A. Ruth Proctor (now a best-selling author) was placed in foster care at the age of 6. As she grew up, she went through a series of devastating events, including molestation, domestic violence, and infidelity. However, despite all these terrible things, she developed tenacity, perseverance and a toolkit of survival skills that she has now put into her own book entitled, “I Survived; You Can Too” where she hopes it will inspire and help others who may be going through the same.
Let’s rewind to when you were 6 years old and placed in foster care. Do you remember what was going through your young mind at that time?
First, I want to Thank you so much for having me today. I do remember being 6 and going to foster care; I remember watching how the police and DSS treated my mom and looked at her. Think about how hard it is now for us to explain Mental Health vs. in the 80’s. People really didn’t understand mental health back then. So the way my mom was treated affected me. I remember how scared I was. I felt alone and didn’t understand what was going on. One thing I did know, I knew that I wasn’t with my family. I was with strangers. I knew I wasn’t safe and I knew my brother wasn’t safe. I was always watchful, always prepared for the worst. That’s a lot for a kid to carry you know? But our last foster home became our permanent home with my cousin. So, I felt some sense of relief.
How did your life growing up in foster care help turn you into the strong woman you are today?
Growing up in foster care always made me feel like I never belonged. I felt alone most of the time even in a house full of people. I had too many questions and I never felt understood. So I wasn’t happy, I used that negative energy to push past my environment! I wanted more for my siblings and myself. I dreamed of better and I kept working and continued to advance wherever I worked. That pushed me to want more for myself. I used my pain to push me to level up higher when things seemed bleak. God is definitely where my strength comes from as well as my daughters. I found my strength in my broken place. I had some awesome women in my family too; my mom is a fighter even to this day.
You just released your new book! Tell us what readers can take away from this book?
Readers can take away from my book, how to feel like your world is ending but push through. Readers will feel enlightened and empowered knowing that they too are not alone. Fight like you are about to die, your life depends on it. Fight no matter what life throws at you! You were put on this earth for a purpose and there’s no one is like you! You are one of a kind and God loves you. You only have one life- Make it worth it -with no regrets. I Survived; You Can Too is all about coping and surviving trauma and still rising from the ashes. Knowing your worth and to never give up.
Being through so much in your life, what is your advice to others who may be going through similar things at this very moment?
Advice that I would give someone going through similar things would be to Trust God and know that he will see you through. I often say the Lord’s prayer when I’m at a weak point or feel defeated. Isaiah 43-44 have carried me through some of my darkest times. Trust and believe in yourself. Know that there is light at the end of the tunnel and no matter what there is greater coming. I use positive affirmations daily and speak positive instead of negative. Have a sounding board to talk to; a friend, co-worker, family member, or therapist, someone that can listen and not just talk. You got this!!!
What is your advice to others who want to write a book about their own stories?
Advice I would give others writing their own stories is to start. Just start somewhere. Journal, clip notes, memo pads, voice memos, whatever it takes just start. I felt defeated at times but I am here, Thank God! When you are writing or typing you are reliving your pain so FEEL IT! Take your time, there is no deadline (pace yourself) because if you don’t show yourself grace, you will feel overwhelmed and feel like quitting. Surround yourself with at least one-accountability partners that can hold you to your goals for your book. That’s key!
Your adopted father lives just outside the New York area. What memories in New York do you remember growing up that has stuck with you today?
Yes, My adoptive father is from Philly, Pa and growing up we would drive up through New York and eat and see family there. I always did my school shopping in New York whenever I could. Visiting New York always reminded me that the sky was the limit. From visiting Apollo Theaters in Harlem to shopping in Soho and the Meatpacking district- You can reach heights. I always felt empowered when in NYC! Big city, big dreams and I, a small town country girl dreamed of something bigger. Looking around Madison Square Garden inspired me to see higher heights, and strive for more. In 2005, me and my sorority sisters (Alpha Lambda Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Spring 2004) were invited to 106 & Park to be in the audience and talk about our time there. That was one of my favorite memories in New York. Riding the Train to the twin towers was exciting as well as a kid.
After COVID-19 calms down, what are you most looking forward to doing? Will we see you here in New York?
My plans after COVID19, is to continue my book tour and hopefully extend it to the UK. Speaking engagements across the country is my goal. I do plan to provide an online course for others to assist in survival tools and additional resources ongoing. I plan to coach others especially in this climate. NYC is definitely on my list this spring/summer 2021 when I drop my workbook/journal in a couple months. I’d love to come to New York soon and continue my dream of empowering others through survival.
How can New Yorkers get their hands on your new book?
The book can be purchased at www.ARuthProctor.com or on Amazon.com
And final question: What do you want to be remembered for overall when people look back at who you are as a person?
When people look back at me as a person, I want them to remember me as a survivor, a fighter. I want people to remember that there’s more to life than just what you see. Get out and see the world; God created so much for us to explore. Don’t stay stagnant. I want people to remember to live on purpose and with a goal.