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?

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Woman Wednesday: 25 Christmas Gifts That Don’t Cost a Thing

Merry Christmas to all of our readers who celebrate the wonderful holiday of Christmas! And warm wishes and Happy Holidays to our readers around the world who may or may not celebrate other holidays. In the spirit of today, December 25, Christmas, we’ve collected 25 “gifts” for you. These “gifts” are 25 life “gifts” that cannot be bought with money, and they are “gifts” mentioned by our featured women on The Woman Wednesday Blog. Enjoy! 

 

  1. Family. They might not always be there, so appreciate the time you have with them. 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.” ~Jessica M., Maryland

  2. Friends. True friends are there for your ups and downs, successes and failures. They like you for the person you are, and they cannot be bought.

  3. Love. True love is one of the most beautiful and magical aspects of life. Of course, it cannot be bought!

  4. Positive mindset. You can make today a good day or a bad day. It’s all about your mindset. “I learned very early on that I could either be a victim of circumstance or I could take those challenges and grow from them. I try really hard to be a force of positivity and a problem solver.” ~Melissa, Utah 

    “If you don’t believe in yourself first, you will fail every time. So for me, first and foremost is get your mindset right in the beginning, and set the foundations to build an amazing life for yourself and stick at it! The only way you will stick at anything is self-reliance, discipline, and self-belief.”   ~Carly, Melbourne, Australia


  5. Moral support. Whether giving moral support or receiving it, being there for someone does not cost a thing.“He was so understanding of my situation and was like the perfect puzzle piece to the kids and I.” ~Lisa, Canada 

  6. Giving back. Giving our time to others is one of the greatest gifts we have to give, whether we are making dinner with our family, visiting a grandparent or old friend, or volunteering for a good cause. 

  7. Hard work. It feels good to know hard work.“I have learned that nothing comes easy that is worthwhile, and this is where hard work and grit comes in.” ~Sarah, Washington

  8. Success. When you finally achieve what you set out to achieve, there is no other feeling like it! 

  9. Independence. “Be you, stay you, do you. There is no one like you and the moment you appreciate that about you, the rest of the world will!” ~Maria Tan, Philippines 

  10. Passion. “Passion is what makes you persevere through setbacks, unhappiness, and fear of failure to achieve your dreams. It is the core drive of your motivation.” ~Ashlee, Florida

  11. Proving haters wrong. “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!” ~Felissa, Georgia

  12. Health. We don’t have full control over our health, but what we do each day matters. If you are able to get out of bed right now, that is a gift. The doctors told me I might never walk again. When you’re faced with that kind of news, you have a choice—accept what you’re being told or try and do something about it.”  ~Kezia, England

  13. Exercise. People would pay big money to live longer. Here is one FREE way to live longer: exercise! Though it may be difficult to get started, exercise has amazing benefits! The studies don’t lie; exercise can make you live longer! So, if you are able, find something you like that gets your body moving! If you have the ability to move your body, that is a gift. 

  14. Creating. Creating something with your own hands feels amazing. Create a story, a poem, a drawing, build something. “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.” ~Dee J. Stone, Surname authors in USA

    “Whenever you feel completely disappointed, desperate, and that life is completely pointless, turn to that color or canvas, pot or music, or whatever makes you feel joy.” ~Ioana, Romania


  15. Patience. If it does not come easily to you, it can be learned.

  16. Mindfulness. “I have to take care of myself by sleeping, eating healthy, exercising, spending time with God through prayer, and meditation as well as reading my Bible. I have to be intentional about making time for myself, family and friends, as well as work.” ~Ruby B. Johnson, West Africa

  17. Curiosity. We can be curious and try new things and explore this beautiful planet.Something I’d like others to know is that whatever you want to do is possible if you really want to make it happen. I make traveling and seeing the world a priority. This isn’t to say that I spend an extreme amount of money on it either. I budget it into my expenses just like groceries. I need to see the world. And while I love my job, I always feel a constant urge to know that the world and my life is bigger than sitting at a desk or on a train. It’s always worth it, and it is totally possible!” ~Justine S., New Jersey  

  18. Knowledge. You never know what you might learn next and how it may impact the rest of your life. “I signed up for one design class and absolutely loved it! I found that I not only had a passion for interior design, but I had a God-given gift to envision a space based off my clients’ wants and needs.” ~Ariel, Texas

  19. Choice. Knowing you have choice to eat that sandwich, see that friend, to remove someone negative from your life. It’s your choice.You are amazing! Take care and love yourself. You are worth loving! You have everything you need inside of yourself. You have the cognitive power to improve your life through your thoughts and emotions. If you’re stuck in a bad relationship or situation, know you have the power to change that.” ~Lisa, Canada

    “In my point of view, during our lives, we have the chance to make positive impacts in our environment by understanding that life is full of good intent. I am passionate about people. Each of us has a story—something to tell the world. As human beings, we all deserve to be unique and to make mistakes in order to learn.” ~Idoia, Spain


  20. Forgiveness. Forgiving someone doesn’t necessarily mean letting someone who is negative back in your life. You can forgive without compromising your happiness. Forgiving someone will most likely make you happier; you can forgive this person to their face or just in your heart. 

