What’s most interesting about the #MeToo movement is not that it has gone viral so fast and so far. No, what is interesting is that some people are actually surprised by the number of people with a #MeToo story.
It hasn’t surprised me. Since the day I first shared my story publically, thousands of people from around the world have let me know how my story inspires them. What’s inspiring to them isn’t the story of my past – it’s how I choose to respond. When I speak, I share the lesson and the power of being proactive and choosing our attitude and our response to what happens to us. And, every single time, someone from the audience, usually more than one, comes up to me afterward saying “Me too.” Two weeks ago when I was at the rehearsal for my TEDx talk, several people stood up and said #MeToo. Men and women of all ages, places, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds have shared with me their #MeToo story.
Mack and I spoke three times last week for three different audiences on different days. Wednesday it was for students at West Georgia Tech. The GED/AdultEd program at WGT is using Mack’s Blue-Collar Leadership books as part of their curriculum this year to incorporate character based soft skills leadership training along with the usual math, english, reading, and writing. And, we were invited to come speak to a group of the students who had completed a 10 week study of his Blue-Collar Leadership: Leading from the Front Lines.
Following our presentation to about 30 students and their instructors, where I shared only the briefest details of the years of sexual abuse I experienced growing up, THREEof them approached me afterward saying #MeToo.
It breaks my heart. Every. Single. Time. But, I can’t change the past for them any more than I can change the past for myself. What I can do is help others heal. And, that is where I focus my efforts. We need people like Tarana Burke and Alyssa Milano to raise awareness and fight the epidemic of sex crimes. And, there is a need for someone like me to focus energy on helping others heal. My mission is to help others rise again from the ashes of what happens in life and help them become more brilliant because of the flames. My message is about resilience and the difference between “I didn’t die” and “I learned to live again.”
We can take what life hands us and be bitter about it or better because of it.
Your life story isn’t about what happens to you. It’s about what you do and who you become from that moment on. What matters is the rest of your story.