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Hi, I'm Jen Landis, founder of Pincurl Girls, and this is the GirlBrave podcast. In this episode I'm going to be talking with McKinley. Kinley is a freshman in high school and she's dealt with anxiety and depression due to the pressure to be successful. In today's show, Kinley will share with us how she used positivity to feel more confident. Let's get to it.Okay. So we're good. Okay. Awesome. All right, so McKinley, thanks for coming out.
So I met you at GirlBrave Fest and I just thought you were amazing and I'm so excited that you're coming to talk to you.
I'm so excited.I've been like really anticipating to do this and yeah, you're, my very first guest today.
Thank you for taking the time. So, tell me a little bit about you.
So I am 14 and I am a freshman in high school. Very a different atmosphere because I used to be homeschooled, so very, very different atmosphere. Um, but I love it. It's such like very good vibes. Um, and I shoot photography. I do, I run the Femme skate night at The Bay. It is another very good vibes and just brings girls closer to each other. And I think that that's very important.
You and I had talked a little bit and I asked you to be on the panel for GirlBrave Fest. Tell me a little bit about your background.
Well, I have a big Mexican family and we are, it's obviously a huge family and so we, um, we, especially with like immigration stuff, we always strive to go above and beyond because we want to show our talents and what we have to offer. So, um, that was, that was probably what, um, had kind of turned onto this huge snowball effect, um, because I had just become very insecure about myself and I, um, was I just tried to do be a lot better than I like I was just very ...
...everything that you did and you might've been feeling like you had to do it for someone else instead of like really wanting to do it for yourself?
Yes, totally. Oh my gosh, good explanation. I love it. Um, but yeah, that's it.
When did you start to feel that insecurity? And that pressure?
Um, I think that was around the time that I, uh, moved here. I moved here in sixth grade and, um, I, I went to actually in North Platte, I went to an all sixth grade school, so I'd never been to a school with seventh and eighth. So in my little small town with only sixth graders, I only had to go above and beyond for sixth grade. But then I had felt like I needed to impress everyone and to go above and beyond, especially in a bigger town.
Did you ever feel like you were enough or was it just, okay, I will, I did this, now I have to do better and better and just keep outdoing yourself?
Yeah, I have very high expectations for myself and that's probably one of the biggest things that I've had to deal with in my life is just having high expectations. And, um, I used to think that I was doing everything wrong because I just, I would keep pushing myself until my body was just like I've had enough. And so I would, I developed really bad anxiety and really bad depression in sixth and seventh grade. And, um, I had to end up actually going to Bryan West for outpatient mental therapy. So that was like the biggest, um, kind of challenge of my life. So, um, I developed a lot of anxiety and depression, which wasn't good.
There's a lot of sixth graders and seventh and eighth graders that are, are dealing with the same things, anxiety, depression, feeling like they're not good enough.Do you have any things that you can share that helped?
Um, okay, so one point is, shout out to my counselor. She was amazing. She did yoga and she did, um, breathing and she did essential oils. And that is probably, you need to find yourself not in a negative space, but you need to fill yourself with positive things. Because when, when you feel yourself with negativity, it's going to keep building on your negativity too. So you need to find positive reasoning in your life because just find something you want to do. Just find something, you want to do, something you're interested in. And I had actually found out that I was interested in forensic science, so, and I found out that I loved math and science just like, I think that anxiety and depression really helped me find my true self.Yeah.
Interesting. I always feel like, um, from my past, the things that I have struggled with the most have taught me the most and ended up getting, getting me to someplace where I'm excited about. Yeah. That I don't think I would've got there if I didn't have those struggles.
All the struggles aren't that bad. Yeah. No. Once you get past them, they're better.Yeah. And there's always a light at the end of the dark tunnel.
So tell me about the first day of high school, you have been homeschooled for years. What was it like getting out of the car and walking into school?
I was, I was so nervous, but then I also had to think positive thoughts because that was what was going to get me through it. And, um, well obviously I didn't go to, I went to middle school just a smidge, but not a lot. So I didn't have very many friends. So I was just thinking, okay, like I just need to join some clubs, mingle a little bit and put myself out there. And that was what was going to get me good and positive feedback.
How did you have the guts to join these clubs and like put yourself out there when you're feeling, you know, nervous about it and it's also brand new?
Well, um, I, I've always been very outspoken and very, uh, just like I've always put myself out there. I am, I did, I in Christmas programs, I would be the first volunteer to speak and I always loved being the center of attention. So that just kind of allowed me to do that a lot better. And I love speaking in front of people. I like sharing my story.
