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Indy Severe    

Indy Severe

BY MEADOWLARK MONAGHAN

Today, I am thrilled to welcome the founders of Lonely Ghost - Indy and Bronson. I am so grateful for their openness about mental health and how willing they were to get into the real stuff with us.

In case you don't know who she is, India Blue Severe is a 22 year old writer, entrepreneur, and influencer. With an engagement level that beats Kim K, in the past year she surprised everyone by announcing her pregnancy and shortly after, giving birth in a whirlwind of events that she reflects on now (in this global pandemic) as lucky. We chat her story, creating your own life movie, her experiences with anxiety and depression, and so much more.

WELCOME INDY! MY HIPPIE NAMED SIS. FIRST OF ALL, HOW ARE YOU DOING IN QUARANTINE? YOU DEFINITELY SEEM TO HAVE SOME SUPER CUTRE ENTERTAINMENT TO KEEP YOU OCCUPIED - I'M TALKING ABOUT BABY SEVEN OF COURSE.

Oh my gosh right?? Like how lucky are we that we have a newborn to play with and love on while we’re all stuck at home. I love it. We’re doing so good. Jackson (my boyfriend) and I have had the craziest last 6 months and we finally feel like we’re on the other side of it all. (Even in a pandemic believe it or not.) But I'm so happy just being cooped up with my little family and I feel like the timing couldn’t be better in a weird way. We have nothing else to do but soak in every moment. I think also for me - and my postpartum depression, it's helping SO much that everyone has to stay home and not just me haha. I feel like my FOMO would be off the walls if I was stuck inside with a newborn while everyone was out and about. But really, Seven just makes everything better. In the midst of all this madness and anxiety - I get to have that little sense of peace from him. He’s so cool already. 

OKAY I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHERE TO BEGIN WITH YOUR STORY. FOR OUR READERS THAT DON'T KNOW, CAN YOU SUM UP YOUR LIFE FOR US?

My name is Indy, I'm 22 years old and I’m from Lindon, Utah. I feel like the most significant life events that would tell my story happened after high school so I’ll start there. I graduated by the skin of my teeth. Seriously! I sat at graduation shaking uncontrollably because I didn’t know if I was going to qualify or not, haha. Basically, college was not my vibe. I hated school. So after I graduated, I decided to work instead of enrolling. I was filming weddings back then and this gave me the time, money & freedom to do some traveling, which was always my life dream.  Long story short, in the past 5 years I’ve traveled to 30 countries. So that has been my life. Bali, Dubai, Zimbabwe, Cappadocia, India, Spain, Tokyo….you name it. I’ve spent the last 5 years doing laps around the world and documenting  all of it on my social media channels. I loved every minute of it. It was the craziest, most eye opening, exhilarating years of my life. But last summer I had a change of plans when I got unexpectedly pregnant with my High School sweetheart. In the past year I have moved home from LA, started my own clothing brand annnnnd…..had a baby! I feel like I just ended a season of life, but this new one is even more exciting to me. 

WE CAN OFTEN HEAR YOU SAY, "YOU CREATE THE LIFE YOU WANT" - ELABORATE ON THIS. HOW HAVE YOU SEEN THIS DEVELOP IN YOUR LIFE?

This is my life mantra. I’ve never been a rule follower. It’s funny when I look back I really have always “created” my own life. My boyfriend always says that I “live in my own little world” and I totally do. When I was 8 years old, I was baptized into our church and its tradition for girls to wear all white to symbolize being “clean.” But that wasn’t going to work for me because EVERY girl had a white dress and how was I going to stand out with a white dress? Mine was pink. Of course. That’s just how I’ve always been. College wasn’t for me so I figured out what I wanted to do and I made it happen. We have these “rules” and “paths” that we’re taught to live by and none of us realize we have a choice. I didn’t want a white dress. I wanted a pink one. And so I had a pink one. I didn’t want to go to college. I wanted to travel. So I made it happen. It obviously didn’t happen overnight, but I hustled because I had an idea of what I wanted my life to look like. I also want to emphasize that “creating the life you want” doesn’t have to be picking up your life and backpacking around Asia. Envision your perfect life. Your dream life. The key is to wake up and realize that you can have it all. And spoiler alert...It’s easier than you think! Once you get it in your head that it’s possible, those wheels are in motion and you’re already one step closer to your dream life. It’s also just about romanticizing your life. I had the most extravagant baby shower because that's just me. I make these cinematic pieces of my life with dramatic music, because I am the main character of my life. Jack and I dance around the kitchen like we’re in a romcom. You get one life. Make it a movie.

