I was recently asked, “WHEN WAS YOUR BEGINNING OF FORWARD?”  This was a tough one to answer.

I believe every event in my life, every choice I’ve made, has led me here.  What made that question hard to answer, was trying to pinpoint the moment I decided I didn’t want to be stuck anymore, and to stop making choices that kept me repeating cycles.  I spoke of my childhood last week, and how I had this extremely distorted and negative image of myself that left me feeling unworthy and ‘not enough’ for most of my life.  Ends up, that view had me choosing things that continued to feed it.

MY BEGINNING OF FORWARD BEGAN SEVERAL TIMES and will probably continue to do so.  Each is a part of my adventure and I have no regrets.

I believe it started when I married to my first husband.  I met him just before I turned 16 years old.  He showed me attention and made me feel special, both of which I was starved for.  We started dating and it didn’t take long for the behaviors to change.  We would make plans, I would be on the couch at my parents’ house, with my coat on, waiting for hours and he just wouldn’t show up.  He started belittling me in front of his family.  His mood swings were something I had never seen before.  He would switch from being nice, to being the vilest person I had ever met.  He would say terribly mean things and then apologize wholeheartedly.  Of course I would forgive him.  I was a nice person and this is what I was supposed to do.  This was constant.  Four years later, just after I turned 20, we were married.  I remember standing at the alter when it struck me that I should not be marrying him, but it was too late to change my mind.  If I did, I would just let everyone down.

Fast forward two years and we moved to a small town in the middle of know where.  I had no driver’s license, no place to find work and no friends.  I was alone.  He worked a job that ran 12 hour shifts and required him to carry a pager from after dinner until early morning.  He was gone…A LOT.  It was the perfect scenario for him to gallivant around with other women, and for me to be none the wiser.  I thought he was out saving lives.  His meanness grew worse, in the things he said and didn’t say, and in the unspoken threats.

I finally had a driver’s license and was working 3 jobs.  I wanted out, but there was no way.  I knew deep down that he was unfaithful and feared one day I would somehow piss him off to the point that I would get beaten.  He controlled the purse strings and I felt I had no options.  I was at work one day when I discovered sign language and thought “I can do this”.  I convinced him to let me study to become a Sign Language Interpreter back home in Windsor.  I would get an apartment there and he would remain at our rental out of town.  Of course it didn’t take much to convince him.  Now he would have all the freedom to be unfaithful without his wife being around.  This was my chance.  Get my diploma and then get out!  I believe this was my FIRST Beginning of Forward.

That was a short lived idea.  I worked my butt off, carried a perfect average and then discovered I was pregnant.  Being who I am, I took it as a sign that we were meant to stay together.  I completed my year studying and then became a mom.  Two months after my baby girl was born, I was pregnant again and this time it was a boy.  Million dollar family.  Back up to the small town we moved with 2 babies in tow, this time to an even more isolated location.  He still worked the same job that had him gone the majority of the time and I spent my days raising the kids.  I thought “God must want me to stay, so He will help him change”.  Not…even… close.  It got worse.  The verbal abuse was constant, I could do nothing right as a wife or parent and the silent threat of violence grew stronger.

The kids were 1 and 2 when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.  We moved back to Windsor, in with his mother and step-father.  They would help take care of the kids while I nursed my mother.  My husband spent 5-6 days a week working and living out of town.  The good news.  My mom only needed a mastectomy and she was as good as gold.  Unfortunately, nothing I said would convince my husband that over a year later, we didn’t need to be living at his parents anymore.  He was having too much fun.  I didn’t think it was possible, but life with him got worse.  I couldn’t take it anymore.  I rented a house for myself and the kids and applied for mother’s allowance.  My SECOND Beginning of Forward.

Slowly he creeped his way back in.  I started working full-time when the kids were 3 and 4, and for a few months things were calm.  Something was eating away at me though.  I thought this time it would be different.  I called his bluff and had moved out, certainly he would make a legitimate effort to change his behaviors if he wanted to keep our family intact.  My gut told me something different.  For absolutely no reason we had no money, he was working more than ever and something wasn’t sitting right.  He basically lived out of a duffel bag and I decided one night to go through it.  Wow!  Proof of infidelity in dozens of letters and keys to what I was certain was his own living space that I knew nothing about.  The worst part…a card from a woman that thanked him for sending her pictures of ‘his beautiful kids’.  That was it for me.  I woke him up from a dead sleep and demanded to know everything he was up to and accused him of putting our children’s lives in jeopardy by sending a stranger pictures of our children with his return address on the envelope!  Apparently he didn’t like being confronted, and I paid for it.  Physically.  When he finally felt I had suffered enough, he left the house.  I told him the next day I wanted a divorce.  He was calm and accepted it.  Later that week he came over to draw up a separation agreement.  He decided he was the better parent and was taking full custody of the kids, which of course I would not agree too.  An argument started and our voices were rising.  At that point, my just turned 4 little girl walked out of the bedroom and asked what was wrong.  He replied calmly, “get in your room, it’s time for mommy to die”.  I picked up the phone to call 911, he backhanded it across the room and then walked out.  That was it.  There was no way in hell I was going to raise my daughter thinking she could be treated the way he treated me, nor was I raising my son with the idea that it was acceptable to treat a woman that way.  I was in my own apartment within 2 weeks and I never looked back.  My THIRD Beginning of Forward.


