General, Life Talk, Real Talk, Relationships

You Deserve a Healthy Relationship

If you’ve known me for any length of time you know that my dating history involves men that should top the world’s biggest loser list, and not in any positive way. I have a knack for picking men without jobs, maybe without cars, and sometimes without a semblance of human decency. I’ve dated racists, men I’ve had to pay everything for (short of rent, but I did go for car insurance one day), and just about everything in between. It became a vicious cycle for me: find a guy, realize he’s a complete jerk, and stay in the relationship because I’m lonely and wanted companionship (or he was good at sex and I didn’t want to lose that), regardless of how he treated me, drained my emotions and resources and who he was as a person. In fact, it got to a point where I thought that I was finding so many of these assholes because I had done something in my life to deserve this treatment, and that I didn’t deserve a healthy relationship with a good man.

My dears, how wrong I was.

A few months ago, the cycle finally broke and I met the sweetest man that I have ever dated. He is sweet and gentle, selfless and loving. I haven’t had this much fun in a relationship in a long time, and I definitely haven’t laughed this much. It’s been a relationship unlike any other that I’ve had before, healthy and strong, and full of constant love and support. I’ve been dating for years, and I have NEVER had an experience like this one.

Now, looking at this, you might be wondering why I’m writing this post at all, what this has to do with my mission and goals and life. Right? Or maybe you’re just sitting there reading this and waiting for me to get on with my point and wondering why I bothered to interrupt my train of thought at all. Well, here we go.

My boyfriend will agree with me when I tell you that the last few months haven’t all been smooth sailing. We both bring a truckload of baggage to the relationship, and my mental health had been on a downhill landslide when we first met (it’s under control now, thanks to the fact that I have decided to dedicate more time to making sure that I am safe and healthy rather than giving in to the demons that come at night). And, in my only true fashion of self-destructiveness, I have been pulling away from the best man I have ever met because I believe that I don’t deserve to be this happy in a relationship. I believe, based on some of the choices that I have made when it came to men in the past, that I haven’t earned a healthy relationship in this lifetime, or at least not this soon.

I need to change my thinking, y’all. I really do. And any of you that have thought like me need to change yours as well. Because guess what?

No matter your past decisions, you deserve a healthy relationship.

You hear me? Write it down, internalize it, post it somewhere where you’ll see it every day. Open your heart and your mind and allow these words to nestle in and make a home in there, and repeat them until you are hearing them in your sleep and seeing them in your dreams. Exile those evil thoughts that say that you’re not good enough, that no one can love you because of how awful you are, that if anyone found out about your past they would drop you like a red hot pan on the stove that they grabbed without oven mitts. You are better than those thoughts in your head and you can rise above it.


Even if you’re like me and haven’t always been the most faithful to romantic partners or treated them the best, you still deserve to be loved by someone with their whole heart. You don’t deserve to be beaten or abused by someone and have them call it “love.” If they really love you, they won’t hit you or degrade you. To be loved by someone who truly cares about you means that you won’t ever have to wonder what you did to set off their anger, what you can change into in order to be perfect to them and it certainly means you won’t have to hide in the shadows because they don’t want your light to shine.

Every one of us has scars and baggage that we carry through this life. Some of us might feel like those things are chains that anchor us to our pasts and we should only get what comes near the anchor, the people as damaged and broken as we are that are anchored around us. Take a minute to look back on the choices that you’ve made so far, leading up to this moment, reading this post, especially when it comes to love. Can any one of us say that every single choice we’ve made is one we’re proud of?

No matter what path you may have taken to get where you are, you deserve someone amazing in this life to love you, a person who sees you as a person, and not just another conquest on the bedpost. Someone who treats you like you belong walking among the people instead of serving them. You don’t deserve to be treated like a vagina, a sex object or a temporary solution to this thing called life. You’re not a punching bag, a screw-up or a piece of trash under someone’s shoes. You are a warr;or, an independent, a f;ghter.

You can absolutely go on a date with someone who makes you laugh, when they reach out for you, they reach for your hand, not your ass, someone who holds the door open for you instead of walking through it first. Go on a date with someone who will split the check with you without complaining about gender roles, and walks next to you with their hand in yours, not in front or behind because they don’t really want to be seen with you.

