I finally figured out the hidden identity of the "Girl behind the wheel", the one who has steared me around like a teenager taking their driving test and has been nothing short of a nervous f*cking wreck around the deep twists and turns of life.
She has no idea if she will pass the test and all she can hear is the sound of her own heart beat as her eyes glare forward, fists gripping tight on the wheel.
Thump, thump, thump Thu-thump, pause.
Thump, thump, thump Thu-thump, bigger pause.
And then she gasps for air.
Breathes shorten as she imagines the inaudible teacher flailing their arms around, screaming with the most hideous facial expressions.
She turns sharply, neck cracking, to see that no one is actually there in the passenger seat. No teacher. No guide.
Just an empty seat.
When I look back on the eyes of a 16 year old me, I see darkness. Emptiness.
That is the look of a worn out girl being placed in her early years next to an empty passenger seat.
She was so done. Drained. She had just decided to go on autopilot.
Humanity switch, off.
From that point on, she just floated around for a while. Numbed finally after years of abuse from the people closest to her.
But they are not what broke her.
In fact, she broke her own heart when she made a decision that was not for her and entirely to please those other people.
She gave her own heart out to the abusive people who broke it daily.
And she felt so angry that she already knew it would not serve her well. That no one would ever really serve to do good by her.
That of course was not true.
This girl soon after left everything she ever knew before, trading in her old life for motherhood.
And though it was so painful to be made to choose between a baby and her entire life as she knew it, it was the choice she knew she had to make.
The one she should have made sooner.
This girl went on to get an education, make a name for herself and transform into a woman through motherhood and leadership training.
It lit a spark, the way she felt validation and growth while showing up as her best self in these pathways.
To feel loved and in control.
12 year went by and she gained all sorts of abilities and strengths.
But that grip never loosened.
The fear of crashing.
The unsettling anxiety of turning a right cheek.
Not wanting to know if she was still alone with no REAL direction.
Maybe it was all just luck.
Those good things that happened with time.
The small self confidence and bravery to get back in the seat every day made the past seem more and more transparent.
And yet, like an ocd tick, she tugged on that seat belt 6 times every single time she boarded the drivers seat.
Because danger ALWAYS felt just a bumper away.
I have realized who steers the wheel through putting on mascara.
The one time I allow myself to meet a gaze with her.
Scanning through the many waves of moods, I could place just one look very specifically.
A deep, dark pupil gaping wide into an endless vast of blackness.
So familiar, only one age could capture it.
And so she has been found. Eyes glaring forward and the PAUSE.
Not the thumps. The PAUSE.
She is with me still because she has been driving all alone all this time just to reach me.
And now that we have met, finally seeing eye to eye, I have love for her.
So much love.
We are now in this pause together.
I have not chosen the passenger seat like she hoped.
Instead I have tapped her out and let her crawl exhaustively into the back seat so she can finally feel safe and let someone else take the wheel.
J.S. Jaded Savior
An excerpt from "STUCK ON PAUSE", an autobiography about living with PTSD + ANXIETY
DO. THE. DAMN. THING.
Pull them apart.
Pull them apart.
Pull them apart.
GOT ANALYSIS PARALYSIS?
Pull it all apart.
You have 365 days a year. You have 3650 days in a decade.
The most beautiful realization I have had since starting a spiritual journey for healing and self discovery -----> that was so different than any other faith or organization I ever was involved in ----> is that I am actively learning each day how to:
MY DAMN SELF.
This journey within is showing me how precious and valuable EACH DAY is.
How becoming grounded and intentional in the moment can FEED my soul and my work. My dreams. My desires.
The 365 days ahead of us all, in 2020, are valuable days to use for
And a whole lot of self care.
I spent so many years mulling over my doubts + fears + insecurities as I tried to fit into
different types of
s to fit societies expectations.
But the thing is, we feel lost because we are lost. We lose ourselves every time we try and be something that we are not.
This holiday season, remember that YOU ARE THE GIFT. But that does not mean you have to box and wrap yourself up with a bow to be what presentation everyone else is expecting.
You can present your WORK -- PASSION -- JOY to the world and you can show up daily with whatever look
I want to remind you that being afraid is totally normal and human. We all feel it.
The big ☆STAR☆ influencers, coaches, healers, writers, artists and creatives you FUDGING LOVE also feel fear. Frustration. Worry.
