You listened and remembered because you couldn’t help it.
When I spoke at events, no matter how big or small, people always remembered me. Even if I was one of several speakers at the same event, people never forgot the bald guy with the Bronx accent. Why is that?
People still remember me because I’m memorable, because of what I lack: fear. There is not one ounce of fear in me. It all got spent as a child, as an addict, and as an inmate. I’ve faced down fear so many times, it knows not to come looking for me anymore.
Although my story is compelling, that’s not what you remember most. You remember that when I told it, my voice didn’t get low, I didn’t look down, and I didn’t use soft words or phrases. You remember that I was strong, so you can be strong.
Although my story might have made you cry, you don’t remember grabbing for a tissue. You remember laughing with me while dabbing your eyes, wondering how it was possible to laugh and cry at the same time. You remember that I found incredible joy from immeasurable pain, so you can too.
Although you walked into the event with at least some knowledge about sexual abuse, you walked out rethinking everything you thought you knew. And a year from now, five years from now, ten years from now, you’ll still remember me and what you learned. I guarantee it.
I didn’t speak to get famous or to make a fortune. As far as I’m concerned, I’m famous for surviving against all odds, and the joy I have now is the greatest fortune I’ll ever earn. I spoke because children are being raped and I want it to stop. I spoke because when I did, I knew you’d remember me and you’d remember that children are being raped and that it needs to stop. I spoke because when I did, I knew you’d never forget that just like the bald guy with the Bronx accent, the only thing in the world that can hold you back is yourself.
You can’t help but remember me.
That’s what I’m talkin’ about.