Experiencing All that Life has to Offer, Anyway: Kecia Johnson speaks on Her Battle with CANCER & AIDS

Theories are based on a hunch, idea, or hearsay and they may even generate hours of rhetorical conversations that are based on a variety of hypotheses. On the other hand, there are experts like mathematicians and scientists who study facts and make predictions based on the evidence or statistics provided. But, theorists and scientists may not necessarily base their evidence on a personal experience because although personal experiences can be theorized they cannot be refuted, declared non-existent, or made obsolete. Each individual’s experience, negative and positive, generates experiences that teach us that we all have to learn how to keep going, keep moving, don’t give up and never quit.

As we look at our circumstances, situations, and how sometimes we cannot change them, we realize we have a choice to make. Then we realize that to truly understand the benefit of experiencing all that life has to offer, is to keep going and moving forward: anyway. ‘Anyway’ represents the pitfalls, traumas, successes, as well as failures because it’s how we respond and bounce back and move forward regardless of whatever is happening or may happen is what makes us successful.

W2WTalk Magazine believes that although experiences can be debilitating and although no one can say that an experience never happened, it’s our resilience to all of what life has to offer is what makes us unstoppable. As WOC, we have an innate ability to bounce back and move forward even though it feels like we’re on multiple roller coasters all at once. The amazing thing about our experiences is that once we realize all that’s at stake, we are reminded about our legacy that we’ll leave behind based on our choices. This reminder propels us forward into greatness because we see that our stories are what we have to share our experiences to the world and show our children what WOC are really made of, relentless, thriving, creative, and inspirational.

W2WTalk Magazine celebrates an unstoppable Queen, Kecia Johnson (@myfabredlife), a WOC who’s story is life changing, exciting, and transformational. One only needs to continue reading to see what, why, and how this WOC has miraculously maintained her prowess to never give up.

W2WT: Where do you live and where are you from?

Kecia: Currently I live between two states, Los Angeles and Houston, which I absolutely LOVE! Unfortunately, due to Covid and my cancer diagnosis, I couldn’t live in either cities or go through treatment there because of the lack of space within the hospital systems. So, I have been doing treatment in Wisconsin for the past nine months. Originally, I was born in Wisconsin, so being there for chemo and radiation was not too foreign of a transition for me. I will always say that Milwaukee birthed me, but Houston raised me; whereas Los Angeles instilled in me the backbone that I needed to be the goal driven woman that I am today.

W2WT: What’s that 1 thing that you can’t go without thinking about it and why?

Kecia: My mind goes over many things but the one that stands out is my legacy. I have always thought about it in the past but since battling cancer it is the focal point of my mind. When I gave birth to my daughter, it no longer was about my wants and my needs; it immediately shifted to what would be best for her. Since then, my driving force has been making sure that I leave a legacy behind for her. Being diagnosed with cancer only heightened that thinking process for me. My goals and aspirations are not just my own, they are now a reflection of what I have in store for her and her future.

W2WT:What keeps you going when you get tired, or things get rough?

Kecia: The platform that keeps me going is the solid spiritual foundation that I have. I understand that there is a purpose set forth for me and I must fulfill that. Now, just because I have it paved for me does not mean that the process to greatness is going to be easy. So, when I look at my daughter and look at how grateful I am to just simply be alive; that keeps me going in a way I could have never imagined. I live a purpose driven life. Since being diagnosed with AIDS years ago I have been hospitalized multiple times and both of which I was at near death. Sitting with that, will forever tell me that I am not just here by chance, I am her for a divine reason. That within itself keeps me going based on the favor that I have over my life.

W2WT:”I AM PRETTY FIGHTING CANCER SO I CAN DO WHAT I WANT” Can you elaborate on your fighting cancer journey?

