Woman Wednesday: Jessica M.

*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 M., Baltimore, Maryland

“There will be messy days, 2-steps-backward days, and you’re-rocking-it days, but as long as you keep showing up to your life, it’s progress.”

 

 Q: Tell us about you! 

A: I’m a full-time working mom of an active, fun-loving 7-year-old, and I’m still trying to figure out how to balance all the moving parts. I work as an administrator for Atwater’s in Baltimore. I never expected to find myself in a field of finance because my brain runs toward creativity, but Atwater’s is an amazing company! The effort is worth it because I fully support their brand and values of bringing wholesome food to your table. Check them out, seriously!

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I’m still in a place of discovering my passions and what lights my fire. I’ve always struggled with figuring out who I want to be, but most recently, my creative spark has gravitated toward disrupting photography. It’s become a tool on my journey through healing. Mostly what I create, from poetry to photography, has been for me and a select few, but I hope to one day take it a step further and share my truth to the world through an art series.

 

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: My younger years were a little bit challenging but happy because I was surrounded by a loving family. When I was two, my parents discovered that I have severe bilateral hearing loss. I was immediately fitted with hearing aids and started speech therapy. One thing that many people don’t realize is that I don’t know sign language. Many people assume that I should know it. A lot of my understanding of speech comes from lip reading. Reading lips helps fill in the gaps of what I hear, distinguishing specific letters and sounds.

 

 

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Those working with me (as a very young child) thought I belonged in a school for the deaf like anyone else with a hearing loss, but my parents felt I shouldn’t be limited by my disability, so in 2nd grade, they started me in a mainstream private elementary school. Most teachers were extremely supportive throughout my school years, from taking the time to make sure I was following along okay in class to ensuring I had the best seat to see them. I almost hit a roadblock when I was accepted into a private high school because once they knew I was hearing impaired, they didn’t think I would be a good fit due to a bad experience with a previous hearing-impaired student. My parents, tutor, and I went to the school and fought for my right to be there because I shouldn’t be judged based on the actions of another.

 

I admit that I spent a lot of years embarrassed by my disability and have actively tried to hide it, feeling like I didn’t fit in. But as I get older, I’m learning it’s not a weakness. My mother always reminds me of the strength I’ve had in overcoming it by mainstreaming into an educational world that did not cater to my disability. When my parents started this path with me, there wasn’t a lot of education and understanding out there for hearing loss. My parents have always been my biggest supporters and advocates, and I am truly grateful that they believed in me.

 

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

A: Three years ago, I lost my Dad to cancer and that has been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever been through. He was gone 3 months after his diagnosis. My family and I barely had time to process one piece of information before being hit with something new. It rocked my world losing someone so close to me. It shaped the way I experience health anxiety and dropped me into depression. Each experience that struck after the loss of my Dad eventually set me on the path of taking care of my mental health. That has been my biggest goal this year by starting counseling and learning the tools to cope with my anxiety and depression.

 

 

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Some of the most valuable things I have learned are that talking about your pain instead of bottling it up truly helps, and healing is not a straight, upward line. There will be messy days, 2-steps-backward days, and you’re-rocking-it days, but as long as you keep showing up to your life, it’s progress. And I don’t just mean getting out there when you feel crappy and getting it done anyway. If I feel down and need to lay in bed for a while instead, that’s progress too, because I’m allowed to put down the “happy mask” and say, “I’m not okay,” and care for my mental health first.

 

Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: In the past, I never really defined myself as a feminist, and I have thought, at times, all I was good enough for was caring for my home and family. The 1950s housewife seemed a normal thing. I personally think that if that’s what you want, then it’s okay. I wish I had the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom. But when it becomes a situation where you’re treated like that’s your only place and you’re not equal or you’re “less than” others, then it starts to get sticky. It’s all about choices and being able to have the freedom to make them without pressure, judgment, or fear.

