5 - JD.jpg

Los Angeles, CA

“I come from a very, I don’t want to say ‘sheltered family,’ but very strict family background. So for me it was pretty much, like, going to school and coming right back home. I remember that there was a time that my parents, especially my mom, forbade me from wearing black because I was always this weirdo. And, uh, very religious family... and black and skulls were out of the question. Everything that I am was not a possibility. So I feel like I was a double person. I lived a double life as a teenager. So that was always hard for me. There’s the person that I let people know that I was or think I was, and who I thought I was and what I was going through. It was totally two different people. So I feel that I didn’t know who I was or what I was about. I always knew that I liked metal. I always liked dark shit. I was always a weird kid that got along with everybody. All the weird kids. Those were my homies.

Drawing and painting saved my life. Art is definitely one of the life changing things aside from animals.

Being gentle with myself has become important now.  Not beating myself up so much about… I mean, it can be as basic as where I sometimes think I should be at, but I’m not. Or when I get really, just, frustrated with why things are not going the way I want them to go. Or why me? You know, and I’m like ‘Stop that.’ Stop that. And it’s like, yeah, go through your feels, but be proactive. When before I would just dig myself into a hole or fall down this hole, and it’s harder to dig yourself back out than to just catch yourself and be like, ‘Hey, let go.’ So I think it’s important for me to be outdoors. I think that’s why it’s important for me to do this interview outdoors. Because, feeling the wind, feeling the grass, even though the grass I’m allergic to… (laughs) it gives me this… I mean, it’s horrible, it’s horrible. That’s why I’m wearing jeans. I won’t touch the ground.

But I love my surroundings. I love my environment. This gives me a sense of ease. Of calmness. This is one of my self-care tools. Just reminding myself that I love myself and everything takes time. And healing takes time. And reminding myself that I love me, and I got me. Sometimes I literally have to look in the mirror and make eye contact and talk to myself and say ‘Hey, gotchu.’”