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I’ve always done my best to shimmer, to softly impart my sparkle onto the lives of those around me.
Ultimately that’s what we all want to do, right? Live our best lives, connect with those around us, and leave our mark on the world.
A year ago, I discovered the secret to offering my full shine: I began to love myself first before pouring my pieces into those around me, and I felt, for the first time, like I was whole.
I’d already been an advocate around mental illness and trauma stigmatization, but with this new discovery, my message changed: Rather than coming from a space of depression, I came from a space of self-love. I yearned for the people around me to embrace their own self-love journey, so I shared mine, and began to follow my dreams and aspirations in new, uninhibited ways.
Six months ago, I hit a snag.
I combined intensive trauma therapy with a series of medication changes that left me in the hardest, most painful bipolar episode I’ve experienced in my lifetime. At first, I didn’t let the episode deter me. I was building a business and beginning to get my message out there, and I wasn’t about to stop because of a shift in brain chemistry.
But as my mind began to dip into depression, I felt myself slide away from my self-love journey. The effort to convey self-love in my social media posts, blogs, and music became burdensome as self-deprecating thoughts began to seep into my mind - but I told myself I had to continue. If I went back on my message, why would anyone believe what I had to say, believe my story? If I couldn’t hold to self-love, how could I inspire those around me to love themselves?
So I pushed, and pushed, and pushed. The peak of my depression hit in the middle of a campaign surrounding my summer single, Let’s Start Living. My mind sourly and scathingly pointed out the irony of releasing a song to celebrate life as I felt myself barely able to keep a grasp on my own.
I felt sick. I felt like an imposter. After the release of the tune, I stepped away - from my dreams, from my music, from my message, from my brand. I became consumed in my depression and shame, and isolated myself from the community I’d created. It was one thing to share my previous struggles and experiences; it was a whole other ball game to throw my current struggles into the loop.
The four months since that release have been the most transformative of my life yet. Not only did I experience external shifts in my career, job, relationship, and living situations, but I’ve delved into internal shifts that are changing my world. I’ve begun to understand what self-love really means: It’s about more than loving ourselves when our glitter sparkles brightest - it’s about loving ourselves in our darkest corners. It wasn’t the struggles themselves that caused me to stray from my message; it was choosing shame over love when it came to sharing my depression and PTSD.
Showing myself love even in my darkest moments has given me new access to self-awareness and connection. It has allowed me to hold and embrace my body in new ways, to explore my sexuality, and open myself to new opportunities I would have previously passed by out of fear. And most importantly, it’s allowing me to reintegrate into the amazing self-love community created by me and by YOU, beautiful reader! I’ll be sharing more pieces of my recent journeys as the months go on, and for now, I’m ready to share my full shine again, whatever that means and whatever that looks like. Are you ready to shine with me?