to mature into achievement of one's potential
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Hey there! Welcome to BLOOM. I’m happy you’re here.
If we’re lucky, our 20’s are spent chasing our dreams, exploring new places, and discovering what we want from life. With all of this, comes uncontrollable circumstances and feelings of uncertainty. However, I’ve learned that we can focus our energy on the things that are controllable—the way we treat others, our responses to hardship, and how we embrace our true selves.
A few months ago, I moved to North Carolina to pursue a masters degree in Interactive Media. During this time, I discovered a love for content creation. This professional passion has added to my life in other ways. I’ve found power in taking time to invest in my interests and goals. And now, I am confident in my ability to succeed. This year, I've grown closer to the type of woman I aspire to be.
I created BLOOM to provide a platform for young women to tell stories of healing and transformation. The verb 'to bloom’ means, “to mature into achievement of one's potential." The process of blooming looks different for everyone—and that’s okay. It is my hope that one of these stories resonates with you in some way. I believe if we build a community around shared experience we better lift one another towards success.
Finally, to my contributors, thank you. Thank you for your willingness to share your life with the readers of BLOOM. Your strength shines brightly through your honest words.
HAPPY ON THE INSIDE
THE ART OF HEALING
PURPOSE IN PAIN
(n.) coming to terms with events and circumstances which have occurred in our lives
I’ve waited my whole life for others to see my worth
Today, looking in the mirror,
I realized I was the only one who needed to see it
The healing process asks a lot of us.
Choosing to rise when it’s easier to fall.
Embracing the movement of change.
Revisiting buried memories and emotions.
Releasing resentment from unmet expectations.
Shifting our energy from past to present.
Practicing new habits of self-love.
Honoring who we are and where we’ve been free from judgement.
And with this, we let go.
We create space in our hearts for peace and compassion to grow.
We see our experiences as lessons moving us towards happiness,
And we know ourselves better than we did before.
I am eighteen years old.
I have struggled with depression and eating disorders for a few years. The world has created an unrealistic standard of beauty. Many women, of all ages, struggle with self-doubt and insecurity. I want this statement to change. I did not fit in when I transferred to high school. I started comparing myself to other girls at school. I constantly shunned myself for not looking and acting as they did. I thought that if I changed myself, I would be accepted by everyone.
I started over-exercising and ate close to nothing. It felt so good to have met my goal weight, but that still didn't bring me the happiness I was searching for. Sophomore year, I became very sick and had to be pulled from school. It got to the point where I couldn’t exercise or hangout with my friends. I was truly miserable. I had to be hospitalized and was later diagnosed with Anorexia Nervousa.
" I wanted to be an example for my younger sister and other girls."
While in treatment, I quickly realized the only person that could change the situation was me. I wanted to be an example to my younger sister and other girls. After months of failed recovery, I finally decided to make a change. I read books on confidence and eating disorder recovery. I started changing my ways and doing the things I loved again. During this time, I learned so much about myself. One of the biggest things that helped me was my social media page. I built a positive community of people that lifted and motivated me to recover.
What I want people to receive from reading my story is that you will never truly be happy if you change yourself for others. It doesn't matter how skinny you are, how perfect your Instagram feed looks, or even what friends you have. Happiness and fulfillment will not be found if your mindset isn’t leading you there. If you are struggling with this, please believe you can overcome it.
Work hard at recovery, support others, and always be kind.
Happy on the Inside
God doesn’t always live up to our expectations.
But God always lives up to His word that He will be with us.
We may not understand our loss, our fears, our doubts.
And we may not have the answers to our questions.
Trust God is doing something.
As we hold on to our faith with patient minds and open hearts,
our darkness connects with the light.
Peace finds us.
There is purpose in pain.
WHEN LOVE IS LOST
TOLD ME TO
(n.) the improvement of one's mind, character, habits and beliefs by one's own efforts.
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As far as people without any training or education go, I know a lot about stress. From what I’ve heard, my great-grandmother was the most nervous person to ever walk the Earth. She raised my grandfather, who with an upbringing like that, naturally became an anxiety and phobia psychiatrist. Then he raised my mother. 23 years later, here I am to tell you all what helps me manage my stress levels.
I started getting migraines in college and decided to be more conscious about all this. I’m not going to say that learning to relax cured my headaches entirely because it’s not true. Not to brag, but my pharmacists recognize me when I pick up a prescription.
After college, I got a new neurologist and here’s what she taught me: everything happening in your body is related. Shocking right? This began my new way of life. Stress management equals headache management. I never wanted to take advice before about my overall well-being because I was a college student who wanted to get good grades
Because My Neurologist Told Me To
and make my parents proud and all that. But now you tell me that those same techniques to be a generally healthier person will also help me calm down and decrease my headaches? Sign. Me. Up!!!
So here’s what I got for you. None of it will be mind-blowing because we’re not exactly reinventing the wheel here. But it helps me and maybe it’ll help you too. I know you didn’t come to this magazine to find clinical, medical advice, but don’t be afraid to see someone. I for one can’t wait to start therapy after grad school is over. Clearly I love to talk about myself and definitely have a lot more to work out. Happy relaxation... unclench your jaw and don’t forget to wear sunscreen!
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LADY IN BLOOM:
A MOMENT WITH DORIAN
LEARNING ALONG THE WAY
(n.) interpersonal, non- physical force or essence
What does strength and beauty look like to you?
Strength and beauty is knowing who you are and being proud of that despite. My name is Dorian McCorey. I am a twenty-something Equity actress, former beauty queen, current MBA candidate and economic development analyst. Strength and beauty is knowing that the city of High Point has never had an African American Miss High Point in the history of their organization and competing with your head held high, despite. It’s a quiet knowing of the value you provide and letting that rub off on others around you. It’s the tears streaming down my face after I won, seeing my Papa in the audience of my crowning parade understanding the disparities he’s experienced against people who look like us. It’s knowing who you are and being proud of that despite.
