Editor at TWLOHA
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Becky Ebert. I just turned 28—literally, today is my birthday! I’m originally from Buffalo, NY, but I relocated to Florida just over a year ago.
What do you do?
I’m the editor for the mental health nonprofit To Write Love on Her Arms. To condense my job description: I read/review/help craft anything and everything that TWLOHA shares, posts, or publishes.
What led you to your current role with TWLOHA?
Words. At my core, I’m a writer, a reader, a consumer of language. I went to Buffalo State College for journalism and public relations, but after graduating, I entertained the idea of a career in songwriting. A few years later I found myself in a tough spot mentally and professionally, and during that time I started a politically-driven blog (it was an election year) and began freelance editing novels. At one point, a friend and a client, sent me TWLOHA’s tweet saying they were looking for a new editor! Fast forward to five months of interviewing, and I was moving to the state of Florida—with that aforementioned friend, too!
Why do you do what you do and what do you love most about what you do?
I lost my dad when I was 19. He had been sick for most of my adolescent childhood. I think dealing with the reality of his illness and then his passing, had a serious impact on my mental health. I went in and out of depression throughout high school and college, worked through an eating disorder, and still to this day, see a counselor for general anxiety. Throughout those times, I had support, I had family and friends that I could talk to, and had access to counselors. That’s what TWLOHA stands to do, to provide people with a safe space to speak on those struggles and then connect them to professional help.
As for what I love the most, I would say two things:
1. When I’m not stationed at my desk (which isn’t often), I get to attend events and represent TWLOHA behind the booth. Having the opportunity to actually engage in conversation with people who are familiar with TWLOHA, and to inform those who have no clue what we do, is an honor I don’t take lightly.
2. As the editor, I have the responsibility of curating TWLOHA’s blog. That translates to working with a wide array of folks who are looking to share their stories of mental illness with an audience that can then hopefully find comfort and encouragement in knowing they’re not alone in the dark or the light aspects of life.
Who are some women that inspire you in your life and work?
My predecessor and part-time coworker, Claire Biggs. She was the editor at TWLOHA for two years before I joined the team in February of 2017. Although her role with the organization has shapeshifted a bit since I came onboard, her work ethic, passion, support, and tenacity has remained evergreen. We’ve worked quite a few demanding campaigns together, and through it all, she challenged me to be more creative, more confident, and more adventurous with my editorial decisions.
And of course, my mom (she’s a preschool teacher).
What are you passionate about?
Nature, art, cultivating kindness, and positive change.
What's the best advice you've received?
A friend once told me: “You contain multitudes.” Basically, you have every right to change and grow—your emotions, your clothes, your dreams, your opinions. You are not stuck in a box dictated by others’ perceptions of you.
Why do you think talking about mental health is important?
Whether you’re having a great mental health day or a week of struggle, we need to communicate those journeys with one another. Allowing mental health to be a topic of conversation helps us to realize that it isn’t something we need to disguise. Just as we all have physical health, we have mental health to care for, too. By talking about it, we’re normalizing it; we’re creating a space for it to exist in our society.
Are there any specific challenges in your work/life you've faced because you're a woman? If so how did you overcome them?
Before joining the TWLOHA crew, I worked at an ice rink—yes, a place where mostly dudes come to play hockey and bodycheck one another. Anyway, being a five-foot-two female, I was often times scoffed at when I went to do my job (moving weighted nets, shoveling snow from the zamboni, cleaning locker rooms). But let me tell you, the judgemental coaches and parents never left the rink with the same opinion of my abilities. Spoiler alert: I’m stronger than I look.
What is your advice for women and girls?
Be bold, take chances on yourself, believe and invest in your talents, and dedicate time and effort to your future. You have so much to offer the world.
Any stray thoughts?
I am absurdly grateful to be working and advocating and fighting alongside all of you wickedly intelligent and kind women. Thank you for inspiring me to challenge myself beyond what society attempts to tell me I’m capable of.