Now, it looks like my very first interview was with LA Wade which was posted back in February, but in fact, my very first interview was with Ms. Rochelle Hayden.
I do believe we met on a Facebook group and talked a few times.
I’ve seen her growth as an entrepreneur starting her Doula practice, selling her Yoni Steams and Total Life Changes products.
But the most interesting thing about this interview is that it started off on Instagram… Typing in DMs. But it was a great story.
Welcome to the very first WCW interview!
So let’s discuss your beginnings. You mentioned to me before that you lived in a group home. Tell me about that experience.
I sure did. It wasn’t a horrible experience, I must say. I was 17. Left when I was almost 19. Graduated high school there and everything. I made some really good friends who were going through similar experiences as I was. Didn’t have anywhere else to live and so Youth Without Shelter was our only option. One of my workers actually invited me to Church and 10 years later, that is still my home church. That’s where I met my mentors who I consider my family to this day. And other people in my life.
So it helped shape you into the woman you are.
It really did.
You don’t have to answer this question but what brought you to the group home at age 17?
Yeah, I was in high school when I moved there. In my home economics class… That’s what they call it right? Yeah home economics! My teacher knew what was happening at home before I moved into this place. One year, we did… She did a thing where in our class we made bagels lunch bags. It was tuna bagels, eggs bagels and other stuff with a juice, a fruit and a granola bar and she delivered it to Youth Without Shelter and a lot of my classmates did not know that I was living there. We did it every week or so and that was her contribution to where I live because she knew that I lived there. And yeah, I would bring lunch to school and in the back of my mind I was wondering if they didn’t realize that this was stuff that we made to bring to the shelter? But with what brought me there, my father and I, we were not seeing eye to eye. I came to Canada at 14 and I never really knew him. He was never in Jamaica when I was there. I really got to know him when I came here. We never really clicked. He would always tell me that he’d send me back to the person I loved the most which was my mom. And that’s what he did. He took away my Canadian passport. My mom worked it out so I could come back to Canada. When I came back, I was living with a few friends of hers in Brampton and I went to school in Toronto. I also worked in Toronto, at Cineplex. And it was just a lot for me. No one would take me to school so I had to take the bus at 5:30am to there. I was paying what I could which was $200/month for room and board. And if I couldn’t, they would call my mom complaining that I was not paying my rent. And it was getting to be too much for me financially and I couldn’t afford it anymore because my pay was basically bus fare and you know them times, the freakin GTA passes were super expensive. And sometimes I didn’t have any bus fare… Oh my gosh! Robert, let me tell you sometimes I had no bus fare and I had to beg the drivers and I actually made a friend with one of the Brampton drivers hooked me up and he said that I would never had to pay when I got on his bus. It was such a blessing because there was lots of times when I had no money to get to school or work. I no longer wanted to live with those people. I packed up my stuff. I wrote them a letter thanking them for the opportunity saying that I would have to leave. And my friend came to pick me up and dropped me off at the group home.
Wow! Your life story is incredible and I feel you have not been peaked yet. You’re still on your way but your journey so far… Wow!
Thank you so much! I’m actually going to tear up right now because I don’t talk about it often, you know. I been through a lot. I journal. I write stuff in my journal. But I have not spoken my story. You know, my life has not been the easiest. I’m not going to say that I had the hardest, but I can say that I have been through some shit. Lord knows! It was hard for me in my teen years from 16 up until 25. Yo it was hard!
I appreciate you sharing this part of your story with me. Difficult portions of our lives are hard to revisit with memory, but look at you now! So I have another hard question… You ever reconnected with your dad?
I did actually. Back in February 2020. Because I reconnected with my older sister who was here in Canada as well. She also lived in the house when everything went down. I kind of felt like everyone was against me so I cut her off because I was upset, but we’re back on speaking terms now. So she messaged and said she was going to visit him and asked me if I wanted to come. And I thought, might as well. Because at that point it had been 8 years. I wanted a clean slate and wanted to elevate spiritually. So I had to release people.
Feels like you’re aligning stuff around which is a sign of great things to come.
I sure hope so.
How would you define your success?
I would define success as being able to help my people (black people) live a better life through the businesses that I plan to start as well as leaving a legacy for the generations that will be coming from my womb. Being able to leave lasting impact. I want the world to know that... YO! This girl from Jamaica is the one that made such and such happen.
You talk a lot about your spiritual path. So I have 3 questions for you. How was it introduced to you? What got you hooked? And what is next with regards to that spiritual path?
