I'm a Christian and I Have Anxiety This is How I Cope

I never thought that I would be sitting here explaining I cope with anxiety while being a christian. One reason being, I never thought or knew I had an official anxiety disorder until March of 2018. All this time I thought I was one strange individual. I often times kept my weird quirky behavior to myself because of sheer embarrassment and the people closest to me thought most of my behavior was funny or some sort of joke. Although, I did turn a lot of my experiences into comedic matters, there is definitely nothing funny about anxiety when you are in the midst of a full on attack.

Having anxiety is hard, having anxiety and being a christian is even harder. How many of us have heard these words?

“You have to trust a God” 

“God will make a way girl don’t worry” 

“Chyle you need to just give it all to God” 

“The Bible says we shouldn’t be anxious and to have faith, this just means your faith is not strong enough”

I have heard this and more, far too many times than I would like to talk about. Each and every time I’ve heard it a little part of me died inside and I just rolled my eyes to myself and chalked it up to pseudo christian ignorance. What most don’t understand is Christians who suffer with anxiety often times feel guilty for suffering because we are taught to be the best Christian we’re supposed to have this unwavering faith. We deal with so much pressure to have faith and believe that ultimately the pressure manifests itself into more anxiety. Constantly worrying that you don’t have enough faith and because of said lack of faith you will just continue to suffer. What does this mean for the ones who try their hardest to manage their anxiety and have faith but come up short as soon as an attack hits? 

I would have to say God created us and sent us Jesus and the gift of communion with the Holy Spirit because he knew we would have these types of life issues. I mean if we want to look at the bible and get technical, ya boy David was stressed out to the max! Either that or he was just hella dramatic and was exploring his creative writing talents. His psalms are a mixture of praise and worship and most of all crying out in times of stress and anxiousness. Take for instance Psalms 6:1-10, David was in full on meltdown mode, screaming like Wyclef, SOMEONE PLEASE CALL 911. His anxiousness started to manifest itself in his body physically. While I feel terribly bad for all that David had to go through, this was comforting to me because it lets me know I am not alone. We are not alone.  God equipped me to defeat and overcome this and he equipped you to overcome this as well. 

I know the first thing you just thought reading that was girl it’s easier said than done. Trust me I have been through hell and back in my mind, dealing with depression and anxiety at the same time, all while feeling like I was not a real human being living in an altered existence. Imagine taking a bad trip on some drugs and never coming down off of them. Well that is exactly how I felt 24/7 for months! Take a listen to my story here. I was able to come to terms with my anxiety disorder and I picked up a few tools and grounding techniques that are Christian folk friendly that I think would be of great service for you. The reason I felt the need to share with you all is because in the social media world these days there has been a surge of new age spiritual practices which I am NOT knocking, to each its own. However, with the push of saging, crystals, number charts and astrology somehow some of us Christians have gotten a little confused and rightfully so! I say this with compassion if new age practices is your thing then this article isn’t for you. This is for Christ believers who are looking for Christian tools to cope with anxiety. This isn’t at all about religion because in my opinion religion is dead and gone. This is about the way you develop your relationship with God and how doing that will help you to overcome and heal your anxiety and if not fully heal, you absolutely will be able to cope much better than you ever have been before.

  1. One of the most powerful things that helped me to push through and win this battle was using scriptures as affirmations. So if you're anything like me you may say some affirmations and then close your eyes and hope that there will be a change. You open your eyes and you see that life is still the same. Disappointing, I know. I I started to think more on the exercise of using affirmations. Just saying them won’t do much but what does work is speaking out your affirmations and pushing yourself even if only for a split second to get into the feeling of the affirmation being said. We all are capable of doing that no matter how depressed or anxious we are. I’ve noticed that sometimes my mind can wonder and forget about the anxious state I am in and once I realized I’ve forgotten, it's almost like my mind is like wait a minute, we are supposed to be depressed, yep, let's go back to that. Once I realized that was happening it dawned on me, I can get into the feelings of my affirmations. During my darkest moments with anxiety and depersonalization, I was given the scripture,  2 Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” I would repeat that verse to myself and for a couple seconds, imagine what I would feel like if I could feel normal again, and not bound down by so many morbid thoughts and fear. Eventually, I started to gain the courage to step out of my room, and to return to work, and be in social settings. So I say try for one minute today to speak a positive healing affirmation of your choosing, and for 60 seconds, imagine what it would feel like when that affirmation comes true. Test my theory, do it for 7 days and see if you start to feel a difference in how you handle your fears.

