Chicago Native and Two-time self-published author Kia Smith will host her 5th annual “Write Yourself a Love Letter Challenge” event this Sunday, July 24th, at The Promontory in Hyde Park. The “Write Yourself a Love Letter Challenge” is an event that gives people a safe space to educate, reflect and be open about their self-love journey.
The idea of writing yourself a love letter can be intimidating. Often, people have no idea what self-love consists of or how to navigate the process of self-love. Most of us have never seen great examples of self-love around us. The best part about the “The Write Yourself a Love Letter Challenge” event is the safe space, to be honest about where you are in that journey and the tools Kia provides to help your self-love path.
“You don’t have to put on a mask at my event, you don’t have to shield yourself away from your honesty and transparency. Just be as authentic as possible. Self-love is not our default, some people are not aware that they aren’t loving themselves. They think toxicity and chaos is normal. And being on the other side of chaos is really scary for people”
What started as a class project in 2016, has turned into a brand. The Self-love connoisseur has produced two books including, the “Write Yourself a Love Letter Challenge” book. The transparency in her events inspired Kia to create a book that would detail her self-love journey and her struggles with it.
“Every time God whispers in my ear to do something he continues until I do it. God whispered in my ear telling me to discuss my self-love journey and my struggles with it. And to give people journal prompt questions so they can read and write and reflect on their journeys.”
Growing up and living in Chicago can be hard. In most of our neighborhoods, you can see the lack of self-awareness and self-love. It is not something taught in school and is rarely taught at home. Many of us start our self-love journeys as adults and even then it’s hard to put into practice something that can be considered taboo where we come from. For Kia, Chicago holds a special place in her heart, her desire to give not only the adults but the youth of Chicago the tools for self-love is something very important to her.
“It’s super important to me to advocate for Chicago people to love themselves and practice self-care. I believe in a few philosophies when it comes to self-love. Each one, teach one meaning that if I can plant a seed within someone that encourages them to love themselves, they will in turn impart that wisdom and practice to others. Another philosophy that I believe in comes in the form of a quote from author Bell Hooks when she said that self-love cannot flourish in isolation. At the end of the day, we need each other. When we love ourselves, we can change so much in our communities & within our relationships with one another.”
As the event continues to grow each year, and different elements of the event change, Kia Smith is living proof that impacting people with honesty, love, and self-awareness can change not only our communities but the world.
“Self-love to me is a lot of things. I believe that it is setting the standard for how you want to be treated by others. I believe that it is the acceptance of ourselves regardless of our past, flaws, and mistakes. I believe that it is salvation, something that exalts us. I believe that it is something that makes us better, makes us happier, and makes us stronger mentally/emotionally. I also believe that self-love is a daily practice. It evolves & grows, just like we evolve & grow.”– Kia Smith