Each day I wake up, hit snooze on the alarm. . .once, twice, and up on the third. . .stretch, kiss my dogs on the head, and make the decision that it will be a positive day. All before my first cup of Joe.
This is a routine I’ve had for some time, though I do stray; I hit snooze up to four times some mornings, and I don’t always wake up on the right side of the bed. But each day I walk out of the door, get into my car, and zoom off to face the day.
As I head down the Interstate, I encounter slow cars, fast cars, and cars that, well, exceed what seems like the speed of sound. Depending on the day, I’ve fallen into each of the categories. Some days I make people upset, and some days I’m mad at them. But I continually remind myself that there is good in all people and we’re all trying to make our way to some destination.
The other thing my drive reminds me is that we are all interconnected in some way. When I see the good in all people, even the driver of the mid-sized Sedan who just cut me off, I realize that my actions impact my attitude and the attitude of others. Try giving a peace sign to someone while driving instead of giving them the bird; you’ll see shock and then laughter. That moment of laughter is a better rush than minutes of madness.
Each day I also have the strange realization of how routine my life really is. But as I mix up my routine and allow myself to walk in the shoes of others, I realize how much I grow and how that growth impacts those around me.
Take The Facing Project for instance. This movement would not have been born if I hadn’t met Kelsey and slowed my pace to step outside of my comfort zone. Getting to know him has truly inspired me to do more and be better.
He has been traveling the world for years telling the stories of garment workers and farmers; giving us a peek into the lives of those who clothe and feed us. Because of his interactions with a single mom in Bangladesh who made his underwear, he was inspired to learn more about poverty, opportunity, and community. And by community he means global and local.
Part of the local was helping the community of Muncie understand the lives of those in Muncie who live in poverty. By pairing local writers and storytellers, he was able to open the eyes of the community through stories—including my own. As a writer on the initial Facing Project, Kelsey inspired me to get more involved in the Muncie community with poverty awareness; but that inspiration also led to Facing going beyond Muncie.
Together we took a leap of faith and decided to make Facing a movement and share it with others. Through that decision, we piloted in five cities and are inviting many more to come on board to connect people in their communities through stories.
A single mom who makes underwear in Bangladesh inspired a man in Muncie who inspired another who, together, inspired entire communities to organize projects, and those communities are inspiring others. And all reverberates back to the start. That is what The Facing Project is about: A movement using storytelling as a means to connect people to strengthen communities—through dialogue and action.
When I head out each day I still follow my routine, but I know my actions are felt far beyond my drive to the office. And others’ actions are felt beyond their city limits. From Dhaka to Muncie. Muncie to Fort Wayne. Fort Wayne to Atlanta. Atlanta to South Bend. South Bend to Rome. And beyond. . .
They inspired us. We inspire you. You are inspiring other communities. And together we’ll continue to inspire one another as stories are shared throughout the world.
And so it begins, again.