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Pride Month Celebration!

I am celebrating Pride in a special way! As a poly/pan ally myself, I am super stoked to work with my LGBTQ+ friends for a special discount this month!

Are you part of an LGBTQ+ relationship? Celebrating gender and trans inclusivity? Celebrating being your true self? Let’s connect! I want to capture diverse couples, triads (etc), individuals who want to celebrate their sexuality and/or gender in the most empowering way for them!

Throughout June, when you schedule an Exposure, Beloved, or Connections session with me, I’ll discount your session 20%! This also includes LGBTQ+ Forever sessions (elopements and small local weddings).

You must schedule by June 30th, session to be completed by August 31, 2022. Discount is based on the “honor system” – I won’t question you. Forever Sessions must be scheduled by June 30th 2022 and completed by July 31, 2023.


Stranger Sessions

Let me play matchmaker, even if it only lasts through our session!

Stranger sessions are an exciting adventure for myself, and both mystery subjects! Its a blind date, a photo shoot, and a fun experience all in one.

These sessions will be taking place for just a few hours on Monday, July 11th at 9am and Tuesday, July 12th at 9am, both in Allentown PA.

Volunteer to be either Female or Male straight Subject, or LGBTQ+ Subjects (any gender – when you fill out the form, you’ll select what kind of Stranger Couple you’re comfortable pairing in).


Have any other questions? Reach out!

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The Single Life

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I’ve been a single mom now for roughly 2 and 1/2 years. It’s not something that I ever expected. I’ve never spent much of my adult life out of any relationship, good or bad. I have always craved the “best friend” effect that a relationship provides.

I know that my situation is challenging, so I certainly won’t minimize it, but I also know that I’m not as bad off as some other single parents. And I don’t mean parents who have the financial, physical or time support of another biological parent. It’s not easy to have to do things alone, but there is a drastic difference between somebody who has The support even in some small extent of the other parent of your child.

Over the last 5 months or so, I haven’t trusted myself. I pushed myself to be optimistic with relationships. I pushed myself to continue to date when my gut told me that I just needed to relax for a while. The frustrating part is that it’s an incredibly lonely life when you don’t have a partner. Everyone is busy. A vast majority of my friends have kids or at a minimum a partner they live with. Actually, I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t at least have one or the other! It. Is. Lonely.

I don’t even remember what it’s like to share responsibilities with a partner, husband, boyfriend, whatever. To be perfectly honest, it has been a whole 2 and 1/2 years since I have experienced the closeness of a live-in relationship. It is a very different world to have full access to someone. I literally do not remember what it is like. I barely can wrap my head around the idea of having someone to share everything with every single day anymore. It’s almost depressing and itself to think that. Which is quite possibly why I remain so optimistic that the right person is out there for me. My son doesn’t conversationally speak yet. And honestly, I can’t discuss the Microbiology slides that I made today, or how worried I am about the Chemistry test I have to take Monday, with him anyway. No child needs that stress on them.

I feel like I shoulder the responsibility well. Some days, yes, it is overwhelming. Some days I have to “cry and then boss up” because stuff has to get done. Some days I fantasize about putting my son in the car and starting over somewhere. But I’m not even running from anything at this point. I am secure, we are safe, we are happy. Now, I’m seeking more introspection. There is nothing to run from except my own mind. My own unhappiness with my progress (again). My own loneliness.

But now I need a break. I’ve got to take care of myelf and my heart, because at the end of the day, I know that I don’t want to end up in another horrendous situation because I rushed to make decisions or because I wanted something so badly that I chose to “make it work.”

Now, some of you are probably sitting there rolling your eyes, thinking “wow this bitch has no clue, that is all relationships are, is ‘making it work.'” I assure you, I know full well the gravity and the weight of a relationship. I was married for three and a half years and my longest relationship was over six years. No matter how unhealthy it was; I have experienced *some* life. However, I feel as though I still haven’t experienced the extent of love that I expect from a forever-relationship.

I was talking with a friend yesterday, and I said I had noticed something interesting about my personality when I’m within and without a relationship. I noticed that sometimes the difference, to be cliche, is that “my sparkle is dulled.” For lack of a better term, I am a sparkly person; I mean, after all I am a Gemini, so it’s to be expected that I am a little flighty, silly, I love to laugh, and as much as I appreciate a plan, I do love spontaneity. But all too often I’ve noticed that depending on the person I am with, it gets toned down to a dull roar. I’m not okay with that! I said to my friend, I have to find the person who appreciates it and nurtures it, not a person who wants to suppress it all the time, or worse, doesn’t inspire it. I can’t have someone who doesn’t appreciate how ridiculous I can be. How much I love being silly and lighthearted. How much I’m a lovey mush. And that probably sounds obvious, don’t be with someone who doesn’t “get you,” but I will hazard a bet that there are a lot of people walking around feeling just a little bit dead inside because they are making such huge compromises.

