“I give to live and I live to give…” At 43 years old, Carla Carter can now proudly say she is (still) here, standing strong and ready to help the world. As an author, motivational speaker and now talk show host, Carter has used various media to share her story and messages of inspiration. But it was recently with the Sentinel that she chose to detail her life of trails and tribulations that she feels have made her who she is today.
Carla Carter was born in California, eighth of eleven children. She was abandoned by her mother when she was just a baby, leaving it up to her father to raise his only girl. They soon moved to Chicago where she spent most of her childhood until the age of 12 when they moved back to California. It was during those formative years that her father instilled a strength and self-esteem that would prove to be the essence of her survival.
“I had a father who loved me, who told me that I was the best and there is and would never be another like me,” Carter recalled. “He instilled qualities in me that carried me when I didn’t believe in myself.”
Such times include suffering sexual abuse from her brother, a rape that led to pregnancy, and a physically abusive marriage in which she was also raped and became pregnant. And, on two separate occasions, Carter found herself homeless while trying to raise her young children.
“The streets really taught me a lot,” said Carter, who is now happily married to James, “Mr. Wonderful,” and has four children of her own and has also adopted two others. “My father and what he instilled in me as a lady really helped me to survive and build a relationship with God.”
She had self-esteem, she says, and standards. Carter says she did not turn to drugs, alcohol or prostitution, per se, to get through those hard times. She relied on her skills as a licensed barber to bring in money and also used her communication skills to get whatever else she needed (i.e. she says she was very open in telling men she would not sleep with them, rather she would go out with them if they would purchase what she needed for her children).
“Even going through what I went through, I still had standards believe it or not. There were just certain things I was not going to do, no one was going to force me to do anything,” she commented.
As a survivor, Carter says she has come to realize too many women have no or low self-esteem, which causes them to diminish their worth and value. Therefore, she hopes, through the seven books that she has penned and her motivational speaking engagements, that she will give them a sense of worth and value.
“When I’m speaking to women I’m literally showing them their worth and value. And, when they leave me, they’re challenged and changed.” She added, “All of those bad experiences that I survived helped me to be who I am as a woman, mother, wife, partner, friend, lover. It really helped me.”
Now, Carter is taking her message to another level. Her talk show, “The Carla Carter Show,” will be airing Jan. 8 so check your local programming to determine which station she can be seen.
For more information, visit www.carlacarter.com.