“Breaking the Silence”- The Next Day

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“Breaking the Silence” – The Next Day

I am still trying to sort my feelings out after the watching the documentary on childhood sexual abuse, “Breaking the Silence,” which aired on the TLC network on August 30, 2015.

I wasn’t prepared for the impact this documentary would have on me and others who appeared in it.

When they first asked me to be one of the childhood sexual abuse survivors to share my journey on the film, I was like, “Sure, whatever.” I wanted to help other survivors heal and help spread the awareness of childhood sexual abuse to the world.

During the two days of filming, I was very comfortable sharing my journey – maybe because I have gotten stronger over the last three years telling my story. I knew I could have a big impact on survivors – especially male survivors – by sharing my journey.

As the day and hour approached, I became anxious and nervous. I trusted Darkness to Light and RAINN, the sponsoring organizations, 100 percent. Through the filming process, I also developed 100 percent trust in the producers and in the TLC network. I saw they were truly committed to doing a documentary to teach the warnings signs of childhood sexual abuse and help others heal.

Still, I couldn’t stop worrying. How would it go over that I am about to announce to the world on an international TV network that I had been sexually abused by a male babysitter; that I suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; and that I had a nervous breakdown in 1992 when I finally said out loud that I had been sexually abused?

I watched the show outside by myself in the dark of night, listening to nature, being with my emotions and listening to God. The only light was the light of the TV, the stars and the moon.

As the show started, my heart began to race. I had to remind myself to breathe deeply and that everything was OK. It didn’t take long for me to realize this was going to be a powerful documentary that would change lives and bring a much-needed awareness to this worldwide problem. I am so proud of my fellow survivors who shared information on their journeys, as well as the professionals who shared ways to prevent childhood sexual abuse and how to spot the warning signs.

When the show ended, I turned off the TV. I sat in the dark night air and reflected on my journey and my fellow survivors. I prayed and said “Thank you” to God for giving me the strength and courage to keep speaking up.

The big question – Where do we go from here after the documentary? It was very powerful and educational. How do we keep building on it to help other survivors heal and keep providing information to increase prevention and awareness?

I am not a professional counselor, nor an expert on childhood sexual abuse. I am just a childhood sexual abuse survivor who wants to spend the second half of life helping other survivors find hope. I want them to know they can do some incredible things in lives, regardless of their pasts.

Thanks for all of the support and caring about the millions of survivors. We are stronger than we realize. We not only survive – we can thrive!!!

And thanks to everyone that was a part of the documentary “Breaking the Silence.” It will help many people overcome the damage done from childhood sexual abuse. I am proud I was asked to be a part of this powerful effort.

Why Should We Care?

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“Why Should We Care?”

On August 30th at 10 p.m. EST on the TLC network, I will be one of the childhood sexual abuse survivors sharing my journey of healing and the impact of being a survivor on a one-hour commercial-free documentary called “Breaking The Silence”. This documentary will have survivors and experts on childhood sexual abuse. My wife Karla is also featured.

My goal is to share important information and show my fellow survivors that we can do incredible things in our lives, be happy, and not let our pasts control us.

I hope you will watch and learn more about “why should we care” about childhood sexual abuse.

Regular moodyspeaks.com readers know that I attended the Advanced Leadership Initiative program at Harvard University a few months ago. The program requires that each participant come up with a personal project that has some type of positive social impact.

My classmates and I broke into small study groups to review each other’s projects. We were to ask questions to challenge each other to think deeply about each project.

I came up with a two-phase project to help childhood sexual abuse survivors. And rather than starting a foundation, I decided to use my photography and my thoughts on moodyspeaks.com to raise money, and then to give it away.

Phase 1 is designing t-shirts with inspirational sayings I developed from writing moodyspeaks.com.

Phase 2 is developing a website that will provide resources to support prevention of childhood sexual abuse and to assist survivors in their journey toward healing. The site will market inspirational apparel by moodyspeaks and a new book I am writing on my journey of healing to be published in early 2016. It will also include short videos of other childhood sexual abuse survivors sharing their healing process.

A portion of the proceeds from all sales will go to organizations that help prevent childhood sexual abuse and assist survivors in their journey toward healing.

As I explained my project to the small group, a classmate asked me this question: “Why should we care”?” It stopped me in my tracks.

I never thought about why anyone – other than a childhood sexual abuse survivor, or a parent or loved one of a survivor – should care.

That question has stuck with me. How do I help get the message across that EVERYONE should care?

I asked some experts in organizations, including Darkness to Light, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), Male Survivor, and the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy. I also asked individual experts Lou Bivona and Dr. Sharon Watkins-Cooper. Here is public health information they gave me and statistics they cited:

● Child sexual abuse is likely the most pervasive and prevalent health problem children face, with the most serious array of consequences. It affects every part of our society. It’s widespread, especially when compared to other serious childhood health conditions.