You deserve to look for someone who will take the time to ask the questions because they’re genuinely curious about the answers, and look to take away your fears and build up your strengths to be the best that you can be. You deserve someone who will cherish the bright light that you have to share, standing next to you with a new bulb in case yours burns out, rather than someone who puts a black shade over you to make theirs shine brighter.

You are more than a vagina, more than a naked body just waiting to be thrown in a room with your pants off. You deserve to be a couple in love, sharing and growing, laughing, feeling light and relaxing and having a good time, focusing only on making each other smile.

You have the power to move mountains and take on the roaring storms to get what you want in this life, with the cosmos in your eyes and the magic in your mind. You deserve to have the space to be the strong, confident you that you are, and to have someone who will support you in doing that.

You deserve someone who will give you the world and still wants to wrangle the stars. There is nothing wrong with asking to be treated with love and respect; you deserve the world.

Whether or not you believe that you’re a good person, there is always someone out there who believes that you are perfect for them. You deserve to wait for that person. You deserve to know that the arms you fall into at night are the ones that will protect you, cherish you and lift you.


You are allowed to wait for that person, that one that you deserve, the one that makes reality seems better than your dreams (thank you to the great Dr. Seuss). It doesn’t matter how you get there or how you realize that you’ve met the person that you deserve, but you’re allowed to walk away from someone because you know you deserve better. But you’re not allowed to tell yourself that you don’t deserve someone so good just because you’ve made a few mistakes in your past. Because, darling, you really, really do. I promise.

Stay fearless, warr;ors!

Blog Talk, General, Life Talk

New Year, New Blog Look

Snow has come to Savannah and I’ve been stuck inside for 2 days. (We got two inches of snow and the city has shut down until further notice [We apparently only have 5 trucks in the county capable of handling this kind of thing, so it’s taking a while].) I have work to do, but I also took advantage of this opportunity and did a little revamp on my blog today.

It’s a new year; I’m ready to refocus on this blog, my book and my mission, and I thought it would be a great time to reinvent the look of this website. And, I gotta say, I’m really excited about the look of this so far. I can’t wait to delve in to the new year, in blogging, reading, and empowerment.

Since it’s a new year, I’ve gotten caught up in the making of resolutions and trying to make a fresh start and all. As much as I don’t really believe in resolutions, I am trying to just make a few small changes that will make my life better in the long run, and improve my relationships.

So, my friends, here they are, in the flesh, or rather, the typeface, my resolutions, or rather my goals for 2018. And also included are some of my hopes for this blog, which I want to continue to grow and change and empower throughout this next year.

Here we go!

Goals for 2018

  • One of the first things that I did for 2018 was to come up with my reading list for the year and arrange them with pride of place on my bookshelves. I have also written them out here if you want to take a look!
    • I want to try to start a book group this year with some of my wonderful followers! Fill out the form below to sign up. Right now, I’m using it as a way to gauge interest. I want to get it started by January 22nd.
    • You can also follow me on Goodreads to see my progress on the list!
  • My relationship with God is something that I want to work on this year. Many of the books on my reading list are designed to grow that relationship, and my Bible is something that I will be holding dear this year. I got a new journaling Bible a few months ago, and I’m hoping to fill it up with love and personal notes and annotations throughout the year.
    • Along that vein, I am launching a new page, Faith Corner, which will focus on faith and my journey and God’s love. I would LOVE some collaborators on that page and people who are willing to share their testimonies that I can include on the page
  • Better communication
    • Blog posts and Instagram updates are all well and good, but they can’t replace the simple email and letter. This year, I am looking to start improving my letter writing skills, as well as possibly start a newsletter for Fearlessly Flawed Feminist
  • Improving my blog
    • Comment at the bottom of this post or email to tell me what kind of posts you would like to see on this blog or any ideas you have on how to make it better! I would love to get to know my audience better and meet you where you need 🙂
  • Write that book!
    • 2018 is going to be the year when I finally finish the book that I’ve been working on for the last 2.5 years: Love Letters to a Warr;or. Keep an eye out for the updates on that!

I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings for me, for us and for Fearlessly Flawed Feminist. I am so excited for the empowerment, the faith, the revolution that will be taking place!


Stay fearless, warr;ors!

