Raise Up Extraordinary Women: Suzanne Sczubelek Herel

Suzanne Herel

For the month of December, I’ll be shining light each day on some extraordinary women I know. They represent various fields and backgrounds, and I admire each for their passion and strength. These are bold, beautiful, brave women — artists, businesswomen, union organizers, nurses, writers, teachers, movie makers, designers, reporters, and all-around badasses.

Suzanne Sczubelek Herel is a lifelong journalist and writer who likes to laugh a lot and finds joy in learning new things. She has worked for newspapers in San Francisco, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Delaware (where she grew up) and holds an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College in Boston. She’s currently a contract writer in the greater Philadelphia area and spends much of her free time studying and raising butterflies. She is in the process of creating her first exhibit on Monarch butterflies for the Delaware Museum of Natural History. She is also co-founder with her sister of the Coalition for Animal Rescue and Education (CARE), an animal advocacy nonprofit.

Suzanne’s beautiful photo evolution of a butterfly

1. What did you want to be “when you grew up?” I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I blame my penchant for journalism on “Harriet the Spy” and attribute my dream of writing to the character Jo in “Little Women.”

2. What makes you the most proud of yourself? I am a survivor. I am proud of how I continuously have embraced change – desired or unexpected, good and bad – and used it to make myself a stronger, better, happy person.

3. What darkness have you overcome? How did you find strength? In 2009, I nearly lost my life when I was viciously attacked by my then-boyfriend. He strangled me unconscious, tied my hands, beat me in the head and face with a bottle of wine and his fists, and gouged my eyes. In the moment, I found physical and emotional strength in the will to live. In the years since, I have found strength in my relationships with family and friends, a good therapist, connecting with nature, endless introspection and, importantly, giving up the wine I had been using to self-medicate.

4. Where will we find you on a Saturday morning at 10 a.m.? In the spring and summer, I will be in my yard with a magnifying glass and my iPhone, searching for caterpillars, chrysalises and insects, or tending to the caterpillars or chrysalises I am raising in mesh enclosures. In the winter, I am likely on my couch with a cup of coffee and my rescue menagerie, researching my latest random interest on my computer or reading a good psychological thriller.

5. What makes you smile the most? Unexpected silliness, usually manifested in the antics of my three cats or rescue dogs – a Shih Tzu, Pekingese, and Pomeranian. Also, when good things happen to good people.

Bonus: What advice would you give your younger self? Be kind to yourself. No one is perfect, and believe it or not, your imperfections make you lovable (not to mention more interesting). Enjoy the ride, not just the destination. Laugh a lot, especially when you want to cry. Life is beautiful. Breathe, and be.

Today’s #OneGoodThing is sharing this extraordinary woman and my former colleague, Suzanne Sczubelek Herel, with all of you! We are stronger together, so let’s shine a light on our extraordinary sisters! If you’d like to participate or nominate a woman to participate, please send me a note or leave a comment! What was your #OneGoodThing today? Please share in the comments! Kindness is Everything.

Day 337 of 365. And Day 1,433 in a row (here’s the first 366, & the following 365, & the third year of 365 good things)!

1 year ago today: Cooking class with Gail

2 years ago today: Midge is no mensch, but she’s funny

3 years ago today: Special brunch treat

7 years ago today: It’s mmmmm…Monday “The Happy Spatula”

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