Kelly Madera Believes Mental Health Awareness Can Help You Cultivate Your Dream Life

“What I’m building with my community through writing, speaking and coaching is a network of supportive, capable and vulnerable women.” – Kelly Madera, author and mental health advocate

mental health
Image: Kelly Madera

Hi from the Editor’s desk <3 We have so many incredible voices in our community, and one of our favorite things to do around here is to hear your stories and get to know you a bit more. Girls Are Awesome exists for and because of each of you! So today, we’re throwing some shine to Kelly Madera, an author and mental health advocate who’s using her platform as a meeting point for the important conversations that touch our lives – as women, as humans and as allies! We sent her a mini Q&A to pick her brain a little, so dig in below!

Hey, Kelly! Tell us a bit about you…

I am Kelly Madera, or rather, the consciousness that sits within Kelly as she experiences the world. I am a spiritual being that believes in the energy of all people, places and things. I believe that balancing our chakras and learning to listen to our intuition leads to an ultimately more fulfilling life. I require a great deal of physical energy alternating with a great need for quiet and rest.

I am both smart and naïve. A mix of wisdom and childishness. I am prone to some outbursts of emotional immaturity, but I’m also often capable of profound insights. I am both extroverted and introverted, needing people and solitude equally. I am both humble and proud, painfully self-doubting and wildly self-confident. I defy gender stereotypes, and see myself as having not only the strengths of my own gender (female) but those of the masculine gender as well. A kind of psychic androgyny.

I am rebellious and independent. I possess a natural openness and sensitivity that exposes me to extreme suffering, but also a great deal of enjoyment. I have bouts of despair alternating with bliss. Despair when I’m not working and bliss when I am.

mental health

What projects are on your desk these days?

I currently work as a freelance writer, speaker and am currently working on my first book, a memoir!

Writing has long been the way that I process emotions, it always came easy to me. I wrote songs, poems, articles, blogs and captions. But lately the writing I’ve undertaken is the most challenging I’ve ever done. Suddenly, it wasn’t so easy. Currently, I’m writing a memoir and it has ripped me open in ways I never thought possible. It has exposed wounds I didn’t realize were bleeding.

My speaking career and anxiety reduction work are focused on helping anxious women, like myself. I’ve been agoraphobic, I’ve been diagnosed with panic disorder and for a while I thought these illnesses were just “who I was.” But they weren’t, they didn’t define me, they were the resulting combination of not unprocessed stress, and an inability to sit with shameful emotions. I know what it’s like to struggle with anxiety and I know what it’s like to have it managed. Having it managed is 1,000x BETTER. This isn’t a journey I would advise doing alone. I’ll help you, just like other women have helped me.

Can you tell us more about your memoir?

My memoir started as a self-help book about my personal struggles learning to manage anxiety. Yet, as the pages began to unfold I realized it wasn’t just about anxiety, it was about my life. This story that has been inside, waiting for me to be confident and vulnerable enough to tell it. The story of a young woman in big cities, fashion, anger, authority, agency, heartbreak, forgiveness, abuse, family, grief, mental illness, friendship, loss and eventually, transformation. This memoir is the most challenging yet rewarding creative work I’ve undertaken in my life.

mental health
Image: Kelly Madera

Why do you believe it’s important to empower women?

Women have undergone centuries of being second-class citizens. Women’s stories were once told only by men. Women’s pictures were once taken only by men. The vast majority of how women were represented pictorially or described in a literary sense was by how men chose to depict them. Even today, the world’s most successful fashion designers are men. Women initially learned about women through the eyes and words of men, but the world isn’t like that anymore.

Now we have agency, social media and cameras on our phones. Women are able to define themselves instead of being defined. I can’t speak for all women, but I feel that we are deeply connected by a bond that unites us in knowing. We know how it feels to experience the world as a female. It is exceptionally vulnerable and that used to be a bad thing. But it’s not, vulnerability is a sign of strength, not weakness as many of us initially thought. What I’m building with my community through writing, speaking and coaching work is a network of supportive, capable and vulnerable women.

Want to engage with Kelly and her community?
Check out her Instagram, sign up for her newsletter or visit her website!


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