Welcome to This Is Me Thursdays! To read other posts in this series, click here. If you want to be involved, please email me for more details! Today, learn more about Mary England, someone who always inspires me to embrace creativity, happiness and self-love in my life!
We originally connected on Instagram, and I was immediately drawn to her bubbly personality and her honest journey with self-love and body positivity. She doesn’t sugarcoat the things she talks about, but she always uses compassion and empathy. She shares so many real glimpses into her personal and professional lives, and I really appreciate that. Also, she really loves ducks! #ducksaresohotrightnow. Visit her website, Instagram account and Facebook page, and let her know you saw her post here!
This Is Me: Mary England
Share a little about yourself, your background and what you’re doing now.
Hi, I’m Mary! I also go by Uncustomary, which is the name of my business, all about self-love, body positivity, and creativity. I have a background in psychology (I got my degree in psych, worked at a psych rehab for five years, and have had many different mental illnesses since I was a child). I’m very passionate about mental health, but lately have been less about labeling myself as someone with OCD, Tourette’s, Bipolar, etc. and focusing on the things I’m passionate about like helping people love themselves, reclaiming public spaces, being kind to strangers, and filling the world with color. We are all so much more than labels! The passions I’ve mentioned are incorporated into the business I run, which manifests into creating resources and support for people who are interested in starting or furthering their journey of self-love and personal development.
Have you discovered your life purpose, and is that important to you? What motivates you in your life?
I think I went through hell and know what it’s like to be undiagnosed with multiple mental illnesses, self-harming, have disordered eating, body image issues, suicidal, and more so that I can empathize with people who are there now. I genuinely want to help people love themselves, including their bodies, and I think my experience of being on both sides of the spectrum gives me perspective to do so.
Motivation for me comes from making time to play, explore new places, talk to people who are going after their dreams, and see things with new eyes. I’m also very motivated when anyone shows me that they’re using a resource I made, especially if they find it useful!
Thinking about your life now, is it what you always imagined you’d be doing? Why or why not, and what have you learned because of that?
When I was younger, I wanted to be a teacher. I used to stay after on the last day of school to get extra worksheets so I could play teacher. When I stated college, I thought I wanted to be a radio DJ. When I interned at the psych rehab I changed majors and decided to throw myself into that, and I had the opportunity to create curriculums and teach two classes every single day. After many years, I realized such an emotionally draining job wasn’t sustainable long-term and I wanted to work for myself. I wasn’t positive what that would look like, but this is definitely amazing. I’m so grateful for how far I’ve come and there is so much more I want to do for myself and also so I can help more people. I definitely wish I could go back and teach younger Mary some business things that would have saved me time and money, but I will get there!
What’s something you desperately want other people to know or realize that may help them in their lives?
Besides Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, the one thing that I attribute to turning my life around was keeping a Happy/Gratitude journal. We tend to overlook the “simple” suggestions and think they’re too easy to work, but I swear by gratitude practices and also try to give people as many options for ways to do a gratitude practice as possible because classic journaling might not be their thing, but the act of demonstrating gratitude every day will absolutely rewire your brain to celebrate what you already have and not only notice the positive, but more positive things will start to show up!
When we encounter challenges in our lives, we can choose to run from them or to them. What have you learned from either of those ways of thinking in your own life?
I’m a classic communicator (Quadruple Gemini!), and have learned that it’s always best for me to be honest, direct, and talk things out as soon as possible if only for my own sanity. I think the most growth I’ve made as an individual has been from addressing issues head on, with others or in my own mind.
That said, there are definitely things I know I’m not interested in doing and people I’ve released (including blood family members) that I feel better for doing so. That might count as running, but I think there’s a difference between dealing with your shit (through meditation, EFT, journaling, etc.) and releasing people who have crossed your boundaries too many times.
What do belonging and connection mean to you, and how do you incorporate that into your life and/or business?
For most of my life I felt like the weird girl. Most of the time, I got off on it, but it didn’t always feel good to have my friends telling me that I was too loud, too much, too inappropriate, too whatever. In my mid 20s, I was introduced to burner culture, and realized I has basically been a burner my whole life I just didn’t realize there were other people out there like me! It felt like coming home! I didn’t think I needed that, and sometimes it feels weird to not be the weird one or stand out in that group, but I’d much rather be in a group that is open minded and doesn’t judge.
To me belonging and connection is about a judgment free zone, where you can be whoever you want to be. That is definitely something I try to facilitate in my membership group, online space, and personal life. I always want you to feel like you can be your FULL self around me.
How have self-care and self-love played a part in your journey so far?
I mean I was blogging about self-care and self-love before it was in magazines and memes so it’s affected me pretty drastically professionally! Since it’s my life’s work, I also have to practice it and experiment with new techniques often so I’m ready with new content and perspectives which gives me wonderful new tools to work with!
Self-care has become non-negotiable for me. And probably one of the biggest parts of self-love for me was loving my body when I went from an underweight dancer’s frame to gaining 100+ pounds in less than 2 years because of the side effects of medication. I was almost flung into body positivity because I needed to adjust to my new form. Sink or swim time!
Photo by Maura Housley