Creativity can strike at any time, and sometimes, in the most unexpected places. For Joy McMillan, it was in a public restroom, during a moment of insecurity and introspection, when she got an idea to launch a movement to inspire women to spread kindness, counter negative self-talk, and ignite confidence in each other through something she calls… random acts of “otherly” affirmation.
On her We ROAR (Random. Otherly. Affirmation. Revolution.) Project site, Joy, a Michigan based author and self-taught graphic designer, explains, “Having just left my first young professional’s event, I was surprised by the sense of inadequacy and insecurity that gripped me. I had felt wildly out of place, not because of anything anyone had said or done, but because of a constant flow of negative chatter taking place internally.” She added, “I popped into the loo and found myself standing quietly, staring at the wall above the antiquated hand-dryer. ‘I wonder how many deflated, discouraged women stand in this very same spot every single day?’”
“More women than ever struggle with insecurity, wrestling with a constant sense of falling short.” – Joy McMillan
As she continued contemplating, Joy was struck by what a wasted space the ladies room was; sterile rooms populated by necessity that a steady flow and captive audience of women file in and out of daily. But she saw an opportunity in those cold walls and stall doors; a blank canvas for posting positive affirmations that could help turn another woman’s day around, give her a boost of encouragement, or simply make her smile.
But Joy didn’t want to be the only one dropping these positive “truth bombs” on unsuspecting strangers. Her goal was to recruit an army of women who would do the same by equipping them with printable designs to distribute at random.
She describes them as, “Pretty little notes, stealthily distributed to exhausted moms, lonely teens, weary cashiers, reclusive neighbors, insecure professionals… reminding them who they truly are. That they’re lovely. Powerful. And a part of something larger and more alive that they’ll ever truly comprehend…a movement of women seeking to lift the chins and spirits of complete strangers who matter more than they know.”
Two days later, Joy had a website, an Instagram account, and a little store in the works. Her We Roar Project officially launched March 26, 2015 and has been growing ever since.
If you want to be a part of Joy’s revolution of women inspiring women, you can download and print free ROAR cards or order prints, packs of cards or mini card sets (20% of proceeds go to support a different organization every month)… and then go to town sending or placing them wherever you think they might do the most good!