Tell Us a Little About Yourself and Your Family
Meet the real Deloris E. Jordan. I am a divorced mother of three and grandmother of five living my best life ever, mentally! I must include the mental portion of that statement because in today’s culture, declaring that I am living my best life ever immediately invokes thoughts of financial prosperity. Many of us believe that our lives would be better if we had more money; wealth and a surplus of possessions are critical to having a good life. I came to learn, however, that money and possessions are poor substitutes for being mentally well.
Residing for many years in the northeastern part of the country, I was born and raised in North Carolina and proudly maintained my southern roots. The second oldest of my four siblings, I am the oldest of my parents’ two daughters and my mother’s namesake. With both of us authors, I am lightheartedly amused when I receive calls and emails meant for her, the mother of Michael Jordan. Injecting my middle initial, “E,” in my name does help to distinguish between the two of us.
What is Your Current Profession and How Did You Make the Choice?
Today, I juggle many roles, none of which I anticipated or aspired to do. In actuality, rather than choosing them, they chose me, and I merely surrendered to them in many ways. Eventually, I came to know that they were God-ordained.
My career in real estate began in 1995 and came at the suggestion of my brother Larry, who phoned me one day with the bright idea of us both getting our license and opening dual state agencies to work exclusively with pro athletes. Little did I know at the time that PA real estate laws do not allow agents to immediately become brokers of their brokerages for at least three years. Having no such restriction in North Carolina, Larry went on to open his brokerage while I became an agent. Long in the business, I never did open my brokerage or actively pursued professional athletes for clients.
Along the way, my heart turned to work with clients far from wealthy but who deserved great representation just the same, and such remains today. One of my clients declared that real estate was my ministry because of how much I kept injecting Him into our transaction. I shrugged it off initially because, like many, I failed to see how including God in the mundane task of real estate was ministry.
As with real estate, my induction into the literary world began with a phone call from a journalist seeking to write about my brother’s success from a sibling perspective. Immediately and repeatedly rejecting the idea, I eventually consented. months later, however, it was the call from my attorney that ultimately led to me being an author.
Having received an email from me notifying him our my decision to terminate my collaboration with the journalist, the attorney became convinced that I could write the book myself based on my well-crafted email. Dismissing his suggestions initially, he insisted that I could do and eventually, I took the project on despite having no literary experience at all. Once the book was finished, I was confronted with publishers trying to change its integrity for their profit margin; I became its publisher.
Then came the PR, interviews, and book signings. From the book-signings came speaking engagements, and from speaking engagements came questions about how I came to be okay with my dark moments. During those times, I became acutely aware of how many people longed for words of encouragement and often found myself offering it. My non-profit, Let’s Start a Conversation, and my online merchandising company, YASTYS, LLC, allow me to offer it in various forms.
YASTYS’ name is the acronym for the mantra God whispered me to when I was convinced that I could not endure another challenging moment in my life. It means, “You Are Stronger Than Your Situations,” and all the company’s products bare that single message.
What are Some of the Goals and Dreams You Have for the Future?
I would love to see our YASTYS mantra embedded in our culture like LOL and OMG. The minute anyone sees them, they know what they mean and are instantly encouraged. I love the thought of reminding others of their resilience in the simplest way.
The Life, Dreams and Ministry of Deloris E. Jordan
Honestly, I do not believe anyone can truly know their purpose without conversing with their Creator. They need to allow Him to show them who and what He had in mind when He decided to bless them with life. Without that, we all are stumbling in the dark, no matter how successful we may seem in doing it. If we are not careful and not inquiring God, we all could be hammers holding up someone else’s window.
Chapter 6, my favorite chapter in my new book, You ARE Stronger Than Your Situations: PLEASE DON’T JUMP, is written with those two items in mind. The premise of that chapter is that we often settle for living a life that is far less than our optimum best.
How Do You Maintain Your Integrity in an Otherwise Highly Competitive and Sometimes Unscrupulous Industry, as Business Can at Times be Cutthroat?
As competitive as the industries that I work in can be, I think our success is uniquely tied to our skillset and our personality. So while there may be thousands doing the same job that I am doing, no one does it with my technique, mindset, or personal goal. So the outcome will not be the same no matter how similar. I think personal deficits drive peoples’ motivations and unscrupulous behavior. Thankfully, I am not involved in any curriculums that subject me to cutthroat people. Praise God!
What is Your Definition of Peace? What is Your Definition of Success? How Do You Remain True to Yourself?
