Honestly, I can think of few things more difficult for me than to pen an about me piece. It feels icky to me for a lot of reasons. But, I’ll try.

I love vintage finds, thrifting, and most all things outdoors. I never have a shortage of books or true crime podcasts and Audible memberships are by far my favorite gift I have ever gotten. If this were a bad Tinder bio, I’d say I like quiet evenings at home watching documentaries in pajamas with red wine and my favorite pup on the planet. …

When healthy habits become mentally unhealthy

Photo by Victor Freitas on Unsplash

Every morning the alarm goes off at 5 AM. I spend a half-hour scrolling through my phone, drinking pre-workout. Then I lace up my lifting shoes and head to my garage gym.

I don’t struggle with what to do. Every workout is meticulously planned, 6 weeks ahead. Printed, highlighted, color-coded, and transferred to a dry erase board the night before.

Each morning I spend 2 hours in my garage. Willing myself to be better than the day before. …

How I discovered writing

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Take a look. It’s in a book.

Once, I was a little girl sitting on an orange-floral couch. An avocado green rotary phone sat on a table next to me. It rang. I watched it rock back and forth on the cradle.

LeVar Burton was reading to me from a black and white TV on a stand. His sing-song voice captivated my tiny mind. I hurried my feet — pit-pat, pit-pat — when I heard the theme song.

In the same, dimly lit living room, I watched as my friend Mister Rogers showed me how books were made. I was captivated, still.

Someday, I would write my…

Why I don’t love the all-mighty text message

Person holding banana as a telephone.
Person holding banana as a telephone.
Photo by Yasin Arıbuğa on Unsplash

My babysitter, Ms. Mae, had an avocado green rotary phone. It sat on a tiny, 3-legged table next to her orange-floral couch. It was magical to me as a little girl. It didn’t have buttons that beeped like our phone at home. It had what I called a spinner in the middle, instead.

After that, I got off the school bus at my Granny’s house. She left her whole family when she married. At the time, it was more than a 7-hour car trip. …

When some times become the last times

Image provided by Author

That winter, the snow fell in blankets. I dug my small hands in the snow off the side of the porch. Stacking groceries from our refrigerator in the caves I had made after the electricity had gone out. Always careful not to get too close to the kerosene heater inside. The winter before, I had fallen on it and burned my cheeks and hands.

Dressed in a fluffy pink snowsuit, fitted with two rabbit ears on the hood and one cottontail on the back seam, I fussed. I hated these snow clothes! I cried. I cried because I didn’t want…

They listened last month

Last month, my homepage became awash with grumblings and (honestly) conspiracy theories about the elusive Medium bonus pay. Article after article about what this platform might do next.

Then P.S. I Love You announced its official closure of new submissions for June 30th. Followed by more articles speculating, detailing, and further explaining what this could mean in the future.

I thought the extra bonus money email was sent to me by accident last month. Seriously. I opened the first email with the payout summary, like every month. …

On grief

Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash

“My dreams are coming true. Dreams I didn’t even know I had. He’s missing it. ” -Arizona Robbins, Grey’s Anatomy

Mournings. Mornings.

I don’t know what they are anymore.

In another life, I prided myself on being an early riser. I loved waking up early when the house was quiet, and I had a few hours to myself. My introverted soul longed for these hours. Only the universe and me coexisted then.

Now it seems to run together. Days and nights and nights and days.

Mornings have become a different time.

I remember those first mournings. The sudden weight on my chest…

How to advocate for yourself

Photo by Inside Weather on Unsplash

It’s the end of Mental Health Month.

So many memes and graphics float around on social media about mental health. Slogans like “Prioritize Mental Well-being!” and “Self-care is Mental Health!” crowd our Instagram feeds. Recently, online counseling services have shown up in my targeted ads.

Despite this, there are many pitfalls between caring for our mental health and finding the right kind of help. It can be difficult to advocate for our own mental health.

Health care coverage is a barrier. The area you live in is a barrier. Age, gender, race — all barriers to finding and receiving adequate…

Fat has become a dirty word

Photo by AllGo - An App For Plus Size People on Unsplash

For context, I searched the word ‘fat’ for this image. 661 results came up. The majority of which are women.

In fifth grade, I was in a Christmas play at school. The play was a nativity reenactment. I was an angel — clad in tights, a gold tinsel halo, and a white, hand-sewn gown.

Looking back, this should have been an omen of so many things to come in my life. For one, my tights were black instead of angel white. For another, I lip-synced the Christmas hymn. I wasn’t nervous like the other little angel girls. I didn’t giggle…

It’s poorly masked shaming

Photo by Mike Powell on Unsplash

In high school, I learned to link food with getting fat. I never ate breakfast. I never at a meal at school. I never felt hungry. My fear that food meant I would get fat told me that I shouldn’t eat unless my stomach was growling. So I didn’t.

I was slender in these high school days and no one asked me about it. No one made any comments about my health or my appearance. No one noticed until senior year when I gained 10 pounds.

I didn’t realize for many years the damage I was doing to my young…

Leah O'Daniel

INFJ. Creative Writer. Survivor. Resident black sheep. Old enough to have a skincare routine.

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