Woman Wednesday: Dana

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.         


Q and A with Dana S., Huntington Beach, California

“All the things I’ve overcome have brought me to be the strong woman I am today.” 

 

 Q: What are you passionate about?

A: My passion is to serve others as much as I can before I leave this beautiful Earth. After becoming sober, I went (and continue to go) through a transformation of my heart. I currently work as a licensed life insurance broker helping others through those difficult conversations. Two projects I am working on launching this March 2020 are my podcast with my husband and my wellness coaching venture. With so many years doubting myself and participating in wrong behavior, I want to show others they’re not alone. The story hasn’t ended yet.

 

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I grew up with my grandparents raising me. My parents fell into their addictions, and I followed their footsteps at an early age. I was able to be in my addiction while living what others thought to be a “normal life.” I finally came to grips with my problems and was able to celebrate my 1 year of sobriety in November of last year. I also finished my degree in business in December. All the things I’ve overcome have brought me to be the strong woman I am today.

 

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Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: I think the most powerful thing to learn early on in life is to love yourself for the good and bad. Coming into your own helps with the foundation of what you do and don’t allow to happen in your life.

 

Pictured: On the right and left are members of Dana’s family. 

 

Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: To me, feminism is the utmost act of love to extend to women. Fighting for the rights of women to be equal and not be predisposed to the inequality we face today.

 

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I’d love to connect with you!

Reach out to me on Facebook! 

Facebook, Agent Profile

Facebook, Podcast Coming March 2020

 

Thoughts, questions, or comments?

Comment below! 🙂

Woman Wednesday: Mecyll

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.         


Q and A with Mecyll, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany

“My family struggled financially so much that we reached the point where we had to mix rice with used oil, soy sauce, or salt just to have a flavor. From breakfast, lunch, and dinner, we varied what “flavoring” would we add to the rice. It was a hard life. Buying a kilo of rice and a can of milk for the family were already big hurdles for my parents. At the time, I didn’t have enough notebooks for the next school year. As someone under constant pressure to be a straight-A student to please my parents, I had to get notebooks.” 

 

 Q: What are you passionate about?

A: First of all, I love to create. A crazy one—I’m someone who loves to challenge the status quo. I think I was born to make something unique, creative, and unusual. These depict my works, whether writing fiction (I write stories on Wattpad), making notebooks, or creating other forms of art like painting. If you saw one of my works, you could instantly say, “Oh, I haven’t seen such a notebook, travelers’ notebook, or planner!” I guess this is where my talent can be seen.

 

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Pictured: A journal created by Mecyll. Click here to check out her Etsy shop. 

 

Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I always feel different from peers I hang out with. Ever since I was a kid, I had been distraught by the fact that I couldn’t relate to others that easily. If needed, I have to consciously change my character to not isolate myself from other people. At times, it becomes too much to bear.

At a young age, I felt anxious, controlled, self-loathing, and depressed in an extreme way. Given the financial crisis my family faced at the time in the Philippines, I grew up in a hostile environment. And showing my feelings about it was unacceptable.

Introverted, I don’t necessarily feel shy or whatever, but I often find myself in an awkward situation, looking to escape/withdraw from other people. I find interacting with a crowd draining, especially if I have to meet them many times a week, for example.

 

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Pictured: A journal created by Mecyll. Click here to check out her Etsy shop. 

 

As a result, I turn to art. I love to learn new things I find interesting. Notebook making, for example.

Because of my inability to express my emotions socially, I express them through creativity. A creative outburst, if you will. Fourteen years ago [in the Philippines], my family struggled financially so much that we reached the point where we had to mix rice with used oil, soy sauce, or salt just to have a flavor. From breakfast, lunch, and dinner, we varied what “flavoring” would we add to the rice. It was a hard life. Buying a kilo of rice and a can of milk for the family were already big hurdles for my parents.

 

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At the time, I didn’t have enough notebooks for the next school year. As someone under constant pressure to be a straight-A student to please my parents, I had to get notebooks. Otherwise, I’d be doomed. I was 12 years old.

 

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Pictured: A journal created by Mecyll. Click here to check out her Etsy shop. 

 

At that age, I felt like I didn’t want to burden my parents anymore by asking for some pennies for a few notebooks, including the cheap ones. It felt worse when I happened to visit my cousins, who had boxes filled with nice new notebooks. I told myself, “This is how comfortable they are that they could easily buy them whenever they want to.” I know I wasn’t. My parents couldn’t afford them.