It took me years to realize MY ROLE in this.  I put myself in that position, and I kept myself there.  I chose that relationship.  That by no means justifies his behaviors.  They were disgusting, pathetic, vile and absolutely unacceptable!  But…had I not chosen to be with a man that validated my feelings of unworthiness, none of those things would have happened.  My belief that I wasn’t good enough had me seek out someone who treated me like I wasn’t good enough and stay there for too long!!!  I created my reality.  Had I believed I was worthy, just as I was, of love, respect, and happiness, I would have sought out someone who added to those things in my life.  They would have been mine to begin with and I would not have had to look for them outside of me!

I needed to confront the voice in my head that was telling me I was not worthy, and tell it to get the hell out!  That would take several more years.

I would like to say that by my THIRD Beginning of Forward I had changed my thought patterns.  Not the case.  I did promise myself that no one would treat me that way, nor would I allow any person to lay their hands of me, ever again.  As I started over, with incredible new confidence in myself, the pattern of looking for acceptance outside of me would repeat again, and that’s ok.  I wouldn’t be here now if I was wiser back then.

Wherever you are along your journey, whatever your challenges are, you are not alone.


How I Arrived HERE

WHY did I create this blog?  To make a difference.  To inspire.  To reach one person, who, at some point, has felt that they are alone in thinking that their whole life is an uphill battle.  To share my story as a testament.  No matter what you have been through, you CAN change the direction of your life.


I AM no different than any of you.  Many of us are stuck in:  repeated life experiences, want, unhappiness, ‘bad luck’, desire, un-fulfillment, negative self-talk, low self-esteem…the list is never-ending.  This is where we are.  Not having enough, or any, of the things we want (financially, emotionally, romantically, etc.) But why?

It’s a two word answer:  Our Thoughts.

Seems too simplistic doesn’t it??  I thought so too.  I thought I had my shit together.  I used the power of positive thoughts, looked at the bright side of things and always did what I thought was right, hoping those would be instrumental in changing where I was in my life.  I believed that thinking this way and visualizing the things I wanted would manifest them.  When this didn’t happen, old school Jacquie thoughts would creep up “maybe I don’t deserve them”, “someone else must need it more than me”, “things will never change”.  So I remained stuck, plugging away, HOPING things would just about-face.  Truth is, I could visualize until the cows came home, but if I didn’t believe I was worthy or entitled to my desires then nothing was going to change.

This is where the past plays its role.  As a Life Coach, we focus on the present and moving forward.  That doesn’t mean what happened 5, 10 or 40 years ago doesn’t impact the present and create a false reality.  We have to acknowledge, accept, and let go of past experiences that don’t serve us in a positive way and change our thoughts to begin to move forward.

So you’re probably thinking, “<insert sarcasm> OK Jacq, how can just my thoughts control what is happening in my life?” Trust me, I thought the same thing.  Let me tell you a story.

I AM smart, funny, quick to smile, kind, loving and lovable, helpful, positive, caring and have incredible work ethic. My whole life though, I’ve never felt like I was good enough.  I chose to be an underachiever in high school (it didn’t matter how smart I was, I would never be smart enough), didn’t try new things (if I wasn’t as good as someone else I would look ‘stupid’), lost interest in things I had curiosities about (people might think I am weird), kept to myself outside of school (didn’t feel ‘cool’ enough), copied styles and behaviors of other people (if I’m like them, I’ll be accepted)…you get the gist.  This carried on into my adult life, where two unsuccessful marriages left me thinking “why am I not good enough/what is wrong with me?” Of course, there are a lot of factors at play with the marriages.  In the end, my role in the breakdown of those marriages was that I was always looking for validation outside of myself, in places I was NEVER going to find it (more on how these added to my false self-beliefs in a future blog)

Where did all those negative beliefs come from?!?

Here is where it began.  Elementary school.  I would come home with an A on a test and be asked “why didn’t you get an A+?”  If I offered an opinion that someone didn’t agree with, I was “a big dummy”.  If I put weigh on, “pork chops” is what I was called and if I lost weight I “looked sick”.  I lived in the shadows of a talented brother.  Forget about developing my own style (or more like Cindy Lauper’s).  When I did, I was told it wasn’t how normal people ‘dressed’.  When after 6 piano lessons (or any of the dozens of things I was enrolled in), I didn’t enjoy it and wanted to stop, I was called a ‘quitter’.  It seemed that no matter what I did, it wasn’t enough or didn’t reach someone’s expectations.  That was how I was raised, as a young child, and even into my 40’s.   I’m not looking for sympathy or playing ‘poor me’.  I am simply stating facts. (NOTE: I love my parents very much and have gone through the process of understanding that they did the best they could, given the tools they were supplied when they were growing up, and that their intentions were to inspire me.  I know they love me.)

