My Vision Statement – She Should Run

Hello everyone!

I’ve been immersed in several useless wastes of energy lately that I’ll be struggling to wrangle into order so that I can start 2017 off right. Fuck 2016, amirite?

One very cool thing that I’ve started is the She Should Run online incubator which is one of the most exciting things to come of 2016.

Lesson 1: Develop Your Vision for Making an Impact

I wrote about 6 versions of this before finally just releasing it into the ether of the internets. I had to let it go in order to move on. I wanted to share what I came up with though because it applies to my blog (it mentions my blog!) and I spoke from my heart 100% – as I feel I do in this here space as well. Please feel free to read at your leisure and comment if you can suggest any edits that may make this vision statement more powerful for a political campaign-type purpose (I’m not running any time soon or anything, but I might as well start getting feedback now!).

 

In 2014 suicide was listed as the 3rd leading cause of death in youth ages 10 to 24 and 90% of those who died by suicide had an underlying mental illness.*

In 1999 at the age of 15 I attempted suicide because I could see no escape from the emotions that I felt trapped within for over 4 years. Because of this attempt I was committed to a psychiatric facility where instead of taking the opportunity to heal I continued to lie to my family, my treatment team, and worst of all, myself as I stood my ground in declaring that I was perfectly fine; there was nothing wrong with me. I grew up in a middle class nuclear family with as much privilege as you would imagine a Caucasian girl in the suburbs would have. Because I was aware of this privilege I struggled with asking for help when I needed it. Who was I, someone who had two working parents and a decent path to college to cry over what seemed like nothing at all? Who was I to refuse to get out of bed every morning when I had a bed in a good neighborhood? Who was I to be sad when I had nothing justifiable to be sad about? I felt so much shame not only for harboring a mental illness but also shame for not wanting to exist when I had so many more reasons that I should be grateful and not miserable.

I suffered my bipolar disorder for 8 years after that suicide attempt before I would admit to a licensed professional that I might need help. That was 8 years of quitting jobs abruptly, arguing with partners over nothing on any given day, losing the respect of my friends, and allowing my self-worth to wan and wax with the cycles of my bipolar; all because of the shame and stigma that went with it in our culture. At 23 I began seeing a therapist and psychiatrist but it still wasn’t until another 4 years later that I actually took my mental health care seriously.  Finally, at the age of 27 I started treating my bipolar like a diabetic would their diabetes; monitoring my medications and my reactions to them, checking in regularly with my physicians, I recruited my close friends to be my support team, recording my symptoms and how they change, and taking it seriously as a life and death matter because it truly can be.

I didn’t talk openly about my bipolar to my friends, family, and previous partner until 3 years ago after I had sought out serious treatment. I was embarrassed that I knew something was wrong that entire time and had failed to do anything about it. I was embarrassed that I had a “mental illness”. I felt like I was now certifiably defective. In reality I had played into all of the damaging stigmas of mental illness and because of that I suffered needlessly for far too many years. It has taken me a very long time to embrace who I am, to openly admit my mental health struggles, and to say that I have something of value to offer my community because of these things.

In November of 2015 I joined Toastmasters in an effort to learn to speak publicly about mental health so that I can help make this a topic that we aren’t ashamed of. I want someone who is struggling at the age of 15 to identify their feelings of total apathy and emptiness as possible depression and be comfortable talking to their school counselor about it. I want us to have conversations about mental health just as we do about physical health, because there should be as much shame about anxiety as there is about a broken arm, which is to say none.

In this past year I’ve shared my story through social media and on a blog that I write somewhat regularly. I’ve been messaged, retweeted, tagged, emailed, and continue to received heartfelt comments expressing gratitude for my candid approach to discussing my own struggles with mental health. There are people all over the world who have not yet found a way to get over the stigma of mental illness and so they continue self-medicating or hide their emotions. I was recently messaged by a reader who said that I inspired them to become more open about their issues with anxiety, and that despite their worries of being negatively received they’ve gotten nothing but love and support from the people they’ve opened up to.

