i am overjoyed to be walking as a role model for Wear Your Label at their NYCFW debut tomorrow! beyond overjoyed, i am humbled. i am thrilled not only because the experience is incredible, exciting + once in a lifetime (for non-model folk like myself)- but because i believe so deeply in what they are accomplishing as a brand.
through this blog i too wanted to contribute to the discussion regarding mental health + in my own small way encourage positive habits. i planned to share my story, be myself + hopefully help others along the way.
i don’t think i’ve ever fully shared my story here, but rather provided a brief sense in my about me page. perhaps because i feel that readers just want to see the colorful vegan food i make. whatever the reason, this event in NYC tomorrow is most definitely the encouragement to get more personal behind who “she-be” is + the struggle it took to be kale-in it.
my personal connection with mental health/illness began early. as a young trauma survivor I felt a shift in my levels of anxiety + depression early. i was silently suffering from PTSD unknowingly as an adolescent.
this inner turmoil was hard to verbalize, therefore it manifested itself in poor self-esteem, bouts of depression, panic attacks + a general unsettled feeling. a scary place.
to deal with my anxiety, i searched for a way to control. my disordered eating began early in high school + before moving away to college had become a true eating disorder.
i struggled in silence first, then received treatment, however the journey was long.
recovering from an eating disorder, like anything worth doing, was a terrifyingly difficult experience. it was also the most freeing. i feel grateful everyday for the gifts my recovery has provided me. the courage to even share this on the privacy-free internet, being one of the gifts i have gained.
however, without an eating disorder as a crutch, the anxiety + depression returned. it was time to face the past and let go. i extensively worked on my self-compassion, self-love, self-worth, + reflected on how i was treating others who cared about me. this process made me feel myself finally. it led me to feeling whole + in many ways, to feeling alive.
i had been interested in a vegan lifestyle for quite some time. i felt this strong urge that the suffering of other beings + the fear they experience at the hands of human consumption must have something to do with our well-being as it makes up a great deal of our diet. when i was ready, i began caring less about the numbers behind the food, but rather the nutrients it provided me to thrive, the balance it created in my mind + the compassion it showed for other beings.
through meditation, mindfulness practice, yoga + healthy plant-based eating, i feel the best i ever have. i want others to find what makes them feel this whole. it doesn’t have to be vegan (although i promise it feels fabulous), but whatever creates the feeling of “kale-in it” in their lives.
i noticed that when i discussed my experiences with others, a bit of weight lifted each time. an inner peace settled within me.
the stigma around mental health infuriates me. i do what i can to help. i contribute to the eating disorder community by mentoring other women newly in recovery as they are trying to navigate a new life. i’m there so they no longer feel alone. i support companies such as Wear Your Label as they are geniuses in creating products that spark much needed discussion. the sales of their clothing help their partners in their initiatives to help end the stigma around mental illness.
i am a 23-year-old women who has accomplished a great deal in a short time despite mental illness. i’m not crazy, weird, or any other negative adjective. i am empowered, worthy, loved + insanely grateful.
never did i believe that less than one year after my lowest of lows, i would be on this roller coaster of positive adventure. i took a leap starting this blog, have been meeting new like-minded people, pushing free of my comfort zone + now even walking in a runway show at Fashion Week. it’s truly surreal. it happened through hard work and not self-pity. it happened because my mental illness doesn’t define me. the best part is, i plan to keep going. now that i have worked on myself + feel strong, i have an insatiable desire to help others who feel the isolation, fear, or uncertainty that i have experienced in the past.
thank you Wear Your Label for this incredible opportunity to contribute positively + proudly show that only i define me.