Category Archives: ABOUT ME (in general)

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Moving to Florida

I’ve got GREAT news!

I got promoted to assistant manager and I’m moving to Jacksonville to one of the offices we have there! I am so excited! This is THE MOMENT I’ve been waiting for. I’m actually in disbelief. It still has not hit me quite yet. Anywho…

I just wanted to break the news though! I’ll talk details LATER!

~JS

Been Busy As A Bee

I haven’t posted since like February! I was doing really good at the very start of the year too!

So let’s play catch up really quick. I’ll be getting back into the swing of things soon.

  • I started a paid internship with Howard Consulting and Investments..and so far I am loving it! I’m the team leader of a group of interns and we are in charge of public relations. Our latest project was a five-day charity event that was held at The Clubhouse (a place for bowling/mini golf/arcade. We raised money for the local Safe Haven shelter and collected canned goods for the Statesboro Food Bank as well as part of the admission. Our next project will be implementing a marketing campaign for a local restaurant called Manny’s Grille. Looking forward to that!
  • I am taking classes again. Taking 12 hours at Georgia Southern – two night classes and two online classes. I registered for them BEFORE I applied for the internship with Howard. So now I am overloaded lol! I just wanted to keep myself busy and also take some pre-requisites for a master’s in business administration.
  • The official website for my POWER organization will be launching next month! But for now, we just have the “coming soon” page up.
  • My sister Shanika and her husband Gabe are expecting their first child on April 9th! My niece’s name will be Samaura! Her baby shower was today but I had to work this weekend 😦 That’s okay; I’ll be going to visit them in West VA as soon as she’s born.
  • ALSO, if you read my first “hair journey” post, here is a photo update as to where my hair length is now. (I am so elated that my hair is finally past my shoulders again! I am never cutting my hair again! Also, ever since I went “natural/no heat,” my hair is definitely more full and soft.)

My Hair Vows

Starting January 9th, I decided to start appreciating the natural beauty of my hair and stop damaging it with chemicals and heat.

When I first started seeing the “going natural” trend of 2011, I simply thought of it as a afro/locs/braid fad that had a domino effect on I-don’t-know how many young Black women. Anything that seems like a fad to me – I don’t care what it is, I pay it NO mind at all on purpose. Sorry. I just hate to “fit in.” And besides, I’m biracial and my hair type is not going to loc up or fro out no matter how much I would have wanted it to.

But my little sister Jade (@JadeLeilani) and my cousin Kisten (@theProducerChat) were discussing “natural” over Christmas break and I slightly overheard their conversation. And these two gals don’t talk no bull-jive (lmao, yes I did just say bull-jive). -_- So anyway, I decided to do some research on exactly what all the hooplah was about.

Jade and I had checked out some YouTube videos on regimens and styles and what not. And I came back home that next day and started looking up terms, transitioning tips, all-natural products, hair recipes, and so on. Man, I had “going natural” just ALL WRONG.. ~~~> Going naturally basically means just to have a better appreciation for your hair and paying more attention to the care you give it by quitting the bad beauty habits. Even with that being said though, I’m sure several people jumped on the “natural” bandwagon (as they always do) because everyone else was doing it. But hey, at least it was all the talk about it that got me curious and looking into it, which is only going to lead me toward a better, healthier head of hair and a HAPPIER me! So…whatever.

In addition, I also feel bad that I have been knowingly damaging my hair day to day by (1) using sucky moisturizers I already knew were water-based anyway, (2) not wrapping my hair before I go to bed every night, (3) using high heat when blow-drying and using daily heat with flat irons, and worst of all (4) relaxers and color! Giovanni, if you are reading this, I know you are saying: I TOLD YOU SO! (lol) <– She is the one person who always fusses at me about needing to quit damaging my hair. My dad too. He always used to fuss at my sister and I for flat ironing our hair every single morning. Which reminds me. So my mom is Palauan and I used to beg her in middle school to let me “perm” my hair so I can have Black girl’s hair like “the girl in Destiny’s Child” (which was Beyonce). SMH! So I had my hair relaxed, hot combed, straightened, all of the WORST treatments and my hair went downhill from there.

