As one of Dream On Youth’s newest bloggers, we want to know more about the girl behind the words. What can you tell us about yourself? What are you most passionate about?
My name is Jackie Calloway, I am twenty-four years old living in Florida, the Sunshine State. I have two cats and a boyfriend. I have a thing for learning languages because I feel communication is such a crucial and important thing in human relationships. Even in my family, growing up, not everyone’s first language was english. I grew up with eight siblings of all different races and it taught me to appreciate the differences of others. Becoming a Muslim-American convert also was a big factor in my life. I strongly believe that it’s important to be nice to people, to be good, to become more involved, and to help others.
Communication is super important to you, was that a major factor as to what made you want to be a part of DOY? What do you enjoy writing about?
Over the years, I’ve struggled to find my voice as a writer, but felt compelled to apply for the blogging position. Then I realized that the thing I struggle with most is writing about myself. If I can work on that, then people can read it so that someone with struggles just like mine, can relate as well. I enjoy writing about things that people don’t normally want to read. We’re always looking for a happy ending, but how often do we really get that? I enjoy writing about things that makes people FEEL something. I want people to feel what they feel. I just wrote an article about the Las Vegas shooting. I hated writing it, but it’s something that I felt needed to be written. For me, writing isn’t necessary, but I feel that I I’m obligated to say something.
How did you find and what drew you to DOY?
I first saw it from a friend who told me to check out this tweet about it on Twitter. When you’re in high school, I realized that it’s a very formable time in a girl’s life. When I was in high school, I didn’t have any sense of self-worth and wasn’t existentially motivated. I was more outwardly invested. So when I saw their hashtag #SelfWorthWednesday, I thought that was so cool. It’s so hard to do, but it’s such a good reminder to invest time in yourself. It’s so easy to get distracted, but it’s a crucial thing.
If you could sit down with your younger, high school self, what would you tell her? What has these last few years taught you that you wish she had known?
I would ask her, “What do YOU want?”. In high school I was prioritizing the right things, but I wasn’t devoted to it. I would tell her to put more value in her education and herself. To enjoy the times where all she had to do was study and not worry so much about working. To spend more time alone.
You’ve changed a lot since then and it seems like you have a better sense of yourself. Has there been anyone in your life who has inspired you or has helped you become who you are today?
I’m actually inspired by a couple of people: my moms, my sisters, and my best friend. I am very fortunate to have so many strong, opinionated women in my life. While the world makes us feel like we need to get rid of that to be successful, they’ve shown me that it’s possible to be both tough and soft. These are the people I feel are always so ON it. After my best friend graduated, she started her own business, doing what she wants to do. Seeing her struggle, but still finding the will to keep going, is amazing to see. My sisters are younger than me, they’re actually still in school, but hey’re already doing some big things – THAT’s what’s up. The thing is, I didn’t finish college, but I have a good job. Do I know what I want to do? No. They remind me that there’s really no set timeline.
Growing up with all these strong, empowering women in your life, what does #GirlPower mean to you?
I see #GirlPower as our ability to do everything – we have all these different roles and duties. Struggling every month with periods, going to work when are bodies are literally hemorrhaging, going home to do all these crazy things – and still functioning in the world. Every part of ourselves is constantly being dictated by societal pressures and the world’s expectations – how we interpret that is so multi-faceted. However we choose to be ourselves is our war paint. Being a girl, finding whatever in yourself. Sometimes you hate it, but knowing every woman out there is going through the same thing – that there’s this mutual respect for each other, is awesome. We all want the same things in this life. Girl Power is about not letting others dictate what you do, but finding what empowers you and running with it.