● As an example, one of every 433 children is diagnosed with diabetes. One of every 68 is diagnosed with autism. But more than 1 of every 10 children will be sexually abused before the age of 18. And only 10 percent of victims ever disclose their abuse.

● Most sexual abuse of children occurs in a residence, typically that of the victim or perpetrator.
● Behavioral problems, including physical aggression and non-compliance, occur frequently among sexually abused children and adolescents. They are also at significantly greater risk for later post-traumatic stress and other anxiety symptoms depression and suicide attempts.

● Abused girls are more likely to turn to self-destructive behavior such as promiscuity and substance abuse, which leads to teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. They are also more vulnerable to being commercially sexually exploited.

● Abused boys are more likely to turn to aggressive or criminal behavior leading to incarceration. Male sexual abuse survivors have twice the HIV infection rate of non-abused males. In a study of HIV-infected 12 to 20 year olds, 41 percent reported a sexual abuse history.

● Documented short- and long-term struggles for children who are sexually abused include depression, substance abuse, poor school performance and falling grades, inappropriate sexual behaviors, eating disorders, and poor interpersonal relationships. If untreated at licensed professional organizations, these problems can lead to far more detrimental behaviors during adolescence and adulthood.

• Adult survivors of child sexual abuse are at greater risk of a wide range of conditions that are non-life threatening and are potentially psychosomatic in nature. These include fibromyalgia, severe premenstrual syndrome, chronic headaches, irritable bowel syndrome and a wide range of reproductive and sexual health complaints, including excessive bleeding, amenorrhea, pain during intercourse and menstrual irregularity.

• Adults with a history of child sexual abuse are 30 percent more likely than their non-abused peers to have a serious medical condition such as diabetes, cancer, heart problems, stroke or hypertension.

• Childhood sexual abuse costs taxpayers millions of dollars each year, and causing devastating harm to thousands of victims, making it difficult for them to lead productive lives. The Centers for Disease Control estimates the lifetime burden of an incident of nonfatal child abuse to be $210,012 per victim (in 2010 dollars). This includes immediate costs, as well as loss of productivity and increased healthcare costs in adulthood. Compare this to the lifetime costs of stroke ($159,846) and Type 2 diabetes ($181,000 to $253,000).

Now I will tell you from a survivor’s viewpoint why we should care.

When I was sexually abused as a child, my innocence was stolen. It created a fear of trusting people and low self-esteem. I developed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and panic attacks. It took me decades to accept it was OK for me to be loved. I will live with the damage my entire life.

There is no magic pill or counseling that can erase the memories. It takes hard work everyday to keep moving forward with a smile. Fortunately, I have been blessed with proper counseling and a loving environment to give me the strength and courage to not let my childhood past control my past and future.

I am not a health care professional. I’m just a survivor who believes that with proper counseling, love in our lives, a personal desire to put the work in to heal, and faith, we can give hope to the hopeless and a voice to those that can’t speak.

Childhood sexual abuse is clearly a community problem. It requires the active involvement of the entire community to prevent it and respond to it.

Thanks for reading and thanks for caring.

Dreaming Big This Time!

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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 moodyspeaks@gmail.com 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.