Book Excerpt, General, Life Talk

Remember the Good-Book Excerpt

The following is an excerpt from Love Letters to a Warr;or: A Journey of Self-Love. Publishing date TBA.

Dear You

Remember the friends who were there when it seemed like no one else would be, the ones who picked you up and made sure that you didn’t fall, even though falling was the only thing that you felt like doing.

Remember the joy of late nights spent laughing, being silly and making no sense to those on the outside, throwing absurdities around like confetti, making memories that glow warm even in the cold and dark.

Remember the nighttime trips to nowhere, filled with stories and junk food, just driving to drive and enjoying the view as young hopefuls who have the whole world ahead of you, starting with that night.

Remember the times spent rooming together at summer camp, staying up late, pulling pranks, making jokes and growing closer than ever before, cementing a bond that will become lifelong.  Even if the camp was hard, at least you had each other.

Remember the love of choosing a sister, a fellow warrior who will ride into battle with you, who will stick by your side through everything and will always be there to love and support you as fiercely as family.

Remember how to have and be a cheerleader, cheering each other on through all the crazies of life, no matter what you conquer, big or small, celebrating each other’s accomplishments or attempts, no matter what size.

Remember when a simple cup of coffee could be a religious experience, sitting together and laughing, talking about the complexities of life and all the things that you love making forever memories over something so humble.

Remember the phone calls or visits that happen when the rest of the world was long asleep, the ones who were there to welcome you with open arms when you felt like you would succumb to the darkness, ready to give in to the demons.

Remember the strength you get from being a friend, the intimacy and the closeness that it creates.  There are very few people you will have in this life who love you like friends, and the love, the relationship, is special.

Remember to thank those friends every now and again, for all the things they do for you.  You will never again find people like them in your life, and those are the relationships you’ll cherish in even the darkest times.
Remember the gift of friendship in the times of great stress and struggle, and all the people for whom you hold on to this world, even when you are in the deepest darkest hole.

Remember all the journals that you could fill with the love and strength and empowerment and laughter that you have collected from your friends over the years, and all the smiles that you get from the memories.

Remember to, every once in a while, reach out your hand and be a friend to someone else, someone new.  You never know, you might end up with a whole new set of laughs.



Faith, Life Talk, Real Talk

I Don’t Believe in the One That Got Away

Two of my exes recently got engaged. I mean, it’s to be expected, I’m at that age where friends and Facebook acquaintances are getting engaged and having babies and buying houses and all that stuff, so my Facebook news feed is a constant minefield of people who look like they have their lives more together than me, making me feel inadequate about where I am in life. It tends to happen that way after college, or so I’m told.

Both of these exes are great guys, nice men and I hope that they have every happiness in the world with their fianceés, since they deserve it. I never regretted being in a relationship with either of them, and I am glad to know that they have found true happiness.

One of these men, until recently, was the one that got away.

He was my first love, my first serious relationship, and the first man that I considered losing my virginity to (don’t worry Mom, I held onto it for a little bit longer after him). He was a lot of firsts for me, my best friend for many years, even after we broke up, and someone who I always felt truly understood me.

Never again did I think that I was going to meet a man like him, and, honestly, I never really have. But throughout the last few years, that we were just friends, the bloom fell off the rose, and I began to see things more clearly, specifically, why he wasn’t meant for me:

  1. We have different political opinions
  2. I have to sometimes explain what words mean
  3. We have different ideas of what’s a fun way to pass the time
  4. He smokes or vapes or dips or does something with smoke or tobacco and that’s a deal breaker for me
  5. He doesn’t always think before he speaks, which results in some really hurtful things coming out of his mouth
  6. He didn’t stand up for me as much as he should have
  7. We couldn’t have the important conversations
  8. We rushed our feelings and slowed our building a relationship

All the bad things, the disenchantments and the falling outs, eventually grew to outweigh the good, and now, I am happy for him and his fiancée, and I wish them a lifetime of happiness together. I hope that their relationship grows and changes the way that they wish it will, and they stay in love for the rest of their lives. I’m moving on.

I no longer believe in the one that got away.


