I have come to realize that I don’t always do a good job telling people what they mean to me, or how I see them. In my head I convince myself that they clearly know, because we’re connected. But, of course in this day and age of social media, connection doesn’t mean that same as it did even 10 years ago. This is something I plan to work on.
But this isn’t about me…this about someone hearing what they mean to me, and it’s long overdue.
My friend Audrey Hayworth is an awesome person. She is an accomplished writer and blogger, and self-proclaimed Sass Mouth of the South. She is also one half of the hilarious duo of Hobbs & Hayworth.
Audrey is one of the nicest people I have ever met. We met while we both attended BlogU14 in Baltimore, MD, where we were both part of the online community leading up to the conference. Even if you didn’t know Audrey, you wouldn’t be able to NOT notice her.
Audrey, like many women from the South, is stunningly beautiful, and carriers herself with the confidence of someone who has “been there and done that.” Only a moron would mistake this for arrogance, because that confidence is dwarfed only by her level of sheer kindness and happiness. With her fiery read hair, beaming smile, and loving personality; it’s her Southern charm that pulls you in and keeps you there.
The kind of charm that is only created by the kind of Southern-sweetness that makes you unsure when she says, “Oh, bless your heart” if she’s serious and about to hug you, or telling you to go fuck yourself, but you don’t care because it all feels awesome.
Audrey isn’t all simply sweetness and Southern pageantry; she is a loving wife and mother, a fierce advocate for those who’s voices are being silenced, as well a protector of her community and surrounding areas.
Last year when, when Audrey’s home state of Louisiana was ravaged by flooding from non-stop storms, both Audrey and her creative partner Harmony Hobbs, jumped into actions to help assist those in their community repair their lives. The rounded up massive amount of school supplies, clothing, and other needed items for much of the surrounding areas.
This is probably where you think the post should end I bet. I mean, this is all quite the resume and reasons to admire someone…but they’re not the (only) reasons why I admire Audrey. Those reason came before we even met.
Audrey has spoken on, and written about, the devastating sexual abuse she endured at the hands of a family member for much of her formative years. The first time I read an account of Audrey’s experiences, it was in an article for the Huffington Post, for her birthday no less. In the article she recounts much of the abuse she faced in stunningly and gut-wrenching honesty and openness. She later wrote on the topic again after the much publicized rapist-Brock Turner case.
In both articles Audrey revealed the kind of damage her abuser caused (which I’m sure was just the tip of the iceberg), and the scars, both mental and physical, the abuse left behind.
After reading both of these articles, I was left in tears. Tears for a friend, for a woman, for the millions of women this has happened, and continues to happen to all over the world. But it also left me inspired to speak up and speak out. Speak out to vile disgusting people like Brock Turner and his ignorant father Dan, and speak up to other good men to let them know we need to step it up and change the way we act.
Most of all, Audrey has inspired me to be better to myself; to be a happier person. You see, in the articles Audrey doesn’t just talk about the abuse she faced as a child, but she also tells her abuser, as well as the Brock and Dan Turners of the world, that you may have hurt her; you may have damaged her, but you did not break her. That she, while having every reason and right to be an angry, skeptical, and broken human being, has instead chosen joy. That no matter how hard the struggle is from the battle that still wages in her mind and body, the outward persona; the literal ray of fiery sunshine we have all come to know, is the person she wants to be, and has chosen to be.
My friend Audrey is one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met, and she inspires me.
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