Living With Trauma

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I was asked to write a blog post about living with trauma for Warriors for Life.
Trauma can be caused by many things in our lives and things out of our control. The trauma I live with is the trauma of being sexually abused as a child. It has taken me almost 50 years of my 59 years of living to get comfortable enough to speak up about the trauma, the damage done and the journey of healing from being a sexual abuse survivor.
I was your typical kid and young man. I played sports, went to college, enjoyed the ladies, joined a fraternity, and did all the things the average kid and young man did in life. But I had a secret I had buried inside and was scared to death to ever say out loud.
I had been sexually abused as a child by a male babysitter. I never thought I would say it out loud or even admit it to myself. It was buried deep in my mind. I had a fear of speaking up because I am a heterosexual man. How I do I ever say another male sexually abused me?
A person’s sexual orientation doesn’t matter to me at all. I just know that for me it was very hard to ever admit to anyone that I was sexually abused. I thought I would keep it buried, no one would ever know, and I would never speak publicly about it. I thought, “What would people think?” I was afraid people would run away from me, think I am weird, or worse.
I suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), panic attacks, fear, shame, embarrassment, guilt, self-doubt, and worry, all from the effects of childhood sexual abuse. I had buried it until 1992, at age 36, before I ever said out loud I had been molested. I finally told my wife, and a few months later, the panic attacks started.
I had a complete nervous breakdown. This is something we don’t like to admit because we think it means we are weak or crazy. It’s neither; it is something the body does when a trauma in our lives has not been properly treated and we keep it all bottled up inside.
My body was like a pressure cooker and when I finally told my wife, the pressure value was released and all of the emotions I had bottled for years caused my body to react in way I can’t really describe. Even though it was scary at times, it is amazing how the body and mind works together to protect us.
It was only by God’s grace, my wife’s love, her nursing skills, and my desire to heal that I could function and keep my young business going during recovery from my nervous breakdown.
So many people suffer in silence for many reasons about being sexually abused. I never dreamed I would speak up about being a childhood sexual abuse survivor. Little did I know God had a different plan for me. It has been an interesting journey of life.
I look back now and wonder how did I recover, other than God’s grace. The thing I have found more amazing is the healing process, finding joy, peace and allowing myself to be loved. I have been pleasantly surprised by people’s reaction to me disclosing the sexual abuse. It has been one of support.
In 1992, I told my wife and told a few close friends and my kids about the abuse. But I didn’t start speaking publicly until 2012. The first time I spoke in public at a Georgia Center for Child Advocacy breakfast, I cried like a baby through the entire speech. I couldn’t control my tears, but I kept going because people needed to know the damage done by childhood sexual abuse.
Those tears were also healing tears for me. I was no longer ashamed or felt it was my fault that it happened to me as a kid. I was a victim; but more importantly, I was a strong survivor. I started saying we not only survive, but we can thrive. I decided that morning after my speech that I had to continue speaking up for those who still suffer in silence and need to see a successful journey of healing.
I know what is like to live with PTSD and how the triggers can cause panic attacks and sometimes make my body tighten up and then have muscle twitches I can’t control as it unwinds. I decided in 1992 I was going to recover and not let this rule my life forever.
It has been a journey. It has been hard to find people that share their stories of suffering from being sexually abused as a child and the healing journey from PTSD and panic attacks. This is why I speak up and share my journey of healing and the process of healing. When you are suffering, you need to see and hear some success stories of healing to motivate you, that you can make it, too.
I have undergone therapy to deal with being sexually abused, and to understand PTSD and panic attacks. I have learned my triggers. I have forgiven myself for blaming myself that I didn’t stop it as a child. I have forgiven my abuser. I have strengthened my faith in God. (Whether you believe in a God or not, your form of forgiveness is so important in the journey of healing.)
I use nature, exercise, hiking, photography, travel, being with loved ones, and sharing my journey as my way of healing. I am now at a place I never imagined I could be in my life.
I feel as free as one can feel in my eyes. I no longer worry about what will people think of me because I suffer from PTSD and panic attacks from being a survivor.
I started a blog in 2012, moodyspeaks.com, about my journey of healing. It has been read in 110 countries. I get so many positive responses and “thank yous” from people for my speaking up. I know I am making a difference helping others know we can overcome living with trauma and have a great life.
My story has been told in the Huffington Post, Atlanta radio and television programs, the Atlanta Business Chronicle, in a film entitled “Darkness to Light,” and in a recent story was written in May ( https://rainn.org/news-room/may-2015-survivor-spotlight-2).
My journey continues and I will always fight through the fear. I learned not to worry about dying, because I will miss living. I am going to soak it all in with whatever time I have left on earth, and do my best to make a positive difference in other lives around the world.
Keep enjoying the journey of life and never give up on the healing process. We can live some incredible lives. Keep helping others and expect nothing in return for your help.

Enjoy some pictures of our recent trip to Sao Paulo Brazil for the international Rotary convention.

My Experience as a ALI Fellow at Harvard

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Wow! It’s hard to find the right words to express one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I just completed the first phase as a Fellow in the Advanced Leadership Initiative (ALI) at Harvard. This program is a new stage in higher education, designed to prepare experienced leaders to take on new challenges in the social sector, where we can potentially make an even greater societal impact than we do in our careers. The final stage of ALI features presentations by each Fellow on our individual projects, which we hope will make a difference in the world. In November, I will fly back to Harvard and present my project. In the meantime, we will work on developing and fine tuning our projects. I’ll share the details of my proposed project in my next post.

For now, I want to tell you about this awesome experience of living in Cambridge, Massachusetts and attending Harvard. Karla and I moved to Cambridge on January 22, 2015, into an apartment neither of us had seen. I was a nervous wreck, because that last time we rented a place sight unseen was in Atlanta in 1983. The picture of the place didn’t match what we found in person in 1983, so this experience brought up bad flashbacks. But we were pleasantly surprised with our small apartment in Kendall Square, Cambridge.

