African American Literacy and the “A.A. Community” Page

Heya,

As an African American writer I’ve realized just how much I need to portray ‘us’ as we want to be seen, need to be seen, in all of my books. I am dedicating a category to Black Authors because I want to lift up my community and support them in anyway that I can. Awareness is a great way to do so.

One of the first things I plan to highlight in this tab are black owned bookstores. It is important for black people to be given the gift of reading. Historically, it’s not something we are supposed to do. It’s a different day and age now. We have a chance to rise up and become better than we were. Catering to communities without reading and writing materials should be a priority. We should have every opportunity available to enhance our minds, souls and to educate ourselves. This isn’t something we can expect to be given to us. As current standards show, we must do it in our own communities.

That being said, we also have to use the resources given to us. Them being there for us to take is not enough! If we are given a bookstore but we never go in…how does that help us? If we are given a safe place to read and to enjoy the company of other scholars but we defile it, trash it and destroy its sanctuary…how does that inspire other would-be black business owners? Please share your thoughts on this. Comment what you think is the best way to help with literacy in the African American Community.

So keep watch of the “African American Community” page! If you want to support a black author or find a black owned bookstore follow the blog and hit this tab! I’ll be updating soon!

If you’ve read any books by black authors lately that you really enjoyed, feel free to write them in the comments below! Send me a link! Share the love! I’m always looking for great suggestions and plan to keep this tab up to date with new posts.
Happy Readdance,
Jade

Discouraging Doubts of Editing

I am a Writer…not an editor. I don’t pretend to be one. I don’t allude to being one.

I spend a lot of my time writing from the heart and getting the creative juices flowing. I’m a conversational writer and that structure doesn’t sit well with everyone. That’s fine! I’ve found my voice and I will use it. Unfortunately, that means mistakes will be made and therefore will need to be corrected.

They say to not worry about the editing or the grammar, initially.
JUST GET THE WORDS OUT! They say.

YOU CAN’T EDIT A BLANK PAGE! They yell.

See?

Yes, that’s all fine and dandy until you finally finish your WIP and you start the editing process and BAM! It’s riddled with creative run on sentences and misplaced commas.

People often think that being a writer is synonymous with having perfect grammar. It is not.

Honore De Balzac was an amazing storyteller. He was a French playwright and novelist. He spun relationships so well you thought these people were apart of your own family. As it stands, he was horrible at grammar and sentence structure. That was even after it’d been edited and translated to English.

That’s just one example.

Enter…procrastination. I finished Phoenix a few weeks ago. I wanted to give it a breather even though I knew I need to start editing and revising. I haven’t started either.

I know that apart of it is fear. As a writer who has been crafting stories since I was a young child, I always knew I would eventually publish. It was never a matter of if but when. That being said, writing a book knowing it would be published, for the entire world to see, is completely different than writing something because I’m obsessed with the story and it wouldn’t let me go.

I’ve written several books. Finished several books. However, Phoenix will be the first book, other than a previous college endeavor, that I will be officially publishing. Phoenix will be under J.B. Jemison. It will be the start of a very long and healthy career as an Author and that is daunting. Very. I can almost taste the fear and anticipate the heat of embarrassment. Not that it will happen, not that I want it to happen…that’s just what my brain does. So, my mind has translated it to heavy procrastination.

Fortunately, I am more than my fear. I am more than failure. I will succeed. The only way I can do that is to revise and edit Phoenix so it is ready to pitch. That is what I will be doing with my weekend, to start.

 

Happy Readdance,

Jade

First Rule of Book Club Is…

Heya,
I’m so excited!!! There goes that word again.

So I need more friends. More friends that read, more friends of common interests, more female friends. My guy is great but there is just something about a genuine female friend that you can call your own. Not like a pet, but something akin to family. Something stronger than family.

So obviously…I created a book club. I posted in a few of the book groups I’m apart of on Facebook and several women answered. I’m so happy. I’m going to be reading books anyway so why not make a few friends while I’m at it?