Yes, I believe in romantic comedies, and one of my favorite rom-coms will always be Sweet Home Alabama and Reese Witherspoon’s beautiful line “The truth is I gave my heart away a long time ago, my whole heart, and I never really got it back,” and I always thought how romantic that concept was. I wanted to be the girl that gave her heart away to “the one” and then he got away but then they reunited and she finally got to feel whole again. But the truth is, I don’t need that anymore.

Sure, it would be nice to find the one that I can settle down with and keep around and maybe not hate to wake up to in the morning, someone who fills my heart with little butterflies whenever I see him or makes me smile and laugh, but the truth is, he’s in the future not the past. All the ones that have come and gone have gone for a reason, and that reason isn’t because I needed to make myself a better me to be worthy of them. I am perfect just the way that I am, and I am deserving of someone who can see me for who I am, rather than who they want me to be.

I have my whole heart now, and it’s mine all mine. My whole heart is filled by me, my thoughts, my feelings, my passions, and it’s open to experiencing life with someone else, but it’s not empty. There is only one magic person that can decide to make it full, and that’s me. I can find things to fill my heart, make it swell with pride and passion, but I can’t look to someone else to do it for me. Giving my heart away to someone else only tells my that I don’t care about it enough to treat it nicely, but I’m just going to willy nilly let someone else take over the job. Caring about and respecting my heart means caring for it myself, loving it myself, and making sure that it gets the fulfillment it needs. That’s how I get a full/whole heart.


These words are true. They will always be true and they are never untrue. God has a plan for who He wants in your life, in my life, the people that He wants around to shape who you become. His reasons might not always be apparent at first, but He is making room for someone better to come along. You won’t know who it is until they get there, but if you trust His timing and His planning you will be just fine.

That’s why I no longer believe in the one that got away. God wants to make room in my life for the person that He has picked out for me, and that person isn’t one of the boys who have walked out before. That person is someone new, someone whose story I don’t know yet, who can add to the remaining chapters of mine and make them worthwhile. God is telling me that I need to be patient, and that He’s working it out for me. It’s not always going to happen right when I want it to happen, because, as Lauren Graham says, “then it wouldn’t be called life, it would be called vending machine.”

“But life doesn_t often spell things out for you or give you what you want exactly when you want it, otherwise it wouldn_t be called life, it would be called vending machine.” -L

God’s got it all under control. If someone walks out, let them go. You have much greater things waiting for you on the other side, and you have more room in your heart for them now.

Stay fearless, friends (3)

Affirmations, Faith, General, Life Talk, Real Talk

You’re Right Where You’re Meant to Be

My most recent therapy session was the first one in a while where I felt that I had only positive things to say and it was going really well. I was in a good place, and feeling pretty solid about where I’m at in life; I was at one of those ups in depression where you feel really awesome about the world and where your life is, and all parts of my life were falling into place. Finally, the subject of my love life came up, since there’s a new guy in the picture and I wanted to get her opinion of him before I stressed too much about whether he was going to be worth my time or not (by the way, he is).

Anyway, I was sitting and talking to her about how I was finally casting off the social media goggles that I am always wearing, the ones where I look at the people that I graduated from high school or college with who are in different, seemingly more advanced, places in their lives and think that I’m somehow behind because I’m not engaged yet or in a long term relationship or running a company at almost 24 years old. I was talking about all the people in my life who constantly remind me that I’m “only 23 years old,” and shouldn’t be in such a rush, and that I was finally coming to terms with that and accepting it as a truth in my life. And that’s when she said something that I’d heard before, but at this time in my life really struck me: “You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.”

Those words have stuck with me this time, all the way to today when I am (finally) writing this post. They are so simple, yet so powerful, and cannot be any more true than they are right now. Here are some of my reasons that it’s true:

  1. I’m working only one job and finding my niche in the industry
  2. I’ve been writing more and developing my craft, while also looking to build a portfolio and look for freelancing positions
  3. Despite my young age, I have been able to hold down a job for almost 2 years, the first years out of college
  4. At just 23 years old, I am (almost, with a couple married roommates) living out on my own
  5. God has my plan in place, and He’s constantly sending me signs that I am on the path that He wants me to be on in this life

Despite all the feelings that I don’t belong, that I don’t know what I’m doing in this world, because of my age, my degree, and sometimes I even feel like my depression throws up walls that I can’t climb, I am exactly where I’m meant to be. The only timeline that I need to be following is my own, the only standards I need to live up to are the ones that I set for myself and the only expectations that I need to satisfy are mine, designed by me alone. No one else can dictate what I should live up to, and no one else should. The only person who can make my life rules is me, and I am in charge of how I feel. If I don’t like it, I can change it.

