Motivational Speaker Charmeka Love is giving women an opportunity to “exhale.” The founder of Exhale sits down with WJBF News Channel 6 to break down the return of her conference as Exhale 2023: The Reunion Retreat, and she explains why this is her gift to women everywhere.
Thank you, Charmeka Love, for joining us today on Celebrating Black Excellence. Now, let’s start with the origin of Exhale. How did all of this start?
Oh, it’s my baby. This is my baby, you know? First time mothers, you don’t take your child anywhere… mothers period. So, it’s hard to be able to say, “Hey, it’s time for me to bring my baby back.” Exhale has been around since 2015. The pandemic happened, and during that time, so many women have reached out to me because Exhale was birthed to give life to wives because we were just in a place where we didn’t have any answers. Nobody gave us the way, you know? Yeah, I have my mom’s marriage, but that’s not my marriage. So, what are the answers to my marriage? I needed a place to provide the resources for women and make sure that they were able to get it in a timely fashion. It was necessary for me to let them see that we go through things, and it’s not just you. We’re going through this together, but we need each other in order to get through these things. So, now was the year like, okay, we’re fresh out of the pandemic. We now know what to do. Whether or not it’s time to put your mask on, we know what to do. So, let’s go ahead and bring Exhale back because these women are hurting. So, now we are targeting wives, fiancés, and divorcees because since the pandemic, let’s be honest, a lot of marriages haven’t lasted.
Since we are 2023, what made you say, “Hey, this is the perfect time to bring everything back?”
Oh, my goodness. The cries from women, and that’s honesty. Those anonymous calls, those anonymous texts, those anonymous drops in the DM, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, my social media platforms, it’s their cries. They want help. They need help, and they’re ashamed because a lot of them come from families that didn’t even have a marriage, and now they were supposed to be that marriage. Or a lot of them come from broken families, and they were supposed to show what it looked like to be whole. So, now they’re in this place, like, “I’ve done everything that I can do. Charmeka, please help.” And I’m like, “God, what do you want me to do?” And He was like, “Exhale. It’s time to do it again.” So we’re about to do it again.
So, Exhale 2023, what can people expect from The Reunion Retreat?
Y’all can expect the unexpected. Do you understand what I’m saying to you? I know it sounds so crazy, but I’m being very serious. It’s been three years since I’ve been able to just give these ladies any and everything because Exhale is my baby. So, it’s every piece of me. It’s every part of me. I wanted to make sure that this year they were going to get everything that they had three years ago and then some. I needed you to realize why you had to be at Exhale, so we had to make it a retreat. It’s always been one day, but this year is going to be two days. We’re starting out with the Healing Day Party because let’s be honest, can you really hear if you’re not healed? Can you really listen if you’re not in a healed place to do so? If I’m offended by everything that’s being said because I’m in a unhealed place, I’m never going to change. I’m never going to experience that transformation. So, day one was important to me because I’ve been here. I had to heal in order to hear, and I needed I needed them to see that. You have to heal this time in order to be able to hear what we’ve got to give you. So, day two, be ready to hear because we’re coming with tremendous people. Oh, my God! I’m so excited when I say the panels are amazing. We have “Wife To Wife,” which is all wife panel. and we’re going to spill some beans on that panel. We have “Doing The Heart Work” for the divorcees because a divorced woman needs to understand that just because the assignment was wrong doesn’t mean that marriage was wrong. You get what I’m saying? And sometimes we’re in the wrong assignment and that deters us to keep on the path. You’re supposed to be a wife. You’re a wife. You just weren’t a wife to the right assignment, and that’s big. We need them to understand that this time. We also have “If It Ain’t About The Money.” We have Big Boss Brittany [Bettini], who’s all over Forbes Magazine for helping small businesses become seven figure businesses. We have so, so much more. Oh, my goodness. We also have an all men’s panel that we’re putting together right now. Why? Because women need to hear from the men that they are hurting, too, in this marriage. They are hurting, too, in this relationship. They, too, are dealing with childhood trauma. And so, we’re having an all men’s panel just so they can discuss, you know, just hear me out. Just hear me out. So, that is going to be amazing. We’re coming up with panels. We’re making sure that these women have any and everything that they need from parenting to spirituality to finance to business. We want them whole. That’s it.