So tell me a little bit about Femme Skate Night ... you're a skater? And how did you, how did that start?
So, um, I, when I moved here, I was struggling to find something that I loved and so, um, well I'm going to take it back a couple of years and I went to The Bay. The Bay is an amazing place. Um, I went there for a DECA meeting, um, and I had just fallen in love with the space, just everyone, they're having just such a positive, positive positivity, so amazing having positive people around me. So, um, I had started going in to skate school, skate school's amazing. Um, and then I had, I was really looking for more of a girl empowerment and that's when I stumbled upon what used to be called girl skate night. Um, I, my uncle had actually taken me a couple times and I was just talking to people and I was just putting myself out there. So, um, so then I, the, there were a couple girls that had to drop down from helping with it. So I had, I had gone there a ton of times, so they were just like, do you want to help? Do you want to be supportive? And I was like, yeah, definitely. So then they had given me the Instagram password and I was just like, I do photography too. So I was just doing all sorts of stuff for the Instagram. And then the owner had, uh, she had to move away so she wasn't able to um, come and do these. So she gave me the opportunity to run girl skate night.
That's amazing.What a great opportunity.
It's great place for girls to come in and learn how to skate and have that support and that group from other girls. It's, it's one of the best experiences I've ever had and just, Oh, I love meeting people. I love meeting new people and hearing other stories and being surrounded by amazing people and helping other people has been my biggest thing over the last couple of years. Um, and I, I love supporting others and supporting other streams and um, cause I love giving others the things that I didn't get, which was support. So, um, that's very important.
Is there one story of someone that you helped?
Um, my favorite local band Historonic was playing one night and I was shooting some photography and HEAR Nebraska was there and they were like passing out stickers and CDs and stuff. So, um, I had met this girl, her name is Hannah, and she was the sweetest girl ever. Um, she was kind of shy and um, I could tell that she, she actually kind of followed me around while I was shooting photography and I could just see how intrigued she was of just what I was doing. And she had a Mexican background like me, so we all just connected very easily. So, um, she, she kept following me around and then I was like, hold on, like I'll be right back. So then I went and grabbed her camera and, um, an SD card and she started shooting with me and Oh, it was the best I, she thanked me, her and her mom thanked me and it was just so moving of what I had done and yeah. So now she shoots photography on the daily.
That's awesome. Yeah, I think it's so important to keep your eyes open and look around and see who might need a little nudge, a little support and to push them into trying new things. She's taking photos every day. That's awesome.Yeah.
Tell me about, some advice or ways to mentally get the nerve up to try new things.
Um, well first thing I would do was, um, obviously find positive energy because that's what's gonna make you succeed. And just filling yourself with, um, amazing things really boost your, um, how you support yourself and it gives you a lot of energy to continue to do things that you love. Also just involve and get involved with everything. I, um, the things this year that I didn't think I would do, I'm in business club now. Um, I am it, I did golf. I never played golf. I did golf, I um, did theater. I was like, I, I just chose things where if like opportunities. So, um, like I'm doing lifeguard training next semester, so I didn't think like, I'm just thinking of things that others may not get to do. So I take advantage of those opportunities. So just put yourself out there and, um, make a change in the world.
That's amazing. I always grew up as an artist, so, and in a closed mind of mine, I might think, well, I could join like an art club or do art lessons, but I don't know if I'd even say like opened my mind up enough to say, Oh, I could do business, I could do golf, I could do lifeguard training. That optimistic outlook on you could try all these things that you've never tried before. I think that's super amazing.
Thank you. Yeah, it took a lot. Took me like a couple of years for me to even just like think about I could do something like that. So just be positive and challenge yourself. Challenge yourself.
So do you still have some bad days and anxiety and...
Yes. Yes. Yes, yes. Um, I actually, before coming here, um, I had someone, uh, what I thought was my best friend I had, put me down and call me extremely rude things where I just, I, I, I just never thought that she would say something like that. So, um, yeah, I always have, I have bad days, but I, I look at the positive things in life and I think in my head of happy moments and things that I can share. And, um, it's, you just have to focus. It's like having blinders on. You just need to focus on what's making you happy and what's giving you this ray of sunshine.
Oh yeah.Friends and girls and boys and moms and dads and sisters and brothers. Sometimes they do things that just, I don't know why they did them and it hurts and it's mean. So I'm sorry to hear that. How do you put on those blinders and how do you get yourself back up to come here and do this podcast?
