Angela and I

Angela and I

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Glory of the Spring

It was only a matter of time before I sat down to write this post.  I know that in merely three days I’ll be jetting off to follow a band to the other side of the country and back again, and I know that the show has closed on Broadway twice now.  But even so, Spring Awakening continues to be “my favorite thing in this world, in this universe, in this lifetime” (a direct quote from me when I made my roommates watch a Spring Awakening bootleg with me on my Springaversary).  I’ve been involved in many fandoms over the course of my 27 years, and each of them have been special.  But nothing will ever touch this one.  Ever.  There will never be another Spring Awakening.

When I was 16 years old, I went to the dollar movie theatre with my mom and sister.  We were sitting waiting for the movie to start and music was playing over the sound system.  I heard a song with flowery lyrics, rich harmonies, and stunning imagery.  I had no idea what it was.  I made sure to remember some of the lyrics so that I could look it up later when I got home.  “The earth will wave with corn…” "the clouds begin to thunder, crickets wander murmuring..." “All shall know the wonder of purple summer.”  I don’t even remember what movie we saw, but I remember hearing that song like it was yesterday.  It made my whole body vibrate.  I went home and looked up the lyrics and it brought me to the official website for a show that was about to open on Broadway.  And so it began.  

It was only a matter of time before I had watched every video possible, bought the OBCR, scoured the internet for content, and doodled every lyric into my school notebooks.  In no time at all, I had found The Guilty Ones, a fan forum for the show.  For a while I just looked and read, thinking that I wasn’t the kind of person that posted in forums.  Well...I was very, VERY wrong about that.  I was definitely the kind of person that posted in forums.  I would run home every day from school, hop online, pull up TGO, and do my homework while refreshing the homepage and posting to my heart’s content.  I talked to my friends from the boards in AIM chats every night.  We planned meet ups.  We traded. We flailed.  We analyzed.  We argued.  We laughed.  

In June, I finally got to see the show live with my friend Sarah, who I had pulled right along with me into the dizzying world of Musical Theatre fandom.  That night still ranks as one of the best of my life.  I cried like a baby and nearly buzzed out of my skin with happiness.  I got pictures with the cast. I knew I would never be the same.  

After that humid June evening in New York City, Spring Awakening wasn’t just a thing I loved or even something I liked talking about to my internet friends.  It became my support system.  It was something I could always turn to; my safe space.  Whether that meant seeing the show and feeling like I was back home, or visiting my friends I had made through TGO, or writing fanfiction, or going backstage with Pops, or following the first national tour, or talking on AIM until the sun came up, or eventually directing the show myself  (which is still one of my very proudest moments). I’ve seen the show countless times and I’ve been in it a few times as well.  But sometimes it’s amazing to me that, although I love the show and can still probably recite the entire script if you really needed me to, it eventually wasn’t even about the musical itself.  My “internet friends” just friends.  The bold, silly, talkative, girl I was on the forums just became who I am.  I didn’t need to be anything but that.   When the original production closed on Broadway, my friend called me from the audience and let me listen to the show on my home phone.  I cried my eyes out with Sarah in my living room, then called my TGO friends to make sure they were doing okay, then went to bed wondering if life would ever be the same again.  

And of course, life is never the same.  Every single day, the world is completely different.  Spring ends, and summer follows. I joined TGO in 2007, and it’s now 2017. So of course, everything is different.  But, those are still my truest and most loyal friends.  They are still the ones I confide in because when I was 16, they were the ones who listened.  They are the ones that let me be completely myself.  They are still the ones I go visit when I’m in New York, and we laugh as hard as we did when we were all behind our computer screens up way too late on a school night.  And listen, if there was a way I could follow Spring Awakening around the country right here right now in 2017, I absolutely would.  We found something really special in that little rock musical about teenagers growing up in provincial Germany, and I don’t think it can ever be recreated.  But I don’t think it needs to be.

"We did have some remarkable times."

