My whole life, I have been labeled a “doer”, you know, that person who always seems to have her hand in something new, always on the go, and for lack of a better word “an activist”. Well, my life didn’t start out quite as optimistic. My mom & my dad were BOTH the black sheep of two very large successful families & I’m pretty sure EVERYONE with the same blood as me (except my lovely grandma) assumed there was a large chance I would follow in my parent’s footsteps. Luckily for me, something snapped inside of me at a very early age. It snapped like a dried-out tree branch that just needed to let go and find its own roots, even if that meant amongst a ton of other fallen branches that had nothing else in common but the obvious likelihood of failure and a strong will to flourish by soaking up any sunlight & drops of water that the world graciously threw my way.
You see, I am a misfit. I don’t try to be, but it’s often the label I get. However, I am also the woman who keeps beating the odds not once, not twice, but EVERY time life has told me I can’t. I had a disappearing dad, an abusive mother, a slew of stepfathers, cancer, sexual assault, and domestic violence incidents ALL the time as a child. The list is endless and frankly, unbelievable even to me. Most of the time, I was left to clean up the messes by myself and while I didn’t realize it at the time, this burden to bare was the best gift I was ever given in my entire life.
In fact, had my life NOT been so wonky, I would have missed out of meeting some of the biggest influencers in my entire life. For example, my mom married the baseball coach when I was in high school, and with him came an amazing group of people who opened their hearts to me the moment I met them. I saw how unconditional love equaled freedom. I saw how you can be your own person, but still have roots. While this marriage only lasted a few years, the lessons I learned from that group of people melted my cold, lonely heart in such a way that my entire purpose in life became clear. I wanted to give that same feeling they showed me with no strings to anyone I ever met who needed this same leg up. I moved away from the south at 25 and lost touch with many of my heroes, but I made a promise to myself as I drove across the country from Atlanta to Los Angeles to pay tribute to these gracious game changers in my life through my charity work. You know what started to happen? I realized I was given this opportunity to share this new found “infinite love” every day of my life….in the way I spoke to people, the way I fought from the heart, the way I listened to those often overlooked, the way I would search for that one person in the room who seemed lost and felt compelled to befriend them.
It didn’t take me long to start my lifelong tribute to my heroes. I started a women’s social club in 2009 called The Purple Heels Society. I wanted to introduce these amazing women I kept meeting in random places with one another and to this day, many are still colleagues, friends, and leaders in the altruism space. Yes, it’s tiring to “give back” and yes, it’s frustrating when you don’t see immediate progress; but for me, there is no other way. I owe my life to the people who pushed me forward and I would never imagine stopping my activism now. I feel the fire in my heart and I know I am helping those within my reach. My life has been a struggle. I have lost, been disappointed, been left, been afraid, felt helpless, all those scary moments; but none of those moments have ever outshined the times I was given love.
You see, life is what you make it and there are good people all around you WAITING for a moment to share in your joys & your pains. It’s up to us to be aware of the opportunities around us and be just as thankful for the moments of grief and despair as we are for the moments of success. With that, I encourage each of you to find a moment every day when you can touch the life of another. It can be family or a stranger. Pick ANYONE. No matter how small or how great the deed, just do it. You may never hear thank you, you may never know if the deed paid off, but I promise you, your heart will grow from it, your light will shine brighter, and somewhere down the line…someone will be spreading what you taught them with another so make it a lesson that counts. Don’t be afraid to share the good stuff. We need infinite love now more than ever, my friends.