I was still in disbelief that I was attending Harvard and Karla and I were moving away for 4 months. I know God was directing me to this program and this experience. Here’s why I feel this to be the case; I was looking at a magazine in June 2014 and saw an ad for the Harvard ALI program. It was late in the application process but the deadline hadn’t passed yet. I said, “why not apply? It sounds interesting and I probably won’t get accepted anyway.” I didn’t tell anyone that I had applied so that I wouldn’t be embarrassed if I didn’t get accepted. The application process was moving forward, and by late August or early September, it was starting to look like I would be accepted as a Fellow in the ALI program. So in September, I told my wife about this opportunity. She just smiled and said, “we are a team and we are life partners, so if you get in, let’s do it.” In the interview process, I told them that I had a week in March when I had to go to Honduras with a group for a working mission trip. It just so happened that the mission trip and spring break were the same week. I said, “God, you are making this happen.”

I had been planning for the last two years to promote Ike Tiggs to President of CD Moody Construction. Ike accepted the position and was doing a great job. Once again I said, “God, you want me to go to Harvard.” I got accepted despite applying towards the end of the application process, spring break was during the time I wanted to go to Honduras on a mission trip, I had picked an excellent person to serve as President of the company and Karla was supportive. So I knew God was leading me to take this opportunity. Now I had to mentally adjust, which was a little tougher than I anticipated.

I was leaving the business I started from scratch in 1988, I was leaving our home, our adult kids, our church, the organizations I was involved with and everything else I had known for the last 32 years. We were going without a car and living in a small apartment like when we first got married. I would be busy and Karla would be in a place that she didn’t know anyone or the area. We arrived with no car and had to go to the grocery store by cab, and I thought, “Lord, did I hear you right?” Then the worst snow in over 100 years starts falling in Boston, and I thought, “Lord, did I hear correctly?” My anxiety was starting to kick up because I started feeling like I had made a horrible mistake and ruined everything by moving us.

I was so wrong in those thoughts, because this turned out to be an incredible experience. When my anxiety started kicking up I said to myself, “If I have the faith I claim to have, then I need to just go with the flow and see where this journey takes us.”

We lived one block from the Charles River and one and a half blocks from the subway station. We found a service called Peapod that delivers groceries to the apartment front door. We quickly fell in love with urban living. We loved not having a car and we walked everywhere or took the subway. There was no fast food restaurants around, but plenty of good restaurants within walking distance. We loved our little apartment and felt as if we were newlyweds again, dreaming about the next phase of life.

The energy and classes at Harvard was an unbelievable experience. It quickly became freeing and liberating for me. It was neat being invisible; no one knew me and they didn’t care. I was just another student. I quickly adjusted to college life and became the free spirit I was always wanted to be in my life. After the first few weeks, I stopped shaving and grew my first beard of my life. I let my hair grow for the first time in 20 years and realized that I’m going bald on top of my head. But it was ok, I didn’t care how it looked because I looked like any other student. I dressed like a student not wearing suits or sport coats. I only wore comfortable clothes.. I took a class called the history of the New Testament. What a wonderful class! I also took the history of art and architecture of Rome class. This class was held in the Museum of Arts at Harvard. It was so neat to have two days a week after class to roam the museum. My fellow ALI classmates, ALI classes and ALI instructors are awesome.

I have been able to take some incredible pictures during this time. I take so many pictures and share them with others because I want to share the new joy I experience through my camera lens. I have been on my journey of healing for years, and the last few years have been the best part of this journey. My eyes see things like I’ve never seen them before in my life. I’m coming to grips with being a childhood sexual abuse survivor and finally getting deep into true healing. By attending Harvard to soak up the energy and knowledge, I learned to believe that we can make a difference in the world.

I am excited about our construction business, and implementing what I have learned at Harvard to create a project that will help others around the world. This project is long-term and I am working hard to really place trust and faith in God as He guides my steps in this next phase of life. It doesn’t matter what your religion is or if you’re even religious. Just know that we all have a story and we can do something to make this world a better place.

I have a lot more to share but this post is already long enough. Enjoy some pictures and a Youtube video of a typical day at Harvard from this winter.

Check out this video on YouTube:

 

What I Learned On My Mission Trip To Honduras

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Sometimes in life we find lessons where we least expect to find them. Karla and I are currently experiencing a new adventure in our journey of life. In May I will share this current adventure that we started in January. I want to complete the first part of this adventure before sharing it with you.

On March 14, 2015, I took my second trip to Honduras in the Agalta Valley on a working mission trip. It was an awesome experience to work with 60 other volunteers from all walks of life to help others and hopefully give them hope to keeping going for their dreams.

We worked hard everyday painting, landscaping, sewing, and teaching music.  I was on the concrete mixing crew. It was hard work but good work, and it was great teamwork among the volunteers, and the people of the villages. After a hard day’s work we would return to a 1,400 acre working ranch. We would get cleaned up, eat dinner and relax to get ready for the next day. This trip I spent more time reflecting and learning more about the different organizations that are involved in Honduras.

