Nicki has been modelling with Wear Your Label since our first photo shoot, walked for us in Atlantic Fashion Week, and always stops by our studio with a smile to get some new images. But he's not just an aspiring model: he's a Role Model. Here's his story:
Mental health is very important to me, and has been since a very young age when I learned I have a learning disability. Having struggled with a school subject that caused me extreme stress, I had to learn ways to cope with that stress on a daily basis. My days were consumed with worry, but after my diagnosis, everything seemed to make sense. I realized (with lots of support from my parents) that I needed to look at my strengths (rather than what I was struggling with).
That's when I decided my disability would not affect me anymore.
(Struggle vs. Strength Tee available here)
I worked as hard as i could and tried my best at everything that landed on my plate. I found extreme pleasure in exercise, eating well and having things to look forward to. I found that having meaningful
down time was the best thing to recover from the stress.
Grade 8 came and I was encouraged by several teachers (shout out to Jim Dunn) to join The Fredericton Legion Track Club. The philosophy at this club is to always do your best and compete only against yourself. It's always about improving your own time and your own mental strength. I found running a positive escape. The coaches (I call them friends now) were the most encouraging and genuine people I have ever met. It was through this club that I truly got hold of myself, my self esteem, and my purpose. I wasn't a super star track man but I've been told that my attitude and personality encouraged younger runners - and that means far more to me then any subject in school or any first place medal.
(Sad but Rad Tee available here)
In my summer of grade 11 I got my first summer job - and I was terrified because of my past struggles with math. But I went in with the same attitude of positivity, I worked hard, and was named Employee of the Year.
I wanted to share my story to help kids who may be experiencing problems with school and mental health. It doesn't matter how big or small the problem is; it will cause the same amount of stress for the child. I'm very lucky that I overcame my stress at a young age and realized that not everyone is capable of doing it on their own. My following message is for any students or persons affected by mental illness:
I encourage YOU to reach out to your family or loved ones for support. Find teachers that you like and who understand you because their support is crucial. Find things that you like to do to relax, exercise. walk, dance, take time to eat and enjoy your meals, and make sure you laugh everyday. Try to avoid negativity because it is contagious.
If you find that balance you will have the right attitude to over come challenges you may be experiencing. Never let a disability define who or what you could become; the possibilities are literally endless. You are a person NOT a mental health problem.
-PS. Nicki was also recently featured on Humans of Fredericton aka Jon Munn Photography who captured some behind the scenes shots for us (credits for the above photo).
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