  2. Routines! The anxious mind hates routines and normally when anxiousness senses routines happening it tends to dissipate. Start by setting small goals for your routines. I never had any routines, I was a fly by the seat of my pants type of girl. To an extent I still am and could use some tuning up. However, when I was at my worst, anxiety wise, I put myself on a schedule. I woke up early, I forced myself to get out bed and I focused on the daily tasks I set for myself. I also joined a gym and took evening classes so that kept me out late in the evenings. Less time to be home alone with my thoughts. When I got home I would shower and use every lavender product I had in the house on my body and sheets so that I would have the most comfortable sleep. I also made sure not to fall asleep with the television on during this time. As our subconscious mind is so impressionable and I didn’t want to chance feeding my subconscious anything that would aggravate the anxiety. So my point is what kind of routine can you begin in your day to day activities. It could be setting a time to wake up every morning and going to exercise or have breakfast. Or you set time aside at work twice a day to do some grounding meditation. It could be reading at night however I think you should read uplifting things, again nothing too dark that would aggravate the anxiety. Create more structure in your day to day. The mind is so vulnerable and moldable and will eventually fall in line with what you tell it to do.

  3. Journaling is one of the most therapeutic things we can do for ourselves. I used to be so discouraged from journaling because of trauma in my childhood and feelings of not being a good enough writer. It wasn’t until I said to myself, girl who cares if it’s horrible writing, no one will see it, I began to write. I wrote about my innermost secrets, painful experiences, my mistakes, every little thing I was too ashamed to talk about with anyone. It became a time of meditation and prayer. What began to happen was a breakthrough. I started to see where and how my thoughts came to be so negative and how anxiety has always been a part of my life and why it was so overbearing. The journaling helped me process like I had never processed before with no judgement from anyone, not even myself. I believe that was the work of the Holy Spirit sitting with me and communing with me. The Holy Spirit is here to help us process and give us the words to speak on our behalf to God the father. Make a decision to commit to journaling and see where it takes you. If you're like me and you struggle with inconsistency set small goals in the beginning. Try saying to yourself if I’m feeling stuck, sad, or completely disconnected I will write. Doesn’t matter how long or how much just the action alone will help you move closer to your goal of healing and recovery.

  4. Taking a walk or just sitting outside can be so calming. Lately I find myself on Saturdays after bootcamp going to get my daily smoothie and I sit on the bench and watch the cars go by. I watch people walking by. It’s something about seeing life happening in front of you that reconnects you. As I'm sitting I truly believe it’s a moment of being still in God’s presence. Throughout my worst moments of feeling so disconnected with earth and my own body, just sitting and taking in fresh air and feeling the breeze hit my skin would reconnect me if only for a moment. I would get up and walk sometimes and begin to talk with God and tell him all about my worries and how bad I wanted to get back to normal. That was grounding for me and it could be a great grounding technique for you.

  5. Get out and be around people. I know if you are having constant panic attacks or you have been highly anxious and it’s causing depression the last thing you want to do is be around people. I was the same way, in fact I was irritated when people would come around because they either had no idea what I was going through or I would explain it to them and they would look at me like I had morphed into an alien right before their eyes. As if what I was going through wasn’t stressful enough! First thing to remember is this, people will be people and most of the time, I say this with no malice, we are absolutely ridiculous. However, this doesn’t mean people don’t mean well or they don’t try to comprehend the best way they know how. Have compassion for yourself around your people and have compassion for their lack of understanding. Find someone you can trust and share with. You might realize more people are going through what you are going through than you thought. It wasn’t until I started to express to one of my close friends what I was going through that she revealed she had the very same experience and never told anyone. I can say I have had far more positive experiences than negative when I began to open up and share what I was going through. I began to push myself to go out in social settings again and reintegrate with people around me. If I ever began to feel off or way too disconnected I would use my breathing and grounding tools to calm myself down or I would just call it a night and go home. The idea here is to take one step at a time and just getting out of the house is a big one! 