But they ARE showing up and doing the damn thing most likely because of the inner work + courage they have worked up already.
The good news is, you will get there if you JUST START NOW.
Share your gifts with the world.
In a way that makes sense to you.
Not forced. Not rushed. Not in fear.
Hate doing videos? Do something else.
Feel like you have never seen your idea done before?
Great! It has a space of worth then.
Feel like what you want to do, 1 million others are already doing? Who cares?
Value is measured by passion and purpose.
So what is your value going into 2020?
Dig deep within your own unique identity and then serve it up to us!
And if you need a little encouragement, just remember that every single day of those 365 is a chance to expand ----> whether it is in your business, your heart, your mind, or your mission. ♡
J.S. JADED SAVIOR
Angel Number 365 is a message from your angels that the changes happening around you have been manifested by your true inner desires to make positive changes in your life. ‘Go with the flow’, safe in the knowledge that your material needs will be met during the impending transitions and changes.
Angel Number 365 is a message that your changing ways and views about both the material and spiritual worlds are helping you to find balance within yourself and your life in general. Trust that these positive energies will attract abundance and prosperity into your life. Use positive affirmations and higher intentions and actions to continue to manifest ample supply and wonderful opportunities into your life that will improve your finances, health and wellbeing and other important aspects of your life.
When major changes take place in your life, stay grounded and centred no matter what is happening in your life. This inner foundation of peace has a powerful healing effect, and your outer-life soon reflects your inner-peacefulness. Trust that a peaceful outcome is assured.
Happy Holiday Season!
Here is your healthy reminder that you do not need to put up with anyone's shit.
And while I fully encourage everyone to have open communication and honesty about their emotions, it is ALSO COMPLETELY VALID to make the decision to SKIP seeing specific family or people you were invited to go celebrate the Holidays with.
HEALTHY BOUNDARIES NEED TO BE SET.
AND YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE UNCOMFORTABLE, TEASED, MANIPULATED, GAS LIT, MOCKED, OR SHAMED BY A FAMILY MEMBER --> FRIEND --> OR ACQUAINTANCE
JUST BECAUSE IT'S A HOLIDAY.
TIS THE SEASON TO BE HEALTHY AND HAPPY.
DO WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL SAFE AND BRINGS YOU JOY.
I have an Uncle that growing up would always get drunk at parties. He would talk loud and be completely harassing many people at the party with dumb or offensive jokes, bad language and even gas lighting behaviors.
I STOPPED WANTING TO SEE HIM after he brought up my teen pregnancy as a source of a joke during a holiday celebration.
He asked me if I was pregnant and tried to touch my stomach MANY times at Holiday parties and get togethers, until I was finally done and stopped going.
IT IS NOT OK TO PUT UP WITH THINGS THAT MAKE YOU UNCOMFORTABLE OR UPSET.
So whether it is your family, your inlaws, a "close friend" or someone from work ---> put your boundaries in motion.
AND KNOW THIS.
Decide, without guilt, that you are worthy of love, respect, decency, honesty, loyalty, care, and honor.
And for those who are incapable of providing a safe environment that is respectful, it can be YOUR CHOICE to do something else.
☆ PLAN YOUR OWN CELEBRATION
☆ HONOR YOUR OWN HEART
☆ TAKE YOURSELF SOMEWHERE
☆ BE WITH THE PEOPLE WHO DO HONOR YOU
Do not put up with family or friends peer pressuring you or manipulating you into GOING BECAUSE IT'S:
■ JUST ONE DAY
■ NOT A "BIG DEAL"
Being treated in an UNHEALTHY way is NOT A TRADITION.
I want you to know that though it may be hard to have conversations, setting boundaries is not about the other person [their reaction or their feelings] -----> it's about YOURS.
Enjoy this Holiday Season by surrounding yourself with the things that make you feel safe and special. ♡♡♡♡
YOU ALWAYS DESERVE THAT.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO YOU FROM JADED SAVIOR BLOG.
I am so incredibly grateful this 2019 Holiday Season.
I talk a lot about my past trauma, current struggles, and mental health problems.
But I want to remind everyone AS WELL AS MYSELF that TRAUMA IS NOT OUR ONLY STORY.
While PTSD caused me to remember past events on REPEAT in my mind, I KNOW those are just STORIES and I AM SO MUCH MORE THAN MY TRAUMA.
By blogging about the things that KEEP ME UP, made me feel inadequate for ages, and kept me from SHOWING UP.
