Feb 6, 2024

Rising From the Flames – A Fierce Phoenix Over Forty

From teenage pregnancy and the shadows of addiction to the grace of 18 months’ sobriety and the pursuit of lifelong learning, Spark Alumni QueenChiya’s story is a testament to the unyielding spirit of a woman who knows who is and confidently embraces every moment of her life through the lens of the serenity prayer.  

Life without regrets, QueenChiya epitomizes what it means to be fierce after forty as she learns from her past, celebrates all she has overcome, and continues her journey forward with the knowledge that life is still just beginning! 

As you read the transcript from this inspiring interview between this beautiful Spark Alumni and owner/founder/photographer Lindsay Hite, be prepared to be inspired and encouraged.  

Navigating Life’s Challenges

Lindsay:  What are one to three words you would use to describe yourself?

QueenChiya: Loving, funny, and spiritual.

Lindsay:  I love that. Tell us a little bit about who you are and your journey to becoming who you are now. 

QueenChiya: I was born in New Bedford. I say I’m an Air Force brat. We did some traveling while I was growing up. I was a teen mom and a former pageant queen. I placed as a runner-up and was supposed to run for Miss Teen Massachusetts but then I got pregnant. So that ended my little modeling career. I’ve always wanted to be into fashion. After I had my kids, I’ve had jobs as a school secretary, as a legal office aide, with Nike, and with the ACLU.  

I was trying to figure things out. Then I ended up with the substance abuse issue. I went through that, but as of tomorrow, I will be 18 months sober.  

Lindsay: That’s such a big milestone. What has sobriety given you in your life? What are some of the gifts that you’ve seen as a result of being sober? What have you seen come out in yourself as you’ve been getting to know your sober self?  

QueenChiya: Every day is a new challenge. I’m still reaching new plateaus and new levels, and am learning a lot. I still have a lot of internal work to do, but it’s given me my life back. Like I said, I was out there. I wasn’t so much addicted, addicted at that time, and I always had alcohol in the background, but when it started with the hard drugs, I just knew that that wasn’t the path for me.

I wanted to change it as soon as possible. So it took quite a few years, but I got sober.  It’s given me communication back with my kids and a better relationship with my dad.  I’ve also gained strength, and hope, and getting to know myself. 

Returning to School and Embracing the Gift of Time

Lindsay: There’s so much there about reconnecting with yourself. Like you said, that inner work. So what are you most proud of yourself for having overcome?

QueenChiya Going back to school because I never thought I would go to college. I didn’t graduate from high school. I technically had only an 8th-grade education. I’ve educated myself in other ways, but I’m really proud of myself for getting back into the books and into a formal education.  

Lindsay: That’s awesome. What do you value now that you didn’t value in your earlier years?

QueenChiya: I would say time. I try to let the young adults know that even if you’re frustrated about something now, try to turn it around and see the positive. It’s not going to last forever. Eventually, you’re going to look back and you’re going to laugh at it. So while you’re going through it, try to be as positive as possible and find a lesson in it. Look for the blessing in it- have patience and have faith in God.

Lindsay:  What does the word fierce bring to mind for you?

QueenChiya: Bold. Strong and bold. Able to face everything.

Lindsay:  If you were to describe a woman who is fierce, who is she and what does she do?

QueenChiya: She’s Cleopatra. She is poised. She’s controlled. She is calculated, open open-minded, and balanced.

“Life is Just Beginning.”

Lindsay: As we redefine what it means to be a woman over 40, what do you want other people to know? 

QueenChiya: Life is just really beginning. It’s not just a cliche– it’s just beginning. Anything is possible. They’re so right when they say whether you think you can or you think you can’t– you’re right.

Lindsay: So what advice would you give yourself 20 or 30 years ago, knowing what you know now?

QueenChiya: Enjoy the moment. Trust the process. Looking back now, I can see how the design has just been beautiful, even though going through it, it was just frustrating. Looking back, I see now how much time I spent being aggravated or frustrated. Since then, I’ve learned that the serenity prayer is key. So, I would tell myself to accept the things that you can’t change, to gain the wisdom to know the difference between the things I can control and the things I can’t.  

There’s not much I would have done differently in my life. So, the advice I would give myself is to breathe, smile, be in the moment, and take the time to thank God. 

Lindsay: That’s great advice because when we’re younger we don’t always do that.

Lindsay:  What does it mean to be visible, to show up, to be seen, to be a part of a photography project highlighting women who are fierce after 40? And how does that relate to your own relationship with your body?

QueenChiya: For me, it has meant stepping out of my comfort zone, trusting a group of fabulous women, trusting myself, being daring, and having fun. 

A Fierce Phoenix Over Forty

QueenChiya’s story reminds us that life’s true beauty is found in enjoying the moment, trusting the process, and gaining the wisdom to know the difference between the things we can control and the things we can’t. Each day she inspires those around her by boldly taking hold of her fierce self as she continues her sobriety journey and furthers her formal education. Thank you, QueenChiya, for sharing your story and for being a fierce phoenix over forty and reminding us that life is always just beginning! 

If you want to show off your After Forty Fierceness, contact us today!

Remember, you are powerful, courageous, and one of a kind! Show Your Spark!

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  1. Schedule a free consultation call to have all your questions answered and start planning your Spark Experience. 
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  3. Rock the session like the bright light that you are, and create beautiful, tangible artwork to inspire you for the rest of your life. 

Remember, you are powerful, courageous, and one of a kind! Show Your Spark!

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