The Awkward Life of Jasmine (As Told by Me…Jasmine)

My Journey

If you know me personally, you are very much aware of the goofy/clumsy/awkward moments that make up my life. I can’t help it (trust me I’ve tried) it’s just who I am and I’ve learned to own it like a boss.

My clumsy moments include simple things like tripping over air, running into doors/walls, to more complex matters like accidentally burning myself with a lighter (multiple times on different occasions,) or catching a blender on fire…yes I caught a blender on fire. We won’t dwell too long on all the clumsy moments I have encountered in my life because there are far too many to recount, but I know that I would not be the awesome person I am today without them.

Now my awkwardness, on the other hand, is semi situational and can occasionally be masked by me acting goofy, but just know that 95% of my life is spent feeling very awkward in a lot of situations. Thankfully I don’t let my awkwardness compromise my confidence….most of the time. While in professional settings I can push my awkwardness aside and kill an interview or presentation, when it comes time for me to talk to someone new, particularly a cute boy, I become a blob of awkward energy.

My awkwardness is paired perfectly with my goofy personality. Now not everyone gets to experience me in my truest form because I’m shy and it can take me awhile to warm up and feel comfortable around people, but the ones that do, boy I bet they wish I’d go back to being shy sometimes. Most of the time I don’t even mean to make my friends laugh, it just happens. I’m not sure if it’s the mix of my sarcasm and uncoordinated movements, or what but people always tell me I’m goofy, and I own it.

The combination of awkward, goofy and clumsy tendencies that live inside of me can be remarkable at times. I’ve learned to laugh through the moments and to not take myself so seriously because I mean we’re all human and anyone who acts like they haven’t passed gas and blamed it on someone else (usually a small child) to save themselves from embarrassment is lying. Needless to say, I’m not perfect, you’re not perfect, so why act like we never have moments of embarrassment.

I know I can’t be the only person who lives most of their life being clumsy, goofy, and/or awkward, so if you’re like me and your life seems like a series of unfortunate (yet funny) events please share some of your best moments in the comment section! I’d love to hear from you all.

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

21 Lessons Learned

My Journey

My 21st birthday is finally here! This Saturday, Feb 4, I will officially be able to drink…legally. So I thought a great way to celebrate my day of birth with you all would be to share 21 lessons I have learned so far.

  1. Nothing in life comes easy
  2. Friends come and go, and that’s ok
  3. High school was nothing like High School Musical
  4. College is much harder than they make it seem on TV, but it is still loads of fun
  5. Classic Disney songs never get old
  6. Don’t stress the small stuff
  7. If you want to try something new, do it, YOLO
  8. Just keep swimming
  9. Hakuna Matata
  10. Do what makes you happy
  11. Mac and cheese is always the answer
  12. Don’t put goldfish in warm water… They’ll die
  13. It’s better to go with your gut… it’s usually always right
  14. Workout because you want to, not because society tells you to
  15. Your vibe attracts your tribe
  16. This world was made for right-handed people
  17. Don’t go chasing waterfalls
  18. 90’s music is truly the best
  19. Books are the best way to escape reality
  20. Sometimes life hands you major Ls and you have to deal with that
  21. There is no such thing as “too many shoes”

So that’s my list, some of them are funny, some of them are serious, but they have all helped me get to where I am today.

Mixed-Girl Monday Spotlight

Mixed Girl Monday, Race

Hello, all! It has been awhile since I have posted something new for Mixed-Girl Monday. I have been super busy moving back into college and getting everything set up. As promised from my last post this one is going to be all about a mixed girl that inspires me daily.

*Drum roll* It’s Alicia Keys!Alicia Keys

When I was younger and trying to understand what it meant to be biracial, my mom told me about Alicia Keys and how she was biracial. I had heard her music before but it felt nice knowing someone that famous and successful was biracial like me.

To this day Alicia Keys inspires me to be the best and truest me possible. I am not going to get into a super long biography about who she is and where she came from, but I do want to highlight a few of her most recent projects that have inspired me.

A new hashtag as been trending throughout social media, and I am all for it. #nomakeup is a campaign that prominent female celebrities like Alicia Keys have taken hold of to fight against the contour movement the Kardashians have started. It is all about feeling strong and being beautiful in your own skin.

In an interview, Keys said that she has vowed to stop covering up, “not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing.”  It is very refreshing to see someone of her status take a stand on an issue that has been overtaking young girls across the world.

Another movement that Keys has been a part of is taking a stand against gun violence and police brutality. Along with other celebrities, she shared a video telling of 23 ways you could be killed for being black. To me, this is very important because she is biracial and she is taking a stand with other black celebrities and no one is judging her for doing so.