I FELT LIKE I NEVER FIT IN ANYONE ELSE'S BOX.
NO DEFINITION OF "ME" ANYONE ELSE CREATED FIT RIGHT FOR ME.
And that is because only I should and can decided WHO THE F I AM.
WHO I AM NOW.
In spite of the ghosts of who I used to be.
In spite of the people who have hurt me along my journey.
I am so incredibly grateful that i found myself.
And started a new CAREER.
I can officially announce that JADED SAVIOR has shifted into a business.
What that means is I finally found a thing I love to do and can show up every day doing while juggling being a stay at home mom and my own healing journey.
I have received support and love from my husband and our little family to do this.
So 2020, J.S. is coming for you.
Beyond that, I am grateful for this little family and this little world I am building for us.
For these beautiful, devoted and caring people who have come into my life this year.
I'm grateful for the people who have LEFT.
For the NEW #boundaries I have set.
For the ways I NOW HONOR MYSELF.
I'm so proud of myself for deciding i would FIND HELP AND SUPPORT for my mental health issues.
That i did not have to hide or suffer any longer.
2019 has been a year of rehabilitation on my mind, body and soul. ♡
I'm thankful and grateful for the CLARITY I now have.
For the opportunities now showing up at my door.
For the things I am learning and the lessons I am being given to BOOST my mind and spirit.
For the amazing opportunities I have to collaborate with powerhouse women fighting daily to make a difference.
I'm so grateful for my FACEBOOK FEED.
That is right.
SOCIAL MEDIA SAVED MY LIFE THIS YEAR.
From being in a deep depression to seeking and finding purpose.
By showing me that LOVE AND EMPOWERMENT EXIST.
BY MATCHING ME WITH SOUL SISTERS.
Thank you Universe for providing for me once I decided I was worthy of the things and stopped thinking about how unworthy other people ever made me feel.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND REMEMBER THERE'S SO MUCH TO BE GRATEFUL FOR.
☆ A CAREER
☆ A PASSION
☆ A PURPOSE
☆ SOCIAL MEDIA
☆ SELF CARE
☆ YOUR SPIRITUALITY
J.S. Jaded Savior
When I was growing up, my mom [who had residential custody after the divorce] never showed affection by touch or words.
She was drunk almost every single night for years. A Jeckyl and Hyde persona with the body and style of "the other mother" from Coraline.
Most days I had to stay in my room away from her because of the fighting and the trouble that occurred in my living room. Her husband always enabling her behaviors and then throwing in whatever blow to the belt he could, whether physical or mental.
On my bed, hunched over with some stolen catalogs [from our mail], I would draw bodies and clothing. I became obsessed with my alone time and only peaked out at the other kids all playing on the block.
The few times I remember affection from my mom, were those semi sober times after horrible benders ----> when she would swear off drinking and tell me "let's go shopping" or "we are going to the mall".
She would bring me to the giant mall in town, via a taxi because she never drove, and go to buy expensive makeup from Este Lauder and a new purse or wallet that she could not afford. She would buy me something as well, something she picked out that she thought would make me happy.
And that all sounded nice right?
As a preteen and then early teen, having a new Coach or Babyphat purse, getting $99 sneakers in black and silver ----> the NEWEST Ecko Red dunks ---> any other child would be so grateful.
I knew they were guilt gifts. I also knew she did not know her own kid. I was an artist, a hermit, who did not give a flying F if I was wearing the latest brands or had the same Holister Jeans as everyone else.
In fact, I used to cut up and hand sew or hand paint clothing to recycle each piece into something else. I would have loved thrifting had I known there were thrift shops filled with vintage and gothic outfits I would have adored. I was completely in love with avant garde and runway fashion, high end dressy casual as well as 50s vintage couture---> from 4th grade up til well....now.
But I dragged around the guilt gifts. I let then get dirty and beat up. I took them over and over again, with no exchange of words or forgiveness. Just a subtle acceptance of the event passing, making her feel totally just in her actions.
I never spoke out at her before high school. When I would cry from her emotional abuse or looked even remotely upset, she would tell me to wipe the look off my face. That I was selfish and conceited. That I was dramatic. That I was the luckiest girl to have a home to live in, have a mother and stepfather who pay bills, and that I just acted like I had the worst life in the world.
The thing was ...i did. It was hell for me. And she conditioned me to believe it was normal for almost 16 years, until right before i left for good.
