Who I Am:
My name is Tamika Gilbert, and I am from Duluth, MN. Where is that, you may ask? Geographically, I live about 2.5 hours away from Minneapolis/St. Paul and about three hours from Canada. Home, to me, is defined by Lake Superior, beautiful fall colors, never-ending winters, and my family.
My mom was raising me on her own until she passed away when I was 7 years old. From there I went on to live with my grandma, grandpa, and two aunts. When they say it takes a village to raise a child, they weren’t kidding in my case. I truly believe I’m better because of it. In addition to the people who physically raised me, I’ve been lucky enough to make friends whom I consider nothing less than family members.
Stuff I Like:
I like that my life is simple, yet complex. While I have never really moved, I can’t stay home for too long. I usually plan my next adventure on the way home from the last one. This has allowed me to travel both internationally and within the U.S. over the last few years. Through my travels I have been able to discover myself, make friends across the globe, and realize my appreciation for Lake Superior drinking water (because lets be honest, it’s the best). When I am not venturing around, I am usually with the other thing that keeps me going: my friends. Time spent with them can be as simple as talking about my day on a walk or over a cup of coffee. Other times we spend our time solving some of life’s biggest mysteries like, can I ever really own enough pairs of shoes, or how to build the perfect bonfire. There is the rare occasion that I just need to reboot myself and spend a night at home watching Bones with my dog Zoey or playing with my Lego collection. A few random facts about myself: I have dreamed of being a zookeeper most of my life, I love wearing plaid, and I have an extensive piggy bank collection.
Why I’m Here:
I found out about TWLOHA toward the beginning of the movement. TWLOHA instantly caught my attention because they were talking about topics I hadn’t heard people talk about before. They were starting conversations. And that is what I needed. Through me wearing TWLOHA T-shirts, I was able to start the conversations with those around me about my struggles. This was the first time in my adult life I really experienced the TWLOHA belief that “people need other people.” Through those experiences, I now fully believe that everyone deserves to have their story heard, to know they have someone who will listen. Those ideas and beliefs are what prompted me to fall in love with the movement—but that isn’t the only reason why I am taking part in this TWLOHA internship. I am here because of promises from my past: a promise to share stories of those who can no longer share theirs; a promise to find myself; a promise to not let my yesterday determine my today.