In Conversation
  • Name
    Kai Avent-deLeon
  • Creator of
    Sincerely Tommy
  • Location
  1. You've talked about growing up in a mindful environment. How did your parents make that possible?

    I’m really blessed and feel like I chose my parents well. My father is the exemplary male figure and he’s always approached parenthood in a very independent fashion. He and my mom have referenced The Road Less Traveled as their model parenting book and I can see how much it’s been applied. My childhood was all about finding my own way of navigating the world and having a community to support that. My parents acted more as guides rather than telling me what to do. They weren’t religious at all, but very spiritual.

    Every Sunday morning I would have to practice yoga on my own—my dad had the same video on VHS that I would follow and it was so boring but I would do it, and now I’m very thankful that I did because it certainly helped me develop my love for yoga. They exposed me to so many different things: books, activities, even different schools, an African school, an Egyptian school, and a performing arts high school, just so I could be exposed to different practices.

    I feel really fortunate to have them. I have a great group of friends but the conversations I have with my parents are still the most enlightening and stimulating.

  2. What do you do to feel more grounded?

    I’ve gone through a lot in the last year and am slowly opening up about it and realizing the importance of sharing the story. I had a miscarriage in February of last year and up to that point, I’d never heard about what that experience is like. It’s a very isolating time because it’s something that our society often deems as taboo and that you get over. It was an intense transition but also very eye-opening, and it really put me in touch with being a woman and the relationship we have with our bodies. Up until that point I was used to being a grounded person, but was no longer able to get there through my usual practices like yoga and realized I had to go deeper. I started exploring every facet of healing: Reiki, readings, chakra cleansings—but it really came down to being still and forgiving myself. My friend, Selena Ayala, put it well when she said, “this is happening for you, not to you.” When I adopted that approach there was less resistance. I’m a very stubborn person and tend to want things the way I want them, but that process was all about surrendering.

  3. A lot of people discover Sincerely Tommy on Instagram. What's your take on the effects of the platform?

    We live in an age where we have constant access to people we don’t know and everyone has a brand or something they’re promoting. We’re conditioned to constantly compare and have a timeline for where our lives should be. I had to grasp the idea of not being defined by time and trusting my process which is hard and it’s not as though I’ve mastered it, I think even our gurus and teachers are still mastering it.

    Instagram, or what I call the highlight reel, doesn’t help because often people don’t share their struggles. In general, we want to feel good about ourselves and promoting the best stuff is one way of doing that on a surface level, but we have to maintain our peace of mind. I read something recently that said not to follow anyone that doesn’t make you feel good. If you’re looking at someone’s images and constantly asking why you’re not doing that maybe you shouldn’t follow them. The idea is to see someone doing well and feel happy for them or even be inspired to work towards your goals, and remember you really don’t know what that person is going through in real life.