It's so easy for me to sit behind this laptop and tell you what to do, but it was much harder for me to step out on faith and do it. So I know your struggle! I want to assure you that I am fully recovered and rebuilding my emotional well being because of the tools I have shared with you. I did a lot of meditation, quiet time, journaling, and therapy. They all helped me but the most important thing as Christians we must not forget is that through all our suffering God still wants a relationship with you, he hasn’t abandoned you. I look back now and realize I was using that time of isolation to get closer to God. The closer I got to him the closer I got to healing and ultimately full recovery. I encourage you to do the same if you haven’t started already. Do you have any coping tools you’d like to share comment below I’d love to hear your thoughts.

I lost my Job because of an Anxiety Disorder

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I lost my Job because of an Anxiety Disorder

What you can do to make sure you don’t lose yours

My day started out like any other day I woke up groggy and tired and wishing I was rich so I didn’t have to go to work. I went to brush my teeth and take a shower and noticed a weird sensation I was feeling in my head. I chalked it up to being iron deficient and went on to get ready for work. While getting dressed I began to notice the weird dreamy sensation still there and wondering at this point why it hasn’t worn off now that I am fully awake. Still in a state of mind not thinking the worst yet but slowly becoming alarmed I start to make my way to the train and head to work. I make my usual morning call to my mother because that’s just what Jean and I do and I mention to her casually I think my iron is getting low I feel very dreamy. Of course, my mother is the queen of “girl ain't nothing wrong with you”, and responded in that same fashion, which always makes me feel relieved and able to carry on my day. It wasn’t until I got on the train and started to see people around me and feel completely disconnected from them. It was almost like I had stepped outside of the train and was watching everyone live their very normal lives. At this point, I was officially scared. My heart would begin to race and I began to question my own existence wondering what in the world is this alternate universe I have just entered. Walking into work that morning would be the beginning of 6 long months of enduring this dreamlike non-reality feeling and trying to maintain my sanity and my job at the same damn time.

Through all this mental strife I was able to maintain my sanity by the grace of God but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to maintain my job. While I do believe the company I worked for was completely insensitive and condescending, not to mention it was a predominately white company so you know how that goes. I do believe I could have done things a bit differently and if I should ever have these anxiety disorder symptoms again I know exactly how to handle them. Here are a few points I think will help you to maintain your sanity AND maintain your job while you begin your journey with reintegrating yourself.

Like myself, most people don’t even realize they have an anxiety disorder. Now I can recall times in high school and in college when I had an episode and I didn’t know what to call it and just shook it off as weird and kept it moving. If you have an anxiety disorder you most likely have had it your entire life. My mom recently opened up to me about her pregnancy with me and how she was very stressed and I was born with eczema all over my body, which is a sign of distress. Interesting right?! The older you get the more you begin to become aware of your symptoms especially if you decided to experiment with drugs(you can hear my whole story with weed here and how it induced my anxiety). With your symptoms progressing as you age it’s only a matter of time before it can affect your everyday living including your work life.

First things first make sure when you are going into a new job that the employer is educated about mental health issues and employee wellness. It’s extremely hard for anyone to understand what we are going through especially an employer whose main concern is the bottom line. With an employer who is thoroughly educated in the issues that can arise with mental health, it might very well be a safer space to share exactly what you are feeling and request any treatment or time off you may need.