Sooooooooooooo, here we are in 2012 and I finally decided to go natural. And what that means for ME is that I’m going to (1) stop using flat irons and blow dryers, (2) NEVER use a relaxer again in my life, and (3) going to start using real moisturizers, natural products, deep conditioners, and herbal rinses.

WHY? Let me show you how long/healthy my hair is when it’s all natural:

And this is how long it was a few years ago:

This is how short I cut it in 2010:

This is where it is now:

This!!!

I dont mind failure, but I don’t imagine I’d forgive myself if I didn’t try.

Nikki Giovanni

Fun Questionnaire

My family: IS MY ROCK!!!

My work: another degree; starting a non-profit org; and a full-time job for a loan company

My passion: putting a smile on everyone’s face, because that’s what really puts one on mine

My favorite possession: a gift from my cousin Kelsey — a Palauan-English dictionary (it’s sentimental because she gave it to me the first time we met and got to spend time really getting to know each other)

My hometown: Augusta, Georgia ~ home of the Master’s Golf Tournament and the Godfather of Soul James Brown!

I’m thinking about: whether my spouse is going to be someone I already know today……. (random I know)

Words I live by: “Take the I’M out of IMPOSSIBLE”

I can’t live without: faith, because without it I’m not truly living

I am most proud of: my mom — born and raised on a small island, sent herself to missionary school, graduated top of her class, went to University of Hawaii, got her Masters, joined the Army, started her own business, the list goes on and on!

What keeps me awake at night: drinking too much coffee during the day while at work (borderline addict)

One thing I never want to do again: disappoint my parents

I am guilty of: living my life on the edge 😉

Right now I’m reading: “Black Woman Redefined: Dispelling Myths and Discovering Fulfillment,” by Sophia A. Nelson

My theme song: “Closer” by Goapele

If I had a vanity plate on my car, it would say:  POWER

If I could do it all over again: High school. I was so sheltered by my parents and just naturally shy that I could not allow myself to fully enjoy those four years.

My favorite body part:  my legs

The food I could eat every day: sub sandwiches, ‘eat fresh’

My best friend says I am: hilarious (but that’s probably only because we’re the only ones who understand and/or accept our own humor, lol)

I wish I’d known: my biological grandparents on both sides… I only know my stepfather’s parents (<I also wish I had known my stepfather’s side of the family since I was born, they are really all I know… …I actually don’t even refer to him as my “step” dad! He’s MY DAD.) I do know a few aunts/uncles/cousins on my mom’s side (whom I absolutely love) but I still wish I could have gotten to know my mom’s parents and the rest of her family.

The world would be a better place, if only: if violence and greed didn’t exist

I’d like to learn to: speak Palauan fluently

Something most people don’t know about me: I have a serious phobia of moths -__-

The smartest woman I know: my mother is so wise, how could I not say her

My first job: was working as a Sonic carhop – FUN!

What are you most vain about?  I actually can’t say that I’m vain about anything

Whose diary would you most like to read?  Michelle Obama’s!!

Never… take ANYthing for granted

Always… give thanks!

Obtained from: Savannah Skirt


Short Story About My Middle Name

My full name is Jasmine Dikesela Stewart.

There are only two things significant about my first name. First, my godfather Tony gave it to me. And second, I am one of five J’s of my parents. My mom has me and my younger sister, Jade. And my stepdad has three sons – Jason, Jared, and Justin, coincidentally!

My last name is very common. It’s the 51st most common surname in America. Nothing special, right? I got it from my biological father.

Now over the years, I have finally learned to take pride in my middle name, Dikesela. First of all, it sounds weird – it sort of rhymes with Cinderella. Then, it is Palauan which is half my nationality. And most people have never even heard of Palau anyway. So it’s a lot to explain when “middle names” becomes a topic…

I was so hurt the first time I shared my middle name with someone. I can remember it like it was yesterday!! It was in the third grade one afternoon on the school bus when I whispered my middle name to my best friend Breonna in hopes that she’d feel special that I revealed my top secret information with her. Instead, she busted out laughing loudly and said, “That sounds funny! You’re weird.”

