“I learned a long time ago the wisest thing I can do is be on my own side, be an advocate for myself and others like me.” ~ Maya Angelou

In great detail, I will discuss “How I Practice Self-Advocacy”, but first you should know something: I have an immense, innate desire to help others. I accept that I neglect myself and that this bad habit will not sustain me. If I want to help others for the long-term I have to take better care of myself.

How can I expect myself to advocate for the issues that matter to me, when I can’t even advocate for myself?

This is the question I pondered at least twice a week for the first five months after my college graduation. After all, my goal is to become a mental health advocate/content creator.

I do not consider myself a true advocate, not yet. I have a standard for myself I need to meet, but to anyone who asks I am definitely an advocate.

Oh yeah, what is an advocate? According to Dictionary.com an advocate is “a person who speaks or writes in support or defense of a person, cause, etc.”

In that case, to me, self-advocacy means to support or defend oneself (our beliefs, values, existence).

Using myself as an example, I have 100% support for The CROWN Act because I adore my natural hair and believe that hair discrimination is racial discrimination.

I believe that the best way to challenge the stigma towards mental illness (and the mental health field) is through culturally-competent communication and care to a variety of communities.

To advocate is to take action on our beliefs and values, and to defend and stand up for what we know to be right and true. This is neither easy nor easily gratified.

When I made videos about perfectionism, loneliness, and suicide prevention, I was punished by the TikTok app.

The followers I had  finally gained are not shown my videos (till this day). To combat this, I rejected the algorithm, I stopped posting altogether for weeks, and now I’m back.

The reason I struggled so hard to speak my whole truth, and prioritize my own perspective and feelings (for once) was because fear guided my decision-making.

The fear of hate comments, the fear of ticking off the people in my personal life, and the fear that nothing I say or do will ever be good enough dictated my actions.

One thing I have learned is that I will not be the one who holds me back from reaching my goals. I will not be the one to say “no one cares” or that “no one will want to listen”.

Granted, I have said both of these phrases and more, many times, but that is of little importance. What matters is that I move forward and pave the path to whatever future I decide for myself. 

I love talking about the life lessons I learn, and hope to grow a community of people who like to do the same.

For now, make sure to watch my growth through my TikTok and YouTube. Follow me on Pinterest and stay tuned for future posts!!!

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