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  • Drew and I stopped by In & Out Burger yesterday on the way to a job. The place is overrated in my opinion but whatever. The cashier had these really bright, alert eyes and that coupled with her odd shaped hat reminded me of a futuristic character from The 5th Element mixed with a woman from those old Duracell commercials. I asked if I could photograph her and she said I could as long as she could put on lip gloss. While she did that she asked what I do with the camera and I told her I was interested in people, stories and glimpses of other lives. I took a few shots and we got our food and went and had a seat. The shakes are actually pretty good. While we were eating she came up with a scrap of paper in her hand and said that she had a pretty good story herself and gave me a link to where I could check it out. As it turns out she was sexually abused as a child for many years by a male care taker. She stayed silent until one day she realized that her silence allowed this to continue and there had probably been more victims by the same man. She reported it and ultimately testified against him in court in California and he received 94 years in prison. The city of San Diego in turn gave her an acknowledgement/award of sorts called Citizens Of Courage and she was allowed a broader platform to share her story in hopes of helping other people in the same situation know that they weren't alone and that they could speak and stand up for themselves. I told her that most people I know that have a fire and urgency to live life have usually endured some kind of loss or struggle and asked her if all of that brought her to a fuller place. She said yes but that it was also about developing some sort of resilience and it has been a slow process. Some days are good and some aren't so good but she seemed happy. And she had a dignified and humble sense of pride about what she went through and knowing that experience was to be shared with others. The part that stuck with me beyond her specifics though was the part where a small conversation unearthed an exchange of something real and a few words led to me knowing things about her I would never have guessed. Everyone is fighting a battle of some kind. Listening to people is like tuning into an infinite educational radio station that gives us new ideas and reprieve from the static and limitations of our our own. I wonder what the last person I didn't take time to listen to and connect with for a few had to teach me? Probably a lot.

    You can learn more about Candace's story here...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nc2y5lAT86Q
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