Every time she broke dishes or furniture, took down the curtains or created a battle in the living room with her husband ----> i would hide in my room.
For years I had a constant exit plan in my mind that I would recite sometimes outloud. Grab my phone. Grab my shoes. Tiptoe down the stairs of the hall to the first floor from my room. Glide across the wall with my back pressed against it into the kitchen. Grab the trash out of the can. Yes. To be heard. Yell "taking out the trash." Dont wait for an answer. Open the back door, leaving it wide open with the screen gently closed. Slide to the side of the house. Throw away the trash. Open the metal gate and slither through a small opening, to latch it quietly again. Crouch down next to the side of the car in the driveway. Make a sharp left onto the sidewalk and keep crouched down as I basically crawl past the next driveway. Then stand. Then run.
I also debated tying up my sheet to the window of my second story bedroom and climbing down. Less work. Less noise. But no aid and rose bushes beneath my room.
Fight or flight was the way I survived not just on a chemical level but in my daily plans. I always had to think of a way to instantly detach and run.
Imagine what it was like for me to finally escape it?
I left at 16, 3 months pregnant with my little girl [who is now almost 12] and only a plastic walmart bag with my phone [that she did not pay], the charger, my childhood teddy bear, and a pair of pajamas. Clearly I was a but clueless and not thinking as I had 2 minutes to go into my childhood bedroom and grab stuff before being thrown out.
My mother and stepfather told me to get out unless I aborted. [I am pro choice and at the time took a stand to not abort]. But really, they just did not want to argue or process what was happening.
My mother did not notice that for weeks I was too bloated to fit into my double zero shorts. So I would go to school with my pants unbuttoned and a sweatshirt over it. I threw up constantly, as most expectant moms do their first trimester. And every smell set me off. My chest was so sore that I was in tears trying to take my shirt off and bra off every single day. It was a scary, new, weird experience that I could not share with anyone.
Leaving was the best thing that every happened to me. But I had no idea at the time that it would be permanently. That I would move in with my Aunt and Uncle in a different town, from my birth fathers side, and have a new shot at life in a normal home. That I would experience love, peace, and stability for the next 4 years in a home of 10, spending time with my Aunt's four little ones and my Nana. Until I was finally able to move to my own apartment at 21 at a college campus and live alone with my daughter.
I am just grateful my life led me down another path. I don't know who I would have been if I had stayed. Or if I would have survived it. If I had not gotten pregnant, I still would have probably been thrown out constantly. Or sabotaged as I tried to finish high school and apply for colleges.
I never called her mom really or sat with her to bond.
I remember no talks about life, no lessons about hygiene, no period conversations.
I remember no bedtime stories, no hugs and kisses, no pep talks.
I remember no autonomy or options to express myself. Only my zombie like survival through the years, dressing in whatever she got me and doing whatever I could to stay in my room with little to no opinions.
I remember nothing personal in my bedroom, that it looked like a guestroom from a high end Mediterranean catalog.
Nothing was worth taking more than those steps right out the front door, sans exit strategy.
Now at 28, I have 3 beautiful babies that I want to hug and kiss on the hour.
"Any day, any time" is what I tell my 3 year old when he wants to climb into my lap and hug me.
And I mean it.
I do not "love extra" because my childhood was fucked up.
I do not overcompensate on gifts or things to buy my kids. And I do not feel guilty when I do get them a treat.
I do not struggle with the idea that my kids might not love me, or that I might not love them.
I cannot imagine ever dismissing, cutting off contact or throwing out my children without any responsibility for their issues or situation.
I cannot fathom what kind of person would have no guilt or worries or depression over losing their kid.
One time I did run away for a span of time. A month to be exact. I stayed with my boyfriend and his mother at 16. And my mom took 10 days to text me and ask where I was, followed by asking for me to buy milk.
In the 12 years i have been away, my mother has sometimes tried to contact me. Always with a different approach but never with acceptance of what actually happened.
But this IS mental illness.
A person with mental illness and addictions.
A person with wet brain and disassociation.
This is what it is like to have been raised by someone who was unstable.
And lucky for me, to survive it.
J.S. Jaded Savior
I am honestly having a really hard time this week. Between getting sick and having major anxiety / anger, I now feel completely overwhelmed and fragile.
On amazing days I love to show up and write about it.
On "tougher days" I drag myself around in pajamas and don't want to eat or talk to anyone.