"You get one life. Make it a movie."

CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH ANXIETY? HOW HAS YOUR JOURNEY WITH IT BEEN? WHAT DO YOU FEEL ARE YOUR GO TO COPING MECHANISMS? HOW ARE YOU FEELING NOWADAYS?

Oh boy. I don’t know all of the factors leading up to my severe anxiety disorder but I do think being in the public eye had something to do with it. I mean how could it not, right? Like unless you’re Kim Kardashian West, HOW does anyone thrive with that lifestyle? With so many eyes on you? People making judgements, spreading rumors, criticizing your every move, filming you in public? It was rough. And I was young too. I remember being 18 or 19 and going to the gym one time and getting a snapchat of myself working out. Like right then and there. Someone in the gym filmed me on the treadmill and sent it to me on the treadmill. I was dying inside. The next time I went to the gym I sat in my car for 20 minutes and ended up going home because I was so anxious. I haven’t been back to a public gym since. It got to the point where I could tell when people recognized me in public and it made me an anxious mess. I knew people were going to make their judgments about me based on the one time they saw me in the vegetable aisle at Target and it was terrifying. I could be having a bad day, or simply just minding my own business but to a bystander who only recognizes me from the internet, I look stand-offish rude and it becomes the story they tell their friends. That cycle in my head nearly ruined me.

I think over the years I’ve come to terms with not caring as much about what I can’t control. I’m definitely used to it now and if someone who has never met me and knows nothing about me doesn’t like me…that’s honestly their business, not mine. But as for my anxiety, that’s just been a rollercoaster. It will get better for a while, then it will peak. Then go back down. I struggle here and there. Right before my pregnancy was the first time I had ever tried medication for it and OH MY GOODNESS why didn’t I do that years ago?! It helped me so much. Also weed. Can I say that?

DO YOU THINK HAVING LOWS IN LIFE MAKE THE HIGHS MORE PRONOUNCED?

Yes! Yes. Yes. I am experiencing this in my life right now. My boyfriend and I have been through hell and back for the last seven years and especially the last few months with my crazy pregnancy. I had gnarly postpartum depression and If I’m being completely transparent with you… I didn’t want to get better. I had become so comfortable with my sadness, with my grief & depression that happiness legitimately scared me. Choosing to be happy was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. And I understand how that sounds. And I also know you don’t just wake up and choose to be happy and POOF! You’re a functioning human again. It took months and it's something I had to work at like it was a 9-5 job. But ohhhh my god I cannot even begin to tell you how worth it it is. And to a normal person with a healthy brain, you probably read this like “yeah no shit indy blue” but for people who struggle with depression, I know personally you can get to a point where you genuinely can’t even remember how it feels to have those highs. So when you do experience those highs after being sad for so long…it’s euphoric. Seriously about 10 times a day we’ll just be sitting in our living room with the baby watching TV and my eyes well up with tears because I am ELATED. Great question.

"I didn’t want to get better. I had become so comfortable with my sadness, with my grief & depression that happiness legitimately scared me. Choosing to be happy was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. And I understand how that sounds. And I also know you don’t just wake up and choose to be happy and POOF! You’re a functioning human again. It took months and it's something I had to work at like it was a 9-5 job. But ohhhh my god I cannot even begin to tell you how worth it it is."

YOUR PREGNANCY WAS WILD. I KNOW WE CAN'T EVEN GET INTO THE WHOLE STORY BUT I DO WANT TO JUST TOUCH ON IT BRIEFLY - WHAT WERE YOUR EMOTIONS AND MENTAL STATE LIKE DURING ALL OF IT? HOW DID YOU COPE WITH THE COMPLICATIONS?

So pregnancy in general is a trip. Jackson and I weren’t married and both come from extremely conservative hometowns where we were judged pretty heavily. That, paired with the intense anxiety pregnancy just brings in general, was a nightmare. It’s also lonely. Like the loneliest you will ever feel in your entire life. And as if being pregnant isn’t already hard enough, I developed type 1 diabetes and didn’t know until about 7 months in. I was deathly sick and finally had to be admitted to the ER because my body went into Diabetic Ketoacidosis. I almost went into a coma and I was life flighted to another hospital to deliver my baby at 28 weeks gestation. So wild. We were able to stop the labor for two weeks (which actually saved his life) and my baby was in the NICU for five weeks after that. So yes, it was crazy!! Traumatic for sure. But I am so proud of myself for how I handled it. I was the strong one. For everyone. The night I was originally supposed to have an emergency C-section, one of the specialists came in to give us the harsh news that there was a really high chance the baby wouldn’t survive the delivery. Everyone in the room broke but I sat there, stone faced. I was strangely calm. I don’t know if it was motherly instincts or if it was the morphine but I was cool as a cucumber. I wonder if that helped keep him in a little longer.

