Dreaming Big This Time!
I have a new and exciting project. It is starting today.
Before I tell you about it and why I am dreaming big this time, I need to tell you how I got here.
Until 2010, I tried my best to avoid anything and everything that forced me to relive or remember my childhood sexual abuse. Finally in 2010, I gathered enough courage to go and visit the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy.
It was doing that tour – and after shedding tears in the conference room – that I knew I had to do something different other than avoiding the topic of my own story of childhood sexual abuse. I didn’t know what that “something” would be or how I would find what was next in this journey.
The first thing I did was agree to be the keynote speaker at a breakfast fundraiser for the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy. This would be the first time I ever spoke in public about being a childhood sexual abuse survivor.
I started off well. Then the tears came flowing, and I couldn’t stop them. I gave my talk while crying and with my nose running – not exactly the way one should give a speech. But it showed others, and me, the impact any trauma can have on a person’s life regardless of age, success, race, religion or gender.
Afterwards, people from the Center told me that it was their largest fundraiser to date. Even though I was emotionally drained after that talk, something inside said, “David, this is the beginning of a new journey for you.”
Next, I was asked to be in a training movie for the organization Darkness to Light, a group working to prevent childhood sexual abuse. The goal of the training movie is to help people who work with kids understand prevention and see the signs of sexual abuse and take appropriate action. This movie is being seen around the world.
I enjoyed meeting and hearing from the other survivors appearing in the movie. There is a former Ms America, an Olympic gold medalist and others in the film. I begin to realize I was not alone, that millions of people endure and survive childhood sexual abuse, and that many people and organizations are doing something to teach prevention techniques and help others heal.
I began to do research, to speak more at public events, and give media interviews. I now understand how widespread childhood sexual abuse is in the world, and many people are suffering in silence with no hope of ever healing and enjoying the journey of life. The estimate is over 25 to 30 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse just in the USA. Whatever the number it is too many.
Even after all of this, I still wasn’t sure what I could do to help. I am just one person! I begin to realize my calling was helping others find hope and the courage to take the necessary steps for healing. Too many survivors are turning to a destructive lifestyle or worst, suicide to ease the pain of the trauma.
Finally in 2012, I started the blog moodyspeaks. Originally, it was going to be a blog to celebrate my 25th anniversary in business. I had no idea where I was headed on this journey of writing a blog. I quickly realized I had to tell the entire story of my journey in life.
I was scared to death to write down that I had been sexually abused as a child, suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and had panic attacks. I was afraid to tell anyone that I suffered a nervous breakdown in 1992, when I finally said out loud to my wife that I had been sexually abused as a child.
I knew once I posted it on the Internet, it was forever available for people to read. I was afraid people would flee from my business and me, and think I was weak or crazy.
To my amazement, there’s been nothing but positive support. More importantly, there have been all of the “thank yous” from people, and I’ve been able to listen as others have shed tears while they shared their personal story with me, a fellow survivor.
Still, I knew I had to do more than a blog. Then in January 2015, it all came together for me.
I was selected as a Fellow at Harvard University’s Advanced Leadership Initiative program. My wife Karla and I spent four months living and soaking up all of Harvard and Cambridge, Mass. Once I started in the program and met the staff, faculty, other Fellows and my classmates, I realized I would have to think and dream big to change the world.
I knew the time had come to try something new and big. I didn’t want to start a foundation and just ask people for money to help survivors. I wanted to do something creative.
I decided to start an apparel business selling my inspirational sayings from my blog. I trademarked the phrase “Enjoy the Journey of Life.” I have two t- shirts coming out today (see the attached pictures), and further down in this post is the story of how I came up with each saying.
I have a total of six shirts ready and will introduce them over the next six months. I am also writing a photographic essay book about my journey of healing. I have bought a small building that will be our first retail store and house moody speaks LLC. The cool part of the building, it is a historic building and Karla and I get to work together renovating this building. I picked up my permit today.
Part of my Harvard ALI project is developing a website that will provide information and resources for those who suffer from PTSD, panic attacks and other effects caused by childhood sexual abuse. The website will also feature short videos of other survivors who share their stories of successful healing.
The goal of all these projects is to raise money for organizations that help survivors, and give those that need inspiration and motivation the knowledge that healing is possible.
One of the many things I have learned from reflecting on my own journey and doing research is that many people suffering from PTSD, panic attacks and other effects brought on from a trauma, need a quiet and private way to muster the courage to get help. I also hope we can assist in removing the negative stigma that prevents people from getting mental health assistance when they suffer from PTSD, panic attacks and other effects of trauma.
I hope you enjoy my first shirts, share my website and support the various projects by sharing them with others. Instead of asking for money, I hope my shirts and other retail items that will be for sale will inspire you. I hope the sayings and designs of the shirts are creative enough that you will purchase some, wear them, and help get the word out that we can “enjoy the journey of life.” Regardless of our pasts, we can overcome it and have lives that are meaningful and helpful to others.
Sorry for the long blog post, but this was important and I hope I have shared with you how I got to where I am today. Thanks for reading and all of the support. I am dreaming big in helping others heal. I have never dreamed big like this before in my life.
I hope you enjoy the two shirts and the pictures that are the background graphics for the shirts in the slideshow. Below, is the stories about how the sayings on the shirts came to be. The cool part for me is that all of the shirts’ background graphics are from a picture I have taken during the last few years of this journey. I really hope you will enjoy the journey with me.
The T shirts we will sale will be $20 plus shipping. I am in the process of making sure the quality of the shirt is excellent quality before I start selling them to the public. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in purchasing a shirt. I am giving away the first run shirts that were delivered today.
See below the story of the first two sayings on the shirts. I have no idea where this new project will go, but I know it will be fun.
Shirt 1: “Enjoy The Journey of Life”
“Enjoy The Journey of Life” is my trademark tagline. It will appear on all Moody Speaks apparel.
As I have traveled this journey of healing from childhood sexual abuse, it’s become very clear to me that we MUST enjoy this journey of life! We can overcome our pasts and have great and productive lives. In my healing, I have realized that the journey of life is awesome and we must embrace every day and see the beauty around us. The background graphics is from a sunset picture I took on the beach in the Bahamas.
Wear this shirt and let the world know to “Enjoy The Journey of Life.”
Shirt 2: “Fight Through The Fear”
In 1992, I revealed to my wife Karla that I had been sexually abused as a child. At the time, I was 36 years old and married with two kids. I had never told anyone until that day.
The panic attacks started shortly after I told my wife my secret. I started saying, “fight through the fear” to myself as I started my journey of healing from panic attacks and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
It has been a long journey of healing. Many times I have had to tell myself, “fight through the fear,” and I always feel better on the other side of fear.
The motto on this shirt – Fight Through The Fear – is to give encouragement every day that we can fight through the fear that holds us back and we will feel better on the other side.
We can make a positive difference in the world. That is why we must Fight Through The Fear. The background graphics is of a skyline from one of my pictures I have taken on this journey.
Thanks for reading and I pray my project I have chosen will keep helping others heal that suffer in silence from any kind of trauma.
Construction is my career and my passion, helping others find hope that suffer in silence they can heal is my calling.