 

When the #MeToo movement gained popularity, the education it provided made me realize certain experiences that happened to me in the past were not okay.
I’ve been in situations where I was made to feel “less than” and my consent was not given. I spent years trivializing those experiences because of a lack of resources and my own understanding.

 

 

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But the movement isn’t just for me, and I’m not the only one that needs a voice. I am married to a trans woman, which has opened my eyes to even more. Though the world seems to be becoming more accepting of the LGBTQ community, there is still a lot of shame, bullying, and stigma placed on those who feel different in their skin. There is so much ugliness in this world, near and far, that it’s heartbreaking. I try to concern myself more with the fact that EVERYONE, regardless of gender, identity, race, religion, income level, who you love, etc. are valuable and deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. I value unity and working together to make the world a place we all can thrive in.

 

 

I’d love to connect with you! 

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jnmeola

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/blackbird_f1y

 

 

Thoughts, questions, or comments?

Comment below! 🙂

Woman Wednesday: Felissa

*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 Felissa, Atlanta, Georgia  

“People will judge you, try to change you, try to break you, and even try to stop you. But that is all in the process of getting to the top!” 

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I wanted to have a career where I could give back to people in a real impactful way. I had always wanted to help others and make a difference. Although teaching in the classroom was something I loved, I never felt like I could create the life I desired. Six years ago, I was a tired, overweight mom of two with no energy. 

 

I was always looking and doing the “next best diet” and as everyone knows, diets are not sustainable for life.  I finally decided it was time to educate myself on nutrition and health so I could create a healthy lifestyle for myself and my family. After losing 40 pounds and stopping being such a skeptic, I started sharing my success story with others. I partnered with a health and wellness company and a nutritionist and created a career that would inspire and empower people to live their best life through a journey of nutrition, wellness, and creating a healthy mind and body. 

 

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I was only looking to drop a few pounds and get my energy back, and what I found was a community of people with a vision that empowers others to do more than they thought they were capable of doing. As I continued to share my story: of the nutrition and our life-changing opportunity, to my surprise, by the end of that year, I surpassed my teaching income and decided to jump in with both feet (well, sort of). 

 

Actually, when I let go of worrying about what other people thought of me, and was open to new opportunities and possibilities, and that was when my life changed. I cared too much about what other people thought of me, and it prevented me from doing the things I wanted to do or being who I truly was. This has given me a sense of achievement, purpose, and community and a profession where I can be my own BOSS. Every day, I have the opportunity to help people change their quality of life both physically and financially. That feels pretty amazing.   

 

Q: What were your younger years like?

I had a wonderful childhood and was raised in a very loving home in Savannah, GA.  My parents always supported me and wanted me to enjoy every minute of life.  I graduated from the University of Georgia, where I received a bachelor’s degree in Audiology and Speech Pathology and then continued to Georgia State University, where I received my master’s degree in the Education of Deaf and Hard of Hearing.  I then taught grades kindergarten through fifth grade over the next 12 years.  

 

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During the last few years I was teaching, I began to realize I wanted more than just living for weekends and holidays. I found a way to plan my work and passion to help others around my life verses planning my life around my work—working days and hours that were best for me, with no cap on the amount of income I could earn. 

 

 

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

A: I learned very quickly that big dreams don’t come easily. People will judge you, try to change you, try to break you, and even try to stop you. But that is all in the process of getting to the top! Learning to get comfortable with the uncomfortable was an important lesson for me and not easy. All my life, I cared what others thought of me. Life is better when you’re not so concerned about how other people will view you for your actions, choices, and decisions. 

 

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Sometimes you have to risk so much for a dream no one can see but you.  It became very apparent that I had to surround myself with people who supported me on my journey and would be there to lift me up when I fell (because I fell a lot). Whether it was the weight loss, the career change, or my new positive outlook on life, I had to stop feeling guilty about the decisions I made. I have had many challenges along the way. I could not make excuses anymore. It was time for results, and you can’t have both! If you take anything away from my story, I hope you will learn to be authentically, unapologetically you because it is your ultimate freedom and where joy is found.

