TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF:
My name is Annika Leonard and I was born in St. Louis, raised in Milwaukee, and I relocated to North Carolina in 2019. It’s funny that the first question is tell me about yourself because I’ve been on a journey of discovering exactly who I am. I’ve experienced a lot of harm in my life and its taken some time but I’ve finally figured out that what I thought was my personality was really just the person I needed to be to “survive”. When I relocated I had a chance to really look at me through the lens of people who did not know me. It can be interesting making friends as an adult. These experiences made me question some of my thought patterns and behaviors. In some situations I liked who I saw, in other instances I did not. In both, I’ve learned to extend myself grace. Who am I? I am a person who is on a journey of discovering who she is outside of the harm she has experienced. I am a person who is finally able to slow down and really see the fullness of who I am, flaws and all.
HOW DO YOU FEEL WHEN YOU WEAR NATURAL E?
Extremely proud and honored. I am reminded of when we met and I shared with you my dream of engaging youth. In truth, I’ve viewed you as a person I was accountable to. Fast forward to today, when I wear the sweatshirt we co-branded, it makes me feel like I am carrying a piece of both our dreams and it’s such an honor. I also have a “Love Yourself” hat and it’s such a beautiful, gentle reminder to me to do just that. When I wear my hat, I see your face, I hear your voice and it’s asking me did I make my bed this morning. Your branding is on point, lol.
HOW ARE YOU PRIORITIZING YOU?
I am doing what I want to do, when I want to do it. I used to compromise a lot. I was a huge people pleaser. I’m speaking up for myself. Now my “no” is a complete sentence and I go about my business. I am not explaining anything to anyone. I am also practicing showing up unapologetically for myself, putting myself first.
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