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Life takes us through all different types of stages as we grow. Different stages mean different seasons. With that, comes certain morals, values, or truths that we govern our lives by.

When we’re little we don’t necessarily need any of these things because typically, we are looked after and cared for by our parents. So, we innately take on what they think is best for us and our lives mimic their standards. Then, we get older. At some point, it becomes clear to our spirit that what we want or believe is crucial to who we are. We become aware that we are individuals and as such, we stand for certain things and not others. As we grow and move into different areas of our lives, some of these things we hold dear, and our truths alter or change. Things that we once cared about or deemed important suddenly aren’t anymore, and we move on to re-evaluate what our new standard of beliefs will be.

I learned a long time ago that your integrity and ethics are everything. They tell people who you are and that your word equals your worth. Sadly, I don’t think people really care about that a whole lot these days. There is no real emphasis on a person’s character anymore. As a society, we care more about getting our ego’s needs met than taking time out to shape ourselves as a whole person. We are missing out on the bigger picture. We sell ourselves to any bidder, by framing our lives around what is trending, rather than what is real. We start things like brands, businesses, and social media pages without any real thought to what is important to us and what we stand for. Instead, we base it on an ideal formed by society but forget altogether that what you should be building, what you should be allowing others to see, is our worth. What are you worth?

My life is governed by 4 important things:

Never sacrifice your integrity, your word, or your beliefs for anything or anyone – ever!

Sadly, this was not always the case. I freely admit that I sold myself to whatever devil was showing themselves to me – body mind and spirit. Partly because I was young and foolish, and partly because I lacked self-worth. At a very young age, I understood that it was better to be liked than to stand out. Standing up (or out) meant trouble, leaving you open to pain, ridicule, and unpopularity. Society taught me that. To always follow and stay in line. This would mean an easy life, free from obstacles.

So, I made a lot of mistakes and bad choices. I thought that it was much more important to show the world what they wanted to see, be who they wanted me to be, and act as they thought I should - rather than letting the real me shine through. But, there comes a time in everyone’s life when you’re authentic self cries out and rejects the lie. For myself, it meant never settling for anything that didn’t resonate with who I was as an individual. As human beings I think we all experience this very thing. If you dwell on something too long, if you have a bad feeling in your gut or if your heart is just not in it – that is your body, mind, and spirit rejecting it because it’s not for you.

Be a trend-setter, not a trend-follower.

The mistake I always made throughout my life was following instead of leading. I was never confident enough in my own right. I allowed the noise of others to come in and cloud my thoughts, which made me believe that my worth was attached to their judgment of me. Their stupidity became my stupidity. It has taken some time to realize that the reason I never “fit the mold” was that there wasn’t a mold made of me. I wasn’t a replica of someone else – I was authentically made. I am me and my thoughts, integrity, and worth can never be duplicated. Today, I will not follow because I know I am a leader. I am humbled by the trends that I have started and proudly see them through. I am the boss of my world and know that it is far more important to leave behind a legacy, than fame. My road to riches will not be paved by money, but by serving others – leaving this planet a better, kinder, happier place, because I had the strength and courage to stand for something. So don’t ever be concerned about fitting in. No one ever made history by being just like everybody else!

Speak your truth.

The one thing I have always gotten into trouble for is speaking my mind. I was always a very rambunctious and expressive kid. But, there came a season where I was silenced by many traumatic events in my life. Periods where I lost my voice and identity, for years. Today, I speak my truth loud and proud, at every turn. Expression has always been at the very core of who I am, so it’s no real wonder that communication became my brand in life. I value the sharing of stories with others because it keeps us humble and human. I know it’s not conventional to share personal/private things with the world. I know it’s not fashionable to voice your fears and struggles. I know it makes people very uncomfortable to talk about the trials of mental illness. I realize that some of you aren’t ready to hear a lot of what I have to say, but they are my stories, my truths, so I tell them. Yes, they leave me vulnerable and open to judgment, ridicule, and stigmas from others. It’s something I have faced for a long time. But, I have broad shoulders and I can handle the blows because I know that the meaning behind them will reach somebody who needs to hear them and make all the difference in their world. That’s what life is all about after all. It’s the reason we go through all we do. All of our trials and tribulations, our triumphs and joys, they all happen to us in different ways, as lessons that we can teach and tell to others. So, never let anyone stifle your voice. Speak your truth. People may not always like what you have to say but, as long as you say it with kindness and integrity – they will always respect it!

