When I first read about Sheila Hageman I was reminded of this quote, “Destiny is not a matter of chance; it’s a matter of choice”- Anonymous.
Hageman made a choice to better her life; she is a former stripper turned college valedictorian! She defied the odds and now uses her experiences to help other women. She is a mother of three, author, blogger and motivational speaker who coaches and inspires women to tell their stories with no shame.
At the age of twelve, she recalls discovering her estranged father’s porn collection hidden in the basement. Hageman says, “The glossy images ignited in me an unrelenting desire for attention and adoration. I became that which I thought men adored—a stripper and a nude model.” Some years later she says she was faced with who she had become when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She then made the decision to go to college. She graduated college valedictorian and went on to accomplish even more, becoming a yoga instructor, as well as going to graduate school to get her MFA in creative writing. It was during this time that she became a mother and a caretaker for her mother. Hageman started to reflect on her past, saying “While helping my baby daughter take her first steps, I nursed my mother through the final stages of breast cancer and truly faced who I had become and who I had been.”
Hageman is now 41 and lives in Stratford, CT, with her husband and three children. She has written a memoir of her life entitled, “Stripping Down,” and uses her experience as an author, yoga instructor, writing professor and mother to offer writing workshops, as well as one-on-one writing and life coaching consultations. She adds, “The message I teach is that women need to express their true selves to find fulfillment in life and to do that they must be willing to face their pasts and learn to love themselves regardless of the ‘stories’ their lives tell. I encourage women to express themselves through words—journaling, writing memoir, and eventually sharing what they write about their lives with the world."
Hageman markets her business by blogging in different capacities; she blogs on her own website and also for the Huffington Post. She has contributed to various publications such as Salon, She Knows, The Fertile Source, Prime Mincer, and Foliate Oak Literary Journal. She tries to make as many television appearances as possible, appearing on numerous radio and TV shows including The Today Show, ABC News, NBC News and Anderson Cooper.
This busy mother of three says that she balances family and business by setting goals for herself. She says, “I make small goals for each day. I commit to making three new marketing or publicity contacts a day. I work on whatever writing project I have going for either a minimum of one and a half hours or 1,000 words, whichever comes first.” She also relies on the help of a babysitter and swaps babysitting with other moms. She also credits her children for helping her, saying, “My children help out (as much as possible) by understanding I need my work time. I’m also sure to set aside time during the day where my focus is only on them and I’m not being distracted by work.”
Lastly, Hageman offers this inspiring advice, “The key to thriving I believe is not allowing our pasts hold us back, but to feel comfortable exploring our own stories and expressing our true selves. I want to encourage women to face their pasts and learn to love themselves regardless of the ‘stories’ their lives tell. To truly embrace happiness we must be willing to roll with the punches and make up the hows and whys as we face what each new day brings. It’s too easy to fall into the cultural expectations of women in our society, which makes us feel like we need to be as well-put-together and able to juggle it all as we see celebrities do in the news.”
If you are looking to speak more with Sheila you can contact her through email or through her website, you can also find her on twitter and Facebook. She was kind enough to offer MMCT readers a special rate, 50% off an initial writing and life coaching session, which can be done via telephone or email with the coupon code : Empowerment.
Here is some additional information about topics Sheila Hageman can talk about :
Self help, self expression, and yoga
Eating disorders and depression
Stripping, acting, modeling, sex and adult entertainment industry
Women’s issues, motherhood, and breast cancer
Female identity and body image, self-esteem and confidence
Coming-of-age and making career choices
Lifestyle improvement through writing and self-reflection into your life
Thanks, Sheila, for sharing your great advice and your inspirational story with us!