It's been a three year journey in the creation of Wildflowers so far. I'm taking a moment to check the rear vision mirror and look again toward the exciting road ahead.
Writing from Freedom Hub cafe, Waterloo.
A little over three years ago, Joel and I returned home from our first of two trips to the Philippines interviewing and conducting photoshoots of survivors of human trafficking.
It was all for a crazy, ambitious idea I had to create a book that would tell their stories with dignity, hope and passion, to give them a voice, to amplify it, multiply it and shout it from the rooftops so they would not be forgotten, or their suffering endured in vain.
Looking back, it was a full-on trip. Like…
Somehow, I was both exhausted and energised by the experience. There were many times my mind felt blank because it simply didn’t know how to compute the information I was being given. Like it couldn’t accept the horrors that these women had endured in their childhoods and teen years, when they were standing before me or sitting next to me talking with the widest smile on their face about their dreams for the future. I then grappled with the guilt of not “feeling strongly enough” about it all, but determined that I would instead use this mental armour to get through the process of developing the book without crumpling in a heap every time I wrote a chapter.
Don’t get me wrong – there have been plenty of times since that first trip in 2016 when I’ve burst into tears at the brokenness of it all, like when I hear Coldplay’s “Paradise” on the radio, or when I reflect on a healthcare system so screwed up that a 16 year old is pimped out just to afford pain killers for her ill, pregnant mother. It’s been GOOD to have those heartbroken moments of “God, what on earth have we come to???” and they’ve fuelled me on during the lulls of motivation and discipline.
Fast forward to today, where I’m sitting in Freedom Hub Café in Waterloo typing up my first (long overdue!!!) blog. I just selected my editor for Wildflowers, my book designer is busy developing a killer cover design and I’m about to write my script for the video to launch my Kickstarter campaign. Sure, it’s not all roses - the website’s rudimentary, my Instagram account @wildflowersbook needs TLC and I’ve still got some interviews with experts to complete, but Wildflowers is taking on a form I could only dream about for years.
Looking forward, 2019 is going to be a BIG year for all of us – yes big, and yes YOU and me! We’ve got the book launch coming up later in the year, but let’s face it: Wildflowers is more than a book. Way more. It’s a channel that’s part of a greater tide in a wider river of justice, and this is only the start.