Here’s to a Mixed-Girl that is rocking the world and making a difference!

 

I Have a Kid?

Family

In my first post, I told you all how I am the oldest of 7, and that the other 6 are all boys (yikes)! Today I thought I would share a story/experience that happens more often than I would like.IMG_6479

My brother Marcus is 16 years and 3 days younger than me, we have such a close bond and it’s always amazing to me when I run into people who have that large of an age gap between their siblings.

With that age gap though comes some very interesting problems. The most common of which is that he is mistaken as my child! I have honestly lost count of how many instances I have been in when people ask/assume that he is my son.

The most recent incident was this past weekend when I was out at dinner with my aunt, cousin, Grandma, and Marcus. Since there is a 16-year gap between us I occasionally have to get on to Marcus and make sure he is behaving, especially if my mom or Willie aren’t around. Anyways, Marcus was not eating his food so I was trying to get him to take a bite. The waiter convenientlyIMG_5590.JPG came at the same time as I was telling Marcus (who was refusing) to take a bite. In a sweet voice, the waiter said: “come on take a bite from Mommy.” My aunt looked over at me and tried to hold in a laugh. I just pretended not to notice.

This is a very common situation, though, it has become a joke within the family, and my brother Noah and I joke that people probably think him and I are a couple and Marcus is our kid whenever we take him out places alone. I mean we all look similar enough for it to make sense, and since there is such an age gap I understand how people can make the mistake. It’s just always awkward for both parties whenever it happens.

I know I am not alone in this experience, there are probably thousands if not millions of people around the world who have a younger sibling or cousin that gets mistaken as their child. I am just writing this because it’s funny, and to also let them know that they are not alone!

Sometimes I want to just wear t-shirts that say “He’s my Lil bro” and “She’s my big sis” so that people don’t have to even wonder or assume.

Have you ever had an experience similar to this? If so share your story in the comments below!

Mixed-Girl Problems

Mixed Girl Monday, Race

Am I “other”?

Its benchmark testing day, we are filling out all our information, it’s going well for me until I get to what ethnicity I am. I raise my hand: Excuse me, teacher, what do I fill in, do I circle black or white? My teacher stands there a while before answering: just circle other. This confused me, I’m not other I’m both.

From that day forward I have been forced to choose a side because most forms, up until recently, have never offered a “biracial” or “multiracial” option. It’s always exciting when I see one of those options instead of other, because like I said, I am not “other,” I am a person, I am biracial.

When those options aren’t given to me, I usually fill in “African American” because in my mind that’s what strangers see me as. I don’t like feeling like I have to choose one or the other because I am both, but I refuse to put myself in the “other” category.

Twinning or nah?

Mixed GirlsIn high-school one of the most common question, my friend and I got from almost every single person in the world was: are you two twins? We would always reply: no, we’re both just mixed and tall with curly hair. It got so bad that we just stopped trying to explain and just started saying yes before people would even ask us.

What’s funny about this problem is that I always get asked if I’m related to so and so if we happen to both be biracial. It’s turned into a joke amongst biracial people because people always try to assume that we’re siblings or twins, not just two individuals.

Another problem that I have to deal with occasionally is actually quite random and confuses me every time. Someone random person will walk up to me and ask: Are you Mexican? I just look at them and reply: No, I’m mixed. So they reply: Oh so you’re white and Mexican. At that point I don’t even bother to answer, I just walk away.

My Name:

Jasmine, Jaz, Jazzie, Sissy,  Jazzy-Joe, Jazmean, I turn my head to all of them. I have many nicknames thanks to my real name. I also have some “mixed” people names as well; for instance, I’ve been called Oreo, Zebra, Penguin, Half-and-Hal, and so on. None of the names really bother me, but some of them do get a little old and overused.

I find my name to be pretty easy. Jasmine Yvonne Conley, nothing special, just Jasmine. For some reason, though, whenever I was at a basketball game in Missouri the announcer decided to mess my name up completely….

“And now your starting lineup for the Fayetteville Lady Bulldogs!” is what he said. He called out everyone else’s name just fine. Then we get to mine. “Starting at post number 45, JAZZZMEEANNN CONNN!” I didn’t even run out. I just stood there confused, my whole team busted out laughing as I went to shake the other coaches hand.

“How could he mess my name up?” I kept thinking and asking people. “It’s not that hard, it’s just Jasmine. Conley. Nothing complicated at all.”

Needless to say, ever since that game, I am no longer Jasmine Conley, I am Jazmean Con, that’s MY name.

I know a lot of these problems sound silly, and that’s the point. Not everything regarding race/ethnicity needs to be so serious all of the time. It’s good to be able to laugh about yourself and the things that make you who you are.