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Finding Inner Peace | Choose Courage Foundation

I was SO excited to sit down with one of our original Chose Courage models. She lives in her purpose and with a passionate love of life. Her wisdom inspires and motivates me.

Rhonda

So here we are 6 years later from your original photoshoot and you have been following and involved with Choose Courage ever since. What motivates you to stay involved with our nonprofit? 

Marion

I love the purpose.

I love the vision.

I love to see where you started and where you are today. 

I love what you created.

Rhonda

What we’ve created! 

Rhonda

What has been the biggest change in your life in the last 6 years? Since 2015?

Marion

Wow. 6 years? I’m now an empty nester and I’m learning to do me and enjoy life. To live a life without rules and parameters and all of that. You know, it’s just a freedom that I can’t describe. 

Rhonda

What one word would you use to describe your emotions the day of your original photoshoot?

Marion

Fear

Rhonda

What about one word to describe your emotions after you saw your images printed at the first charity art show “Emerge”?

Marion

Peace

Rhonda

What were your fears or reservations about being a part of a public domestic abuse campaign? 

Marion

I didn’t want my private life public at the time. In the roles that I serve I didn’t want it to be seen as a weakness or as an “I can’t believe she would allow that to happen in her life.” I’m very private especially with pain. We have a tendency to mask a lot of things going on inside our lives. I had stuffed that so far into the past that I didn’t want that past ever becoming my present. 

Rhonda

What motivated you to say yes back then 6 years ago?

Marion

YOU! (laughing)

Rhonda

(laughing) I like how I get blamed all the time! I’ll take it! 

Marion

You were very convincing that this would be done in a positive light, as opposed to a smear campaign about men. As strange as domestic violence may seem, you still love the person. You still want to see God make change in peoples’ lives. When you bring up the unpleasant it can set people back. 

Rhonda

That’s a really good way to put that.

Marion

I think what you’re doing is so needed.  Especially now when people are stuck in their homes with their abusers. 

Marion

These are hard questions. 

Rhonda

Are they?!  I do feel like those of you who were original models are getting a different set of questions than the later models. Our process is very different now and we have something to show survivors interested in being a model. You said yes to just an idea. 

Rhonda

After everything was published, did that change anything for you? We didn’t tell your story, but we celebrated you as a survivor of domestic abuse.

Marion

Pausing

It’s kind of a weird thing. It created a disbelief. It was a good thing for me… I don’t know how to describe it. It made the uncomfortable more real. Once one of the posts got shared over 1,000 times. A lot of people were a bit like “what”!? It made me more vulnerable, and so many more people told me their stories of domestic violence. 

Rhonda

Were you prepared for that? To be the person they went to? 

Marion

I was that person even before I realized I was personally in that situation. It brought Lady Silverstone back to life. 

Rhonda

I can’t wait to talk about that! 

Marion

It brought the mentorship, the ministry, and me understanding the need.

I actually helped a young lady get out of a domestic violence situation because the family reached out to me after they saw my images. It brought about an awareness and a further purpose. 

Rhonda

Fast forward to today. Do you feel any difference or changes in this issue on a bigger scale in the last 6 years? You know our mission is to break the shame, stigma and silence. Do you feel that’s changing at all? Are we still where we were? Is there any shift?

Marion

I think the pandemic created an entirely bigger beast. What the pandemic has done for us is it has shown us just how bad the problem is. What people don’t understand about domestic violence is that what brings about domestic violence is problems and issues in life. Stress, financial… If ever you need to have a loud voice and be aggressive it needs to be in this season. Now the project has grown wings and people can see it. It’s time to have more voices behind you. The imagery tells a story and now it’s time to add to more of the story. 

Rhonda

We are truly blessed to have resources to help victims in our area. We know that as we have traveled the country not everywhere is as equipped to handle domestic abuse situations. 

Marion

There you have it. With our massive growth we have to now continue to bring resources and making them available. 

