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‘Flat Face’: One person’s exploration of self-worth

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A side profile of a man with a beard and dyed hair standing against a colorfully painted wall.
DJ Brüwer
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DJ Brüwer: "Side profile, getting comfortable with the reality of how I look and not avoiding my difference."

We’ve been on a journey this month as we focus on the concept of “New Year, Elevated You.” Our first two episodes leaned toward the external part of that. But focusing on outward self-improvement can be challenging when dealing with internal issues like insecurities and low self-esteem.

DJ Wide Shot.jpg
DJ Brüwer
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DJ Brüwer: "Finding joy is learning to love myself and being what my younger self needed."

My colleague, Darron “DJ” Brüwer, knows those struggles, which came as a shock to me considering how I see him.

Did you ever meet someone and instantly want to be their friend but didn’t want to seem like a loser, so you kept it cool and didn’t mention anything? That was me when I met DJ, HYFIN’s community engagement coordinator. I immediately thought he was fashionable, with an infectious energy yet calm demeanor. He’s tall, has a beard and a beautiful smile. But everyone has things they’re insecure about — things that outsiders never realize.

For this very personal episode of Uniquely Milwaukee, we kept things as basic as possible so I could sit down with DJ to talk about his — and my own — insecurities. How hurtful words from childhood bullies still carry weight, how hard we can be on ourselves when it comes to appearance, and how to let go of shame.

Then DJ wraps up the episode with “Flat Face,” a poem that addresses his issues with his side profile and the difficult road to self-acceptance that all of us face.

Audio Storyteller | Radio Milwaukee