my wife and kids.
    Helen reminds us that unfortunately too much of our world is not like this
    but it doesn`t matter. If your like Helen, you WILL find the way and as I am
    sure Helen concurrs , NEVER let anyone tell you , YOU CAN`T. , NEVER.
    I am proud to have her as my partner.
    Michael Wells

  2. I was physically ill as I read this. What a life. How truly resilient you are Helen. You have to believe God gave this to you for a reason. I know that reason may not be clear but there is a reason. Maybe it was to show other women that they could be strong and prevail. May you move forward with strength and courage.
    All the best. Sarah.

  3. Thanks for sharing your story, Helen. May it be an insight for other women to help them avoid those dark paths. I, too, pray your future is bright as you model for others personal empowerment and strength!

  4. I thank you all for your support. More often than not a lot of women go through terrible, terrible things that they just don’t have the courage to share feeling like they would be judged. I am saying, don’t be afraid. I would tell anyone to be afraid of NOT confronting her challenges as they will haunt you for the rest of your life. There’s nothing easy when it comes to talking about uncomfortable topics but the lesson I learned far too late in life is that I am better off facing what has hurt me instead of trying to hide from it!
    May each of you have the power to speak the truth to whoever has hurt you in any shape or form! The feeling you will have after you’ve done is equal to winning a lottery! xoxo

  5. You have a very powerful story Helen, and I know it took a lot of courage for you to open up, so THANKS from all of us who are inspired by your journey! Even though you deal with women, we can all learn from what you have to offer. Being from a very similar background, I can appreciate life’s lessons and what you have to do sometimes to just hang on. I agree that there’s a brighter day waiting for us all, we only have to accept those “shining stars” who will lead us to our paths. I look forward to what the future holds as we begin our journey together. KEEP DREAMING and ENLIGHTENING US ALL….YOU’RE TRULY BEAUTIFUL and thanks for coming/being in my life!!!

  6. Helen, thank you for being so brave and sharing your story. It’s both tragic, and yet an example of sheer resilience. I wish you lots of happiness moving forward in your life. You deserve it!

  7. Helen,
    I nearly fell off my chair when I read this. More so of course because I have known you since grade 5. And although I have seen you on a couple of occasions over the last many years – including in the Case Room when you were delivering your daughter – nothing could have surprised me more than what I read in your blog post. You were always an incredibly gentle, sweet kid. You always had a smile on your face and a kind word to say. I remember your mother being equally kind & warm. Interestingly enough though I can’t remember your father. What I do remember is that he was a “strict Greek Dad”. You never said much, but you were afraid of him – that always stayed with me. I could have never fathomed this life story of yours and am utterly astonished at having read this. As an old friend I am deeply saddened that you have endured such a rough journey but am incredibly relieved that you have overcome such adversity and that your story has a happy ending. Lots of love to you Helen.
    Your old friend,
    Kara

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  8. I dont know how true this story is, but it helped me tonight I am a single mom w no job and life is getting harder and harder by the second.. i read this story and I have some hope.

  9. Hello every one, here every person is sharing such experience, thus it’s pleasant to read this blog, and I used to pay a visit this web site all the time.|

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