Jenelle Flythe Brownlowe is a wife, mother, business owner, speaker, and author. She is happily married with six children. She owns a music and clothing store called Studio J Entertainment and Apparel, including the coffee bars inside her stores. She grew up in Germany and left for The US in 9th grade. Jenelle Is a marketplace minister helping people who need guidance, support, encouragement, and positive feedback to maneuver through different situations. She walks in this ministry with honor, confidence, and gratitude, knowing she is entrusted with people’s intimate details.
Jenelle loves to donate and volunteer her time to the needy and homeless; she is passionate about speaking with the youth and sharing her experience to help them make good life choices. Her purpose is to support women and children who have experienced abuse to see themselves as worthy and find their voice and hope in their future. Jenelle loves reading, writing, listening to music, watching her favorite TV shows, contemplating topics she would love to speak about, and improving her emotional intelligence.
Please share with us a bit about your early life experiences.
I lived in Germany from when I was in 1st grade and left for the US when I was in 9th grade. I was in Germany for ten years. Some of my most memorable moments involve traveling all over Europe. I have been to London, across the English Channel, Spain, Paris about three times, Netherlands, Austria, the gazebo where they filmed the sound of music, and walked up the leaning tower of pizza. I had a very memorable childhood; I was exposed to different cultures, foods, and languages . Some core values instilled in me from a young age were honesty, trustworthiness, and punctuality. I am very proud of all of them.
What has been the biggest challenge you have experienced?
My biggest challenge was being a single mother to my children. I walked away from my second marriage to an abusive man; he broke into my house and tried to choke me. I gathered the courage to leave. I learned that I am strong. Looking after my children as a single mother was challenging for me.
What I would say to anyone going through what I did is most parents either want to be like the parents they had or be the exact opposite of their parents if they did not have a pleasant childhood, like me. I wanted to be the exact opposite of the example that I had because of the abuse and things I experienced as a child. I won’t say that I didn’t have any pleasurable memories as a child, but because of the abuse, there were many things that I wished I could take out of my childhood. There is no such thing as a perfect parent. You do your best with what you have, be it knowledge, money whatever resources you have or don’t have, to raise your kids to be upstanding citizens and contributing members of society.
The third thing I would share with single parents is for single fathers, not just single mums. I know many excellent single fathers who are to be there for their kids and support them in everything they do. Kids get enough criticism, and they experience things that were not around when we were growing up. They have to deal with many things, including social media. I would recommend limiting your kid’s access to social media. When they are doing something good, encourage them; when they are in a positive activity, support them and show up for them. I know parents are busy, but when your child is doing something positive, you have to show up and let them know you support them in their dreams and aspirations, and that’s how you keep your child away from the streets. You have to let them know that you are their number-one fan
What have been your proudest moments?
One of My proudest moments is being a mother. I always have and will always think that was one of the most significant moments of my life. Watching my children grow up, graduate high school, and watching them reach milestones in their adult life makes me think I was a good parent because, along the way, you often wonder if you’re instilling the right values in your child and what kind of person they are going to be as an adult. So when I saw them reaching those milestones in their adult life, it reinforced to me that I did a good job even though most of their life, I was a single mother
My other proud moments were in the business world, and I went to business by myself. I was unsure of myself, didn’t have a college education, and didn’t have a bottomless bank account. I was uncertain of my footing. I read a lot and researched as I figured out what to do. I had a music and clothing store, and I became very successful. I had my store in the state of Delaware for six years and then relocated to North Carolina, where I was diagnosed with Cancer. The store in North Carolina didn’t have a great start because I was in and out of the hospital with cancer. I have multiple myeloma, which is a blood cancer. I had to go through several rounds of chemo before I qualified for my stem cell bone marrow transplant. After the transplant, my heart failed, so I have congestive heart failure now, and because I took steroids for so long, I developed diabetes. The cancer I have is not curable; I am in remission now, and I thank God for that. My heart had gone down to operating at 14%; it came up to 40%, and that’s where it’s been resting for the last two years. It has not gone past operating at 40%. Diabetes is now another challenge, but I see them as a way to get through. I don’t feel sorry for myself. I still get up every day and choose to live life to the fullest, and that’s the attitude that I pray that God allows me to keep throughout the remainder of this journey
What is the most inspiring moment you have had
The most inspiring moment, I would say, is when I learned to forgive. It was very freeing to allow myself to release my feelings associated with forgiving. It taught me that I could be the bigger person and not hold onto a grudge that would ultimately tie me up for the rest of my life because when you harbor hate, it’s like cancer that eats you alive, and when you let it go it gives you room to work on yourself. Forgiveness is not only about the other person; it’s really about you, and when you realize that, it’s a lot easier to forgive.
It took me many years to learn that lesson because I thought if you forgive someone, it meant that you had to be best friends and hang out, and that’s not what forgiveness is; that’s reconciliation, and the Bible doesn’t require us to reconcile it requires us to forgive. I reference the Bible because that was the biggest and ultimate resource in my life that allowed me to eventually forgive my parents for the things that happened to us as children.
What is the one thing that you were always ashamed to share?