Being in a relationship might not always be easy, but it’s easier than leaving a bad one, no matter how bad it is. Even people who are being physically abused and sent to the hospital, have a hard time leaving that relationship. Leaving a relationship that doesn’t set your soul on fire still isn’t easy. Leaving someone who doesn’t understand you still isn’t easy. Human emotions are cruel and unfair for the mostly, from what I have experienced. It’s a wonderful thing that we can experience such a wide range of emotions. But they get in the way of our better judgment. Our better judgment telling us that we deserve more, or that someone won’t change or even grow, for crying out loud, or that someone doesn’t care for us enough to listen to us better, or communicate better, or pick up their goddamn socks off the floor.

I’m not advocating everyone get up and walk out of a relationship because the going gets tough, not by a long shot. But I know enough people that I care about who are stuck in situations where their partner has gotten lazy, or they truly had a crisis of conscience where they can no longer be who they used to be, or be who they represented themselves as at first (I submit that that is even more painful), and they simply cannot cut the cord. They cannot make the mature decision to say I am going to work harder for us, or I am going to leave your soul at peace and move forward without you.

That is probably the most powerful thing that someone could ever say to their partner who they are unhappy with. “I want to leave your soul at peace.” It has nothing to do with what the other person is or isn’t doing; it is simply acknowledging your own role in the scenario. Something about my spirit irritates your spirit and they are no longer compatible.

Maybe this is just part of dating effectively in your 30s. Maybe this is just part of my journey as a widow and a mother, and my experience. On the other hand maybe this is valid for you as well. Maybe you are sitting there wondering why all the wrong people are coming to you. Or why you are stuck somewhere that you absolutely can no longer stand. Or maybe you go on date after date for them to all be dead wrong for you. Maybe you haven’t been on a date in so long that you can’t remember what going on a date is like (I’m with you! Are actual dates a lost art!?)

Here’s the thing, guys. I remain optimistic. Maybe that makes me a fool, but I know that my soulmate is out there stumbling around without me, so I will keep pushing forward until he appears. Even during this time of healing for myself where I am technically not dating, I will still certainly go out on dates if I am asked. But right now I’m “just meeting people.” I need to enjoy the serenity and clarity of my early 20’s that I never had, try to enjoy life on my terms a little bit more, and keep my heart and my head clear so that the right person is coming closer to finding me every single day.

So I encourage you, my fellow single parents: know what you are seeking. Tell the universe how grateful you are that your soulmate has appeared to you. Thank the universe for delivering someone who not only fulfills your needs, but you also fulfill theirs. You are not a half looking for your other half you are a whole looking for another whole. Completion is not the goal. You are a whole human being And if you aren’t, then it is time to start working on that. And if that requires you to be completely alone, do so. Don’t drag anyone else into the mess. Part of the reason that I have objectively chosen to remain outside of any solidified relationship for the time being is because I don’t need to drag anyone else down. I certainly believe that two people can work very hard together and both heal while together. Please don’t get me wrong there. But I think that too many broken people are getting together, staying together or just ignoring their problems all together, and not doing the work to be the best people that they can be. I pray that you find someone who doesn’t irritate your demons and who wants to work equally as hard as you to be the absolute best person that they can be; for themselves first, and then for their children if they have them, and then for you, and your children if you have them.

If you have gathered anything from this today I hope it is this: broken people don’t have to be broken forever. But they need to acknowledge that they are broken and fill their cracks in a healthy way, and if they are trying to repair themselves while in a relationship with someone else it needs to be a symbiotic relationship. Everyone needs to work together or it will never work. An ultimately, if that person is not working with you, they don’t care enough about you to make it happen. Don’t ever sell yourself short. Don’t run from everything that is in front of you, but don’t tell yourself that you deserve to stay in a crappy situation because of time and history. It is better to be sad and unhappy alone, than to sleep next to another human being and feel equally as sad alone.

Much love ~ Jess

Ho’oponopono – the Hawaiian art of forgiveness
Cut the cord with whatever is holding you down. You don’t even need to be specific; just RELEASE IT. Forgive for YOU, not for them. Drinking poison and hoping the other person dies is just stupid. Release what is not for you; draw in what is yours.

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Is it Over Yet?

Depression and anxiety have spanked me this year.  I have always dealt with my anxiety.  What that really means for me is, its just manifested in “non-traditional” ways, like being short with people, having very narrow focus, retaining ridiculous amounts of stress, avoiding a wide variety of situations, and being extraordinarily moody for no apparent reason.  Basically, I’ve just lived with it and not acknowledged it.  You know, very positively!