When do you feel strongest?
I am the strongest when I lean into my inner voice. I am the strongest when I set healthy boundaries for myself to respect all that am, ruffling a few feathers of those who prefer that I comply. Women are not taught to be self-interested. Women are taught to be an accessory, to support, to make others happy.
The women I look up to are Myleik Teele, Michelle Obama, Dorothy Dandridge, and Dornswalo McCorey (mom). These women
A Moment with Dorian
Why is it important for women to empower each other?
It is essential for women to empower each other. It is the most necessary dynamic needed. While love and support from our male allies is awesome, there is nothing like a sister encouraging your outfit or assisting with a fly away. True love amongst women is without condition. It is my total self being expressed, accepted and celebrated. It’s the robust experience of everything I am--soft, strong, funny, messy, wild. It is the celebration of womanhood.
What do you struggle with?
Continuing to self-advocate for myself is a struggle. People expect me to sit and look pretty. Beauty is not the highest extent of the value I have to offer. When I served my reign as Miss High Point, I advocated for equitable opportunities in low-income areas. I assisted with the Guilford County Commissioner’s run for mayor. I spoke to North Carolina House Representatives on how we can make High Point a better place. What does a petite beauty queen in gold-high heels know about the pervasive effects of the economic racial wealth gap? Well, how much time do we have?
The true questions are:
Why should my womanhood be siloed? Why do I have to be only pretty or only smart? Why can’t I be both? Why can’t I celebrate my beauty while also celebrating the beauty of others around me? Why can’t I learn what color schemes suit my highlights best and also have a penchant for behavioral economics?
Rarely are men challenged for having the audacity of believing in themselves. So, neither will I. I want women to shine. That’s my dream. I want women to feel heralded in society in which they are often hushed. I want women to have the space for themselves to be bold, full and nuanced. I want women to also hold that same space for their sisters.
As Maya Angelou says, “When a woman stands up for herself, she stands up for all women.”
"True love amongst women is without condition. It is my total self being expressed, accepted and celebrated."
do not apologize for respecting and protecting themselves. The audacity to be great is strength.
Lady in Bloom:
Learning Along the Way
At 16 years old, I started an Instagram page called Feedyoursoull with two girlfriends. At a young age, we had a lot to learn about social media, brand negotiation, and working as a team. Unfortunately, we were unable to overcome some of these obstacles which led to us legally dissolving our LLC after five years. To this day, as the CEO of Feedyoursoull, I never tell anyone that I built this alone. I will always be grateful for my experience working with the other co-founders. These women taught me that passion succeeds. Although they did not share the same passion for the account, they allowed me to continue my unexpected love for food content.
Many Gen Z and millennials want to become an influencer. It seems like a glorious life, right? The opportunity to eat and travel, who wouldn’t be happy? What most people don’t understand is that social media can be exhausting and damaging to mental health. More recently, I’ve felt a lack of motivation to work on creative opportunities for my account. Everyone expects you to be this perfect, creative, and entertaining built-up brand… This lifestyle isn’t always as fabulous as it seems—the constant attention to detail, attempting to please every follower and represented brands, and the judgmental competitor creators. At the end of the day, the person
behind Feedyoursoull is me and I’m human.
As an influential content creator, it can be unbearable to read people’s comments insulting my looks, the way I act, and judging my captions and photos. It gets to me. I’ve always said if I didn’t have a social media-based company, I would drop ALL social media apps from my life. So why am I still doing this? I have a passion and I’m not letting go. A passion for the company I helped build as a teenager. A passion to share universal food as a way to celebrate cultural diversity. A passion to support other creators. A passion to keep going when people tell me to stop. I go back to the day I stuck with Feedyoursoull and remind myself of the early commitment I made to content creation.
My passion is strengthened by those who support me—family, best friends, neighbors, co-workers, teachers, loyal fans, and supportive competitors. All people that make pursuing my passion worthwhile. They lift and encourage me. I seek advice from my “food friends” as I like to call them. These creators see beyond the saturated influencer industry and share my love for creative content. We enjoy welcoming people into our very open circle and helping one another be the best we can be.
I must say I’m not proud to be a part of an overly judgmental industry. It's everywhere when it comes to social media. I am proud to be a part of a female-dominated industry. I want to replace the negativity with words of encouragement. Let’s respond with empowering comments to boost an influencer’s mentality and drive. Positivity is a building block that inspires people to keep pushing forward.
This year, I unexpectedly learned about the hustle. Millennials commonly understand the hustle as, “[having] the courage, confidence, self-belief, and self-determination to go out there and work until you find the opportunities you want in life.” It’s not something a professor can teach. If you got it, you got it.
10 months ago, I took a pretty big chance on myself by moving states to pursue a masters degree. And to be real, it’s been a lot harder than I imagined. The late nights and early mornings are mentally draining. But surprisingly complaining doesn’t get the work done—only doing the work gets the work done. Of course, it’s important to take time off to breathe…but I know the world won’t wait for me. The future is bigger than fleeting moments of stress. Seems harsh, but this is the tough love that kept me pushing forward.
I believe in my future enough to show up and work hard every day. I believe in my potential enough to raise my own expectations of myself every day. I may not be the best designer, writer, or coder in the world. But, if I’m better today than I was yesterday, I know I’m doing something right.
The hustle is investing in yourself, your dreams, and your passions because you know you’re worth it. The hustle is quiet, don’t search for the recognition or praise from others. Get on your own grind—you know how hard you’re working. Your accomplishments will be loud enough.
Copyright 2020 by Cassidy Kolczun