YOU'VE TALKED BEFORE ABOUT HOW WHEN HAVING A BABY AN BEING COMMITTED TO YOUR PARTNER, THE THING THAT SCARED YOU ABOVE ALL ELSE WAS LIVING TOGETHER. HOW WAS THAT TRANSITION? HOW IS IT NOW THAT WE ARE UNDER SUCH EXTREME CIRCUMSTANCES?

Ooh I love this question! Remember how my boyfriend always makes fun of me for “living in my own little world”? Yeah. I didn’t want to share that little world with anyone, haha. Jack has wanted to move in together for years and even before I was pregnant we were discussing the idea. And it terrified me. I’m painfully independent. I need my alone time. The thought of living with someone stressed me out. But to be completely honest with you, there really was no adjustment. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. It could be because we’re already so comfortable with each other and have known and loved each other for seven years, maybe? I think any time you move in with a partner it’s going to be a transition, but definitely way more if you move in after only dating for a year or two. I’ve known that kid since I was sixteen.  It was a breeze for us, thank god. We have the same cleaning patterns, sleeping patterns, eating habits, etc. And above all else, we just loooove chilling together. Like a sleepover with your boyfriend every night. Oh but we have a baby too. And that’s even better. We joke that maybe if we would have just had a baby and moved in together years ago, we could have saved ourselves all that heartache.

I DEEPLY ADMIRE HOW YOU SHARE THE GOOD AND BAD OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP; PARTICULARLY WHEN YOU SPEAK TO HOW IT HAS NOT BEEN SO HEALTHY IN THE PAST. I THINK THAT'S DEEPLY ADMIRABLE TO BE VULNERABLE ABOUT THAT SO PUBLICLY BECAUSE THAT'S THE TRUTH FOR EVERY RELATIONSHIP! NOW THAT YOU HAVE WORKED THROUGH IT TO GET TO A GOOD PLACE, WHAT CHANGES DID YOU MAKE TO HELP GET YOU THERE?

Like I said, having a baby saved us. And let me emphasize twenty million times that I am NOT suggesting to have a baby if you and your boyfriend are having relationship problems, haha. But we made a decision to commit to each other and give this baby the best possible life, and i’m not kidding it was like we matured 10 years in 10 months. We were so selfish before. So selfish and so young. I definitely don’t look back on those hard years with fondness but part of me also realizes how crucial us spending time apart and fucking up and finding ourselves was to our relationship. We’ve been at rock bottom. You know? We’ve done all that. Nothing scares me anymore. We choose each other every single day and I think that’s all you can ask for in a partner.

YOU HAVE A VERY UNIQUE CONNECTION AND ENGAGEMENT WITH SOCIAL MEDIA. HOW DOES THAT IMPACT YOUR MENTAL HEALTH? HOW DO YOU SET BOUNDARIES WITH IT, IF ANY?

Very unique. I cannot explain it for the life of me, why I have such insane engagement on the internet but my mom who thinks I’m pretty awesome thinks it’s because i’m pretty awesome. I think it’s because i’m inherently vulnerable. People crave authenticity. Back in the day when people were posting their valencia filtered coffee, I was talking about graduating high school and how I got terrible grades and how me and my boyfriend broke up, you know? For me, social media has been a journal ever since I knew what social media was. I was probably the only eleven year old in the world with a blog. I love to write and I have a way with words that people really connect to whether it’s on my blog, my instagram captions, my tweets about Harry Styles - people like it. But it definitely affects my mental health to have so much of my life revolve around my image. I don’t love that. It gets hard sometimes because my advice to people struggling with their relationship with social media is just to stay off for a while. But when your job is literally posting on your instagram story, you can’t really just delete the app or take a few weeks off like you’d want to. Setting boundaries is the only way I can stay sane! I also am a huge believer in unfollowing accounts that make you feel bad about yourself. Create the ‘online’ life you want :)

WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND YOUR PRIVATE FACEBOOK GROUPS, FROM INDY TO LONELY GHOST?