Rhonda

One of our 2020 goals as a Board of Directors was to make services less scary. Go into places who offer resources and feature them and show who they are, what they do, and why they care. And then Covid….. But we are confident to get there again.

Marion

One of your missions is to break the silence. When you escape this type of thing, as victims, silence has been our protection. We’ve at least seen our silence as our protection. If you never talk about it you don’t have to worry about suffering consequences. If that makes sense? One day I would like to see not just a survivor’s voice but the healing side of the abusers as well. That’s where I think there has to be growth. That might be something that’s far beyond what we can imagine but that is where the fear is for women who do not choose to do this project. I came because it was recommended by SafeHaven and I was a voice for them, but without that I would have stayed silent.

Rhonda

One of my favorite things about this journey is seeing where it leads next…. How can we be helpful? Let’s do what’s awesome! 

Rhonda

How are you inspired to keep growing?

Marion

I believe that your past sets the path for your future. I don’t go back. My purpose is to motivate, to inspire, to mentor, to minister and to celebrate. The hardest thing I’ve learned is that it’s not about me. When God gives me a purpose it’s not for me, and I think that’s what fuels me. The simple things we do in life that could save a life. 

Rhonda

What has been the most surprising thing about this journey? Is there anything that has shocked you? Mostly in this journey of healing.

Marion

How I’m very slow to love again. I enjoy the dating journey but I’m a lot more cautious. I don’t trust that easily.

Rhonda

If you could tell a younger Marion (say in your early 20’s) anything today what would you tell her?

Marion

Don’t be so naive. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck. 

It. Is. A. Duck. 

You cannot change it. 

Rhonda

What brings you joy?

Marion

Living life. 

I love to laugh. I actually love love. My whole mantra in this season is live, love and laugh. That’s really what I want to spend the 2nd half of my life doing. That’s what brings me joy. 

Rhonda

That’s the magic.

Marion

Yeah, that’s the magic.

Rhonda

What about the future excites you the most?

Marion

Everything! I love the fact that I am the Marion that just graduated college and is trying to figure it out. It feels like the sky is the limit. I have no strings attached. My boys are grown, I’m debt free in every way and I love my life. Everything about it. This is going to be the best season yet and the person who gets me in this season will get the best Marion.

Rhonda

You have a lot going on right now. What has you the most fired up? Talk a bit about Lady Silverstone and living your purpose.

Marion

I started a journey in the midst of all of my madness. I had written my Christian Novel “Lady Silverstone’s Darkest Hour”. It was written in that darkest season of my life where I was trying to find myself. I was trying to find that inner peace. And in the end of the book that brought about that peace and a revelation that said it’s time for you to make some changes. Sometimes you have to make permanent changes. So I started walking in my purpose but I stopped it all as I raised my boys. Everything about that in between was helping everyone else move to their next stage of their life. Now with Lady Silverstone it’s time for my next writing project. It’s time to bring back woman to woman ministry. It’s time for me to sing, dance, write, that creative Marion. I already have my business that’s booming and growing. The professional side is there.  My purpose is the creative side. My purpose is the ministry and mentorship.

Rhonda

Does Lady Silverstone have a social media link?

Marion
Marion Napoleon – Next Level

www.marionnapoleon.com

Rhonda

Thank you for choosing courage and thank you for having the heart to give back and make a difference. 

If you could tell someone words of encouragement that is in a domestic abuse situation now what would you say to them? 

Marion

Talk to somebody. And no matter how many times you’re not ready and no matter how many times it takes always go back to that person and keep talking to them. That person will not give up on you. There is going to come a time that you will be ready.  It may even take 7 times. 

Rhonda

Yes the average is 7 times.

Marion

You are not being judged. No one is here to tell you if you should stay or leave.They are there to give guidance for how YOU want to go. Never stop talking to someone or reaching out. The more you isolate yourself there is more of a chance you could cost your life.