During times of reflection, a couple of items really stayed on my mind. One was the importance of decisions and listening to that inner voice that resides in us. One evening after working in Honduras and just staring at the mountains and the huge cross from my bunk. I thought about a decision that seemed small at the time but was actually a life changing decision. I was thinking about how in 1981 after finishing architecture school I had to decide on what job offer to take to start my career. One was an offer in DC with a major construction company and the other was with Bechtel in Ann Arbor. I love DC and Karla and I weren’t dating at the time. Something said take the job at Bechtel. At the time both companies were great companies and still are great companies. I went back home to the college town of Ann Arbor and Karla and I reconnected and as they say the rest is history. As I reflected in Honduras I realized how different my life would had been if I had taken the job in DC in 1981. I know for sure God directed my steps and still does when I listen. Every decision we make big or small can be life changing. Believer in God or not, listen to that little voice inside.

The other item that stayed on my mind while in Honduras was about my Grandfather James Moody Sr., who came to America in 1901 from British Honduras, which is now Belize. He worked his way over on a banana boat and landed in New Orleans. He knew no one, as he had left his family and friends in Belize. He was determined to get an education. When he arrived in America, He was put back into the 6th grade at the age of 17 yet he went on to finish college and became a supervisor in the colored only school system. He and my Grandmother raised 8 kids in a shotgun house in Baton Rouge, LA and all 8 kids finished college. He never owned a car. He said he could walk faster to get where he was going than a car could take him. His story is so inspiring to me, and when I am in Honduras I am only a few hundred miles from where the Moody’s once lived. I feel like I am helping the next James Moody Sr. and just a few hundred miles from a big part of our family history. Below is a picture of him. I wish I could talk to him now. When I am in Honduras on the ranch, I feel a sense of peace.

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I reflected about listening to the inner voice (God is my inner voice) that guides me. I reflected on the impact of the decisions we make in life. I thought about how we can do anything we want to do if we just take the first step. My grandfather took that step to come to America, and a few people of HOI.org had a dream over 25 years ago to work in Honduras and start a school. MAP.org started 60 years ago and on this trip gave it’s 5 billion dollars worth of medicine world wide.

As the sun began to set and the moon began to rise I listened to the cows and the the birds outside my window while I laid upon my bed. I thought about how we can make a positive difference in the world. All we have to do is take the first step. Will we take that step??? In May I hope to announce a major project I will embark on to help other adult childhood sexual abuse survivors that are still trying to heal, find God, Joy and Inspiration in the midst of Trauma.

I hope you enjoy the slideshow of pictures and check out the short video of our trip to Honduras. http://youtu.be/KlEfspDE834

A New Journey Begins for 2015

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A lot has taken place since my last post and it has been inspiring, uplifting, fun and exciting. I have recently spoken at 3 events. One for a conference on sexual abuse survivors and sexual abuse prevention for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, a new construction class for the Westside Works construction class, and a graduating class of business owner’s for the City of Atlanta. I have gotten comfortable speaking in public on the subject on being a childhood sexual abuse survivor when that is the topic to be discussed. I had my first article that I wrote for Huffington Post published about how travel is healing for me. My number one goal is to be as transparent as possible on my journey of healing from the affects of being a childhood sexual abuse survivor.

I had an opportunity in late November to do a sleep out with other business owners and civic leaders for the Covenant House. The Covenant House helps homeless young adults. It was heartwarming and heartbreaking speaking with many of the young adults that were homeless and they shared why they were homeless. We all can make a positive difference to help others in our communities.

My blog has now been read in 102 countries and has over 19,0000 views. I receive weekly from someone a word of encouragement or a heart-felt thank you for sharing my journey. I know I will always live with the panic attacks, PTSD and fear that comes from being a survivor. This is why I share my story, to help others find God, love, peace and joy internally so we can share it with others.

I recently took a weekend camping trip to Cumberland Island to hike and take pictures of the wildlife, nature and ruins on the island. We picked a very cold weekend to sleep outdoors. We had a great time and the island was beautiful. I had a moment the first night when I almost had a panic attack. I usually camp out in warm weather and my tent is open to the outside. Because it was cold, I used my rain shield to cover my tent from the wind and I couldn’t see the stars or feel the breeze of nature. I woke up during the night in my small tent, I couldn’t see out or feel the breeze. Panic started to come over me because I felt trapped in a small tight space. In the past I might have really started down the road of a full-blown panic attack. Because of my counseling, learning the triggers and coping skills, I gathered myself, opened my rain shield flaps and just breathed and prayed. I was back asleep in about 20 minutes. I share this story because I want others that suffer from panic attacks or know someone who suffers from them to know, that we will always live with them, but we can overcome them with the proper coping skills. I had a great weekend and didn’t let that one episode ruin a great camping trip. I don’t want my blog to ever give the impressive I am free from all affects of my past. I still have moments, but I know how to cope and overcome.