This brings me to why I’m here with She Should Run; I want to help give a voice to those who don’t feel strong or confident enough to be their own voice yet. I want to empower those who feel they don’t have a say to realize that they have much more than they know right now and they have the power to use it for the benefit of everyone in our community. I want to speak up for the homeless, the prison population, the addicts, and the veterans who might not realize that a part of their suffering could come from mental illness. I want to be a part of the governing body that decides to allocate resources to help repair this. I want to fight to end youth suicide due to mental illness with comprehensive mental health programs, especially in at-risk areas. I want to use whatever privilege I have to help those who have less.

 

* Behavioral Health Trends in the United States: Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

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Ten Quick Things I Learned from Dr. Tererai Trent*

I just got back from the 2016 National Women’s Leadership Conference* and have returned with more laser-point focus than ever this year. I may have finally stepped far enough outside of my comfort zone to really connect with my tribe of awesome business women (and a couple men).

I still owe travel posts on my trip to DC but. . . this is still fresh at my fingertips so you’ll be reading it hot off the presses!

On the very first day of conference, very first thing in the morning, our speaker was “Oprah’s All-Time Favorite Guest”*, a writer, speaker, scholar, humanitarian, and – I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t mind me calling her this, a total bad ass.  I can’t write up enough to do her justice so read more about Dr. Tererai on her site.

I want to share with you the most poignant points that I took from her powerful talk. Of course I’m paraphrasing and she delivered it with a way better aura of owning it, but since you couldn’t be there, I hope you enjoy these snippets!  If you have a women’s / girl’s organization that utilizes speakers – she is sure to win them over and inspire them in an instant – definitely consider booking her.

Lessons from Dr. Tererai Trent*

Go for the great hunger

Dr. Tererai explained the two different hungers; the little hunger which is what you can resolve immediately like eating, and the great hunger which is more of a purpose like becoming educated. Don’t get lost in the little hungers, keep your focus on your bigger purpose!

bullshitaint-nobody-got-time-for-that

Don’t put up with the bullshit

Ok, this woman was a powerful and charismatic presence, with her accent from Zimbabwe, and the last thing I expected her to say was the word “bullshit” BUT, she did! She explained that where she grew up she could see the little boys being raised to be leaders while the little girls were being raised to be domesticated and she called that out for being exactly what it was, bullshit! She eventually grew to question that, and because of that courage she is now a humanitarian leader and scholar. You call out that bullshit and let it know you’re over it!

Sometimes it’s ok to say bullshit at a business women’s conference

I know this point sounds ridiculous and completely out of context for a general blog post but since it’s MY post and I’M writing it – let me explain.  I ran for a position on the national executive board of my organization in 2015 and I was at-odds the entire year with being completely myself vs. my “business lady-ish” self. The thing is, I swear sometimes. I use slang, I make laser sound effects, I dance – all the time, I have a unicorn phone case, I take stupid selfies, my mom says I have no “solemnity”, and again – I swear. When I was campaigning I would be myself around my campaign team – using “eff” and “ish” because Mary Jane (MJ) is over 70 and I just can’t say the real words around her. But to say “bullshit” on stage???  NO WAY! Let me be clear, Dr. Tererai only said the word twice and with complete deliberateness – and everyone laughed. And let me be clear, I’m not thinking I can go around swearing like a sailor – or that I would want to – I’m just saying, hey, she said bullshit and none of the women over 70 caught fire or walked out, huh, neat!

Say “no” to certain batons

Dr. Tererai told the story of how the “baton” of early, arranged, and abusive marriages in which girls were traded for cows had been handed down from her grandmother’s mother to her grandmother, on down to her mother, and then in turn to her.  This was another point where she used the word bullshit (AWESOME!) and told us that, NO, don’t accept that baton! Or if you have to accept it, make it a little different when you do end up having to pass it down. When you hand that baton down to your daughter, redefine it – make that marriage a chosen marriage, add in being able to get an education. Say NO to the arranged marriage baton in your life. Or if you’ve been stuck with a “bullshit baton”, do everything you can to pass on a better baton to your next generation.

Do not be afraid to fail

Dr. Tererai, who has received an actual Doctorate degree, written a book, built 11 schools in Zimbabwe, and has been the keynote speaker at several super important conferences (like mine!), said it took her EIGHT YEARS of failing her GED tests before she finally passed.  EIGHT YEARS.  If she gave up that first year – that third year – and you KNOW you’d be thinking about giving up after 5 years (I would!) – 5,000 kids in Zimbabwe would be without education right now. Because she stuck with it, undeterred from her failures, she made a big dent in her part of the world.

