My name is Kristin, and I’m the founder and CEO of The Cheeky Life. I wanted to personally introduce myself and welcome you to the The Cheeky Life blog. I decided to start a blog to serve as a personal platform that candidly documents my journey with mental health and eating disorders, and to commiserate with and serve as a support network for others who have or are struggling with the same challenges.
Our purpose-driven mission is to break down the barriers and stigmas surrounding mental health, and inspire a culture of empowerment, confidence, and self-love. Built by women, for women, The Cheeky Life strives to spread empathy, compassion and acceptance.
My journey, which became the impetus of starting the The Cheeky Life brand, started as a child. As far back as I can remember, I have suffered from anxiety. However, as a little kid, I didn't understand what that meant. I was extremely particular about certain seemingly trivial details, such as the seams on my socks needing to be perfectly aligned, or my ponytail needing to be a particular tightness. My poor mother had to endure some seriously difficult, (sometimes publicly awkward), situations in my childhood. This ultimately led to me seeing a psychiatrist and was the start of a long journey to understanding my mental health challenges.
I have been diagnosed with major depression disorder, severe anxiety, attention deficit disorder, and a learning disability. Over the years, I have struggled with anorexia, bulimia, body dysmorphia, and have experienced family loss to suicide. It has taken several doctors, therapists, medications, family members and friends over several years to get me to the point I am today, to have enough courage to talk so vulnerably about my struggles and experiences. And, I have to say holy cow! The human mind is complicated. I will elaborate on many of these topics in later posts. But, as you can see, I have spent many, many years trying to understand what the heck is going on in my head, and I will spend the rest of my life doing the same.
After having my position as an Art Director eliminated at my job as a result of COVID-19, I decided to start an e-commerce apparel company, Sweet Cheeks Apparel. What started as a business venture dependent on using social media to promote and advertise for brand awareness, serendipitously has given me the opportunity to use these platforms to vulnerably share intimate details about my life and offer a support community to a world of like minded people in need. As a result of managing multiple social platforms and having the opportunity and privilege to interact with people in my network, I have discovered that so many others share the challenges and struggles of my journey. After falling in love with the mental health community it quickly became clear to me that my purpose needed room to expand beyond online apparel which is why Sweet Cheeks Apparel has expanded to become The Cheeky Life. This brand has given me a platform to push myself out of my comfort zone, and to cathartically share and provide support and empowerment to this community.
There is no value in pretending we are alone in this struggle, and no shame in sharing our struggles and asking for support. There have been so many occasions when I held back talking about my struggles for fear it would hurt my career, make me seem crazy, be socially unacceptable, or it just wasn’t the right time. Don’t get me wrong, I'm not going to approach complete strangers and word vomit my life problems. But, we need to be more open to discussing some of these topics so we can intervene and find support. Heck, people openly talk about their broken bones, boob jobs, or political views. So, we should feel comfortable and empowered to speak up about something that affects 20% of the population, which we are a part of. The next time you’re in a room with 5 people, look around. At least one of them is likely struggling with mental illness. By no means am I a doctor or qualified to give any advice. But I can use this platform to share what I have dealt with, and the lessons I have learned as a result of my experiences, in hopes that someone out there might find it helpful or relatable. I could’ve never imagined that starting a clothing brand would result in me finding a purpose-driven cause that I’m so passionate about advocating for, and such a supportive community to be a part of.
Stay tuned for more posts to get to know the human behind the brand and read stories about how I’ve overcome struggles and challenges in my life. In the meantime, be kind to your mind, and always have something to look forward to! We’re all going through something and you aren’t alone.