Looking at my younger sister who relied on me a lot, I chose to suppress the negative emotions built up and became stronger for her. I had to do something so we wouldn’t bother our parents—who were already in an absolute financial obstacle. So, I reached out to my aunt.

I shared my sentiments with her, who lived with us on weekdays. In turn, she shared her skills of binding with me. That was the first time I was able to bind my old notebooks, recycling my old spring notebooks for reference and binding the remaining blank pages together to make a new notebook. That was my way of life for years, until I finished high school.

 

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Pictured: A journal created by Mecyll. Click here to check out her Etsy shop. 

 

Fast forward to the present, I didn’t expect that the skills I learned from her would eventually become appreciated by others. As I explored the world of notebooks more, I discovered that I could also create travelers’ notebooks and other types of journals in my own version. Although I feel anxious every time I show them online through Etsy and Facebook groups, they applaud each piece I make, which is unexpected for me.

 

Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: Being different is great when you fully accept it in your heart. Of course, you long for social interaction and want to belong to a group of people; however, if it would compromise your character, your true self, for the sake of it, it’s not good.

I learned it the hard way. I had a lot of excuses to deny who I truly am, which lead to my inner demise. Even at present, I am in constant agony in every aspect of my life because of trying to be someone others want me to be. I beat myself spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally just to get out of the black hole inside me.

These are outcomes of trying so hard to make an identity that society finds acceptable. Rather than embracing myself, I chose otherwise, which was wrong. When you feel different, keep in mind that your uniqueness is special. From there, you can express yourself in art uniquely as well. In a way that is only you.

 

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Instead of loathing yourself for being so different—even in your marriage—show how unique you are in your own way. So as a word of advice, it’s best to embrace who you really are rather than trying to change yourself for the sake of satisfying the crave of social life. Be the real you.

 

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Pictured: A journal created by Mecyll. Click here to check out her Etsy shop. 

 

Many people praise my notebooks because they’ve never seen anything like them before. Some are willing to pay the high price to get them. Again, this business is an outcome of reflecting on the worst circumstance of my life in a deeper way. In my early years, I could have played a lot with other kids and enjoyed life in my teens. I didn’t. I wasn’t able to do it as part of a sacrifice to be the overachiever of the family. But look where it has brought me.

The pain got me here. The pain of economic distress and the pain of being unable to connect with other people easily brought me to where I am now.

 

Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: I grew up in an Asian family, so I have a different view of how feminism is for me. So, I am not sure how this works for Western culture or for others in other parts of the world who might be reading this blog.

Where I grew up in a part of the Philippines, we have this stigma in which women aren’t able to express themselves completely. Our country might be rapidly progressing; however, not so much for our culture. Even in our own homes, the issue of inequality among women exists today.

I remember my mother wasn’t able to have a career or do things she enjoyed when she was younger because my father prevented it. She had to be a mother, not a single woman. There were expectations that she could no longer do the same things she used to enjoy because she had to take on the new role marriage cast upon her.

Where I grew up, only the men had the right to show how angry they would get or how pissed they were that they could lash out without warning. There, only the men have the right to do whatever they want. A woman, on the other hand, has to keep her emotional turmoil to herself and resolve it on her own. I’ve seen my mother and my aunt (who taught me binding) on the verge of a breakdown many times, but they managed to keep going with suppressed emotional turmoil. While doing so, they had to do their roles our society had assigned to them.

I guess we’re all familiar with a high percentage of women suffering from different eating disorders, self-harm, and other destructive ways than men. Why am I so familiar with it? You might be asking. This is because I, too, am suffering from these. For more than 10 years, I suffer from an eating disorder and have problems with my emotional regulation. By acknowledging suppression, it became a way to become stronger.

 

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For me, women have to urge themselves to stand for what they think is right for themselves. It doesn’t matter if you’re single or married or widowed. We can’t just fight our emotional battles alone and in a dangerous way. We’ve got to love ourselves as much as we can and be equal with men in enjoying what we want to enjoy. In my case, it’s my notebook-making that saved me. Otherwise, I would have succumbed to deeper negativity and worthless life. A life without direction.
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Disregard what other people say. As my sister told me this morning, “Keep yourself first.” I guess this is what feminism is all about. It’s not about the gender, it’s about the message we’ve got to share to the world.

 

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Pictured: A journal created by Mecyll. Click here to check out her Etsy shop. 

 

I’d love to connect with you! 