Today feels like an extremely hard day.
Like nothing I do is worth anything.
Like I will never get out of the ruts I am in.
Like I am not meant for more.
I know it is anxiety talking.
I know my blog work and trauma discussing push me hard into the memories of abuse and painful experiences I have had. That I ask for this deep plunge into the darkness so I can heal.
Healing is ugly, painful, crazy, erratic, unorganized, unplanned.
Healing is a lot like "I can't do this" every step of the way forward.
But moving is growth.
It still counts.
Every single foot step forward, whether in large or small strides, takes me further away from my past and towards a healthy future.
So I honor it. The anger. The sadness. The frustration.
It has hard for me to keep track of anything, control my anger or tears in the past few days. I have had trouble knowing what day of the week it is or how many hours are passing by. I have felt extremely tired and like I can barely focus. Have had dizzy spells and wanted to just lay down.
This is what PTSD feels like for me.
And possibly for you.
So as 2020 comes and I begin some major work [new projects], my main priority on social media is to show up as much as I can -----> with both awareness and solutions to the problems.
To not hide when i feel this way.
To not use the bathroom as a retreat from life.
I have realized that this year I was given an amazing tool.
The ability to not be alone.
Social media has given me a platform for connection while I am in these states of depression, anxiety and hopelessness.
So many of you do not show up in your business, in your family, or even outside of your own front door because you struggle with feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, anxiety and ocd, low self esteem, and fears because of your experiences with abusive people and toxic situations.
And you think it is all your fault.
All your burden to carry.
I invite people to show up in my inbox or on my posts, in my group JADED SAVIOR: Speak your truths or on my blog to share their truths.
But many of you are scared to share.
You feel like your problems are so bad that it is embarrassing and shameful. You think you will burden someone else if you ask for help or you lean on them.
I need someone to lean on.
Quite honestly, I need a village.
I need help, I need to rationalize my fears daily, and I need to make big changes all across the board.
In my health. In my diet. In my routines.
In my relationships.
In my loneliness <------ that tendency I have to push away when I need others most.
I admit it now.
I surrender because I cannot take it anymore.
For some of you, this realization has not come yet. You still think you can or have to be alone in it.
What I wish for all of us in the next 13 months is awareness, truth, and connection.
The ability to surface when we are in trouble and the trust in others to come together and step into solutions.
To heal as a collective.
And to change the way we have viewed social media.
From a marketing and venting platform to a virtual retreat for rehabilitation and alignment.
A place where we can have all the answers and all the village we want.
And no more reasons to hide or sit with ourselves in the bathroom, garage, bed, or car.
We now have access to the people + solutions that will change our lives and allow us to become healthy.
So what is different today from any other day I have been sinking in deep depression?
Today is the first day of many of us on a healing journey as a collective, rather than trying to take a hack at it alone.
J.S. Jaded Savior
So there was this woman I was following and friend requested about 2 yrs ago. Back then, she was someone i really admired and looked up to. A powerhouse who was crunchy, a mompreneur, an influencer and advocate for things I found meaningful, as well as someone who overcame trauma.
Back then I knew NO ONE AT ALL who was posting publicly about their trauma or mental health issues. So I felt very alone and abnormal. She was a breathe of fresh air.
This spring, I decided to weed my feed and change my own life. I started publicly writing about my problems and past and I cut a lot of people out of my life.
I also added TONS OF NEW PEOPLE. I found my tribe!!!! Mental health advocates, Coaches in the Healing field, natural healers and spiritual people. All authentic, open, and LOVING.
At first it felt like a trick. Like a gimmick. How could people be so openly loving and raw...like I am... I was always the FREAK for being so emotional. Told facebook is not a diary. Told "we all grew up with problems."
But a veil was lifted and I finally started to SEE what was actually happening.
I was leaving behind years of trauma.
I was stepping into the light.
I've added over 1800 people since MAY. On purpose. Intuitively picked. And followed up with. I have easily had hundreds of conversations with a lot of you. Messages, voice clips, videos, phone calls etc.
And yes. I did remove some along the way that I didnt click with or realized wasnt my tribe. And not on bad terms.
I just learned how to CHOOSE MY CIRCLE.
I did something recently that I never thought I would do.
I deleted that woman as a friend.
The one I used to want to be.
The one I admired for over 2 years.
Because I started examining her posts from a different point of view.
