Introduce yourself! Who are you? I am a blogger, a storyteller, and a human. I am passionate about body positivity and holistic wellness. I live with major depression, PTSD, and anxiety as well as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. While these things make up a huge part of my identity, they are only a part of what defines me. Professionally, I am pursuing a master’s degree in Media Design and am a project manager and content curator for Harness Magazine.
Did you always know what you wanted to do as a career? No, and I actually am still figuring it out. There are many things that I want to accomplish — so I expect to have multiple careers in my lifetime. But what I know will stay consistent is my purpose. I am here to live authentically and share my story in the hopes that even one young girl somewhere won’t lose confidence in themselves.
Were you scared to start the process? When I started blogging a year ago, I was terrified. I didn’t want to come off as self-involved. I also had this fear that no one would be listening. I didn’t want to be screaming into the void. But by constantly showing up on my blog with full transparency about my life and my journey, I found the exact opposite. My vulnerability empowered others to share their own stories and embrace parts of themselves that they would otherwise hide.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? You are what you value, how you act, what you’re good at and how you make other people feel, not what you look like.
What would you say to 16 year old you? You are strong enough. You may feel like the world is against you, and the darkness will never lift – but you are strong, and you are brave and you are worthy of seeing the light.
Have you ever had anyone doubt you? How did that make you feel? Absolutely. And honestly, I think it’s something that women face a lot. At first, I took it to heart, and doubted myself. But then I turned that doubt into the fuel I needed to prove them wrong. And while that was a good thing, my perfectionism and need to prove people wrong can be exhausting. This is another experience that I think is universal to women. We have to remember that the only person we should measure ourselves against is ourselves.
What message do you think every woman should hear? There has been talk of not calling little girls bossy anymore. But what I think we really need to do is change the connotation. What we really need to do is push the boundaries of that gender transgression zone. What we need to do is make it okay for women to be and be seen as powerful. We need to Be Bossy. We need to own our stories, because they are powerful. And we need to raise our voices, because they can make a real difference.
Have you always had confidence in yourself? No, I have not. And the confidence I have now still ebbs and flows, and that’s natural. But what I can say is that I know who I am. And the more I build a relationship with myself, the more I can be confident both in my body, and in the decisions I make day-to-day.
What do you love most about yourself? I am resilient. You could also call it stubborn — but I have faced a lot of adversity in my life, and somehow I always find a way to push through. Right now, that resilience has also taken a new shape – toughness. I’ve started to really stand up and use my voice, quite literally. Recently, at my previous company, I stood up in front of over 1,000 employees and our CEO, and I told them about my mental illness, and asked a hard question about mental health benefits. My hands and voice may have been shaking, but I knew it was the right thing to do.
Do you remember a specific time you overcame adversity? As I mentioned, I’ve been through a lot. Most recently, I would say taking a medical leave from my job almost two years ago now. I was in a major-depressive episode, and on top of that my depression is medication-resistant. I ended up self-harming, and was having serious suicidal ideation. Luckily, my loved ones made sure I was safe, and with their support I decided to take an indefinite leave and enter into an intensive out-patient program. I moved back home, and went to therapy for three hours every day. Around the middle of the program, I found out that I needed my third knee surgery, and this time it was going to be a reconstructive surgery that would involve adding screws and cutting into my bone. There were complications during that surgery, so afterwards I was pretty much bedridden for three months, while at the same time trying to address my mental health. But I devoted myself to my own wellness, and put everything else at a pause. I continued the out-patient program, and after those three months, I was able to return to work on crutches. Upon return, I started physical therapy, and had to learn how to walk again.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned along the way? To this day, I don’t know how I got the strength to get through everything. But what I learned is that it’s okay to need help. And it is perfectly fine to accept that help. We can’t do everything on our own. The people that truly value us, will be there when we need them, and will never think twice about helping.
