Before you immediately click away from this page as you roll your eyes thinking “this girl is TOO into herself” let me explain myself.
May is Mental Health Awareness month.
Now the issue of “mental health” is one that is extremely sensitive to me and very close to my heart. I have a family history of mental illness and I, personally, have issues when it comes to anxiety. Now, that’s not a bad thing but so there’s much negativity surrounding this topic – from people saying “oh that’s not a big deal” to “mental illness isn’t even a real thing”. Neither of those statements are true. Mental health is real and suicide linked to mental illnesses are extremely real.
So what am I doing writing a list about myself? Mental Illness has a wide range – from mild depression to Borderline Personality Disorder – but no matter what, self-care is an important aspect of life. Sometimes we spend so much time taking care of others that we forget ourselves (both physically and mentally). So I want to encourage everyone reading to consider doing your own “Reasons I Love Me” and you don’t need 10 unless you want to. This is to remind yourself why you are loved, as a way to participate in self care. You can even take it a step further by looking for something that you generally don’t like about yourself and see if you can spin that into something positive.
This is not to trivialize or fix issues regarding mental health/illnesses but to encourage conversation about it and to encourage people who are struggling to reach out for help or talk to someone.
So here are 10 things I love about me:
- Passion – I am, if nothing, passionate about everything that I do. It is my passion that led me to sending emails bugging Kel Muña to volunteer for the film fest in 2011, it is that passion that led to the creation of the world’s first Chamorro soap opera, it is that passion that somehow led me to a place where people actually admire me for what I do. My mantra, once upon a time, was “be fearless” and over time I began to realize that I don’t have to remind myself to toss my fears into the wind anymore. That fearlessness lives within me and it propels me forward, ignited by passion and carrying me through this life. If there’s anything I don’t doubt it’s that ball of fire living within me.
- Thirst for Knowledge – My brother used to tease me for being a “know-it-all”, needing to correct people when they get their facts wrong. Honestly, it can come off as elitist…which I get. The root of this is that I have a “thirst for knowledge”. I can’t possibly know everything but if there’s anything I have quite the disdain for, it’s ignorance. If I have an opinion, it’s 50% soul and 50% well-researched. Knowledge IS power, it helps us to think critically in the best of times and guides us to act in the worst. I know how privileged I am to have access to such information so I take my time and make sure to use it well.
- Attention to detail – If I come outright and say it, I’m a control freak. However, in the last year or so I began to really appreciate that quality within me. In my job, I often find myself writing documents – press releases, appearance releases, contractor agreements – and I find that because of my scrutinizing behavior, I’m able to trust myself when I finally pass along this work to others. It’s a skill that can go overlooked in the creative industry and since someone has to do it, it might as well be me!
- Creativity – I have been blessed with an unsettled creative mind. If you know creatives, you know that if you lock them in a room together they’ll either: 1. Come out having collaborated on something or 2. Come out with nothing because they couldn’t decide on what to make. So I guess it’s a blessing and a curse in that way. To put it simply, I find inspiration in everything around me – from the fleck of dirt on my toe to the way a little boy jumps into a pool. There’s always a story somewhere and I’m always trying to find it. So at least I can rest knowing that I’ll always have content…even if I don’t always have the means to pursue it.
- Empathy – I’m extremely hypersensitive when it comes to my emotions. Those who know me well eventually learn to accept that I’ll often cry with no warning. I’m actually scared that everyone’s going to think it’s a gimmick because I’ve already cried twice in front of the media. Now, I also have the tendency to gain my energy from the people around me so I get more emotional than I should about situations that I have no part in. This actually gets weird when someone ends up comforting me about their own situation. What I like about this is that there’s no shortage of empathy for other people. By feeling that person’s energy I feel less at a loss for what to say, like I have a better understanding on how to approach the situation. I might be wrong. But I like to think I do.
- Obsessiveness – It sounds unhealthy. It probably is unhealthy. Actually, to an extent I know it’s unhealthy. I have this tendency to become obsessed with things that I like. It always causes me to go far off the deep end. I can’t play just 2 hours of the Sims. I have to play like 7 hours every day for weeks until it’s out of my system. Why is this a good thing? I’m actually unsure as I write this but…these random obsessions have somehow shaped who I have become. Maybe it means I love too hard or I make sure to give my all. Or maybe it’s this obsessiveness that made it so sure that I never got addicted to substances as I got older. Because of how aware I am of this personality trait, I have this fear of substance abuse. I mean, I’d take a whole night of reading fanfics over stomach pumping any day so I’m thinking that’s a pretty big win. Maybe I should just call it “dedication”.
- Age – As my frequent readers may know, I’ve had this insecurity about my age for as long as I’ve been working in the media. People often belittled me for being only 20 or underestimated what I had to say because “I’m still learning”. This had such an impact on me emotionally that I still have a hard time telling people how old I am because I don’t want the immediate response to be “wow, you’re such a baby”. It didn’t even matter the amount of experiences I had under my belt, I always left a room feeling like I failed. However, (and I’m not saying this is what validated me) when I was working in Dallas I soon learned that, even though I was freshly 22, I had value as a young professional. I began to grow a confidence in myself and accept more that I will make mistakes. Now, I find it to be a gift to be young and already making my name a respectable one.
- Size – So I’m 5’2″ with a small physique and have been this way since I was 12. Now the reason I mention this is not so I can be a model or whateeever. It’s because I like fitting into small places. I’m kind of like a cat in that way. I’ve always been like this and I actually sleep covered in layers of pillows and blankets because of this. I like how safe I feel when there is little room to move so I feel very fortunate to be able to fit into the nearest water cooler.
- Anxiety – As much as I hated waking up to panic attacks, having anxiety forced me to pay attention to my body and mind much more than I used to. Instead of grabbing at the nearest screen in the morning, I made myself stop and check in with myself when I wake. During the day, I now have to make a conscious effort to not go through the motions while ignoring how I feel. Sometimes your body & mind know when you need a break and while mine responds by making me think I’m having a heart attack, it’s cautioned me to take things a little slower. It’s gotten better. Breathe. Take a bit. Go.
- Faith – Perhaps this seems like I’m taking my own credit away but I don’t think I am by mentioning how much I love my God. I know that He lives in me. I don’t do it all on my own, I lean on His strength and His understanding. But I have to commend myself for remaining in faith even during these darkest days, when it is just so easy to turn away.
If you or someone you know needs help, don’t hesitate to reach these numbers:
(Guam) 24-Hr Crisis Helpline (671) 647-8833
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)