Peace, Love, and Chrysanthemums,


Monday, October 9, 2017

How a gym class helped my recovery...

“You've gotta remind your brain who’s in charge.”

I have a strange relationship with The Gym.  We fell in love during my freshman year of college, when suddenly I had unlimited, free access to the campus gym at NKU.  I have this funny little disorder that makes me obsess and fixate on certain things, and since I was in the middle of a department that was already fixated on image, it was an easy thing to get into.  At first I really enjoyed it!  I would go every few days with Robyn or Seth, sweat for half an hour, and trudge back to the commons for dinner.  But before I knew it, I was addicted.  I would go every day, for an hour or two.  I would see how long I could stay on the elliptical until my vision would start to blur.  My longest was two hours.  TWO. HOURS.  That is literally so long, I have no idea how that even worked.  

One of the reasons I loved the gym during those days was the scale in the weight room.  I would go take my shoes off, step on the scale, and watch the number get lower and lower with every passing day.  It was like a drug.  

When I hit my lowest weight, I broke up with the gym.  Whenever I would go, I would see people look at me in horror (I know why now, but back then I felt like I was being bullied) and whisper.  Sometimes they wouldn’t even try to be quiet, they would just say stuff like “Jesus CHRIST she’s skeletal,” full voice.  Furthermore, it was getting harder and harder for me to get my heart rate up.  So I stopped going, opting for long walks.  I would disappear for hours, just walking around, trying to get a “work out” in.  This was a habit I kept up until I started treatment.

It was a while before I got myself back in a gym.  It was equal parts triggering and depressing for me to be inside of one.  First of all, there are mirrors everywhere.  Second of all, when you’re on a machine, you’re alone with your thoughts - bad self talk and all.  I joined a gym in St. Pete and the first few times I went were torture.  I thought about cancelling my membership, but I pushed through it.  I closed my eyes everytime I passed by a mirror.  I figured out how to do it without hating myself, and working out felt good.  And then in July, on a complete whim, I started going to a group class.

I had never done anything like that before.  The gym was always alone time for me, special time where I could tune in to my disorder and push myself.  But before I knew it, I was smiling and laughing along with the people in the class.  I was listening to my instructor, instead of the voice in my head who doesn’t really know...anything.  I wasn’t spending hours on an elliptical, just trying to burn as many calories as possible.  Instead, I was doing all sorts of movements, punching, kicking, working muscles I didn’t even know I had.  I was watching myself in the mirror and not grimacing.  Furthermore, the class is only 30 minutes, three times a week.  It keeps me accountable so that my gym time doesn’t get out of hand.   I have no idea if I have lost any weight since I started going (I don’t do the scale thing anymore) but the crazy thing is that I don’t care.  I go because it’s fun. I go because it’s not a chore; I genuinely enjoy doing the workouts Jamarcus creates for us. I go because it has worked wonders for my aggression.  I go because I’ve made friends there.  I go because it’s 30 minutes where all I have to think about is the music and the movement.  

So what is the point of this post?  Well, I say it all the time, but this is a story about how recovery doesn’t end!  I had made peace with the fact that I would never do a group class, that I would never watch myself in a mirror, that I would never just throw on a sports bra and walk around in it.  And I was okay with all of those things.  But then...suddenly...I was able to do all of those things, and more. It’s a reminder to be kind to yourself, but never stop challenging yourself.  If you are currently IN TREATMENT: LISTEN TO YOUR TREATMENT TEAM.  Please don’t go hit the gym because of this post.  I was fully restored and in good health before I started going again.  I took a very long break from it, and that was the best thing for me.  Do what is right for you!!  Exercise addiction is a very real thing and should not be normalized.  Please reach out to me if you feel like it’s something you’re struggling with!

I don’t think that going to a gym class has to be a part of everyone’s story.  But I’m glad it’s (finally) a part of mine.

