Hey, boo! I'm Deborah Shepherd...
You can call me Debby, though! I'm a 22 year-old, adoptee raised in Los Angeles, CA. However, I consider Seattle to be home. I still can't believe I packed two suitcases and moved here at 18 years old. I recently graduated from Seattle Pacific University with a B.A. in Communications with a Journalism Track.
Growing up, I was always the girl who was "over dressed." I mean, thick winged eyeliner paired with at least three coats of only the blackest mascara. Oh! I can't forget the painful memory of me stumbling into a theology class with 6 inch, tan platforms on free dress Fridays at Immaculate Heart High School. Keep in mind, I attended an all girls Catholic school with no one to impress but myself.
Disclaimer: Now, I can sit here and share all of my accomplishments and future goals, which you'll find out if you follow me on bloglovin' but that's not me. I'm intentionally open about my struggles to help and possibly relate to at least one person who needs it.
I was masking so much pain under all the clothes and makeup. I was clinically depressed and had social anxiety. I struggled with suicidal thoughts on a regular basis due to body image issues, boys, family dysfunction, toxic friendships, and self-hatred. My dark blue sanctuary held all my secrets. It contained my cradle where I cried myself to sleep daily, as soon as my backpack hit the floor. My bed seemed like the only place where my tears where welcomed. But fashion was my escape. Fashion was therapeutic. Fashion gave me confidence. Fashion gave me full control and freedom.
Later on, I realized that I could no longer put on a facade while my soul was disintegrating. Entering my senior year of high school, I was forced into counseling. I didn't stay long, primarily due to financial reasons, but it did help me start the battle of fighting this depression. I read every self-help article that was titled "10 Ways to Get Through a Bad Day," "5 Easy Steps to Confidence," and my personal favorite "3 Reasons You're Awesome." Now, in no way am I knocking these articles. In fact, I can recall some articles and books helping me through some of the toughest days I've encountered. But honestly, nothing ever really stuck. I relapsed, if you will, all the time. Sometimes even an hour later I'd be back to negative self-talk!
By the time I was a freshman in college, I officially hit rock bottom. I was sitting on the bottom-bunk of my dorm room when head started pounding in pain, sweat dancing down my temples, and my heart physically aching. As I've mentioned, it was a pain I never felt before. I tried reading self-help articles, podcasts, and videos but NOTHING helped me. I wept for hours. I knew about God but I didn't have a relationship with Him. In fact, I was pissed at Him more than anything. Bigger than pissed. Livid. Infuriated. Enraged that a "loving God" would let me go through so much pain that I thought death would be better than living like this.
Just when I was about to end my life, something told me to open my laptop. I went on Facebook and found this video called "A Power of A Thought" by Bishop T.D. Jakes. That video saved my life that day. Side note: If you've read about "The Secret" and the "Law of Attraction" but are also curious about Christianity, you need to watch this video. Leave all your judgements about the Christianity at the door and just listen to it. Ignore his charismatic personality if you prefer something more monotone. And simply listen to the damn sermon. That day, I finally surrendered my life to God. And it stuck.
Little did I know, there was purpose in my pain (words by Bishop T.D. Jakes). I'm so much stronger because of all the trials I've been endured. God was the reason I am here, today. "Christianity" and "the church" did not heal my anxiety and depression. My relationship with God, counseling, positive support, and attending church has personally made this fight with depression more successful than my previous methods. The journey to become a Christian felt like a war because everyone around me hid their struggles. I needed to hear real people who struggled with partying, self-hatred, toxic relationships, , etc. The only reason my heart became open to Christianity is because I finally found people who were willing to be honest with me about their past to save my life.
June 1, 2015, I launched the #TransparencyTales campaign. Prior to this, God put on my heart the word transparency. Transparency is defined as some "translucent substance made visible by light shining through from behind." I applaud individuals who are vulnerable about their struggles and how they overcame them. Their openness has brought me strength I never knew I had. I pray that by seeing me live in Transparency will give you the strength to withstand all of life's trials.
#TransparencyTales are daring stories of vulnerability that will be shared on this platform and my YouTube channel. My hope is for all of us to find our inner strength to endure life's frightening and inevitable experiences of pain with resilience. Our stories are vital to building relationships and to destroying hatred of oneself and others. I firmly believe that honestly, forgiveness, and understanding are aspects that can rebuild broken relationships. But this journey starts with a risk: making the time to evaluate the current and the alvevolving condition of our souls.
So, I personally invite you to join me on this journey of self-love and self-acceptance. May we only pour the love back into ourselves so that we may pour it back out to others.