Change happens when we heal

Lately I have been feeling this overwhelming sense of confirmation. I mean confirmation that brings me to tears. Confirmation that I’m finally on the path that God created for me, and confirmation that I’m in the right place when it comes to my education and my career… confirmation that I created this journal at exactly the right time. This journal is something that I have dreamed of for a long time and I understand that it is finally happening now because this is exactly when it was supposed to happen all along. People need healing. People need closure. People need love and guidance and support. People need our help.

Did you know?

| According to the National Institute of Justice, 44% of inmates return to jail within the first year of being released.

| Studies show that 90% of the youth in foster care with five or more moves become involved with the juvenile justice system, and by age 17 over half of the youth in foster care have experienced an arrest, conviction, or have stayed overnight in a correctional facility.

85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes.

| Sexual assault victims are 26 times more likely to abuse drugs than those who have not been sexually abused.

| A study of 13,986 women in prison showed that more than half grew up without their father. Forty-two percent grew up in a single-mother household and sixteen percent lived with neither parent.

These people are hurting. These people have experienced years of trauma. These people had the odds stacked against them from a young age, meaning that they have a lot of obstacles to overcome. These people need healing. These people need tools and resources. These people need advocates. These people need help, and love, and guidance… not judgement. How is one expected to come out of prison with no job history, a terrible label on them, no guidance, and years of unhealed pain to go be a functioning member of society like nothing ever happened? They are more than likely going to go into survival mode and resort back to the things that they know. How is a recovering addict expected to stay sober and not self-medicate without getting down to the bottom of why they are resorting to drugs/alcohol?

Look, I am far from naive. I understand that there are criminals that have done unimaginable things who are exactly where they need to be for our safety and I’m thankful for that, but we are not talking about those people. I’m referring to men and women exactly like you and I that need our help. I also understand that trauma doesn't make someone innocent but I do believe that they deserve to see a new way of life. That need encouragement. That need the chance to make things right. That need help recovering from their past… a safe place for their thoughts. They need us. They need rehabilitation. They need people lifting them up and cheering them on rather than waiting for them to fall. Because here’s the thing… they’re probably going to fall if they don’t have the tools to rise.

That is why I am so passionate about this journal. Not only is it a great tool to introduce daily/weekly journaling into your life but it opens doors to conversations. It is whatever you need it to be… deep writing and healing or simple reminiscing. The journal is for men and women of all different walks of life. I am a firm believer that change starts in the heart and mind. It might be a stretch to some people, but I also believe that when we begin to heal from our past, that is when we begin seeing lower crime rates, less single parent homes, less drug abuse, and more love. When we have open dialogue about therapy, sexuality, domestic violence, mental health, trauma, experiences, relationships, and childhood, we are making others feel comfortable enough to address what is bothering them.

Healing does not make you weak. Change does mean that you think you’re “too good” for someone. Writing does not make you weird. Men, journaling does not make you feminine. Therapy is not for “crazy people”. Jail is not filled with “criminals”. Rehabs are not filled with “junkies”. Foster care is not filled with damaged goods. These are lives that we are talking about, guys. People like you and me. People that could make an amazing impact in this world.

Change is not easy. That is coming from someone that has been incarcerated, experienced drug and alcohol abuse, survived domestic violence, and grew up in a single parent household for a period of time. It was easy for me to use those things as excuse for my behavior and choices. Much easier than addressing those things and expressing my feelings – mainly because I did not know what my feelings were towards those things until I was challenged to get down to the bottom of it. I am not saying that it will be easy, but I believe that we can make a change with these journals.

When you purchase “But First, Heal” you are investing in your healing and well-being as well as someone else’s. Change starts small, but we will make a change.

My challenge to you is to think a little deeper. Before saying “gosh, what is wrong with them?” try “wow…I wonder what they have been through.”

But First, Heal… July 3, 2020

How fast can we sell out the first 40 journals to begin donations?

Let’s do this.

Shay M.







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