I was sad from then on and rarely ever shared my middle name ever since. Well, until recently, that is. I’ve been doing much more research about Palau – the language, my family tree, the history of the country. And then last year, I found something very special in my photo album of baby pictures. It was a letter written sometime in 1986, several months before I was born. I could not read the letter because it was in Palauan. My now late grandfather had written it to my mom. I scanned through it anyway to see if there were any words or phrases I could recognize in Palauan. But I couldn’t. Until the end when I came upon the last paragraph. And there it was in all caps: “DIKESELA.” Wow! My grandfather named me.

Also, a couple of years ago, I got the opportunity to meet a cousin from my mom’s side, Kelsey Isechal. She brought me a gift, a Palauan-English dictionary. So when I looked out of curiosity to see if my name had a meaning, I found that it means “lady of inheritance.” And I finally fell absolutely in love with my name.

Where I’m From

I’m from fingernail polish, from Soft & Beautiful and sweet tea.

I’m from the big pink house on the corner, enveloped in bushes of morning glory and gardenia. Trees full of peaches and plums. And grass covered in the crape myrtle’s tears.

I’m from don’t forget to call Granny and Poppy every Sunday after church, I’m from Uncle Nick and Jennie and Robbie.

I’m from the random backyard barbecue on a Friday night and let’s talk about who’s having a baby next.

From don’t throw away your vegetables when I’m not looking and don’t you know I’ve got eyeballs in the back of my head.

I’m from waking up to Mommie’s voice from the kitchen singing hymns barely at dawn’s break, I Surrender All.

I’m from Augusta, in the Woodlake of hills and houses, boys on the “green box” and girls on the swings. I’m Africa and I’m Palau. Sashimi and soy sauce.

I’m from the sister who wouldn’t hurt a fly and from the brother who got away with murder.

I’m from the chest in the living room that overflows with photos of baby bums, VHS tapes of first and fifth birthday parties, hospital bracelets, bubble gum, programs from our orchestra recitals, and postcards from Seattle.

This is where I’m from.

-JDS

(Inspired by George Ella Lyon)

#ConfessionHour

My “#ConfessionHour”

How do you read your books? When you read the Bible, do you scribble notes on the side margins? When you read your textbooks, do you highlight important details? Do you underline things you have questions about? Do you dog-ear the pages you find most interesting when you’re engaged in a novel or personal growth book?

Mortimer Adler (in his passage How to Mark a Book) states that readers aren’t owners of their books simply because they made the purchase. He says that most people believe that a book is sacred and shouldn’t be damaged with writing. And I agree because, before reading his essay, I also did not write in books I own thinking that it would devalue its pages. As kids, we are raised this way – don’t write in books you check out from the library and don’t write in the textbooks that your teachers distribute at the beginning of the school year.

But we aren’t in grade school anymore. And most of the textbooks we buy in college, we own. (Unless we won’t use them after we graduate, we have the option of selling them back to the bookstore or passing them to an underclassman). And the books we buy for leisure or personal learning, we own as well. So why not make them ours? Adler states that we are “restrained by a false respect for their physical appearance.”

Adler encourages us to pay respect to the author by really connecting with the book and says that the only way to do this is not only to read between the lines, but to “write between the lines.” He says there are three types of book owners. The first type owns all the best-selling books and they are all in perfect condition, barely touched. The second owns books that he or she has started but each of them most likely has not been thoroughly read all the way through. The third type of book owner has only a few books or even tons of them, and “every one of them dog-eared and dilapidated…marked and scribbled in from front to back.” He goes on to say that circling, underlining, highlighting, and making notes in the books we own keeps us awake mentally while we read, slows us down instead of rushing through, helps us understand and retain, and most importantly, helps us connect more with the author’s thoughts as well as our own.

Adler believed that writing in books is like a conversation. Without making these marks, the “conversation” doesn’t really exist; we are only hearing what is being said. But with writing and being an active reader by doing so, we have the ability to actually listen, reflect, and respond. This passage gave me a new insight on reading. And since I’m only in chapter one of the most recent book I bought, I’m going to start over at the beginning and really engage in my book with a pencil, keeping what Adler has said in mind.

After I read How to Mark a Book and thinking all these thoughts concerning books, my mind went a little deeper. I realized, Hey, I’ve not only been reading my books in a skimming type of fashion. I have also been living my life this way for the past several years! **gasp** I’ve just been going on living word for word and line for line. Page for page. When am I going to start living and not just existing? When am I going to start connecting, digging, and pursuing? Life is much like a book in the sense that we can either treat it like it’s just a page or actually engage in its bottomless wonders.