If you've been at your job for a while it would be extremely helpful to talk with your HR representative to discuss the options one has to take for leave of absence or schedule adjustment to seek treatment. This will not only help you but I'm sure there will be written documentation that you are taking steps to better yourself to be able to perform at the best of your ability. Now, not all places of employment are knowledgeable and educated on the issues of mental health. If you feel your job is not supportive at all and downright ignoring your requests, then its time to start to position yourself to move on to something that is more suitable for you and your health. At the end of a very long and anxious day your mental health is at risk and sometimes you have to make tough decisions to make sure you remain as mentally healthy as possible.

If while working you start to go through episodes it's also very helpful to take as many breaks as you can to ground yourself. Most offices are fully stocked with coffee and tea and I'm going to go out on a limb here and say STOP DRINKING THE CAFFEINE. Get a green juice instead it gives you energy and nourishes your body at the same damn time. Grounding techniques are what got me through many days being in meetings and not knowing what the hell was going on. PsychCentral gives 33 grounding techniques for anyone looking to relieve anxiousness during work hours.

The Cleveland Clinic says, Anxiety disorders “affect about 40 million adult Americans. They are the most common mental illnesses in the U.S. Most anxiety disorders begin in childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. They occur more often in women than in men.” This should let you know that every day you struggle you are not alone. There are many people out here going through so much just trying to get through the day. Just like me and you.

Getting the right type of help and treatment, along with having an employer who is educated in dealing with employees who struggle with mental health, will give you the support you need to perform your job to the best of your ability. I've found since being in the upward winning battle the what I've needed most of all throughout all of this is support. Support lets me know I'm not crazy, I'm cared for and I am recognized. Once you do seek out treatment and start to heal you should also start to create a wellness routine for yourself. I've found for myself changing my diet and exercising about 3-4 times a week not only snatched my waist but I felt so much better instantly. Now you don't have to lose your job on the account of some stupid anxiety. Always remember anxiety is not a weakness it's a strength that just hasn't been developed yet.

The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide To Relieve Anxiety

For most of us who have our fair share of struggles with mental health, it’s almost quite certain that the holidays are one of our least favorite things to do. This gift guide is a few of my favorite things that help with relieving and sometimes alleviating anxiety and depression symptoms. If you have a loved one that might be in the battle, these are some great options to give to them as gifts that might put a smile on their face and be beneficial at the same damn time! Or you can get into that self love space and get these gifts for yourself.

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  1. Aromatherapy Inhalers are lit AF

While I’ve never been interested in putting anything up my nose these inhalers have certainly changed my mind. As listed on the website you inhale the essential oil rather than rubbing on your skin or in some instances drinking in tea. These joints are ahhhmazing! The inhalers relieve a variety of different ailments including anxiety and depression.

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Click picture to go directly to site

2. Calming Comfort Weighted Blanket

This blanket is made specifically for the anxious at heart. The weight of the blanket gives you the feeling of a good soothing cuddle, which comes in handy for the folks like me who are single! While it is on the pricey side this is a great gift that will pay for itself in the long run and lasts a really long time.

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cLICK PICTURE TO PURCHASE

3. Handy Cleaning Service Gift Card

Sometimes with anxiety, depression and other mental health battles the clutter in someones mind can easily manifest it's self in their living space. I can surely attest to that! I have woken up and hardly recognize my home after going through a 3 day depression episode. So giving the gift of cleanliness would be a great way to help your loved ones to start the new year off clutter free!

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Click picture to go directly to site

4. A Spa In A Basket

Bring the ambiance of a spa to their home. This spa in a basket will soothe you and have you skin feeling like butter! It also come with some comfy slippers and all!

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CLICK PICTURE TO PURCHASE

5. Freedom From Depersonalization/Derealization

I have shared on the Analog Girl Podcast many times my past struggles with depersonalization/derealization and disassociation. I found a great ebook that happens to be free! We love free don’t we? I actually connected with the author and his experiences and this book helped me to heal and recovery quickly. This book eases all your stress and answers all the questions you might have about DP/DR.

