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Viewing entries tagged
Depression

Why I'm Doing a Dance Documentary

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Why I'm Doing a Dance Documentary

A few days ago, I was talking with a filmmaker friend of mine. I was telling her about how excited I am to be performing at the St. Louis Salsa Bachata Festival and how big of a deal it is for me. You see, I'm 42 years old and I’ve been out of performance dance shape for a long time. I told her about how awesome it would be to step out on stage, feeling completely fierce - back in dance form, head to toe, maybe even better than I’ve ever been before. I told her how empowering and affirming that would be for me - especially after all the frustrations of this year.

I told her about how this entire year has been one difficulty and disappointment after the next (when it was supposed to be a step up from last year) and how it’s resulted in me feeling like I’m completely rebirthing myself - walking through the fires of disappointment again and making peace with certain things about my life while still stepping up to the plate and trying again with old dreams and goals. Even despite my battles with anxiety and depression, I’m rising every chance I get and doing my best to say “maybe it could work this time” instead of “nope, been there, done that”.

I told her about my plan to “go hard” in my own way to prepare for St. Louis. That in the midst of relaunching my makeup line, launching my skincare line and generally trying to live a productive life, I was also going to get “badass dancer” Leah back too. I was going to get back in dancer shape. I was going to lose the weight and the lethargy. I was going to find my energy and unshakable stage presence again and I was going to perform so well that I high-fived myself. Because why not? Why not take it all on. Life is to be lived afterall.

And she said Leah, this needs to be a documentary and I’m going to shoot it for you. And so here we are, with me launching a GoFundMe campaign and setting off on this epic adventure :).

The video below talks more about the project and you can view and share the GoFundMe page here. Much thanks and so much love <3!

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Being A Voice of Hope

I’ve been hemming and hawing around this post for a few days. I’d like to think it’s because the ideas have just been materializing and maybe there is some truth to that. Closer to the truth though is that what I’m going to write about is heavy and so I’ve been avoiding it.

You may have noticed that I uploaded two new posts to the blog. These were articles that I wrote and published on Huffington Post and then realized needed to be here as well. They are about suicide, depression, and anxiety. Yep, those are things I know a lot about.

I attempted suicide in 2008 and I’ve dealt with depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember. I *successfully* manage them both now and suicide is an option I’ve decided not to choose. And in the tumultuous changes I’ve undergone in 2016, I’ve found myself called to share my experiences and be an example of how you can overcome them.

It started with an intense urge to do 3 specific Facebook Live videos during Suicide Prevention Month in September. 1 about How to Bounce Back from a Suicide Attempt, 2 about Why Remembering Your Story is Important and 3 about What to do about your Moody Friend.

I finally did them and with that, I realized how much my message was needed. Many people reached out to me after each video and expressed how much it helped or meant to them.

I kept getting confirmation on all levels that the things that I had learned over the years to start shifting the scale to more good days than bad days were extremely important to share.

I was reminded that the encouragement to stay above ground and to keep pushing forward to feeling better was something that I needed and didn’t always get. And I also remembered how much it meant when I did get it.

So I felt compelled to show up for the work that the Universe was calling me to do. How could I not? How could I deny that I could clearly see how all my experiences were preparing me for this? I could not with honestly sit back and say no Universe, you've got the wrong girl.

But then my own life hit hard. And I experienced a slew of stressful moments, rockiness and test upon tests. If my year has been about decluttering everything that isn’t moving me forward, this particular bent felt like what activated charcoal does to you – violently rids you of *ANYTHING* that’s still hiding out.

So yeah, I began to doubt that my voice was necessary and that this was the path laying out in front of me.

Then in the span of two weeks, I found out a salsa friend had committed suicide. I was drawn inexplicably to a woman online and found out that her husband killed himself back in August, though he was adored and loved by seemingly everyone. This morning I read about a young 12-year-old boy who self-harms and has threatened suicide many times.

I know that the Universe was speaking to me – telling me Leah – people still need a voice. They need a voice to speak for them and to them. You have to be a part of that.

So I know now that without a doubt being an advocate for suicide survivors like me and those suffering from anxiety and depression is a part of this next phase of my life. If my message can give someone who is where I was CONCRETE HOPE, the strength of belief, or even the flicker of possibility, I will share it over and over again. I will make it a big part of what I do and infuse that message into all the rest of the things I do as well.

I’m ready to be a Voice of Hope for anyone who needs to hear it. 

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