  21. Appreciation for the good and bad. Being able to appreciate not only the good but the bad. See the bad as opportunities to make you a better person, to learn, to experience the world fully. It is all a part of the ride. “What I’ve learned in my journey is that life is a journey full of hills and valleys. I used to believe that I was a victim to life’s circumstances, but what I had to be awakened to is that I also had choices in the decisions I was making in my life.” ~Amiee, Indiana

    “I have learned to enjoy every moment. I wish I could go back to my 16-year-old self and tell her that nothing in life is as important as you think it is when you think about it. Everything in life moves on and changes, and everything is about different stages.” ~Leire, Spain


  22. Nature. “My favorite quote is ‘There’s a sunrise and sunset in every single day, and they’re absolutely free. Don’t miss any of them.'” ~Stacy, Florida

  23. Senses. The smell of roses. The feel of cotton. The sight of flowers or clouds in the sky. The touch of a hug from a loved one. The taste of pizza. We derive a lot of happiness from our senses. They compromise the human experience! Having a bad day? Go pick yourself some flowers, eat your favorite food, take a warm shower, watch the sunset, or give someone a hug! 

  24. Ability to read. When you can read, the world is at your fingertips. You can learn anything, do anything. Anything is possible. “I learn from these stories and it’s important to me. They color the dreams of my reality and future and help me find the adventure in my life. Find your life’s adventures.” ~Lachelle, California

  25. Being alive today. 

You are alive today. While you have probably heard the saying, “Life is a precious gift,” a question you must ask yourself is…

Do you live each day as if it were a gift?

It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day stresses and activities and requirements we face each day. Requirements to go to work, to feed our family, to clean our apartment or house, to pick up this, do that, cancel this, and so on. Maybe someone cut you off on the road, you got in a fight with your mother, or you got stuck in traffic for two hours. Or worse, you are drowning in debt, you lost someone near and dear to you, or you are suffering from a health condition (physical, mental, you name it). The fact is you are alive now. You may not be tomorrow. It’s simply the truth that you just don’t know what tomorrow could bring. We need to try our best to enjoy every single day that we are alive. And that may be hard sometimes, especially if you are suffering from a terminal disease in a hospital bed, or you lost someone who means the world to you, or you suffer from depression and you constantly feel it. No one lives this life without suffering, and no one makes it out alive. While we could be sad and harp on death, choose to harp on life. Because you are here now. Make choices to live your life the best way you can. Choose to see the good. Choose to see life. Choose to live it the way you want. 

At the end of the day, there is nothing greater than the gift of life. You are alive. So, what do you want to do today with your precious gift of today? Do you want to say hello to a stranger and make their day? Do you want to go for a walk outside? Do you want to bake cookies with your mom or go to lunch with dad? Do you want to catch up with a sibling or an old friend? Do you want to snuggle with your cat? Do you want to finally take the first step toward following your dreams? Do you want to tell your family how much you love them? Do you want to watch the sunset? Do you want to go try the tacos at that new Mexican restaurant that just opened? Do you want to drive or fly to a place you have never been to before? Do you want to profess your love to someone you can’t get out of your mind? Whatever it is you have always wanted to do, ask yourself, “Why not do it today?” Because today is a gift. Use it however you choose. 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! 

Wishing you health, happiness, and the power for you to create your day as you wish.

 

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Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

 

For more inspirational content and stories of women from across the world, visit The Woman Wednesday Blog.

Woman Wednesday: Erika

*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 Erika, Memphis, Tennessee 

“Your happiness, your purpose, and your success belongs to you in every aspect of your life! People will judge you, hate you, and simply write you off, all based on their feelings towards you, but their feelings or validation of you does not control your destiny!” 

 

 Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I really enjoy helping others. If I can impact and make a difference in just one person’s life, then I feel as if I am making a world of a difference! As a child, I was always the kind friend who enjoyed helping my friends out, and it drove me to want to be (and later becoming) a registered nurse! With a new sense of empowerment after releasing my first book, Not Easily Bothered: From a Vengeful Driven Divorce to a Much Happier Life. I have recently released my second book, Their Validation, Your Success Powered by Purpose! I have had others question the purpose of my writings. I’ve had strangers publicly speak negatively of me because they thought I had malicious intentions, but at the end of the day, my books were successful; thus serving their purpose to help someone learn from my experiences!

