Scars into Stories

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Air Band Rock-offI think there are moments in each of our lives when we wonder if we are really making a difference anywhere. Many of us dream of leaving our mark on history and of somehow leaving a legacy of lives that were touched by our existence. When you have a passion to see lives changed, sometimes this question seems to lack resolution, as you are not always able to hear what has happened as a result of your effort. But in so many ways, Melanie has given back to us more than we could have ever wished for…RachelWhen Rachelle walked into that room to get ready for a presentation with one of our road teams, she did not expect to leave there with a renewed sense of focus and resolve, but Melanie gave her a gift that changed her. Melanie is a beautiful young woman,with brown hair and large brown eyes. She has seen much in her short life: years of heartbreak, abuse and loss have matured her beyond her years and have shaped her life perspective like few other people her age. She caught Rachelle’s attention when she approached her and said, “I have always wanted to write to you, but I thought that you would be like everyone else, and not care about my story. You need to know that you are the reason I am standing here right now. If it hadn’t been for your show, I would not be alive.” As she shared what LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) has come to mean to her, tears ran down both their faces. A life that has been filled with loss and grieving, a life and death battle with anorexia, and the entrapment of a physically abusive relationship brought her to the brink. However, in her own words, she attributes her survival to something that gives us hope, and when she met Rachelle that day, she knew she had to take the opportunity to let her know her story, because her story is why we do what we do. Melanie was a story hiding in the crowd in the darkened room during each presentation she sat in on, and she has given us back the gift of sharing what that has meant to her:JesseTwo years ago if you asked me where I would be now, I honestly wouldn’t have ever imagined what I have gone through or how far I have come. LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) was breath-taking and inspiring to me each year that I saw it. The effect it had on me stayed dormant until I really needed it most. Each year, something about each story, each person, each experience sent shivers down my spine, and left me close to crying. How can one person’s story have such an effect on a complete stranger? Most importantly, how could that one person have the confidence and strength to share such a deep part of their life with a room full of perfect strangers? What I didn’t realize at the time is that they can do it because they know they are not alone: they can share their story because the one thing that connects us as human beings is the fact that we have all become stronger from the weakest points in our lives.Life changing, influential, inspirational, and simply a reason to believe in holding on, this is what LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) is to me. I saw LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) every year I was at my high school. After leaving high school behind I used LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) as a reminder to stay strong. In one afternoon, I realized that on the stage in front of me there stands someone who simply understands. Someone who knows what holding on really means; but most of all, someone who was able to give me back the strength to once again have faith. I told Rachelle LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) changed my life. How? Well it isn’t a matter of having the exact same experiences as the people I saw on stage for 3 years – it’s about breaking the silence and finding beauty within yourself. It’s about being confident, assertive and strong.It’s about knowing that you can get through it. LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) changed my life because I knew I wasn’t alone. I learned that we have all been affected, that I am far from alone. I have learned to breathe, see, love, and trust again. I hope that no matter what I can do in my lifetime I will always have the courage and conviction to lend a helping hand, help others, and share the spirit of LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute). You guys gave me the power to turn my scars into stories.AdamStorytelling has existed as long as we have had languages. It is what has preserved legends, given moral values to the next generation, and is what helps to shape our world view. When we share the story of our lives, we are acknowledging that the events have happened, but we are also acknowledging that we are still here as a result: it is our gift to those who need to know that there is hope and that they have a story of their own. During our high school shows different members of our teams share their stories. Some of them are stories of tragedy and triumph, some of abuse, hurt, and loss, and some are of choosing the right choices from the beginning. No two stories are alike, because no two people are alike. They only have one common denominator: they are all true. Each of us has a story, and though its value remains hidden until it is shared, the impact can resound forever in the lives that are affected by it.Rachel and band members(The Ocean Buried)Many of you have been a part of our success in LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute). You may have sat on a gym floor and heard our stories, you may have been a part of the result, or you may have been someone who has helped to provide us with the means to continue doing what we do best: reaching a generation with hope and purpose. Thank you, because you are now a part of our story.”It’s my reminder of why I’m doing this thing we call LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute).” ~ Rachelle

Author: LiveDifferent

Date: May 17th, 2009