Meet Wild Mantle friend Luana! (Pictured above with her friend Rachel. Luana is wearing our black Alpaca mantle, and Rachel is wearing the black Dreamer mantle). Read Luana's story below to learn about the "mantle" she takes up in her life.
When I got my first mantle, I was a social worker in a toxic, dysfunctional work setting and it eroded a lot of my self-confidence. The minute I donned my mantle, I felt calm and strong. Like a superhero. The mantle didn’t change me or turn me into someone else; it amplified my existing gifts like a cozy microphone, and I knew in my soul that everything I needed was already inside me. It was the booster shot of confidence I needed to focus more on the clients I served than on office politics out of my control.
Like many people, I’ve always had a strong desire to serve others, but had no idea how. Over time, I realized there was something about me that made others feel safe. Cared for. Heard. I’m that person who has ‘talk to me!’ on their forehead. Strangers at the bus stop or the grocery store just tell me their life story, or whatever is bothering them. I am an encourager. I see the strength and beauty in others and empower them to see it for themselves. Becoming a social worker seemed the best way to use that particular gift with those who need it most, but now I understand that I carry it with me everywhere because it’s part of who I am.
I now teach undergrads at DePaul University, and my first term, one of my students told me he didn’t like the class, but could tell that I genuinely cared about him and his class mates. Another student’s mother had been diagnosed with cancer during finals week. He looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, “I’m an Atheist, but will you pray for my mom, just in case?” I melted.
It’s my belief that when we’re ready, God sends us who and what we need to do our part. It’s not a coincidence that I got my first mantle when I needed it most, nor when my student asked me to pray for his mother. My life is enriched by amazing people, like my best friend Rachel (rockin’ the black Dreamer mantle!). She’s an all-around beautiful person, and a brilliantly creative problem solver. When I’m stuck on something, I call Rachel and she talks me through it, often (always) seeing details and possibilities I’d missed.
Our lives intersect and interlock as needed, matching our skills with the needs of the world. Sometimes they intersect once as with my students, but others are like my friendship with Rachel: lifelong. I haven’t met Avi in person (yet), but her work has inspired me to be my best self, and I will always be grateful to her for modeling such courage and ingenuity to take an ancient garment and turn it into a movement of empowered dreamers and explorers. Let’s all do our part. To the heights!
Thank you for showing up in this world as such a powerful woman, Luana, and for sharing your beautiful story of friendship and empowerment with us!