Now my struggle with it is far more visceral. I can’t sit still.  I can’t move either.  Sometimes I can’t catch my breath.  Thoughts race – even the most ridiculous things seem true, imminent.  Thoughts feel thick, like wading through a tub of coconut oil.  There’s too many thoughts, but I can’t escape them.  I feel like I’m on the brink of complete collapse sometimes.  When I can gather enough clarity, I take a few pumps of oil and I can start feeling freer in 15 minutes or so.  Its as though I line everything up, like little toy soldiers on a wall and I can start flicking them off the wall, one by one, every wild, racing, over-the-top thought and fear.

Since I was in high school, depression has floated in and out of my life.  When I sought treatment the first time, someone close to me said “I just can’t understand what you could possibly have to be sad about.”  And that’s when I stopped constructively dealing with depression.  Sometimes I’ve anticipated the lows, and other times, I have been blindsided.  I’ve picked up, carried on, and dealt with it.  Its what we expect people to do!  Quietly, privately, and with as little emotion as possible.  No mess, no fussing, no drama.  That’s what I thought I was accomplishing after Matt abruptly passed.  I was dealing like a champ.  I was pushing forward, growing, kicking ass.  In reality, I was definitely surviving, if not even thriving, but I was completely failing to heal the hurt.Introvert inclusion

I have trust issues.  There.  I said it.  I find myself not trusting people about the DUMBEST stuff.  There are a million reasons running through my head why anyone isn’t doing what they claimed.  It isn’t even based in reality!  I was trained, systematically, over a long relationship, that I wasn’t worthy of the truth.  I wasn’t worthy of being included.  I wasn’t important enough to anyone. I wasn’t worthy of my own husband telling me what he’s actually doing.  Its a daily struggle of insecurity.  Who is excluding me from stuff?  Why didn’t I get invited to something?

The more I have been sorting out, the more I realize.   And the more I wonder.  I wonder why I gave so much trust to someone who repeatedly broke it.  I wonder why I believed someone who routinely fed me stories.  I wonder why I wasn’t valuable enough to get the truth.  But I also realize that this wasn’t my shortcoming.  I did what I was supposed to do.  I trusted the person who was supposed to take care of me and my son.

I’ve been talking with close friends lately about my purpose and what I want from life.  One of my greatest aspirations in life is to be a wife and mother – explains a lot about why I was so eager to please someone who would have pushed me off a cliff if it suited him.  I’ve felt this since I was young.  I feel for me personally (NOT everyone!), there is no greater calling than to have a fulfilling relationship and raise good humans.  That in turn gives me the framework to then achieve professionally and otherwise.  And don’t worry, I don’t think my value rests solely with a marriage.  Its just something I find extremely valuable personally, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

What I want to bring to you, dear friend, is the awareness about yourself.  If you’re struggling similarly to myself, the first step is getting help.  Get perspective.  I don’t mean from your goofy friend with all the opinions. There are some easy things (from an implementation standpoint, anyway) that you can do that will help you get on the right path.

  • A therapist is a great neutral sounding board.  It might take a few tries to find someone that you’re comfortable with. That friend with all the opinions might be eager to listen, but they might not always have time to carefully consider your concerns – after all, they aren’t paid to listen to you.  They might also have ulterior motives.  God forbid they do not have your best interests at heart or don’t care who they share your personal business with.  It will only compound the problem to know that someone is speaking about your issues with others.  Find someone who is truly neutral.
  • If consistently visiting a therapist is out of your budget (I know it can get expensive!) look into some self help books and/or workbooks.  You don’t even need to pick something deeply self-exploratory.  Start with something that doesn’t feel too inflammatory and work your way up (just don’t let yourself off the hook before you get there).
  • Start journaling. Good old fashioned pen and paper, not on your phone or computer.   Take 10 minutes each day.  If you’re really committed, spend 10 minutes when you first wake up, writing about things you’re grateful for, and 10 minutes before you go to bed, brain dumping, so you can go to sleep with a blank slate.  Ten minutes is just a guideline – it gives you a set window of time to commit to the process.
  • Really want to go all in?  Start doing guided meditation.  Use YouTube videos like this one to help you.
  • Figure out if you would like or if you feel you need medication.  I weighed the options medications to help with anxiety and depression and I couldn’t balance the weight of not being lucid against the potential benefits.  Of course, I’m a huge advocate for hemp oil because of its lack of negative side effects and overall health benefits.  The hemp and cannabis plants are extraordinary in their benefits to humans and even pets; get good stuff in your body, however you choose to consume it.  There are tons of things to look at when you’re looking for a brand of oil (I’ll explore it in another post), but you can get the best here.

