Many artists claim to have a clearer view of the world than other people possess – and oftentimes, it is out of the struggles these artists have endured that this clearer worldview has grown. The same can be said for authors, as such individuals often find themselves growing from situations beyond those most people are used to dealing with. The same can also be said for most who lead addiction recovery groups. There are probably not many people, however, who have all three of these labels under their belt – but this is exactly the case for 37-year-old Jody Powers. And Jody’s story stretches far beyond these labels themselves.
Jody was born with cerebral palsy that affects her muscles, her ability to walk, and – more than anything else – her ability to speak. In fact, her husband Jayson – her loving, caring husband who was friends with her for years even before they married – often has to act as her interpreter, as others have a difficult time understanding what Jody is saying.
People who see her these days tend to view her as a model to pattern their own life after; after all, she has a sociology degree from Ball State University to go along with minors in political science, religious studies, and inter-personal relationships, and she is on the board of the Indiana Governor’s Council for People With Disabilities. She also works with the National Alliance of Mental Illness, and is part of the Creativity Network of artists. Her first fiction effort – “Unmasked” – was released last year on Kindle and Nook (an amazing accomplishment, considering that she must type with one finger at a time!), and her artwork has been well received in the community. But things were not always this “easy” for Jody; things were not always so peachy.
For a time in her past, Jody struggled with depression. And while this dark time has helped her now in her efforts with the National Alliance on Mental Illness, it was not easy to deal with back then. Jody felt anger and hatred toward her situation; she felt upset, and the smile that one always sees on her face these days was nowhere to be found.
Later, this depression developed into a sexual addiction; her hatred toward her body pushed her toward this behavior – in what she calls a “twisted way” to attempt to suppress her hatred. By sleeping around, she says, she was trying to be okay with the body she hated so much.
Over time, however, Jody’s strength, her faith, and her friendship with Jayson pulled her out of the troubles she was having and the poor decisions she was making. She turned her life around – and rather than suppressing her past, she has learned to use it for good. From the struggles she endured, she has grown into a model others can look to, as an example of the great things any person can make out of their life, regardless of their past, their limitations, or their personal struggles. After all, if Jody Powers can do it, anyone else can do it too!