Recently, a dear friend of mine, Jam Gamble – aka Slayer of the Mic, sent me a reminder via IG saying “WHY ON EARTH ARE WE STRUGGLING TO INTRODUCE OURSELVES?”
Oh does she know me well!
I can talk, a lot. But when it comes to introducing me I pause and I feel awkward and I struggle to find what I want to say. I usually end up giving a very surface, stock answer. Usually how I’m a mom, and a teacher… things I’m very proud of but not exactly what I want to say. It’s part of it but I always stop short.
But I’m changing this and this is the intro I will proudly use going forward. So here I go.
“My name is Shivonne Lewis and I am a tattooed teacher, bipolar single mama of 2. I’m not sure some days how I’ll do it but I’m always figuring it out with grace and confidence.
I am a mental health advocate. Because it’s 2019 and not “getting it” or having a frame of reference for it or believing in it are not excuses. It’s time to fucking figure it out. Check your bias and figure it out.
I’m a mental health advocate because I have Bipolar Disorder Type I not because I am Bipolar. My disorder doesn’t define who I am. It’s caused me to act outside of my moral values, do to some things that may seem harmful and shameful. It became larger than what I could handle but it isn’t me.
I’m a mental health advocate because the supports and systems in place are shockingly bad. Like so bad.
I’m a mental health advocate because I want women, young women to see that you can have a disorder and manage it with support and have a great life. You can have a career, a house, kids if you want to. It doesn’t get to take away your life goals and dreams!
Oh yeah, I’m not blonde anymore 😉