For the early part of Lotus Hale Hill’s life, she worked hard to be the obedient, acquiescing daughter, the giving sister, the ambitious yet conforming public servant, the devout Bible thumping Christian. But as Lotus pursued the perfect version of these identities, she got further away from the person who made her the most proud, seen, and whole – herself. She began a journey of how to embody these identities in her own way. In Of All the Lives I’ve Lived, This is My Favorite: An Inspirational Memoir inspires reflection and fruitful dialogue.
Chicago Defender: Let’s talk about the importance of affirming self. Take us through the moment you decided to make the life affirming decision to reclaim the parts of your life you compromised?
Lotus Hale Hill: The moment I decided to make life affirming decisions was when I questioned whether I wanted to continue living. I had just come from spending three months abroad during the Winter of 2021, and as I made my way back home, the United States Customs and Border Patrol unjustly profiled, searched, and accused me of drug trafficking narcotics. I was then jailed for two nights in a foreign country. Prayerfully, my situation didn’t end up like Brittney Griner, but it could have. Thereafter, I decided to live. I owed it to myself to only make decisions that affirmed who I was, allowed me to love who I wanted to love, expand my understanding of family, and take risks.
Chicago Defender: How do you describe self-love and how has love carried you in this season of your life?
Lotus Hale Hill: The concept of “self-love” was once so enigmatic and difficult for me to grasp. About five years ago, I started asking myself the question, “What does ‘self love’ mean? What does it look like? How do I know when I love myself?” I knew I loved other people, but I wasn’t quite sure how I knew when I loved myself, or even how to love myself. I had to use my relationships with others to find my way back to myself. For me, self-love means to make necessary considerations and actions that protect my boundaries and promote my overall wellbeing. This kind of love is an action, a constant cycle of reconciling and checking in to ensure that my relationships, environments, actions, and commitments honor and support me, and keep me safe. I use self-love as a compass to direct my decision making and keep me on my path forward toward deeper self-discovery and evolution and overall life satisfaction.
Chicago Defender: You are now a self-published author. What was the defining lesson you learned about yourself while penning this book?
Lotus Hale Hill: Society has conditioned us to go outside of ourselves for validation, approval, and even dictate how we should feel. Furthermore, we’re even told that our relationships with other people are more important than the relationship we have with ourselves. Writing my book required me to revisit past experiences, observe patterns, and look at those instances of when I tried to live for other people, seek their validation and approval, and love. Bending myself didn’t get me any closer to feeling fully alive or to what I needed from those people. I eventually learned that I had to give it myself; it being whatever I needed: love, affection, affirmation, validation. I had to create boundaries for myself so I wouldn’t repeat the past and continue a cycle of giving more of myself, bending to the will of others. This discovery allows me to strike the balance between living for myself and living with others.
Chicago Defender: What is the biggest takeaway you hope your audience carries reading, In Of All the Lives I’ve Lived, This is My Favorite: An Inspirational Memoir ?
Lotus Hale Hill: The biggest takeaway for my readers is for them to make life defining decisions that create a life that makes them proud. If you’ve been put into a box, or are asked to do something, be something that does not make you happy or bring you pleasure, don’t do it. Only do the things that allow you to live and be the person that puts a smile on your face.
Chicago Defender: You’ve lived many lives and you’re so young. You serve for many as an inspiration to live the life you’ve imagined now. As an ivy graduate, former alderwoman candidate and more finish this statement, I am worthy… because I’m alive.
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