this is me...or is it / by Keith-Alan DeFranca

     There are so times when the thing/s about us that we don't show or express become what we identify ourselves with and worry what people will think if they knew what was behind that smiling selfie, upbeat social media, or our artwork. I came across @sugartreebaby post this morning that was a photo of her curled into a ball during a severe panic attack at work. She talked about how this is something that is very present in her life but yet unseen.

you always see me happy, smiling, in love, out together, and laughing with my babies, but what you don’t see is my debilitating panic disorder
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We all battle with how we should present ourselves to the world. It is those things that effect us negativly that we tend to feel like is the "real" or "raw" version of ourselves when in reality those struggles or pain only allow the lovely and joyous moments all the more incredible and real.

This video is an example of my own self-doubt. I recorded this and then went back and forth about whether or not I should re-record it and focus on not saying "umm" so much or change what I was wearing or about 10 other things. The reality is that we are not summed up by our weaknesses. My friend Heather was unbelievably brave when she posted that picture of herself in the middle of a panic attack. What I take from that image and her words is not sadness or pity but a deeper understanding of the character she has and the strength that she processes. Yes, she deals with something that can bring her to a physical and emotional standstill but despite that she still is able to be a talented artist, loving mother and wife, and bring joy and positive influence to those who come into contact with her in life as well as social media. I see that as not a weakness but proof of her strength.

We all have something that beats us down and instead of seeing it as a weakness or a stumbling block it is an opportunity for us to shine a light on the many incredible ways we are able to be positive and humbled by it. Every painful moment or obstacle is an opportunity to see something beautiful because it comes out of the dark places. 

Check out Heather's original post here: