Entering A New Season

Mental Health

Over the past year, I have taken a serious step back and reflected on my life, whether that be the people I associate with, the food I consume, or the ways in which I spend my free time. I have taken a moment to sit back and really reflect on what is important to me and how things affect my mental and physical health. Since being diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety and Perfectionism disorders, I have really focused on my environment and what my triggers are along with what makes me feel good.

A lot of my stress this past year came from graduating college and then the ever daunting “next step.” During the month and a half after graduation, I stayed in Conway and was determined to find a job in Little Rock. Moving home was not an option. While I was looking for a job, I continued working at the daycare and basically had a full-time job there. I applied for jobs, I went on interviews, I did the things I was “supposed” to do after graduating.

Then, one day I snapped. I realized that I was miserable living in Conway. I had been on many interviews with no callbacks and the opportunities in Central Arkansas seemed to be fading from sight. As much as I loved seeing the kids at the daycare, I knew that I had bigger goals and dreams I wanted to achieve, and as much as I hated to admit it, I needed to move home. So, within the next two weeks, I began saying my goodbyes to my “babies” at the daycare, I packed my apartment up and said goodbye to the friends I had made in my four years down there.

From the moment I made the call to my mom telling her I wanted to move back home, a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I felt like I was finally moving in the right direction. Once I got home things just kept getting better, family friends kept telling me about connections they had and thousands of emails were sent out. I had a lunch meeting with my old boss, turned mentor, Allyson, and she straight up told me that I looked like I had lost my spark. She gave me a pep talk about not getting discouraged and reminded me about how badass I was and within I think 2-3 weeks of that conversation, I landed a job.

I am now a Client Engagement Representative for Hugg & Hall Equipment Company. I help manage the digital marketing efforts of the company along with my team. It’s been a great stepping stone into the real world, and I can’t wait to share more with you guys!

What season of life are you in? I’d love to hear how you all have handled moving into new seasons and the challenges and blessings that came with it. Feel free to leave a comment under this post, or reach out through my contact page!JJ - Imperfection

It’s Okay to be Selfish Sometimes

Family, Mental Health

I have come to the realization that now is the perfect, and possibly only time in my life for me to be 100% selfish. Now I don’t mean selfish in the way of not sharing or withholding things from other people, I’m talking about being selfish with my time, with what I choose to do and who I choose to do it with.

Our twenties are the most confusing and challenging decade of our life because for the first time in our lives we have complete control over what we do. For the most part, we aren’t tied down with kids and family life, we have the liberty of finding a job where ever in the world we so choose, and we don’t have to answer to our parents anymore. (I’m not saying be disrespectful, but we don’t have to live by the “house rules” anymore.)

So I am taking this time to be selfish, I have a lot that I want to accomplish in this next decade, and I’m not going to let anything or anyone hold me back. My dream is to work in a PR or Ad agency in Chicago, and I plan on making that dream a reality in the next two years. But first, I need to graduate.

I’m also being selfish with the people I choose to let into my life. Just because you’ve known someone for a long time, or even if that person is a family member, doesn’t mean you have to let them be a big part of your life. Always be respectful, but the sun doesn’t need to rise and set on what they think about you.

I heard a great sermon at church a few weeks ago, and one thing that stuck with me from the message was a simple question; “what happens when helping you is hurting me?”

People are most likely going to get mad at you for taking care of yourself instead of taking care of them, you might get called names and you might lose some friends. But the truth is if they can’t see that you’re being selfish in order to better your self and regain control over your life, then they weren’t the kind of friends you needed in the first place.

I’m taking an oath to work on being selfish with my time and energy. I am too young to be stressing out about things that I have no control over. I don’t need to worry about what people think about the choices I make, as long as I’m being smart and the choice makes me happy, that’s all that should really matter.

I encourage all of you reading this to do the same, even if you aren’t in your twenties, find an area of your life that needs a little TLC and become selfish with it. Take time out of the crazy, hectic day for you. Your mental health is far too precious to be taken for granted.

If you have any helpful self-help/mental health practices that you try to work into your daily routine, I would love to hear about them in the comment section below!

Alive and Well

My Journey

Well, I’ve made it a week without social media, and guess what, I’m still alive. I haven’t broken out in hives or had thousands of mental breakdowns, my life hasn’t blown up in a ball of fiery failure and destruction. That may seem drastic, but let’s be real… we all think that’s what will happen if we totally disconnect from social media.

In fact, my life has improved. I don’t feel this constant pressure to post something perfect that captures only a small percentage of my actual life. I am not bogged down with the feeling of my life not being adequate. I feel liberated in some ways because for the first time since I joined the social media world, I am living my life for me and not for the likes, retweets, or comments from people I hardly know.

Don’t get me wrong, I do miss social media, I miss being connected in the talk around campus, I miss getting updates on current events (both political and pop culture.) But other than that, I don’t miss it that much. I think we (millennials) can get so caught up in feeling like our lives will end the moment we get off social media, but the reality is, our lives don’t begin until we do.

We are at such a formative point in our lives, we are shaping our futures, and creating our lifestyles. We deal with enough pressure from trying to get through college with the least amount of debt as possible and searching for the perfect job that will help us pay off that debt while not making us miserable.  The last thing we need to be stressed about is how our social media lives compared to those of our followers and “friends.”

We are in our twenties, we don’t have a lot going for us, we are all confused and lost, and just trying to figure out how to fully live on our own. And I don’t care how pretty your Instagram feed looks, at the end of the day, we are all riding the same struggle bus, so let’s get off the high horse and accept that it’s ok for our lives to be a mess.

I’m preaching to myself just as much as I’m preaching to whoever decided to read this post. I was trapped in the same endless cycle of refreshing newsfeeds and opening and closing different social media apps, feeling like my life wasn’t fabulous enough or that I was a failure for not having my shit together. But I decided to cut myself from the cycle, I’ve taken a step back, I’m focusing on learning about myself and what I want to accomplish in my life. I’m reconnecting with my true self, and I encourage everyone reading this to do the same.

This break from social media is amazing, I have so much more time to dedicate myself to my school work and other hobbies that I usually ignore. So I still have a few more weeks of this break from the social world, but as of now, I’m not dying, my vitals are fine, and I feel a lot freer.

Turning Over a New Leaf

My Journey

As I look back over the past year of my life I have grown tremendously. I have accomplished things I never thought possible, I have overcome various obstacles and hardships. I have made friends and lost friends, I have laughed and cried. Through all of this though, I have found that I haven’t fully been living for me.

Yeah all of my accomplishments have been about something I wanted and something I went after to achieve, but I haven’t been living in the moment. I’ve been chasing after some far fetched perfect reality, and have been caught up in living in a daydream land about various hypothetical situations that I lost a sense of what my true reality is.

I’m a naturally stubborn person, and sometimes I ignore what people tell me because it doesn’t fit into the reality I can have in my head. I am very much aware that this is a dangerous place to be, and because of it I have caused myself pain and heartache that could’ve been avoided, but alas it wasn’t. Even through the pain, I have learned a lot about myself, and I’m amazed each day at how strong and resilient I am.

So right now, on this day I have taken a pledge, I am going to turn over a new leaf. I am going to practice living in the now and work on not taking myself as serious. I am going to continue to dream, but I am also going to accept the reality in front of me. I am going to look for happiness within myself before I look to others to make me happy.

I am going to practice going with the flow and let go of the need to plan out and control every aspect of my life. I am going to work on not shutting down and feeling rejected when plans change.

But for right now, I’m taking a break from the outside world. I’m disconnecting myself from all social media. I am going to take time out of each day to meditate and reflect on myself. The people I communicate with during this time are the ones who are close enough to me to have my phone number. I am going to focus on cultivating relationships with the people who genuinely care about me.

During this time I am going to take chances and try and break out of my comfort zone. I’m going to face my fears (except mascots, mascots will always be scary) and do things I wouldn’t normally do. I’m going to do these things for myself too, I’m not going to try and find an “insta-worthy” moment that would generate hundreds of likes. I’m going to explore and experience the world around me and look at the unfiltered, not cropped beauty of the world.

So, as always, even though I am not on social media right now, you can follow me on my journey through this crazy thing we call life.

 

My Anxiety and Me

Mental Health

For the longest time I have thought that anxiety was this big scary thing and if you truly had it then there was something very wrong with you. But hey, guess what, anxiety is not that. In most cases, anxiety and stress are normal (almost) everyday things humans interact with, but in other cases, it can pose a problem.

I’m here today to tell you my story. It’s not some fantastical exciting story, this post is just going to be the raw, real truth.

College is stressful, there is no denying that, and anyone who tries to tell you differently did not do college right. But at what point does normal college stress become something a little more serious? For me, it began during my sophomore year, I had an interesting set of roommates, and I was dealing with some other personal issues. Every day I woke up, it felt like I was walking on eggshells. I was so terrified of saying or doing something wrong that I honestly became a hermit kind of. I went to school, I did my homework, I worked out occasionally, but other than that, I stayed to myself mostly because that’s where I felt safe.

For those of you, that know me well it might surprise you when I say that I am a very shy person. I’m usually that person hugging the wall at a party, but it doesn’t take much for me to get out of my shell. My sophomore year pushed me further into my shell, however.

I started losing hair, I was having a really hard time sleeping, and it just felt like my mind never stopped thinking. I was always deep in my thoughts processing and planning my next move.

It wasn’t until the middle of my junior year that I decided to seek help. I came to this decision fairly easy. I had a few breakdowns and panic attacks and after talking with my mom and a few other family members, the idea of therapy sounded really promising.

I began therapy about two months ago… I think, but that doesn’t matter, what matters is that it’s helped! I never expected to see the results come so fast. My therapist is amazing and makes me feel really comfortable whenever I come in. She has helped me realize that the things I struggle with are normal, but the way I was handling them was not.

She has helped me find healthy coping mechanisms and if one ends up not working for me, she always has another idea to help me reach the other side. I can confidently say that since I’ve started going to therapy I have seen a dramatic improvement in my overall mental health. I’m happier, I’m not nearly as scared of approaching certain situations, and I feel like I’m back in my natural element.

Thank you all for taking the time to read this. Since May is Mental Health Awareness month I decided I would take the time and use my platform to share my story. I also want to encourage you all to not be afraid to seek help if you need it!

Dear White and Black People

Mixed Girl Monday, Race

First things first, if you haven’t watched Netflix’s new series Dear White People please find the time to do so. If you have watched it, then you are aware of how the context of this post is going to go. So let’s get this thing started.

Dear White People, I am biracial, I am American, I am human. Please stop acting like I’m an exotic species.

Dear Black People, I am biracial, I am American, I am human. Please stop making me feel as though I’m less than any of those things.

Dear White People, for the love of all things holy please stop telling me how bad you want to have a baby with a black guy just so you can have a “cute mixed baby.” Mixed people aren’t some special breed you can just pick. If you want to adopt, adopt because you want to give a child a loving, safe, happy home. Do no adopt because you just want to have a mixed baby, we are not dogs.

Dear Black People, I am very much aware of my light-skin privilege. I know how colorism works in society and the black community. Do not assume that I think I’m better than others, get to know me first before you make rash judgments.

Dear White People, I wake up and wash my hair. That’s how I get these curls. That’s all.

Dear White and Black People, stop trying to put me in a box. I am biracial. Being biracial is a thing, do not make me discredit half of who I am just so you feel comfortable.

Dear White People, stop telling me I can’t get offended when you make a racist comment “because I’m not really black.” And to piggy-back off that, I have the right to take offense to any prejudice or racism I see, half of who I am is black and if you feel that way about black people, you feel that way about me. There is no “oh no I don’t think of you that way because you aren’t really black.” Yes, I am. So just think of that next time.

Dear Black People, I know I will never understand the full extent of your struggle, but just remember that there are people in the world who think I am you and treat me the same. Just because I’m half white doesn’t mean I’m protected from the racism and ignorance of some people.

Dear Black People, you can be racist too. Racism is not just limited to white people. By assuming that all white people are racist and out to steal from the black community, you are conforming to the same mindset of those white people who assume all black people are illiterate thugs.

Dear Entire World, until we can all realize that no one is their stereotype, there will continue to be racism and hatred in the world. Until we can all accept each other for our differences there will be no peace. I understand that there is deep rooted institutionalized racism in our world and that may never go away. But we can not continue to turn a blind eye when we see someone become another victim of an unjust society.

Dr. King, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, and Harriet Tubman, they did not sit quietly and wait for someone else to do something, They got up and fought for what they believed in. They didn’t just sit around and complain about how unfair the world was, they got up and fought to make it a little more fair. We have come a long way from then, but there is still much more to be done.

Dear White and Black People, will you stand with me? Can we put aside our differences and accept that God made us all different for a reason. Can we work on respecting each other’s culture and not appropriating it for fame? Can we learn from each other?

Sincerely,
A biracial millennial trying to find her voice

El Fin *deep sigh*

My Journey

Guys. I did it. I survived my third year in college. There were times where it seemed like I wasn’t going to make it to this point. This has by far been my most challenging semester, but knowing that I only have one year left is such a satisfying feeling.

So much has happened in such a short time and I honestly feel like I have grown so much. Over the course of this school year, I battled with getting over my first heartbreak, seeking help for my anxiety, gaining and losing friends, balancing a full class load and working all week. Needless to say, I’ve been pretty busy, but I wouldn’t trade any of these experiences for all the money in the world. I can tell that I have honestly gotten closer with myself and have learned that it’s ok and really important to create alone time.

I wouldn’t have made it to the end if it wasn’t for my wonderful roommate Skylar. We have had so many crazy adventures this year; from random late night talks to comforting each other when boys do stupid things, to late night food runs, to playing rock, paper, scissors over who went to talk to the RA, she’s been there for it all. She’s seen the good, the bad, and the ugly (seriously she has some good blackmail on me lol.) We pushed each other to finish strong, and here we are. We survived.

If there is one thing I have learned this year, it’s that I am 100000% in the right major. I have been working as an afternoon teacher at a daycare this year and man oh man, those kids are crazy. I have a whole new level of respect for teachers everywhere. It truly takes a special person to work in education, no matter the age.

But I love my job, I work with the best group of people and even though there are days when my kids make me want to pull my hair out, I have grown to love them all so much. If anything, they’ve taught me the true meaning of patience. My class ranges in age from 18 months to 2 years and most of my day is spent saying “get off the shelf” “We don’t sit on our friend’s head” “no don’t eat that!”

Ahhh my internship this summer is going to be such a refreshing break, but I know I’m going to miss those crazy kids. I could go on and on about stories from the daycare, but I’ll save those for another day.

As I look back on this year it all seems like such a blur, it seems like life keeps moving faster and faster and I’m just trying to slow it down before the real adulting begins.

Never Question God’s Timing

My Journey

I’m sure we have all heard the saying “God works in mysterious ways,” and this post is about to tell you how God has been working in my life over the past year, but more specifically these past few months.

Last summer I applied for an internship at a company called Stone Ward, they are a PR and marketing firm located in the Rivermarket of downtown Little Rock. I had applied for the internship because  I had heard good things about the program, and I was looking for any opportunity to stay near my now ex-boyfriend.

I was not offered the internship sadly, but I truly think that was all apart of God’s plan. I moved back home for the summer and interned with a close family friend, Allyson Twiggs. She has her own company, the Twiggs Group, and became my mentor for the summer. I couldn’t have asked for a better first internship. Allyson was, and still is a wonderful mentor, and I was able to learn so much during my summer with her.

Fast forward to this semester

 As you all may remember my boyfriend broke up with me at the beginning of the school year and part of that had to deal with the fact that we were not together for the summer. I am thankful for the time we had, but since then doors have opened up in my life that I don’t think would have been possible had I held on to that past relationship.

I applied for the Stone Ward internship again, this semester, I felt it was a long shot, and planned to apply to a few other internships around Arkansas as well just in case I didn’t land this one again. After waiting a few days after the deadline, I started getting nervous and began thinking I wasn’t going to get called in for an interview. As soon as I was about to give up hope, I received an email from someone who worked at Stone Ward, he wanted to set up a phone interview with me!

After the phone call, I remember thinking “did he really just say he was going to recommend me for hire?” Sure enough, a few days later I received a call from Stone Ward asking if I would be interested in taking a position in their Camp Reality summer internship program. I was stunned, how did I go from not even getting a phone call last summer, to getting hired without a formal interview this summer… timing, all of this was a part of God’s timing.

I’m saying all of this to reiterate a long time saying, never question God’s timing. I could’ve easily taken the situation I was handed last summer and complained and sat around in my room the whole summer. But instead, I took the bull by the horns and found the best first internship ever. Not only did I learn a ton, but I gained a great mentor in the process. I wouldn’t have been able to get that experience had I stayed in Little Rock to be with my (ex)boyfriend.

I am so thankful for this opportunity to intern at Stone Ward this summer. I can’t wait to see where this new journey takes me, and I promise I will take you all along for the ride too. Until next time my friends ❤

Curly Hair Struggles

Mixed Girl Monday

Throughout my life, one of the first things people comment on when they meet me is my hair. They love the way it looks and can’t believe that it is all real. My family is even baffled and amazed

img_4833

This is my hair when it was at it’s longest.

To me, though, my hair is just my hair. It’s this long, curly, thick beast that I am still learning how to tame. Although I have learned to manage it a thousand times better from when I was younger, I still have a long way to go.

I know I’m not alone in this curly hair struggle, and I’m sure there are hundreds of girls who can relate with me when I say, one does not just wake up with perfect curls. It’s a process, and each day is never the same.

Some days I am fortunate enough to wake up and my hair does not look like this weird half bird nest, half I don’t even know how to describe its style. But, those days are few and far between.

I love my hair, I am thankful that I can wear it curly and straight. When I was younger I begged my mom to let me get a perm to make my hair straight all the time, and I am very happy that she never allowed me to. I have heard horror stories from people with similar hair textures as me about how when they went back natural, their curl pattern was never the same.

I would be lying if I said I haven’t had my share of hair horror stories. Let’s take a trip back in time, to what I like to call The Dark Ages….

Once upon a time, my mom took me to this small country hair salon, and bless the ladies heart, I don’t think she had ever dealt with my type of hair before.

I wanted to cut my hair short, I was tired of it being long, and I wanted layers. All the other girls I went to school with had layers. All the other girls I went to school with also had relatively straight hair, so just keep that in mind.

 

bad-hair

We all have that “one” hairstyle…

My mom semi-willingly agreed that I could cut my hair and get layers. I was so excited, the lady cut my hair, dry, *red flag #1.* When she was done, I looked in the mirror and stared face to face with a girl that looked like she had a pyramid on top of her head. I was mortified.

 

From that day forward, I vowed to never cut my hair short, ever again. Well until Christmas 2015. But I was older and more mature, and have found the best hair stylist ever. Kylee, you’re my hero.

Honestly, I’m not sure what state of awfulness my hair would be in had I not met Kylee. She always listens to the ideas I want to do with my hair, and if she doesn’t think what I want will look good on me, she offers an alternative that still embodies my idea, and when finished, looks 100 times better than what I had wanted in the first place.

