#AreYouHereYet? Dr. Tony Ortega on what 2020 has taught him

#AreYouHereYet: How to STFU and Show Up For Yourself is the sequeal to Dr. Ortega’s debut self-help title and continues his examination of the epidemic of perceived inadequacy in our universal quest for love and self-improvement.  Described as “the self-help book the world is missing,” Dr.Ortega provides essential ‘what next?’ support in a sea of books focused on the start of the journey.  Here, a year since publication under our Ortus imprint, he shares his thoughts about 2020 and looks back at what he’s learnt…


When I started writing #AreYouHereYet: How to STFU and Show Up for Yourself (aptly nicknamed STFU), my desire was to shake people up. The very people that come to me for assistance. The people who are stuck on this hamster wheel of personal development. The people who came to rely on the latest social media fad to feel better about themselves. I wanted to create a massive disruption in the conversation.

I feel very strongly that I accomplished that. I wrote this amazing book that was sassy and brash and bold … and sometimes rude. Too often in the self-help/personal development/spiritual world, we are spoon-fed stuff that is really covert shaming and programming of dependence. STFU was written for folks to be more self-reliant.

After an amazing book launch on February 13, 2020, hosted by RuPaul’s Drag Race UK superstar Cheryl Hole, I felt so empowered to bring this conversation to the world. Shortly thereafter, the world was presented with COVID-19. And the world turned off.

For a brief moment, I thought I had failed. While struggling with recovering from COVID-19 myself, I was forced to take a look at myself. This was a really hard look at myself because there wasn’t much else to do. None of the things that defined so much of who I am was accessible. Just me and my 12-year-old diabetic cat, Logan.

After some time, I realized that I had the guidebook for how to reinvent myself … in the words I wrote in STFU. While the global landscape was quite different, the principles I was teaching others remained the same. Here are the ones that stood out the most:

  • Be present, no matter what the outcome may or may not be.
  • What can I be doing differently to see things differently?
  • Don’t judge my insides by others’ outsides on social media.
  • Change my self talk, change my life.
  • This very intense FML moment can be transformed into an amazing OMG moment. And I did that.
  • Find the known within the unknown.
  • Consistently be in a space of being to receive what I want for my life.
  • Find new ways to connect with others and know we are equals.
  • Love myself to an extent that I hadn’t prior to the onset of COVID-19.

And many others.

One year later, I am in a space of gratitude that I wrote this book because it gave me a roadmap to navigate life in the most uncertain time I have ever experienced. It forced me to be more self-reliant.  It made me a better person.

#AreYouHereYet? by Dr. Tony Ortega is available now.

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