Anyway, so…ever the planner (which, I’m not really but am I about this sort of stuff? idk, IDK!), I created a google folder with documents in it for rules and guidelines and book club stuffs. I love it! So our first official meeting is in August. We used a choosing method, where it rotates every month, and the first book and Chooser have already been selected!

For our first book, we are reading Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. It sounds really interesting and is apparently very famous, but I hadn’t heard of it before now. The cover and synopsis are below.

I am adding a category to the books tab so that I can write posts about our club and all things book discussion! This will be great!

Good Readdance,
Jade

 

Little Fires Everywhere

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town–and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides.  Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.

Link to Book

Book Review: Close Contact and Close Encounter by Katherine Allred

I don’t get it. I just don’t get it.

Close Contact, the second book in the sequel, (from the info I found) came out in 2010. I don’t get why there aren’t more books in the series. It legit makes me sad.

I lost sleep over these books.

So the first book I started at 11:30pm and I was so engrossed in it. I thought I’d only read a chapter or two but then as the night grew on, I just couldn’t put it down. A few hours, and a couple of bathroom trips, later I’d finished all 360 pages of the book. It was close to 4am and I had to wake up for work at 6:10am. I was exhausted but content.

I love the main character, I love the plot, I love the romance, the science fiction, the dragon birds, everything! When I turned the last page I knew that I had to find and request the next book in the series before I’d let myself go to sleep. I requested Close Contact through the library and then I realized, it might take days to come. I couldn’t wait that long! So I found it on Overdrive and borrowed it there.

I was so tired that after I got off work I fully intended to lay my head down for just a few hours and I ended up sleeping for 11 hours straight.
Luckily, I didn’t have to wait too long. The second book came on Monday. Immediately picked up where I left off in the Ebook. I loved it as well. It didn’t come as close as Close Encounter but I loved it.
I would definitely, definitely recommend reading these books. They are great, witty, funny, interesting and with a big sprinkle of romance!

Here are the covers!

 

close encounters

The Bureau of Alien Affairs needed a special GEP agent with empathic abilities to handle their most extraordinary assignments—and a rogue geneticist saw to it that Kiera fit their specifications. But she turned out stronger, faster, smarter, and more impervious to harm than anyone anticipated. A reluctant “superhero,” Kiera wishes she were normal, but it is not to be.

On Orpheus Two, the indigenous Buri race faces extinction, a prospect the powerful Dynatec corporation welcomes and, in fact, may be actively hastening. It is Kiera’s job to protect these beautiful, exotic aliens . . . and to discover what there is on Orpheus Two that Dynatec feels is worth killing for.

But the magnetic allure of Thor, the breathtaking Buri leader, is proving a dangerous distraction. And now, to save Thor’s people, Kiera will need a power she’s never before possessed—something hidden in the unexplored recesses of her heart.

 

Close contact

A Genetically Engineered Person and self-proclaimed “party girl,” Echo Adams loves her diplomatic job entertaining alien bigwigs for the Galactic Federation. But the Bureau of Alien Affairs has discovered she’s much more than she thinks-that a rogue scientist endowed her with skills and psi abilities dwarfing those of common GEPs. And suddenly Echo’s luxury life is over, replaced with a far more dangerous one: a special agent expected to not only chase bad guys, but eliminate them.

Echo’s hates being stuck on Madrea-a planet of technophobes off limits to Federation visitors-hunting for a stolen quartz crystal with a powerful alien lifeform embedded inside. She despises the Bureau’s restrictive rules-especially the one warning her away from the dangerously seductive Commander of the King’s Forces. And if she doesn’t learn how to use her alleged super-psi powers soon, her partying days-in fact all of her days-will be over for good.

Good Readdance,
Jade

Link to Book

Book Review: Grimspace by Ann Aguirre

As the carrier of a rare gene, Sirantha Jax has the ability to jump ships through grimspace-a talent which makes her a highly prized navigator for the Corp. Then a crash landing kills everyone on board, leaving Jax in a jail cell with no memory of the crash. But her fun’s not over. A group of rogue fighters frees her…for a price: her help in overthrowing the established order.