For me, peace is my ability to face my day without a spirit of fear, distress, or dread. It is the freedom of living without a need to run, pretend or hide from my truths, challenges, or shortcomings.
I am quickly reminded of my yesteryears when I was successful by other people’s standards, yet suicidal, I no longer measure my success by our cultural entrapments. Any day that I look in the mirror and like the person looking back at me is one of success for me. Not for any egotistical reason, however, but merely because I know that as long as I stay connected to God, I can endure whatever He allows touching my life today.
Remaining faithful to myself requires me to have honest conversations about what I need to maintain my mental wellness, and those things are the things that I give my most excellent attention to. Without my mental health, nothing can be enjoyed as it should.
These days I am tunnel-visioned to a fault. I am not inclined to endure unhealthy relationships and situations for the sake of being included. I guard my heart and protect my peace by being cautious about the company I keep, the places I go, and the conversations that I indulge in.
Would You Consider Yourself a Driven Person? What Makes You a Powerhouse? What is the Source of Your Strength?
I challenge myself constantly to grow beyond the limitations of the mindset of “I can’t,” “I don’t know how,” or “I quit.” Even when I want to and in some cases need to—or really should— quit; there is always that little voice that says, keep going, you can do it, you can handle it!
I have never thought of myself as a “powerhouse.” If anything, I am tenacious! Once I learned that defeat is a mindset and not a destination, I made peace with the fact that God had purposely allowed all of the difficult moments in my life, that there wasn’t a single thing that He could not have changed the course of, if He had wanted to.
He is God; He can do anything He wants to do. So knowing that He allowed me to at times tumble head-first into a furnace and sometimes a multitude of furnaces, I eventually came to learn that He was ultimately teaching me how to endure the heat.
Now I look back with a huge appreciation for the lessons learned, wisdom gleaned, and strength gained. Not because He did not love me. More so, He knew the path He would have me to travel and the strength needed to stay.
What Strategies Do You Use to Overcome Adversities in Your Life?
God has been the best balm for my afflictions, disappointments, and seasons of despair. In a world where many seek miraculous antidotes and easy shortcuts, He has never offered me such remedies for overcoming my adversities. Instead, He taught me not to view my future through the blinding lens of my pain and give my situation the chance to improve by not embracing life-altering solutions like suicide. Lately, I have become a huge fan of turning off the world and going to sleep. A rested mind makes far wiser decisions!
What Type of Legacy Do You Wish to Leave?
As a mother who avails herself to her children whenever they call, regardless of the timeof day or how often, I have become intently focused on encouraging them to make me their second and God they’re first. Knowing that a day will come when I won’t be here to answer, I don’t want seeking His guidance to be a foreign concept to them.
In addition to that legacy, I hope that my ability to love beyond my bloodline will continue to resonate with my children. I hope that my willingness to be a voice of encouragement will prompt others to do likewise, especially when my voice goes silent.
What is One Thing You Want Others to Remember About You and Your Work?
I want people to remember me as an advocate for the underdog and a leader who is not afraid to follow.
What Steps Do You Take to Maintain Strong Positive Relationships in Your Life (spouse/partner/children, friends, etc.)?
My most frightening and fulfilling role in life has been as a mother. To be responsible for caring, teaching, and preparing individuals for what lies ahead is no small feat—equipping my children with as many tools as possible has been important to me.
The most significant tool that I have given them beyond the knowledge of Christ has been the comfort of knowing they can trust me to support them no matter what. However, that support does not mean my support will be free of commentary. LOL – But that commentary will never degrade nor belittle them, though it may sting a little.
With them, as with my other family and friends, I praise when affirmation helps, teach when a teachable moment presents itself, and plant seeds of encouragement without it being sought. I am also an “I Love You” person with no qualms about expressing it sincerely and freely.
Twice divorced, I am still friends with my ex-husbands and have no problem talking, praising, or encouraging them, should such be needed. We share children, and maintaining harmony makes things a win-win for everyone.
My friends know that I am not a hang-on-the-phone type, so we have our catch-up sessions instead.
Do You Have Anything Else You Would Like to Share with our Readers?
Oh wow! Thank you for granting me this incredible opportunity to speak to your readers even more in-depth about an important topic to me. No doubt they have noted by now that I am a passionate advocate for mental wellness. But such has not always been the case. Having written transparently of mental anguishes and contributing factors in, In My Family’s Shadow, I also wrote candidly about embracing suicide to escape my painful and dark moments.
