What is your life’s purpose?
To inspire all women to awaken to their greatness. That’s my life mission.
How are you living your purpose?
Every single day, for close to five years now, I write a post on Facebook. Every. Single. Day. I begin each post with these words: This is what I know, Post Coffee Pre-Wine. With each post, I try desperately to inspire and encourage folks—men & women—to accept and fall in love with their flaws, foibles, and imperfections, and to turn their mistakes into their mission.
By starting my day with that one post, I step into my purpose, my life. I also feel a huge responsibility—a massive responsibility—to share my life, every single piece of it: the down & dirty, the truly awful and messy, the scary, shitty frightening moments; the beauty and the grand successes along with the unbearable failures and disappointments. I try to use my life to inspire another person to believe that their life matters, that their life is necessary.
How did you find your purpose?
I think I found my purpose when I was 19 years old and became a practicing Buddhist. I like to think that I hadn’t found it, but misplaced it. I dropped out of high school when I was 15 1/2, went to live on a commune in Oregon—that lasted, oh, a few horrible months—found myself alone and scared, and made my way back home. I realized long ago that I needed to use my life to lift others. That all of my mistakes—and trust me, it was like a pile-up on a freeway—could be used to help other folks.
I’ve written incessantly about my abortions (yes, more than one) to share what it is like to have to make that tragic choice, but also how little self-esteem I had when I chose really bad boys who didn’t love me, or want me, or even care about me. Those mistakes taught me to love myself. Now I get to speak at Planned Parenthood events and share that story. I’ve shared my story about estrangement from my family, and how the guilt I’ve carried is not my own. I’ve shared stories about all my messes… And those stories are what give people hope. Fill them to the brim with belief that they can transform their lives into something extraordinary.
What advice do you have for purpose seekers?
What advice would I give? Don’t be stingy with your life; don’t hoard your life; open carry your life; wear your scars like stardust. Share your truth. Tell your story. People—friends, family, co-workers, exes—are bound to be pissed off that you’re sharing (telling) YOUR story. Those people have something to hide. I think when you stand in your own life, warts and all, your purpose awakens within you.
What resources do you recommend?
Anything and everything written by Brené Brown and Elizabeth Lesser
The Manifest-Station — Jennifer Pastiloff is a fucking miracle.
Women’s Media Center
I am a huge fan of Sweatpants & Coffee, Nanea Hoffman’s magnificent website that inspires women to stand tall.
Linda Schreyer’s delightful Slipper Camp is great for women writers.
Contact Amy Ferris
Marrying George Clooney: Confessions from a Midlife Crisis
Shades of Blue: Writers on Depression, Suicide, and Feeling Blue
Dancing at the Shame Prom: Sharing the Stories That Kept Us Small
A Greater Goode
Amy Ferris is an author, editor, playwright, and screenwriter. Her memoir, Marrying George Clooney, was adapted into an off-Broadway play in 2012 and ran at CAP21 Theater in NYC. She wrote two feature films, Funny Valentines (Julie Dash, Director) and Mr. Wonderful (Anthony Minghella, Director). She has contributed to numerous anthologies, edited one anthology, and co-edited another. She serves on the Advisory Board of The Women’s Media Center, the board of directors at Peters Valley School of Craft, and co-founded the Milford Readers and Writers Literary Festival. Amy dropped out of high school and received her GED, which she has framed. She never attended college and believes that most humans are filled with something extraordinary and can move mountains. She is happily married to Ken for 24 years; theirs is a great love story.
This is a wonderful sketch of what it means to know Amy Ferris. The tip of the iceberg. Knowing her, following her daily Facebook posts, reading her books, taking part in one of her writing workshops…those all are , yes, each and every one , life changing experiences. Amy is a champion of all women who want to reach out, grow and heal their lives. I hope this article serves as an invitation to incorporate what I call, “Ferrisms”, into your life. You will be glad you did. She’s the real deal. Authentic to her core and “wears her scars like stardust” , one of my favorite Amy Ferris quotes.