 

 

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Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: Feminism advocates for social, political, and economic equality for men and women. 

 

 

Connect with me! I’d love to chat with you! 

Felissa Covin
Make the Shift
Healthy Mind and Body

 

Thoughts, questions, or comments?

Comment below! 🙂

Woman Wednesday: Author, Dee J. Stone

*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 Author, Dee J. Stone 

“Don’t be afraid to put your work out there. It’s very daunting at first, but it’s so rewarding when people read your book and tell you how much they love it. What makes us feel good is when we get a message from a reader telling us how she had a pretty hard day and our book made her feel better.”

 

Q: Who are you?

A: We are Dee J. Stone, a pseudonym for two sisters who write and publish young adult and adult novels on Amazon. We’ve been doing this for over five years. Here is our Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Dee-J.-Stone/e/B00BA4JK8S/ref=series_rw_dp_un.

 

Q: What got you interested in writing?

A: We were always creating stories since we were little kids, although we didn’t know that at the time. As young kids, we would sit with our dolls and play for hours, creating a story and running with it. When we were a little older, around middle school, we would draw comics and create stories that way. But we didn’t actually start writing until high school. We started off writing plays before moving onto novels.

 

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Pictured: Dee J. Stone’s most popular novel, “Merman’s Kiss.” Available for Kindle or paperback, click here. 

 

Q: Why did you choose self-publishing and can you explain it?

A: Self-publishing is when you write and publish a book all on your own, without reaching out to an agent and/or publisher. A self-published author has to handle every aspect of the publishing process including providing a good cover that would catch readers’ attention, editing, proofreading, and marketing. Many authors hire other people to take care of the cover and editing, though marketing is usually on their shoulders. The reason we chose the self-publishing route was that we like the freedom to make our own choices when it comes to our books.

 

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Pictured: Dee J. Stone’s novel, “Cruiser.” Available for Kindle or paperback, click here. 

 

Q: Can you tell us about some of the books you have published? 

A: Sure! Our most popular books are a part of a paranormal romance series called “Merman’s Kiss.” Here is the link to the series: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0772WT36Q/ref=series_rw_dp_sw. It follows the story of Cassie Price, who stumbles across a merman that has washed up on shore. The two of them become close and eventually fall in love.

Another series we have is a superhero series called “Keepers of Justice.” It’s about a school for kids with powers. Here is the link to the series: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N0AO6N5/ref=series_rw_dp_sw. We also have a fairy-tale retelling series: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07L6K6VT1/ref=series_rw_dp_sw. We write in many genres, such as paranormal, fantasy, contemporary, and romance.

 

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Pictured: Book one of the series, “Keepers of Justice.” Available for Kindle or paperback, click here. 

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

A: Don’t be afraid to put your work out there. It’s very daunting at first, but it’s so rewarding when people read your book and tell you how much they love it. What makes us feel good is when we get a message from a reader telling us how she had a pretty hard day and our book made her feel better. Another piece of advice would be to make sure you give your book to someone to read before publishing it. Someone who is not a family member or friend and can give you honest feedback. A writer constantly needs to learn from her mistakes. And another piece of advice? Try not to take bad reviews too seriously. Every book gets them, and they hurt really badly, but try to focus on the good reviews and continue writing.

 

 

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Pictured: Dee J. Stone’s “Falling for the Genie,” available via Kindle or paperback, click here. 

 

Q: Is there anything valuable you have learned throughout the writing/publishing process?

A: Stay true to who you are and what you believe in. Many writers feel like they need to change themselves in order to fit in and sell more books. If you want to sell, you may need to make some changes to your writing, but you shouldn’t have to compromise your beliefs. Readers will love your story if you write it well and touch their hearts.

 

Q: What would you like others to learn from your stories?