So…What does all this boil down to?  It boils down to the fact that I ended up believing all of those things about myself.  I took them as the truth.  That is why I was stuck.  I didn’t feel like I deserved or was capable of any successes, in any area of my life. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I felt like I deserved good things because I was a good human, but my thoughts, the voice in my head that repeated “you’re not good enough” kept me from truly accepting that I was, and am, worthy and capable of great things.

The reality is, THOSE ARE NOT MY TRUTHS!  They are the OPINIONS of someone else!  They are NOT my opinions of me.  The voice I heard is someone else’s values and opinions of themselves, projected onto me, then confused by me as how I see myself!  It was this reality that was my BEGINNING OF FORWARD.  Who am I? What do I want? That was the first step in changing my thought pattern.

It has been a long process.  It is not easy to let go of what you have believed as truth for over 40 years.  And if I’m honest, those false beliefs still creep up daily, but now I catch myself and affirm that I AM enough and open to receiving and accepting all the good and wonderful things life has to offer.  It is not an easy feat to accomplish.  I had to make the commitment to accept and release that those beliefs were not mine, focus on repeating hundreds of times each day that I AM strong, able, valuable, committed and deserving of an abundance of the things I want that add happiness and joy to my life.

Where exactly is the HERE that I have arrived at you ask?

 Today, HERE is believing, without fail, all the positive qualities I listed about myself earlier.  Today, HERE is knowing that I control my thoughts.  Today, HERE is constantly affirming MY TRUTHS.  Today, HERE is knowing I am worthy of love, success and abundance.  Today, HERE is taking on new adventures with confidence.  Today, HERE is knowing I have value.  Today, HERE is knowing I have a positive impact in people’s lives.  Today, HERE is happiness!

Making a short visit to the past and CHANGING MY THOUGHTS has been the most powerful tool I have used to move forward in my life.  A single blog post cannot explain the lengthy journey it has taken me to get HERE, nor can it share the plethora of experiences, both positive and negative, that I have encountered along the way.  My hope is that you come back to visit and find even just one thing to take away that has a positive impact on your life.

I AM enough.

HERE is just the beginning…




I’ve been sitting here starting draft after draft of hand written notes on where to begin with this Blog.  Do I dive into the meat and potatoes right out of the gate? Do I list topics I would like to cover on this forum?  Do I play it safe and keep it light? How much of myself should I expose in my first post?  Then it hit me (after my pile of half-thought, hand scribbled notes was getting out of control!).  No, some of them, never, and if I want to be true to you all, then all of me!!!  So it’s been decided that if I want to move forward with this, I have to take you back and share how I ended up here.

I AM Jacquie Rousseau.  I will not be going into detail the last (almost) 49 years of my life, but I will quickly share that I was born and raised in Windsor, Ontario, I have a younger brother (who never lets me forget I AM older), my parents both worked to provide for us and did the best they could with what they had, I AM single, divorced twice, have 3 children (offspring 1/23yrs, offspring 2/22yrs, offspring 3/13yrs) and a year and a half ago I left a 17 year career to follow my passion.

Each of those statements played a part in my journey.  The past plays a role in where we are, but the choices we make, the attitude we have and the effort we put in are the keys to why we are where we are (and there it is folks, the topic for next week’s blog!!!).  At the end of my 17 year career there were a lot of changes with my employer that left me physically and mentally ill.  I went off of work to heal.  I took that healing to a whole new level.  I saw a psychologist for a short time and DOVE into finding myself.  Who the hell am I?  And how, once obtaining that knowledge, would I have that play to my advantage when I returned to work?  As I dove deeper, I realized that there was this passion I’ve had in me for as long as I could remember…to be a positive part, a motivation, a kind ear, and a loving hand in people’s lives.  I have always wanted people to walk away from me feeling better than when they arrived.  I had thought over the years about studying psychology, life coaching, massage therapy, some holistic modalities, but where does a mother of three find the time and money to do that???  By the time I had to report back to work I had a plan.  I was wholeheartedly going to try and make the last 13 years of my work environment a success, but, if it happened that I found myself getting pulled into the deep dark abyss of anxiety and depression again, I had Option B.  Four days after returning to work, I submitted my letter of resignation and put Option B into action.

I immediately registered to study to become a Life Coach and let me tell you it was like coming home!  I didn’t stop there.  I spent the following 364 days studying 4 subjects, completing 111 case studies, writing exams, performing practical exams, researching outside of my course curriculum’s, networking information and finishing everything on my Option B list!  With no regrets I can now say… I AM Jacquie Rousseau, Owner of The Willow Room.

My social media accounts promote the holistic/alternative modalities I offer.  I started off posting Monday Motivation on the Facebook page, but found I really had to shorten the information I felt was important to share.  It didn’t sit right with me.  This Blog will focus on motivating you to be the best you, to healing the mind and spirit through my knowledge and experience as a human and Certified Life Coach.  There are things we all struggle with in our lives (myself included).  Here is where I would like to share information in an honest way to help you move forward in your life.  To those of you that have read to this point, thank you for stopping in and being a part of my adventure!!

Until we meet again, CHEERS!!!!