"I strongly believe that love is the answer and that it can mend even the deepest unseen wounds. Love can heal, love can console, love can strengthen, and yes, love can make change." -Somaly Mam
In the midst of my life falling to pieces, I attended a fundraiser for the Somaly Man Foundation. It was a struggle to keep the tidal wave of heartache from overwhelming me and the undertow of depression from dragging me deeper into its lair. I smiled and chatted, fighting the urge to run away and cry in a bathroom stall. Unemployed and totally broke, down to my very last $10, I had to resist the urge to stuff the dinner rolls that the millionaires sitting at my table weren’t eating, into my purse. I avoided thinking of what my apartment would feel like when I returned home late that night, empty except for my cats and moving boxes. I was lost. Life had tried to break me.
When Somaly Mam took the stage to speak, I glanced around the room filled with celebrities and powerful people in the world of philanthropy. It was a room packed with people actively changing the world and saving lives. I felt completely disconnected and irrelevant.
I looked back to Somaly. Radiant.
Radiant despite what she went through and radiant despite what she faces every day of her life in her work to end slavery. Other survivors sat in the audience, beautiful and strong.
"Every person here has had their heart broken." It was a quiet thought. It became a yell. It thundered through my soul.
It is part of my motto, a lyric in my anthem, a battle cry all on its own.
Whatever way Life tries to break me, I just remind myself of everything my heroes have accomplished.
Unbreakable, they are.
Love is their shield, their weapon, their bounty.
Today is International Women’s Day.
Cheers to all the women around the world rising up, moving forwards, making noise, causing a scene, using their heartache to fuel the forces of change.
Love to the women who inspire, give hope, and define meaning for the lost, hopeless and broken.