Where ya been?


I’ve received a handful of emails, asking where I am. So, I thought that, maybe in this brief moment, I would check in with the world.

Let’s see.  Last time I spoke, a dear friend of mine had passed.  I still struggle with this almost every day but I know that he would want me to drive on.  So I am and I have. Not just for him, but for me.  See, I haven’t been around here because I won. Really, it’s a good thing that I’m not around as much. I just stay so busy, living.

Here’s just some of the few things I’ve been living through and loving…

Doing hair

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Met the Penguin

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Started swinging metal sticks at the ground

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(I’m pretty decent at it, too. I mean, relatively speaking, for a beginner..)

Climbed a mountain..

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Alright, alright. I took the ski lift.  Big deal.

Had some Elvis sightings; in Las Vegas..

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Double whammy on that luck, there because I won three small jackpots.

Took silly photos with friends

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Hung out with two of my favorite people in this world

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Fell in love

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Got my first Mother’s Day card

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Got better at playing this game

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Won a skateboard

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Met Harold and Kumar in Las Vegas

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Shut up. In my world, they are Harold and Kumar

Stayed strong because the weekend was coming

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Slept in his bed

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Got new boobs, ate cheesecake, you know..the usual.

So I leave you with this. No one is going to give you permission to live, so go do it already. Get off your facebook, close all your browsers and get off your cell phone.  Go do something. Live already.

Hugs and Sunny surf,

Jessica

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Dear Xavier


Kiki,

You always made fun of me for liking country music, but you liked listening to me sing. You remember that million year old man who was hittin on me that one night in JR’s? I promise not to tell anyone that you went ghetto on his ass and flipped your weave.

Danny emailed me today. Warmed my heart and soul that I was able to give you some comfort that others couldn’t provide just based on a membership in a fraternity that neither of us ever wanted to join. The hazing rituals of this frat were just too much for you to handle and there is nothing wrong with that. I often wonder how I handled it and here you were, laughing, smiling and joking all along the way. You told me that you admired my strength but in reality, I’m not strong. I’m weak, fragile and scared all the time. You were none of those things.

I have to admit that when I see or hear someone say they live life to the fullest, I often roll my eyes because they really have no clue what that actually means. Maybe that is a subjective and cliche saying but if anyone knew what it truly meant, it was you.  I never saw you with one single frownie-faced wrinkle and I admire that about you.

You showed all of us in the crew how to live, laugh and love each other, despite our differences. You accepted all of us, no matter what that meant. In your eyes, we were perfect and in ours, you were.

I’m pretty sure that if you could see me right now, you would tell me to put on my big girl panties and git on with it. However, just like the song says, I’m not crying because I’m sorry for you. I know you are in a better place as I know the pain you went through. I’m crying for me. It’s selfish but it’s all I can do right now to let you know that you are greatly missed.

To the rest of my friends, family, readers and especially the crew in H-Town…make sure your loved ones know you love them.  Take that time to text them, visit them and hug them.    Sometimes, the extended family you create outside of your bloodline becomes closer than the ones you grew up around and share a namesake with. Nothing can replace that feeling of acceptance and friendship.  Xavier taught us all that. He lived for that.

Rest peacefully, Xavier. We all love you and miss you.  Keep it fabulous on the other side and when I get there, we gon’ need a kiki.

Remember 911


 

 

Eleven years ago on this day, I was working for Delta airlines as a customer service agent.  It was about 8 am central standard time, and we always had CNN or some sort of news station on in the back room. My co-worker, Tim, ran out and grabbed me from my computer and a line of people; dragging me to the back office.

“Look!” he exclaimed.

“This is no accident, ” he added.