This is it!

This is the book I was talking about the other day. I’m still not exactly sure if this book is more fantasy than romance but I don’t care. I loved it. I blindly picked up the first three books in this series and I’m glad I went in unbiased. It was definitely a surprise.

Sirantha Jax is an amazing main character. She has dimension, fight and power. I love the way Aguirre really made you care about her, fear for her safety but also want to slap her. There are a few times in the book where I was just like girl, pull it together! I was rooting for her, for the crew and I need that in a book. I need to WANT the character to win, even if it also means losing. I need to be behind them and I was for her the entire ride.

 

Grimspace

 

I will say, I spent a healthy amount of time crying at the end. The book takes you on a wild ride from the very first chapter. On the edge of my seat. Wanting to know what’s next. Hoping she won’t fade into nothingness.

I would definitely recommend this book. That is definitely saying something as it’s from first person point of view and trust me…that is NOT my favorite pov. It intrigued me and the writing held a sense of urgency that made you want to read for hours. Which, of course, I did. If you are looking for something heavy on space, heavy on plot, heavy on inner turmoil, this is the book for you. Don’t worry about the romance, it is more mental than physical and makes the subplot ever so sweeter.

If you’ve read this book, liked it, disliked it, hated it or haven’t read it (or listened to it) yet but plan to…let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you have any book suggestions or any reviews you’d like to see here, let me know!

Good Readance,

Jade

 

 

Link To Book

The Book That Made Me A Reader

Heya!

So I am beyond excited! I can’t even believe I’m writing this right now.

When I was a young  foster girl, sad and angry, I needed a coping mechanism to fill the void love loss left in me. I found that in The Westing Game. I was around seven years old when I first read it.

I had been looking for it for so long but could never remember the title or the author. All I could remember was that a ton of people are invited to a house as heirs to a large estate. There’s intrigue, mystery and crazy twists. A huge competition would pit them against each other until one lone person came out the winner…and single heir. Something to do with a guy named West…or something. I tried every form of google search but couldn’t come up with results that fit the book.

Then, a good friend of mine told me she was moving back to her home state. ‘Can you come over and help me pack?’ Of course! Then she added ‘and you can look through my books and take whatever you like!’ Umm…what? She had a ton of books from the 90’s. All those old covers and big pants. I loved it! We had the greatest time!

And then…I saw it. The instant she pulled it from the book I almost cried. My heart nearly exploded. The Westing Game!! That was the title! That was the book I read at least twice a month! That was the book that made me want to read any and everything I could get my hands on. All the old memories rushed through my mind and I grasp it to my chest.

I’d finally found it. It was finally mine.

I’m going to read it again. I don’t even care if it’s different than I remember. My inner child is jumping for joy and shivering with anticipation.

Dramatic, I know…this is me.

No google found photos here. This is the actual book on my bookshelf. Yes!

TheWestingGame

Good Readdance,
Jade

 

P.S. I picked up 50 books in total.

 

allthebooks

 

Link to Book

We Should Teach Creative Writing in Schools

This is a long one, so buckle up. (or in, or down, or whatever). Get ready. Stay for the ride, maybe you’ll learn something. Maybe you’ll…just pretend you did. Hehe.

It actually surprises me that this isn’t something we already do. I mean, yes, in the times of the past maybe ‘we’ thought that this was ‘all just woo-woo stuff’ that we were giving into. For some reason ‘we’ thought that encouraging our children to open their minds and believe in things that didn’t exist meant that we were not being good parents. It meant that we weren’t preparing them for the “real” world where things are hard, and tough, and fierce, and angry and streets were dirty. It was like we thought that we couldn’t allow them to fly free and they wouldn’t see the world around them. It was as if we never used our imagination to help develop who we became.