I was always ashamed to share that I was molested as a young girl between the ages of 12-15; during that time, when I was 14, I got pregnant and was forced to have an abortion. I was molested by my mother’s husband, who was my stepfather. It brought me a lot of shame and embarrassment. Once I forgave them, that shame flew away, and I realized the shame was never mine, to begin with. I realized I had never done anything wrong. I was a child, and as a child, the adults in your life are meant to protect you. My mother’s husband was just a predator who married a woman with two small girls so he could do what he wanted. My mother emotionally abandoned us and let him do whatever he wanted.
I thought if you forgive someone, it meant that you had to be best friends and hang out, and that’s not what forgiveness is; that’s reconciliation
I don’t have a relationship with my biological father. I haven’t seen him since I was three years old, and I don’t know my family from my father’s side. I know his name because it’s on my birth certificate, but I don’t know his mother, aunts, or uncles from that side of my family . I don’t know any cousins or if I have brothers and sisters from my father having children with other women. I don’t know. It’s like a whole half of me is missing because my mother and her husband decided that we were not going to be allowed to be part of them once they got divorced. I had a picture of my father with my mother and my older sister, but my stepfather took that picture away from us when we were young and ripped it up, and that moment when he ripped that picture, it felt like ripping half of my heart out. I have nothing of my birth father except his name on my birth certificate. That part of me would like to find him and reach out and try to establish a relationship, but part of me feels like he didn’t reach out and try to find me, or at least to my knowledge. He didn’t care enough to fight for a relationship with me, so I don’t know if I want to invite him into my life now. I got through everything that happened to me when I was younger without my father’s protection. In all that I went through as a child, I wanted to get out of the house, so I married very young. I was 19 years old, and by age 25, I had five children to raise. I discovered my husband was addicted to drugs and alcohol, but by then, we were already deep in marriage. I had to find the strength to leave my first husband with five young children to raise alone, but I did it.
Women’s voices are important in society; what does having a voice mean to you?
Women’s voices are critical in society. Having a voice means your opinion matters and you are heard. Having a voice means not just laying down and taking what someone else dictates about a subject or matter. It means that you have value and that you are important.
Having a voice is essential because some people will never be brave enough to use their voice. Being brave enough to have an opinion on different things helps them to have somebody to associate with. I like owning my voice because it means that I am important; it means that what I say matters.
What is the one thing you have gone through that was painful but would never change?
One thing that I have gone through that was painful but I would never change was the night I almost lost my life when my second husband tried to choke me; I found the strength and courage to ask him for a divorce. Although it was traumatic for me, I wouldn’t change it because that was a defining moment in my life. It forever changed me when I felt my very existence slipping away. It gave me the strength to be who I am today. It made me fight for my life. I had just turned 40 years old. It made me realize in those few seconds when you have to decide to give in to your life slipping away and hope that you may wake up in a hospital bed somewhere or fight for your existence. I chose to fight for my existence. I thought of my kids at that moment, and I wasn’t ready to not be a mother anymore. I wasn’t prepared not to be a daughter anymore, a friend and not a cousin, I got angry, and I wasn’t ready to leave here yet. So I fought because I was ready to Be, and once the moment was over and I was still alive, it made me much stronger than I have ever been, and it gave me the strength to have a voice. It gave me the power to be the voice for other victims that don’t feel like they can’t have a voice.
Please Share with us moments in your life that held so much beauty and positivity,
Moments in my life that have held a lot of beauty and preciousness come mainly from when I can remember helping others. I love to give back. I hope to one day become a wealthy woman because I love to give. I would love to be able to see people in crisis and be able to step up and help them in those situations, just as others have helped me in my moments of crisis. I was a certified Nursing Assistant for ten years, caring for young and older adults with disabilities, and I loved every moment of it. I didn’t want to go back to school to become a nurse because I didn’t want to pass pills and do a bunch of paperwork. I liked working 1:1 with patients helping them do the things that they could no longer do for themselves. I have found myself in a position right now where I have home health aides who come and help me, just like I used to help other people do things every day that they couldn’t do for themselves. I believe in karma. I have some great aides in my life, and I think that’s because I wholeheartedly gave when I was in a position to help others. I believe that the best time to give is when you know that those people can never repay the things that you are doing for them. That’s the best time to give because those are the people who need you, and you are supposed to do it with a cheerful heart, and I do.
Those moments taught me to be humble and grateful. I am glad for every opportunity, even this article right here; I pray that it touches the hearts and minds of somebody going through different situations that I have been through. I have overcome being molested and being in bad marriages and relationships. I have overcome almost losing my life, so I will always be a voice for women going through domestic violence. I will always be a voice for people who have survived sexual abuse.
How would you want to be remembered?
I want to be remembered as a person of positive influence, an inspirational, motivational speaker, and a published author when I publish my books that will come out soon.
If you had the whole world’s attention for 60 seconds, what would your message be and why?
If I had the attention of the whole world for 60 seconds, my message would be BEAUTY .. Each of us is beautiful in our way, and each has the power to be inspirational. If we choose to be, even though we come from a bad situation or evil things have happened to us, we can find a lesson in the case and decide to overcome any problem, share, and give hope that they can overcome the same situation. You can’t do it for them, but you can share what you did, and you can give them an idea of where to start on their road to recovery. Each one of us has a light shining that can shine brightly if we choose to turn the switch on