The sun’s friendly greeting was poking through my curtains held in place by only two nails and a prayer. I felt a heaviness that wasn’t there yesterday. I reached up and took a sip of the wine on my night stand from the night before… not ideal, but I was thirsty. Instead of doing my morning stretches I laid in bed because only that felt right for the hour. I opened my insta and suddenly I put it together— the heaviness. (It sometimes scares me how empathic I can be)

The headline read “Miss USA pronounced dead from an apparent suicide”. I began to tremble. I immediately went to her instagram as if that would make it less real (millennial shit). I saw this…

The caption made it real. My heart sunk…

I didn’t know Cheslie personally but let me just tell you the immediate thoughts I had and then break then down from there—

“I wonder if her pain was like mine?”

As I scrolled down her perfectly curated instagram I couldn’t help but look for the pain in her eyes… I didn’t see it. There in lies my first thought. I personally had to tell the closest people to me that I was not okay multiple times— via phone, social media, text, email, in person until I finally stopped responding to everyone all together… and even still they would graze over it if I looked ’too good’ the next day. I am not blaming or shaming others but more so wondering if she had this happen maybe one too many times. Depression is such an interesting thing to me because you cannot always see it actually most times you don’t, even in yourself. It wasn’t until I went to therapy that I learned how depressed I actually was and how much I was faking wellness so others around me wouldn’t be uncomfortable. I wonder about Cheslie, how many times did she say it but others did not hear.

“Did she see a future and didn’t want it or did she not see a future at all”

No BS… I had someone say to me before after telling them the dark places I was going mentally “But look at all you have and accomplished”. I wanted to grab her by her ponytail and scream FFFFUUUUUU BIIIISSHHHH. I didn’t but I was this 👌🏾damn close. I believe there are 2 solid categories of those who consider taking their own lives. Those who think that the world would be better without them (they see no future) we actually hear and have been sort of desensitized to these type of suicidal people. The other however is a portion that I believe we will be seeing more of and should wake up to before the same thing happens. This group “has it all” to the public. They have an impactful future and this future, in fact, is what paralyzes them little by little each day. Accomplishments have never been an issue to this group they make everything they do look easy to others. The only thing I believe that this group doesn’t often realize is the underlying traumas that come with being at the top. The fight to the top no matter what life path requires mental agility, loss, perceived failure, and much grace. I wonder if Cheslie even gave herself the latter of these— it’s hard.

“Did she ever begin her healing journey”

Grace for yourself— something my own mom did not even teach me about. I come from line of very strong black women who make it happen no matter what. There was little room for grace to be had, especially with yourself. Again, therapy helped me in this department; it was like me peeling the mud off of my eyes and seeing me for the first time. How much I have done, how far I have come, the things I would simply sweep under the rug and keep going on with my life. Grace didn’t show her face until I vowed to myself that I would heal the parts of me that could even consider taking my own life. When you spend even just a portion of your life looking at yourself through the lens others you lose out on genuinely getting to know you and love yourself. Healing is not linear. Healing is also not constant. You need to exercise hella grace for yourself to understand both these things. When I read that headline I thought to myself where was she? What part of healing did she reach? Did she connect with past traumas? Did she seek love from her ancestors? Did she have time to even think about healing herself?

“Was her persona of perfection the thing that killed her?”

Perfectly perceived people get little to no grace from others. I said what I said. All my life Ive been perceived as gifted, blessed, talented, beautiful, and even “perfect”. Because of this some instantly hate me without even getting to know me. It is the craziest shit. Others will assume I have no issues or traumas solely based on how my life looks to them. It can be very upsetting at times. I wonder if Cheslie suffered with this too? I am sure she did. Did she forget that it is okay to not be okay? Sometimes to those who appear to walk on water, not being okay isn’t an option. Therapy taught me otherwise…

“Why haven’t I killed myself?”

This question was the scariest to cross my mind but also the realist… When I see women like Cheslie take their own lives I wonder why am I any different. I asked myself this question not to compare our lives but to raise my own understanding of what can happen when I neglect myself, abandon my own happiness, and forget to do what is best for me instead of others. I didn’t know Cheslie personally but I felt like I did— this, however, is an illusion. A warped mirrored illusion of my own demons that live and are very real. The reason I am still here today has very little to do with if my own thoughts are real or not but rather how strong is my self love. How intentional am I about my self care… Every little act of self care accumulates overtime. This alone may not help everyone but this with the combination of a therapist saved my life.

Until next time,

Rest In Peace Cheslie ❤️🕊

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