Every person, place and thing that I have encountered on this journey has led me to this moment, to typing these words, to my finger hitting each key as I sit in front of my MacBook Pro on a Monday night. I am exactly where I am meant to be, writing these words for you all to read. The people that I have come across that have hurt me, broken me, pushed me down, those are the people that I have the most to thank. They are the ones that showed me where I was going wasn’t where I was meant to be, and sent me off in another direction. God puts those reminders in your life and in your heart, as His way of talking to you and telling you that He has a plan for you that’s bigger than what you’re going through, and right where you are, is where He wants you to be.

Remember this: If it feels right in your heart, it’s what you’re meant to be doing. If it makes you feel strong and powerful, right and belonging, then you’re right where you’re supposed to be. If you can wake up in the morning and breathe deeply because you are ready for the day ahead, then you’re doing okay in the world. Society might have set some timelines for how people are supposed to act and when things are supposed to be done, but it really doesn’t matter. Your heart is the timeline, your soul is the clock and your path is your path. The people who are there along the way are all meant to be there, for some reason or another, and the challenges that you face will make you a stronger person. Every time you veer off the path you think you’re heading down, you’ll stumble into a place where you’re truly meant to be, and before you panic, take some time to enjoy the ride.


The only person who can decide your life and your timeline is you. Even if you feel like you’re moving slower or faster than other people in your life, if it feels right and comfortable for you, then it’s exactly right, no matter what society says. To paraphrase William Ernest Henley “[you are] the master of [your] fate, [you are] the captain of [your] soul.” It’s all right for you, and it’s all right in the grand scheme of things.

Daily mantra: I’m exactly where I’m meant to be.

Stay fearless, friends (3)

Blog Talk, General, Life Talk

The Liebster Award!



The beautiful @moodsreflective and Michele from Mindful Wellness tagged me in this blogging tradition, The Liebster Award. So, I’m answering both their questions and will follow the rest of the rules of the Liebster Award!


This tag is meant to help bring more awareness to your blog, as well as be able to help others grow in the process by passing it along to other bloggers that you nominate. We’re here to make connections amongst each other in the blogging community, you guys, so this is a perfect way to make those connections to get your blog goin’. So, here are the ground rules, as I’ve seen them:

  1. You recognize the person who tagged you in the first place in your Liebster Award post.
  2. You answer the questions they included in their post for you to answer (they’ll normally insert the new questions they want you to answer towards the end of their blog post. I almost got confused and thought I was supposed to answer the questions that were already answered, lol).
  3. You create 11 new questions for the people you nominated to answer.
  4. You’ll tag the bloggers you feel you’d want to see do this tag, preferably if they have around 200 followers or less (help their follower count jump the fuck uupp).

Here are the questions from the wonderful moodsreflective!

Who are you writing for: the people, or yourself?

I’m writing for me, mostly, as a way to express myself and get in the regular practice of writing more. I also wanted to join a community of people who were similar-minded and dedicated to blogging and sharing and would help me make my writing better 🙂

Where do you normally draw inspiration for your blog posts?

Things that happen in my life, things I witness, and sometimes a thought that I want to write about and want to explore further

Who are you the most inspired by right now?

All of my fellow bloggers, warr;ors and mental health warr;ors, as well as my coworkers

If blogging is mainly your side hobby, where does your true passion lie?

Being a voice for those who feel like they’re in a dark tunnel, helping people in crisis and giving a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, and a support in times of turmoil. I am a social worker by trade, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world

Do you feel that your current level of confidence is where you want/need it to be?

When I’m standing in front of a bunch of impressionable kids, I’m the most confident person ever and I love it! In real life, my confidence could use a little work

Do you feel like you have enough “me” time?

I take so much “me” time that it’s crazy. I just wish that sometimes I had some more productive “me” time and actually accomplished some goals once in a while (Exhibit A: it’s taken me 3 days to write this blog post)

Are you most comfortable in a crowd, or hiding out in your room?