As I explained above, I have a little following on the internet that is insanely loyal. I began noticing that so many girls thought the same way as me and liked the same things as me and wanted to do the same things I was doing. I wanted to make a group where those like minded people could all virtually hang out and meet each other. Creating that facebook group was one of the best things i’ve ever done because it was so much bigger than me. It actually has nothing to do with me. My whole life I’ve been someone who brings other people together. It’s one of my gifts. I’m always connecting my friends to my other friends and this was an extension of that, just on a massive level. I think we have 11,000 people in the group now? Insane. It’s just a dope place. Girls have literally met their best friends because of it. Girls have traveled around the world with other girls in the group because of it. They’re constantly building each other up, giving advice, editing each other's pictures, it’s beautiful. A few weeks ago one of the girls posted saying she missed school for something and had to make up a lie, so this sweet angel tells her professor her car lit on fire which is why she couldn’t come in. So he asks to see a picture of the car as proof! Insert ghost gang. Pictures of burning cars come FLOODING in from all corners of the world. I was laughing my head off. We show up for each other no matter what. I meant to say this to the last question you asked but I genuinely believe social media brings way more good than bad. This is a prime example. 

DOES HAVING THIS PLATFORM AND COMMUNITY MAKE YOU FEEL RESPONSIBLE TO PRESENT A CERTAIN WAY AND TOUCH ON IMPORTANT TOPICS, OR IS THAT ALL JUST BULLSHIT AND IT'S JUST YOUR JOB TO BE YOURSELF?

It’s bullshit to me, really. I hate that. I hate the “you have a responsibility to speak on this” because I have a certain amount of followers. Not to say I don’t use my platform for good. I love speaking on issues I’m passionate about, and I love sending pictures of myself to girls who are using pictures of me to catfish. I’m a woman of the people. But I roll my eyes when people get after influencers for not speaking on every world issue. I got some heat for not posting all about sustainability and global warming and all that stuff on earth day. I even got a message that said “it’s really disappointing that you’re not using your platform to talk about this” But honestly? That is an area I really know nothing about. And I promise the day I do I will shout it from the rooftops but I’m not going to do it just to look woke, you know? Personally, i’d rather listen to an instagrammer talk about an issue that they are passionate and educated about rather than them talking about it because they’re scared of the backlash if they don’t. It’s fake at that point. That goes for being a “good example” as well. I do my thing at all times. I wear what I want and that usually means i’ll get haters for not being a good example. But that aint my job girl?! I want to be an example to young girls to do their own thing at all times. That you can be smart, kind, funny, hard working AND hot as hell.

WHERE DOES YOU MESSAGING FOR LONELY GHOST STEM FROM? WHAT DO YOU WANT THE BRAND TO REPRESENT FOR PEOPLE?

Lonely Ghost is cool because much like Madhappy (one of the reasons I jumped for joy when you suggested this interview) is because it’s so much more than clothes. It’s a positivity thing. It’s a community. And yeah it’s about the clothes, but to me it’s more about the people who wear them. Nothing makes me happier than going through our orders and seeing addresses from all over the world. That gives me chills. I love walking through the airport in my “I Love You Say It Back” shirt and having 20 different complete strangers tell me they love me as I walk to my gate. People get a kick out of it and I always blush a little when people really “say it back.” But I love that something as simple as that phrase, or our cute ass little ghost can bring a bright spot to someone’s day. Even if it’s your own.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST, WHAT ARE YOU FEELING OPTIMISTIC ABOUT RIGHT NOW?

Dude. This is the best part about being a mom. You’re constantly excited. Sev is thiiiiis close to laughing and it’s all I can think about. I can’t wait for him to sit up and start babbling. Or to WALK! I’m just optimistic about that kid. He’s special. Constantly exciting me. And that is the key to happiness in my opinion. The key to life. Stay excited. 

Artwork by FISK

SPEED ROUND

FAVORITE QUARANTINE ACTIVITY

COOKING!! Quarantine has turned this girl into a chef. And I used to not even know how to make ramen noodles. It's been so fun.

FAVORITE RECENT BOOK OR PODCAST

My best friend Weslie has a podcast called “woke with weslie” and the best way to describe her and her podcast is like a little pocketful of sunshine. The highlight of my week. Also Untamed by Glennon Doyle is my favorite book I’ve read as of late. Life changing. 

LAST MEAL YOU COOKED AT HOME

I make bomb brussel sprouts and I want everyone to know it

ADMIT A GUILTY PLEASURE

The Kardashians. Love those bitches.

LAST THING YOU SAID YES TO

Me and my business partner are always bouncing ideas off each other and he asked me to write a kids book for lonely ghost. I said HELL YES!

LAST THING YOU SAID NO TO

My boyfriend when he asked if I wanted to work out with him