Recently I had the chance to talk to one of our newest bloggers, Jessica Johnson, After only a few minutes, it was obvious that this girl is a rare breed: a mix of pragmatic drive and pure passion. Here's what she had to say:
Tell us a little bit about yourself:
My name is Jessica, Johnson. I'm a 21 year old, originally from southern California, but moved to Nashville, Tennessee, for college. I graduated in May and decided to stick it out here. I studied the entertainment industry, and I love how the various mediums within it relate to each other. Music and movies are my passion, but words- in any form- are my favorite. I love to make people laugh: I'll gladly look stupid to make someone smile.
Back home, I have a younger brother by eleven years, and he is my favorite person on earth. Having him in my life taught me how to care and love someone and how to love others and how to make world better to have a better life for him.
Growing up and attending a private school was great but I didn't really learn to express myself. A part of my experience in Tennessee has been learning the power of dressing to show expression. There's a power in being able to wear whatever we wanna wear- it adds fuel to your own fire. How you dress is so important to how you are perceived.
What is the thing that keeps you going:
My family. Without a doubt, it's definitely my family. They are always what brings me back, and who ignites that fire to thrive. My family knows how capable I am, and if they're hard on me, or any type of way, it's because they've invested in my potential.
Sometimes its necessary to disconnect, and is nice to have people that understand the need for space, but always have people that bring you out of it. Those are the people that keep my moving forward.
Why DOY and what did it inspire?
I found out about it on twitter. It’s not this really big thing, and still has room to grow; I am a really big fan of being a part of something at its roots. I started my current job started when it first opening, and being part of the beginning and seeing things grow and flourish is what I love.
In this early stage, it's still realizing it's potential: is it a publication? Is it an entity? We NEED this and we are all so different and were able to find this one commonality, like moths to light.
At the end of the day, I have a voice, what do I want to be using it for? After college it is so easy to feel lacking in a purpose- DOY is fulfilling. It is an honor to work on it.
Ten years from now what do you want to be looking back on?
I want to have improved on how I take care of and love myself, to be not so self-destructive when things aren’t great, which is SO easy for over-emotional people to do. I am my own worst enemy at times- which I think we all go through. I am realizing now that if I don’t love myself, no one else will PROPERLY. Self-love is the root: if I can do that, then I know I will go where I need to go.
Having the vulnerability to fall in love with someone that treats me the right way and liking someone that truly and honestly cares, is another thing. If I can give that, why don’t I think I deserve the same? If I see other women as goddesses, why can’t I see the goddess in me?
And that plays into me wanting to see women more successful or different stages and not feel bad, but instead feeling the empowerment. I want to get over the feeling like I’m losing: I need to realize and accept that people have different timelines.
I want to look back and see the whole "this is what you were waiting for" moment. I'm fully aware there will be a lot of sacrifices, but I know that God has a plan for me no matter the struggle or how grim the world is. It’s tough to think ten years from now when it doesn’t even feel like there will be a tomorrow at times.
What or who is your biggest inspiration:
This is such a hard question for me to answer, because I've never been a one-source person. I'm inspired from movies and books that motivate me. People affect me in different ways, so it’s hard to pinpoint a different person.
I am inspired by life itself: walking down the street and seeing the sky or a sunset. It's cliche, but it's the little things. They speak volumes- wind in the trees, stars in the city- little miracles. What piece of creation God puts in front of me.
Do you think there’s a missing link in the message of girl power and female empowerment?
YES! Girls can be power hungry too. I am all for the message that girls can be empowered, but we are all humans and the whole point of this fight is to ensure equality for everyone. We have the message, but the delivery and implementation are going to be what really changes things.
What is the thing you are most proud of yourself?
Moving far away to go to school. Knowing that I am an introvert and still took a huge leap and placed a bunch of trust into God, to be able to move away from a place I lived my whole life. I mean, I graduated from a small Christian private school of 30 kids in my graduating class. Leaving everything I've known and figuring out myself.
The biggest thing was CHOOSING to love God instead of being obligated. As humans, we NEED a foundation or we will fall for anything. No roots? No direction. You will not feel fully like you unless you have support for your heart and mind. We all need some sort of backbone. Humans need something to believe in, choosing God was mine. It is my foundation for success- for everything.
I'm a 24 year-old entrepreneur living in Orlando, FL. I'm a muslim-american-cat mom, and I firmly believe that the meaning of life is all about the little things.