Tinogona

Tinogona, as Dr. Tererai explained it, means “it is achievable”. If it is something you can dream, it is something you can do. She came from a place of poverty, moved to the United States and continued to live in poverty while pursuing her degree, and through her determination she achieved her goal of higher education – and a whole lot more. It took a lot of work and a lot of time, but she made it happen. If you want to make this your mantra, it was pronounced something like teen-oh-gone-ah, at least that’s what I have in my notes. Double check with the internets.

bullshitaint-nobody-got-time-for-that-1

Leadership is action, not position

AMEN! I wrote this down in all caps and underlined it. I see a lot of people act entitled in certain ways just because they have a title. And I see a lot of people without titles being super bosses without the pay or recognition – and they could care less! Actions speak louder than words and a great leader doesn’t need the placard to inspire others.

Be grateful for what you have

At a point in Dr. Tererai’s higher education she was living in a trailer, working multiple jobs, going to school, and taking care of her kids all at the same time. She told the story of how her kids were getting cavities because the only food she could afford to buy them was processed and not real actual fruits and veggies, which were plentiful back in Rhodesia. One of her professors worked it out with a local grocer that they would leave a box of old fruits and veggies out for her by the door until 5, but at 5 it had to go into the dumpster. She would try to get to the dumpster every day after work by 5 but never made it there in time so she would end up digging out the box. But – she said to herself, “Who am I to complain? I’m getting an education, I have a trailer, these are free fruits and vegetables, I am in America. Who am I to complain?” So. . . think about that next time you’re sad you don’t have beer money until payday.

Do a little ritual with your dreams

If you have a dream, make a big deal out of recognizing it. I do new moon rituals every month. Dr. Tererai buried her dream in a can! She actually wrote a book about it, which my ma bought and Dr. Tererai signed while at the conference. Whatever your dream is, make it even more important with a ritual of some sort – make it your own.

 

and lastly, my favorite. . .

 

Your dreams will have greater meaning when they are tied to the betterment of your community

I don’t think I need to explain this one.

 

*Disclaimer: Absolutely no person, group, or association mentioned above endorses or is likely even aware of my mutterings – do not take this post as an endorsement.

Swearwords as motivation

If you’ve read my blog in the last couple of weeks you may recall this post here:  It’s a Process – try, fail, succeed

In that post I shared a lovely graphic that I made in the hopes of inspiring you to embrace failure.

Well, after asking a representative at Canva if I could use swearwords in a non-defamatory way with their site to make my graphics, I got just the answer I was looking for: yes.

I bring to you, my motivation through swearwords version of that graphic.  This one should not be displayed on cubical walls.  But definitely text it to your bestie if they’re having a hard time at work.  They’ll appreciate it.

Copy of When you repeat the cycle of is sitting on the other side of fear. (1)

I see what you did there, life

That right there is one of the 9 intentions that I wrote down for myself back at the new moon (no, it doesn’t actually look that cool in person, I just happened to do some filter stuff post-production).

They say you should put your intentions out there and accept them as they come to you. Looking at my 9 scraps of paper last night I realized that this one is coming to fruition in a slightly different way, for the good of my own personal development I believe.

The big 2-and-a-half year relationship that ended a few months ago hurt me. I had never felt so betrayed in love and I honestly wasn’t sure if I’d be able to separate the feeling from whatever relationship came next. After a few weeks of dating a genuine good guy though, I began to see the difference between the two and started to feel safer (still a bit guarded, but safer). I was in fact capable of dropping that baggage off at the train station and just sending it off to the other coast.  This is awesome news.

I wrote that intention after being with someone who had, without my conscious awareness, fostered the building of a fortress within me.  I’m not proud to admit that I let that happen but I am proud to admit that I came out of that relationship determined to figure out who I am.

Looking back at this scrap of paper, I can see what I was trying to go for: rather than finding (notice how I changed it from “find” to “attract”? sometimes I just have to have a laugh at myself) someone who would either encourage the wall-building or just allow me to go about my life with the wall intact, I wanted someone to actively help me challenge myself to be happier and healthier in my habits.