What motivates you most? It’s going to sound a little macabre, but anger. With my blog, I’ve really started to focus on fighting diet culture and fatphobia. And that fight can often be really, really hard — especially when we have lived in it our entire lives. But when I realize that it was a feminist issue, and just another way that serves to keep women down, I got angry. And I channel that anger into speaking out against diet culture, and trying to empower women to really listen to and respect their bodies. What it really comes down to is, when I see an injustice, or any type of wrong, I get fired up. And I use that to keep me going.
How do you manage your work-life balance? One thing I have learned through my medical leave, and living with mental illness is this: there is no such thing as work-life “balance.” You are never going to be able to perfectly balance all the roles that you play in your life. Balance isn’t possible, what I believe in is work-life “effectiveness.” There are times when you are going to have to give 100% to work, or other times when you need to give 70% to work and the other 30% is split between family and friends. Maybe 50% needs to go to your health, and the remaining 50% is split between a whole host of other responsibilities. You need to prioritize different parts of your life at different times, and that’s okay. Don’t let the notion of “balance” make you feel guilty. Life is incredibly messy, and we’d be ridiculous to think we can achieve perfect balance.
What do you do on a daily basis to grow and move forward? I take things one step at a time. We live in this hustle-culture, where we are pressured to do a million things at one time, and share them to social media, in order to achieve “success.” Hustling is fine, and sometimes it is necessary to make ends meet. But nothing happens in a day, or a week. We need to remember work-life “effectiveness,” and take it step-by-step. For me, growing and moving forward with my mental health right now, looks like getting out of bed, taking my medications, eating, practicing personal hygiene, moving my body in some way, and socializing. But it is also realizing that I am still growing if I don’t check each and every one of those things off the list. Respect your rhythm, and remember growth and success aren’t linear.
What is one thing people would be surprised to hear about you? I’m an open book, so this is hard. And I post photos in my lingerie, so everything is pretty much out there. I think something people might be surprised to hear is that I’m still figuring all of this out. As hard as I try to be transparent on social, I think it still comes off that I know exactly what I’m doing when it comes to blogging, advocating for issues, or even in my professional life. That just frankly isn’t the case. I’m always learning, and failing, and making mistakes. That’s life. But failure is just another way of moving forward.
If you weren’t doing the job you have now, what would you be doing? Right now since I’m in graduate school, I’m just focusing on that and the work I do for Harness Magazine. When I’m done with school, I definitely want to get more experience in communications and design. But what I really want to do is become a body image and intuitive eating coach. Like I said before, I know I’m going to do many things in this life, because I have so many interests. But I think that that’s something that I will want to do forever. My life was changed by my coach, and I think everyone deserves to feel that sort of freedom.
Who is your biggest role model? Why? I have had many role models for different stages in my life. Right now I would say it’s my friend Stef. She is a body positive photographer, and has been expanding her business to offer events and even a camp experience. She truly owns both her body and who she is, unapologetically. And I have seen, and experienced, her making women feel complete freedom and comfort in their bodies. Her confidence and pursuit of her passion has really been an inspiration for me at this stage in my life.
Where do you find inspiration? I’m gonna say it — social media. As trite as it might sound, I have really used social media to build a community of followers that support and inspire me. I also am very intentional about who I follow. The people that I interact with, and the accounts I follow expose me to new ideas and ways of life, and challenge me to think differently.
What are your biggest passions? Story-telling – whether that be through writing, dance, or photography. I am also impartial to dogs, coffee, traveling, and true crime. I am impassioned around mental health and chronic illness awareness, body positivity, and women’s issues. And overall, as I do with my content, I am passionate about inspiring confidence in other women.
Diana Muzina is a Body Positivity, Health & Wellness Blogger. Her interest in raising awareness about inclusivity and social justice led her to start her blog, “Be Bossy,” which centers on women’s empowerment. Currently, she is the Project Manager and Content Director for Harness Magazine, an online community that shares raw and authentic stories women were actually experiencing on a day-to-day basis.