Peace, Love, and Punching Bags,


Thursday, October 5, 2017

On The Road - Atlanta

After getting home from the St. Pete concert, and after about an hour of being too wired to go to sleep but too tired to do anything but eat pizza and lay on my bed chugging water, I CRASHED.  But, there wasn’t too much time to sleep...before I knew it, Sarah’s alarm was going off and we somehow woke up to drive to Atlanta to do the whole crazy thing over again.  I felt...well honestly really bad that morning.  I was coming off of a week of Hurricane Irma evacuation (aka barely any sleep and lots of stress and anxiety), a weekend of travelling to Kentucky, playing four live gigs in three days, a day of camping in line, and over two hours of jumping and screaming in the sweltering front row.  BUT, I’ve done a lot of things whilst under the weather, both with and without a voice.  As a performer with a notoriously weak immune system, you just learn how to rally.  God bless Sarah for being patient with me while I was being the most annoying...okay here we go!  Thoughts from Atlanta!

And in the moment, when the dust is spun
You’ll have time for contemplation underneath the desert sun…

  • The entire Hanson catalogue of music ALMOST takes you all the way from St. Pete to Atlanta and back again.  We didn’t go in chronological order, and we even listened to Snowed In and some of the very deepest cuts, but we almost made it all the way home before switching over my second favorite musical trio - The Lonely Island.

  • It is possible to be just as excited for your best friend’s meet and greet as you would be for your own.  Sarah got a meet and greet for Atlanta and at first, I’m not going to lie, I was pretty jealous.  BUT, I was mostly excited for her.  And when we got to the venue and had to be split up (a travesty), I found myself bragging to the people around me that she was about to meet the guys and peeking into the window to watch when she went in (WHAT?!  That’s not weird!!  #codependent).  I couldn’t figure out why I was nervous!!  Even after I went into the venue, I was shaking with excitement FOR HER, and seeing her huge smile was just as good as having the experience myself!

  • The line in Atlanta was the polar opposite of St. Pete.  Both line experiences were awesome for different reasons, but they were vastly different.  In St. Pete, we got there hours before the sun rose and watched as the line continued to grow throughout the day.  We were asked by countless people who we were waiting for, and our answer caused some pretty bewildered faces.  By 5pm the line was blocks long.  In Atlanta, I lined up 5:30pm and was not far from the door.  I was surrounded by people who were clearly more casual fans, and some people who admitted to not knowing that Hanson was even still playing music until they caught wind of this tour.  But I will say that everyone around me was in awesome spirits, and genuinely excited for the show, which made me really happy.  There was even a woman who kept talking about how the only band she would see more than once was the Backstreet Boys and I was like girl, I get you.  I understand you.

  • Getting front row in St. Pete was an EVENT.  Getting front row in Atlanta was literally me walking up to the barricade and meeting Sarah right in the middle with literally no resistance.  So...that was cool.

  • Again, nothing will beat those first five songs and the epic transitions woven in between them.  Utterly obsessed forever.

  • Highlights of the night:
    • Great Divide was pretty epic.  As we all know, The Walk isn’t my favorite album and it’s rarely one I just listen to when I want to listen to Hanson.  But hearing this passionate, intense song live was awesome.

    • Go was once again a highlight for me.  Zac is live and like...yeah.  This kind of felt like Zac’s show to me.  He was so on point and really just leaving it all out there on the stage for us (I think he was just really excited for his new 26”).  

    • I think I blacked out during Juliet in St. Pete (it was just a lot okay? I was overwhelmed), but it was definitely a high point for me in Atlanta.

    • Strong Enough to Break made me cry very hard...AGAIN.

    • Penny, always.  My love for this song has taken on a life of it's own, but I always feel a smile from someone during it, and here’s why.