I have some exciting things I am working on for 2015. I will share more about the activities as they take shape. Enjoy the article I wrote for Huffington Post. I have posted some pictures from the last few months. Keep going for your dreams. I am working on a photographic essay book and my theme will be “Finding God, Joy and Inspiration in the midst of Trauma(Chaos)”. It will be my pictures and my journey of healing. I started my photography website Christmas. It is http://www.davemoodyphotography.com check it out when you get time. I am constantly adding pictures to my photography website.

I pray you find a reason to smile everyday and do something to help someone else and don’t expect anything in return.

Here is the link for the Huffington Post article. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/c-david-moody-jr/traveling-is-healing-for-_b_6117166.html

I Know The Direction I Am Going!!

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My last blog was titled Where do I go from here? I really didn’t know where I was going with my blog or sharing my journey to help others heal. I took the last 4 months to listen, reflect and then move forward in the direction I believe I am being lead. I like the direction and the new adventures I have taken and will take over the next 12 months. The first important change in my life has taken the last 2 years to accept and know it is the best decision for the business and myself. I am promoting a well deserving person to President of my company and I am moving to CEO. The time has come to give someone else the day-to-day controls. As I approach 27 years in business, I know this is the time to make the change in leadership. To start a business from scratch and give someone else control is exciting and scary all rolled into one.

My wife and I took a life changing adventure to Europe this pass fall. It was our first trip to Europe. It was more amazing than I imagined. My love for architecture, construction and the architectural history I studied was finally seen by me in person. I marveled at the construction and design of these structures, some 1,000 years or more old. I would just stand or sometimes sit for hours and just feel the energy of the buildings. I would try to figure out how did they build these massive structures with no electricity, tower cranes, concrete trucks, earthmover, or gas engines. Riding in the water taxi in Venice was like being at Disney World, it just didn’t seem real to me. I realized how old the world really is and how small the world is today. I spent 18 great days and saw so many amazing things and places. This trip confirmed I had made the right choice for promotion to President of my company. This was my first trip where I didn’t say I was ready to come home, I could have continued traveling for a long time. I felt free and at peace. I had no worries of panic attacks and no triggers that cause my PTSD to act up. I really enjoyed how I was feeling for those 18 days.

The biggest change I am making is going to Harvard in January for their Advanced Leadership Initiative program. It is for CEO’s with at least 20-25 years experience that want to do something that can make a change in the community, and the world. I have learned in the last 2 years sharing my journey of healing has been a big help to many other survivors of different types of traumas. This will also help me bring closure to my past. I have beat myself up for years for not speaking up and letting my abuser go free and possibly hurt others. My blog, speaking at events, and now this program at Harvard will help me accept I am doing everything possible in a positive way to help others know we not only survivor but we can thrive. This is giving me closure to my past. I might not have spoken up as child, but I will speak up now and share my journey so others can heal and enjoy a great life. I am no expert by any means, I just remember in 1992 when I finally told my wife (the only person I had ever told) about being sexually abused as a child. How my body reacted a few months later with panic attacks and then PTSD was scary and sometimes an unreal experience. There was no one to turn to that had shared the journey of going through panic attacks and the affects of PTSD from childhood sexual abuse. In 1992 I had a nervous breakdown but I had to keep working. My wife who is a registered nurse put me together daily so I could function. I use to say I came as close as possible to having a nervous breakdown without having one, my wife nicely says to me, you had a nervous breakdown, but I just you kept functioning daily, and God gave you the strength to endure and heal. God’s grace, my wife’s love and her hard work and my determination not to let my abuser abuse me again if I didn’t heal, today still drives me. It is interesting how it has taken me 48 years to say the effect on being sexually abused as a child causes so many hurts and problems for the victim. This is why I speak up, so many victims don’t have the support system I had, and feel so all alone. I am no longer ashamed to say I have panic attacks, PTSD and suffered a nervous breakdown in 1992, all from the trauma of childhood sexual abuse. The damage done is for ever, but us victims can overcome and enjoy a great and happy life. My goal is to help others heal, and my mind is open to the best way I can help. I am no expert, just a survivor that is no longer ashamed of my past and willing to share my journey to help others be free and heal.

Please enjoy some pictures from our trip to Europe. I saw some of the most stunning sunsets and sunrises I have ever witness. I will keep you posted on my journey and I pray that anyone that suffers from any kind of trauma, will get the help needed to continue to heal. Life is great and the journey is awesome. I love you all and my blog has now been read in 100 countries. Enjoy a link from a article on my journey in Huffington Post.

