I was raised to "be seen and not heard". My parents' response to most of my questions were "Shut up, child". My father never gave me compliments - only criticisms. Nothing I did was good enough. I remember he once mumbled, "I love you". He was walking away when he said it.
As a child I had a strong will to survive. My father was physically & verbally abusive to my mother, my sister and me. He once hit me so hard I passed out.
I eventually ran away from home, was in a foster home and a group home. I had my own apartment before I graduated high school. I got accepted into American University two years later. I survived.
I didn't thrive. At college I had no voice where I continually felt inferior. My professors would ask me what I thought and I could only respond with a blank stare. I was also in my own abusive relationship that mimicked that of my parents. My boyfriend once beat me and afterwards raped me while I had an icepack on my face. He threatened me with more violence if I didn't comply.
Still I survived. Still I didn't thrive. Twenty years later I realized I had to overcome the voice in my head that said, "You're not good enough" and "Who do you think you are?". I wanted to accomplish something I really wanted but I first had to believe I was worthy.
My first two goals were to finish a music project and start up my t-shirt business again. I stopped my business shortly after I started it due to that pesky voice in my head. I'll never forget there were times I'd be in tears at my computer because that voice would berate me constantly. I ignored it this time, however, and continued working. As a result, I completed some songs for the first time. Here's an instrumental track as an example: http://snd.sc/10ZvdRi
I also started my business again. I'll never forget how afraid I was to ask someone to give me money for my products. Again, I thought I wasn't worthy. Now I've sold many shirts and have lots of heartfelt feedback from extremely happy customers who LOVE my shirts.
VOF is the perfect opportunity for me because I want to not only highlight those intrepid revolutionaries of the past but also highlight those of the present. Idolizing and romanticizing our past heroes is not honoring them if we don't stand up to the injustices laid before us now. To honor them is to recognize the heroes of today and support them. I wish to support these current heoroes by helping to get their stories out.
This is the connection I want my customers to make. As my company grows the impact it makes on the world will too because 10% is always donated to one of 5 causes. Ultimately I want my business to become a movement.
Then I will thrive.