TRIALS & TRUIMPHS – GENAE DIXON-BANKS
Every Wednesday used to be my laundry day. I always started as soon as I got up, and I hated laundry, so the earlier I started the sooner I could be done with it. I didn’t know then that particular wash-day would begin my rebirth. During prewash, I picked up a pair of my former husband’s pants and checked all the pockets as I always did to make sure I didn’t wash anything other than the clothes. A piece of paper fell out the pocket, and written on the brown dingy paper was a number and the name Candy. Shaking like a leaf caught in the wind, I called the number and the phone rang, but there was no answer.
I can remember feeling relieved because I couldn’t immediately verify what I already knew. See, my husband was a serial cheater, and not the type of cheater that cheated with a coworker or someone he knew. My husband preferred call girls and prostitutes. Sadly, I had forgiven him numerous times already. My relief was short lived because as soon as I exhaled the phone rang. This time her name was Candy…
I looked at my two-year old son and realized I had to love myself and let go. I was married at 18, with a child at 21 and holding on to a marriage that was dead. This was not how I had envisioned my life. However, I had no money saved up, no way to provide for my son and nowhere to go. I worked a part time job at Staples, but it was really only to get out the house. I had really settled into the homemaker role, so my husband was the sole provider.
In the beginning, I thought our marriage was perfect. My husband was just going to work every day and coming home. While pregnant at 21 is when my husband’s behavior changed. He would come home late and always hang with a particular coworker. To be honest, I don’t know how many times he actually cheated on me, but I found out later down the road, it was numerous times.
One night, he didn’t come home until the next morning. I remember sitting in the window all night waiting for him to come through the door. When he finally came home that morning, I grilled him on where he had been. He gave me some story on how his battery in the car died. Then he got locked up for being drunk. The story was so ridiculous, I remember making him strip down to nothing and I smelled his entire body. His hands and private parts smelled like dial soap and the rest like yesterday’s stench. The reason I made him strip is because I saw glitter on his shirt and I knew it was from a female. We slept in separate rooms for a few months. He pleated with me. He said he wanted to make it work, so I forgave him. I didn’t want to end up a statistic “single mother”, so I stayed with him and decide to work it out. As soon as I forgave him and started trusting him again, I found out he was having a full affair with one of his co-workers from Fed Ex. I went straight to her office to confront her. She told me how they loved each other and how they were going to be together. I was done. At least, I thought I was done.
I wasn’t ready to let him go. He was my husband, not hers and I was pissed! So, like a fool, I hung on to a broken marriage and found out later he was still sneaking around with her. Every time I approached him about his cheating, there was always a different reason, lie or excuse but the affair with the Fed Ex lady, he couldn’t deny. I spoke to her in person, while he stood there, so he couldn’t do anything, but accept his part in it. I asked him, “do you love her” and he just stood there. I yelled at him in her work place “Do you love her”! He replied “yes.” My heart sank and then I became enraged. I went home and threw all his clothes outside. He never abused me physically, but I did feel emotionally abused.
I loved being a wife but, I just don’t think he loved being a husband. What did these other women have that I didn’t? Why was he more attracted to them? Why did he like the attention from other women? His obsession with prostitutes just made me sick. He tried to deny it, but years later, I caught him in a lie and he told on himself. Candy gave him oral sex (for $300) in the back of our car. When I found out the truth years later, we were on better terms. I didn’t leave him at first, but I just could take it anymore. I knew if I didn’t love myself, I couldn’t love my child or expect anyone else to love me. Sometimes, we as women ignore the signs. There actually was a sign prior to marrying him. On the way to Reno, he told me in the car that he loved someone else. I cried so hard and he took it back and told me he didn’t mean it. He said that he was just nerves. I was very young and a fool, that was my out and I didn’t take it. My self-esteem, like so many other women, was very low.
Starting over is never easy, but If I wanted to get on my feet I would have to move back home. I would have to swallow my pride and admit that my father was right when he wasn’t in agreement with me marrying so young. I moved back home for a couple of months, but after only one week, I knew I had been out on my own far too long to fall under my parents’ house rules. I felt like a child all over again. I had to be home by a certain time. I could not have guests over and I had to listen to critiques about my parenting skills. I had to get out on my own. I began working two jobs trying to save up as much money as possible to get back into my own place. My mother was very talkative, especially when it came to telling relatives about “family business”. She shared my woes with an older cousin who happened to live in Atlanta and needed a roommate. I had no real expectations when moving to Atlanta. I felt reassured knowing that I at least had my cousin there; well at least that’s what I thought. I went from living under my parent’s rules to living under my cousin’s rules. She treated me more like a child than my parents did. She reported to them about my every move. I needed to get out of there and fast. Being her roommate didn’t last long. I packed up our one suitcase and air mattress and left.