Now, if people want more information, like how can get that?
You can go to The Exhale 2023 website, but they can go on Facebook or any social media platforms. You can Google Exhale: The Reunion Retreat. That’s a really good thing now, right? – You can Google Exhale: The Reunion Retreat, and all details should pop up. I am Charmeka Love, and you can go in any one of my platforms and find out. We are just we’re excited. The reason why we have November the 11th and November the 12th because I’m, first, an Army vet. I am an Army vet, and I was an Army spouse. I don’t know if people understand that both of those roles are very, very hard roles. Not just being the soldier, but being the wife of a soldier. Oh, I think that was extremely harder for me. Honestly, I would have rather put my boots on than being the person to give you your boots at the door because that alone is very stressful because you don’t know what they’re dealing with, but they’re bringing it back and you just don’t even know what to do to handle that. So, we teamed up with Fort Gordon because we wanted to make sure that we offered each woman that was connected to the service in some way a free ticket for November the 11th. Why would I have it on Veterans Day, and you can go anywhere for free, and I can’t have you come to Exhale for free? You get what I’m saying? I wanted it to be that important. That’s how much my sisters-in-arms mean to me. I needed them to know that I hear their cries too. I know people don’t talk to us enough about it, but it’s hard being a military wife. So, I want them to come out, and they’re going to come out for free. They’re going to come out for free that day. So, November the 11th, if you’re a military wife, all we need is your I.D., and that day is yours.
So, when and where will Exhale 2023: The Reunion Retreat take place?
So, November the 11th and November the 12th we’re going to be at the Miller Theater. Thank you so much, David and his whole team over there. They are absolutely amazing. We have so many vendors that are coming. Vendors, if you are still interested, we’re definitely still taking you on. We want vendors that add value to women. That’s just period. If you feel like you add value to women in any way, I don’t care if you sell purses, you sell lotions, or you sell of yourself – something that you can give – we want you there. Those are the vendors that we’re looking for: vendors to add value to women. And we need sponsors. How can we offer free for military if we don’t have sponsors? So, the sponsors are what make this event amazing. They really do, and it’s because of the sponsors that we’ve been here this long. So, I’m very thankful to them.
So, for people who are interested in being a vendor or being a sponsor, do they just get in contact with you?
Yes, and they’re both they’re actually on the event site. So, if you go on the event site, you’ll definitely see a tab for vendors, and you’ll definitely see a tab for sponsors. Then, there’s a contact information. So, you can definitely reach out to anyone, and me or my team will definitely get back to you and answer any questions, comments, or concerns you may have.
Is there anything else that you want to say, or you want people to know about Exhale 2023: The Reunion Retreat?
I don’t want to cry, but when I say this is my baby, I do mean this. I do mean that this is my baby. I am a wife of 18 years, and it was so hard to get here. I was the 17-year-old mom, okay? I was the military brat. I was the one that came from the family that looks so well put together, but I didn’t know how to do family business. I was the one who fought with their spirituality. I just want to be a testimony to someone that if I can make it, there is absolutely no reason why you can’t make it, and the only way that we as sisters, as women, are going to make it is if we do this right here. We put out that olive branch for the next one once we’ve gotten over, and I just want to put out that olive branch and let you guys know, sisters, I’m here, so let’s come on, let’s exhale. I love you all so much.
Exhale 2023: The Reunion Retreat will take place November 11th and November 12th at the Miller Theater, and for more information on how you can purchase tickets, become a sponsor, or become a vendor, visit the Exhale 2023 website.