There are lots of statistics out there. Statistics of how many are lost in the world of trafficking, statistics of how many are found afterwards. Statistics of how many die while are enslaved, statistics of how many survive and are re-enslaved again. There are statistics to show you everything you need to know to take action, to do something, to feel something about the journey your fellow human beings are on. It’s a whole other to live the statistics.

I lived in the statistics of the millions of people enslaved world-wide in sex trafficking. I now live in the statistics of people who survived, who found a way out and who try to hold a candle to light the way for others who want – who are desperate – for the same.

I can’t show my face. I can’t take a selfie. I can’t show you my bumps or my less than perfect complexion. I can’t show you what I look like, because like so many others who live in the statistics of human trafficking, priority number one always has to be to stay safe.

I can’t take you into the little.tornadodeepest, darkest parts of what it means to be trafficked because the sheer amount of details that would entail could be identifying. What I can tell you though, is that living in bondage is beneath what anyone should ever experience. And it doesn’t just stop. It doesn’t stop after the John of the Hour goes home, it doesn’t stop when you leave, it doesn’t stop at after-care. It doesn’t. It will stop – finally end – when that deepest, darkest part of that world is healed inside you – when you can walk the street without feeling as if you’re turning tricks on the sidewalk, when you can go to a job without feeling like you have fishnets on under your suit when you don’t, when you can look into your own eyes and see your own reflection and not that of those who have crept so close into you that they own you; from skin and bones to mind and you become free, free from bondage, enslavement, debt and control.

No Makeup November is about so much more than make-up (or lack thereof) – it’s about stripping down to the real you and to create awareness about those of us who have been stripped of our humanity by others. Those of us who have had to go out into the world with not only make-up but war-paint to take on an unjust, unkind world and survive.

It’s time to take that off though and the process, however uncomfortable, has come with realizations, consciousness, insecurity and humor. And slip-ups and eyeliner and taking it off yet again. That’s life though, nothing’s perfect the first time around. Or the 2nd. Probably not even the 30th but that’s okay.

I’ve realized I don’t feel as strong without my make-up – that I use it to show less of me after too many people have gotten to see far too much, I’ve been even more conscious of the life others still live of being stripped to their bones emotionally, I’ve felt insecure about my bumps and I’ve had time to laugh at all of me and all the thoughts that have gone through my head. I’ve also felt empowered though to show all of myself, I’ve felt ready to tone down the war-paint and I’ve felt beautiful – even if only briefly – in my own skin.

I’m showing you all I’m made of. Now you can show me yours. Even if you can’t show me your face, you can always show me your heart. And in the end, that’s all that matters.

-little.tornado