A young Mo Bro lounges in an LA barbershop
"But being vulnerable? It’s one of the strongest things you can do."Image by: Let's Be Friends
A young Mo Bro lounges in an LA barbershop
22 August 2023

Miles' story: Keeping the power of the Mo strong at UCLA

4 minutes read time

Experience as a First Year Mo Bro

Who is Mo? Mo is somewhat carefree, passionate, always thinking about others, and really funny. That’s what makes Mo so special! There are few people like Mo and that’s why it’s important to carve out time for Mo every year. It starts off goofy, goes from bad to good, but when you power through and come out the other side fully-fledged, you can see just how powerful it is.

I got involved with Movember last year for a few reasons. Firstly, growing a Mo is just fun. I’ve always been passionate about giving back. Plus, it was my first year of business school, so I thought it would be a great way to get more involved with the community and help bring awareness to a cause that is near and dear to my heart: mental health.

Mental health matters at UCLA

A lot of the people on the UCLA team signed up because of men’s mental health. It isn’t talked about enough, and there are so many gaps in addressing these issues that are surrounding mental health for guys. It’s something that, personally, I’ve dealt with in my life. It’s been a continuous thing for me. It’s been great to have an excuse to share my story more through my Movember campaign efforts – to open up to others what I’ve been through, and hopefully to make it easier for others to share their story.

What happened when I shared my story

This process has made me more comfortable with who I am and made it easier for others to open up to me. Talking about my story has shown me that my mental state doesn’t control me. I can control it too. I’ve wanted to show people that no matter where you are, no matter what stage you’re at with your mental health journey, things can get better. Keep striving to make today better than yesterday and tomorrow better than today. It's only through continuing to talk about it, that we can bring a little bit more normalcy to it. People will be more willing to reach out. Even one text or one message can make a really big difference in someone’s life. People don’t always realize the impact they can make by simply starting that conversation. Just being a human has a lot more ripple effects that you might think.

My thoughts on reaching out

For someone who might be struggling to take that first step in reaching out, or asking for help I would say it’s okay to start small. I know that first step can feel like Mount Everest, or the biggest mountain you’ve ever seen, but once you take that first step and clear that first hurdle, you’re going to be pleasantly surprised by what you see on the other side.

Not only in how brave and strong you really are, but also in how people will respect you, and understand where you’re coming from. They can relate. Because they’ve probably also struggled in the past. No one is perfect. But that’s also what makes us so rare, unique and special. It’s not the easiest thing to do, but it’s one of the most rewarding things to do.

On vulnerability as strength

People might think that opening up makes you weak. But being vulnerable? It’s one of the strongest things you can do. Equally, it’s one of the most beautiful things you can do. That might sound corny, but it really builds trust and relationships with people. It shows them that you’re not afraid of sharing who you are and growing and changing for the better. It can feel scary, but the more you do it, the easier it is. You’ll become stronger and more steadfast in who you are.

Being vulnerable has rewarded me in so many ways. It’s rewarded me with a lot of friendships more than anything, because it’s created safe spaces for people not only to trust me, but also has given me the opportunity to then trust them when they open to me. It creates this two-way communication in friendship that can really evolve from more than just surface-level-friendship, into something that’s more meaningful and much deeper.

It's helped me to quell some of my own inner voice that has held me back. Before I never would have dressed up as a hot dog to a UCLA football game to help raise funds for Movember and men’s health, but I did. And not only was it a ton of fun for not only myself but others, but when I told people why I was doing it, I got even more donations.

The future state of men's mental health

My hope for the future state of men’s mental health is that it becomes more of a communal battle, rather than a personal one. The more we break this stigma, the more people we welcome along on our own personal journey, so that we all can come out on top.

Join Movember

To anyone thinking about joining the Movember mission, I would say you gotta do it. You become part of an amazing community that’s having fun, giving back, and everyone loves a moustache. It’s undeniable! I get my powers from my moustache, so once the Mo grows, that’s when the creative juices start flowing. I know we’ll get something fun, special and out of this world for this year’s Movember.

Sign up and join Miles for Movember 2023.