The keys to surviving in this world with curls are simple:
First, find a hairstylist you would trust with your life because if you’re like me, your hair is your life.
Second, be willing to spend the big bucks on hair products
Finally, love the hair you have. Don’t try to change one of the things that make you unique.

What are some of your hair horror stories? Share with me in the comment section!

 

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My hair is slowly growing back, and I’m so in love with my bangs!

 

Distance Makes the Heart Grow… Stronger

My Journey

With the beginning of the New Year still fresh on everyone’s mind, I have decided to add something new to my “resolution” list. I think for this blog to be as awesome a10215906-202050554_1-s1-v1s I want it to be, I will need to become more transparent in what I am calling my journey.

I mean at the end of the day that is what this blog is about.. Jasmine’s Journey.. I am Jasmine so it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t share my entire journey with you all. So here we go.

Like most girls in their 20s, I have had a few crushes, and even a few relationships. This past one, I think, taught me the most lessons. When I say lessons I don’t just mean what I want in the next guy I date, I also mean the relationship taught me a little more about who I am.

After some thought, and time, I have decided to share my experience of a long distance relationship.

First, let me make this disclaimer, I am not against LDRs in any way. For some people it is unavoidable, and under the perfect circumstance, it can work out. Obviously, this post is about an LDR that did not work.

Lesson #1: Communication is Key
For starters, it is hard to make any relationship work if 90% of the communication is via text messages. I am a millennial and I will own up to that. Constantly texting your significant other is not healthy. Both parties need to be open to other forms of communication, and if your SO isn’t willing, or makes it seem like too much of a hassle to talk on the phone or FaceTime, then that should be red flag #1.

The key to making any LDR successful is communication. I can say that is something my LDR lacked. Even though we texted all day every day, we hardly ever really communicated.

In all future relationships, romantic or not, I am going to make an effort to always have a good line of communication.

Lesson #2: Nevgetting-over-it-quotes-get-over-it-quotes-letting-go-and-moving-on-quote-move-on-its-just-a-chapter-in-the-past-but-dont-close-the-book-just-turn-the-pageer Settle
Another issue I found with my LDR is that the entire relationship was always an LDR. We never had a chance to live near each other and just experience what a normal relationship was like… actually no I take that back, we had one summer when we both stayed in the Little Rock area, but that was after we had already been “dating” for months. Then, once summer was over we went right back to our LDR for the next year and a half.

I knew my personality wasn’t up for something like that, but I kept saying once we graduate it will get better. When I would say that, though, I didn’t realize I was settling on my dreams. Never settle.

I have always been a big dreamer, and I’ll be honest some of my dreams are pretty unrealistic, but I don’t want anything, or anyone to hold me back from at least attempting them.

I’m 20, basically 21 now, I’m too young to just sit down and commit to one thing for the rest of my life. This is the only chance in life we get to go out and explore and travel and do all the things we won’t be able to do once we get an established career and family.

Final Thoughts:
Now I was not the one to end the relationship. I was willing to hold on and see what happened once we both graduated, but by him deciding to end things, my life has honestly gotten better. I have nothing against him, but I have realized that by holding on to him, and our relationship, so tight, I was missing out on things that were happening right in front of me.

LDRs are hard. I will always admit and own up to that fact. The people that say LDRs are easy are liars. It wasn’t until just a few weeks ago that I became aware of the stress that the relationship put on me.

But I am thankful for the relationship. He served a purpose for a time in my life, and I appreciate that. I also learned a lot about myself and grew, not only from the experience but from the heartbreak.

Even though this past relationship didn’t end in marriage, I grew, and to me, that makes for a good relationship. I hope you all don’t feel like this is too personal. I want this blog to be a true reflection of my journey, and my journey isn’t going to be all rainbows and sunshine, sometimes there will be clouds and rain.