My room, all the way. It has my books, my laptop and my Gilmore Girls ❤

In times when you feel overwhelmed by life, what do you do to re-center yourself?

Reading, writing, going for long drives, falling asleep at random times in a comfy bed, listening to empowering music

How do you stay motivated to keep writing blog posts if you don’t get the amount of feedback you’re aiming for?

Knowing that this blog is for me, as a way to write out my feelings, practice my skills and express myself. If I reach one person with at least one of my posts, then I’ve done my best

Does your family know that you blog? If not, why?

Right now, no. This blog is for me, and my personal thoughts and feelings. While some people would argue that putting them on the Internet isn’t really all that personal and private, it still feels like mine and my project and a great way to grow my feminism and faith without too much pressure from too many people I know all too personally

What is a lesson you wish you would have learned earlier on in life?

Your parents are there to help you, not hurt you, and they want you to succeed. There is no shame in asking them for help when you’re struggling, because they are there to help you learn how to live life and be independent

Here are Michelle’s questions:

How long have you been blogging and what inspired you to start writing?

I’ve been on and off blogging for about 4-5 years. I started in college, and was just looking for ways to express myself and my thoughts on the world around me. This is probably my 3rd or 4th attempt at a blog, and I have been so inspired this time by myself and my journey and all the other strong people in this world and the blogging community

What is your experience/journey with mental health?

I was diagnosed with depression in high school, and have been fighting it ever since. It’s been a long road of finding the self-care that works for me and the coping skills that get me down from the ledge that I’m on. See this post for the full story on my mental health journey

What are you favorite self-care tips/routines/rituals?

Painting and art have been really healing for me, as well as writing. There’s something about creating something from nothing or blank space that’s so wonderful and exciting. Reading is also a wonderful part of my self-care, being able to appreciate the work of fellow artists and writers.

What else do you enjoy, aside from blogging?

Reading, writing, journaling, watching Netflix, going for long drives with the music blaring

What is your favorite food?

Any comfort food, really 🙂 I’m a picky eater when it comes to some things, but I also know what I like and what makes me happy

Any book recommendations? Mental health related or just for fun?

I just finished This is Just My Face, Try Not to Stare by Gabourey Sidibe, and it was AMAZING! I also love reliving classic childhood books like the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder and more. If I had to write them all down, it would be a blog post in itself. Stay tuned for that post!

What are your long term goals for your blog?

Keep up with it for at least 6 months, be a part of the community and write some stuff

What’s your favorite song when you are feeling down?

Fight Song by Rachel Platten, Brave by Sara Bareilles, Fight Like a Girl by Kali Shorr, I Am Invincible by Cassadee Pope, I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor, Make My Own Sunshine by Olivia Lane, Own It by Bailey Bryan, Road Less Traveled by Alyssa Bonagura, Road Less Traveled by Lauren Alaina, Roar by Katy Perry and pretty much anything country 🙂

What keeps you positive?

I’ve made it through every bad day so far; I can make it through these. God sometimes has a plan different than my ideas and trusting Him is the fastest way that I’ll be happy

What have you found to be the most difficult about blogging so far?

Sticking to a schedule and sometimes remembering to post

How has blogging or being a part of the blogging community helped you?

I have learned more about myself, my writing style and learned how to be more open with my mental health and personal journey. I have met some wonderfully strong and inspiring bloggers, and I am so grateful to be learning from them and working with them and building a group of warr;ors that I can lean on and be a part of and it’s so empowering!


And now…. it’s my turn. Here are some awesome bloggers that I admire:

Here are my questions for you all!

  1. Is this your first blog? If not, how have your blog efforts changed over the years?
  2. How has blogging made an impact on your life?
  3. What is your favorite thing about blogging?
  4. If you could travel any place in the world, where would it be?
  5. Favorite TV show to watch on a rainy day?
  6. If you could do one year in your life over again, what would it be and why?
  7. Name your 3 favorite things about yourself
  8. If you were going to run for president, how would you convince people to vote for you?
  9. Do you have any pets?
  10. What inspires you to blog, write or post?
  11. What is one thing that you wish everyone knew about you?

Thank you to moodsreflective and Michele for tagging me in this and allowing me to take part in it! I had a lot of fun, no matter how long it took me to write it!