    • With You In Your Dreams used to make me emotional when I was much younger, but I’ve been pretty desensitized to it. I’ve heard it so many times. This night, however, I got pretty choked up!  This is a very messed up thought process so, bear with me, but right before they started singing Ike said that the song was going out to anyone who had lost someone special to, that’s a normal sentiment.  But I’m me, I have a whole host of dead dad issues, and I love to make everything dramatic and sappy.  So for some crazy reason, I started thinking about their kids (all gazillion of them), and how when these three men die, their kids are going to have this song.  This song is one of many that, to me, are about my Dad. They are going to have their actual dads saying “I’ll be with you in your dreams,” and that is such an amazing gift.  Why do I do this to myself?!  Why is this what my brain does?!  So anyway I cried for the SECOND time that night.  Typical.

    • I Was Born is just so stunning live.  I mean...listen.  It took me a while to warm up to the song.  When we first heard bits of it, I was pretty much ready to run a campaign to get “Feeling Alive” to be the 25th Anniversary song instead of the song we got.  But at the end of the day, and with Taylor’s speech before the song, and hearing everyone scream “BEFORE”’s a really special moment of the night.  

    • There’s something to be said for having an audience comprised of casual or returning fans.  And that is that everyone is like...SUPER excited to hear MmmBop.  So yeah, MmmBop was pretty cool.
    • Three words.  IN. THE. CITY.

    • They played I Don’t Want To Go Home for the final encore and it really is the BEST last song.  I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of this new fan anthem.  We don’t want to go hooooome!  Ever!!!!!  

  • This crowd was one of the loudest I've ever heard!! It was the first time since seeing BSB (again, with the BSB!!!) Millenium tour in 1999 that I had to cover my ears because the sound of the screams was rattling my skull.

  • Even though I told myself I would take it easy and not scream, of course I didn’t do those things because I have no self control at concerts!! None!!!  So I could tell my voice was toast as soon as the lights came back up.  But that was okay...worth it.   I decided I still wanted to stagedoor, even if it was just to squeak out a few words and snap a picture.

  • The bus line was LONG, but we had plenty of entertainment because there were lots of people who used the concert as an opportunity to...well...drink a lot!  Living their best lives, honestly.  

  • Concert stagedooring is different than Broadway stagedooring. And listen, that’s a thing that I KNOW but it still shocks me every time.  Maybe because I have spent so many hours of my life loitering on 49th street outside of the Eugene O’Neill theatre so that is my normal, but I never seem to remember how long it takes after concerts.  Sarah and I waited patiently (props to her because I literally wasn’t speaking because I’m a FREAK who FREAKS OUT when I start losing my voice) and Zac came out and was incredibly nice and gracious.  He made time for the every single person in the very long line.  

  • Even when you can only squeak out a greeting and ask for a selfie, meeting your biggest songwriting influence is the coolest thing in the world. I didn’t have time or energy or the voice to really get into any shop talk with him (I’ll have more chances later), but I was very grateful to meet Zac and have a silly moment with him.  That boy is literally why I am the kind of lyricist I am today, so I was just a tiny bit star struck.  After waiting a little longer for the other guys, I decided I was too tired and too hungry and just a tiny bit too cranky to wait any longer.  Sarah and I waved goodbye to our concert buddies and headed back to the hotel.  

Even though I was too hungry to even stomach the fast food we got on the way back to the hotel, and even though the next day I would have no voice at all, and even though I would cry because I was so tired and frustrated at my body shutting down, I fell asleep indescribably happy that night.  There really is nothing like Hanson shows, and experiencing them with your best friend is...kind of the best.  It was such an honor to be by Sarah’s side for her first Hanson concert, and to watch her watch them. Not a day goes by that I don’t thank the powers at be for putting me in a show I didn’t even audition for that she happened to be in, so that almost two years later we could be squeezing each other’s hands when the boys sang “hold on to the ones who really care, in the end they’ll be the only one’s there.”  Thanks for being my front row buddy, weirdo!  Okay before this gets too sappy, I’m gonna wrap it up.  

See you in Anaheim, boys!!

