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"Finding the Truth of Who I Am Was One of the Most Bittersweet Journeys"

"And when we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard nor welcomed but when we are silent we are still afraid. So it is better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive," wrote Audre Lorde, the famous American poet, feminist, and civil rights activist in her book The Black Unicorn. Interior designer Jeremiah Brent first introduced me to her work, and these powerful words seem the most fitting starting point for my "coming into" conversation with Brady Tolbert. The creative director of Emily Henderson is very familiar with the inner turmoil LGBTQ youth face when they have to explain who they are to the world at large during an already confusing period of their lives. He endured it too. 

Despite working on several projects together and running into each other at events, it was only until recently that Tolbert and I decided to get drinks as friends. There was a moment in between the clink of wine glasses and talking shop where he spoke of his mission to Madagascar as a young Mormon. At that point, the course of our chat changed direction, and Tolbert spoke intimately about being raised in a religious household while identifying as homosexual, and how, despite the challenges, he learned so much about himself and gained an even closer connection with his family through the process.

"Life is too short not to love honestly and more importantly not to love yourself in the purest way," he tells me. "The realization that I am best when I am me was not one that happened overnight, but whether it was a coming out, a coming into, or coming clean, finding the truth and the core of who I am was one of the most bittersweet journeys."

We took the conversation back to Tolbert's L.A. home where he spoke in more detail about his Mormon upbringing in Salt Lake City, his "coming into" story, and how we can raise the next generation with love, understanding, and an open heart.