Authenticity always over Imitation.

Imitation was my truth for a long time. I always struggled with authenticity because I knew people would much rather have a show dog, than realism. This has been especially true in ALL of my romantic relationships. Men say they want to see, hear and know “the real you” but do they? Do they really? The answer is no. They think they want it but when it’s shown to them, they judge and call you on it. I always made sure that I was all “lady-like” and just enough “tom-boy” with all the guys I dated. Painted my nails and toes just right, wore all the sexy clothing, and paraded myself around on heels. But I learned all about sports, loved cars, and got comfortable with the outdoors because as my brother used to teach me: “Boys love a girl who can keep up with them in their element” I giggled and smiled perfectly, was gifted with an exceptional purring kind of voice that even when delivering something bitchy, sounded too cute and sexy to be mad at for any period of time.

What I didn’t openly share were my thoughts and opinions on diversity and mental health – or the fact that I suffered from body dysmorphia (at the time), anxiety or depression. Those were a “no-no”. Not exactly sexy topics at any given moment. Let me tell you, folks, the stigmas surrounding these things are just as alive now (if not more) than they were in the past. So, it was always introduced slowly, when I was comfortable. Which left me open to enduring all the dumb shit they would say on the subject, until I just couldn’t take it anymore.

Some men generally think women are too clingy, too needy, too crazy – why give them more ammunition to think so! At least, that was always how I was made to feel. No matter what, if you’re open about who you are, you will always be exposed to another’s judgment. Those are just facts. But, never let it hold you back from being you. I’m slowly getting more comfortable with this truth myself.

I vividly remember being part of a conversation with a loved one, when they explained that my openness of who I was made them uncomfortable letting me into their world – for fear of burdening me with their truths. That because of the things that I struggle with possibly made me less capable to deal with things. That my over-analytical, zero to 100 way of thinking made them too afraid to open up to me. I sat there, jaw-dropped, in pure sadness, hearing it all. It’s funny because even today as I write this, I still have no correct words to express just how much this hurt me. I left that conversation thinking, I am never going to be myself ever again. I’m going to just keep things bottled up and dial it back, because if someone I am so close to feels this way, imagine what I must be doing to everyone else in my life – just by being myself.

Because of my truth, it meant I was unworthy. That I didn’t possess the capability of enduring trials and had no real strength to offer another. Now obviously, there was no ill will meant or hurt intended by them expressing this to me – I know this. But, the words were still spoken into the universe and I heard them. And as much as I know that they were thinking of me with the best of intentions to save me from the burdens of other things unnecessarily, it still destroyed my heart in the same beat.

It took a day to realize that their thoughts, although genuine (and meant with love? ) had nothing to do with me. If this is their perception of the situation, then so be it, because it is just that – their perception. Perceptions are not truths, they are assumptions. Just like the omission of truths are still lies. By assuming something about me, solely on the basis that I chose to handle another situation a particular way does not declare weakness in all situations. Everything is circumstantial. I realized then that reverting back into my shell of imitation would be a great disservice to myself and them too. The easy thing is to conform, but the road that builds resilience is always the harder one - always remember that!

Your simple truths should define who you are, not make you feel ashamed of who you are. And if anyone ever makes you feel different, then they themselves need to do some reflection into their own lives. Challenging others on their truth is always much easier than looking in the mirror. So keep your head up and always do you. In the end, it's truly all that matters.

May you all find your truth and walk a righteous path.

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