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. …


5 books that changed my perspective and honest reviews

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For the past year or so, I’ve been immersed in unpacking lifelong trauma. As anyone that has experienced a dark night of the soul, can tell you, the undertaking of healing was an accident.

If you’re unfamiliar, dark night of the soul is a collapse of core beliefs. In short, you lose what you once believed to be the meaning of life. Specifically, your life.

In my case, this collided with what I now know is Complex PTSD. A second factor that can force total breakage of core beliefs.

When this happened to me, I flailed for a long time…


But not for the reasons you might think

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I promised vulnerability in this publication. And vulnerable this is.

For 10 years, I’ve been in the passenger seat of my husband's military career. To date, we’ve completed 6 PCS (permanent change of duty station) moves. Lived in 10 different houses — some apartments, some hotels too.

I’ve weathered long deployments and many other separations. Missed birthdays, holidays, and funerals. I’ve been alone more often than not. Sat through scary medical emergencies in places unfamiliar to me.

I’ve cringed when strangers poured out their political beliefs in a check-out line. People somehow believe because my spouse is military, I hold…


Tactics I learned through trial and error

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If you’ve ever dealt with a narcissist, it can feel like this staircase image. Around and around you go. Sometimes taking two steps at a time. Sometimes running, other times slowly climbing. You play with how to move up or down the staircase.

Before you reach the end of the staircase, you’ve morphed into someone you don’t recognize. Eventually working yourself into utter madness, it seems.

Nothing works. Ultimately leaving feelings of exhaustion, despair, anger, and sadness (among other complicated webs of emotions).

Here’s my story

I hate the word narcissist. I hate it as it…


Here’s the difference

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Two years ago, my relationship with a close family member started to unravel. One big event triggered a lifetime of unresolved trauma.

As the months wore on, the unraveling continued to speed up. Pieces of a warped puzzle, glued with manipulation, came together.

I can see it all now. I can see how hard I tried through the years. Tried to make it work, tried to manage the chaos. I had boundaries, I thought.

I’ve learned that I didn’t. I had a grudge instead.

Since that catalyst event, many things have changed. I moved from desperately trying to fix it…


Post-trauma

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It’s the end of July. Summer will end in a few weeks and soon, we’ll transition from hot girl summer to basic bitch fall trends.

Wait. What?

I’m scratching my head. Somehow it feels like it’s still March 2020 but also like the Capitol riots were only a week ago. And then, somehow it feels like the beginning of quarantine was ages ago.

That’s the thing about traumatic experiences though. It skews our perception of time. Only now are many of us beginning to feel the physiological effects of 2020’s trauma.

Let me explain what I mean.

Trauma keeps our…


To me

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Hi. Welcome to my new publication.

I have a smattering of pieces published here that detail how, why, and when I started chasing this writing dream. It started as a little girl who had big plans and even bigger dreams for her life.

That’s cliche. Most writers I know start with that story. So I won’t. I’ll start with the unfiltered truth.

I don’t have the answers to success or life or anything else either. I have a lot of childhood trauma and a lot of life lessons. …


Why it matters to have a large library of published content

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Let me start with brutal honesty:

I can’t say that everything I’ve published has been top quality. In fact, sometimes it makes me cringe when a notification pops up from an older piece.

Other times, it shows me how far I’ve come and how I’ve grown.

I remember reading all the guru how-tos at the beginning of my freelancing career. Most of them suggesting that a large library of content was a big component of monetary success.

In those early days, this platform was the only trickle of income…


What if, it could change your life?

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Several years ago I found myself waist-deep in the wellness meets fitness meets holistic health world.

Fluffy pink, pretty worded graphics filled my social media feeds. I bought a gratitude journal (a few of them, TBH). Wrote down affirmations on poster boards and taped them next to my bathroom mirror.

Everyone around me at that time seemed to exist on an unparalleled plane of zen.

Try as I might, I could not get there. Instead, I stayed trapped in a vicious cycle of outwardly projecting that these new-age tactics were working for me. …


Enough with the productivity porn.

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For years, I prided myself on being put together. My house was always clean. Chores completed. Meals healthy. Workouts accomplished. If you called or text me, I answered or responded. Usually, immediately.

I thought this made me a for-real adult. Believed it made me a good friend. Showed others that I was dependable. Displayed my worth.

I believed that through a perfectly kept house, constant availability, chasing professional achievements, and lack of sleep I was accomplishing something.

Accomplishing adulthood. Maturity. A put-together life. Success. I don’t know what I thought I was proving.

I was ‘on the grind’. The poster…

Leah O'Daniel

Creative writer. Sociologist. Writing about trauma, healing, and everything in between. Old enough to have a skincare routine. Find me: www.leahwriteshere.com

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