It took a tough discussion, a panic-and-run, some continually feeling awful, and a lot of contemplation to figure out something which has broken down a Wall of China-sized wall for me.  This level of deconstructing should NOT happen in a relationship (at least not a newly starting one), at least not for me.  I have some shit to figure out and building myself (mySELF, not my wall) back up as the sole brick layer is the best thing I can do right now.  Yes, I do still want to find that ultimate partner in crime to join me on the roller coaster ride of life, but for once I realize that I have some work to do on my own for a bit.

Thanks to a paid plane ticket to Baltimore for work, a friend who lives in DC with his girlfriend (so a free place to crash), and cheap public transit between the two, I am officially taking a 5 day vacation by myself to tour DC.  SOLO.  I am SO FREAKING EXCITED.  I have never in my life traveled solo.  I’ll be there on a Saturday-Wednesday, probably hanging out with the couple on Saturday and Sunday (ummmmm I found an EIGHTIES party at a club that Saturday night, costumes encouraged, so YEAH we’re going to that) but they work weekdays 8-5 so I will be on my own then.  I’ve already started planning my sites to see and I can’t tell you in words how excited I am to do this.  Traveling solo probably isn’t a big deal to a lot of people, but this is something new and exciting for me.  On my list so far is the American Indian museum, 80’s party, the Holocaust museum, drag queen brunch, the Museum of Natural History, M Monday at the Duplex Diner, the Washington Monument, karaoke at an awesome gay club, I even requested a pass to tour the White House from my Congress woman, and the Smithsonian Zoo (because: baby red pandas).  That list is not exhaustive by any means – I’m sure it will only get longer.  The whole trip will be an excellent time to just let myself think and breathe the different air without a concern in the world.  SO EXCITED.

So you see, world, I’m on to your little game.  I get it.  I shouldn’t need someone to break down my walls (though there certainly was a catalyst in this) and I shouldn’t be relying on anyone but myself (and perhaps the assistance of a qualified mental health professional) to figure out my true core and build it out from the ground up to be more whole, happy, healthy, loving, accepting, and empowering.  I think I can play by those rules.

It Begins at the Beginning

Hello everyone!

My first post!  Well, on this blog at least.  I’ve probably written about a hundred blog posts in my life on the internets (I won’t consider my overly dramatic live journal or myspace rantings true blog posts, if those counted it would likely be in the thousands) but this one, this one is SPECIAL.

Today is the crash course in who I am and what I’m all about.  My name’s Jessie (it’s short for Jessica, but only my mom calls me that, and only when she’s mad about something – usually I didn’t pick up after myself at her place) and I’m a Jane of All Trades.  My life goals have varied from zoologist to craft store owner/instructor to public speaker/motivator extraordinaire.  Throughout my ever-changing dream job aspirations one thing remained the same, I wanted to HELP.

So that is the purpose of this blog, my mission of sorts, to help others.  Help others with what words of wisdom I’ve gathered in my 31 years here on Earth, with information I think might be helpful to the masses, and with a healthy dose of ENCOURAGEMENT.

All progress takes place outside the comfort zone (1)

I hope that my blog becomes a place of refuge in a sometimes chaotic world.  A little sparkle on the sidewalk, reminding you that there’s still magic and inspiration if you only look closely.

Cheers,

Jessie

FWB – Sparkle Science

(This post is from another Jessie blog, Fourth Wave Business, and is republished here for your enjoyment!)

Let me paint you a picture of a young and enthusiastic Jessie, sophomore year biology class. . .

I LOVED Gwen Stefani of No Doubt fame and even dedicated 20 minutes of my mornings to creating elaborate bindi patterns in between and over my eyebrows to wear sometimes to school or friend’s band’s shows.  If my dad didn’t insist that glitter was really just tiny pieces of shrapnel I would have rocked glitter makeup daily.  Anything that had a surface I could alter was permanently colored/glittered/stickered/covered in whatever was totally “me” at the time.

Now. . . imagine I’m in biology class where I really dig learning about science and how things work (not so much the dissections, I tried to get out of those based on being vegetarian and not wanting to for moral reasons but NOPE – I HAD to) when we start learning about the cell.  How freaking cool!  This tiny microscopic thing is made up of all these other tiny microscopic things that all work together to perform specific functions and support life and stuff!  Awesome!  Of course came the assignment of creating our own three-dimensional cells to present in class and I was stoked.  Science + crafts = homework I was actually excited about.