As I have started to heal + grow + blossom, I have developed a super power.
I now see past illusions.
I used to think differently about my friends. My boyfriends. My family.
I used to see it as "I have to keep them. "
Now I know I don't have to do a DAMN thing that does not serve me.
And I also started to SEE CLEARLY how much toxicity was around me.
This woman, who can do whatever she wants of course, was making anti-abortion posts and racial references. She was pushing religion in an unopened minded way about other peoples beliefs and often very aggressive in her response towards them to defend HER OWN beliefs only. She was posting images that mock womens bodies.
Now either she lost her path or she was always this way and I did not notice.
Because "role model" for me meant better than the rest.
Which reminds me of how my ex, the man I dated for a few years while I was a single mom but no longer even count as having had something important..... he was toxic and abusive as shit.
But he was "so much better than the rest".
I was living in a dillusion, thinking I was lucky he gave me TONS of space to be independent.
That he was supporting who I was by taking a step back, never arguing, letting me do my thing.
He never showed up for me. Never really had any opinions [which is why I thought he just agreed or liked mine] and he was so detached from me that he would ghost me a lot.
He took all my secret fears and made a blue print from them on how to destroy me.
I realized that when we think someone or something is great, we should be examining ourselves.
What phase are we at and how healthy are we? Really....
What are OUR boundaries and what do we DO when people cross them?
What do we DO when things don't feel right?
And do we just ADMIRE people blindly?
I never even once had a conversation with this woman. I knew nothing about where her heart actually was at.
So the other day when a post of hers AGAIN showed up on my feed and was really offensive, I decided to scroll her profile.
I realized that ,for me, it was absolutely not someone who could be in my circle.
And I actually felt turned off. Annoyed.
Like...how the hell did I even think what I had when I did?!
Perceptions change when you get healthy.
And who KNOWS what her deal or thoughts are. I don't care to find out.
I am no longer willing to fit a square peg in a round hole.
READ THAT AGAIN.
I am NO LONGER WILLING TO GET FREE SIGNUPS.
My time + energy + vibe is only maintained with constant showers of light and love.
And it is on them, whoever falls below that capability.
I spent my childhood and adolescence not understanding that my parents were literally mentally incapable.
I spent my early 20s trying to understand bad friends and shitty exs.
I had the Savior complex.
Now I know I was only responsible for changing and helping myself.
And I am never going to compromise myself for anyone else ever again. ♡
MY CIRCLE consists of people who just show up on their own. They do the right things----> meaning healthy choices. They have bad days like the rest of us and they are just authentic about it. About their journey.
You are my people if all of you are here just FIGHTING to be better daily. ♡
And I am no longer going to apologize for weeding out my circle and making sure my garden is healthy.
J.S. Jaded Savior
"Teen mom" was one of the most popular TV shows,10 years ago, amongst my peers.
I was 19 with a toddler.
Watching an episode of that show was like being called by a famous director after they got hands on your deeply moving autobiography [called STUCK ON PAUSE] and said "I LOVE it...but just a few tweaks....."
"We have a $500 budget for the season.
And GOOD NEWS, we casted KIM K as the lead.
She ALREADY said K."
When I reflected on my own struggles and hardships as an abuse victim and teen mother, I envisioned MERYL uttering the last ink on the chapter of my future. And in my fantasy, she was divine.
That show, for me, was trash.
A garbage example of what it was like.
And worse, "The Secret Life of the American Teen" was its opposer.
I was more Lorelei Gilmore than Farah.
Small town. Stupid boys. Accidents. Betrayal. Cut to independent woman with bff mother daughter bond.
I got told countless times "I don't know how you do it."
I also had MANY girls come to me over the years to confide in me about the pregnancy test in their purse. Spent times talking to girls I never knew prior or never even met, face to face, via internet.
Because I was OUT and STABLE as a teen mom, girls looked to me for support. Advice. Aid.
And while that was beautiful and special, it was also so problematic.
Girls would rather confide in a fellow survivor than their loved ones.
Girls already KNEW their situation meant they needed to prepare for a harsh winter.
Being a pregnant teen was not like "will Bobby still ask me to prom even though he keeps making eyes with Melanie?"
It was more like "5 colleges in the entire Eastern side of the United States have family housing [permit a child on campus]. Only five. If I work 60 hours a week and save X amount for the flight, I will have exactly 86 weeks left until I can arrive in VIRGINIA. Arrive.".
