Embrace the beauty in living life unfiltered.

Thank you for reading my stories, laughing along, and being brave enough to share yours! 

jessi

jessi

When did you last belly laugh? 

Oh, wow, I laugh a lot so this is a hard one.  I’m sure the last time included Connor. Sometimes he says stuff or does something that I think, “Man, I thought I was weird.” Then again, I guess it’s good that we can be weird together since we are about to get married. I’m lucky to have someone who makes me laugh all the time, even on shitty days.

Where do doubt and shame show up in your life and how do you tackle those feelings?

When I was in the fifth grade I distinctly remember when it happened. I was wearing the coolest Calvin Klein shirt, which was a bit too short, and jeans. Our class was at the library and a bunch of us were clowning around until the period was over. I must have done something that allowed my shirt to raise a bit too high, exposing my stomach to others around me. For the rest of my life I will remember his comment, “EW! You’re fat!” “He” doesn’t know what that did to me, what that still does to me, what that sadly, will always do to me. I carry doubt in myself, my image, and my confidence. What “he” doesn’t know is even though many years I was wrecked from that comment, I do believe I’ve come out a stronger woman with a focus on consistently bettering myself. Health and wellness are a huge part of my life, and for the first time in a long time, I feel good.

If there were one small act that could be contagious, what would you like it to be?

Showing appreciation, as simple as a “thank you.” I remember being in elementary school visiting my best friend, Laura, and my mom arrived to pick me up after a play-day. As I opened the car door and climbed in, my mom asked me if I had thanked Mrs. Salwocki. I owned that I didn’t, and she had me walk back inside and say thank you. That was a moment that stuck with me. Showing appreciation for others takes so little effort yet makes such a huge difference and is very telling of your character.

Technology: love it or hate it. Do tell.

Technology is like an annoying co-worker. I know that I need it to help me with my work, as well as provide me with entertainment, but sometimes I really wish it would go away. I love when we take trips out of the country where we don’t have access to our data or wifi. I feel like I sound like an old lady, but I think back to simpler times and wish for ignorance, peace, and quiet.

High & Low from this year?

I am fortunate to have many highs from this year including wedding planning, a new nephew, trips around the country, and yet another year of life celebrated. If I have to pick one, though, I would say the engagement party that my future in-laws threw for Connor and I in celebration of our upcoming nuptials. It was a beautiful thing to see so many people that we love, surrounding us with their love. I can only imagine the wedding and how humbling that will be for both of us.

A low from this year would be something that happened recently. After having some issues with one of my breasts, I decided to finally go into the doctor to determine what was causing the issue. I had my first mammogram which then led to my first biopsy. As I lie there while the doctor explained what they would be doing during the biopsy, all I could think of is my family and my future husband and how that is really all that matters in my life. I am thankful that my results came back as benign and that life can resume. Sometimes it takes a low point to remind you of what is important and how short life really is.

If fear didn’t exist, how would your life look differently than it is right now?

Fear is so crippling and I know (and hate) the role it plays in my life. I admit that I have a fear of failure and that keeps me from approaching certain situations or reaching for more at times. This fear also makes me competitive. Without fear, my life would be less stressful and more focused on others, versus focused on me not failing. It is something that I am working on and will continue to work on with the many hats that I wear in life. I attended a Meet the Author event recently at the Pyramid Club where Terri Levine spoke about the way fear cripples us. One thing that stuck with me from her talk was to “Tell the monkeys in your head to shut the f*uck up.” So, whenever fear comes knocking, I channel Terri and give it a piece of my mind.

With whom, doing what, when, or where do you feel most at home?

As I approached my late twenties, I began to think that I would never meet my match. Until Connor came into my life. I am so humbled by his love for me that when I think about him and us, I can’t help but cry.  I sit here thinking how lucky I am to have him in my life as he blares the TV at max volume. There is no doubt that when he and I are together with our dog, Wrigley, sitting on the couch watching hours of Shark Tank that I feel most at home.  

What keeps you up at night?

Managing expectations – for myself and for others. I know that I am a people pleaser, and find joy in making others happy, but sometimes I need to remember to make myself happy, too.

Picture your most joyous day. Name three elements that help comprise that perfect day. Name them all if you'd like. 

My most joyous day would be one filled with sunshine, family, and laughter. Oh, and maybe ice cream!

Lesson you wish everyone knew.

Make time for your family, especially your grandparents. I would give anything in the world to have my Mema back for just one day. She was the most loving, caring, and kind-hearted person who loved her granddaughters more than anything. I can still hear her yelling “Yooo hooooo!” as we walked into her house. I still can feel her hug and see her smile. I know she is watching from above but I wish I had more time with her. I wish I had asked her more questions and lived more slowly when she was here. She was such an amazing woman and I miss her dearly.

Book that changed your life.

Perhaps cliché, Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg really pushed me in a new direction. I always knew that I was a feminist but something about the way she worded it all gave me so much strength and determination. She also put the life partner discussion out on the table which came at the right moment for me as I found my own life partner. She recently published Option B which is also pretty fantastic. I guess I just love me some Sheryl!  

What question would be hard for you to answer?

What do you want to do in life?

I find it fascinating when you go to networking events and people say, “Hi Jessi, what do you do?” Most people immediately respond with what they do for work/career/job, but my response seems to come out differently each time. I do a lot of things like take care of my 8-year-old corgi mix named Wrigley, visit my niece and nephew to get all the snuggles and laughter I can, worry about my parents as they age, run marathons like a dumbass, eat at HoneyGrow so often they should give me an endorsement, practice mindfulness and yoga, obsess over corgi Instagram accounts, travel the world, and love unconditionally. Then again, if that was my actual answer, people may run to the bar for another glass of wine.

What do I want to do in life? Everything I’m already doing, and with a smile on my face.

lizzie

lizzie