So this journey started in 2010… 11? 2010! I just started church. There was a series where they talked about the truth behind hip hop. It talked about how the music that we listen to is filled with hidden meanings and at times demonic. I ended up going into that website, The Visual Citizen where they break down symbolism. And that really got me intrigued and that’s what got me started in 2010. But it was not until 2017… I can’t tell you how or why I started drifting away from the Church. Actually, I can! Because of a man! I got involved with someone in the church who broke my heart. And I couldn’t keep going because he was there all the time. So I stopped going to Church. I told my best friend about how I needed therapy where I needed to share about my emotions. But I never end up going. I just started taking a path of solidarity. I just didn’t want to be around anybody and I feel that was my spirit telling me that I needed to be alone because with this particular guy, we were on and off for about 7 years.
And I ended that this time last year. I blocked and deleted him last year this time.
And how did that feel?
Initially it felt like I can’t believe that I’ve giving so much of me to that one person without the consistency. I wanted us to have to more conversation. He was digging out my guts. The least he could do was at least talk to me every day. We didn’t have to have long conversation. Just check up on me. The stuff someone would do in a relationship. He said that we do relationship things, but we’re not in a relationship. And he said, “Don’t let me stop you from seeking or getting what you’re requiring of me.”
And I couldn’t be mad at him. This was how he felt and I couldn’t force him to see me in the light that I wanted him to see me. So I thanked him for his honesty and asked that he delete all the pictures and videos he had of me in his phone and I blocked and deleted him right there and there.
I experienced a similar situation with my fiancée back in 2005. She cheated on me on multiple occasions and I had to accept that this was not going to work out. I should not be holding on to this.
I was heartbroken. I won’t even lie. This was somebody I really wanted to be with because when we were together, it was just him and I, but when we were not together, I saw other women… I obviously knew he was with somebody else. That’s why I kind of took that path of being alone. I even kept away from my best friend. People invited me out and I don’t even know how I got into crystals and spirituality. I think that I was looking for something spirituality found me. Something that I could relate to, maybe. I started diving deeper into who were my ancestors, where my parents come from and my grandparents. I started to ask those questions. Growing up in a Caribbean household, they don’t tell you about your family. You have to dig dirt and ask these questions. So in 2018, I got a reading of my natal chart, my birth chart. And the person was able to tell me things about myself based off of reading my birth chart. And even with that, I started going deeper in spirituality and crystals and connecting with sage and reiki… Reiki meditation. So I started to look at God as not just God and Jesus, but as everything around me is God and everything around me is the universe. And the universe is abundant so I’m abundant. And people from the church would tell me that my blessing was in the church as if God was limited to give my blessing within these 4 walls. I didn’t want to pretend anymore. I curse. It just comes out of my mouth.
It’s freeing! It’s beautiful.
It’s freeing! But in the church, you have to dress a certain way and you have to speak a certain way. But I can’t pretend anymore because that’s not me. I was annoyed knowing that I was not getting anything from this. I couldn’t do it anymore. I would visit because that was my family. They saw me grow from an 18 year old to an adult woman. I couldn’t do the religion thing anymore. It didn’t make sense. So I put the religion to the side and I focused on spirituality.
I can relate. Right now, if you were to name your religion, what would it be?
I don’t follow religion.
I do meditation. People think that because I’m not in church, I don’t pray. Someone said to me, you need to get back to God. Who said I left God? Why do you think because I’m not in church that God is not a part of everything that I do? God is in me. I thank God for waking me up. I talk to God every moment of the day. I am a God. Says so in the Bible! So I wouldn’t say that I have religion. I don’t. But I meditate every rising. Or at least I try to. I have not done yoga yet. But yeah, I give thanks and praise and I do worship my deceased family members that have passed and gone. I have an altar at home for them where I put food, drink… And yes they eat food, drink their liquor and people would say that spirits or the dead can’t do that but they do drink and eat because it ain’t me. I leave rum for my uncle every so often and the shot glass is empty, every single time! I talk to my grandmother. She was the first to hold me when I was born. And you know people die, but I never expected my grandmother to die. When I got into spirituality, she would answer. There was one morning that I woke up and I looked in the hallway and there was a woman standing there. She made a motion for me to get back to sleep and it was as if she was standing guard at my door. And I went back to sleep. That woman was not my grandma, but it might have been my great grandmother because the way my uncle described her, it looked like it could have been her.
So when you speak to your ancestors, you really speak to your ancestors.
I speak to them, yeah!
What is next for you?
I can’t tell you that one. If I tell you that one, you’re going to have to sign an NDA
I’m working on something that’s really big. It’s so big that it scares me.
Hey, if your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.
I think about it and what I have to do and I get nervous because it’s a huge task. But right now, I am doing a website change because right now quite a few people are coming to me for fertility. I just became Executive Director with TLC. Definitely marketing me being a Doula. December baking cake. And working on this big project.
Ok, here’s my last question to you… What would be your advice to a girl who’s going through what went through?
It is ok to cry. There’s strength in vulnerability. It is ok to ask for help. And don’t let pride get the best of you. And remain resilient, because it is my resilience that has taken me this far.