My name is Kenny B. Last December, I had a very rough moment in my life.
I was going through anxiety, and I didn’t know how to handle it. I felt very alone. I had lost my Mamaw, I lost my Papaw, and I didn’t know my father. I didn’t have but just one friend outside of work. I felt like if I wasn’t here, no one would miss me. I know that’s not true, but that’s how I felt. I reached the lowest point of my life.
But I got through it, and I thought, “I’m still here for a reason.”
It was hard walking into my store. Everybody knew I just went through something horrible. I was welcomed right back. People came up to me and said, “We just want you to know that we’re here for you.” It was special. It made me feel like they really did care about me. And they let me get my feet back on the ground and worked with me through the things that I had to go through – the therapy, the appointments.
Bringing your true self to work
Growing up, I didn’t feel like my voice mattered. I would say something and never be heard. I experienced things that were horrible regarding my sexuality. Everything was out of my control. So when I came to the store, I was hiding who I was. I didn’t really announce who I was for fear of what could happen. But the people at my store really cared and believed in me. I felt at home.
Being real makes a difference. I’ve lived my life as a fake person. I’ve lived that way for too long. To be able to be who I am and not feel shame and not have that weight on my shoulders is great. Now I can be my gay self.
Be Here Now
When I decided that I wanted to live, I told myself that I’ve got to be here now. And I tell myself, it’s OK to be struggling. It’s OK to not be OK right now. But you’ve just got to be here. You’ve got to be in the moment, and you’ve got to enjoy what you have as best you can. But I still struggle every single day.
I always used to hide my voice. I was so quiet and shy and didn’t say anything to anybody. But now you see me at work, and I’m like, “Hey, how are you?” Now I have the ability to change people’s lives. That’s what I want to do. I want to say that your life might not have been perfect, but you’ve still got you and you’ve still got your future. You can shape your own future. You’ve just got to take the reins.
The lasting impact you make is one that isn’t a business-related task-It’s something that’s personal. And people will remember that for the rest of their lives.
Kenny B’s Advice: Take Anxiety for a Walk
When I’m struggling with my anxiety, I’ll just walk around the store and see my associates. They have that positive energy. You can just look at them, and it’s like, “Oh, all my problems are OK now.”
Another thing that has helped me: being part of the Social Champs program and being able to connect with people on social media.
I might now have a great ability to connect person to person, but I can voice an idea and make a difference in somebody’s life. I can take their picture and post it on Facebook and see their face light up. And their family gets to share it! That brings so much more value to me than just coming to work and then going home. It’s given me a meaning when I was hunting for one.
Follow Kenny B on Social Media
Instagram: @KennyBCable @Walmart0599
Or find him on Linkedin.
Help is Within Reach
Kenny B says, “If it weren’t for Walmart’s Resources for Living, I know I wouldn’t have the therapy; I wouldn’t have all the things that I’ve gotten to make myself be better.”
Call (800) 825-3555 to get started. This service is available to all associates. It’s free and confidential, and no sign-ups are required. Over-the-phone counseling from licensed professionals is available 24/7. You can also speak to a counselor via televideo.
In-person counseling is available through local networks nationwide. You are eligible for up to three free sessions per year per issue.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline for support: 1-800-273-8255