The first time I used food to cope, I was eight years old.
We were allowed one piece of candy per night from our Halloween stash, and on this night, I became a rebel. I snuck into our snacks closet on the edge of our kitchen. The adrenaline at the possibility of getting caught was a rush, and soon after, I developed a craving for it.
The moment that mini Reese's touched my lips, I felt my body release into relief and comfort. I began to yearn for that relief constantly.
I’m working through that yearning to this day.
I was eighteen. I had dropped out of high school. I wasn’t going to college. I was fresh off two sexual assaults and had retaliated with promiscuity, hoping that would claim my power back. My bipolar and PTSD diagnoses left with the label "mental illness" and felt like they were consuming my life.
I wasn’t doing well.
So, I decided to journal. In an 8x11 pink hardcover that read “LOVE,” I sat down everyday to write five positive things about the day. I wouldn't call this a gratitude journal; I was not ready to say thank you for the life I’d been living. Just a list of five positive things.
Some days, this could look like, “I got out of bed this morning,” or, “I brushed my teeth,” or, “I ate one packet of peanut butter cups instead of the party-size bag.” Some days, it was a big struggle to come up with anything at all.
Still, I committed to showing up, and every few months, I would add something new to the practice. "Okay," I said. "Now I’ll add a thank you." "Okay," I added. "Now I'll add 'You Are Enough' to end of each entry.
Fast forward: It's 2020, I'm 27 years old, I’m accomplishing my goals, I'm thriving, I'm living my dreams, and I love myself SO FUCKING MUCH!
Literally, guys, I struggled with mental health, trauma recovery, suicidal ideation, chronic pain, for over a decade. You can build a life of self-love and thriving, too. I know you love yourself so deeply - because that’s why you’re here.
Shall we dive in?
We have been ignorant AF when it’s come to racism in our culture. We’ve been privileged, we’ve been tactless, and for many of us, we did the best we knew how to do.
I’ve been reflecting on my upbringing, upon why I didn’t know I needed to do better until now. Before the recent rise of the Black Lives Matter movement (which has, by the way, existed a lot longer than this, and I did not get involved enough, at all), I would never have thought of myself as racist. I was taught to love everyone. I was taught racism is hate.
Here’s where the problem is: I was also taught not to acknowledge the differences of other colors and cultures. I was taught to act like everyone is the same, that that’s what equality means.
30 states, 11,180 miles and 65 days later, I find myself sitting at the table in my living room, a lit candle on the corner and a mug of tea right next to me, reminding me, “You Are Enough.” As light pours in through my east-facing windows (#manifested), I feel a sense of ease around the beautiful familiarity of home, and I begin to process and reflect on my takeaways from my first ever original music tour. Ready to dive in?
I walked up to the door to find the manager opening it for me, smiling and saying, “Happy birthday!”
“Oh, thank you!” I replied, surprised. She must have seen on Facebook, I thought. But then,
“There’s something waiting for you.”
My heart began pounding with nerves and excitement. I dropped my gear on the stage and looked around, searching for the source of the ‘something’ she mentioned. It took less than a second to find it: A bouquet of sunflowers, with a card that read, “You did it.”