Click picture to go directly to BOOK

Click picture to go directly to BOOK

6. Scentered Aromatherapy Balm Sticks Gift Set

The Ultimate Survival Kit Portable Therapy Balm Sticks, you can take these any where and they are especially helpful during times of high anxiety and panic attacks. Dab a bit on your preferred pressure points and inhale and get your entire life.

Click picture to purchase

Click picture to purchase

7. Talk Space Gift Card

None of us have all the answers but talking to trained professionals can help us get a little closer to healing and recovery. If you or your loved one is open to talking with someone, Talkspace might be the way to go. Mental health advice is now more accessible with Talkspace, which is a therapy service on your phone. Talkspace provides people with a cheaper and easily accessible option for therapy. 

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8. Raw Generations Juice Cleanse

This juice cleanse if BOMB! It’s easy to follow and it gives you enough juices during the day so you won’t just want to pass out by the time you get home. An important part of maintaining and sustaining you mental health is diet. I use these raw generation juice cleanses when I am feeling groggy and brain fog is trying to take over my life. After I’m finished with the cleanse I feel super light and my mood feels so much better. I even dropped a few pounds which is always good.

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9. Aura Day Light Therapy Lamp

Winter blues be gone! Use this lamp to lift your spirits and bring in the light. Light therapy has been proven effective in almost 80% of people reporting symptoms related to the winter blues. Although the results may vary, most people feel the effects within a few days. The intended uses of light therapy are expanding daily as we learn more about the amazing benefits of light.

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10. Afrocentric yoga leggings

So many have professed that yoga has been their saving grace for their mental health. If you know someone who is interested in getting their yoga on for peace of mind and be stylish while doing it, these afrocentric yoga pants I think, might do the trick!

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CLICK PICTURE TO PURCHASE

11. Gemmia’s Master Peace Body Therapy

The queen of fixing peoples lives Iyanla Vanzant has created a body therapy line called Gemmia’s Master Peace. Ms Vanzant says, “Each MasterPeace product is an invitation to slow down. To Reconnect. To release our fears. And to celebrate the good in the world and the good within ourselves, too.” NEED I SAY MORE! This is the perfect gift for you or a loved one looking to do just that!

Click picture to purchase

Click picture to purchase

12. Transforming Anxiety

This book is a great stocking stuffer or a cute little quick read to give to someone who may be new to this anxiety struggle. It teaches you how to overcome fear and anxiety and try your very best to live in peace.

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13. Brown Sugar Box

These boxes are so cute and just might put a smile on the face of anyone if only for a few minutes. It comes with an assortment of gifts like make up, trendy t-shirts, haircare products and fashion accessories to name a few. This is a special holiday box that can be used as a stocking stuffer as well.

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14. Nike Epic React Sneaker

LISTEN!!! When I tell you these sneakers relieve all the stress in your knees and in your back. it’s an understatement. Not only does it relieve the stress but they are shock resistant when you are running which is a plus for me. We all know that one of the key things to do to beat anxiety and depression is exercise. Why not give a little motivation with these sneakers to get the ball rolling.

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15. Detox Foot Pads

I know this sounds a bit crazy but apparently these foot pads have been working wonders for folks. Don’t believe me… just read the reviews. These organic naturally curated foot pads are said to improve your sleep quality, reduce brain fogginess and improve clarity. I personally have added this to my not so christmasy Christmas list.

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16. Aromatherapy Diffuser Gift Set

This ultrasonic diffuser quietly spreads a cool mist with the scent of aromatic essential oils in the air to create a relaxing environment. The best thing about this set is you can bring this with you anywhere., it’s great to travel with.

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17. Battlefield of The Mind - Joyce Myer

Now y’all know I am a church girl at heart and I LOVE JESUS so it’s a no brainer to add this book to the list. I’ve read this book two times with the last time being my worst anxiety episode ever. It helped me to put everything into perspective and develop and more intimate relationship with God, which in turned helped me in my recovery process. You never know how much you would help someone with this book.

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18. COLD HARD CASH!

