My fellow journeyers…today officially makes 52 days until my book is officially released and I couldn’t be more excited.
From what started as a mere thought has now turned into less than two months from all of us getting the physical copies in our hands.
The entire writing process was a ball of emotions, because as you may know, Jada’s Diary is heavily based on my life’s experiences. Insert Biggie’s voice: “And if you don’t know, then now ya know!“
As noted by my updated online persona and a few interviews I’ve done on social media, this game of life hasn’t always been peaches & cream. When I think back to just a few short years, I was in a much different space.
This photo that I took back in 2018 was one of my most liked, commented on, and shared photos up until that point.
It got me 825 likes, 21 saves, and a bunch of features on various travel pages. This photo was taken on June 27th, 2018.
Nine days before this photo I was raped by a man on our first date.
Wheww…this was the first time I’ve written this on the world, wide, web! Ahhh! :::exhale:::
I plan to elaborate on this story in detail, with a video post in the near future, but I brought this up because I am truly proud of how much I’ve overcome internally.
While this photo garnered a lot of attention on my behalf, I was extremely depressed & broken during this entire solo trip. I remember the exact morning of this excursion to Chichén-Itzá. It was a struggle to get out of the bed of the Airbnb apartment I was staying in. I remember crying and contemplating canceling my excursion.
At the last minute, I told myself I wasn’t going to miss out on a place I’ve wanted to go to for a while. I threw on the yellow romper at the last minute and ran out the door to meet the tour group. (Hence the reason why it’s wrinkled because I seriously was so out of it that I wasn’t going to go).
Since June 18th, I became a changed person. I wasn’t the same Jo prior, but I told myself the show had to go on. I had so many trips + life events planned and I just knew I had to see them through.
One thing I’ve always been good at is pretending. I’ve always been great at masking my emotions & true feelings. If you scroll way back to my stories highlights on Instagram to the one that says Cancún, therein goes a prime example of what I’m talking about. Showing myself having a good-ole time, smiling and living my best vacation life.
Fast-forward over two years later and I’m in such a better space mentally. Actually the best I’ve been my entire life. The biggest reason for this is acceptance. While I am not happy that one of the most precious parts of me was viciously taken away by a scumbag who used his power for bad, I’m grateful I survived it.
Some people don’t make it out of these situations.
Throughout my healing journey, which included a lot of therapy and self-reflection, I found a way to use this pain to serve a greater purpose. There are so many lessons I’ve obtained that I need to share with others.
This is one of the reasons why Jada’s Diary is so important to me. Getting a fraction of my experience out has proven to be a healthy outlet for me.
Another reason why I am becoming so candid with my history is that I want to remind us that is no face to hardships. When I first hinted at being a sexual abuse survivor multiple times in my IG post, many people came to my inbox & texted me saying how shocked they were & how they didn’t know.
People were surprised that someone, like me, who is smiling in damn near every photo, could have gone through experiences as such.
While I know sentiments like this might come from a good space, I want to let you know how harmful those comments are. It insinuates that victims have a certain look or demeanor. Please remember that everyone you encounter has and is going through something.
While it may not be as extreme as being raped or molested, we all go through things that alter our perception of reality and breaks us down emotionally. I encourage you to take a pause to respond in a thoughtful way when someone opens up about super sensitive topics.
God has given the strength to overcome a lot. This experience is only one of the many in my journey, but one thing I know for sure. I have been tasked to use my life’s experiences to help others. Point. Blank. And-thee-period.
We are not meant to go through life’s hardships alone. I’m being super-vulnerable opening this part of my life up to the public but it’s all good! God got me!
This is what I’ve been called to do and I’m super excited about what the future holds and all the healing that will take place as a collective.
And while it feels good to smile through life’s difficult moments, it feels a lot better healing in a healthy way & having support along the way.
And please always do remember…
If anything I said here resonates with you and/or could help someone you know, please share this post. I am committed to helping others and making stories as mine not be the exceptions.
Love you always & thanks for the support.