Our Founder Amy Tung
BECOMING AN INSTRUMENT OF LOVE
A commitment to find out who I am and the life I want to lead. This is the identity I choose to be every day.
I started my adult life trying to fit into a box. I needed to graduate high school, go to university, and get married – I’m sure you’ve heard that before. My worth was always attached to making money and the possibility of making money, instead of going after what I actually wanted to do. I went along with it, graduating from the University of Manitoba and jumping into co-owning a restaurant in the heart of Winnipeg’s Chinatown. I met someone, got married, and moved to his hometown in China – without much say in the matter. I didn’t know the language, and nothing I knew was useful or important. Everything felt so meaningless and I didn’t have room to grow – nothing I worked for mattered because it could just be bought for me. The situation felt so dire and toxic that I decided to move to Hong Kong, which was a few hours away. I studied makeup artistry and eventually made my way to working at fashion shows and media events. At the same time, I was taking care of my daughter all the time alone, without the help of my husband. I missed my friends, family, and home back in Winnipeg, so I packed my bags and moved back to Canada with my daughter.
Then I started the long process of divorcing my husband – something I was afraid to mention or speak about because of the shame and stigma surrounding it. I had to start everything from scratch . I had no child support and worked endless hours at my job at a top fashion retailer to prove myself, make a dent in my divorce fees, and provide for my daughter – I felt lost in this endless cycle of emotional and physical depletion, with no purpose and barriers everywhere I looked. I was hurt, depressed, and alone.
But this isn’t a sad story; it’s a story about empowerment and celebration.
I vowed to give up everything that I once believed and try something new, and the universe answered my prayer. I was told to lead with love, so I did. I quit my job and started a self-discovery journey where I wanted to figure out why I was so unhappy and why I felt so negatively about myself. Why didn’t I feel worthy? I read books and articles, attended workshops, and went to therapy searching for answers.
It wasn’t easy, but I broke away from blindly following a path that was determined for me without my input. Change is hard – crushing even – but I’m so happy that I pushed myself to move past staying stuck where I was. Because of my struggle, I know what it’s like to fall in the cracks and how difficult it is to climb back up, especially when you don’t feel love and support surrounding you. That’s why I started the I Am Love Project; for women who are restarting their lives to build something better. I Am Love Project provides extra financial assistance to women when they need it most to help them find community, purpose, and hope. Love doesn’t fail, and my journey has proven that; this is how I persevere through my challenges every day. Even when something is hard, if I lead my way through it with love, my efforts will come back 10-fold.
And now, I’m so proud to say that I am learning to be proud of my accomplishments. I was the recipient of the Manitoba Honour150 Medal, selected as a 2018 CBC Manitoba Future 40, named a Winnipeg Blue Bombers Community Hero, made a finalist of Future Leaders of Manitoba 2019, Global Hero and have raised over $45,000 for our community in the 18 months since launching the business after starting with nothing. I am a visible minority, a solo mom, an Entrepreneur, Communications & Education Coordinator at Peer Connections Manitoba, Director of Epic Opportunities Foundation Board, Peer Support Trainer at Robyn Priest Live Your Truth, Mental Health Advocate, a volunteer at West Broadway Youth Outreach and Big Brothers Big Sisters Winnipeg, and love to share my lived experiences to empower those around me. What I have today was and is not easy; there are still challenges and boulders thrown at me. But, I made a commitment to find out who I am and the life I want to lead. This is the identity I choose to be every day.
Here’s to living a life full of courage, empathy, and empowerment.