I like creating conversations--fun ones--because, well, who doesn’t enjoy a fun conversation?
So, I’m creating one.
Or I should say, we are creating one.
I founded a nonprofit organization called Commit 65 and I’m going to attempt to fly an airplane for at least 65 days without touching ground to break the Guinness World Flight Endurance Record that was set in 1959 in Las Vegas.
But, I’m not doing it for the sake of the record, or for the sake of being miserable for over two solid months. Nope, it goes much deeper than that. I’m doing it because it will create a conversation. It will get exposure. People will talk about it. And it’s a perfect icebreaker for the true motive behind it.
You see, when I was five I was molested a number of times by a family friend. And… I kept it secret for twenty years. I thought it was my fault and was weighed down by fear, shame, and guilt – a lot of it.
|Matt, age 5|
Two years ago, near the age of 25, at an emotional low point in my life, I finally agreed to go see a counselor. But, my mom had to make the humbling phone call for me. As it turned out, seeing a counselor totally changed my life. It showed me how valuable I really am as a human being. It uncovered all kinds of lies that I had always believed about myself.
In short, speaking up gave me freedom.
|Matt &The Commit 65 Plane|
The stats are crazy high. 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused prior to the age of 18. And 9 out of 10 never tell anyone. Even those stats aren’t well known, because…because it’s uncomfortable to talk about.
I want to change that.
I’m no longer ashamed.
I did nothing wrong.
And I want to share that freedom with every other person who has ever walked in similar shoes as those I walked in for twenty years. If that happens – if people begin to speak openly about this – kids are going to be protected, adults will begin to thrive, marriages will be restored, and our lives will improve all across the board. It affects everything – and it’s worth speaking up about. We are worth defending.
And this strategy--it’s working. We have gotten a lot of press already. Besides a lot of local press in various places, we have also been in the Chicago Tribune, in USA Today, and we have been contacted by the TODAY Show.
Beside that though, on an individual level, this truly is working. Quite often I am contacted by individuals I’ve never met, telling me their secrets for the first time in their lives – often twenty or thirty years after the fact.
That email confirmed that in order for a secret to be kept for seventy years, it must be heavily weighted with fear, shame and guilt. It also confirmed to me that this campaign, Commit 65, is so powerful that it is breaking seventy-year-old secrets. It’s freeing 85-year-old individuals to speak their silence.
I (and we) have a long way to go before our plane will take off (we did get a plane in June though!) I have a lot of work ahead in fundraising and gaining corporate sponsorship support. But… it will happen. We will get that funding and we will take off, so to speak.
And we will create a conversation.
We will restore lives.
I’m proud of Commit 65 and what it has become. Really, I’m grateful for it. What was once the heaviest burden imaginable has become what I see as being one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever been given. Although my experience was not what I would have chosen, it has given me an opportunity to share my freedom with others and make a tangible impact in their lives.
This campaign is powerful. It’s life changing. I’m asking that you join the movement and begin to SPEAK YOUR SILENCE, whatever that may mean for you.
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