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I am strong. I am unfiltered. I am bold in my decision-making.

I speak with conviction. My words have meaning, hold promise, and honor my truest self.

I want my testimony to encourage and inspire others. I want my triumphs to show others anything is possible with faith and love. I want my tribulations to show others that while every day won't be pleasant, it will present a blessing and a lesson.

I believe in love and connection. These things affect how we exist, grow, and thrive in the world around us. To be my best self- I will love myself and connect deeply to my source of strength to understand who I am, what my purpose is, and how to connect with others.

I believe that love and vulnerability heals. I know that in using my voice, I can encourage others to do the same. I feel that walking in our truth and sharing that experience with others is one of the most purest forms of freedom there is. It allows us to remove the masks we have created for ourselves out of necessity, comfort, or as a means of survival.

I want to live in a world that embraces differences, encourages creativity, and doesn't use fear tactics as a form of control. I want to live in a world where a woman can live out loud and still be soft-spoken, be street-wise AND well-read, be strong and soft, simultaneously, without being seen as too masculine or too emotional.

I want us all to exist in harmony without the weight and constraints that society and "tradition" inflict upon us. I can be cultured, open-minded, and still love trap music. I can exercise my faith in Jesus Christ by being of service to others without allowing my humility to be reduced to being anyone's doormat. I am a woman of many layers. I am not a monolith.

I believe that society has conditioned us to feel guilty for not following a certain path, and for getting to know ourselves first as women and creative beings. I believe we can't fully function as our best selves for others until we've done so for ourselves.

I want to be a voice for other women, especially other 30-somethings trying to navigate life, nurture their loved ones, and express themselves creatively by any means. I will create a safe space for these women who want to create their own paths, not travel those created for them; for those women that long to use their voices with strength and conviction.

Ultimately, I want to inspire others to love on themselves so that we can love on each other. And when I say love, I mean embracing every part of ourselves, even the undesirable, not-so-pretty, or socially acceptable parts of ourselves. This is how we build a community of authentic love and support. This fosters healing, growth, and acceptance of self and others. With this level of support, we can make everything around us bloom.

photography by nicola styles
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