Stay fearless, friends (3)

Faith, Life Talk, Real Talk

I Wore My Illness: A Note on Mental Health


I was honored to participate in The Heart Project, a project intended to end the stigma surrounding mental health. I decided to wear my illness and show it to the world, because I wanted to show what I am fighting each day, and come out from behind my mask of fineness and share my struggles, being honest with all of you beautiful people out there.

Depression: I was diagnosed with depression when I was in high school. It was my senior year, and I was struggling in so many different ways. Moods were constantly changing and I was more down than up, friends were worried about me, and scheduling meetings with school counselors to try and figure out what was wrong with me. I couldn’t pull myself out of the deep hole of sadness and uncontrollable moods that were constantly swirling around me. There was nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and I could barely stay in school some days. It was hell, and I had no relief.

The diagnosis was the first hint of relief for me, the first sign that I had a light at the end of the tunnel of unknowing. The thing that I was fighting had a name, had a face, and had a community of people that fought to combat it every day. I had a support system, and a place to turn when I needed an ear, none of which would have been possible without that first trip to a therapist and a psychiatrist and trying to find a name for the beast.

Now, I have been on Lexapro for 7 years, been in therapy on and off, and am constantly working on my coping skills. By talking about my mental health, and the struggle I face every day, I am normalizing it, giving it a name and showing depression that it can’t beat me. Some days are better than others, as it is with all struggles, but I know that I can face each day confident that I am going to beat it because I have beat every day before it. The monster in the closet has a name: Depression, and I have a plan to defeat it.

Self-Harm: It was my number 1 coping skill for a long time, my way to escape from the world, and to give something physical to the pain that I felt inside. Too long I felt the pressure building up inside me, and taking a knife to my wrist was the only way that I could let it out. Hurting myself was how I expressed my pain; being mean to my body was how I felt better about the life I was living and the choices I made.

You don’t have to have a knife or a razor to self-harm. Even when I wasn’t cutting, I was calling myself stupid and worthless, wondering why I even deserved to live. Putting my body down, putting my choices down, and putting my life down every day, when I feel like I didn’t belong somewhere or my work hasn’t been up to snuff lately. Hurting myself took many shapes and forms, no matter if I had a sharp object in my hand or not.

March 13, 2015. The last day that I cut myself, put a knife to my wrist and opened it up. Not the last day I told myself something hateful (that was more like the night before last), but the healing journey is not a straight one. It has lumps and bumps like any other road. Every day I don’t cut myself is a victory for me.

PTSD: Was the diagnosis I got after leaving an abusive relationship. I was constantly having flashbacks of the torment I experienced, and once even thought I saw his car on the road, even though I now live 2 states away from him. He still haunts my nightmares occasionally, usually kidnapping me or looking for me no matter where I am. But I have moved on from him and his insanity, his putdowns and his insecurities. Sure, I am not perfect, but the flashbacks and nightmares have calmed down now, and I have learned new ways to combat them when they do arise. Of all the demons I’m fighting, his is the one I am best able to keep at bay.

Support: Here’s to all the people that are out there, struggling just like me. The people who feel they have no one else to turn to, who feel encased by the darkness, desperately looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. Here’s to the people who have monsters in the closet and inside of them, and who are seeking a way to fight them. Here’s to the people who get through just one more day, take life one day at a time, who hold the blade to their wrist and wish that they had the courage to open it up and let the blood flow freely, but make the decision to try to make it through just one more hour. Here’s to the people who hit a bump on the healing journey, who got off at a detour, or are just taking a pause while they recollect and try to see what happens next.

The semicolon that I have tattooed on my wrist demonstrates a reminder that a pause is not the end, only an invitation to keep going in a new direction. Just because there is a bump in the road, doesn’t mean the journey is over. There is no shame in taking a breather when you need to figure out what step to take next. The road is rocky, the journey is long, but it’s flanked with love and support along the way.

I’m here for you… You are not alone… I love you… You are strong… You are a warr;or, darling. Things will get better, just take it one day at a time. ♥

Stay fearless, friends (3)


P.S. I have joined a group of bloggers looking to put together a mental health awareness collaborative project. Have something you want to see? Have ideas? Fill out this survey and tell us!