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

Where I'm at.

I haven't written a blog post in over three months. Writing isn't my forte so I try to stay away from it as much as possible. But one thing that therapists throughout my life have told me, is to write. Write how I'm feeling or what I wish I was feeling. Write about my struggles or what my favorite book at the moment is ( pst. it's "Blackfish City" by Sam J. Miller). 

I guess I haven't blogged as much as I should have because my thoughts are always sporadic and I know people can be extremely cruel and judgmental. I also know that there are far more exciting bloggers than myself out there who I'm sure you'd rather be reading. That's okay, we can't be good at everything, so please my generation, stop trying. You're making those of us who want to focus on one passion, look bad, like we're lazy!

Back to the point of this, I suppose this blog post will let you guys know where I'm at, mentally and emotionally. 

Here it goes.

I've been feeling extremely "numb" (for a lack of a better term) lately and I think I know why but maybe I truly don't. You know that saying, "love isn't everything", well I've tried to believe in it as much as possible. Despite the older Jacklyn being a cranky person, angry at the world because of her mental illness, she still believed in love being the saving grace. 

And I think I'm at a point where I don't know if that's true anymore. It's not just romantic love, it's all types of love that I'm starting to question. Why is it that all of our lives we are fed this ideology that love conquers all? I'm sorry to burst your romantic hearts but it takes more than love to be happy. 

After the unfortunate news of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, people wanted to start taking about suicide. They wanted to show people the signs to "look" out for and let them know they are loved. I have done this as well and I know how important it is but it's also extremely surface level. LOVE isn't everything and if it were, don't you think celebrities like Chester Bennington or Robin Williams would still be here? These celebrities have "all" the love we "wish" to have, the fame, the money, the "support" and yet they are still hurting. They are still lost and afraid because they are HUMAN. 

Reading the reports and even hearing from friends and family, a lot of people consider those who die by suicide, selfish. I'm sure this has to do with certain people's religious beliefs and to each their own but you cannot understand why someone felt that life was so unbearable and dark, that they decided to leave, unless you actually ask them. Suicide is NOT the easy way out, it takes a level of pain that most do not understand because they see some glimmer in hope, even in their darkest moments. Those who die by suicide don't see any hope and they try but it isn't as simple as seeing a therapist or taking medication. You wouldn't tell someone who has cancer that they didn't try hard because their bodies failed. With people who usually die by suicide, their brains fail them; look up information on serotonin and the neurotransmitters that give us our moods and feelings. I'm not a doctor and I know doctor jargon can be difficult to understand but research for yourself. 

Anyhoo, I digress; I'm sure I'm "numb" because I'm starting to see that love isn't the saving grace that I thought it could be. You could be the most loved person in this world and still feel depressed, still feel lost and afraid. Love isn't that knight and shining amour we see in the movies that is usually depicted by a gorgeous man who comes into to your life and takes all of your worries away. What truly is the saving grace is taking care of yourself and I don't mean self care Sundays, though I do love a good bath with some Lush products and a book in my hand, I mean taking care of your thoughts, of your health. Being accountable for the human being that you are. Everything in this life is cause and effect and what you do will determine how you feel.

Take me for example, I used to have an extremely negative view on life, don't get me wrong I can still feel that way a lot but it took me falling into depression and having dangerous anxiety to see that something was wrong. I had to rewire my whole mind and how it felt about people, feelings and how it felt about myself. I'm not saying that all you need to do is look in the mirror and evaluate yourself and bam you're all better, I'm saying that you need to pay attention to all that you are and get to know yourself, even the "bad" parts. 

I can't talk for anyone else but myself and my own experiences but figuring out what works for you and what doesn't, is important. I don't think love is everything because I see the pain it takes to keep surviving with a mental illness. I see the dedication it takes to take care of ones body, even when you hate it. I see the anger of wishing to be neuro-typical and not have to work so hard at being here. 

I know a lot of people will consider that self love and I guess in a general sense it can be but to me, it's more and I think categorizing it as just self-love, is also dangerous. It takes away the power of waking up every morning and fighting the dark thoughts that lay within one's head. That's not love that's strength, that's POWER! 

It's not a bad thing to realize love isn't everything but it is a shock and one that is making me question everything. Like why don't people like pickles and when will Kingdom Hearts III come out. I kid but really, I'm "numb" because now I have to understand what this body truly needs, what she has to work hard for. It's not just love because I love my body and my mind and all that I am and I know I am loved too, but it's this quiet understanding of "this is who I am, I either keep fighting to try to fit societies standards and get lost in my depression again or I make my own damn path and do what I need to do to be happy." 

I wanted to end this by saying that you could have it all and not have anything. Or you could have nothing and have everything. When we die, we don't leave with our Mac books and Instagram accounts, unfortunately for me there will be no Starbucks for me wherever I go, so I need to focus on within. That can start with simple tasks as writing how you're feeling, taking photographs, even getting up in the morning and brushing your teeth. Everything should be celebrated because being alive is our gift. That beating of our heart is not a ticking time clock, it's a reminder of the change we can make. 

I love you all and not just love, love. I truly believe in you all and if you need a smack of hope and realization that life can suck but it can also be beautiful, well I'm here. 

Until then,

Xoxo Jacklyn