It’s widely known that ‘we’ believe you lose your ‘inner child’ when you get older. Only thing is…you don’t lose it, it’s suppressed, stolen, beaten and trampled by adults who constantly say “that’s not real” or “that would never actually happen” or “life isn’t so happy” or even “wake up!”. Yes, at some point we do need to have a discussion of this sort but we always fail to realize that children are smarter than we think they are.

How did we forget that when we were kids ourselves we had imaginary friends and we poured fake tea and we danced circles in frilly dresses or chomped wood with plastic saws? We knew we weren’t drinking anything. We knew we weren’t princesses or construction workers or true magicians. We just didn’t care. At some point, after the suppression of our passion we cross from being a “knowing someone who enjoys” to “a person who is unknowing, dying and actively disliking everything”.

Break here for a deep breath.
Okay, Go.

Well, I’m going to tell you a small story as to how my own experiences with school and writing and creating my own worlds changed my life. Then I’m going to share with you a few bits from others that I found while doing research for speech class. Yes, they will be credited and citations will be below. Far below. Don’t worry, I did my homework and I actually enjoyed it. Ha! These are the friends that I spoke of in the title, that are not really friends. Just those more qualified than me to talk about the subject of child development and the need for play acting in the kiddos.

When I was about 7 I wrote my first story. I wrote it down on crumpled paper and it took me forever to do it. At the time, I thought I was writing a book, which makes me laugh inside as it was only about 4 to 5 pages. It was about a dog and a cat that truly loved each other. They played all day and all night and everything was just perfect. It was all just perfect until the dog died. The cat was sad, it’s best friend was gone. What was the cat to do? It moped and cried. At the end of the “book” the dog came back to life and the cat was happy! THE END!

No really, that was the end. I was so proud of myself. My heart was full. I couldn’t believe it. I’d written a book! Immediately I turned around and went to my mother. Read it! Read it! I was so excited. She read it and I sat there with twiddling fingers and tapping feet. And then there was the Look. You know, the one someone gives you when they know you want good news but all they have is bad news and they want to let you down softly. That one.

“Umm…this would never happen,” she starts. She proceeded to tell me about how cats and dogs are never friends, how they don’t experience feelings of love and loss the way we do, and how once something dies it can’t come back to life. That’s JUST the way the world works! At first, I was broken. Then, I was angry. I was so defensive and offended. I can do anything I want with my story! I wrote it. It was my book and no one could tell me what to do with my book.

And that is how I knew I wanted to be a writer. For the next ten years I continued to write stories about opposing characters and things that ‘could never actually happen’. During this time, I didn’t let my mother read anything that I’d written. I couldn’t let her stop me from becoming a god to my characters and have their fearful bodies shaking in their boots. Couldn’t have her telling me I couldn’t resurrect my Lazarus and keep his humanity to fall in love with some chick with mousy brown hair and a big obsession with finger blades!

But it wasn’t just her, when I was a young troubled girl trying to make it through the ins and outs of my foster home I wrote like crazy. I filled composition notebook after composition notebook of character ideas and story arcs and I read as much as I could. Books of all genres were fodder for my tiny fast fingers and I soaked in as much of their imagery and filth as I could. Only to spew it back out in the form of inspiration and child like ambitions.

Ok, that just went on an odd tangent but you get the point. I didn’t even get to the part I was trying to say. I loved it and it changed my life. I had a teacher in the fourth grade who gave in to my childish wants and desires. She suggested so many books to me I can’t even remember them all. She said ‘one day you will grow up and be a writer’. From her I got Melusine, Summer of my German Soldier and the original readings of The Giver. She told me I was reading and writing on a high school level and she was impressed with me. Blah, blah, blah. Of course, at that time I didn’t care about all of that. I just wanted to write.

Then in eight grade, and I’ll never forget, Mr Vincent Potts awarded me with an English plaque at the end of the school year. It was my first time back in school with the ‘norms’, meaning I was no longer in the private school that had fostered my introverted nerdiness. He would read my writings and give me real feedback. He, too, told me that I would one day become a great writer. This was at the time when things were confusing, I didn’t believe him and yet I did.

