A Year Without Robin Williams

By: Alicia M. Blanco

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On August 11th, 2014 I was flying home from a weekend in Arizona. When I landed and connected back to social media, the first thing I saw was “RIP Robin Williams”.. “actor commits suicide” all over my Facebook and Instagram feed. My body went numb. I was in total shock and disbelief.

Like many of you, I felt like I lost a close friend. I grew up watching and loving him and all the beloved characters he brought to life. It was devastating news to come home to, to say the least. Equally devastating is how mental health and suicide is treated and talked about in society. It isn’t until a celebrity commits suicide that society gives this topic any real attention. This needs to change.

It was on that day last year as I was driving home from the airport that I knew I wanted (and needed) to start my blog and dedicate it entirely to mental health, research, awareness and advocacy. I wanted all of the Robin Williamses of the world to know that they were not alone. It was my hope that by reading stories and articles from other people who have similar FEELINGS and experiences with depression (either personally or within their families) that people could begin to feel a sense of community and belonging. I want them to feel acknowledged, seen and heard. I desired my blog to be a place of hope where people could relate, with no filters, no stories of perfection – just pure and raw honesty.

I could sit here and list off all of the numerical statistics that show you how much suicide has increased over the years. But let me just cut to the chase. IT’S BAD. And every year it’s getting worse. Suicide has no specific victim- no group is “safe” from the impulse.  What’s worse, is that although many people give subtle “signs” that they are contemplating suicide, many people leave no sign at all.

The death of Robin Williams greatly impacted us because on the outside it would seem like he was a relatively happy person. (With a sense of humor like his, it seemed impossible not to be happy.) He also had a dream career, lots of money, fame and the respect and admiration of his fans around the world. This is the part that scares me the most – the amount of people living today who seem like happy people on the outside, but who are really deeply in serious trouble. Earlier in the year I reposted the story about Madison Holleran, a girl who appeared to have it all, (based on her social media, that is.) She ended up committing suicide, despite the utterly happily filtered Instagram life she portrayed to the world.

Depression is a silent killer. Unlike other illnesses that are physically visible, depression is something that builds up on the inside of a person’s mind and body and takes over control. It’s manipulative and even has the power to give off the illusion that everything is fine on the outside. It can also trick its victim into being insecure about sharing how they are feeling with someone.

It’s so heartbreaking, even one year later on the anniversary of his death, to accept that he was suffering so deeply, and quietly…And that’s what breaks my heart: Suicide is preventable – and the responsibility is entirely ours. Together we can each participate in changing these statistics. Enough is enough. Suicidal thoughts and attempts wreck the lives of millions every single day, and over 40,000 die from suicide every single year! Robin Williams’ death was just one of the hundreds who took their own lives on that day. What have we done since then?

We need to take a good hard look at the way we treat people. Our actions and our words matter. When we ask someone “how are you doing?” how many of us are genuinely interested in the response? Do we really care how someone is really, truly doing? Do we really believe someone is as happy as their Facebook or Instagram feed suggests? Are we participating in random acts of kindness for our family, friends and even strangers? Are we ourselves slipping into episodes of depression because of how much we compare ourselves to the “picture perfect” lives of others?

We are so “plugged-in” to our phones and computers these days that we have completely disconnected from community and heartfelt communication.

The way we talk about depression and mental health research & advocacy can re-shape the future. It can be as simple as changing the way we use our words; The words we use to talk about suicide; The words used in media to broadcast it; The words used to build someone up, or tear them down; The amount of time we spend using words of affirmation and encouragement. Bullying. Cyber bullying. Racism. Hate. Addressing depression. Make no mistake about it – the words we use matter.

“Our words are the ground note. Words are the least expensive, most valuable tool we have to educate, to turn the tides of public opinion, to affect real change. Let’s stop conversations that destroy lives, start conversations that save lives, and redirect conversations that distract us from what really matters.” – Dese’Rae Stage

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If you or anyone you know is suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts, please call 1-800-784-2433 or visit save.org

The Inner Beauty Nail Polish Collection

by: Alicia M. Blanco

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This is so exciting! After meeting and working with some amazing at-risk youth for the Miss Inner Beauty Pageant, I felt really inspired by them. As you know, I am a huge fan of The Secret, the law of attraction, vision boards, words of affirmation, and all that jazz!

Sooo, I collaborated with Super Star Nail Lacquer and got to name FOUR colors!

The names I chose in this collection are positive words of inner beauty traits and affirmations – (because the words we say are so powerful!) ((how many times have you heard me say that by now?)).