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/5838914?1411129521

Where Do I Go From Here???

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Update on July 28, 2014. A video has been added at the end of the post.

Welcome back to moodyspeaks. I have reach the crossroads of my blog. Where do I go from here??? It has been a great experience, a healing experience, a spiritual experience and a learning experience writing my blog. I started my blog on October 3, 2012. I had no idea what I would write for each post and I never imagined my blog would be read in over 80 countries. The most amazing fact for me is since October 3, 2012, there has only been 1 day that someone somewhere in the world didn’t read a post in my blog. I have been humbled by the readership and responses. To date there has been over 16,183 views of my blog. I never dreamed my blog would go on this long, or the subject of being a childhood sexual abuse survivor would impact so many people in the world. This blog started as a way to celebrate 25 years in business yet God had another plan for my blog. My blog also shared the impact on my life from suffering from PTSD, panic attacks and other items from being a childhood sexual abuse survivor. My blog also talked about healing, hope, love and my walk with God on this journey of life and healing.

The responses to date have been overwhelming and positive. I use to feel all alone on this journey of healing before starting my blog. I have become aware of many survivors that exist in this world from sexual abuse.  I have kept writing about my journey of healing to keep giving hope to others and a voice to those that still suffer in silence. That is why I am asking now, where do I go from here??? How do I keep helping others heal? How do I keep giving others hope that not just surviving but thriving is possible in life? I want others to know who suffer from any type of childhood abuse that we can be happy, have great careers and a enjoyable life. We will never forget the past hurt and trauma, but it doesn’t have to consume us or take our joy. I remember when I hit my lowest point in 1992 and thought I would never recover from my panic attacks and PTSD. I look back and know there is a God, because only the grace of God, the good people God put in my life to recover, got me to where I am today. I wish I could have found someone who shared their story of overcoming childhood sexual abuse when I was suffering and didn’t think I would make it.

Where do I go from here??? Do I keep sharing my journey of healing? I never dreamed I would have the courage to tell the world I had been sexually abused as a child and I suffered from PTSD and panic attacks. I knew in my heart I had to one day help others that suffered in silence and I didn’t know how I would help. Then I started my blog and my blog became the way I would help other survivors. I have never been a writer or dreamed of writing. I just knew speaking from the heart and being transparent was the best way to get my journey of healing across to others in the world. .

I have no idea where I go from here on this journey of life. I am excited about the future, my business and this journey. Enjoy some recent pictures of nature, and a recently completed construction project. I am going to close with the names of every country that someone has read my blog. Until I write again. May God keep you, and you keep enjoying this journey of life. Embrace everyday like there is no tomorrow. Keep going for your dreams and never give up and smile everyday. Give love and allow yourself to receive love from others. Remove the things and people who keep you from your joy. Remember we all have a story, and it is up to us how it ends. I love you all and I pray that you exceed your greatest dreams. Please pray I hear and follow what is next on my journey of sharing my story to give others hope and help others heal. When you can, help someone else and expect nothing in return.

Here is the list of all the countries where my blog has been read. USA, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Egypt, Brazil, India, Russian, Republic of Korea, Panama, South Africa, Philippines, Mexico, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Bermuda, Jamaica, New Zealand, Malaysia, Bahamas, Japan, Jordan, Ireland, France, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Puerto Rico, Palestine, Spain, Algeria, Bangladesh, Netherlands, Iraq, Pakistan, Italy, Costa Rico, Sweden, Argentina, Honduras, Morocco, Nigeria, Finland, Poland, Yemen, Portugal, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Thailand, Ghana, Cyprus, Dominica, Kenya, Cayman Islands, Croatia, Israel, Guyana, Ecuador, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Kuwait, Tunisia, Syrian, Peru, Guatemala, Djibouti, Romania, Taiwan, Chile, Lithuania, Qatar, Turkey, Slovenia, Angola, Oman, Denmark, Colombia, Bahrain, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Greece, Dominican Republic, Nepal, Nicaragua

When you have time please view my survivor story video produced by Darkness to Light. The filming was done 2 years ago and recently this segment was released on YouTube.

Getting Outside of My Comfort Zone

 

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It has been a little while since I wrote my last post for my blog. I wanted to let some time go by and reflect on my journey on healing and life. I am now 58 years old and I have learned how fast times goes by and how much I still want to learn about life. This blog was started to celebrate 25 years in business. I quickly realized as I opened up and dug deep inside, I couldn’t tell an accurate story on my journey in business without telling the accurate story of my life. As I wrote each post early in my blog, I begin to realize I am a childhood sexual abuse survivor who kept it quiet most of my life. I learned that the abuse had changed and influenced my entire life. I never realized until writing this blog and going deep into myself, how my childhood trauma of sexual abuse had changed my life forever. I learned if I wanted to heal completely and help others heal, I had to get out my comfort zone.

