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.

Busiest. Day. Ever.

Family

So here’s a little story about the busiest day of my life (thus far). It all started at 4 a.m. Saturday, April 8.

I woke up in my cozy little apartment in Conway, AR, ready to start the long journey ahead of me. I was about to travel to Chicago for the day for my grandmothers 80th (surprise) birthday party. I had to be 100% ready for the party before I go on the road, so I sleepily found my outfit and attempted to put on makeup (which by the way did not work out).

I got on the road around 5 a.m. to meet my uncle and cousins in Memphis to catch the jet to Chicago. Yes, you read that correctly, on this wonderful day I got the privilege to check flying on a private jet off my bucket list (eep!). Anyways, my dad had told me I needed to be at the place by 9 a.m., I gave myself an extra hour just in case I got lost, or there was a wreck or something crazy.

Anyways.. the drive to Memphis was long and boring, I fueled up on Red Bull and Burger King (awful combo btw) and was on my way. Needless to say, I made it to Memphis around 7:30 a.m. (I have a tendency to arrive places entirely too early). This all ended up working in my favor because while I was putting my makeup on in the wee hours of the morning, I had forgotten to apply mascara. So I decided to find a Wal-Mart to pick up a cheap tube of mascara and of course, pass the time.

I went back to the airport and waited…and waited…and waited some more. When my uncle and cousins arrived we boarded the plane and were on our way. I love flying and for some reason, I thought flying on a jet would be different, but in reality, it wasn’t. I never had to turn my phone off but once we got up high enough it stopped working so it was basically the same as any other flight, minus the massive amounts of people and better snacks.

We landed at a municipal airport in the middle of nowhere, not a soul was to be seen. Had I not known where we were flying into I would’ve never guessed we were right outside Chicago. My cousin Jordan called an Uber and off we were to the party. We made it just in time for the surprise. Those first moments of my grandma taking in the surprise and seeing all of her family and friends are memories I’ll cherish forever. I am so happy I was able to be there to celebrate with her.

The rest of the party went relatively smooth, I sat at a table with the rest of my cousins and we all just talked and caught up on each other’s lives. Time flew by and I was sad when my uncle told me it was time to leave. The long journey home was upon me.

We landed back in Memphis around 5 p.m. and I immediately hit the road back to Conway. I was so tired and it took everything in me not to fall asleep while I was driving. I did have a pretty cool realization though, I saw the sun fully rise and fully set in the same day. It was really pretty, and the sunset was relaxing after such a long and busy day.

I finally made it back to Conway around 7:45-8 p.m. and I literally ate dinner as fast as possible and passed out. I woke up around 12:30 a.m. and stayed up for an hour, but once I fell asleep again I was out like a light, and that concludes the busiest day of my life… thus far.

 

 

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

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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!

 

To Whom it May Concern…

Race

To whom it may concern,

Eight years ago on this day, I sat in my 7th grade homeroom class. We were all in our seats watching history take place. At the young age of 12, I didn’t know what was going on, to be honest, I was pretty bored but glad that we weren’t doing work. I never would have guessed that for the next 8 years I would grow to love and become inspired by that man on TV.obama-family-inauguration-big1.jpg

Yes, I am talking about President Obama, the people’s president, my president. I grew up watching this man and his family serve and run our great country with nothing but grace and dignity. I can remember wanting to be friends with Sasha and Malia, mostly because I wanted to see what the White House looked like, but now I genuinely would like to meet them.

Over these past eight years, I have grown into a young woman, I’ve graduated high school and completed half of my college career. Through all of that President Obama was there, not literally of course (I wish), but he was there. He was working on making this country an even better place for all of us to live and work in.

For the past eight years, I have not had to worry about the future of this country. I have been empowered and inspired to reach for my dreams because a nobody from the southside of Chicago, where half of my family is from, showed me that anything is possible.

January 19, 2017, will not be the last day for my president. Each and every day following I will continue to respect and honor the man that showed me that “yes we can.” Why do we need to bother making America great again? We are blessed to live in a country where we have the freedom to voice our opinion and worship whoever or whatever we feel like.

Could things be improved? Of course. Nothing is perfect, but that doesn’t mean we need to condemn our country and say it’s not great. If anything the Obama’s have shown us time and again that this country is awesome.  1280_obamas_october_cover-essence

I refuse to live these next four years in fear. I have learned a lot from the POTUS and FLOTUS and one thing we all need to remember is that when “they” go low, we go high. We can’t get sucked into this vortex of hate. We must rise above. We must fight to be heard.

“One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals. And so when I hear about negative and false attacks, I really don’t invest any energy in them, because I know who I am.” -Michelle Obama

I refuse to lose focus on my goals. I refuse to be silent. I will make an impact, whether it’s just within my circle of friends and family or within the community or God willing something larger than that. If we want change we must demand it.

We have to be smart. We must not be angry. We must present ourselves with the same amount of grace, dignity, and composure that the Obama’s showed us for the past eight years.

We can not get caught up in the theatrics of this new political system. We must continue educating ourselves. Educate yourself on things that interest you. Become involved within your community, speak up at school board meetings, town hall meetings. Write letters to your senators and representatives. Be active.

