1. PEOPLE WHO HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER ARE GREAT. BUT YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE ONE OF THEM. ‘If I could just [blank], then I could finally get my shit together.’ I’ve always let my success/happiness/sanity [insert your own seemingly unattainable goal here] be on the other side of something. A bank account balance, goal weight, change of scenery. A prime time booking, a man (okay, manchild), an antidepressant. I’ve always had the idea that when these things all come together I’ll be a normal, functional adult. And I’m dead wrong. Because adulthood (term used loosely) comes no matter what we do. And ‘normal’ and ‘functional’ are complete bullshit. So if you, too, are waiting to have it all together …stop it.

2. YOU’RE NOT BEAUTIFUL BECA– USE BRUNO MARS SAYS YOU ARE. Any more than you’re a doctor because you watch Grey’s Anatomy. They may release endorphins and make you feel good, but the reality is that no amount of pop songs are going to actually change how you view yourself, just like no amount of McDreamy reruns are going to land a scalpel in your hand and a medical degree on your wall. You have to do the work. And that means digging deep to find out what does make you beautiful, in your eyes – not Bruno’s. Not Hollywood’s. Not society’s. Not your mom’s. Yours. And that can be so unbelievably, excruciatingly hard. I know. But there’s these teeny, tiny, specific things that make you beautiful that have nothing to do with anyone else or what they see, say, think, feel do. They’re yours and yours alone. Right now they may be smothered under a mountain of crap from the media, celebrities, toxic people in your life, and every story you’ve ever told yourself of why you’re not beautiful. Good thing mountains of crap can be dealt with. Grab a shovel.

3. IT’S OKAY TO FEEL LIKE GIVING UP. On life. On love. On faith. On yourself. No one tells you that but it’s something you need to know.Every single time I’ve wanted to give up I’ve made things infinitely harder by convincing myself there was something wrong with me because I wanted to give up in the first place. On life. On love. On faith. On myself. There is nothing wrong with me and there is nothing wrong with you if and when you feel like giving up, in the past, now, or in the future. Those feelings need to be dealt with, yes. And you may need help in doing so. But are they abnormal in any way? Nope. Anyone who tells you they’ve never wanted to give up on life is either 9 years old or full of shit.

4. MEDS ARE NOT MIRACLE WORKERS. They are chemical. And they can absolutely be necessary. But do not let anyone ever tell you they will change, fix, handle, or magically turn around what you’re feeling. That person is lying to you. The way to have an effect that dramatic with any type of antidepressant/SSRI, mood stabilizer, anti-anxiety, etc., is to medicate to the point of anesthetization. And that is not handling the underlying struggles that need to be addressed. It’s also not a way to live, nor should it be an acceptable end game for taking prescription meds. A myriad of vital and holistically-approached options are widely available – including AAT (Amino Acid Therapy), NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), meditation, proper nutrition, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), movement – to fill up your arsenal with tools that can ease your transition either away from completely or to dramatically lower doses of meds. Being able to function and tolerate life is not the goal; being able to truly experience & enjoy it in a naturally calm, free, alert, and alive state is. Increasing balance of the naturally occurring chemicals in your body and decreasing pharmaceutical replacements of them, along with utilizing techniques to put yourself in control of your emotions, thoughts, and reactions, can get you there. If I can do it, then you can do it. I promise.

5. THE GUARANTEE OF CHANGE IS THE ONLY THING THAT …NEVER CHANGES. I am self-admittedly the absolute worst at change. I fight. Scream. Kick and plead and beg (literally). Cry, medicate, eat, drink, sleep. Cry more. Self-harm. Self-destruct. Run away. Hand over anything to avoid the pain of loss and change: my power, my dignity, my self, my body, my future, my past, my dreams. For two decades I’ve handled change in all the ways you’re ‘not supposed to.’ And it’s exhausted, depleted, damaged, and broken me. So here I sit, humbly and scared shitless, committing to learn how to trust in change.

6. ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL. The ideal female body type portrayed in the media today actually, physically belongs to a whopping 5% of women. If you happen to, God forbid, not be in that 5% (hello and welcome to the club), there’s a good chance you struggle/have struggled/will struggle at some point with your body. 20 million+ females in the US alone are affected by a categorized eating disorder or disordered eating (EDNOS, Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified). Why do we have unhealthy relationships with food? Because we have unhealthy relationships with ourselves. Why do we have unhealthy relationships with ourselves? Several, countless reasons – but in body image terms, in large part because you cannot fit an entire population into 5%. Refuse to take the fall for a media presence that puts billions of dollars per year into keeping women stuck in a danger zone striving for one size that DOES NOT fit all. Refuse for yourself. Refuse for your daughters, nieces, girlfriends, sisters. Refuse. Refuse. Refuse. Out loud.

7. YOU DON’T HAVE TO KNOW WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN. You just have to actually believe in it. God. The Universe. The Big Boom. Synchronicity. Chanting. The Afterlife. Buddha. The guy on the corner dressed as a hot dog. Doesn’t matter. Find what makes you feel supported. Find what brings you comfort, strength, and allows you to pull through. And most importantly, let it shift naturally. Because it will. And that’s good.

8. DSSITFDon’t sit still inside the fear.

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