That is 84736256383 miles away from the restraining ordered and abusive partner than abandoned me and i have 68 days to leave before he can file a petition against me leaving.
But being a teen mom also looked like:
Giggling and blowing bubbles with my wobbly toddler on the green grass of the football field next to the daycare building between my Psych class and Dance class every wednesday [true story].
Bringing bella to club, having her sit in a corner under the table with coloring books that the leadership Advisor brought every week in a little bucket, especially for her. [Also, true story].
Bella attending night class [a 3 hour long lecture course on pregnancy and midwifery] and not even making a peep and then being carried out in a blanket at 9pm when it was over, smiles and awwws coming from peers who had no clue a little person dwelled in the back right of the stadium style seats in a Country wide known, waitlisted Professors' course [truth].
Teen motherhood was often fun. Sweet. Calm.
She was my little best friend. I took her everywhere. Not just "because I had to".
I wanted to bring her to my classes. To the cafeteria. To rally's and events. To the campus wide Strawberry festival--->better believe we played hookie on those big days.
Having bella was the biggest joy of my life and everything else came second.
Being SINGLE was amazing.
Never sharing her.
Never worrying how anyone else will want to spend OUR time.
I grew up and she grew up. Simultaneously.
We knew more beach days and mall days than she could count or I could list because it was free and local. So we did it.
To fit in. To feel normal.
To see Santa from the sidelines.
To sign up for Godiva club just to get one sweet taste test per month [truffle sundays were also a staple truth].
We made the gosh darn best out of everything.
Visited stop and shop to "pick a pumpkin" and walked the local farm stand [ probably 400 sq ft] to experience farm culture.
Bella even got to take the train into NYC multiple times with me. We would walk aimlessly and explore without limits or curfews.
I expanded and she expanded. Simultaneously.
Thanks to local libraries, free museums, local farmers markets, and campus strolls to the duck pond. Even to work.
My kid even came to work.
And was treated like a princess.
Now I know TV is made to be dramatic. It is entertaining right?
It was entertaining for my peers to watch teenagers abuse one another, cry their eyes out on camera over heart break, exploit their children and make uneducated decisions about contraception and irresponsible legal decisions in their co-parenting situations.
My peers watched teen moms on TV but would not ask me if I wanted to be joined for lunch in the cafeteria.
They could never just ask me what it was like. Or even smile about it.
My peers made me think we were at a funeral when I said "17" in response to their "how old are you" when staring at my kid.
Wondering if I was the babysitter. Or a sister.
Instead of just saying "she's cute."
The AMAZING people who did ask me to eat lunch, walk to class, or even hung out with me AND my baby were a godsend.
They literally saved my life.
Because in the hardest of times I just felt alone. Isolated. Confined by the name "teen mom".
I will never watch that show. But I do read books about other teen moms.
One book brought me to tears as I read it 5 times over.
MAYA ANGELOU. Another "teen mom" for the books.
That is who I listen to. Who I honor.
And many other women who have talked about the TRUTH behind being a young mother.
And have validated the journey. The dualities. The simultaneous growth of two beings connected not just by responsibility but friendship.
J.S. Jaded Savior
Decide today that you matter most.
Say "I need this for me."
Ignite that bomb and watch how it will EXPLODE your true potential instantaneously.
When we feed ourselves and we give in to what makes us feel best, we set a tone that ripples into all the things and people around us.
"I will do this for me."
So take that trip you have been putting off.
Buy that book you have been keeping in your "save for later" on Amazon for over a year now. Last Christmas you wanted it so badly but could not bring yourself to tell your partner because you wanted them to discover it on their own.
Stop it. Stop putting your own expectations and desires on a Que that no one will ever really get to.
Instead, make pleasing yourself a daily routine.
I know no one has taught you how to do that. Only negative connotations come with making yourself happy.
But the truth is, those are triggers other people feel the need to push on you. Because they also do not put themselves first.
When we are poor, we ALSO never want to put ourselves first.
Every cent should go towards climbing out of poverty, so we only feel shame and guilt when we spend out of rage of the priorities.
But every time you ignore your own care or desires, to a certain extent you keep yourself STUCK ON PAUSE.
By not purchasing things that can level you up.
By not spending money on healthier options to better fortify your body and mind.
By not spending on education so you can expand your mind.
And lastly, we ignore our own needs when we have a lot of dependents. Like having children, being in a domestic partnership, even caring for a parent or relative.