I had an english teacher in high school that was mean as hell. To everyone else. Or at least that’s what I remember them saying. All the time. I loved her. She was great. I made my first friend in that class. I wrote a book complete from beginning to end at her request. She pushed me and pushed me and I knew, one day I would be a writer. And I am. *Mild shoulder shrug while throwing up in my mouth a little*

So that was me.

Now, from my fake friends I gleaned that this actually has an effect on children that should not be ignored. Not just expanding the mind by writing down things you create from your own imaginations but also pretending that there are things before you that aren’t there. No, not crazy speak, just childhood word vomit and seeing spies in sky.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge” -Einstein. Okay, okay. I apologize for this one but we all know it. We know how important imagination, excitement and intriguing mystery is. We learn this from ‘woman is a grinch at Christmas’ or ‘CEO learns to love’ movies that we all watch as adults to make us think that rich people aren’t happy or sit around all day without an ounce of make believe.

Another… There are benefits to pretend play that involves “fantasy, make-believe, symbolism, organization, cognitive integration, and divergent thinking; it allows the expression of both positive and negative feelings” from Psychologist Sandra Russ*. This is one we also know. When you are allowed to create, to push the envelope back and forth, to bend the rules and then punish your characters for breaking them, you get to experience both sides of things. You allow yourself, and readers, to learn the consequences of life and how to react to betrayal, anger, excitement, the works.

Dr. Catherine Neilsen’s voice on enhancing the imagination and it’s effects through to adulthood can be reduced to 5 reasons as to why creativity is important. I’m just going to list these and put my summaries of each because…that article is long and I read it myself and gleaned what I could so you don’t have to. Here*:

  1. Social development- learning cooperation and compromise with friends! Yay!
  2. Language development- expanding vocabulary and understanding inflection.
  3. Emotional development- positive and negative feelings and working through things in a ‘made up’ world! Whoop! Becoming a god with a conscious!
  4. Physical development- using physical tools help with expression and muscle development. Writing! Typing! Wooden swords and play tea sets!
  5. Thinking skills- Children think in magical ways and use their imagination to stretch their minds. -and develop their own thoughts and personalities despite the adults proverbial sodomizings! (yes, I made that plural…and?)

So there you have it. We should teach creative writing in schools. I daresay we should. I say we go for it and we teach them what their mind can do, what it can create. You know…this might just work out for us in the end. (See above 5 ways). We MIGHT just get some decent human beings that are accepting of others (skin color, orientation, freaking accents (personally speaking here) and family situations). We MAY just come across an entire generation of people who want to think up all the mighty things they can do and actually DO them.

So many people say that focusing on the false and on creative writing is a waste of time and there are so many ‘more productive’ things we can teach children but I disagree. I believe that by encouraging them to be themselves, see their invisible friends and more we are actually setting them free. I believe that if we taught our children how to deal with their thoughts, use their own imagination to build worlds and as coping mechanisms, they would be better human beings and the earth would be a better place.
But that’s just me. A girl who dreamed she’d one day be a writer. Who took a few detours until she realized her dream was within reach. Who decided…hey! It will happen because I dreamed it so and now…I’ve done the work to do so.

So…let me know what you think below. Do you agree? Has creative writing effected you? Would you like to be a writer but never thought you could? Do you think that encouraging creativity and play acting in children can really cause them to become better humans beings? Tell me!

Happy Lifeness,
Jade

References:

  1. Wallace-Segall, Rebecca. “Plea for Creative Writing in Schools”. The Atlantic.com. The Atlantic Monthly Group. 4, Oct, 2012. 2018. https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/10/a-passionate-unapologetic-plea-for-creative-writing-in-schools/263212/
  2. Suckerman, Simone. “5 Benefits of Imaginative Play”. LivingandLoving.co.za. Living and Loving Magazine. 3 August. 2017. 2018. https://www.livingandloving.co.za/child/5-benefits-of-imaginative-play

Book Review: Copper Beach by Jayne Ann Krentz

Within the pages of very rare books some centuries old lie the secrets of the paranormal. Abby Radwell’s unusual psychic talent has made her an expert in such volumes—and sometimes taken her into dangerous territory. After a deadly incident in the private library of an obsessive collector, Abby receives a blackmail threat, and rumors swirl that an old alchemical text known as The Key has reappeared on the black market.