Um, I turn to social media. Um, I, there's so many people that I connect with on the internet and, um, my mom's also one of my biggest supporters. She's always just kind of, I would say, well, maybe I should try this. And she's like, just do it. Just, just go for it. And, um, that, that's the positivity and that is what has gotten me to do golf and what's gotten me to do. I did, um, ceramics one time and I did what else I would to, I did soccer, I am on a traveling soccer team and I'd never thought I would do something like that. And I'm now I'm going to Thes Fest, and, um, that's just like a theater kind of trip, so I get to perform too.
So what are you gonna do?
Um, I'll be doing you'll be back by Hamilton, my favorite musical. It's amazing.I haven't seen it yet.They were in Omaha and I was in all, I was on the edge of my seat the whole time and just singing along. Oh, it's amazing.Oh, that's awesome.Yeah.
Can you sing something now or do you need the music?the music...Ha ha ha, Okay.
So who do you follow on social media that, that is inspiring to you, that you might share with other people?Serena Williams.Oh, I love her.Yes, I love her. She is, for one my black culture too, um, is empowering to us an, she is truly like a boss lady. Like she means business and she what she wants, she, she takes it and she, takes opportunities. And another person that I follow is Gabby Douglas. Yes. I love her. I love her. I love her story. Um, and how, how much she's overcome.So she was in Omaha I think a few years ago. You get to see her?Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. That's great.
So where do you want to be in five or six or 10 years?
Um, I, when I get out of high school, I am wanting to go into the air force, um, and be a pilot. I, I love planes. I, um, I love stuff like that. And then also, um, when I am able to get enough money, I want to go to college and I want to be a Marine biologist. So.
Awesome. Awesome. What apps or, or daily rituals that you have or journaling or music that you listen to? Like what are you into these days?Um, okay. Well, first off, because Hamilton is my favorite. I have listened to the soundtrack at least like the whole entire thing, like three times a day. It's just, I love musicals, so I like to listen to that kind of stuff.Um, what's your favorite song on the Hamilton soundtrack? Do you have one or they probably all equal?Helpless or Alexander Hamilton. I love those songs and they, I dunno, I just love them. And, um, another thing that I listened to, um, what's her name? The Lumineers. Amazing. Amazing. Um, and then, uh, I liked to get up every morning and go and sit with my dog for a little bit. She is the light of my life. She just like, whenever I see her, she's like, Oh. So, um, she, the queen, what's her name? Her name is Bambi. She's a chihuahua.Cute.She's amazing. Um, she has actually been through quite a lot herself. She was with a little boy who had cancer, so she had to go through that. And then my cousins, um, and then they passed her onto my grandpa and when my grandfather died, she came to me. So she's been with quite a few owners. Um, but we love her so much and she is, I don't even know what I would do without her. I really don't. Um, for one, she hogs the bed, so, um, I'd have a lonely bed to myself. Um, she also likes to burrow herself. She's a Chihuahua, so she likes to borough herself, but she's amazing. She's amazing.
Yeah. Awesome. Uh, any good books that you've read lately?
Oh, um, let's see. I just did finish reading the Hamlet, so good. Okay. Um, Julius Caesar, I like reading those kinds of things. Um, I do listen to like podcasts though.
What are your favorite podcasts?
I like true crime cause I like forensics.So many people I know love to kind of thing,It's interesting. And it also opens up your mind to a different world that, um, media tries to shun away and just keep in the dark. But it's very important to learn about what has gone on and ways to protect yourself against stuff like that.So, yeah. Cool.
Well for my last question I wanted to ask you, a lot of times I feel like when I need some advice or I need an answer, it just comes at the right time. So perhaps someone who's listening to this might need some advice. Um, or inspiration. Can you tell whoever that may be out there, something positive and inspiring to just keep them motivated and put a smile on the face and give them some hope for yes. It gets better and it's fun and you can do anything.
Yeah. So, um, I'm gonna kinda, uh, go back to how I talked to my friends. Um, I have this like goofy attitude where I'm like, girl, like you got this, don't, don't dwell in the past. You know, that thing has already come and gone. It's gone. You just need to look at the positives, like it's going to get better and like fill yourself with amazing people and take criticism as a way to one up yourself and um, become, there's always room for improvement, but become the best you you can be if you're going to become anything, become kind.
Wow. Awesome. Well, thank you so much. This is so great. You're so inspiring and so positive and you inspire me, so I love it.
What does it mean to be brave? Sometimes brave, mean, scared or anxious, but trying anyway. Brave is a celebration of girls who are brave taking up space in the world and thanks for listening. Join us next time on GIRLBRAVE podcast.