I started my first career in the acting and modeling industry at 5 years old as a Jessica Mclintock dress model. My experience ranges from musical theater, commercials to television and film. As part of my training and experience, I've developed skills as a singer, dancer, pianist and gymnast.
At the age of 16, I left show business and pursued an MBA leading toward my second career as a transformation educator and business analyst. For the past 15 years, I've worked for financial institutions in California, Texas and India. My travels to India shifted my complacency and equanimity on the inequality of all people. Since then I've sought to support environments of inclusivity and radical acceptance.
Along the way I have become an advocate for LGBTQIA culture, especially within faith traditions. I am in the process of seeking ordination within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America which endorses both women and the gay community to become pastors.
Currently married to a woman who is a professional counselor, I am especially interested in how suicide is addressed at the intersection between Pastoral Care and Mental Health. I hope to continue my education with the intention of becoming a suicide researcher and public advocate.
In my personal time I enjoy a broad spectrum of life affirming activities, such as mindfulness, labyrinth meditation, yoga, massage therapy, karaoke, parkour, tap and learning new pairs based dance styles, such as, tango. I also enjoy volunteering in situations where I am able to witness personal connection; such as, Urban Confessionals, Homeless Haircuts, Hospital Faith Advocates and Suicide Prevention Awareness Seminars. People often ask me how long I've had rainbow hair, to which I respond, "Oh, this is natural, I am a unicorn."
JJ volunteers because...
When I am whole and well, I'm able share my story and give hope that others can become the healthiest and fullest expression of themselves, essentially becoming their own unicorn. Growing up in the film industry, the judgment and expectations of others was a challenge for me and I wear this rejection as a badge of honor. Even within the business world, how I dress and appear has had to conform to the professional expectations of others. I rarely have been accepted as I really want to look or act. Along the way, I learned I was naïve and lived a sheltered existence, always doing what everyone else wanted or needed me to do, classic co-dependent. In the end that left me without, well me, and the unique capabilities I have to offer.
For most of my growing up, I questioned daily why I was alive, what was the point of life and wouldn't everyone else be better if I wasn't alive. I surely would be. I believed for nearly 30 years this pain of inadequacy, shame and feeling not good enough, which expressed itself in many ways, was all there was to my life.
In time and with a lot of help, guidance and support, I learned that life didn't have to be this way. Granted, shifting a lifetime of belief is easier said than done. I have learned that this work takes my willingness to radically accept that the struggle exists and is a natural and reasonable part of being human. Through the awareness that I am not alone, I can connect with others who share and identify with my struggle. We, together, can find a way to endure and even thrive.
This is the work that needs doing, toward the values that guide me, in the life worth living, every heartbeat of every day. Through radical self-care, intentional connection with my values, and challenging myself to take risks and become more fully myself, I believe in the hope that I now want to share with others, and that I can become my healthiest self. Namaste and gracious peace on your journey.
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