2018, thank you.

Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve and as I sit in bed on this Sunday evening, cramping and eating (true story), I’m hit with nostalgia.

2018, I’ve lost a lot but I’ve also gained so much.

I didn’t want to see what you had in store for me and honestly thought this year would be trash. In January, my best friend since I was a child decided to stop being my friend. After everything we went through, he decided on love and I’m okay with that. I wish him well, but he’s gone to me, I have to move on.

That feeling of losing a friend brought out a lot of hurt and pain from the past and my trust issues with people slowly crept back into my mind again. I’ve always wanted friends, especially a sisterhood that would empower one another and this time around, I got extremely lucky to be surrounded by wonderful, beautiful women; Rei, Tejal, Elvia, MJ, Shae, Baylee, Alexandria, Larissa, Alexis, Erica, Crystal, Ashley, Sharan, Swati, MahJ, Emily, ; women that believe in ME and my craft, and so many more beautiful souls on my Instagram. I never knew how powerful these women could help heal my soul in a way I thought couldn’t happen. I’m truly grateful and changed by the kindness I have received from all of them and on Instagram too.

I have been blessed to be a part of so many amazing opportunities this year, the Goddess event, getting to write my mental illness story on Trust me, I get it, being on a local Jersey City blog called Growing in Jersey City for International Women’s Day ,working with beautiful brands like, Wunder Body and of course AMERICAN EAGLE! I want to say that each opportunity is NEVER too small to me. When someone comes to me because they want me to be a part of their wonderful change in the world, I always give my 100% heart and mind because I know how hard it is out here to be a small brand and make a change. But WE ARE changing the future and I cannot wait for all the new opportunities to make this world more beautiful in 2019!

In the end of February, I finally decided to create my photography LLC. I felt that it was truly time to invest in myself the way so many others believe and support me. I realize as this year is coming to an end, that believing in yourself and what you are meant to do is one of the hardest journeys of self love. People will ALWAYS try to bring you down or make you feel like your dreams are not possible but they ARE! I still kick myself to this day because if I had the courage and strength to believe in my photography, I would have created this sooner.But that’s the funny thing about life, everything happens when it’s meant to be. God’s timing for us will always out-weight what we believe is the right time and I am finally trusting this process. Shout out to Francisco Hernandez , Jessica Kobeissi, Photo me Ike, Manny Ortiz, Tony and Chelsea Northup, K Visionary for being the inspirations I need!

In July, the week of my 27th birthday, Brian and I got a call about an apartment space in Downtown Jersey City and we only had a few hours to decide what we we’re going to do. You guys know that I have anxiety and deciding things so quickly and being such a huge change, instilled so much fear into me. I worried that we couldn’t do it on our own or that it would ruin our relationship but I took a leap of faith with Brian holding my hand, our families behind us rooting us on and God telling me that “it’s all going to be okay” and we became apartment owners. It was hard in the beginning, I cried a lot because family is so important to me and I really loved being surrounded by Brian’s family everyday but I knew that it was time for us to start our own journey and of course, we’re like 10 minutes away from both of our families (yes, I’m a CANCER!)

In September I got extremely sick with a middle ear infection that caused me to lose some of my hearing, a respiratory sinus infection and bronchitis. For a whole month I was stuck to a bed, unable to breathe and afraid to sleep because I thought I’d suffocate in my sleep and never wake up. I also was unable to hear and when one of your senses are compromised, the world seems so lonely. It felt really lonely but I promised myself that I’d get better because I had so much more to do in this world and I did.

At the end of November, something traumatic happened and I had to take a week away from the world, to hide and try to recollect myself. It brought back a lot of anxieties within me that I thought I had overcome but were only push in the back of my mind. As I write this, I’m looking at my vision board of 2019 and have promised myself that I will see a therapist and heal again. Healing isn’t linear and it isn’t beautiful either, it’s ugly and probably the hardest thing to do but I am ready.

There was so much more that happened but I’d be here writing a novel and I’m sure with this generations mindset, half of you haven’t even made it this far, haha but I digress. I’m so appreciative to be able to still be here despite all that life throws at me and I know my Grandpa is watching over me and protecting me because it’s not my time yet. This world still has so much to learn about empathy and mental health awareness and I’m going to be the one to stand tall and make that change. It’s not easy and just like those days I had in 2018 where everything felt wrong, I know I will find the strength to keep moving forward.

One last thing before I go, I want to say thank you to Brian for being my soulmate. He has taught me patience, how to be grounded and how to love when I was afraid. God knew we needed someone like you in the world to remind us of how beautiful it can be. And to my family, friends and my pups, thank you for loving me for who I am, growing with me and seeing the beauty and pain in this world. I love you all so dearly and I cannot wait for 2019 with you all.

Until then, xoxo

Jacklyn