My name is Hillary Montijo and I am 29 years old. I am married to my best friend, and we have been married for 3 years now. We have three fur babies, 2 dogs and 1 cat, who we rescued from “the streets.” My animals are seriously like my children and are spoiled rotten! But super cute so expect to see pictures of them if you check me out on Instagram.
Currently, I am a part time Psychology Instructor at Wallace Community College in Dothan, Alabama. I absolutely adore my job teaching psychology, it has helped me grow as a person in so many ways I can’t even begin to tell you them all! But for one, I was the type of person you would NEVER find at the front of a classroom talking in front of the class! As a student, I sat in the back row, to lessen the likelihood of being called on by the teacher! And definitely not the type of person to be the center of attention!
I went to college at Southern Union Community College first and then transferred to Auburn University and got my bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies with a focus on Adult Development and a Minor in Social Work. After I graduated from Auburn I went to Troy University to get my Masters Degree in Clinical Mental Health.
I’ve worked with clients who have porn and sex addictions, experienced trauma, and abuse. As well as with clients who have anything from stress and anxiety to personality disorders. My passion lies in working to empower women to life a full and happy life. Whether that means helping the to get control of their lives by setting boundaries, or helping them to become more independent, to strengthening their self esteem.
What lead me to want to help and empower women was the fact that I was in an abusive relationship for four years. It took me time to even realize I was being abused believe it or not. He wasn’t hitting me, but his words were killing me one sentence at a time. It completely change me and who I was. After I finally got out of the relationship I didn’t even know who I was. How could I? He told me who I was. Now I had the ability to think for myself and, I didn’t know how to!
However, I had some amazingly supportive friends (the ones I hadn’t completely isolated myself from) that helped get me back to reality. But I also participated in therapy and starting dealing with “my stuff.” I learned about myself, figured out my values, and who I really was after I washed off all of that toxic layer of crap I had allowed myself to believe. And in doing so I was able to begin feeling like a real human again and with time and work on myself with the help of multiple therapists and friends I turned my nightmare of a past into something I can use to help others. If I can help other women avoid getting into a relationship like I did, or if they were unable to avoid it and have been in a toxic relationship or are currently in a toxic relationship then I want to help them get out and get their identities back. Because it gets lost somewhere along the way.
That’s kind of where “The Smart Lioness” comes from, its kind of like my vision of the end result of the transformation from a woman who is lost and hurt, into this beautiful, intelligent, and powerful lioness who is capable of anything. Its more of a symbol of hope and of growth and change and — that goal that you seek but never actually completely reach because its a personal development goal and hopefully personal development and growth never end. To stay truly mentally healthy we should always be learning and growing.
I want to end my column each week with a challenge for you. Thursdays are Thankful Thursday’s in my world, so I want you to think about, What have you learned recently that has helped you to grow in some way, that you are thankful for? Leave me a comment below to let me know!
Until next week,
Stay Grounded, Be Brave, Be You!
The Smart Lioness,