Our Women’s History Month spotlight is still going strong, and the Global Grind team would like to continue recognizing women’s major achievements across industries. March is also Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month, which helps to raise awareness and provide education to the community about autoimmune inflammatory diseases. This week we will spotlight a gifted journalist, on-air personality and writer, Elizabeth Smith. Smith is an all-around talent, who has been vocal about her journey with endometriosis while empowering others to do the same.
Smith has been an on-air personality for Atlanta’s hip hop and R&B station, V103, written for a number of publications like 21Ninety and Bossip, and she has modeled for several brands, creating some of the most breath taking photos. We asked Smith, better known as @liztwotimes, to share a piece of her story as an entertainment journalist, personality, producer and #endostrong survivor. She details her experience climbing up the entertainment ladder while combating the often unbearable pains that come with her condition.
Read our Q&A below:
Briefly tell us why you’re passionate about journalism and storytelling?
I’m passionate about journalism because I’ve always enjoyed giving a voice to those who feel voiceless. As a kid my pops always had us in front of a camera and with my mom being a teacher in the arts, I was always on stage hosting things, narrating conversations and it was just natural for me to go into this industry.
How does being a woman reflect in the work you’re doing in the space and your community at large?
Being a black woman from North Nashville I didn’t see anyone who looked like me doing what I’m doing. I always say my mission is bigger than me. I want to not only inspire those back home in my community but women all over. We truly can achieve anything we put our minds to and it may not happen over night but I know in my heart I’ll reach all my goals with the help of God. He didn’t place these desires on my heart for no reason.
It is Women’s History Month but it’s also Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month. You have been open about dealing with endometriosis. Could you share what it is and how it affects your day to day?
Simply put, Endometriosis is a disorder in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside the uterus. Endometriosis can be found anywhere from your ovaries to your intestines and in my case it spread to my chest cavity.
I went from stage 4 to stage 1 Endo and now it’s not as bad. I do have flare ups here and there, intense back pain and occasional brain fog but all in all I’m feeling so much better and hopeful for the future of my health.
Most people would never have suspected you were dealing with any health issues because you do a great job of maintaining balance and fighting through the pain. Why has it been important to share your #endostrong journey with your community?
It was important for me to share my story and be an advocate because just like you said not many people knew I was dealing with this disease. Unfortunately, so many women suffer in silence, don’t receive the proper treatment or diagnosis and because I’ve been dealing with this since age 10, I feel it’s apart of my mission to bring light to this community. I wear my scars proudly and I want women to know they’re not alone and this disease shouldn’t stop your life.
What are some common misconceptions about endometriosis?
Whew, there’s so many but myth 1 is that it’s just a heavy period. Myth 2, it can be cured. Myth 3, it can be prevented. Myth 4, it only affects the pelvic region. Myth 5, if you have a baby it’l make it better.
In what ways are you spreading awareness around it?
I try my best to educate those who are willing to listen and I include males in these conversations too. Growing up my pops was a huge supporter and comforter in my life. He didn’t understand everything going on but he was right there with me every step of the way. I get DMs all the time from women asking about symptoms and specialist to go see and I try my best to guide them in the right direction. Last year I did an Endometriosis giveaway for the whole month of March and it really helped to bring attention to the disease and I’m forever grateful for the companies and people who collaborated with me.
In a perfect world, how do you imagine the workplace for women could change for the better?
In a perfect world I would love for women to feel safe enough to be honest about health challenges. Personally, it took me some time to be open and honest about having Endometriosis because I didn’t want to seem weak or unreliable. My illness doesn’t define me and I don’t want to be overlooked due to something that’s out of my control. When companies get more understanding of common issues women face like menstrual cycles, fibroids, postpartum depression and more the better the work environment for everyone.
How can others support you and your journey?
Others can support me and my journey by just being aware, having these conversations more and doing research. Endo can affect your sister, wife, mom or even daughter. The more you know the better you can prepare to face this illness.
Have you found best practices for working in a fast-paced environment in media while practicing self-care? Any tips on the balancing act?
Honestly, I’m still learning but I’m very mindful of how I feel mentally, spiritually and physically. I may work hard but I also rest hard and don’t play about my sleep! I had to change up some of my diet as well. I also like to mediate, stretch and make the most of my alone time since I’m around people so much in this industry.
Share with us what you’re working on and how people can continue to follow and support you.
You can check out any of my writings and work by following me at @liztwotimes on Instagram and joining me on this journey of life in this crazy yet satisfying industry.