The IPride Evolution: Finding my Purpose through Pain

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you”
Maya Angelou

IPride is a self-esteem building program for youth with an emphasis on mindfulness, creative thought, expression, and basic physical fitness. Self-esteem is defined as confidence in one’s own worth or abilities. Ironically, many bullies have extremely low self-esteem. The negative action they project onto others often results in low self-esteem of their victims, creating an extremely vicious cycle. The goal of IPride is to break this pattern of behavior.

For twenty-six years, I borne the dark shame and secret from my tormented childhood filled with sexual abuse at the hands of a close family friend. During my late teens and early twenties, I suffered through bulimia, cutting and an overall disdain for my body. At the age of thirty-two, I found the strength and my voice to tell all that had happened to me. Little by little, as if peeling the greens away from an ear of corn, I discovered the sweet gold, my light, buried inside of me.

With a renewed sense of self, I rediscovered my gift of words and wrote poetry with regards to my pain and three of my poems were published. At the age of thirty-four, I decided to get healthy and get certified in multiple areas of exercise and nutrition and began teaching classes at local fitness centers. Just Dance

Through my deepest wound and from my darkest days, I felt my passion and life’s purpose; to provide kids with the tools to help improve their self-esteem. In 2011 two words came into my head. I Pride. The words were flashing, at first, like a crosswalk sign. Eventually the light stayed on as if signaling my turn to leave the curb.

Creating IPride helped comfort and heal my wounded inner child of the shame and self-loathing I lived with most of my life. My mission, through IPride, is to ease the journey for others.

Thank you for your interest in IPride.

– Laura


About Laura Gray

Laura Gray is a proud mom of three sons, three dogs; a published author & certified personal trainer.  A graduate of Bowling Green State University with a degree in Communications, she lives by the mantra “Who can I serve today?”

IPride is dedicated to the honor and memory of her dear mother Elaine.

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