When this began I didn’t know what an “influencer” was. The meanings of “follow,” “like,” and “hashtag,” weren’t part of my vernacular and 2 p.m. was an empty space between personal training clients. When this began I also lived in fear of dementors dominating my daily life.
Simultaneously the #fitspo was swallowing the fitness industry whole, like a hot pink horse pill peddled by said “influencers,” in hopes of getting a hit of the highly-addictive instant-gratification of our newly founded “insta-world.” While in Largo, Florida, I was up and in the gym with clients — everyday — at 6 a.m. with a cup of coffee, and a hug ready to go.
My mission was — is— to build humans from the inside out. The human body is the most complex piece of machinery ever crafted. A luxury vehicle, deserving to be handled with respect, love, and dedication. It’s been my mission to understand it and all its complexity.
Understanding its evolution is never ending — and therefore should be treated as such. Every moving part serves a greater purpose for the whole. Nothing is a mistake, and every piece has a place. The human body is magic realized — and it’s so much more than the the aesthetics we’ve come to obsess over, as a thanks to more than public progress photos.
Running a full-time personal training business as a full time student was more than enough to test my passion, and patience. I was wrapping up a B.A. in Digital and Mass Media Communications. A degree nearly six years in the making — for what I thought would be nothing but an ill-fitting robe and an initialed piece of paper. A degree that ripped me from everything, to show me exactly what I had:
A knack for the click clack of a keyboard, a love for transformation, and an uncanny talent I had honed that transforms traumas into tests, tests into lessons, lessons into stories, and stories into human connections. My degree showed me that every human has stories, truths, loves, and traumas, that deserve to be heard.
When practiced with love, objectivity, and empathy, communication transforms from a task, to a tool. It evolves into authentic human connection. It’s by these connections that we form relationships, families and social circles. Communication is the concrete foundation for a healthy, and well functioning society. It’s the one thing that seems to be missing from our world. The willingness, and the want, to connect, share and be human, with — albeit — other humans.
Every class was a mirror to — in my eyes — blatant errors in the media. We all want to be followed, liked, and shared. We all want to feel like we matter. So how is it that we have come across the most anthropologically advanced piece of technology —our species has yet to discover until recent history — and use exclusively to get an extra hit of the hottest drug on the market.
Social media has the power to serve one of the most primal human needs — aside from the obvious of sustenance, shelter and security — is human connection. Without it, we wilt and wither away like that of an unloved houseplant sentenced to a life of solitude, without a lick of sunshine.
We have all — to one degree or another — “been there.” We’ve been the houseplant in the corner. Bruising our leaves in an effort to soak up just a few little rays of light. Wondering what the purpose is anyway, to have something so beautiful left at the hands of darkness.
My personal battle with dementors isn’t locked away in a Chamber of Secrets. It’s online. I went from proclaiming my distaste for humans — as has become so common as a thanks to internet — to sharing every bit of my journey with a digital world.
Knowing that there were human beings behind those usernames. Human beings in search of something they were missing in “real life.”
There was a moment in one of my classes — Media Ethics (yeah… I know… the irony)— where something just clicked. After 5+ years of questioning what the fck I was going to do with a degree, it made sense.
“Journalism is the business of humanity,” I said to my professor. “It’s our job to share the stories, and connect with other human beings.” To remind them that there are stories to be told, and no one is a wasted chapter.
I took to social media that day and began sharing my own story. Knowing that if I wanted others to open up to me, I would have to take the first step. It wasn’t about how many people read, or even liked it. It was about starting a conversation that needed to be had.
With every onion layer of my personal journey that was posted, came an influx of messages from other humans thanking me for “being vulnerable.” They thanked me for being “brave,” and it left me baffled.
I can’t be the only one.
The posts got more real, and the message got clearer. Everyday, between ‘flients’, I would write, connect and share with humans. Yes. Real life people. The humans all too comfortable suffering in silence on the outskirts. Who “get it,” and just “don’t wanna sound crazy,” when they need someone to — lovingly — start the conversation.
We scroll our way through the day, double tapping things we like, and swiping left on those we don’t. Refreshing screens for red tabbed notifications that arbitrarily validate the lives we lead.
What if, we stopped scrolling, and started connecting? What if we took time to say “how are you really,” and prompt the larger questions of life.
What if we use social media to start a conversation on the importance of mental health, being love, while promoting impactful psychological and sociological change?
This tool we’ve uncovered, that has been bruised and beaten by the barbaric notions of society, deserves a facelift. It’s time to take social media back from the bots, booties, and breast implants.
Let’s make socials a place to be social. A place of ever-expanding evolutions, mutual growth, and positivity. A place for stories to be shared, respected and heard.
It’s more than the quantifiable values we have become fixated on. It’s about humans finally receiving what they have needed for far too long. A pseudo-watering hole that connects human beings around the world based on mutual interests.
It is time to evolve our interests from viral videos to a #real virus. According to the AFSP , in 2017 there were nearly 1.3 million suicide attempts in the United States, and suicide stands as the 10th leading cause of death.
Headlines read ages as young as 9 years old, ending their lives. Regardless of what the individual trigger was, the route cause is always the same. What’s the point if the darkness is going to be that loud and present / no one understands / or there is no one to talk to judgement free.
We can talk about “awareness” until we are blue in the face, in my heart it’s time for more than that. It is time to put this earth shattering mechanism to the test and use it to take action. It’s time to remind the people behind the usernames of what connects all of us down to the fibers of our being.
The need to love, and be loved. Every human deserves to know they’re worth the human-right to evolution, change, and growth. The only reason your dementors are here, is to show you just how magical you are.
Like a sorcerer’s stone, it’s been buried, and likely in the wrong hands, for way too long. It’s up to you to blow of the dust, and take back what’s always been yours. To know that you have it in you to conquer every hurdle, and execute your reps — in and out of the gym — with dedication, focus, and optimism.
This is my WHY. It’s everything to me. If I could give back even half of what this experience has given me thus far, it would be too little. Every single human that comes across Human Builder will be reminded of their worth. They will know — even for a moment — that they aren’t crazy, and there is at least one more human out there who really does “get it.”
It is my WHY To be the person I wish I had when things were at their worst, to authentically connect with, and educate, humans around the world, and create a program that provides actionable steps to defeat dementors in/out of the gym, with the intention of helping prevent suicide from going — any more — viral.