inde Love Yourself – Kind Cotton

By Kaitlin Johnstone

Love Yourself

I would be lying if I said the past two years weren’t difficult emotionally. And when I say difficult, I mean walking up to the front of your class ready to give your first presentation ever to a room full of your peers staring at you and you suddenly get your period difficult. Quite possibly one of the worst things that could ever happen as a teenage girl, right? Well, let’s just say that about sums up the past twenty-four months as a new mom living in a pandemic while still taking things seriously as the world moves on.

Also, I am not here to say one way of living over another is best or make anyone feel any type of way. I am simply here to speak my truth and if that truth seems to resonate with anyone else, then that’s amazing and you are not alone.

However, with all the tough emotions, came some beautiful realizations. This time has given me the opportunity to reconnect with who I am. To build a stronger, more aware, more connected self. This time has afforded me the chance to simply be. To look at life through a clearer lens and to create some major changes that were necessary to my happiness.

For as long as I could remember, I was the girl who said yes. The person who wanted to people please, not get into conflict, and have everyone love me. As I grew older, more intense feelings of needing everyone to be happy arose. I have somewhat dove into the reasonings behind why I have felt that way, but this blog isn’t meant to be a look back into my personal traumas, but rather a place to simply say that loving yourself is important. On top of that, the need to constantly be doing something productive came about as well. I think as Americans we can all agree that we shouldn’t feel the need to work 8-16 hours a day to keep a roof over our heads, but here we are. I started my Masters program in education, received a 4.0 my first semester and from that day forward I had to graduate with a 4.0. I received my first teaching job and I had to stay until 7PM every night or I wasn’t doing enough. At one point I was a mom, a wife, a business owner, and a teacher, and then the unthinkable happened. The world shut down.

It was important for me to step away from the classroom for a multitude of reasons. My first step? Therapy. Say what you will, but I will forever be an advocate of caring for your mind the way in which you do your body. The very first thing my therapist said to me was, why can’t you advocate for yourself the way in which you do others? This is something that will never escape my thoughts. It is something I have thought of more times than I dreamt of Leonardo Dicaprio growing up (and trust me that was a lot). However, unlike my dream of sailing away with Leo on a ship that didn’t sink, I was able to put into place practices that have helped me advocate for my needs.

We often hear that we can’t pour from an empty cup. That we need to practice more self-care. But we are also living in a world that glorifies the overrun, overworked, non-boundary setting individual. The early bird gets the worm. Pull yourself up by the bootstraps and get to work. I am beginning to think the American dream is to be in a space that isn’t so American, but again, I digress.

 The past year I have learned to put me first. I use my voice in situations that make me uncomfortable. I have set boundaries that are healthy. I have taken the time to sit in stillness. I have reponed my eyes to the simple beauties the world can offer when you stop to see them, not make sure you are recording them for an Instagram reel (still working on this one). I have learned to love myself because at the end of the day, when you are sitting alone all that matters is the voice in your head and the way in which you feel about you. I want that voice to remain at peace. So? What have I done to get here and what do I feel as though is important:

I UNPLUG. Being in a world in which social media consumes every aspect of our lives can be draining. It takes away from loved ones. I have often told myself I need social media in order for Kind Cotton to survive, which is very true, however we don’t always have to be creating. The world doesn’t always need access to us. The constant information can be overwhelming. Mass shootings, COVID, political warfare is being forced down our throats and sometimes we just need to breathe. I now make it a point to put my phone away at 8:30PM and I have noticed a significant shift in my mental wellbeing. Try it. Put the phone down. Talk to a loved one. Get outdoors. Just be.

I am UNAPOLOGETICALLY ME. No apologies and when I say no I mean maybe only twice a day as opposed to 5,342 times. All jokes aside, the past two years are the first time ever in my life where I have learned to say no, to set boundaries, and to let others know when they have hurt me. Trust me, no is an empowering word. It is ok to do what is best for you and not feel guilty about it. I always wished I was able to do this growing up. I had super strong friends who stood their ground and didn’t care what others thought and I was jealous of their assertiveness. I have a long way to go when it comes to this, but with lots of help I am working through it. Be true to yourself. Don’t allow others to dictate what is best for you. Write your own story.

I am ENOUGH. I have spent countless hours repeating this mantra to myself the past few years, which may sound silly, but I have honestly never felt more in touch with who I am than I do now. So, incase no one has told you lately:

You are loved.

You are worthy.

You are doing amazing things.

You are capable.

Every bit of who you are is ENOUGH.

This summer launch meant a lot to me. Whenever we do a new release there is a story behind it. We don’t just make cute clothes to make them. We are inspired by our lives and we hope that even a tiny piece of our story resonates with each of you. This collection is a reminder to LOVE YOURSELF. You are worth it.

Our goal? 1,000 books for kids here locally in our new home in Maryland. As always, thank you from the very bottom of our hearts. Thank you for believing in our mission to get books to kids.




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