I sit here today, not as the founder of Project Semicolon, but as just another human being. An individual with real struggles, real pains, real joys, and real heartache. I’m taking the mask off today to write to you, my friends, supporters, and loved ones. You have shared your stories with me, and now it’s time for me to share where I am right now with you.
Because Project Semicolon has done so well, there is a preconceived notion that I am supposed to have it all together now. The darkness of depression should be behind me for good. People think motivational speakers should always be … motivated. Anyone in the spotlight feels a similar weight. But the idea simply isn’t true.
There are days I wake up, filled with self-doubt and pain, and wonder why I have to conquer another day. Why must I go on? Why do I have to exist? My struggle with depression and thoughts of inadequacy are very present right now. I still struggle to restrain from numbing my feelings with external substances. Sometimes I even think a blade would release the pain I am feeling. Many of you know exactly the stifling darkness I’m describing.
My past is a horror story. Starting at age six, I was brutally abused at the hands of my stepmother. I was raped for the first time when I was thirteen, and twice more in my early twenties. As a result, my early years were filled with deeply rooted feelings of inadequacy and isolation. Those old feelings still creep up from time to time, even as my passion for Project Semicolon continues to grow and accomplish good things for others. I would love to find the switch that turns off all the racing thoughts, that lets me put those old feelings behind me for good. So far that seems almost impossible.