Amanda, 27, Northern Collardo, US


“I play guitar and sing for a hard rock band called Saphyre Rain. My husband, Austin, and I have started the band because we want to help people. I have struggled with depression/anxiety and low self-esteem, while Austin has dealt with bullying growing up.

Music is our way of connecting with the world. We tell stories best in lyrics; we paint pictures with melody and rhythm. I am so thankful for music because it has saved me over and over again. So many times, a song has gotten me through a hard time in life. And there is a song for everything, it seems.

We started Saphyre Rain with the intention of being there for all those people who didn’t have anyone. We’ve been the outcast, and we want you to know you’re not alone. Our first EP came out in March and the single, “Live”, is about preventing suicide and a reminder that hope is still alive in your heart and someone cares about you.

I have never been very good at keeping up with social media and don’t have many friends. (I struggle with my insecurities and that loud voice that says “you’re not enough”.) Being active in the band has gotten me out of my shell in many ways. We have gotten more into networking and reaching out to make connections. The process has astonished me. I have met so many beautiful people, both in person and through social media.

I’ve found that we all have something in common, regardless of race/gender/age/orientation/etc. In one form or another, we all have pain. I have been actively thinking about stigma – and I even looked up the definition online. Stigma is a judgment, a dark mark, cast upon a person by others. It can happen for many different reasons…race, illness, mental illness, status, sexual orientation, income, actions, religious affiliation, physical appearance. The list goes on and on.

And some days, my questions still swirl in my head. How can we remove this dark shadow of stigma? Should I explain myself? Should I give a reason for being who I am, who I have become? Should I dislike myself if someone doesn’t agree with my life? What will happen, if, after all my best efforts, stigma still remains? The dark mark remains, despite my bleaching? What happens for those who are still misunderstood?

Stigma seems to be a never ending cycle. I am hurt by someone, who I feel angry with in return. My anger keeps the hurt inside. The hurts pile up and fester into bitterness. Resentment builds towards the ones who judge me; the ones who find me unacceptable. And stigma begins to take on a new life. Not only have I been wounded by stigma, but from my pain, I begin to wound others. I use the same stigma that originally hurt me to try to isolate myself from future hurts. Stigma starts to feel safe – like it is the answer.

What then will change this fight? For the ones that still carry the marks of darkness every day? For the ones wearing the scarlet letters? For the ones in pain? For the broken hearted and worn down?

I believe that we have only one possible answer…


I believe in love because love has believed in me. At my darkest moments, it was pure, beautiful, untainted love that held me. The whispers of hope in my ears when I was ready to give up, to end it all. Love – the most powerful weapon, the most potent healer. Love alone can break this cycle.

So Austin and I want you to know that we are here for you. We love you.

To all of you: The outcasts, the unwanted, the unloved, the unacceptable, the abnormal, the rejects, the misunderstood, the broken, the weary, the “messed up”, the forgotten….
We care about you. We are one of you. We are with you. Help is real. Change is possible. And love is here for you.

Love you guys.”

Twitter; @SaphyreRain





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