 

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I was very sheltered as a child; my parents did not allow me to venture out much, but I managed to have a few select friends that they approved. And we would spend time doing things that kids with running imaginations do! We would write out our own screenplays and act them out during playtime. I remember being the shy one, but my friends would always enjoy my ideas. I kept a journal, which allowed me to express my thoughts in writing without being judged by my parents or friends. But I never thought I would become an author sharing some of my most personable moments. I remember as a kid being taught to do the right thing and me being the one who typically did what was right versus being easily influenced by others and choosing to do what was wrong! I’ve always been a person who thought for herself!

 

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

A: Simply to believe in yourself and never allow the misconceptions that others may have of you to ruin your happiness or your success! Your happiness, your purpose, and your success belongs to you in every aspect of your life! People will judge you, hate you, and simply write you off, all based on their feelings towards you, but their feelings or validation of you does not control your destiny! Never allow someone who has absolutely nothing to do with your purpose to hinder it for you!

 

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Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: Feminism to me means that every woman is entitled to live and carry out her very own story all while not being judged for it because she is a woman! Women are powerful and deserve to be treated equally all while supporting, empowering, and uplifting one another!

 

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I’d love to connect with you! 

Click here to connect with me through my page.

 

 

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Woman Wednesday: Alison

*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 Alison W., Virginia Beach, Virginia

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” 

 

 Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I am passionate about helping women feel beautiful in their own skin. I am the owner of Wanderlust Dream Hair, and I sell hair toppers for women with thinning hair, women with hair loss due to medical conditions, and women who just want that extra volume! I have always had fine, thin hair and tried everything to make it appear thicker: hair extensions, volumizing spray, et cetera, but nothing really worked for me because traditional hair extensions do not address thinning on the top of your head. I also started medical treatment for chronic migraines that created even more hair loss, so I was motivated to find a solution. Then I discovered toppers! Toppers clip to the top of your existing hair and create the appearance of thicker, fuller hair.

 

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Body image is such a big issue for a lot of women. Most of us don’t realize that those celebrity hairstyles we covet are just wigs, toppers, or extensions. Hollywood paints a false picture of what a naturally beautiful woman looks like.

 

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: My younger years were volatile. I was born with a limb difference (Poland syndrome), which means I only have two fingers on my right hand. So, confidence was a big issue for me growing up. Add thin hair to that, and you have a recipe for a wallflower. My mom was diagnosed with brain cancer and passed away when I was 13. I remember when she brought home her first wig from the wig bank. She hated it. It was hot and because it was made for someone else, it never fit her comfortably. She was embarrassed to leave the house somedays because of how she looked. I really wish that we had known about toppers back then. I think she would have loved them. My mom is a big part of my “why” when it comes to my business.

 

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Pictured: One of Alison’s clients using her Wanderlust Dream Hair topper

 

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

A: Something valuable I learned from a young age, due to my limb difference, is that sometimes you have to find your own way. You have to figure out how to do things yourself and not try to imitate someone else’s process because it might not work for you. I think this idea is helpful in life and in business. Comparison is the thief of joy. We are resilient, and it is amazing what we can do when we let go of traditional mindsets about how to do things and figure out what works for us. I’ve also learned to laugh at myself more. I started taking improv/comedy classes a couple of years ago. Being on stage is one of the most exhilarating things I have ever done. It has also boosted my confidence in general. The first rule of improv is to make your partner look good, which means saying yes to whatever they say. So, if they tell you that you are an alien, you are an alien. I’ve learned a lot about teamwork and confidence doing improv. I highly recommend improv; it is so good for the soul.

 

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Pictured: Before and after of one of Alison’s clients using her Wanderlust Dream Hair topper. Hair topper is shown on the right. 

 

Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: Feminism is a word that has always had a bit of a negative connotation to me. I am more of an egalitarian; meaning in my marriage, we share all of the responsibilities. There is no such thing as woman’s work or man’s work. My husband is the better cook anyway! And I can lay a tile floor. I love busting through those gender expectations. I am definitely not anti-man, but I am definitely pro-woman! I think it is important for women to support other women. Yes, we have disadvantages in the workplace. Yes, we are not always treated equally. So, I think it is important to support and encourage each other as women instead of tearing each other down. We women can be super competitive, but I want to cheer on my competition. I want us all to win.

 

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I’d love to connect with you! 

 

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

Website: https://www.wanderlustdreamhair.com/shop

 

 

Thoughts, questions, or comments?

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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

 

 

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