For as long as I can remember, I've struggled with depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and PTSD. Trauma, circumstance, genetics, and neurological chemistry have never seemed to be on my side. For the first 21 years of my life, I thought those diagnoses and life experiences meant I could never be happy or experience life to the fullest. I thought I would always be miserable. But over the past few years I've learned to love myself, find joy, and how to cope when the roller coaster of life has me down.
There's no one things I can point to that caused that shift. It was, and still is, an ongoing process. I'm constantly learning and growing, and mental illness will always be part of my life, if for no other reason than how it has shaped my worldview. But that doesn't have to hold me back. Certainly there will be days or weeks (or even months) when it does get the best of me, but knowing that those feelings are not the end all help me hold on and get back up when I'm ready.
Moving across the Atlantic for graduate school gave me the confidence to embrace that knowledge and live life to the fullest - no matter what that may mean on any given day. I realised how much there is to see and do in the world, and how much I want to do with my life. It was the first time in my life when I was scared of dying instead of being alive.
That's when I decided to take a year just for myself. I have my entire life to work, help others, worry about money, and attempt to destroy the white supremacist, capitalistic, cisheteropatriarchy. While I can spend time focusing on myself to engage in self-love and healing at any point, will I ever have another opportunity to take a full year to disengage from commitments and stress to just enjoy life and myself? Maybe, but I can't guarantee it. So I decided to take the plunge and jump on the opportunity.
What started as an ambitious goal of travelling to 100 countries in one year, shifted six months in to focus on my transition. But the purpose of this year remained the same: to engage in radical healing and radical self-love.
Bucknell University, B.A.
Women's and Gender Studies
Class of 2016
University of Sussex, M.A.
Gender, Violence and Conflict
Class of 2017
- Distance runner - because running 10+ miles is fun
- Proud lefty (who wants to join me in destroying the system of oppression against lefties?)
- Tattoo obsessed but too broke (from travelling) to have more than my current 3
- Iced coffee is life
- After being vegetarian for 8 years, I started eating meat when I moved to Brighton, the "vegetarian food hub" of the UK
- Horse lover, ex-equestrian, wanna be horse whisper