the ABCs of on the LEAUX.
the first step to learning how to read is learning your ABCs. here at on the 🔑, we are going to take the same approach to mental wellness. in my own journey to be mentally well, i have come up with three (3) #majorkeys (shoutout to DJ Khaled) that have helped me along the way. i hope my ABCs will inspire you to think about and come up with your own to help you along your journey to mental wellness!
🔑A is for Authenticity.
authenticity: |ˌôTHenˈtisədē| noun | embracing yourself as you are: quirks, perks, and all.
authenticity is one of my core values. when i was in the Miss Black & Gold pageant as a college sophomore (shout out to Kappa Kappa!), my quote was “do not let others define you, but define yourself for others.” it was - and still is - important that i let people know who i was before they created their own misconceptions about me. to me, in this age of snapchat filters and instagram perfection, authenticity is rarer now more than ever. but the other reason i have been revisiting this core value lately is because of my mental health. it has been - and sometimes still is - devastatingly difficult for me to even acknowledge that i have a mental illness, that i can't handle it on my own, and that i need external aid. however, now that i have accepted it, i can recognize that mental illness is just part of me, but it does not define me. over the years, i have come to recognize that self-acceptance by any means necessary is key to being authentically me.
🔑B is for Boldness.
boldness: |bōldness| noun | presenting yourself to others as you are, letting other people take it or leave it as they see fit.
my mother is in her mid-50s, and she always says that as she gets older, her filter shrinks; she pretty much says what she wants, when she wants. as it pertains to me, this means telling me what’s on her mind in regards to anything, but specifically my mental state. in fact, if not for her unfiltered boldness, i may have never realized what was wrong with me in regards to my depression and bipolar disorder. but there is another benefit to my mother’s unfiltered boldness: it rubbed off on me. i’m not even 30 yet, but in my daily interactions, i find that i don’t have time to sugarcoat things. i say what’s on my mind, i present myself as i am, and i let other people take it or leave it #kanyeshrug. long ago, i stopped worrying about those who wouldn’t accept me as is, and i began to live my life for me, going boldly forth.
🔑C is for Creativity.
i have always been a creative person. as a kid, i had almost every type of crafty kit you could think of: beading, quilting, scrapbooking, etc. while in graduate school, i taught myself how to knit. during every down and depressing time, from high school to the present, i write. throughout the extreme highs and lows of the past couple of years before my bipolar diagnosis, i wrote. i would cuss myself out for doing something stupid, then cuss myself in to encourage myself. i would write semi-eloquent poetry about how much life sucked at the time. but one of the most helpful things i did during those crazy times was start a blog called “keep it on the leaux,” the predecessor to what you are currently perusing. creating is something that has always been there for to help me through the rough patches, and on the LEAUX is my way of not only sharing my journey, but also [hopefully] helping you learn how to begin your own journey towards mental wellness.
above is a quote that i often come back to after coming out of depressive episodes. immediately after my latest and worst one, the idea for otL came to me, seemingly out of nowhere. however, i don’t believe in coincidences; the universe has perfect timing. i was meant to share my story in a way that exudes authenticity, boldness, and creativity, and i hope that you will be inspired to find your own core values / #majorkeys to help you along your journey. please leave a comment and let me know what you come up with!
❤️ lauren dee.