Once Upon A Safe Space, The Story Behind Nina Lorez Collins & What Would Virginia Woolf Do
I discovered a serene community on social media a few short months ago while reading a New York Times article on empowerment. It is a shared space, a judgment-free zone, and positive vibes; at least, that’s what I gained from the writing piece. It was encouraging, enlightening, and uplifting to read about this unique space, especially such a unicorn kind of space like-minded people to virtual logon.
I admit I have never met the founders of What Would Virginia Woolf Do. I had the opportunity to interview the founder, Nina Lorez Collins. Lorez-Collins is New Yorker, a mother, a businesswoman, a daughter, a Woolfer, and a resilient woman.
It was October 2015, and Nina Lorez Collins suddenly had insomnia, realized she was on the cusp of young and old, and like some epiphany. She came to recognize the need for something more to help the things that come along with aging kindly and gracefully. Lorez- Collins then explains, “I was deep in peri-menopause. It is the state before full-on menopause when a woman is going from still being sort of young to being sort of old. I wanted to talk about my feelings about aging with my girlfriends in a safe space, and I started a secret Facebook group in which to do it.”
So, with a small start of approximately 600 women worldwide, WWVD came to fruition.
It is a fantastic group of women from all walks of life, making it rare and unique, even with the group's size exploding. Collins shares, “ What makes the group unique is despite how large the group has gotten, it still feels like a safe space. Women feel comfortable being unusually candid about very private subjects here. They get excellent answers, resources, and humor, all in a way that dispels shame, which I think is vitally important.” Honest to the core, Collins ensures that members don’t take advantage of the space and use it for its sole purpose.
Collins hopes women from the group take away from the community experience of WWVD; she shares candidly, “That they aren’t alone, nothing that they are feeling or experiencing is shameful or even new, they can use the strength from other women who have been there, and they are strong themselves.”
In the next five to fifteen years, Collins hopes that the group will continue to provide community, humor, information, and solace to like-minded women who need it.
When talking about the past, Collins says, “I wish I could go back to tell the 16-year-old me to slow down, to breathe more, to worry less, and to be kinder.”
Collins shares regarding empowerment: “I’ve been through a lot by this age (I’m 49). Some difficulties I’ve handled more gracefully than others. I suppose I feel empowered by realizing I really can do it all on my own. I can manage my kids and my finances and make all the decisions, and that I have learned a lot and gotten better for it.”
For now, Collins plans to keep the space for women in their forties and up.
Collin's top-charting life quotes include “Why do later what you can do now?” and “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle,” both relating and hitting home for her.
Collins shares her favorite childhood memory is being on the beach with her mother, playing Scrabble. In the same breath, Collins shares that she feels her mother is the person who has shaped her to be the person she is today.