Accepting that you’re going to have good days, you’re going to have bad days,  and its all just part of life, is the first huge step to working through things.  Explore your reactions to things and situations.  Analyze why you’re reacting to things a certain way.

~The only thing we control in this world is how we react to things~

Read that until you understand it.  You can’t control what anyone else does; you can only control your reaction to the situation.  Stop letting other people’s stupidity send you over the edge.  Stop letting someone else’s inconsistency, arrogance, ignorance, selfishness, lies, jealously, etc etc control how you feel!

This is all just the tip of the iceberg, but its a great start.  Much love & light to you today!

Want more on the topic?  Drop your comments and questions below!

~ Jess

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The First Year

It will soon be a year since everything changed.  One year since the person I thought was my husband left this world.  One year since my life ended up in a blender, and came out a beautiful smoothie.

I don’t regret things in my life.  Its not how I live.  I make choices based on calculated, conscious decisions, and then accept the consequence.  A year ago, a choice was made that altered mine and Nicholas’s life dramatically, and like I always say, it was a blessing in disguise.

In the early afternoon of April 26, 2017, the state police came to my home to inform me that they found my husband in his vehicle up in Warren County.  The room spun; I couldn’t breathe.  I couldn’t think.  I couldn’t speak.

I will eternally be grateful to the people who rushed to my side.  Alicia, who probably broke more than a few laws racing to me.  Sandi, who sat with me while I took wild phone calls that brought more mind-blowing information each time it rang.  Renee, who set up a GoFundMe that allowed Nicholas and I to find a place to live and stay on our feet while we were reeling.  Kelsey and Kyleen, who connected us with more help than I could have imagined.  Tina, for reaching out and being a voice of reason, even when I didn’t want to hear it.  My parents, for forgiving the grudges and being there for us.  Every single person who sent food, clothes and supplies for Nicholas, even stuff for me.  Even the people I don’t talk to anymore, for one reason for another.  I am grateful.

I’m sure each passing year will get easier and less confusing.  I didn’t expect to be “alone” this year though, and its making it a little more challenging for me to navigate.  My emotions have already bubbled up a few times, and we are still a bit away from the anniversary.  Keeping busy and focused are my only options right now.

Screenshot_20180411-162142Nicholas has come further than I could have ever imagined.  We have a secure, stable home; stable income; I don’t feel threatened that life is off-kilter and unpredictable this year.  Last year, I didn’t know if we’d have a place to live or food to eat each month.  Last year, I was stressed that health insurance was a question.  I’m stable.  That’s what matters.  I have a blossoming business.  I have a greater desire to be creative and continue growing personally.

 

There’s a knot in my throat, but I know it means we’re alive and making it.

-Jess

 

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When its over…

Its still really raw.  I am hurting like hell right now. My heart is broken all over again.  received_10213671262954793But like everything else in my life, I hope that someone can gather something from what I’ve learned.

I give everything that’s in me when it comes to love.  I love my child with every fiber of my being and I give every relationship 110%.  I will never stop doing that till the day I take my last breath.  Fatal flaw?  Possibly.  But I know that when the right guy finds me, he gets it all.  The good, the bad, and the no-makeup and messy hair.

Disclaimer: I am annoying – I challenge stuff.  Norms. Values. Beliefs. Standards. Ethics.  You. Myself.   I’m not tidy, but I’m not gross.  My passion is

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infinite.  My son is absolutely everything to me and I’m tired of seeing him hurt.  I do things different and I’m completely unapologetic about it.  I deserve the world and so does my baby.  But I also give the world; negotiate; compromise; I will fight to my last breath for a relationship that is worth it.

This also sounds a lot more like a dating application than I expected.

My reality is that I’ve been through circumstances most people don’t even want to fathom.  Death, displacement, loss, betrayal, hate.  I’ve allowed it to propel me, shape me, make me into someone I don’t even know yet.  But I certainly love her!  This is when you say “Oh well, duh, you shouldn’t be dating if you’re not stable yet.”  I’m not un-stable. Just like every human who knows ‘what’s up,’ I am growing.  A work in progress, destination yet to be determined.  I know precisely what I want and desire, but sometimes it evolves, just like every single human.  I was fooled by falsehoods and fraudulent promises.

IMG_20180316_143621_130I’m still a dreamer.  A romantic. Hopeful. I know the right person is out there for us, because that’s what we need.  Some women prefer to do it all alone.  Some men prefer to do it all alone.  Its not my preference.  While I am an introvert to the core, I still very much need companionship and I don’t apologize for that!  I know what I want and my optimism means eventually I’ll find it.