I was in shock as I watched the first tower burning and listened to the reporter tell the harrowing story of how an airplane full of people just burned through it.  Several minutes passed as we stood there, ignoring passengers yells to be helped at the counter.  We couldn’t help them anyway, as everything was about to be shut down.  Tim and I were in a trance, mouths dropped open, staring. That’s when it happened.  We watched that second airliner plow right into the second tower.   I can not even begin to imagine what went through the mind of a New Yorker who saw this, as I only saw it on live television.  I know that, for myself, panic set in.  Panic, anger, disbelief, sadness, frustration, torment.  I remember telling a frustrated passenger that it wasn’t about him missing his stupid business meeting anymore.

“Go back here. Sit there for two minutes and get a clue,” I told him as I sat him in front of our little office television. I watched his face go through all the same motions mine did.  He just stood up, looked at me with sadness in his eyes, and stumbled out of the office. He plopped down on an airport bench in utter disbelief at the situation, just like the rest of America.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Less than a year later, I enlisted.   How were you affected?

Please at least watch one video. If any, listen to one of the calls. Feel the terror in their voices. Feel empathy. Realize how truly blessed we all are today.

I always tell my friends and family that I love them. Sometimes they look at me crazy, but at least if something should ever happen to me, they know someone in this life cared about them.

Never Forget, America.

No hugs and sunny surf on this day.

Jessica & Gertrude

911 Tribute By Joe Castillo


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Will I be Pretty?


Boobs Tatas gazongas knockers funbags mammaries the girls bosom bust bazookas milk money lady lumps jugs melons teats titties rack cans twins hooters

BREASTS

Whatever one wishes to call them, they are beautiful.

I haven’t discussed mine much in my little corner of the interweb, but I think now is a great time to do so.  I have the BRCA 1 gene mutation. I’ve made a choice. It has been by far, thee most difficult decision I’ve had to make but I like to view it as my final Eff You to canSer.

Women with the BRCA genetic mutation are at a much higher risk of developing breast canSer.  In my situation, my risk is a lovely, whopping 87%.  So, off with their heads, I say.

See, here’s the deal. Even as I write this, I’m fighting with that nasty, choking knot that builds in the back of one’s throat.  I run a tough game but as I’ve always said, we are human. We are entitled to our breakdowns.  Maybe I need one right now.

Anyway, going to these appointments in preparation for a bilateral mastectomy got me thinking.  Pretty is what changes. Not the girl.   Sure, I’m losing my breasts. My natural breasts. The girls that bought me drinks in college, make my favorite dress pop in just the right places, fill out a bikini and balance out that honkytonk badonkadonk that we all know I have.  I can’t even begin to describe all the emotions that filled my soul when the doctor was sizing me up for tissue expanders and discussing taking tissue of my beautiful back to reconstruct the girls.  Somehow, I managed to keep it together and tell him that he wasn’t touching my back, as I already have enough scarring. (Just like many other women who have gone through this before me.) Fighting with my inner self, I struggle between “yaaayyyy I’m getting stripper boobies!!” and “holy crap I’m losing the last part of me that makes me a woman.”  It’s like a little demon in there fussing with my head.  I find it ridiculous, as we are talking about a girl who keeps her own head shaved simply to disprove societal standards about the definition of “Pretty.”  (so far, I think I’m doing a damn good job at it, too. hee hee.  Besides…it’s a badge of courage. Rock that baldness out!)

I think what gets me through these appointments is thinking about the invisible footprints of all the women who have been forced to walk down the same dark, twisted, scary path that I’m currently on.  They made it. They’re still beautiful. They’re still accepted.  They’re still wanted. They’re still loved. Just like I will be and just like the ones who will follow my invisible footsteps.

I’m coming to terms with all this slowly.  I’m one of less than 30% already. BAM baby. BAM.  I’ll still be beautiful. Why?

Because “Pretty” is what changes, homies. ;)

Hugs and Sunny Surf,

Jessica & Gertrude

To Susan


I don’t even know how to start this blog. A reader of mine passed away recently. I’ve waited a bit to write about it because, well, I was upset. I knew it was bound to happen at some point, but didn’t think it would hit so close to home.