A: We believe in writing characters who respect one another. When we write romance novels, we try to portray sweet and kind guys/men who treat women with the utmost respect. There are so many books out there that have male characters who don’t treat their women very kindly, and that is not something we believe in. Hopefully, readers will walk away from our stories with a better understanding of how people should treat one another.

 

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Pictured: “Chasing Sam,” written by Dee J. Stone, available via Kindle or paperback, click here. 

 

Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: Expanding on the previous question, we believe that feminism is about people respecting one another. No two people are created the same, and there will always be a difference of opinion or arguments. It’s how a person treats other people that matters. Feminism is not only about women feeling equal to men, but showing men how to treat women, and how women should treat one another as well.

 

As the golden rule goes, “Treat others the way you want to be treated.”

 

 

Dee J. Stone & My Lilianas would love to hear from you! Comment below! 

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Woman Wednesday: Megan

*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 Megan, Baltimore, Maryland

“The future. Earth’s governments have fallen, succeeded by a unified military order. An elite group of soldiers, the Sentinels, protect Cotarion from marauders and neighbors alike. Within, shadowy forces at the highest levels conspire for the power they need to enact a mysterious agenda.

But now, something has changed.

Men and women have emerged, displaying superhuman abilities powerful enough to threaten the established order, and the High General commands Sentinel Cameron Kardell to track a superhuman gone rogue. A superhuman who holds the key to these powers’ origin. Who happens to be Kardell’s best friend. Who will reveal the truth of Cameron’s own origins.

The Altered now wake.” –Megan Morgan, Author of “The Altered Wake”

 

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: Stories are definitely my passion! I love reading them, writing them, and listening to them. I love figuring out what makes a story work and picking apart why some stories don’t work. I love discussing what stories mean to people. They’re everywhere, and we are all telling ourselves stories all the time about who we are and how we impact the world. They’re almost so ubiquitous that we often don’t realize just how important they are.

That impact of stories on our personal and larger social psychologies are why I’m so focused on writing stories that defy conventions. As a kid, I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy, and I loved how these kinds of stories could invert our perspective of the world. A lot of the main characters in the stories I read were male, and women usually had supporting roles. Things are better these days, but I still crave women as leading characters who drive the narrative of the stories they’re in, so that’s what I write. In fact, all of my characters defy stereotypes, or at least, that’s what I hope.
Now that my first novel, “The Altered Wake”, is out, I’m working on the second in the series, “The Altered Rise”. And like a lot of storytellers I know, I have more story ideas than I will ever have time to write!

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

A: I’ve been an army wife, and later, a single working mom to two awesome kids while writing my novels. I’ve written during ideal circumstances and completely awful circumstances. I’ve written when the words were easy and when they were hard. I’ve received heartbreaking rejection letters and even an email from a friend who was devouring my novel in a dental office. I boxed up all my manuscripts and put them on a shelf more than once. And eventually, I made the decision to get my work out into the world, even if I had to do it myself.

 
If there’s a lesson in all that, it’s that you just never stop. Surround yourself with people who believe in you. And don’t be afraid to work your butt off on what you believe in. Keep that little ember burning in the dark times, so that when there’s some kindling, it can ignite.

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I grew up in Fairmont, West Virginia, which is a really beautiful place. As a kid, I spent a lot of time catching frogs and swimming. My mom loves to read, and so she took my siblings and I to the library on the weekends. My dad was a schoolteacher, and he read us books every night before bed with the most amazing voices. I was so lucky to grow up with two parents who believed in the value of reading and who encouraged me so much as I began to write my own stories.

In junior high, I started writing longer mini-novels for my friends, and as they devoured the chapters I supplied to them, I was hooked. I could make my own narratives, worlds, and characters. Then other people would believe in them. I found that, for me, it was the best way to reach other people. And sometimes, putting words down on paper is the best way for me to understand myself.

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Q: What would you like others to learn from your story?

