Each week, our Friday Feature will celebrate powerful women from our tribe who share their magic with the world in unique and inspiring ways. This week, we chatted with Lexie Manion, a tribe member who is a body positive activist, mental health advocate, and all around beautiful soul who inspires us daily with her strength, authenticity, vulnerability, and willingness to share herself and her journey. We love her, and know you will, too.
What made you happiest as a child?
Going over to my Grandmom’s house and spending time with her made me the happiest. My Grandmom (my mom’s Mom) was someone I was very close to growing up. She would read stories with me, encouraged my love for arts and crafts, made the most delicious pancakes and always was on my side. She passed away from breast cancer in 2008, but I won’t ever forget her. If I’m ever feeling like my family doesn’t understand what I’m going through, I’ll imagine how she’d try to understand me and comfort me if she was still here.
What inspired you to do what you're doing today, full-time or as your side hustle?
Blogging and the work I do on social media is a side job right now, but I’d love to make it full time in the future! I absolutely love connecting with my audience and hearing their stories as much as I love putting my own thoughts and feelings out there publicly. I felt inspired to blog about my journey more publicly after seeing other body positive and self love influencers on social media. I have always wanted to write a book and blog, but I always felt like I was missing something. Seeing others speaking up and being authentic with struggles and triumphs online was the spark of encouragement I needed to start myself! I knew for certain that though posting mental health and self love journeyed online, for the public to see, is vulnerable, I wasn’t alone.
Can you give us a story that exemplifies why you get fulfillment out of the work you do?
I often get messages from young girls in middle school and high school saying I helped them in some way. Whether it’s being plus size or someone struggling with mental illness or feeling a lot or having a poor body image or struggling with self confidence, being different is hard. I try my best to convey to these young girls that there is strength in being different.
One story that sticks out to me is this young boy who messaged me and thanked me for my posts. I thanked him for supporting me and he went on to tell me he has a close friend who is overweight and often feels insecure. He told me he’d share my page with her because she’s a bit anxious to reach out herself but I encouraged him to tell her to reach out in case she ever wanted to talk.
I haven’t ever heard from her but I think that says a lot. I get a lot of support and feedback around what I do. And I have people telling me they helped them or impacted their life in a positive way. While I’m so grateful for that, that boy makes me think about all the people who struggle to reach out. And my story is my own of course, but I try to be a voice for those who haven’t reached out or opened up yet, whether it be because of anxiety or that they don’t know how to put their story into words.
I’ve had people reach out and say, “I haven’t ever commented anything to you, but I’ve followed you for months and I wish I had said something sooner because your words are so helpful. Thank you”, or “That one post from a couple weeks ago really helped me. I just wanted to let you know!”. I’ve also been in a position where I’ve been too anxious to thank someone for inspiring me. I think that’s more common than people think. Thinking about my younger self being too scared to reach out and open up because of anxiety, and thinking about how many hundreds or thousands of people I impact without even knowing, really keeps me going. Support and praise are always so nice, but I also do what I do for those who feel voiceless. It’s not my job to do this, but I want to because I know what it’s like to be stuck in silence due to my struggles. I want to let the voiceless, the quiet, the lonely know they are loved and that they are never alone.
Is there a roadblock you had to overcome to get where you are today? How did you do it?
My own self doubt and anxiety in general is a roadblock I’ve had to overcome to get where I am today. Some moments I’ll still struggle with believing in myself and fighting anxiety, but in general, I’m much stronger now. I overcame much of this by doing the opposite of what my fears were telling me. If you listen to and believe your fears, you feed it, and it will become harder and harder to improve each time you give in. So I’ve learned to feed my hope and motivation, and “starve” out the negativity.
What does choosing yourself mean to you?
Choosing myself means that I still care about and love others, but I put my own well being and health before others. Because we can’t give others our all and expect everything to fall into place; we need to rescue ourselves before we commit to helping others.
How do you practice self love and care on a daily/weekly basis?
I practice self care by doing daily activities to better my health and mood. Self love is a very similar idea to me, but comes second to self care because I see self care being absolutely necessary work, and self love is kinda the bow on top to ensure I don’t get burnt out. For self care, I take mindful showers, intuitively eat, get my body moving, etc. For self love, I do activities like journaling, positive affirmations, taking selfies, putting on my favorite outfit, etc.
What is your favorite way to express yourself, and why?
My favorite way to express myself is through my writing. I enjoy journaling, writing about my experiences, and sometimes writing poetry. Writing is my outlet. I can process and heal as I write, and I can learn, grow and receive support by sharing my writing.
What is your advice to your 10-year-old and 18-year-old self?
My advice to my 10 year old self is to practice opening up more. I was so shy as I child and I feel like I missed out on a lot because of my worries and anxieties.
My advice to my 18 year old self is to reach out and be honest. I had my first, and thankfully only, suicide attempt when I was 18. I was so worried to reach out for help because I felt like a burden often. I felt so bad for needing therapy and treatment previous years that I didn’t reach out until it was too late.
What do you love most about yourself?
I love my kindness.
What is your message for our tribe?
Your voice matters. So reach out and speak up. Your story is valuable and you are never alone.