You might be able to change overnight the ways in which you read books. But you can’t change the way you live that quickly. Over the past several months I have been doing plenty reflecting – on where my life has been going since I began college and how different that is compared to where my life is going now. I am a totally different person mentally than I was one year ago. And that’s how life should be, right? One year, you’re “this way” and the next year, you’re slightly more mature and accomplished than you were previously. Well this is NOT one of those moments. This is bigger. I have, for a few months or so been thinking about teenage and younger-twenties Jasmine, as well as today’s soon-to-be 24-year-old Jasmine. It’s scary, these thoughts. Why was I acting like I didn’t have priorities? Why was I treating life like a breeze? Like fun and games? Did I not realize that no one can take me seriously until I start taking myself seriously??? Why was I searching for love and laughter in all the wrong places? Why did I allow myself to be surrounded by such nonsense? Why was I friends with these so-and-so’s and why was I ever even in “love” with those Mr. Such-and-Such’s? Why was I so naïve and letting people disrespect me, in turn disrespecting my own self? Why wasn’t I learning lessons, making the same mistakes over and over? Why was I treating my relationship with God like a book that can be picked up whenever I decide that I have time? WHAT the heck was I doing???!

I was skimming through life, wasting time; that’s what that was. I wish I could burn those pages and start over, being an active reader like I was raised to be. That’s who I thought I still was. Boy, was I wrong. At times, I wanted to change. I might have told myself and my friends that I was going to change. But those “changes” were, sadly, only temporary. Each of the times that I “changed,” I didn’t even feel any different. But lately, I’ve been feeling…well, “different.” I’ve been thinking thoughts I never even thought of and asking myself questions I’d never asked. It feels something like a…coming of age? Like a slap in the face even. I can’t stand who I was, all the wondering at times why I had low self-esteem. I have ALL of the answers right now, finally. And there is nothing left for me to do but to move on with my life carrying the lessons I have learned with me and hopefully inspiring others who are also drowned by the mind-frame of a young-minded, sheltered, naive individual. Or even the mind-frame of those who have no home training at all. But I’m afraid that most of these are things one must learn on their own. You can’t tell a young person a thing! That’s how I was. I was on top of the world with this false sense of confidence and no one could tell me anything. Well I am on a different plane of thinking and living now (and it damn sure didn’t happen overnight). And I also know now that no matter how old you get, you can always learn from someone or something, whether it’s a family member or mentor or even just a book. We have to stop comparing our pages to the pages of other people’s lives. Our time will come when God sees that the time is right.

You can judge me and talk about me all you want. That’s fine. It’s life. But you don’t know me. Even I didn’t know who I was. So you’re going to be talking about a stranger, an individual who no longer exists but in photographs and in our memories. But that’s what college is for; it’s not just for going to class or joining clubs on campus or partying. It’s for you to discover yourself or at least discover things about yourself you did not think possible before. Now that I have finally come to this realization and ripeness, it is FINALLY time for me to move on to my life’s next chapter: life after graduation this May. I am equipped now with the self-esteem and the readiness I need to truly succeed and hopefully inspire. I took my baby steps but I am IN the building, people!

(See Jasmine, everything happens for a reason and according only to God’s timeline for my life.) Thank you, God, for finally giving me the answers to all the questions that have gone unanswered for years. This gives me the opportunity to reflect and restore. To the friends who have been patient throughout my childish ways – procrastination, indiscretion, uncensored, and inconsistency – I thank you as well. You all are lifelong friends I will cherish even after college, for realizing my true potential even when I didn’t. To the rest of you, I hope you one day grow up and move on as well.

Wishing everyone success, love, and happiness,
Jasmine Stewart

Gave In

Ok, ok. Yesterday…I decided to treat myself during my lunch break. I gave in to the struggle. But I decided not to choose a color from my usual line-up of reds, wines, and nudes and go with something totally out of line: I call it Easter egg purple. And so far, I’ve been getting lots of great raves on the purp! One problem, if my mom does end up getting me a violin for Christmas, then I’ll have to stop with the upkeep again and chop them off.

And skinny hands, don’t I? Well you know what they say about women with skinny hands :-]