Dear Queen,

Have you ever felt like you are hiding who you truly are to please certain people around you? As I continue on this journey of being uncomfortable and speaking my truth I wouldn’t be authentic if I didn’t tell you a little bit of my struggles. For the first time in my life on November 7th, I admitted that I struggle with mild depressive episodes. Why was that so hard for me to say out loud to not only myself but also to the people I love though?

The more and more I thought about it and looked up the statistics I learned three things. One, as a woman, a black woman at that we grow up with the notion that we are to be strong at all times. We are supposed to keep things to ourselves. So ultimately, I shrugged my feelings aside. Secondly, I always heard that God is in control and that as Christians we are to cast our burdens to him. Although that is true when it comes to how the mind works that doesn’t always help initially. Thirdly, simply I didn’t want a pity party or people looking at me differently. So, I naturally kept things inside.

Allow me to quickly give you a snapshot of my childhood. Growing up and having to move several times since the age of 6 played a major part in my life. It was hard having to leave friends and then having to remake friends all over again. It was at one point that I didn’t want even make friends and felt it was better to just be alone.  I grew up being the “big girl” among my peers. Which within itself had a major effect on my mindset at 12/ 13 years old, because I didn’t feel beautiful on the inside. Not to mention I had an identity crisis. You see, I grew up majority around white people. From school and the churches, we attended. During middle school, I would get teased by my black friends and some family members because I was a black girl that talked proper or didn’t listen to the same type of music they did.  So, I would always do what I thought I needed to do in order to fit in. I wore a mask depending on who I was around. When I moved to South Carolina, my very first day of high school was a real culture shock for me. I had NEVER been around that many black kids before. Of course, as time passed I learned how to fit in. However, I still would have my episodes of isolation and feeling like I didn’t fit in.

I have come to learn that my depressive episodes happen when I isolate myself away from people. That is the comfort zone that I revert back to. I can stay in this state for as long as a few days. What gets me out of this state is when I keep myself busy for the most part. Which is why you may hear or say ” Ashlee’ is always into something or going somewhere”. I am fueled by people and networking honestly!

How am I healing? Last Wednesday during bible study we had discussion that surrounded this topic of Dying to self and being honest with ourselves.Towards the end of the class I felt the Holy Spirit just telling me to “release”, as much as I wanted to hold it in, I couldn’t. So, I let it go and I cried, I cried, I cried. For the first time in my life, it felt like I was removing my mask for everyone to see me. I will also be going through a therapy session soon to just help me express my feelings even more. Peeling back this layer of myself was not so I can have a pity party or have people feeling sorry for me ( that is the last thing I want). However, I wanted to write this letter to you because I don’t know if you are going through something right now but just know there is way out. There are some people that think just because someone is married they should automatically be ok and good. I am living proof that I am married and still feel how I feel. My husband gets me and both our love language is spending time with another. However, I still need to work on not isolating myself from him.

Queen, also know that if you are a  black girl reading this and struggling don’t think that asking for help and going to therapy and talking to someone is showing that you’re weak. Speaking up for yourself and wanting to do better takes strength and courage. Today, let’s remove our masks and show who we really are and be that person unapologetically.

So yea, I am a 4’11, curly haired black girl who has a country accent, talks proper sometimes, a tad bit boujeee ( so I’ve been told, lol )  I am married and have depressive episodes from time to time but working on it. I love God and family is everything to me. I am a good listener and enjoy having a good time and getting to know people.

Let’s keep the conversation going! I would love to get to know you. Leave a comment below, shoot me an email by clicking the contact tab or DM on IG.

Many blessings,