Convinced that she needs an investigator who can also play bodyguard, she hires Sam Coppersmith, a specialist in paranormal crystals and amber—“hot rocks.” Passion flares immediately between them, but neither entirely trusts the other. When it comes to dealing with a killer who has paranormal abilities, and a blackmailer who will stop at nothing to obtain an ancient alchemical code, no one is safe.

I’m actually quite happy I read this book. I bought it recently, during one of my happy excursions to the bookstore, and I don’t regret it. I didn’t know what it was about but I have several other books by JAK that I really enjoyed so…obviously I had to grab it.

Copper Beach

I’m happy because I am definitely a person who believes in the power of crystals and auras, etc. I just believe we can’t rule it out. Think of all the times you get bad vibes from someone you’ve never met. Think of the times where you knew not to do this thing or not the go down that alley. I believe it’s all intuition and and bad juju.

I’m a big fan of this novel, it had the right amount of romance and action. I love that this was a turn of the way romances are usually written. The girl falls hard for the guy and he has to some how learn that she’s the one for him before it’s too late. In this novel, she is the one who has to come to terms with their closeness, their intimacy and see if she can deal with her trust ‘issues’. I like that he is indeed powerful but so is she! Gone are the days of the damsel in distress. Now are the days of powerful lady in need of assistance, not you-take-over-and-I’ll-just-hid-and-cry. Yes, I did just put dashes in between, yes you get the point.

I love that our MC here is stubborn and refuses to give up. She has her life and she likes it how she likes it. I would recommend this book if you are a lover of crystals and their appeals. I would say read this if you are looking for something that won’t confuse you or leave you wondering. Although there is another book after this one (which I am actively trying to get), the end is nicely tied and nipped for you. I appreciate that in any good romance.

Thanks JAK!

If you’ve read this book, liked it, disliked it, hated it or haven’t read it (or listened to it) yet but plan to…let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you have any book suggestions or any reviews you’d like to see here, let me know!

Good Readance,
Jade

 

Link to Book

Writing on Holidays!

The great thing for people that don’t really celebrate holidays, so…me, is that we can do whatever we want.

Yes, this may often times be the same exact thing that we do on our normal days off and that’s ok. For me, holidays are days off work that I can enjoy not feeling guilty. I mean, I wouldn’t anyway but this is a special case. I stopped celebrating holidays when I stopped really having an excuse to do so. I had no one to share them with and I enjoyed that time and a half pay that you get. Fortunately, I have found a job that still pays us for gov’t holidays. So I can enjoy an extra day off with no stress. Therefore, I shouldn’t have any excuse as to why I can’t write, right?

Wrong.

white sweater

The reason why I started the DWC was because I knew that I could count on myself to procrastinate. No more. I have distractions on holidays. I live far away from my old family and I don’t have a ton of friends that could guilt trip me into doing things or getting out of the house. My one writing friend actually came over so that we could go to Starbucks and write together. It was great. The fantastic thing is that I showed up a little late, sat my butt in the chair and started a 30 minute word sprint right away. I knew what I wanted to write and a new chapter was a fantastic place to start.

1530 words later, about 4 pages, and my creative writing juices were flowing freely. I felt very excited. I like days that I don’t have to write. I like to be able to get my keyboard up and running and do it because my mind whispers ‘hey, you, it’s time to write’.

Anyway, so here I am, on the cusp of the new Bachelorette episode and I’m writing another blog post. Now, I told you that I am trying to write more posts, and not just book reviews, and I’m delivering on that.

