Chatham@Work | Loretta Morris-White

Posted 8/30/19

A survivor — that’s what Loretta Morris-White calls herself. As a veteran and victim of abuse, she has opened an arts studio at 227 N. Chatham Ave. in Siler City and is working to organize local …

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Chatham@Work | Loretta Morris-White

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A survivor — that’s what Loretta Morris-White calls herself. As a veteran and victim of abuse, she has opened an arts studio at 227 N. Chatham Ave. in Siler City and is working to organize local Speak Out Siler City “open mic” events to allow people to share poetry, readings and conversation — to “just talk about overcoming what (people) have and are presently going through.” The Edgecombe County native lives in Siler City and studied early childhood education, owning a childcare center in Florida, then later a production company, among other endeavors. Today, in addition to advocating for and assisting homeless veterans and victims of domestic violence, Morris-White is set to release a book entitled “From Bag Lady to Boss Ladie.” She has four grown children who work with her to perform stage and music productions.

What’s unique about what you do for a living?

I feel that my experience warranted my “why.” As an artist, author, mentor and an advocate. it touches all areas of life. I can help others heal as I heal. Through my writing and helping others write about the pain that was experienced or what continues to happen in our lives, it frees us in so many ways. I feel healthier and those that I’ve already helped published, encouraged, motivated and inspired through my work, can say that their lives have also been changed.

What was your first paying job and what did it teach you?

My very first paying job was at 17 working for the DMV in Raleigh. It was truly a great teaching experience because I was the only teenager among all experienced adults. I learned to watch and learn.

What’s the most difficult job you’ve ever had?

The worst and most difficult job ever was working through a temporary job. They had me in the very top of a ship in Norfolk, Virginia, cleaning bird poop out, fully clothed in protective gear. I thought this was the most degrading thing that I ever had to do to take care of my kids as a single mom.

What was your most embarrassing moment at work?

Someone coming into the studio while I had my mouth full.

What part of your job would most surprise people?

It’s mostly volunteering.

What advice would you give someone considering doing the same line of work as you?

Be patient, non-judgmental and enjoy what you do by setting a positive example.

What’s your work superpower?

I think that my work superpower is empowering others.

What’s the most important life lesson you’ve learned from work?

The most important life lesson I’ve learned from work never judge a person by their position. Always give people a chance to show what it is that their true gift is and embrace them in it.

What would your co-workers miss most about you if you left?

How I give life to every situation. I was told that I’m sunshine in a bottle.

Who is your personal hero?

My mom and dad without a doubt!

Your standard order at a coffee shop?

Banana Mango Smoothie or hot green tea.

Your ultimate “happy place?”

My happy place is inside my own space creating some special type of art.

Where is your dream location to retire?

My dream place to retire would be in the country with plenty of land and space.

Favorite weekend getaway:

Las Vegas

Which do you like better: starting or finishing?

I like starting; it takes me a minute to finish because of this PTSD.

Favorite character from a Disney movie:

Dory

Stay up late or get up early?

I tend to get up early when it’s so quiet and peaceful.

Does the early bird really get the worm?

I really think so because it seems your mind is fresh, you have more energy and you are ready to go get it.

Dogs or cats?

Cats, not much maintenance.

Ever danced in the rain?

Yes, as a kid many times

What habit would you most like to break?

Eating too much.

What celebrity would you most like to hang out with for a day?

India Airee, she’s very inspiring and motivational in her music

What is one toy you wanted as a child but never received?

A playhouse that I could get inside of.

What’s the best use of a snow day?

Relaxing and reading while listening to jazz music and drinking hot cocoa.

What is the most significant of your life’s goals that you haven’t yet accomplished?

I want to open my very own tea shop with a small art gallery and bookstore included. My ultimate goal!

What makes your home special?

Me and my kids as well; I’ve turned it into my own personal art gallery.

The trait you most deplore in yourself:

Low self-esteem at times.

Your strongest trait:

I refuse to give up and see the good in everything so I would say optimism.