We say they come first because it is the right way to be as a nurturer, caretaker, provider, loving person etc.
You give your kids the food, the money, the gift cards, the last of the bubble bath, the extra hour at bed time, the side of your bed....
You do all these things in love.
You may serve your partner, ask them for nothing to be kind, not make boundaries or state suggestions because to you SPEAKING YOUR DESIRES sounds a whole lot like making demands.
And you don't want to be THAT PERSON. But...that person is the person who would THRIVE.
That person that has done the HARD work of being caring, loving, attentive, assertive, and been practical "with self gratification".
And guess what? That version of you is the winner. The goal.
You deserve to feel LOVED. CHERISHED. NOURISHED. LISTENED TO. THANKED.
But not from everyone around you so much as yourself.
Imagine if those unmet expectations you carry as a burden on your slumped shoulders was redirected onto yourself.
If you BOUGHT THAT DAMN BOOK ALREADY.
AND THEN, YOU MADE A COFFEE DATE DOWN THE ROAD ONCE A WEEK FOR YOURSELF TO READ IT.
Imagine you made a bedtime that your kids stuck with, but you poured 20 minutes of love and book reading until you said OK GUYS, NOW I'M TAKING A MOMMY BREAK. SWEET DREAMS.
And then you did. For a whole hour. That hour you swore you never have.
To bathe. Or sip wine. Or paint. Or take a course. Or listen to a book. Or freaking masturbate. Something exclusively to provide you with love, support, awareness, pleasure.
I want you to make a resolution with me. Not just for 2020. For November 11th 2019.
Develop a needs list for yourself and then make it a priority to achieve the things weekly.
Yes. You have the time. You just spend it elsewhere.
I promise this new way of thinking will feel weird as fuck at first but then quickly turn into a whole lifestyle change.
I want you to fall in love with yourself. Put work into yourself. And then watch how the beautiful ripples of love and respect touch all other areas of your life.
How it will mend your relationship with other people, as well as set the tone of what you are willing to tolerate.
You're going to grow into NEW boundaries and an attitude of "I need this for me" so I can better help others.
You're going to claim good health, happiness, and abundance in replace of all those negative connotations because you will know in your heart that if you are cared for, everything else will be.
So let's get you started. Make that list here. What are your needs? What makes you feel good? What do you miss doing or always wished you could have gotten started?
What is one thing you can do TONIGHT to please or nurture yourself? Then start. It's that straightforward.
When I began pleasing myself, caring for my skin, putting time into my passions, saying no to what does not serve me, saying STOP to who does not respect me -----> I gained a glow.
I can see it. I can feel it.
I radiate the bullshit away.
And at first it felt unnatural. Now it is subconscious. And since I set my boundaries with those closest to me, it has been a guilt free journey.
I care for me so that I am strong and capable enough to care for everyone else.
I still mindfully, daily put this into practice.
And on the really hard days, I put EXTRA love into myself.
I never felt so loved before. ♡
Now I finally feel ready to serve others. To be bigger, better, stronger.
To step into the next phase of my life without fear.
Stop constantly making 20 mins of shower time and pampering yourself A STRUGGLE.
Your best self is waiting to be found.
Something happens when I look at myself.
As an Empath, a trauma survivor, and a high detailed creative ----> I feel DEEP sadness when I see the look in my own eyes.
It has taken me I suppose 29 years of life to step into self awareness.
To fully process who I have become because of TRAUMA.
I tell my stories weekly here on Facebook and also on my blog because I want to give you the puzzle pieces of what I am comprised of.
I might tell the same story a few times from different angles and analyze them in different ways ----> but my stories are important.
These pieces of who I am, when translated onto paper or screen are given life. Validity. Power.
I grew up without those things.
No power. No control. No stability.
No life of my own.
Jean Soto, mother of 3 and wife, is a writer + artist in the Hudson Valley, NY community.
Content mention of Rape, Abuse, Neglect, Addictions, Mental Illness, Kidnap, Molestation, Child abuse, Teen Pregnancy, Abortion, birth, body image, gender/identity dysphoria, sexuality, personal trauma, domestic violence and other extremely personal stories. Please practice caution. I am not a licensed physician or mental health professional. No medical prescribing is provided on this site, Only personal insights, experience stories, and advice; All stories published have had prior authorization. Questions? Contact Jean at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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