*Finger wiggles*

Happy Writtance!
Jade

P.S. What do you like to do on holidays? Do you spend the time with family? If you are a writer, do you carve out time to write? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

What I REALLY Learned About Myself Last Semester

So…big surprise. Not really, you guys know I’m in school and I’m learning new things. I’ve always loved school. The only drawback to being in school, I thought as a kid, was that other people would be there. Sounds silly. I know. I was so shy and reserved that I never realized that it was other people that made it enjoyable. I loved to learn, loved to interact with my teachers and I loved to be in the school setting. I didn’t realize that it was the back and forth, the give and take, of the student to teacher relationship that drew me in. The constant feedback, the discussion over lecture. I just loved it.
(I’m in the year book as the teacher’s pet, by the way)

Anyway, I wasn’t one of those people who had a hurtful or sad school experience and I’m grateful. School was actually my escape. Being a foster kid, turned adopted kid living in a foster home, was pretty hard on me. I shoveled it inside and didn’t dare let anyone see my pain or what I felt on the inside. Leaving the house, and going to school, took me away from anything bad that could happen. At school, I could expand my mind, learn new things and be a different person. I wasn’t a victim at school. It was a safe haven. If only I could just learn more, I’d be free, I thought.
As I grew older, it became very apparent that I needed to bring that kind of positivity back into my life. Now, my current home life is amazing. Despite any sadness that I’ve have due to my losses, I am very happy. It wasn’t that I needed an escape. I’m in love with my soulmate and I live eighteen hours away from anything that has ever hurt me. In the grand scheme of things, I’m doing fucking fantastic! It was that I needed more. More for me. More from me. More expansion. I needed to prove to myself, not to anyone else, that I could achieve anything I set my mind to.

This last semester solidified who I am as a person…to me. It told me that when I want something, I go after it. It told me that when something is hard, like that third math exam that really kicked my ass, I flip things around. It taught me that I do have the ability to meet deadlines. It said ‘You are attentive. You are responsible. You can do this.’ Most people may think ‘Aww, you’re just now learning that?’ and to that I say YES!

I spent too much time as a kid listening to other people.  Older people. People who knew things. Whether it was my bio mom saying she didn’t want me and wished she didn’t have me. Or a sibling concocting a cockamamy story that I was so worthless that I’d actually been left in a dumpster before social services found me. Whether it was my first grade gym teacher saying that I was so angry, he wouldn’t be surprised if I became a serial killer or that one lady who said I could never be a model because I wouldn’t grow up pretty enough. Or even those who gave the statistics about kids in foster homes or the life expectancy of those coming out of ‘the system’. I spent entirely too much time thinking about how people saw me and I retreated further into my bubble.

I retreated so far into books and fiction that for a moment I forgot what was real. People asked, when I grew up, why I didn’t feel compelled or peer pressured by the stories I read. Asked why romance and passion didn’t turn me into a fairy tale loving, wide eyed, girl with too many wedding aspirations. I just didn’t believe in me or anyone wanting to be involved with me enough to think those things would ever be real. In a way, it shielded me from a life time of disappointment. Now that I know differently, I go unbiasedly into relationships, friendships and yes, heartache still.

Now, as an old soul in a twenty-five year old body (albeit creaking knees and popping elbows), I still had things to learn and discover about myself. I was terrified to start school again. I know what kind of person I was during University back at 18. I was free. I knew exactly what, and who, I wanted to be and yet I knew nothing at all. There are a ton of mistakes I made back then. I don’t regret them, because they brought me here, but I do acknowledge them. I was scared that who I was then is actually who I would be now, in school.

But I’m not.

I’m a ‘stay up late until I get the assignment done’ kind of girl. I’m a ‘create a homework planner so I always know what’s due’ kind of girl. I’m a ‘help other students with their homework and assignments because I know the material’ kind of girl. I’m a ‘stick it through even though I might fail’ kind of girl.

That is what I REALLY learned about me last semester.

I know who I am.
Do you?

Stay Safe,
Jade