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Happy. Healthy. Whole.

If you know me, then you know that I’ve adopted the mantra of Happy, Healthy, Whole over the last few years. For me, it’s taking on many forms. At times it was a plea; other times, it’s been a war cry. Now, it is a way of life. I’ve decided that taking back my power has meant walking in the fullness of what happiness, healthiness, and wholeness look like for me. In my happiness, I am not bogged down by the idea that I have to maintain some unrealistic level of joy at all times but rather that the general nature of my being exudes the gratitude that places me in the space of satisfaction. To know that I am blessed to face the challenges set before me and equipped with what I need to conquer them each day that I wake up. To understand that I am in control of my own happiness. I am responsible for navigating my feelings in a way that produces the highest form of contentment even when things aren’t going my way. A bad moment doesn’t have to mean it’s a bad day. A bad day doesn’t have to mean it’s a bad week. A bad week doesn’t have to mean it’s a bad month. A bad month doesn’t mean it’s a bad year. And a bad year doesn’t make it a bad life. Things happen. We deal with them as we need to, and then we move thru. There is always another side. For every trial, there is victory. For every breaking point, there is a breakthrough. If and when you can, choose happiness as often as you can.

For health, that too has taken on multiple forms. It began with my mental health. I found myself unrecognizable not only on the outside via weight gain but on the inside for a while. I wasn’t me. I am a healer by nature, the empath whose flame attracts people to my light. And it had dimmed. I was a shell of myself going thru the motions. I needed my own healing, which was the first thing I sought to do. I went to therapy (go to therapy, friends. It’s life-changing, and there is no shame in it.) I started to dig deep to understand my traumas to identify my triggers. I gained insight into why they existed and slowly but surely how I could avoid them by putting myself in better conducive environments to my well-being. Or by knowing how to soothe me when they are set off. I will not pretend I have it all figured out, you never do, but I have come to a place where I can better handle my emotions. I can honor them, accept them, and feel them without consuming them. It was then about looking good as I was starting to feel, and thus began the weight loss journey. Now friends, you know I will always keep it a buck with you. And baby, let me tell you. Struggle, okay!? Lol, but I haven’t stopped. I started to find my stride, and some pounds down and emerging trim waistline later, I am starting to look but, more importantly, feel like me again. A curvier me. And I love it. I embrace my “grown women” body as I do grown woman things. I’m stronger, better. So much better. My love for food will never fade, but my relationship with it won’t hinder me from the healthy life I deserve to live. And so, with patience for myself with every stop and start, I am defining what healthy looks and feel like for me. Nothing is worth your mental or physical health, so if need be, get out. If you can start. When it’s time, embrace your healthy life.

To be whole is more than I can describe, to be honest. So most simply, I can put it, the work that has been done to get to this point has brought me into a space that has no room for bitterness, anger, disappointments, what-ifs, why me’s, and why not. My flame burns bright, my focus is sharp, my goals are set, and my mission is clear. My hope is to spread light and love every place I go. Erica Lynn O’Keith, 1st of her name. From a little unincorporated city in LA. Daughter of Billie Jean and Lawrence O’keith. Sister, aunt, niece, cousin, God mom, and friend.

I say what I mean and mean what I say. I appreciate the presence of everyone who enters my space. I try to share with them whatever God would have me give. I am a writer, a creative, a lover, a healer, and a giant. I am hilariously flawed, dramatically emotional, powerful, and awkward. I don’t like confrontation, but I won’t let things linger. I don’t like being in an uncomfortable situation, but I won’t be intimidated. I am not where I want to be, but I’m not where I was. And where I am is exactly where I’m supposed to be. My gratitude for the people in my life, the love I share, the hope I have, and the places I am going are words. It is daily work, but I can say confidently that I am happy, healthy, and whole. I love that for me. I wish that for all of us!

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