Name: Mayette! Though I usually go by Matty
City: Red Deer, Alberta
Fav thing about your city: The people! I know that’s kind of a cliche answer, but there are some really great people in this city… some of whom I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for years, and some of whom I haven’t yet met! :)
Tell us a fun fact about yourself! I LOVE mountain climbing. There’s no greater feeling for me than to stand on a summit, enveloped in complete silence, taking in the incredible majesty of the mountains surrounding me. I started climbing to overcome my paralyzing fear of heights, and it’s blossomed into a full blown love affair from there. I’ve got my sights on some pretty big peaks now!
WYL: What is your connection to mental illness?
MO: I’ve lived with manic depression and anxiety since I was 6 years old. I also developed eating disorders, suicidal ideation and self-harm, and tried to end my life multiple times as a result of being sexually assaulted when I was a teen. Though I feel fortunate to be in recovery today for my ED's and self harm/suicidal ideation, I'm still battling through my depression and anxiety.
WYL: What does your everyday look like?
MO: “Wake up in the morning feelin’ like P. Diddy. Grab my glasses, I’m out the door; I’m gonna hit this city.” (haha, I couldn't help myself!) When I wake up, I take my anti-depressants before my feet even touch the floor. As I’m getting ready, I tell myself how lovely I am, how my squishy soft spots are cute because I’m cute, and that I’m going to have a great day. Self-love talk in the morning really makes a difference in the rest of the day! Then I head out to smash the patriarchy and gender binary, promote body positivity, mental health awareness and inclusivity, chip away at the competition that exists between women (empower, not compete!), and send out as much love into the world as I can possibly muster because it really, really needs it. Then I come home, take my Super Hero suit off, diffuse my lavender oil (because it smells delicious and helps de-stress me from the day), and lay my head down so that I can rest enough to get up and do it all again the next day! In simple terms - The first thing I do when I wake up is take my medications because they are an important piece of my recovery, tell myself 3 positive things as I get ready for the day, go to work to support a team of incredible people working some pretty awesome magic in Health Care, then I come home to relax, unwind, and prepare to repeat :)
WYL: What advice would you give to your younger self?
MO: Oh man, SO many things…You don’t need to be so angry at the world for what you’ve been through and how you feel. It’s OKAY to not always be okay. Not everyone will understand you, but not everyone needs to either. You’re smart, and caring, and strong. You don’t have to pretend you’re not these things so that people will pay attention to you. It’s okay to let your guard down. Weigh your own opinions more heavily than those of others. Don’t let fear of judgement steal your bliss. Share your story; it’s nothing you should ever be ashamed of, and it will allow you to begin healing sooner. ...And for crying out loud, don’t wait until you’re almost 30 to colour your hair bright colours!
WYL: Who is a Role Model to you?
MO: I’m not sure if this question is asking to define who a role model would be to me, or give a specific example, but I’ll take this opportunity to gush a little. A Role Model to me is someone who is true to themselves and to others, who isn’t afraid to speak out or go against the grain, who stands up for those who can’t, who shares their courage and their vulnerability, who doesn’t give up even when all odds are stacked against them. The greatest Role Model that I will ever have, and the one that is always forefront in my mind, is my mom. She is the most incredible human I know. She raised me on her own, while battling with her own mental illness and adversity. She taught me how to persevere, how to keep going even when everyone is telling you you’re failing. She taught me to believe in myself, to be fierce and independent. She’s shown me patience and love, even when I least deserved it - and in turn, taught me to strive to do the same for others. She’s always allowed me to discover myself in my own ways on my own time, trusting that I’d find my way. She encourages me to follow my heart’s desires, even if she doesn’t always agree with what that means. She’s always provided a safe, open, supportive environment where I can talk about anything - without judgement. She’s someone who always makes others smile, who is always dusting love and light everywhere she goes. I admire her more than I could ever truly express, and if I had to choose one person out of the 7.4 billion on this planet to become, I’d choose to be just like her.
WYL: How do you spend your Self-Care Sunday?
MO: Usually in pyjamas! Sundays are my lazy days to catch up on much needed snuggles with my dog. They’re always comfortable - comfortable clothes, comfortable food, comfortable mood :) I try not to have any commitments for Sundays for my own mental health, I need one day a week where there are no expectations of me. It’s very important!
Photo by Ashley-Rae Photography