We have:
– “I Am Happy” – Pink
– “I Am Bold” – Purple
– “I Am Creative” – Blue
– “I Am Confident” – Red

So whenever someone asks you, “what color is that?” your response will have to be, “I Am HAPPY”, “I Am BOLD”, “I Am CONFIDENT” or “I Am CREATIVE”… #boom

And, when you have your nails done and you’re feeling good, you will glance down and remind YOURSELF that you carry one of those inner beauty traits with you.

All of the proceeds from your purchase will go towards funding next year’s Miss Inner Beauty Pageant.

Also, just so you know, these little girls are feeling pretty cool knowing there are nail polishes out there that are being named after them… #cute

***(This collection is DBP, formaldehyde and tolune free) – Aka 3-FREE… Aka not bad for you. ;)*** Products are vegan friendly and toxic free.

Thanks for the support!!

UPDATE: From the initial post date, we sold out of our polishes and made amazing profit for this years pageant. If you are one of my customers and supporters, THANK YOU for supporting inner beauty and words of affirmation!

The Secret That Changed My Life

by: Alicia M. Blanco

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It’s no secret by now that I’m a big advocate for positive affirmations. I mean just look, it’s how I begin every single blog of mine. I intended it to be that way – I want the first thing you see when you glance over at my blog to be an affirmation that I pray will manifest in your day and life!

It’s just second nature to me at this point to wake up and declare things like “today is gunna be amazing,” “I am so happy and grateful now that I have X,Y,Z” (X,Y, & Z being dream circumstances I envision for my life.) Even if I don’t presently have those things, I speak them into existence– as if they already do exist.

I do this because I firmly believe that the things you think about most and talk about most will absofrickenlutely manifest in your life at some point or another. (Even the bad thoughts!)

And I learned all of this from two places: The Bible of course and second, a book called The Secret.

A lot of people are afraid of the Bible because it seems so long, intimidating, dated, heavy, confusing bla bla bla. (I used to think all of these too by the way.) But in time I’ve learned how to read it effectively for MY life and feel so thankful that there are additional tools out there like The Secret (which comes in audiobooks, DVD and hard copy) that help people take control of their lives.

The Secret DVD also introduced the concept of vision boards to me.

Vision boards are so powerful and effective at keeping people “in check” with their thoughts. It’s when you cut out WORDS and images or print off words and images from the internet of your dream life; relationship, career, car, physique, family, EVERYTHING… and paste them onto a poster board. Very #DIY and fun!

I’m so happy that such a huge wave of vision board parties and online vision boards a la Pinterest exist in such a big way these days! Mine is right next to my bed so it’s literally the first thing I see in the morning. The second thing I see in the morning is my mirror that I’ve written positive affirmations on as well- so when I go to wash my face and brush my teeth I am forced to read things like, “you are attracting amazing people, jobs, contracts, opportunities and favor into your life,” and “you are beautiful just the way you are,” and “your dreams have come true. Congrats” LOL. Seems silly but I have evidence that this stuff really works! It’s creepy and cool!

So last night was “dress rehearsal” for the girls competing in the Miss Inner Beauty Pageant and it all came full circle to me when I saw the shirts that they will be wearing for their opening number. You guys… the cutest. The shirts were adorned with their “inner beauty” titles that they each chose for themselves!!!! WORDS that describe who they are and who they want to be.

We have “Miss Joyful” “Miss Generosity” “Miss Outgoing” “Miss Loving” etc… You get the picture! UM I JUST MELT. They are declaring these inner beauty traits for themselves!

IT IS SO POWERFUL that these young girls are clothing themselves in affirmations – words they want to speak into existence for their lives!

I couldn’t be more proud to be part of such a huge wave in the lives of each of these young ladies. I hope this brings a smile to your face and encourages you to take control of your thoughts TODAY, speak positively and expect the best for your life.

One positive thought today, right now, can change your entire day. It may start off small but before you know it you’ll have a huge wave of feeling good all day long. TRY IT.

But take note, the same thing can happen with negative thoughts too. One negative thought can impact the rest of your day… it too can start off small, but then it spirals downward and builds into this huge wave of a mess.

I look forward to the day that YOUR positive thoughts become REAL in your life… ahhh I am honestly just so excited for you! When I first learned “The Secret” back in 2008, I didn’t want to keep it a secret at all. I wanted to run and tell everyone. It changed my life in such a big way and that’s what I want for you. And WHEN it happens for you, I pray you feel compelled to pay it forward and help those around you to recognize the power of their minds.

So I urge you to stop thinking things like “I am ugly” or “today will probably be a bad day” or “my mom will never understand me” or “no one likes me…I will always be alone…” AHHH seriously STOP ITTTTTTTT.

“Thoughts become things. Ask. Believe. Receive” – XO, The Secret.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”-XO, God

So go out and be fabulous today! BE HAPPY. Be giving. Be a boss. Own your very own empire. Declare it. Expect it. And it will come!