An Interview with Kat Mische Elle
Kimber Leigh is an award-winning producer, actress, and journalist. She has produced more than 10 short films and has acted in more than 40 movies. She has also garnered a Telly award for excellence in journalism. She is best known for her work in which she produced and directed, Imoceanation, Hawaiian Housewives are Da Bomb, and a comedy Sand in the Crack. She has starred in the feature films, Love a la Carte and Blocked.
What incident do you remember most from your childhood?
I adored my grandfather, who loved Greta Garbo the first silent screen actress. He would take me to his home and show me images of her. My grandfather would say, “Sweetheart, you’re going to be just like her when you grow up. You’re going to be talented and beautiful, you’re going to be an actress, and you’re going to be so successful.”
He built me up on a pedestal where I felt infallible. When I went home to share this news with my mother, I ran up to her and said, “Grandpa, says I’m going to be as famous as Greta Garbo!” She replied, “Sweetheart, you will never be anything but a bitch, a Greta Garitch.”
That’s the nickname she called me. Halfway through writing my book, this nickname came back to me. If my mother ever gave me a gift, her horrific name for me would be it; it became the title.
When did you realize this wasn’t a normal way to live?
My mother hid alcohol everywhere throughout the house because, believe it or not, my father did not know what was going on. He didn’t know she was drinking, using drugs, and sleeping with men in the neighborhood. She periodically would come into my bedroom looking for her bottle of vodka that she had hidden under my mattress. My siblings and I didn’t tell anyone, because my brothers and I were told that if we said anything, our daily beatings would be more severe.
“Normal” is a profound question for me, because my bedroom was on the second level, and I had windows all around me. I could see into the house next to ours. They were a very loving family. I would lay there, and watch the mom put the brothers to bed, cover them, kiss them goodnight, and read them stories.
In contrast, when I came home from school, I was afraid to open the door because I didn’t know if my mother would be standing there waiting to attack me because the house was dirty. I was at school all day, and when I came home I couldn’t do my homework; I had to cook, clean, and do whatever needed to be done that she did not feel like doing.
Did you ever feel cared for as a child?
At age 14, I woke up one day with the whole side of my face black and blue from another episode with my mother. I told her I was sick because I was embarrassed to go to school. My mom said I was faking it, totally oblivious that my discolored face was a problem, and sent me to school. The school sent me back home.
A few days later, I had my first experience of what it felt like being cared for. I suffered from a severe sinus infection and was in the hospital for a week. While there, I felt the care and love of the nurses and doctors, and I didn’t want to leave. I longed for that kind of care and love in my young life.
How did you survive being abused as you were growing up?
I was born and raised Catholic, and I went to Catholic school up until the 12th grade. I knew who God was, and I prayed every day. One night when my mother reached for the vodka bottle under my mattress and started beating me because the house was dirty, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I was done; I laid there curled up in a ball and prayed to God to save me.
While I prayed, I felt myself standing in the snowy streets of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with a golden effervescent, calming, loving, peaceful, unforgettable, bright light engulfing my body. I didn’t feel cold in the snow, it was as if the heavens opened and I was shown my entire life: I was going to be a flight attendant, I was going to be an actress, but I was going to have a very difficult life. The light I knew I could always go to for help, and I felt I was supposed to tell others about it. But instead I kept it a secret until I wrote the book Greta GarBITCH. I regret that I didn’t talk about it sooner, because I know that I could have helped many people. When I moved to Hawaii in 2016, I realized that it was time to talk about the light.
How did your life change after leaving home that brought you to where you are today?
I didn’t have many friends growing up, and my mother abandoned my family while I was in high school. Even though she abused me, I desperately wanted to go with her.
As an adult, I was in a very long relationship for 18 years but we never married. One day, he walked out on me. It was like my mother leaving me all over again. I believe he and my mother had very narcissistic traits. They constantly blamed, nothing was ever their fault, and they didn’t take responsibility. I was used to that role because I had played along with it most of my life.
After coming out of that relationship, I isolated myself for four years to be certain that when I got involved in another relationship, friendship or marriage, I wanted to be a hundred percent healed. I wanted to match a person perfectly, because in a relationship, you tend to mirror each other.
Where did you find your focus and how did you heal?
I worked on myself every day. I meditated as I walked. With every footstep, I left an imprint of the dysfunction behind. I walked seven miles every day for 4 years: I would take pictures of the clouds, and search for beauty, images, and inspiration. It was super healing.
After about three years of deep, focused work on myself, I realized I was ready to meet someone. I decided to visualize it into being. So every night, I would set a dinner table for two, dance with a broom, and kiss the mirror. I would do this kind of role-playing. I said goodnight and good morning…and at the four-year mark of intentional solitude, I felt ready. I decided to take a trip to Hawaii. I was on the island for three hours and met my now husband. An incredibly loving and supportive man.
To what do you attribute your complete healing?
My healing was a combination of permitting myself to feel normal. I prayed every day and gave thanks, because I never thought I would live to the age that I am today.
When I visited Big Island, Hawaii for the first time, I brought my pain with me because I was determined to release it. It was July 17th, 2016. This is a very healing island. I went to Hapuna Beach and took all of the pain out of my heart. I knelt at the shoreline, and I asked the Earth to transmute the deposited pain back to love. From that moment on, my life has been an utter and complete miracle every day. And what’s blessed, interesting, and not coincidental, about that date is that I got married on the same day exactly one year later. It wasn’t until years later looking back at photos did I then realize that it was on the same day.
Where my heart is today, there are no band-aids or stitches. There are memories, but they are not attached to my heart. My heart is open, loving, and whole.
How can your books help others?
Greta GarBITCH gives a step-by-step plan that gives the reader an opportunity to copy each step for themselves for their growing process.
I have another book, it’s a workbook called Achieving Your Miracles where you can use this format for your healing progress. I also have a program called The Wow Factor, to help find the WOW in your life that you share with others.
What does the future have in store for you?
I am currently co-writing a new book called Underdog to Top Dog, Recognizing Your Irresistible Power. The release date is April 1st, 2023.
I will also begin a series of book signing tours this year too.
Where can people find you?
On Facebook at KimberALeigh and on Instagram @KimberALeigh
And my website along with Amazon you can locate all of my books www.Kimberaleigh.com