A CONVERSATION WITH JUNE AMBROSE
June Ambrose has a really positive air to her. Her self-awareness and intention could be felt even flights up from the stage where she sat in conversation with Dr. Jess. Throughout the night, June spoke about many layers of her journey: Why wellness has become increasingly important to her, the deep acceptance she’s always had for herself as an individual, coping with the pain of losing her mother, and the relief that eventually followed of feeling her mother around her months after. She spoke about staying focused while also accepting that you are human and imperfect.
June’s words resonated deeply with the audience throughout the night, which was made obvious in the moments of silence that sometimes followed or the otherwise snaps and claps received in agreement. I even saw tears in the eyes of one member of the audience beside me when June spoke about her trip to South Africa and finally feeling her mother for the first time after losing her.
While it’s difficult to pick only a few of the gems June gave us in conversation, here are several highlights that really stuck with me:
1. Letting your child be themselves is so important and crucial to the person that they ultimately allow themselves to become.
June mentioned how appreciative she was of her mother letting her just be herself. Her mother never put limits on her and let her express herself in the ways that she wanted. June credits a lot of her growth and who she is now to that early acceptance and encouragement to allow her to just do her, even if that looked different than the other kids. This is so crucial to understand: a lot of people can relate to parents trying to strictly mold them into one version of “acceptable,” “successful,” or any number of other things. A huge part of accepting yourself and stepping into your authenticity on your journey into adulthood is getting the permission to do so from your guardian as a child.
2. Don’t let anyone put you in a box.
You don’t have to ask for permission from anyone to be great. You don’t have to wait for others to give you the signal to go ahead and do you and take that step forward in any aspect of life. June remembers feeling a way when people would label her as a “Hip- Hop Stylist” in a dismissive fashion, early in her career 20 years ago. It bothered her to be put into this box and made to seem as though she was just any one thing, that her growth could be limited, or that she was all figured out.
Fast forward to the impact hip hop has had now, her success and impact, and it is literally a global effect. June describes her purpose as not just a “stylist” but as a person who helps to create a vision with clients, to create a mood, to push outside of what others might expect you to look like or say. She encouraged the audience to “use your limbs, remove that lid on that box, and get out of it!” In this way, we can also grow and use our authenticity to have the impact that we are meant to in this world in a way that isn’t limited by the perception of anyone else.
3. It’s okay to cry.
June spoke about how crying is so cathartic, that she enjoys being able to just release and really feel whatever emotion she needs to right now. What stuck out to me especially, was she mentioned that she allows herself to cry in front of her children, which reminded me of my mother who is the same way. Allowing yourself to cry and feel all the emotions instead of creating barriers to appear “strong” or like you are okay all the time makes you strong. It gives those that look up to you, like your children or your loved ones, the permission to feel their emotions and use them as catalysts for their own journey as well.
4. Keep the child in you.
We are growing younger, as June put it, and we are always aching to hold onto that child in us. Life is a circle that brings us back in our old age to a stage of being infant-like again. There is always something to learn from yourself as you were when you were a child. When you are feeling lost, it’s important to go back to you as a child and you will always find the things that made you authentically you, what made you curious about the world, and will teach you how to feel as babies feel and accept those emotions - whether they are painful or not.
5. Give yourself permission to exhale.
Give yourself some time to breathe and exhale. Don’t be so worried about checking off all the boxes that society tells you you have to have checked off at a certain point. Pace yourself. Do the best you can. But take a moment to just breathe and take in your present moment.
6. If you are not clean on the inside, you’re not going to really look, smell, and feel clean on the outside.
June became plant-based recently, and credits a lot of this journey to being proactive about wanting to feel good as she gets older. Her mother suffered from Alzheimer’s, and she didn’t want to just take a passive seat in her life and wellness, but instead wanted to see what she could do to make sure that she was taking care of herself and being mindful about what she put into her body. In the process, she has started to feel so much lighter and better because she is more conscious and proactive about taking her wellness and diet into her own hands. She is a great reminder that it’s important to take matters into your own hands and that what you consume - physically and mentally - will really reflect into what you put out into the world.
The night ended with affirmations read out loud by Dr. Jess and June as written by the audience, and a question and answer session that allowed a more direct exchange between members of the audience and June.
Once again, Dr. Jess has created a successful event that helped people walk away with more access and encouragement to stand in their truths, recognize their emotions, accept their authenticity, and just do them to the fullest. This event was the first time that June Ambrose was able to publicly express her grieving process and what losing her mother has meant to her. Dr. Jess created a beautiful safe space for people with a platform like June to express and heal from their personal challenges. #BeWell allows people to identify on a more human level with guests like June and recognize that we all go through cycles of joy and struggle, and that there is beauty in that journey - especially when we are able to open up and to share it with one another.