If you’ve paid attention to media headlines in 2016; you’ve definitely seen Kesha’s name in many of them. She spent most of this year in the midst of a legal battle against Dr. Luke that talked of Kesha being drugged, sexually assaulted, and broken down so that she could be completely controlled.
On December 12th, Kesha was given the Trailblazer Award at Billboard’s Women in Music Awards and during her speech, the audience – composed in large of her peers – applauded her for her honesty, bravery, and ability to stand in the face of adversity and work on loving herself in the process.
We were inspired by Kesha’s speech and bravery and saw so many young adults that felt the same way on social media. We wanted to deliver an open letter to Kesha for her bravery and her triumph, and for her honesty about the times that were dark, too.
When you got on stage last night, among your peers, speaking to them and your fans at home watching; you won. You didn’t just win an award for being a trailblazer, you didn’t just get recognition for your songwriting and your voice, you won every single struggle you’ve ever battled, you won against the naysayers, and you won against that voice in your own head that sometimes says you’re not worth it.
You stood in a body you’re growing to become comfortable with and you spoke of self-love. You used a voice that you’ve felt wasn’t strong enough and talked about depression and anxiety and an eating disorder and you didn’t wear those things as shame. You wore them bravely for the world to see so that you could encourage others who are struggling with the same to just keep going. You’ve used your platform for years, especially this year, even in the media spotlight, to remind young adults everywhere that being yourself is the most important thing. That fighting your fight is worth the pain along the way, and that you are not the sum of your mistakes.
“When I was very, very sick and getting sicker, I would hear about how much better and better I was looking.”
You brought up a point that every person with an eating disorder remembers clearly; the first compliment after the weight is lost, then the second, then the third. The praise from those around you, from people you run into that you haven’t seen in a while. You touched on the statements that can spiral a young adult into a deep dark place; one that you’re familiar with but not too ashamed to talk about so that other people don’t have to face it alone.
Being a trailblazer is about the ways you impact the lives of people around you, the way you inspire them, the way you encourage them – and you’ve inspired and encouraged a generation. From your fight for basic equality and lgbtq+ rights to your openness about anxiety, depression, and your eating disorder – you’ve let a struggling generation know that with love, it’ll all make sense.
Thank you for getting up and “putting your boots on” even on days that you don’t want to, thank you for not being too afraid to be emotional and to admit that sometimes things hurt and sometimes you have to just let that hurt exist so that you can be stronger in the face of it later. Thank you for encouraging people to be brave and be honest and be open; if no one shared their struggles we’d all think we were facing them alone.
Thank you for your honesty, for saying that people are going to love you and people are also going to hate you, that they’re going to build you up but also tear you down but that as long as you know yourself, those negative things won’t bring you down and the positive ones, they’ll just be additions to your already solid center.
You’ve been a beacon of hope this year, of light and of love, and you’ve been deserving of more kindness that you’ve probably received. The world turns on another day and with it comes more of an opportunity for you to rise, and you continue to do so with grace.
Thank you, Kesha, for being brave. Thank you for encouraging us to be the same.
Life is hard sometimes and things don’t always work out the way you planned it but if you keep on believing and you keep working hard, and you keep fighting and you keep showing up for yourself, you can move mountains. Sometimes your journey can take unexpected turns, but that’s the beauty of this life. So, get up and show up for yourself and don’t let anyone stop you, and most importantly, do not let anyone else ever take your happiness. You are worth it. And thank you for reminding me I’m worth it too.