Last but certainly not least give the gift of money. You never know how bad peoples struggles are especially those who suffer with mental health issues. Sometimes financial anxiety can take over your entire mind and you feel so helpless and lost. A nice holiday gift card could make anyones day!

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I truly wish everyone an as happy as you can be holiday, Cheers to finishing up 2018 strong!

5 Reasons Solo Travel Is Good For Anxiety

Some might think it’s childish I’ve never been on a vacation alone in all my now 39 years of life, welp call me childish. All I can say is I don’t know what the hell took me so long to do this. It felt good to me to push past my fears and just do something that is completely not my normal. As some may know I have battles with the worst type of intrusive thoughts. I can think the ultimate worst outcome about anything, so traveling solo wasn’t exempt. For some reason, all I kept envisioning was the guy Screw Face from that old Steven Seagal movie rolling up on me on the side of the road and screaming, “Screwface have two heads and four eyes” in the thickest Jamaican accent ever. Even with those thoughts and some not so great reviews about Jamaica I still decided to book. I found this dope ass resort called Breathless in Montego Bay and boy is this resort taking my breath away! I love it! Aside from every waiter that works there proposing his love for me it has been one peaceful, relaxing and grown ass trip. So here I am at the close of my trip and I have come to the conclusion I will be doing this at least three times a year. Here are the five reasons I think solo travel is great for any one who is coping with anxiety.


1. You feel grown and confident AF

I didn’t realize just how self conscious I was until I came out here dolo to Jamaica . I find myself always concerned about what others might be thinking or saying about me, blame it on the anxiety. Would they think I was crazy or a weirdo for coming to this resort alone? All these things and more ran through my mind, but I shut all that ish down and pushed through. I put on my skimpy bathing suit and walked out to the pool with my head held high and you couldn’t tell me I wasn’t on the Victoria Secret runway. I embraced every fat roll and curve or lack of curve for that matter and let my stomach go, and just walked and it felt damn good! Not to mention my stomach muscles could rest from not having to suck it in every 5 mins.


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2. You control your timeline with absolutely no pressure

Unlike when you are traveling in a group or with one other person you get to control every aspect of your timeline. Sometimes with my anxiety I feel completely out of control, so being able to have control of my day and activities actually satisfies my need to be in control. You get to say when you’re going to breakfast, you say if you wanna stay in the room all day and sleep or blow the whole day at the beach. You get to make all the decisions and do whatever the hell you want to do, without feeling pressure to make someone else happy or compromising.

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3. You discover things about yourself you might not have known

When you are faced with being your own company you might get to discover new things about yourself. Or rediscover things about yourself you might have thought you lost during your struggles with mental health. I’ve noticed that I talk to myself in excess, and the things that I say to myself haven’t been the most encouraging. This time alone can give you the chance to confront all those crazy thoughts and take your power back. My morning meditations at the beach were focused on self love talk and talking better to myself overall.

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4. You start to realize what you really want in life

While I was at dinner or beach side eating lunch I would people watch. I’d watch groups of friends and couples, I ‘d watch the resort staff, chyle I was just watching and admiring everybody. It made me sit back and think about what would really make me happy. The things I like, the things I don’t like. I took a full assessment and wrote a list out of things I believe would make me happy. I think I have gotten so much closer to being my authentic self and speaking up about what I want for myself. I no longer want to compromise my happiness for no one or anything else ever again.

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5. Investing in experience is way more rewarding than investing in things

Having an experience you will always remember, especially positive ones that challenge you to learn new things is the absolute way to go! Studies have shown that the secret to happiness is spending money on experiences, not things. Recent research from San Francisco State University found that the thrill of purchasing things quickly fades, trust me I know! I was so pressed to get them Louboutin So Kates and now a bish can’t even walk in them for 10 minutes straight with out looking like I’m having a full on seizure. What I now know is travel memories last a lifetime. When you invest in solo travel you’re investing in an experience you’ll get to keep forever.

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So don’t hesitate any longer and go out there and book that solo trip yall!