by Matt Pipkin, That Guy + Guest Blogger
One of my favorite things is when I hear about someone turning something negative into something massively positive. There’s just nothing better.
A few years ago, I started sharing a story that I’d kept secret since I was 6.
I come from an awesome family, so for twenty years I lived in heavy, heavy fear that I’d devastate my parents if I told them what I’d done.
You see, I was sexually abused by a family friend; someone I trusted. I saw myself as an accomplice, and therefore, knew that if my parents learned the truth about me, my life would be ruined.
Just after college, I found myself at low point – I’d lost a bunch of money in business, had my heart broken by a girl, and had no direction for my life. I finally made a connection between the fear and panic attacks I was now experiencing… and the fact that I first started experiencing them at age 6.
Finally, I told my parents. And they simply loved me. If only I’d realized that would be their response. Eventually, I began seeing a counselor and he completely changed my life. I realized that the “truth” was not that I was bad, but rather, that I’m infinitely valuable innately, and nothing can ever change this.
And then I recognized the power my story has to bring freedom to the 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys who go through something similar.
So, I started a nonprofit called Speak Your Silence, focused on moving child sexual abuse from a taboo issue to an inspiring cause that you can be excited to champion.
To do this, I had an idea that has now resulted in a product and, more recently, even a clothing line. It’s called The Stitch. The Stitch is an orange thread zigzag that physically symbolizes your voice frequency when you wear it. It looks like this:
By wearing The Stitch, you symbolically show support for people you love to share their stories.
The extra awesome sauce is that 100% of profits from The Stitch fund in-person, one-on-one counseling nationwide for those directly affected. I obviously love this because, well, counseling changed everything for me. It’s been pretty special to see such a powerful community grow around this simple idea. We’ve seen so many people wear The Stitch in support of their friends or family, and others wear it as a sign of healing and hope in their own lives.
You possess so much worth. And, when you’re so bold as to use your voice to share your story, there are people in your life whose world will forever be changed.
You’re worth it. Be bold. Be a voice for those who do not have one.
This April, you’ll receive #TheStitch kit for free with any I Am That Girl t-shirt purchase, while supplies last. www.shopiamthatgirl.com -xo IATG
How do you create and identify safe spaces for telling your truth? What would it take for you to speak your silence?
Matt kept his secret for twenty years due to fear, shame, and guilt. His life was finally changed when he realized just how innately valuable he truly is. He founded Speak Your Silence in late 2012.
Every girl is a work in progress. If you need more help, click here.