The worst thing we could do in these next four years is to become silent. President Obama and his family are not going to stop fighting, so why should we?

Sincerely,

Jasmine Conley
A millennial who will be heard

Who am I?

My Journey

Hey there,

You might be wondering what made me want to join the crazy world of blogging, and maybe even why I decided to call it “Jasmine’s Journey.” Well, I’m here to answer all of those questions and share a little more about who I am.

IMG_2009Well, let’s start with the most interesting tidbit of my life (in my opinion of course). I have six younger brothers, and I am the oldest and the ONLY girl. They range in age from 18-1 (yes I know it sounds made up, but trust me…it’s not).

These are all of my brothers and myself (minus Steven, he wasn’t born yet). Since they are such a large part of my life, I feel like I should introduce them as well. I’ll start on the left; first, there’s Alex, then Marcus in my lap, Jeremiah, Noah, and then Coleman in the bottom right.

This picture was taken when I moved into my dorm freshman year, I am now a junior, and since then three of my brother’s have shot past me in height and Steven was born!

As I mentioned earlier, I am currently a junior at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, AR and I’m majoring in Public Relations with a minor in Marketing. I did not know that was going to be my major at first, but now I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

Conway is much different than Fayetteville, AR (where I was born and raised) but I am learning to love it as my second home.

Another fun little fact about me is that I am biracial, and I come from a very blended family. Being biracial has become a large part of my identity in just the past year or so, but it is who I am and I’ve been blessed with the great opportunity to experience two sides of life (basically I’m Hannah Montana).

Jasmine’s Journey is going to be about exactly what it says, my journey. Through this, I hope to show you life through my eyes. I plan to blog about a wide range of topics ranging from what’s on my mind, to current events, to the many interesting things I continue to learn daily about my profession.

Buckle in and enjoy the ride!

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.

 

It’s the Climb

My Journey

*Inhales deeply*  Ahhh….
I made it, no, better yet we made it. This has been one crazy year and it all seemed to happen so fast.

This post was originally supposed to be about the past semester in school, but lifimg_7376e happened and this has now turned into a reflection on the year in its entirety.

I think I speak for the general public when I say that this year will go down as one of the craziest years in history. I mean the election in itself was enough to make people crazy, no matter who you wanted to win. I am proud to say that I was able to exercise my 19th amendment right.

Now that’s all I’ll say about politics. Let’s talk about me now.

This year consisted of me finishing up my sophomore year, and beginning the first half of my junior year. It is still crazy to think that I only have 3 semesters (and a few summer classes) left until I’m kicked out into the real world.

This past semester was one of my more challenging semesters. I am starting to get into the bulk of major and minor classes and the work is tough, but I couldn’t imagine going to school for anything else. Public Relations is where I belong.
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I served as the social media manager for the University of Central Arkansas’ PRSSA chapter this semester and will hold the position again this spring. It has been a great experience, and I can’t wait to do more with it this spring.

Even though this semester was very challenging, I finished with my highest GPA yet. I was so close to a 3.0, but I ended with a 2.8. This coming semester I am challenging myself to finish with a 3.0 or higher.

I have the best roommate this year. Skylar and I hit it off from the day we moved in. We have shared countless late night laughs and food runs, as well as late night vent sessions and dance parties.

I am truly thankful for my friends and family, they helped me get through the rough spots this year, and helped celebrate the highs too. Without them, I would not be where I am, or who I am today.

Over the summer I moved back home to Rogers, AR and lived at home with my mom, Willie, and Marcus. Of course, I would’ve much rather stayed in Central Arkansas and maintained my “independent” lifestyle, but situations came up to where moving home was the best option.

Now, being home was not awful in any way. I truly enjoyed being able to spend time with my family and brothers, because we are all getting older and moments like that are going to become harder to coordinate. But I was very happy when August finally came around and it was time for me to move back to Conway.

A few months ago my boyfriend and I decided that it was time to go our separate ways. At the time it seemed like my world was ending, but I quickly made it to the other side. me-time

Since then I have grown and learned more about myself and what I want in that aspect of life. With all lows that life brings, this one taught me many lessons. I am thankful for all the lessons this year has taught me, and I can confidently say that I have grown a lot during these past twelve months.

As 2016 comes to an end and 2017 approaches, I have decided to make a few New Years resolutions:

  • I plan on reading one book per month for the entire year, I want to expand my knowledge past what I learn in the classroom.
  • Becoming more mindful of my actions, meaning that everything I do has a purpose to either better myself or the people around me
  • Not to hold on to the things that hold me back. I have big dreams for my future and I want to surround myself with people who have a similar mindset so that they propel me forward, not backward
  • Continue to break out of my comfort zone. I’m not sure if many of you know this, but I am a very shy and introverted person. I don’t want to turn myself into an extrovert by any means, but I want to challenge myself each day to do something that makes me a little uncomfortable.

I hope that all of you had a great 2016 too, I know at times it seemed like the world was ending and far too many legends were taken away from us, but, we made it to the end. My prayer for all of you is that 2017 brings nothing but blessings and good fortune.

Like Miley Cyrus said.. “it’s the climb” and I plan to continue climbing until I reach my peak.

Now let’s all buckle in and enjoy the ride because come January 20, we will all enter a new and unprecedented era.

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.