In earlier post I wrote about suffering from panic attacks, PTSD and other affects of my childhood trauma. I want to focus more on the positive of my journey of healing since I started writing my blog. Here are the top ten positive things I have learned since starting my blog.

1. I am not alone in this struggle. Unfortunately childhood sexual abuse happens far to often to innocent children. Many of us suffer in silence. My positive is we are not alone, and we are strong. We not only survive, we can thrive. I speak for those that can’t talk and still suffer in silence.

2. It was not my fault I was sexually abused as a child. So often we blame ourselves for letting someone sexually abuse us as children. My positive, I finally accept I was the victim and the abuser took advantage of my innocence. It was not my fault and I can release this guilt.

3. Love is the greatest gift, to be able to give love and receive love. I have always been able to love, but it was hard for me to accept being loved because I always felt tarnished from being a sexual abuse survivor. My positive, real love is great to give and receive.

4. Don’t live in the past. For years I have lived in the past wishing it never happened. I felt guilty for not speaking up as child to prosecute legally my abuser. My positive, was learning forgiveness, especially forgiving myself. Having my faith in God and to trust God that things will be handled with my abuser even though I will not know how it is handled. I learned I had to let go of the past and live in the now.

5. It is ok to be transparent with others and share my story of being a sexual abuse survivor. My positive, it has been healing for me to speak up for those that suffer in silence. I realize sharing my journey of healing is helping others heal and most importantly giving myself and others hope our past doesn’t have to be our future.

6. Get out of my comfort zone. I learned I was staying in my comfort zone of life. I gained the knowledge that we can live in pain and get comfortable with that pain and stay in that place. I knew what living in that pain was like and it had become comfortable but not enjoyable, just livable. My positive, I learned to push myself out of my comfort zone of life. I was afraid what life might feel like to share my story. Would the pain be worst? Would people laugh, and distant themselves from me? Would my PTSD or panic attacks be worst if I got out my comfort zone? None of my fears came true. I have learned to truly embrace my family, the people close to me, and my business. I feel being in nature in a new way that I have never felt before in life. It is like my eyes are now open for the first time. I hike and take pictures so my pictures can tell a story without any words, I want my pictures to provide an enjoyable journey for people. Everyday I want to give someone hope by my actions and words.

7. Believe in your dreams, they might come true. I have suffered from low self-esteem my entire life after being sexually abused as a child, and I never believed I would get close to living my dream or good things happen for kids that had been tarnished by sexually abuse. My positive, I have exceeded my dreams. Good things will happen in life and I am stronger than I ever realized. I have worked hard, I keep learning and I refused to quit. What happened to me as child actually made me push myself even though I never felt worthy of anything good coming my way. I almost went through life missing all of the good in my life because for 47 years of my 58 years of living, I lived in fear of my childhood past.

8. Embrace every minute of life. My positive, find a reason to smile and be thankful for being able to wake up and face another day. Regardless of the challenges, I embrace everyday with thanks and know nothing stays the same for too long. Embrace my time on earth and make the most of it and do something to help others along the way. Hope is powerful, it helps me know I have a chance to do incredible things I dream about everyday.

9. Get my proper rest along with my physical, emotional and spiritual exercises. My positive, when I get my proper rest, I feel better and I am ready to face the world.  When I get my proper physical, emotional and spiritual nourishment I am like a well running finely turned engine. I can face the day and know I will survive and I feel I can do things I once thought were impossible.

10. God is in control of my life. My positive, a closer relationship with God and a desire to learn more about my religion and other religions. I have a healthy respect for God and what I can still learn everyday. I respect the earth, and the limited time we have on earth. I try not to waste time. I want to make our planet a better place for those that will come behind me.

Today, May 21 as I post this to my blog, I turned 58 years old. I feel like a young adult since I started this journey and full of emotion to seize the positive energy of life and those around me. I am enjoying life even though it is all unknown, it is the excitement of freeing myself of my past and setting new dreams to achieve. I am enjoying this journey of life. I pray I have many years to go and I promised God and myself, I won’t look back worrying and living in fear from my past trauma. I am going to embrace everyday with a smile and hopefully make a difference in small way to give someone else hope that life is worth living. We all have story to tell and it is up to us how our story ends.

Until next time, keep enjoying this journey of life and enjoy the pictures in the sideshow. By the way turning 58 is pretty cool. My life is like my passion of architecture and construction. We keep building and getting better with every project, everyday.

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