Kecia: When I say, “I AM PRETTY FIGHTING CANCER SO I CAN DO WHAT I WANT!” I mean that in saying that there is NOTHING I can’t do because I have been through some of the worst times in my life battling cancer. I have endured an amount of pain daily that sometimes had me thinking that it was a wrap for me, mentally and physically! Being a warrior or a fighter of any disease whether it be Lupus, HIV/AIDS, or Melanoma, it can tend to make you feel defeated in conquering what lies ahead of you. However, when you have the mentality of saying “I battled this disease, so I can do whatever I want” BECAUSE I battled this crazy disease you will set yourself up for greatness. I am telling my psyche that regardless of the circumstance, I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT! I mean that in the most modest and fearless way possible for all the individuals who have or is battling something that makes them feel like it’s over… ITS MOST DEFINITELY NOT!

W2WT:What inspired you to write a book?

Kecia: When I gave birth to my daughter, Journei, I had no idea that it would weigh heavy on my mental sanity the way that I did. My pregnancy was amazing, as I had no issues and had an incredibly healthy delivery, however, the after effect was much different. As she started to get a few months old, I started to feel like I wasn’t good enough as a mom, and that all the things I planned to do with my life I could no longer do, or I was not doing them fast enough. I quickly knew that I was in a super mental funk that I had to get myself out of. I started to go back and think of all times in the past in my earlier years where I battled mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Especially at the height of me working in the music industry and I felt like I had no outlet. When my daughter turned nine months, I literally began writing my book, “Mind, Body & SHE”, and finished it in a week. I would sit up at night while she was sleeping and write my heart away. There have also been many encounters where many have come to me to be empowered and I needed EMPOWERING! So, I thought the best way I could put my own battles on paper and help others through their cumbersome journey was to write a book about all I have gone through.

W2WT: What’s the message for anyone who reads your book?

Kecia: The message that one will take from reading this book is that “life can be a mental roller coaster, but it is up to you to control what you CAN control and navigate the best you can through the remainder!” By saying that, I want to express to others that we must learn to take everything a day at a time. When it comes to getting over obstacles it is all about making sure that you control your expectations. Not the expectations, for yourself, but those that involve other people. You must have a strong spiritual foundation to stand on, whatever that may consist of. We also must understand that everything has a root to it meaning, “a beginning”. Every problem that is attached to your mental health issues has a root to it and that must be addressed and attacked before you can truly mentally prosper. Any and everything that is attached to the mind the BODY is going to follow.

W2WT:What advice can you give to someone thinking about writing a book?

Kecia: Writing a book must be something that has to be attached to a passion within you. When I started writing my first book, “Dying to Be DIVA”, there was a burning desire in me to tell my story. Not just to say, “I wrote a book”, but to let others know what I have overcome and show them that there is always light on the other side of the storm. To publish a book, it takes a lot of sacrifice and transparency and often when people say the words, “I want to write a book”, they don’t realize when writing about yourself, you must be as transparent as possible so that the reader can fully engage with your story; that is something you can’t pick and choose with. Having the strength to push forward and write one period, is going to take one being fearless and consistent in whatever topic you choose to write about while understanding that you are writing for the betterment of potential readers and not yourself.

W2WT: “Mind Body and She helps to break down the stigma that stands between women and mental health” — What experiences have you encountered that made you see the need to discuss this topic?

Kecia: Wow, there have been so many that I can share but I will stick with the ones that ring true to me. I have battled with mental health issues on and off since I was about twelve years of age. Back then I didn’t know what “anxiety” was or what it meant for someone to be at the forefront of it. Then, when I got a little older and I found myself contemplating suicide at the age of 21, I knew that there were some issues that I needed to address immediately. I began to seek counseling at the time, but I did not see it through because I felt in my mind that, “I am a strong black woman, I can just pray my way through this, and all will be okay!” Until it was not.