What was the last thing you did that really made your boss proud of you?

Took initiative to design a special program for the arts

Your favorite movie of all time:

Krush Groove

If money weren’t an object, but you still had to work, what would your job be?

Entrepreneur. Help people start their own business

What radio station do you listen to most frequently?

97.1 FM

One day, when you have time, what would you like to learn how to do?

Crochet

What do you plan to do after retirement?

Paint, drink tea and travel.

What’s been your wildest adventure?

The military

Your ideal vacation would be:

Universal Orlando Resorts

What’s your favorite one-day travel destination?

Virginia Beach

What’s your favorite snack food?

Rice cakes with peanut butter.

Your strongest childhood ambition was:

To be liked by all of my friends and family.

Your ideal dinner guest list (living or dead, up to six invitees) includes:

1. Mary J. Blige

2. India Airee

3. Erykah Badu

4. Samuel L. Jackson

5. Denzel Washington

6. Angela Bassett

One food you’ll never be caught eating:

Okra

A fear you haven’t yet overcome is:

Driving long distance alone.

Something not many people know you collect is?

Pallets

What’s the most thoughtful thing anyone has ever done for you?

Treated me to a resort.

What’s the best way you know to spend $20?

Invest in my books.

If someone made a movie about your life, the actor to portray you is:

Loretta Devine

Favorite city in the whole world:

Orlando

What you like best (or least) about where you live now:

The best thing I love about where I live is the space, the quietness the great community here in Siler City that have welcomed me like family from day one.

Favorite place to eat:

At home

The one material possession you can’t live without is:

Laptop

The credo or motto you like to try to live by:

Still I Rise!

The best advice you ever got was:

You better check yourself before you wreck yourself — from my dad.

If you had lots of money to give away, you’d give most of it to:

My children without a doubt.

What’s the wildest or most interesting single thing that’s ever happened to you?

Getting an art studio in Siler City so quickly.

What is your favorite movie?

Out of Time, with Denzel Washington

What is your favorite book?

My book, A Love Hangover

Is there a hobby you can’t live without?

Photography

Is there an item or collectible you hold dear?

A picture that my dad painted when I was young, The Lord’s Supper.

Where would someone be most likely to find you on a Saturday night?

At home binge-watching something.

What was your dream job when you were a child?

I wanted to be a teacher

What would be your last meal?

Tuna sandwich, chips and a drink package in water.

If you were given $5,000 to donate to a non-profit organization, which would you pick – and why?

Domestic Violence program in North Carolina because I feel that being an advocate and knowing how strong the need is; it would truly go to a good use.

What would you like to know about the future?

Will there be any more wars?

Would you go bungee jumping or skydiving?

Nope, afraid of heights.

Did you have a childhood nickname?

Retta

Favorite kind of cookie?

Oatmeal raisin

Favorite season?

Spring

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to tell someone?

I’m moving.

Would you consider plastic surgery if someone else paid for it?

Nope

Biggest pet peeve?

Heavy cursing around me.

What’s your usual wake-up time in the morning?

7 a.m.

What talent do you wish you had?

Singing ability

What superpower would you most like to have?

Change negative people to positive people.

What was your favorite TV show when you were growing up?

Teenage Frolics

Favorite band or musical artist?

Mary J. Blige

Who’s your best friend and why?

Jasmine Willingham; she actually showed me how to utilize the arts to heal. She was my one-on-one mentor now my best friend.

If you could go back in time and change one historic event, what would it be?

No slavery!

What’s your favorite condiment?

Honey

If you could create one rule that all society had to live by, what would it be?

Love your neighbor better than you love yourself

How do you define success?

Success is within. Everyone’s success is totally different. Being in a place of contentment within yourself.

Describe your life philosophy in six words or less:

Comfort is what pleases you.

If you could instantly learn one language, which would it be?

German.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Go get a financial advisor and start spending and investing wisely.

What’s the most important thing your job has taught you?

Remember my talents whenever I feel like giving up.

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