• The Voice Behind The Pen

Updated: Jul 3, 2019

Over the course of 2 weeks I read a newspaper article and a Facebook post where 2 different people were referring to someone's daughter as "trouble" and neither of the comments sat right with me. In fact, they bother me.

The newspaper article was about a local Marine who was the first female Marine to graduate from an extremely difficult program. I saw the headline and shared the story to my timeline before I even read the article. And just as I expected, the article was incredible. Her story was so motivating to me. One part, however, stood out to me and as much as I tried to ignore it, it bothered me. Her father was mentioned in the article and he said some wonderful things but one comment he made lingered in the back of my mind. He said his daughter is "very tough and very beautiful--a father's worst nightmare!"

I'm sure many people will read over that without thinking twice. I actually read over sentences like that many times in the past and didn't think much about it. But as this topic was brought to my attention in some of the classes I took in college during my time earning my minor in Women's and Gender Studies, I can't ignore comments like this anymore. It is confusing to young women to hear people saying that their beauty or talents cause trouble.

The second time I heard this type of remark in the past 2 weeks was a comment left on a Facebook post. A father posted a picture of his daughter with the caption mentioning how quickly she is growing up. The first comment on the post said, "She's SO fabulous and you're in so much trouble."

I have said this 100 times and I will continue to say it forever: Language is SO important. As a little girl, I remember my dad talking to a neighbor who was walking. I was nearby shooting hoops in our driveway and I remember hearing him ask my dad how old I was and then saying, "oh, she's gonna be trouble for you!" I remember feeling uncomfortable hearing that, but didn't even exactly understand what he was referring to.

Why? Why are women in SO much trouble for growing up? Why are women in trouble for being tough? Why are women in trouble for being beautiful? I never once heard someone refer to one of my brothers as "trouble" because they were aging. In fact, I never once heard someone look at a male and tell their parent that they are in trouble because of the way they look or their strength. In fact it has always been the exact opposite. They are encouraged and admired for these traits.

The way someone looks is "scary" because of the way others are reacting to it. Is this because men ARE the trouble that adults are referring to? If so, instead of instilling fear in women, why don't we starting teaching men respect? Using language like this teaches girls that their existence causes trouble and it teaches boys that their existence defines trouble. Are people referring to your daughter's independence as scary because they are afraid of how men will react to her independence? Do we realize what we are teaching young women AND men by referring to young girls as trouble? You are saying that women need to be ashamed or fearful of their talents and boys? Well they'll just be boys, right?

People will shrug this off as being sensitive and that these are just words but words create society. What we read, see, and experience create a culture. This is why words are so valuable. We can change the world to be more mindful if we can craft our language differently. We shouldn't be normalizing shaming women. Stop teaching women to box themselves up into a safe space. This language teaches women to be quiet and behave in the corner while men flourish. We need to teach women to take risks, open businesses, run for that political position that means something to them.

I often hear men say that they don't understand why women have such low self-esteems and lack of confidence. THIS is why. Dialogue like this teaches girls from a young age that they need to choose the "safe" options.

Dads: your daughters don't need protected as much as you think they do, they need you to lift them up and set them free. Teach them to use their voice to change the world, not to shut their mouth and let the world bury them. We can't change what has happened in the past but we can learn from it and make every generation better than the last.

Start small. Think about the things that come out of your mouth. Towards men or women. Really think about what you're saying. It's never too late to be better and that's the gift of life.

- j

  • The Voice Behind The Pen

Updated: Jun 21, 2019

Last night I had the opportunity to check something off of my list that I wanted to try for a long time--A podcast feature! I love human connection and speaking (I mean I DO have a Communication Studies Degree) so this was something I had a lot of interest in.

Stephany Oades is the owner of Pastel Dreams Boutique and Podcast. She found me on Instagram and asked if I wanted to appear in her next podcast episode! Stephany is from Corona, California. She started her podcast so that she could support other female entrepreneurs, like herself.

Boutiques are becoming very popular but Stephany's acquires something different from any other Boutique I have ever shopped at. Stephany was diagnosed with Huntington's Disease. Her boutique, Pastel Dreams, gives a portion of the proceeds to the research of HD as there is currently no cure. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Huntington's Disease is a neurological, hereditary disease. HD has physical, emotional, behavioral, and cognitive effects.

I admire Stephany so much for not only being proactive in helping to find a cure for HD, but also for not allowing this to be a roadblock in her life. I mean look at her! She started her own business that benefits research for HD, She has a successful podcast that acts as a support system for other women, and she is one of the most positive people that I have ever spoke to. I think this is an incredible reminder for everyone to chase your dreams and to stop making excuses. Show up for your life! During our podcast episode we talk about how there will never be a perfect time for anything. You have to get out there and make things happen.

I hope you will go and listen to our episode, leave a review if you like it, and subscribe to Stephany's podcast to hear about all of the incredible journeys other women are navigating.

- j

  • The Voice Behind The Pen

Updated: Mar 8, 2018

Here I am again! Another blog! This time my blog posts will focus on my journey as a writer, and now, published author. I always knew I loved writing, but what I didn't know is how much I would love sharing my writing. In fact, I can't believe I love sharing my work, because it used to be a fear of mine. I remember doing peer editing in middle school and I would worry about who would end up with my work. Would they judge me? Would they make fun of me? Nothing felt more vulnerable than the nakedness of my thoughts in the hands of another person who could then judge it, and worse, judge me.

In college, one of my favorite professors, Dr. Clemens, helped me to conduct an independet study on women in the media. I kept a blog discussing the content she gave us to read and watch. Sharing that first blog post made me nervous. Sharing that same blog post to Facebook made me even more nervous. But I realized that in order to grow, I needed to learn to lean into discomfort, because when you do things that make you uncomfortable, that is when you experience the most growth within yourself. Yes, there will be times when someone will disagree with what you write or believe in. Yes, there will be people who judge you or hate what you create. Those same people are the ones who will make you better. And while those people are sitting there using their time to judge your work, you are creating more. I think this speaks for itself.

I love the writing part of this process. I'm teaching myself to love everything else that comes along with that. The joy on the children's faces when I share my story with them is priceless. It makes everything worth it. It makes working 10-12 hour days worth it. It makes investing money into my books worth it. It makes all the parts about this process that I don't love, worth it. It humbles me and reminds me of why I chose to do this in the first place.

I'm only human, just like everyone else, and I'm trying to be the best version of myself that I can be. That is one of the reasons why I want to share my journey with others. Today with social media and the internet, things tend to look too good to be true. And like my dad always told me, if something seems too good to be be true, it probably is. All of the airbrushing, perfect work ethics, and material possessions showcased online, tend to make others feel unsuccessful and unworthy. This, again, is why I think it is important to share my journey. It has been bumpy, frustrating, and exhausting at times. I don't love it any less because of this, but it is important for me to be transparent in a world that wants to appear effortlessly, effortless. There was years worth of effort involved with my process and it still isn't perfect (it never will be) and that is okay.

The things that you think are important, are. You should embrace them and push yourself to do those things, everyday. Whether its gardening, painting, fitness, creating music, etc.--you should make the time to do it. Time stops for no one, but it's never to late to be brand new. As Pam from The Office said, "There is a lot of beauty in ordinary things, isn't that the point?".

I hope you enjoy following my imperfect journey!

- j

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