BR Q&A: Speaker Ruthie Lindsey on Being a Work in Progress
Ruthie Lindsey’s energy and passion for life knows no boundaries. Ruthie is a speaker, author, podcast host and authentic social media presence. After overcoming obstacles of her own, Ruthie has transformed her experiences into ways to uplift others and empower them to find the beauty in their lives. Today, she shares her thoughts and life with nearly 140 thousand Instagram followers, while traveling around the country and spreading empowerment and self-acceptance. We chatted with Ruthie about how she celebrates the masterpiece she is, and her journey as a work in progress.
BR: In your own words, describe what you do.
I’m a speaker, host of The Unspoken Podcast, activist and author. I just turned in my first book, A Love Song To My Scars: The Journey From Desperation To Wholeness, which will be available this year. I travel the world sharing my story and empowering others to find purpose in midst of their pain and to look for beauty in the scars that pain leaves behind.
BR: You started telling your story after receiving tons of messages on Instagram from people wishing they had your life. However, you now use it as a medium for honesty and raw expression. This openness really embodies our “work in progress” theme this January. Could you talk a little about showing honest sides of yourself and your life?
When I was 17, I broke my neck in a car accident and received a spinal fusion. Years later, the wire they used to repair my neck broke, pierced my brainstem leaving me in chronic, debilitating pain. During this time, I would look on social media and feel such depression and longing for a different life than the one I had. So, when I began to get the “you live my dream life” comments on my own Instagram, I felt sick to my stomach. I was doing such a disservice to my followers by not giving them the full picture. The truth was I was going through a divorce, my dad had passed away and I missed him so much it hurt. I had been addicted to every narcotic under the sun and had just weened myself off seven years of intensive drugs. I had just started living again after living in my bed for seven years, and I had intense physical pain every second of every day. Instagram had become a sort of joy journal for me when I was changing my life—something to remind me of the beauty all around me in the midst of an incredibly painful time of my life. But by not telling my followers the full picture, I had unintentionally curated a life that looked perfect on the outside. I decided to write out my whole story and share my full truth. I shared my physical and emotional pain, my failures and losses, my addiction and learning to live again with intensive chronic pain. I remember feeling so nervous to click publish. I felt so naked and exposed. I thought people would push away because it would be “too much”— but the exact opposite happened. People came out of the woodwork, writing me their own stories.
But by not telling my followers the full picture, I had unintentionally curated a life that looked perfect on the outside. I decided to write out my whole story and share my full truth.”
BR: You have a memoir coming out. Congratulations! Tell us more.
Going so deep into so many of my pains and traumas was incredibly hard—harder than I could have anticipated. To write about them, I had to face them head on, which ended up being such a gift and so healing because I got to work through them.
BR: What do you hope people take from your memoir?
My hope is that when people close my book, they forget about me but feel so deeply that this healing and this love is for them. That every painful, traumatic thing that has happened in their lives can be the thing that cracks them open in the most beautiful way, so that they can become the most whole-hearted version of themselves.
BR: Now that your book is finished, what’s next for you?
We are recording season 2 of The Unspoken Podcast. The idea is saying the unsaid. When we speak out loud about things we might feel shame and darkness about, it takes the power away. People know our guests for what they do, but we know them to be whole-hearted people willing to talk about hard things.
The response to season 1 was overwhelming! We got to have such beautiful conversations with so many amazing people like Connie Britton, Sophia Bush and Jedidiah Jenkins, to name a few. Next season we will have inspiring people like Jon Batiste, Freida Pinto, Richard Rohr, Noor Tagouri and many more. We are so excited about these incredible, raw conversations.
I am also starting to work on a digital curriculum I’ll be creating with Suleika Jaouad for people who are living in their beds and for caregivers. We have such similar stories. We both lived in our beds for years because of major health problems and felt the isolation and pain that came from that. There are people who are living this life for so many different reasons. We want to create content that helps people feel less alone—to feel heard, seen and loved. We also saw and experienced how difficult it was for our caregivers to care for loved ones. We both lost partners who were caregivers in the midst of our health crises. We want to create a curriculum for healing and processing for them.
BR: What advice do you have for people striving to better themselves or achieve “perfection?”
I would say stop now. There is no such thing as perfection, and what a disservice to put that sort of pressure on the human soul. I would strive to be the truest version of yourself. The most whole-hearted version of yourself. You are so good and so loved and so worthy and deserving of self-care and healing work. You are so needed in this world. You have so much love and goodness to offer yourself and the world.
I have never been a big shopper or known very much about trends or brands. I just buy and invest in a few pieces each season that I love and that will work with the rest of the clothes in my closet. I am very casual. I know what I like and what feels good to me and that’s what I wear and buy. I adore jumpsuits because they are so easy to travel with and I can dress them up or down, and I love being comfortable. That is always my number–one priority. Both outfits were casual and comfortable but felt fun and stylish.
Ruthie embraces self-love and purpose while turning away from pressures of perfection, making her a beautiful example of a “work in progress.” Find her on Instagram, then discover pieces that celebrate being a work in progress.
Photos by Darling Juliet.