So, here I was again, alone. At that point, I only had two options; go back to California or tough it out. Finding a job in Atlanta proved to be challenging as well. I moved to Atlanta shortly after 9/11, and it killed the job market. Just when I was ready to throw in the towel and head back to California, I found a job as a mailroom clerk at an insurance company. With the help of my son’s babysitter, we “edited” a few pay stubs to show I had a previous work history. I finally was able to get an apartment. All we had to our names was an air mattress, a 10-inch black and white TV and a microwave. The apartment was far from fancy, and it was in the hood, but I didn’t care because it was mine.
Trials and Triumphs
I possess many roles: daughter, sister, friend, wife and mother; and in addition to my
personal life, I am a thriving CEO of several businesses: CEO Genae Banks Photography, Fashion Junkey, Makeup Junkey and Fit Junkey. Trials and Triumphs
I possess many roles: daughter, sister, friend, wife and mother; and in addition to my personal life, I am a thriving CEO of several businesses: CEO Genae Banks Photography, Fashion Junkey, Makeup Junkey and Fit Junkey.
I possess many roles: daughter, sister, friend, wife and mother; and in addition to my personal life, I am a thriving CEO of several businesses: CEO Genae Banks Photography, Fashion Junkey, Makeup Junkey and Fit Junkey. B
Nine years later, I met my now husband, I worked in the medical field and he was in trucking. When we had our first child together, I became a stay at home mom. I became a mother of five: Blake 5, Sidney 10, Jordan 20, Brea 21 and Dea 22; we were a beautiful blended family.
Follow your Passion
Being at home every day with the kids was fine in the beginning, but I started to have cabin fever. I decided I needed a hobby. This is when my love for photography, fashion, makeup and fitness began to mesh. I bought my first camera with my taxes. I would practice my photography on my friends. Over time and lots of practice, I slowly started charging, hence, Genae Dixon Photography.
I absolutely love fashion. It is a way of expressing one’s self without speaking a word. I love throwing together pieces most wouldn’t even dare wear together. It’s all about exploring and taking chances. When I have that perfect outfit, I feel so good inside. I love giving my clients that same feeling, hence, Fashion Jumkey.
I continued to follow my passion for beauty, so I ventured into make-up. I would sit and watch YouTube videos for hours. I would watch my clients get dolled up by other makeup artists. I always felt that I could do it better. I love enhancing their beauty and making them feel their most beautiful, hence, Make-up Junkey.
In 2012, I started my fitness journey, and it took seven months to see real changes. I ran at least three-to-four days a week and changed my eating habits. Then over time, I started going to the gym doing resistance training and started playing kickball. Life caused my weight to fluctuate, and I gained more weight than I was comfortable with. So, after having my six-year old, I came across Black Girls Run (BGR) and found a love for running. Kickball became the second activity to keep me fit until I tore my knee in two places. I later had surgery, and kickball and running were no longer feasible.
In 2014, my father became sick and his health was slowly declining. As I watched him decline in health, it made me realize I needed to change my own life. It became a bigger reality for me when I went in for my yearly check-up. I was confronted with other health issues. I had cervical pre-cancer three times! I initially scheduled an appointment to talk about getting these tubes tied: no more babies for me! My doctor required a pap smear before I could get my tubes done. A week or two later when my results came back and I received a phone call stating I needed a colposcopy (being examined with a microscope), due to abnormal cells on the cervix. Two weeks after that procedure, I received the phone call that made me slightly numb. I was told I had Stage 3 Precancerous Cells Cervix also known as, CIN3: Serious abnormal cell growth in the intraepithelial. At first I was OK, but after some thought I cried my eyes out thinking about all the, what ifs (my mind was all over the place).
That Saturday, I ran in the Susan G Koman Race for Cancer. I saw so many signs on people’s backs who were commemorating a loved one or someone who beat cancer. Talk about an emotional race for me. That moment made me realize I needed to share this experience with others, and if it helped just one person then I did my job. We get so busy in our lives and sometimes we don’t take a moment to stop, breath, and take care of ourselves. Being a mommy, wife, business owner, and athlete sometimes we let things get in the way and don’t take time to get ourselves checked out (blood work, yearly paps, mammograms, and etc.).
I took my passions and created businesses. I’m saying this to say: “Find your passion and do it”. Who says it has to be one or two? Heck I have about six, and I’m good at all of them! I’ve been told in the past to slow down and focus on just one thing. But why? Some of us have been blessed with the ability to multi-task and handle our business, like a BOSS. This includes being a mother, a wife and a friend. I’ve been told I would fail and would not succeed. Do you think this stopped me? Don’t ever let anyone talk you down, get in your head and tell you otherwise. You will meet and gain awesome people in your life and sometimes you will lose some. It’s OK. Their season was up. Thank them for helping you become the person you are today for whatever part they may played in your life. In the end remember to live your dreams and never ever let anyone dim your sparkle.
Photography, Fashion Junkey, Makeup Junkey, Fit Junkey