So my dad and I hit up a Michael’s where I load up on all kinds of pink, red, and purple craft foam as well as glitter of all colors and various other supplies needed to make the most epic cell my teacher, Mr. Shelley, had ever seen.  I spent 2 whole nights working on that cell – getting the Golgi apparatus perfect and squiggly, making sure the mitochondrion looked super. . . mitochondrion-ish, and basically just focusing my attention on earning the highest grade this amount of glitter could get me.

The due date came and I must say, my cell was at least in the top 3 – I had everything labeled correctly, mine was very creative, and you could tell I spent more than just 10 minutes on the damn thing.  I was pretty proud of that beautifully made sparkle cell.

I went to bed that night excited to see my hard work pay off the next day when I would collect my A and get to take home my scientific piece of art to perhaps convince my parents to display on our mantle piece (it would have looked dazzling next to our family photo).  Alas, the next day would not be so kind.  I arrived in biology class and ran to the back where our cells were all displayed.  I easily found mine – it kind of looked like a disco ball from a distance – and found that I had received a C.  For a minute I thought maybe Mr. Shelley just graded everyone harshly and my sparkle cell was no different.  NOPE!  I looked around and saw that other cells – some with half of their parts mislabeled or not even labeled at all had gotten A’s and B’s.  I was confused so I asked Mr. Shelley straight away if there was a mistake and he said to me, which I won’t ever forget, “No mistake.  This was a biology assignment.  Not an arts and crafts project.”  It didn’t matter that I had gotten everything correct or that it looked exactly like a cell (just with more glitter admittedly) – it only mattered that my personal sparkly interpretation was not up to his “scientific standards”.

I sat in class and fumed for about half of the time he was lecturing.  I stopped paying attention.  Who was this guy to say that my hard work deserved a lower grade than anyone else’s?  Why did the use of glitter negate the actual scientific accuracy of my model?  Then the anger was replaced with confusion and embarrassment.  Maybe it was stupid to have thought I should use glitter in biology class.  Did I even really know what I was doing in this class?

If I could go back I would tell my 15 year old self not to let that jerk of a glitter-hating teacher tell me my awesome cell was anything less than amazing.  When I was 9 or 10 I wanted to be a marine biologist and unfortunately, I let that year in biology class with Mr. Shelley convince me not to pursue learning any hard sciences.  I shut down that desire because I felt like there wasn’t a place for my interpretation of it.

Now. . . on to the modern-day news. . . late last year Carnegie Science Center offered “Science with a Sparkle” STEM learning opportunities for Girl Scouts – umm. . . AWESOME!!!  Do you know how quickly I would have signed up for that??  If you had told me when I was little that I could be a chemist and make plastics I likely would have said “ok” but if you told me I could be a chemist and make nail polish I would have asked you where to sign up.  It’s cliche, I know, but I suppose I was a gender-conforming sellout as a kid.  I do have to say, the bad thing about Carnegie’s pretty rad offering for the Girl Scout’s is that while they offered them that one opportunity they were offering a long list of STEM opportunities for the Boy Scouts.  I know, total bummer that they couldn’t have just listed ALL of the STEM opportunities for BOTH the GS and BS, but not everyone is perfectly aware of their biases.

The New York Times published this great defense against the attack on Sparkle Science because really, if it sparks interest in science for girls (or boys) why do you care what it’s called or the focus of the material??  Yes, one could see it as gender stereotyping but if you get your head out of your butt for two minutes you could see that some girls like sparkles – so why would you want to leave them out?

Providing something called “Science with a Sparkle” is a small step toward getting girls interested in STEM education.  Of course, an even bigger step is to not exclude them from all the other STEM education opportunities (duh) but by trying to appeal to something traditionally geared toward young girls, they are at least opening the door to STEM in a different way.

It’s not perfect yet, but with more encouragement, greater opportunities, and perhaps different approaches I believe we can see the amount of women in the STEM fields grow exponentially within the next generation.

Let’s DO THIS!

FWB – The Sea of Self-Discovery

(This post is from another Jessie blog, Fourth Wave Business, and is republished here for your enjoyment!)

Here I am, drowning in the sea of self-discovery.  My tired arms are desperately flailing to find THAT ONE life preserver that’s just screaming for me to dedicate my life to grasping it.

