There is an exam where the white doctor's coat never leaves the hanger on the door.

Dr. Markeita Banya smiled, “There is liberty in it.”

It is significant, since earning that symbol of success was Dr. Markita’s goal for so long. After she accomplished it, she says it became her identity and security. “I thought the white coat would protect me.” She added, “I didn’t think I’d have to go through anything.”

Life had different plans.

It happened fast. It all fell apart in seven days. Dr. Banya said, “I lost everything, my children, business, friends, clients.” She even lost her home for a time and was homeless.

She traded in her clinical typing for soul searching with pen and paper. Dr. Banya said she felt both a challenge and a release in it.

“I had to let it out and that is where I found it, in writing.” She said.

She filled pages surviving domestic violence, a teenage pregnancy, the disappointment of marriages failing. She wrote about her business falling apart and friends walking away.

“It had been midnight in my life for longer than I cared to remember…” She journaled. “How did I get here?” Her journal was raw. It was authentic. It was a place she faced the hard truth that she had been self-medicating for most of her life, trying to fill a void with education, relationships, and the false sense of security that success brought. Dr. Banya knew it was time for the cycle to end.

Including her most personal trials in a book to be published wasn’t even a fleeting thought.

Life had different plans.

She said, “No one publishes their journal, their real journal and that’s what I did.” Dr. Banya said she realized other people needed what she had learned in a wrenching way. “I put it on paper and said here, this is my life. You can see me.”

She hopes it will change them to read her words. “This is what I went through and if I can get through this, you can too.”

Dr. Banya says her story is proof that you can go through trauma after trauma but you don’t have to get stuck in it. “It doesn’t define who we are; it can redefine who we were always to become.”

It was never really about the title or the white coat that came along with it.

She spends her day now seeing patients at the Sanctuary Salon and Day Spa in Sandy Springs.

“They come in for a makeover but go out having had a do over," she said.

In that exam room she shares her perspective and life experience; what she had always longed for too.

Life’s plans led her to the place she needed to be. Dr. Markeita is certain of it. Everything has changed, but it’s not just about a new chapter for her. “I’m living a whole new book. This time I’m going to write it intentionally.

Rev. Dr. Markeita Banya’s story is included in the book, Shine Your Light - Powerful Practices for an Extraordinary Life. It comes out on September 5th. The proceeds from the book go to local charities. You find out more about the book here: www.DrMarkeita.com