Marala Scott is a bestselling author and motivational speaker whose words have touched thousands. Inspiring people with her courage, faith and incredible life story, Marala caught the attention of Oprah Winfrey, who made her an Ambassador of Hope in 2009. Since then, Marala has faced more adversity, when multiple brain aneurysms left her with short-term impairments. Daisy Jones spoke to Marala about publishing, her passion for helping others and the road to recovery.
Marala first came to international attention when she published her bestselling memoir, In Our House: Perception vs. Reality, a brutally honest account of childhood abuse.
“My childhood was plagued with domestic violence behind closed doors,” says Marala, “The perception people had of our family wasn’t the reality for any of us. It was incredibly difficult to write about, but a necessary journey. Writing became the vessel that helped me to understand the strength my childhood gave me and to heal.”
The book didn’t just help Marala; she has turned her life around and uses her shocking past to change the lives of others.
“My memoir tells a story about my life that no one should ever experience on any level, but it is precisely that experience that shaped my life into the beautiful one I have today. My childhood and the events that took place are what allowed me to inspire and motivate others to live their best life without the burden of their past. Often people take ownership of pain that doesn’t belong to them and I help them release it.”
Marala is often told that her work as a motivational speaker and published books are making a difference. By sharing her own story, she encourages people to release their own fears and do the same. Marala believes that acknowledging the things that hurt the most is a crucial step towards being able to let go of the past, forgive someone and move on.
“It’s difficult to focus on what lies ahead if you are still fighting your past. I want people to be free of adversity, just as I am. It doesn’t mean you will never face it again, but it does mean you will learn how to be stronger and more resilient while you learn how to live without it.”
Marala’s work has received a great amount of recognition, including a Congressional Award for her humanitarian efforts and two Ohio House of Representatives Awards. Despite these accolades, Marala maintains a strong focus on the real winners: the people she has helped.
“The awards are something that are never expected, but certainly appreciated. However, it is more rewarding to recognise the positive changes in people that so badly want and need them.”
Perhaps the biggest accolade Marala has received was becoming one of Oprah Winfrey’s five Ambassadors of Hope in 2009. It’s something that she is still grateful for.
“To have Oprah recognise the work that I do to help bring attention to domestic violence and overcoming adversity is both humbling and a blessing, as it helped bring awareness to my platform.”
Marala puts a lot of effort into raising awareness and support for her cause. Social media is a significant part of what she does, allowing her to reach people she couldn’t otherwise. With nearly 150,000 followers on Twitter, Marala has an international fan base, and in April, she won the Shorty Award for Best Parent.
“When I post stories on my website or blog, I want them to touch people that need that particular information at that time. I use social media practically every day, in some form or another. It has allowed me to inspire people to change their life or strengthen their mindset for the better. I value that connection.”
However, Marala doesn’t just share her own experiences: she also gives a voice to others. As a mindset coach, she works 1:1 with professional athletes, coaches, and entertainers from all around the globe. People often reach out to her, ready to share their story of what they’ve overcome or accomplished.
“I believe that your state of mind makes a difference in whether or not you can be at your best and make it happen. Carrying negative emotions or negative history can impede a healthy progression in your life and affect you in more ways than most want to admit. When you learn to change the way you view things, including history, you can change the outcome of your life. If you stay focused on what you cannot change, you are not committed to creating a healthy and happy life.”
This isn’t the only way that Marala helps others to share their experiences with the world. After using writing as a form of therapy, she realised how incredible the release of getting everything out was and decided to help others learn how to do it.
“I write to show people how great their life is. Through Seraph Books, I am a ghostwriter for a lot of people who want to tell their stories but don’t know how. The stories I write for them are simply remarkable. They all have something they want to share that will impact others in their personal life or in their career. The process is phenomenal.”
Marala describes the process of writing and sharing a story as incredible and life changing for her clients. It has a significant impact on her, too.
“I love working with my clients on a personal level because they share things with me that don’t always make it in the book, but is significant to understanding their mindset, perspective and story. I don’t work with clients unless I meet them because it’s imperative for us to connect and trust one another. That makes the process seamless. It’s their life I’m writing and it must be done from their lens, not mine. I love what I do and I have the best clients. They are full of passion and incredible stories.”
Marala’s life has been filled with difficulties, but this has never damaged her faith – not even when another trial recently came her way.
“God gave me another incredible experience to teach me more about life and how great it truly is. My faith and relationship with God is something that is unwavering. I inspire people to see the best in life and to understand that although it may become difficult, they can overcome anything. After sharing this message for many, many years, I was faced with another bout of adversity of my own. I trust God so I went through with the surgery to have multiple brain aneurysms clipped.”
Following the craniotomy, Marala suffered from short-term memory loss and speech impairments. Her daughter, Alyssa Curry, suggested using writing to aid her recovery and they began writing Intuition, a mystery and suspense novel, together. It was a long and remarkable journey.
“I remembered everything about why and how to trust your intuition but I couldn’t pronounce the most basic of words, nor write them with the fluency I once had. Over a period of many months, the love that was poured into sharing a story based on the events of our life as mother and daughter was successful. I regained my speech and improved my memory while revealing some powerful life lessons regarding faith. Intuition was born out of love.”
Marala’s passion is to inspire others to overcome adversity. By encouraging people not to focus on the aspects of their life that were negative, she gives them the positive mindset that they need to move on in life and not remain a victim.
“People are angry because they didn’t receive something they needed or wanted such as love, attention, material things, protection from abuse, or not being stronger in their faith. I advise people that rather than holding onto those negative emotions, make it a point to give your children, people you love or someone that needs something as much as you did, exactly what you wished you had. Forgive the past and anyone that hurt you so that you can move on. The sentiment of doing for others and watching it evolve into something positive is beneficial for them and healing for you.”
When it comes to the future, Marala has no set plans; continuing to love her family and God are her priorities.
“It is God who will dictate my future,” Marala says.