Sophia Nelson recently stood on the same stage with First Lady Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Poet Nikki Giovanni and other prominent African American women who spoke during the unveiling of the Maya Angelou postage stamp at the Warner Theater.
After running for Congress and working on Capitol Hill as a lawyer for a House subcommittee, Nelson left private practice and the legal world to pursue a career as a writer/journalist and in the last five years she has authored two popular books, “Black Women Redefined,” and “The Woman Code.”
In “The Woman Code,” Nelson, who lives in Northern Virginia, talks about how her fairy tale life as a 38-year-old lawyer with a corporate boyfriend crashed into a troubling reality that would lead to one disappointment after the next.
“We were a handsome couple, as the old folks like to say,” she writes on page 69. “We fit. We could make pretty babies, have a big house in the suburbs of Virginia and live happily ever after. Right. Wrong. I did not love him. In fact, I am not sure I even liked Him, He just fit the script.”
Nelson said coming to grips with who she really was is Code 4, “Living Authentically,” in a book where she spells out 20 codes for women to live by. She now crisscrosses the country speaking at women’s events from Bishop T.D. Jakes Potter’s House in Dallas to the First Baptist Church of Glenarden. She recently talked about the transformation in her life from lawyer to journalist to Christian author.
Who is Sophia Nelson?
If I had to summarize who I am I would say resilient. I have spent a lot of my life dealing with pain: physically and emotionally. Alcoholism is a disease that runs in my family on my paternal side and I made a decision very early in my life that it was not going to be my narrative.
What did it mean to stand on that stage last week with so many great women?
To be honest, I don’t believe it actually happened. I talked about Dr. Angelou was a doctor of the human soul who taught us how to live. How many get a chance to meet Oprah in their life time. I’m speechless. I don’t know what the powers that be see in me. It is humbling. It is a deep honor. It is a once in a lifetime thing that I will never forget as long as I live. I was in the presence of my elders. I have carried Maya Angelou’s saying with me for years; “My mission in life is not merely to survive but to thrive.”
Why did you write, “The Woman Code”?
Writing the Woman’s Code was freeing to me. I was able to speak with my author’s voice. The man that I loved walked away. I felt worthless. In this culture, when it comes to single women, we don’t treat them like people. The only people who count are married people.
After the breakup, I couldn’t sleep in my bed for three months. I was that grief stricken. From the time we are little we start thinking about marriage and having children and being successful. I felt like I had failed at the most important task that God gives us: To be loved. I wanted to speak to a generation of women about a code of honor, integrity, self-worth and Sisterhood.
You recently spoke at a women’s retreat at the First Baptist Church of Glenarden. What was that experience like?
Everything that I do centers around this code. I don’t want women to be empowered; I want them to be transformed in their living. It is like the Apostle Paul talks about renewing your mind. When you renew your mind. When we like who we are we become the most powerful creatures on earth as women. We can do anything. Once we like and love ourselves, we like other women, we then can celebrate them.
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SOURCE: The Washington Post – Hamil Harris