Karamo by Karamo Brown

“I believe that we can and will get better as a community and as a nation. There is a real way forward through empathetic listening. Empathetic listening is so important, because if all we do is talk, then we will never hear the other person. When we hear the other person, we come to realize that we all want joy and love, and to be free of fears and anxieties. We realize that the conflicts facing us internally and those facing us externally are more universal than we think. It’s when we support one another and respond to life’s conflicts with emotional awareness that we find growth and connection.”

p. 282

Hello everyone! I recently finished this book by Karamo Brown. If you aren’t familiar with Karamo, he’s a cast member on Queer Eye, the now iconic TV show where five gay men makeover an individual through the areas of culture (Karamo), fashion (Tan), grooming (Jonathan), food & wine (Antoni), and design (Bobby). In Karamo’s area of expertise, culture; he talks about mental health (he has a background in social work) and he helps each of the heroes (what the cast calls the individual they are giving the makeover to) talk about their psychological and emotional health and problems they are facing in their life, such as relationship difficulties, negative thoughts on body image, etc. He talks about his work on Queer Eye in the book, but he also talks about the difficulties he faced in his own life, such as racism and sexuality. This is a must-read for any Queer Eye fans, but also for everyone; as it talks about hot topics today, such as anti-Blackness and racism, sexuality movements such as LGBTQ+, and much more. I hope you all pick up a copy of this book on your own life adventure, but for now, enjoy the quotes below! ❤ 🙂

“I have learned that to have a healthy life, you must acknowledge tensions or disagreements–not avoid them. Each moment in my life that I viewed as horrible or hurtful at the time was actually a message that I needed to receive, learn from, and use to inspire others.” (p. 4)

“‘Failure isn’t the opposite of success, it’s part of it.'” (Granny Sybil, p. 4)

“Growth is a journey, not a destination.” (p. 4)

“Emotions do not happen in response to events, they happen in response to our thoughts around that event. Having the vocabulary to name your emotions helps you to see how they way you’re thinking is creating them.” (p. 4)

“When I mastered identifying my feelings, I recognized their temporary nature–which freed me from much suffering and gave me clarity so I could grow through my conflicts.” (p. 4)

“Never be afraid of growing slowly, only of standing still.” (Granny Sybil, p. 36)

“But if you look like me, you already know that God made me this way, because God made you this way, too. You know black is beautiful, or you should.” (p. 41)

“It was then that I learned comparison was killing us. It was robbing us of joy and connection, but our shared experiences made us strong and beautiful. Categorizing ourselves by our skin tone was self-hate, and we had to fight against it.” (p. 48)

“The beautiful shades of the world are the colors of love that pour out from the light within us all.” (p. 52)

“The power of me loving and accepting myself is not determined by someone else’s opinion of me.” (p. 66)

“The verse that trumps them all is 1 John 4:7-8, which reads, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love.”” (p. 71)

“The thing about mental health that’s similar to physical health is that you continuously have to check in with your mind, just as you check in with your body. You have to allow yourself the space to figure out what’s going on with you so you can grow through it.” (p. 121)

“I seemed happy to the outside world because I always smiled through the mental and emotional pain, but when I was by myself driving home from work, I would have these random thoughts, like What would it be like if I weren’t even here? Would anybody even care?” (p. 121)

“…just remember that in those moments of darkness, there is hope, joy, and sunlight on the other side of these dark feelings. I beg you to take one step today, in this moment, and just ask for help from someone around you who you trust.”

“We often develop into who we are based on how people interact with us, but as we get older, it’s our responsibility to grow based on how we feel about ourselves. We must make sure that we are not letting others’ opinions of us dictate who we are or who we become.” (p. 137)

“You are not your past. You have prepared for your future. A yes can propel you, but a no will never hurt you.” (p. 166)

“To have a happy life, it takes effort. It takes maintenance. It takes gratitude for what you have. It takes checking in with yourself and with others.” (p. 238)

“…just fixing the exterior is not enough for long-lasting change. You also have to focus on emotional and mental health if you truly want a successful life. To take better care of yourself, you need to get to the root of your emotional blocks.” (p. 246)

“One thing I have learned throughout my life is that what interests people most isn’t your degree or your brand or product: it’s you.” (p. 250)

“Making over your inside is just as important as making over your outside.” (p. 253)

“…internal changes give people the ability to evaluate and understand why they didn’t make that change before, and how they can maintain that change in the future.” (p. 254)

“…when you’ve done all you can do in a certain situation, it doesn’t help you at all to stress over it or overthink it–it’s done.” (p. 254)

“I’ve learned over the years that we become emotional wrecks when we don’t forgive ourselves for the things in our lives that we couldn’t control or that didn’t turn out the way we wanted them to.” (p. 263)

“Sometimes when negative voices start to penetrate into your mind, you have to go back to the core of who you are and why you do the things you do. If you allow people to dictate your self-esteem based on their opinions of you, you will always fail.” (p. 276)

“Being open starts within ourselves: forgiving ourselves for our perceived shortcomings, for the traumas of our past, for not always making the best choices for ourselves and others. For not always responding to conflict in a healthy way.” (p. 282)

“Listen, friends: we have to start talking. […] We need to see one another again. We need to be kind to one another.” (p. 283)

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