Peace, Love, and no goats just normal stuff,

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

On The Road - St. Pete

It’s probably been too long since the concerts to write or post this, but my friend Holly started posting her MOE tour recaps so here I am, talking about the concert I went to exactly two weeks ago.  I’m not even halfway done with my Autumn of Hanson which is exciting and intimidating all at once. are my thoughts from my first stop of the MOE tour.

On the road, you will find yourself getting lost, being someone else
But you know you will find yourself on the road...

  • Sometimes, getting up at 4am on the morning of your birthday is a crazy idea but it ends up paying off.  That is exactly what Sarah and I did a couple Tuesdays ago.  We woke up at 4, parked my car at the dolphin at 4:30, and plopped down at Jannus at around 4:45.  We ended up being 4th and 5th in line (behind our new line friends for life, Holly, Holly, and Laura, and in front of our new line friends for life, Lauren, Robin, and Meredith!!  But more about these amazing ladies later!).

  • Twelve hours on DTSP sidewalks isn’t the worst way to spend a day.  This was my first Hanson front row experience, and I’m not gonna lie...I didn’t quite know what to expect when it came to the line. But it was surprisingly pleasant.  I’m also pretty easily entertained, and my home city is a GREAT place to people watch.  It’s one of the things I love most about downtown.  Plus, we had the Starbucks across the street and American Stage right around the corner for any sudden bathroom needs.  Everyone in line was cool about people coming and going, and I was able to go get us Bella take out for lunch and say hi to all my friends there.  

  • Members Only Events need to be better organized. Like...much better.  The set list for the event was awesome, and I was totally blissed out.  Somebody That Wants to Love you, Ghostwriter, Best of Times, Dance Like You Don’t Care, Rollercoaster Love, and of course, I Don’t Want To Go Home.  It was a dream to hear those songs played live (this was my first Members Event and I was right smack dab in the front).  But then we had to give up our spots for pictures and it was all a huge mess (and honestly kind of scary).  Thankfully the eight of us, who were the first eight in line and had spent the entire day together, worked together to get our spots back up front once the pictures were done. I'm already dreading the next Member's Event but at least now I know what to expect.  I will always be grateful for the six ladies we met that day!!  Seriously the kindest and best concert buddies I could ever ask for.  

  • Thankfully, during the event, Sarah snagged us some water bottles at the bar because this turned out to be the hottest and sweatiest concert I’ve ever attended.  And I’ve been to a lot of outdoor shows!  Heck, I’ve been to a lot of outdoor shows AT JANNUS.   But this one was another level.  Maybe it was because we had been outside ALL day, we were in the front row, and Hanson shows are basically just a two hour cardio workout...yeah that could be it.  I plan on doing the line a couple more times this tour, so I need to just hydrate better.  Lesson learned!  

  • The first five songs of the set list (Already Home, Waiting for This, Where’s the Love, Look at You, and Tragic Symphony) flowed seamlessly together in a whirlwind of frenetic energy.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  The transitions that they arranged to carry one song into the next were so cool, and I know my mouth was hanging open for all of them.  I love all five of those songs, especially live, and now I know why they don’t switch up the set list all that much.  They have the transitions down to an exact science, and even the songs with no musical interludes fit together to create a perfect representation of the last 25 years of music.  

  • I will never get over the SOUND of a Hanson concert.  It must be wild for first timers.  The crowd is so loud, singing along confidently, knowing every single word.  I had a bunch of friends there that night, seeing their very first Hanson show, and they were amazed at the energy.  It’s unlike anything you’ve ever experienced!  

