HOW DID YOU KNOW THIS WAS THE RIGHT PATH FOR YOU?
I knew this was the right path for me once I realized I was moving towards a goal that I was passionate about. A goal that not only benefitted me on a personal level, but also got me thinking about the world around me and how to improve it. In fashion and blogging I strive to put an emphasis on body positivity, disability and accessibility. I’m currently getting a masters in International Studies with a goal of working to improve the lives of disabled people in International Development.
DO YOU BELIEVE WE’RE EVER REALLY ‘READY’ TO DO SOMETHING? HOW DO WE START WHEN WE’RE STUCK?
I think we are ready for something if we really want it, whether that’s exploring the world, having a child, etc. If whatever I need to achieve solely depends on my will, then yes, I am ready. But as a body positive advocate I often talk about taking steps to accept ones body, and for that I don’t think anyone is ever truly ready. When you have so many outside forces like the media, controlling and enforcing beauty standards—it takes a support system as well as a strong will to be ready to make that change.
DOING COURAGEOUS THINGS REQUIRES LOSING OUR EXCUSES. WHAT EXCUSES DID YOU HAVE TO GET RID OF TO GET TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW?
I had to get rid of being afraid of rejection. I don’t take rejection well. It makes it hard to move on and keeps me stuck in the past by constantly revisiting what I could have done better. Now, I allow myself to have several options as a safety net if my first plan doesn’t workout. I’ve also become better at accepting myself, being confident in my work and learning that rejection is part of life—and if you do your best other opportunities will come.
WHAT HAVE BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGES SO FAR, AND HOW HAVE YOU OVERCOME THEM?
My two biggest challenges have been managing my anxiety and trying to find spaces where I fit in. I have random outbursts of anxiety attacks. I usually don’t know what triggers them, but they’ve gotten better through breathing exercises. Being at the intersection of so many identities can be magical, but it can also mean that you don’t really fit in any of your circles. POC tend to ignore disability issues, feminists & disability groups tend to ignore POC issues and the list goes on. In my personal life, my role is to make each group aware of ‘the other.’
FROM THE OUTSIDE IT LOOKS LIKE YOU’VE MADE IT—BUT WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS THAT YOU STILL FEEL INSECURE ABOUT? THAT YOU HAVEN’T QUITE NAILED YET?
I think I’m in a happy place where where I’m crossing things off my list, but I wouldn’t say I’ve ‘made it.’ I feel insecure about the ability to take on more responsibilities as I get older, and the pressure to figure out what I want to do in life. Our experiences aren’t linear, we make mistakes and learn from them. I have a long list of things that I haven’t quite nailed yet, but being confident that I’ll eventually figure things out is important. One thing I still struggle with is body insecurities. They emerge quite often, but I’ve been able to convince myself that having insecurities is perfectly OK, and that using them as motivation is key. I use my insecurities to challenge myself daily.
WHAT ARE THE THINGS YOU’RE SUPER PROUD OF?
Taking the steps to move abroad for my masters and being able to make traveling my priority. I’m what I call a lazy blogger, so I’m also proud that I’ve been able to keep up with blogging. Finally, I will always be proud of being a cancer survivor. I was in my late teens when I was diagnosed and as someone who does not adhere to any religion or faith, I think it took a lot of internal power to push myself to keep fighting.
HOW DO YOU MOTIVATE YOURSELF ON THE TOUGH DAYS? WHAT KEEPS YOU MOVING FORWARD?
The future keeps me motivated. In my early 20s I battled suicidal thoughts and depression. I never sought professional help but kept thinking maybe tomorrow will get better. Tomorrow did get better, and although I’ve had rough patches here and there, it is still getting better. When I’m down I remind myself that this is just one moment/obstacle that I need to get through to get to a happier place.
REGARDLESS OF HOW BUSY YOU GET, WHAT ARE YOUR NON-NEGOTIABLES?
Breathing and shopping therapy. When things get stressful and hectic, I’m the kind of person to stop everything I’m doing to go on a 30 min walk or go do some shopping. Life to too short to be anything but happy.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE GIVEN YOURSELF AT THE BEGINNING OF YOUR JOURNEY?
I would have told myself to make more lists. I find that writing down my dreams transform them into goals, that I can later make concrete plans to accomplish. I used to think that some dreams were too big for little old me. I’m now at a point in my life where I know if I want something, I can make it happen. I would have told myself that good things take time, be patient and don’t sweat the small stuff.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER WOMEN WHO ARE SHOOTING FOR THE MOON?
Do it! Shoot for the moon. You don’t have to step on other women to get to where you want to be. There’s the illusion that only a few of us can make it but uplifting each other is how we get there. Know your privileges and use them for good. Don’t be afraid to say ‘no.’