 

 

Thoughts, questions, or comments?

Comment below! 🙂

Woman Wednesday: Jessica L.

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.         


Q and A with Jessica L., Beijing, China

“When you start to doubt yourself is when you will fail. Follow your heart and believe in yourself and your calling–wherever or whatever that may be–one hundred percent.” 

 

 Q: What are you passionate about?

A: What I am most passionate about is helping people, animals, and the planet. I feel like legacy is important and leaving a positive impact on the world will make my life both meaningful and rewarding. When I can, I volunteer in doing animal rescue missions. When I have money, I donate to good causes. In my professional life, I spent most of my twenties having fun, but now I have started my own business.

With an MBA in international business and marketing, I have decided to use the skills I have to help people at a grassroots level. My business is focused on helping small service businesses find more customers through online marketing, as well as individuals who work for themselves forge important networking connections and find business opportunities through LinkedIn. In this way, I am able to see small businesses with potential grow and help those with genuine services to offer to realize their business goals.

 

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Pictured: Jessica reporting on elephant rescue sanctuaries in southern China’s Yunnan Province in February 2019.

 

Q: What were your younger years like?

A: For the last nine years, I have been living in China. After graduating from Purdue University, I was lost about what I wanted to do with my life. A friend offered me a teaching job in rural China for a year and I accepted. There, I found I enjoyed working with local orphanages and found so many wonderful new friends as well as business opportunities. I hosted and helped produce a TV show for two years called Joy in China, which aired on ICN TV stations in the USA and Canada. I soon became a marketing manager for the Chinese market for a winery in California. Finally, I found an opportunity to work with China Radio International in Beijing as their social media marketing consultant as well as a part-time host. There I learned the skills I would need to start my own business. While working with large companies I didn’t always feel I was using my skills for good. Further, I hoped to help my own life by finding a business that could benefit others while also giving me a degree of independence in my life. Now, I am able to conduct business on my laptop from anywhere while also seeing the results of how online marketing can transform a small business.

 

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While in China, I learned to never judge a person when you first meet them. It’s easy to say but often hard to implement in our own lives. Living in China gave me the chance to be the person who lives on the outside, who is judged immediately upon entering a room. This gave me the opportunity to really learn what that feels like and do my best to never do that to others.

In China, I found many Americans sometimes feel entitled depending on the situation. I learned to let go of my entitlement and go with the flow, so-to-speak. For example, when spending a holiday with Chinese friends, there is always that inevitable moment when plans change. All of the Chinese friends you’re traveling with will have changed the plans in Chinese and forgot to translate this to their “foreign friends” (as we are often called). When suddenly the Americans in the group find out something has drastically changed, they have one of two options. Get angry because something important was not translated, or be humble and realize you are a guest in a country where you do not speak the language and be understanding of the cultural differences and language barriers.

 

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For over three years, Jessica was host of a television show that aired in the USA and Canada on ICN TV called “Joy in China” that introduced viewers to tourist areas in China that are off the usual beaten path. 

 

Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: Everyone I talk to is usually surprised I moved to China. Surprised I started my own business. Surprised at many things in my life. If there is anything I have learned, it is to not let fear dictate the paths you take on your life’s journey and to always believe in what you are doing one hundred percent. When you start to doubt yourself is when you will fail. Follow your heart and believe in yourself and your calling–wherever or whatever that may be–one hundred percent. 

 

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Pictured: Jessica interviewing Peyton Manning, former quarterback for the Colts NFL team in Beijing, China, 2017. Peyton Manning was there to promote American football in China.

 

Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: I would never declare myself a feminist, despite sometimes living the life of one. To me, feminism has been associated with strong, forceful, and sometimes angry women that are too often punished for being assertive. Instead, I firmly believe in advocating equality between men and women, especially in the workplace, while also remembering that preserving harmony is an important persuasion technique. Too often I have seen others assert their opinions so forcefully it puts others off. I believe living through actions, as a strong woman with her own business, will help others see how important it is to take women seriously. Step by step, I believe women through their strength and actions will further advance the idea of equality for both genders in the workplace. 

 

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Jessica worked as both a reporter and social media marketing manager for various Chinese media outlets for over three years.

 

I’d love to connect with you! 

Jessica Luo Digital was established in July 2019 to help small service businesses and freelances expand their online presence to find leads and new customers. For more information, please visit www.jessicaluodigital.com.

 

Thoughts, questions, or comments?

Comment below! 🙂