While working in the music industry I battled it a lot.  The pressure of trying to take someone else’s career to the next level and pleasing your artist at all costs was a consistent overwhelming battle for me.  There were times that I would be in the studio with my artist and excuse myself to go outside or to the bathroom and go into full panic attack mode.  It was crazy during that time that it affected all the relationships around me that were important to me.  In 2017, I decided to walk away from that industry because it was taking too much of a toll on my well-being and mental health as a woman.  From that point, I decided to put myself first and get back into the act of seeing a therapist weekly, creating a solid spiritual foundation and increasing the level of self-care that I would attend to daily. 

Once I gave birth to my daughter, I felt amazing, even during my pregnancy I was on cloud 9, but then suddenly when my daughter reached about nine months, I started getting the “mommy blues”. I began questioning everything around me.  From how I was as a mother, to me not fulfilling my goals fast enough to a simple task of not going grocery shopping on time for the household.  I mean I was truly hard on myself and in a deep mental funk!  At that moment I knew that I had to write a book about the battle that women face with mental health.  As women we think we must be so many things to so many people and because of that we then lack giving back to ourselves. 

With social media in this day and time, it will lead to believe that you are behind in life, so you play a mental Russian roulette game with yourself about how you need to catch up something that is just simply for show!  I know this, because I have colleagues and friends who I have witnessed play into that game.  So now that I am more aware of who I am and “Whose I AM”, I will no longer settle for the mental games that I can potentially begin to play with myself that play on the playground of anxiety, depression and other mental health issues.

W2WT: “The body of a woman and what we can endure is unmatched” — What does this mean to you?

Kecia: That statement is so powerful to me, even as I say it to myself now because we are women, and WE are truly unmatched in what we CAN do! The moment I gave birth to Journei, I was just in awe of what my body had just went through. Not to mention, nine months of carrying the baby around and still having to tend to everyday life. There were some days I wondered how I even got through the day waddling around Los Angeles and going hiking with a belly as big as mine, lol, but it is what we do so eloquently. Our bodies are built to endure great things and still snatch back from it and fall in line with our goals of being entrepreneurs or stay at home mommies! WE DO IT ALL and do so without a flinch of complaint because it’s in our DNA. That statement just simply means, we are awesome and there is nothing anyone can do about it

W2WT: What are some of the joys of motherhood for you?

Kecia: Motherhood to me is magical. I love the thought of coming home to my baby girl and her face lights up just because she knows that it is her mommy in front of her. Motherhood is a safe space. A place where you can go when the world seems so rough and brutal, while everyone around you may be telling you, “NO”, there is that one face that will always say, “YES”. Especially in the infancy stage. There is a bond that is created that is unbreakable that no one can come between once God becomes the foundation of the relationship. When I was diagnosed with cancer, I was told that after treatment I would no longer be able to bear a child because the radiation would burn all my insides which even included my ovaries etc. In that moment, I did not cry, and I didn’t feel sorry for myself; I just knew that Journei was a blessing especially placed on this earth for me. There are some women who will never get to experience motherhood, or the ability to carry a child and my heart goes out to them, but MOTHERHOOD is not just the “state of being a mother”. It is a pure connection. A feeling that is like none other. Again, “MOTHERHOOD” is simply magical!

W2WT:What do you think about Mentorship and do you have one?

Kecia: Having a mentor or a guide in this thing called life is very important. Often, we think just because we see it and want it, we can manifest it, although in some cases that can be true; the outcome is even better when you have a mentor or guide who has been there and help you walk over some of the mistakes you can potentially make when conquering that aspiration. My mentor has talked me off many cliffs, just simply because I thought I had all of the resources to conquer something but because I was looking so hard at the completed product, I didn’t take the time to comb through just to see if I really had all of the tools to do such a thing. Mentorship is one of the key aspects of being an asset to any field that you choose to place yourself in. It feels good to have a safe place to go to when there are things in life that you may need another insight on just because you don’t have all the answers. Finding a mentor in life that can help guide you up your path of purpose is so essential in this day in time of “microwavable success” because that way of thinking will hinder from obtaining the blessings in stow for you.

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