I NEED to help people.  I have been altruistic since childhood when I would gladly give up my “things” to children who wanted to share them.  I rummaged through my parents’ box of my old school things and found a stack of notes sent home from preschool, one after the other informing them that I had been bitten again that day.  Apparently if a kid needed to let out anger I was a willing target, repeatedly.  Some may see that as a pushover but I would retort that they were perhaps just not as willing to “take one for the team” as I was.  (ok, maybe I was a little bit of a pushover/ninny)

My major and I found each other in college when I suddenly decided to take 3 psychology courses in one semester just because – having never taken one before.  I fell in love with the subject – the human mind is a fascinating thing that I could dedicate my life to learning about.  I also felt this incredible enveloping sense of comfort when we studied disorders like depression, anxiety, and bipolar because inside I was screaming “OHMYGOD!  They’re talking about ME!!!”  But then there came the inevitable “psychology student syndrome” that every undergrad psych student experiences and I started to wonder if I would become a serial killer because yeah, sometimes I had dissociation, or maybe I was OCD because yeah, sometimes I have rituals and can’t stand disorder.  But there it was, psychology, a field where I could understand people and help them understand AND help themselves.  I was in love.

I graduated college with the BA in psych and double minors in women’s studies and sociology (overachiever!  and truly I would have loved to have double majored in women’s studies but alas that was not available at the time) and set out into the world to help people.  I started right out the gate working with juveniles on probation for substance abuse performing their intake evaluations as well as running group counseling for them.  I loved it for a while.  I was young enough to relate to these kids and try to reason with them rather than yell at them.  Then I met the horrible parents who could care less about their kids.  Some of the kids didn’t give any shits about my help and continued down the path of self-destruction.  One kid ended up collapsing his lung from an overdose.  I think my boss saw what the job was doing to my soul and he suggested that I try working on a preventative program.  He gave me complete free reign to create my own program to teach at the local EBD school (emotional behavioral disorder).  IT WAS AWESOME.  Holy crap.  I carefully crafted a six week program covering how the brain develops (because it’s important for teenagers to know that their frontal lobes which are responsible for reason are not fully developed until early-mid 20’s), nicotine addiction, alcohol and substance abuse, peer pressure, and how it’s awesome to be yourself and say no to those things.  I had so much fun going to that school once a week and teaching 3 classrooms of about 10 kids each.  I’m pretty sure only half of them listened but it felt amazing to even be trying to make a positive impact.

Since that job I have only had one other psych-related position – working at a residential facility for girls who had been removed from several other facilities due to misbehavior (meaning this place was almost the last resort before prison).  This one was tough.  I got bit.  I had to physically restrain girls.  I got to teach art therapy (yay!) only to have some of the girls throw their crayons at me (sad).  I got yelled at and called some very nasty things.  Yet again I saw parents that were worse than SCUM.  It was heart breaking.  There were a couple of girls that I connected with and happily saw them successfully leave the facility – but it wasn’t enough to make me feel like I made a difference.  Soul.  Crushed.

Fast forward today where I’m an office administrator not-so-sneakily trying to stack more HR responsibilities onto my plate because that’s what makes my soul feel more whole.  Yes, I mostly punch calculator buttons and stare at Excel sheets, but today I got to work on making up our employee review process including using SMART goals both given to the employee and that the employee makes for themselves that they truly want to accomplish.  My hope is to help our employees feel valued here and feel like they have a purpose – as well as educate their managers on how to give them SMART goals.  I’m pretty nerdily excited.

Now, do I want to be a paper pusher for the rest of my life?  Or the rest of my 30’s?  No way!  But this is paying my bills while I cook up my master scheme and continue to flail through the ocean of options that is realizing my purpose in life. . .

keepin it real – Jessie

FWB – Oops. . . I did it again. But this time, I learned something!

(This post is from another Jessie blog, Fourth Wave Business, and is republished here for your enjoyment!)

Holy geez I did exactly what I promised myself I wouldn’t do.  I disappeared for far too long and got lost in the game of trying to maintain my mental normalcy while balancing all the life stuff.