  • Highlights of the night: The transitions that had been arranged specifically for this tour are my number one highlight of the whole show, but other than that…
    • Runaway Run!!  My favorite song from TTA.  It has such a special place in my heart.
    • Weird ---> Go.  It was magical.  Goosebumps all over.
    • Strong Enough To Break ACTUALLY killed me.  I’ve always loved that song but I heard it in a totally new way that night.  Plus, Taylor gave a little speech about how they are here because of us and our loyalty.  I’ve never been more proud to be their fan.
    • Penny and Me because duh.
    • Watch Over Me because ISAAC HANSON LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.  This was his show.  He was on fire.
    • I Was Born!  Taylor’s speech before this song is so inspirational and moving, and speaks to the song much more than any skydive or swim with sharks ever will.  
    • Fired Up ---> In the City.  WOWWWW.  They sure know how to end on a high note.  These two songs were insane!!!  I’ve literally never experienced anything like that at a concert, and I’ve seen a lot of concerts!  

  • After the show ended, Sarah and I opted to find my roommates and head home instead of waiting by the bus.  It had been the longest day of our lives and we were soaked through with sweat...and I’m pretty sure I was about to overheat.  Casual.  So we piled in KC’s car and went home, high on the concert and reeling from the whole experience.

I have written countless blogs, pieces, poems, songs, and even a novel about how live music is my happiest place.  Whether I’m playing it or in the audience, nothing makes me feel better.  It makes me feel like I’m soaring.  Going to this concert directly after a weekend of playing music was simply magical, and an experience I’ll carry for the rest of my life.  I got to spend my birthday with my favorite band, surrounded by my friends, singing “Lost Without Each Other” at the top of my lungs.  Hanson shows are, above all else, so inspiring to me as a musician, and the St. Pete show was no exception.  

Peace, Love, and "Oh that little guy from the nineties?"

(ps - check back later for my ATLANTA post!!)

Sunday, October 1, 2017

4 Years

It doesn't seem that long ago that I was counting my recovery timeline in months instead of years.   Every month that passed seemed like such a milestone; thirty days of challenges and victories and slip-ups and lessons.  And now it's been four years since I first decided to really buckle down and get better.  It was the day I moved to New York with the goal of turning over a new leaf and starting the rest of my life as someone who was not defined by anorexia.  It was the day I started calling treatment centers and scheduling appointments. It was terrifying and overwhelming and difficult. But...FOUR YEARS.  That's...nothing to scoff at.  That's 1,460 days of choosing recovery (okay, I didn't choose it every single day, but I'm human, right?).  So, I figured it's as good a time as any to do a little reflection.

THE BIG FOUR - The four biggest lessons I have learned in these four years

1. Recovery doesn't end
I'll say it again and again and again and again.  You choose recovery every. single. day. of. your. life.  Some days are harder than others.  Some days you barely even have to think about it because hopefully it becomes second nature.  But you keep having to choose it.  Hopefully, somewhere along the line, the choice becomes an easy one.  A no-brainer.  But it's still a choice.  There are some days where I legitimately miss my disorder, but the fact of the matter is it tried to kill me.  It took me a really long time to figure this lesson out.  Like...years.  You have to keep choosing it.  You never stop playing an active role in your own recovery. 

2. Do what you love and f*** the rest
Do the things you love, listen to the music that saved you, travel where your heart leads you, read the books that make you smile, watch the TV shows that make you laugh.  Go to a coffee shop and read in the sunshine and sip a latte and don't care if people might think you're basic.  Go rollerblading because the breeze in your hair makes you feel good.  Travel across the country for a band.  See the same musical an obscene amount of times because nothing will ever make your heart feel that full.  Just find the things that make you feel alive.  Because you need to stay alive.  Trust me.

3. Everything takes longer than you think it will 
Literally everything.  Everything.  Be patient.

4. "Take your broken heart, make it into art" 
I never want to know the person I would be if I didn't go through all of this.  Without recovery I wouldn't have Full.  I wouldn't have my insatiable desire to write.  I wouldn't have the hundreds of songs I have written since October 1st, 2013.  I wouldn't have this blog.  I wouldn't have my story, and I wouldn't be the hero of it.

And hasn't that been the point all along?