Being forced to live out my story was not of my choosing; however, today, my gratitude to God is eternal for thwarting my efforts and giving me the ability and opportunity to pay my gratitude forward. I am thankful that He has allowed me to be an advocate to those who are not yet committed to themselves wholeheartedly living out their story.
It was four times greater among our men than among our women in 2018. And in 2019, our black females aged 14-18 were 60% more likely to attempt suicide than white females of that same age. None of those numbers seem real unless the realness of the incidences has impacted your life.
Asked on several occasions, “What advice or nuggets of wisdom would the older Deloris share with the younger Deloris, based on where she was when she was trying to take her life?”
I honestly cannot think of a better time to answer that question than now—especially given the vast number of suicide deaths that have occurred recently. Having embraced suicide for the first time at age 24, I see myself in those statistics.
But truth told, the abundance of lives lost daily to violence, whether directed at self or someone else, is always due to someone’s mental anguish and their inability to see past their present pain today to strive for the possibility of a better tomorrow.
Compelled now to answer the above question, I hope that the wisdom gleaned from these 38+ years of living beyond my suicidal days will cross paths with everyone and anyone who may be contemplating suicide. I pray that my profound gratitude for my life will resonate with them to such a degree that it causes them to consider the fantastic realm of possibilities that await them if they resist the urge to quit life and choose to live out their story instead.
Deloris, it is indeed a confusing time in your life, and, understandably, you have more questions than answers. I know that you cry out from a place of pain and desperation. You cry from the deepest part of your soul and then become angry about your tears. Although you desire to feel better about yourself and your life, you don’t know how to make that happen.
Baby girl, it’s okay to cry about the pain, especially when the pain is too difficult to verbalize. Your tears do not diminish your worth, insinuate that you are weak, inept, or crazy. Tears are merely the cleansing mechanism God put in place to help relieve the pressures we sometimes internalize.
So don’t detest them or feel embarrassed by them. Instead, let them flow and know that even when life is good and nothing is pinging your heart, there will still be days when tears will come, and that’s okay! The shortest verse in the Bible is “Jesus wept.” That alone permits you to cry.
Now, for the sake of the joy that you have not yet realized, but can if given a chance grant yourself permission to pursue a solution for the pain that has brought you tears. A solution that will not be detrimental to your future or annihilate your potential, which suicide will do.
Declare once and for all that the opportunity to experience your future is your gift to yourself, then challenge yourself to make that possibility a reality. With the same boldness that you were using to contemplate suicide, begin strategizing a similar escape but one that is not as final as suicide but liberates you from your pain just the same.
Counseling is an excellent starting place!
Yes, Baby girl, our culture tends to frown on such things. But that shunning originates from erroneous cultural ideologies and misunderstandings, not from tried and authentic experiences. Many people have a flawed mindset that “what happens in our homes isn’t representative of us,” which causes them to remain in primitive thought patterns. Those individuals who have this mindset are left to find ways to endure their pain without ever addressing it, which does not make the situation better.
Such coping methods are not limited to just our black and brown communities. Society as a whole tends to stigmatize therapy as something to be hidden, frowned upon, and ashamed of. However, understand that ignorance breeds ignorance, and only ill-informed people view those who embrace therapy as mentally inept or sanitarian-bound. Both characterizations are far from true.
As someone who voluntarily surrendered to a depression ward of our local hospital, I walked away from my time spent there grateful for the experience. It was there that I came to meet other individuals who understood my pain and could relate to the desperation that had led to my first suicide attempt.
I was granted permission to speak about the pain and how empty I felt in the sanctity and safety of a skilled counselor while in group therapy in the hospital. Only God knows how much sooner I might have experienced the freedom that ultimately came—many years and several more suicide attempts later— had I been strong enough to ignore the pleas that came for me to leave.
For that reason alone, I suggest that you turn a deaf ear to everyone’s chatter and seek help wherever your need takes you. However, make sure that the counselor you embrace is qualified and experienced in addressing the conflicting issues in your life and holding your peace hostage.
As I bring my time with you to a close, I acknowledge that my most significant challenge in overcoming my mental anguish was my inability to envision a life without them. Convinced back then that I could never live free, I tried tenaciously to give my life back to God through suicide. Sadly, I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I would live to declare that I was living my best life ever.
The fact that I did, hopefully will inspire you to strive for a similar outcome for your life. Don’t be surprised if you later find yourself using those same dark moments to encourage someone facing similar moments of their own.