A little over a year ago I did something totally out of character by launching “Just Du Pree The Blog.” It was something that had been on my mind for years, but last year I finally got the courage to make it a reality. Launching the blog allowed me to get very candid about my struggles with an eating disorder, depression, body image, and dealing with topical steroid withdrawal. I knew I needed to launch the blog to help others who were going through the same struggles as me, but I didn't realize how many people the blog would touch. Every time someone sends me a message, comments on a post, or tells me how they relate to my struggles, it’s confirmation that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing.
Even though I’ve been so transparent on the blog, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking, "when my skin gets better I'll do this, and when my skin gets better I'll do that." It took me a while, but I realized that sometimes you have to do it now, even when you’re scared and you feel like you're not ready. The circumstances will never be perfect for you to follow your dreams, so stop making excuses for why you can't and just do it! I moved home with the intention of taking time to heal and fall off the grid, and I did that for a while, but unexpectedly ended up being welcomed into the Seattle theatre community with open arms. I've been blessed to work consistently doing what I love since the year started, and I’ve even begun doing film work again. I was sure I needed to wait for that because it’s hard to hide your skin on camera, but I finally decided that I'm not going to put my dreams on hold because of my insecurities. I'm going to chase my dreams despite the everyday challenges I face.
Another step I took in chasing my dreams was getting new head shots. This was the number one thing I thought I should do "once my skin got better." In May, I got over myself, contacted a fabulous photographer (Danielle Barnum Photography), and had a photo shoot. Some of the raw images are below. You can see the eczema, but I don't care! I'm thrilled with the shots.
All of this to say, if I would have waited for my skin to heal completely before I started living my life again, I would have missed out on countless opportunities and the chance to connect with some amazing and talented artists. Not only that, but a lot of times the things that hold us back in our minds, aren’t even a real issue. I’ve gone to countless auditions where I thought I looked absolutely crazy, but that didn’t stop me from booking the job! In my last post I shared how I went to an audition with my eye swollen almost shut. To top that off, I couldn’t sleep the night before so I felt completely delirious. My eyebrow was constantly raised just so I could see clearly, and I had to wear my glasses because there was no way I was going to irritate my eyes with contacts. Despite it all, I put on a brave face, did what I had to do, and booked the job.
This blog has been an incredible blessing as well. If I weren’t so candid on here, I never would have come across a heap of the information that’s been helpful in my healing process. I meet so many people online and come across other blogs, Instagram pages, and websites with healing tips and inspiring stories. Because I put myself out there, I’ve been able to receive help with what I’m going through. The point is, don’t be afraid to do it afraid. You can spend your whole life making excuses for why you’re not ready for something, but the truth is you may never feel “ready.” So take a chance! Take a risk. Put yourself out there. Do something that makes you uncomfortable so you can grow into a stronger, wiser, better version of yourself. If you don’t test your limits, you’ll never grow, and I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to spend this life being the same person I was 10 years ago, last year, last month, or even last week. Continue to do it afraid and see how life amazes you!
I'm Lauren, aka Just Du Pree, and I want to thank you for reading. This is a space where I share my very personal journey healing from eczema and topical steroid withdrawal (among other things), life lessons I've learned along the way, and occasionally the thoughts of an awkward Black girl (no Issa Rae). I'm a performer and filmmaker, so if you feel so inclined, pop over here to see what goes on in my mind on the regular. If you like what you see, you can stay up to date with my work here. Much love, friends!