Peace, Love, and colors all around,

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

A Practice in Apathy

Even if you just follow me on social media, you have probably gleaned the fact that I am anything but apathetic.  I’m not a casual friend, or a casual fan, and I think that level of passion for people and things that I love is important and makes me who I am. It’s something I really pride myself in.  So when I was in the throes of recovery and my therapist told me to do a practice in apathy, my entire being bristled.  I’m not apathetic!  Apathy is everything I hate about the world!  I’m in it to win it!!

But, as everything in recovery proved to be, it was not as simple as that.  This was a kind of indifference I would learn to accept, and frankly would change the entire game for me.  It is still something that I practice, because without it, I probably would have just quit.

But...I’m not a quitter.

Everything changed for me when I began being apathetic about the way I looked.  A lot of you reading this have probably known me for a while.  You know that I don’t wear make up and I don’t brush my hair and I still wear clothes from the little boy’s section in Target.  You know that in high school I was never well dressed or put together.  You know that in college I wore dance clothes all day or a hoodie and jeans.  You probably know that I HATE the idea of someone else straightening my hair or doing my make up...the list goes on and on.  So even I sometimes look back at the disorder that held me in it’s clutches, one that is usually associated with looks, and am confused as to how I got to where I was.  But then of course I remember that that is not what anorexia is about in the first place, and even I am falling victim to society’s perception of the thing I know better than most people.  

Because I am the passionate, go-getter individual that I am, when I started recovery I set a very high goal for myself.  I remember saying the words out loud to my therapist.  “I am going to love my whole self, 100% of the time.”  She laughed at me.  She literally laughed, and said, “that’s an impossible goal, Katie.  I’m not letting you set that.”   I was angry at her for doubting me.  Hey, you barely even know me!!  You don’t know what I’m capable of!  But it’s true...I would be disappointed every single day when I woke up and looked at myself in the mirror and didn’t fall in love with the broken, changing girl in front of me.  She was trying so hard.  

But then, I decided to practice apathy.  What if I didn’t set out everyday to love my entire self?   What if I set out, instead, to just not care?  I wasn’t put on this earth to be skinny.  I wasn’t put on this earth to be beautiful.  So what if...what if I just didn’t care?  And in that moment, something clicked.  It was like I was finally seeing the whole point of recovery, and body positivity, and self love.  It’s not about saying “I’m beautiful the way I am.”   It’s about saying “I exist.  I am here, and that’s an amazing thing.  I’m allowed. No matter what.”  

This practice bled over to other aspects of my life.  I started not caring about people’s perception of me as a whole, not just my looks.  I started not caring about loving things out loud.  I started not caring if people didn’t like the things I liked, or made fun of the music I listen to.  I started not caring that I took up space, that my laugh literally echoes off of buildings because it’s so loud, that my hair is never neat, and that sometimes I take stuff to the extreme.  These may all seem like very elementary lessons, but you’d be surprised how hard they are to fully embrace.  I still have trouble  But there just comes a point where you can’t care anymore.  Life is too short, and way too wonderful. I could very easily get wrapped up in the fact that I am literally twice the size I used to be, or that I don’t get cast anymore, or that I don’t get complimented on my looks very often, because that’s what this weirdo society wants me to focus on.  But instead...I just don’t really care anymore.  I exist.  I’m allowed.  No matter what.

I don’t expect you to wake up one day and be like “wow, KT was right.  I don’t care anymore!  I’m free!!” because that’s not how life works.  I also don't expect this to fix all your problems. It's one very small puzzle piece in the whole picture. It’s a practice, not a performance.  I still have trouble with it, because I’m human, and so are all of you.  It’s not easy.  It’s work!  But, it really does make a difference, little by little.   And if you’re struggling with where to start, message me, or text me, or comment on this post and I will tell you all the things I love about you that have nothing to do with how you look.  I’m sure there are at least a hundred.  

You exist.  You’re allowed. No matter what.

Peace, Love, and Orange Juice,