A: I think it’s really important to pay attention to the stories we tell ourselves and the stories we surround ourselves with. Not just books, TV shows, and movies, but the stories that are there in our minds. We all have narratives about who we are and what our value is, and we can absolutely change ourselves for the better by nudging those stories in different directions.
I had a college professor who, day one of class, talked about how we introduce ourselves to other people by telling them stories about our lives so far. It’s sort of how we package and present ourselves. I think it’s a good idea to look at those tales we’ve curated and see what they say about us, and also, to realize that the stories society tells us impact which narratives are worth keeping.

Question that!

 

Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: Feminism means (to me) that people can be who they are without shame or ridicule. To me, it means we all have opportunities to fulfill our goals. The idea is that we have an even playing field, and “feminine” qualities aren’t ridiculed, and men aren’t shamed for having complex feelings. I see it as equality.

So, feminism means that my daughter can play in the mud (or not, as she prefers), and my son can paint his nails. We can be the complex people that we are. I think that’s good for everyone.
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Here are links to my social media places and the Clickworks Press site for the book! All the links for purchasing the book are right here:
My Twitter:
And the Facebook site for the novel:

 

 

Megan & My Lilianas would love to hear from you! Comment below! 

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Woman Wednesday: Raquel

*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 Raquel, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania

“You never really know what someone is going through despite their outward appearance or your depiction of them.”

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I would say I am passionate about many issues and problems, but I am most passionate about freedom for farmed animals. I have always been a huge animal lover, and dogs have been my best friends in my life when I felt alone. I always fought hard to raise awareness for the cruel dog meat trade in Asia and never realized I was being hypocritical when it came to my diet. I became vegan once I educated myself about how these animals are abused and tormented and how selfish it is for me to decide my taste buds are worth more than an innocent being’s life. Pigs are more intelligent and just as emotional as dogs, if not more, so who am I to take their life? My passion has driven me to decide to one day have my own animal sanctuary for these innocent beings once I am successful enough in the modeling industry to support these animals.

Click here to watch a short video on the similarities between animals and people. 

 

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Pictured: Raquel modeling My Lilianas. Photography by Ollie Productions. 

 

My interests include mostly spending time with my family and dog, going on long walks, sewing, and helping others when I can.

I work as a full time model and travel, which has been amazing so far!

 

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Pictured: Raquel and her younger sisters.

 

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Pictured: Raquel modeling My Lilianas. Photography by Ollie Productions. 

 

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

A: I have learned to truly not judge someone for what I think their life seems to be. You never really know what someone is going through despite their outward appearance or your depiction of them.

 

 

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Pictured: Raquel modeling My Lilianas. Photography by Ollie Productions. 

 

Q: What were your younger years like?

A: My childhood has been something that was hard at the time, but now I am so glad that I went through these things to build who I am today. My dad was never a great father figure, and he was not home most of the time. If he were, it was just miserable. I became an extremely anxious person which has stayed with me. In high school, I did not have many real friends, and it was really hard for me when it came to lunch time. I always sat alone or in a teacher’s room, because I hated being alone in the library or lunch room. It really killed me emotionally, at the time. My mom has always been there for me helping me everyday when I feel like everything is spiraling, and I am forever grateful for her impact and support in my life.

 

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Pictured: Raquel and her younger sisters.

 

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Pictured: Raquel modeling My Lilianas. Photography by Ollie Productions. 

 

Q: What would you like others to learn from your story?

A: I would like others to educate themselves and truly research how corrupt the meat and dairy industries are and how this hell is ruining the environment, their health, and torturing millions of animals each year. Animals are no lesser than humans and deserve to roam happily. I would also like people to take away that you never know what someone is going through.

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Pictured: Raquel modeling a faux blanket and My Lilianas. Photography by Ollie Productions. 

 

Check out Raquel on the My Lilianas Commercials:

 

 

 

Follow Raquel on Instagram! Click here.

 

Raquel & My Lilianas would love to hear from you! Comment below! 

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