Often, I would receive emails or facebook messages from her, describing how something I said or wrote resonated with her and motivated her to keep going. When I learned of her death, I felt the anger in my body knot up in the back of my throat. That’s just how this circle works. One day you are chatting it up, sharing recipes and scarf tying techniques. The next day, that same person is just gone. No one asks why and no one asks what happened. We all just know. Time to go on with the day, knowing that person is no longer suffering under the blackness that is disguised in the form of dis-ease.

I went home from school that day and had my little breakdown. A good dose of reality is sometimes needed for someone to realize how lucky they truly are. I often sit at school and listen to the nonsense other girls complain about and smirk to myself. Mostly because I’m jealous.  Jealous that my worst problem isn’t how I’m going to pay for a bus ride to class on a Saturday. Jealous that Susan’s biggest discomfort wasn’t her weave coming loose in the front of her hairline. Amused  at how they think their eyebrow piercing was sooooooo painful.  Mad that they think pregnancy is a burden and sucks.  Maybe this blog sounds somewhat bitter but hey, I’m human. I’m mad. That’s it.

Despite all my little messy thoughts, Susan never complained to me about anything once. Ever. Matter of fact, when i tried to visit her, she didn’t want me to come until she could make ME lunch.  She insisted. Unfortunately, time wasn’t on our side and I was not able to visit her before she passed.

Her passing hit me rather hard and made me think about so many things. I remember she once wrote a post wishing she could travel and wondering why there wasn’t something like a “Make A Wish” for adults. This comment made my soul smile in a huge way but cry at the same time.  Someday, Susan, I’ll get to Santorini and I’ll make sure I take that photo for you. Someday.

Hugs and Sunny Surf,

Jessica & Gertrude

A Great Start


 

 

I’ve had an amazing start to what I hope to be an amazing year!  (Which is why I’ve seriously neglected y’all, my beautiful readers.)

Let me start out with what I’m doing this weekend…hehehe.

 

Ready??

Okay..I’m styling an editorial submission for a Chinese magazine called Studio Today!!

“But Jess, how did you get into this??”

Well, about a month ago, I started apprenticing under a professional make up artist. Now we are doing weddings, editorials, beauty blogs, seminars and fashion shows.

I’m really stoked and have stayed super busy, but check us out here!!

http://www.junebxu.com

 

Healthwise, I’ve probably been a bit better. Right now, I’m mildly anemic so I get tired super fast and very easily. Hittin’ up that CT Scan soon, but in the meantime, here’s some ideas to help YOU combat fatigue.

1. DRINK WATER.

Yep..that’s right. that clear stuff that really has no taste. Drink it.

2.  Get on a sleeping schedule

We are creatures of habit. Maintaining an internal schedule will help your body properly recoup from the day’s havoc and create a pattern of awakeness for your body to follow.

3. Eat better,

Gotta have McDonalds? Try a salad instead of a quarter pounder

4. Exercise

Walking around the mall and carrying lots of shopping bags counts, folks

5.  Laugh often.

Takes more muscles to frown, hence using more energy to be upset.

6. Get 8 hours of sleep

Chances are, if you’re having to hit the coffee pot every day at 3 pm, you’re not getting enough rest at nighttime.

7. Prepare for the next day the night before

Set out your outfit for the next day. Also, prepare your lunch (if you’re like me and take it with you.) It will save SOOOOOOO much time. I can actually sleep an extra 20 minutes because I do this.

8. Cut the caffeine

Try not to have any caffeine after 5pm.  Caffeine is a stimulant and will make your body want to be active and alert.

9.  Clear your mind

Stop worrying about things a good hour before you go to bed. Racing thoughts will keep you from sleeping

10.  Relax

Take a hot bath, read a good book, watch a movie…do something to relax and calm you.

 

Hugs and Sunny Surf,

Jessica & Gertrude

 

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