A lot has happened in the time I’ve been gone.  I started lithium with AMAZING results!  Holy crap!  Is this how it feels to feel normal?  Where’s the lengthy depression, agitation, and pointless sadness?  Gone?  Alright, cool!  I feel 100% myself for the first time in a while – and thanks to the balance of medications I know it’s not just a manic swing disguised as happy times.  This is genuine happiness.  I still feel stress and anxiety and some restlessness, but none of that can stop me like it used to.  I simply pause to reflect on the feeling then move on.  I can’t tell you how great that feels.

I have a lot to write about but in order to prevent any readers out there from losing interest in this post I will say the one point that has me on my laptop instead of playing solitaire as per my usual weeknight tendencies (what?  solitaire is awesome!).

Ladies and gentleman. . . I have. . . a direction!  Now, I say “a” direction because I’ve never been at a lack for direction – quite the opposite – I’ve had a million directions all at once pulling me every which way and thus resulting in getting very little done toward any one single direction I wish to go.  But now!  Now there’s focus and clarity and I feel this urge deep within me to get this one thing started.

So I’m gonna do it!  I’ll be blogging regularly again (like, actually writing it in my planner!) (PS – have you seen this thing??  I’m totally getting one!  www.passionplanner.com) and I will be working on my upcoming website – www.fourthwavebiz.com – a place for girls, teens, young women, and women to find resources for deciding and navigating their own career paths.  I can’t tell you how excited I am about this.

Definitely stay tuned!  I hope to be sharing with you all along the way and maybe asking for you to contribute your own advice – because it’s incredibly valuable, believe it or not!

See you soon!  (No, seriously.   SOON!)

FWB – Female Entrepreneurs and the Fourth Wave of Feminism

(This post is from another Jessie blog, Fourth Wave Business, and is republished here for your enjoyment!)

Having grown up with a very strong female role model in my mother I knew that women were equal to men in ability and skill.  Seeing my mom succeed in her career and participate in the local women’s groups I was perhaps a little sheltered in my understanding of the outside world’s view of women.  It wasn’t until my 11th grade American History class that I learned about the suffrage movement and heard my mom recount personal stories of growing up as a woman in the 60’s.

Through my membership in the Ringling Chapter of the American Business Women’s Association I have learned a lot about women in the workforce and just how difficult it can be to attain the same achievements as men in business.  It seems as though we have to fight harder and tread more carefully for fear of being seen as too docile or too aggressive.  Assertiveness in women is still seen as a flaw rather than celebrated as it is with men.  It’s just downright unfair and I’m sick of it.

With the emergence of the handmade community I’ve seen a lot more women take on leadership positions by starting their own businesses.  Etsy.com is a huge source of empowerment for women entrepreneurs.  It allows for creativity and business to combine in one fluid way.  You can read articles on women who have quit their day jobs or stay-at-home moms who can conquer home and business life.  It’s inspiring.  I highly recommend you check it out.

Now for my views on feminism (because although this blog is about business I also have to throw in little personal tidbits so you get a better idea of who I am and where I’m coming from). . .

I believe the Fourth Wave of Feminism should be about equality of ALL.  All interpretations of gender, all sexes, all socio-economic levels, EVERYONE equal.  Is that such a crazy notion?  No!  I also believe that as female entrepreneurs we are in fact part of the FOURTH WAVE.  Let’s claim it for our own and spread the revolution!

So everyone, can we please band together and kick start this fourth wave through entrepreneurship?

FWB – Personality Types and the Roles They Play

(This post is from another Jessie blog, Fourth Wave Business, and is republished here for your enjoyment!)

Facebook can be a great tool – or a great waste of time.  Recently for me it was. . . enlightening.  One of my friends shared this personality test.  I found it pretty accurate but what’s more, it included ‘career advice’ catered to my type – how cool is that??

Turns out I’m a ‘Spontaneous Idealist’ which sounds about right.  I’m creative, a little emotional, and all over the place with ideas and projects.

The test goes on to suggest that in my career I’m enthusiastic and intuitive which others appreciate – yay!  It also points out that I’m easily bored (true!) and like to work in groups.  I’m not one to buy into everything I read but this is pretty spot-on.  It didn’t tell me much that I didn’t know but it did explain a little bit more what it’s like to work WITH me – and that’s helpful.  Sometimes I can be difficult (shocker) but if I know how to prepare people for it then it may make it a little easier – we all win!

So I invite you to take the test yourself – see how you can improve simply by understanding where you’re coming from!