Today is my 27th birthday and I must say I did not expect to make it this long. Not to be morbid but depression is a mothafucka’ and that mothafucka’ has tried to take me out a couple of times. However, I am also a short, sometimes stubborn Haitian woman. You have gotta’ really push me to my limit before the thought of actually giving up even actualizes in my brain. Granted I have given up on quite a few jobs in my 20s but they were no longer worth my time and time is something we can never get back. So in this piece I want to give you 7 reasons why I never fully gave up on life and why you shouldn’t either. Ready? You sure? Keep up cause I won’t be repeating myself.
1. The Beauty of Breath
There is something so peaceful and fulfilling when you truly take a step back to focus on your breath. Consider all of the functions within your body that ultimately work together to keep you together. Each inhale matched with its subsequent exhale powered by the inner workings of your lungs going in and out bringing oxygen to your brain. Next time you are stressed out, remember this and take a moment to simply breathe for at least 10 seconds.
2. The Beauty of Beat
Now this can apply to your heartbeat and the beat of music. I am a huge music lover so this is something I can talk about for days. The way a beat can be felt physically but also heard is something I will always appreciate and especially for those who may not be able to hear but they can feel. A beat can be felt by those who cannot hear, it can create stories in the ears of those who cannot see. Its sound-waves paints a picture that vibrates within the souls of us all. There is a certain energy associated with feeling the beat that makes you feel wired, energetic and alive. So next time you are feeling down, take a moment to play a song with an amazing beat or melody and just dance.
3. The Beauty of Being
As someone who has dealt with depression since my childhood, I know what it feels like to struggle with merely existing. I understand the pain associated with that thought and how it can tear you up from the inside out. I also understand that even in the pain, there is beauty on the other side of it. When you have struggled for so long but you continue to hold onto the faith that one-day things will improve, you are exercising a muscle that takes a lot of strength. You are so much stronger than you may even imagine but trust me you are. Please, keep going.
4. For the Love of Creating
Last year I started my first official business, JUSO Media Merch and the first product was a t-shirt line that read, “I Create to Live.” I’ve discussed in length what that phrase means but I’ll explain it for those who don’t understand. I have always seen my creative nature as a gift from God to keep my grounded and my soul fulfilled while here on earth. At the tender age of 8 is when I became a writer but I didn’t fully realize that was my true calling until a bit later in life. Either way I am happy to have arrived at that truth. The way that words pour out of me like a healing balm for those who need a word or two of comfort. While my creativity exists outside of writing as well, all of it comes together to bring me peace when I need it most. Creating helps to relax my mind, it puts me in the zone of building something out of nothing and it helps to ground me. Word to Ari Lennox, “You grow when you are grounded.” The last few years I have certainly been growing, healing and learning to genuinely enjoy living. That is what finding your true passion can do for you. So whatever you are passionate, please take heed and try your best to work in that passion daily if possible. Even just a little bit helps.
5. For the Love of Connection
In just a few short weeks I will be moving back in with family. I moved back to my home sate, New Jersey back in 2017. My goal was to practice on my craft, be closer to New York city for access and resources. Although I often feel behind in life when compared to my peers –which I shouldn’t be doing but I am working on it– I can truly say I have accomplished more than I give myself credit for. I started acting classes, applied for graduate school, got in but didn’t go. (Short but long story). I started therapy again and have seen my mental health improve tremendously in the last year and 4 months. I started an inspirational apparel company, started working on my first book, became more active on YouTube and started my own podcast. All in all, I did what needed to be done and I understood the assignment. However, one thing the pandemic has taught me is that I thrive off of connection. While I am naturally an introvert, I still enjoy the connection I have with close friends, family and even colleagues.
Connection is what keeps us in alignment with God’s promises for us. We weren’t created to simply be left alone forever but rather to fellowship with one another while on earth. Create memories, love one another and keep each other up when we cannot do it on our own. Connection is key. Even if you have to create your own family with friends or people online who share similar interests, find yourself a community that you can connect with. But always remember that your connection with self should be the strongest out of all. When you tap into your needs, wants and desires, only then can you provide others with what they may need or want as well. Always keep in mind we cannot fuel anyone else’s tank if ours is left on empty. Fill yourself first.
6. Healing Through Music
I have often attributed my emotional healing to my love for music. It brings me healing in moments when I may not be able to express how I am feeling in that moment. This can apply to other forms of art including dance, paintings, books, and even through photography. Being able to capture a moment, a feeling or a thought that can now remain in museum life for centuries to come is truly something special. That is why art and more specifically music is so essential to my life as a writer and someone who has battled depression. So to you I say, if you are battling depression or harmful thoughts, try to create a personal playlist of good music that brings you hope when you need it most. Here is the one I created that many of my friends enjoy listening to. Check it out.
7. Healing to Breathe
So we have reached our final thought. After being in therapy for a year now, I have realized that I lived most of my life barely breathing. Most of my true self has been submerged into this water like form of what I think everyone expects me to be. Therefore causing me to suppress my own feelings, thoughts and views just so that I am accepted. by those who love me and society. But how does that benefit me? How does benefit any of us to suppress ourselves so that others can be more comfortable around us. If someone can’t be comfortable around you because you are even slightly different then they don’t deserve your presence. Regardless, I am thankfully healing now so I am slowly but surely coming out of my people pleasing phase. Healing to breathe easier is one of my greatest accomplishments in life thus far. I pray that whoever you are and wherever you are reading this, that you too can begin healing to breathe. You deserve to breathe easy.
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Photographer: Melissa J.C./@guyatiannarrative (Instagram)
Makeup: Sarah O./@glam_byher (Instagram)
Model: Sophonie M./@justsophonie (Instagram/YouTube)