A Reflection: You Can Float or Become Liquid

(Courtesy of Spark)

Sometimes we find it difficult to open up – to spread the parts of ourselves in front of us so we can really see the different weights that pull us closer to the ground and the lines and shapes that draw our character. Once we do, we are given a moment to realize that our being is just as qualitative as it is quantitative. That we are much more than just a bunch of pieces that go together to form a puzzle. That if you allow yourself to become liquid, you can take any form.

While working with Channel Kindness, I entered this process in my own life. I not only carried my own weight, but the weight of my entire family as we tackled mental health among us. I never thought I’d come face-to-face with so much mental and emotional strain on a daily basis. And during it all, I was reminded of how so many families have experienced the same feelings. How so many families have had to push through and support their loved ones? And to think of those going through mental health issues without familial support tore at the core of my soul. Of how misunderstood mental health is from the outside, especially in its many forms.

My life halted in many ways. Yet, the editors of Channel Kindness gave me the assurance I needed to breathe without feeling like I was falling behind. I am constantly grateful that I could be part of such a strong group of people who are bringing so much attention to mental health and kindness.

Self-care is so important, and I think many people lose themselves in this fast-paced and demanding world that they’re not sure when, where, or how to find themselves again. I found the answer to this over the past few months — we should constantly be trying to find ourselves even when we don’t feel like we’re lost, because when we do become lost we already know the best places to look. So many people in this life forget their value, and most times, it takes a greater support system to lift them up. This is what makes the work that Channel Kindness and Born This Way Foundation do so important. Emphasizing building a kinder and braver world is the key to building kinder and braver hearts and minds. This is the kind of environment everyone should have a chance to grow in or heal from. Each and every one of us can lead the change the world needs to see and the change we need to see in ourselves.

At the end of my journey, I decided to do much more than float in a sea of emotions that could eventually pull me down. I decided I’d pass on growing gills so things could just pass through me; I decided on swimming back ashore to safety — a familiar ground that never gave me much balance. Instead, I decided to become the liquid that surrounded myself. So that if I drown, I’d still be breathing in my own essence.

Thank you for allowing me to be a part of such a wonderful group of Reporters. And thank you for all of your support through everything. I am very thankful to have been able to grow in ways that I will continue to cherish.

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Deshlee Ford

Deshlee Ford, 22, graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism. She spent time working at publications in El Paso, Texas and Gainesville, Florida to create different written and photo projects. Deshlee volunteers in her community and beyond – from helping care center residents in El Paso, to traveling to Haiti after Hurricane Matthew to help distribute sanitary kits and document the effort of the Health Education Project team. In her free time, she also enjoys playing guitar, singing karaoke, thrifting, collecting vinyls and cassettes, reading tarot, metaphysics, languages, and cuddling with her dog Kālī.

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