Woman Wednesday: Jess I.


Q and A with Jess from Jamaica, living in London, UK

“Use words to build, not break. They carry energy and are more powerful than we understand them to be.


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: I’m Jess, also known as Dreamz She Wrote. My passions are many, but predominantly, I care most for words and their use in creative spaces. I also love traveling, good food, and good music in any order. I’ve been writing from as young as I can recall; I’ve always been creating stories and poetry. As well as being a copywriter, I am also a spoken word artist. In another life, I taught high school, passing on my love for words and all the wonderful things they help us to create. I’m currently working on a collection of poetry NFT’s and looking forward to being the featured spoken word artist at a micro festival on healing the self through the arts.

Q: What were your younger years like?

A: As the eldest of five, spare time was in short supply. I used to relish being able to go and sneak off somewhere quiet, usually under a table and just write stories or color, which is something I still find therapeutic now. I was lucky enough to be introduced to travel at an early age and, above all, I’ll hold this as something sacred. There is an education that is afforded through travel that cannot be gained anywhere else. I feel like I’ve kept my childlike curiosity and excitement for meeting new people and learning new things because of my early travel adventures. One of my funniest memories is being in a chalet in Andorra on Christmas Day and having no other option than to slide down the icy road on our bums to get to the cabin at the bottom of the hill where dinner was being served. Of course, we were all wearing our salopettes, so no ice-burnt bottoms.

Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: I feel it’s really important that no one tries to fit into anyone else’s idea of who they should be. I have always been the ‘quirky’ one; I like books and films and rarely watch TV. I have adult coloring books and turquoise hair and all of these things make me feel comfortably like myself and I think that is really important. Being comfortable with who you are and what you like is powerful.

Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: Feminism, to me, is understanding how to comfortably be a woman in my own right, knowing that I have a special type of magic that may make others fearful. It means understanding that my femininity doesn’t have to be defined by anyone’s standards but my own and that as well as (and not despite) being a woman, I am also many other things.

MORE FROM JESS: If I could leave this world with anything valuable, I’d leave it with this: Use words to build, not break. They carry energy and are more powerful than we understand them to be.

Let’s get in touch! Contact me via:

Copy Is King

Thank you for reading!

Woman Wednesday: JoAnn


Q and A with JoAnn
from Sicily, Italy, living in Georgian Bay, Canada

“A theme that I include in my novel is that of the immigrant experience, the struggle, and prejudice experienced by many hardworking new immigrants.”


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: I had never held a book in my hands until my family immigrated to Canada from Sicily in 1957. There were no libraries in our small Sicilian village in the 50s, and my family could not afford books. I was seven, so I was placed into first grade, and by the end of the year, I could speak and read some English. In grade three, my class was allowed to walk to a nearby library where we were allowed to borrow three books. The books suggested by the librarian were very thin children’s books. I would take three home, read them the same night, then wait patiently for two weeks to go by so I could go back to the library and bring home three more. That’s when I developed my passion for reading, which also inspired me to write. My other interests are baking and gardening, both of which require reading, whether you want to bake some really delicious scones or learn how to grow beautiful flowers. I have been a freelance journalist for many years, but I only recently published my first novel, A Scarcity of Virgins. It is a women’s novel with a feminist bent, that incorporates the immigrant experience as a backdrop since it is so much a part of me. I have almost completed a second novel, Island of the Vespers, a historical romance that takes place in Sicily during the 1860 unifications wars led by Giuseppe Garibaldi.


Q: What were your younger years like?

A: In elementary school, my favorite subject was composition, and I remember my grade-four teacher being so impressed by a story I had written, that he passed it around among the other teachers, much to my embarrassment. It was a silly story about a bear that attacked a hunter, but instead of eating the hunter, the bear preferred the hunter’s honey sandwiches. For some reason, my teacher thought it was hilarious. I thought, if my grade-four teacher liked my writing, maybe writing was something I should do. So, I always wrote stories at home for my own pleasure and had a diary going, even into my late teens. My parents didn’t speak English, so on parents’ night when kids were supposed to stay home, I had to accompany my parents to the school to translate. Because of that, and because of all the children of Italian immigrants that were enrolling in our school, I became the school’s official translator assisting teachers who wanted to communicate with the parents. My decision to study modern languages in university stems from this experience.


Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: In spite of the women’s liberation movement, which was at its height in the 60s and 70s, many women of my era remained mired in patriarchal and misogynistic traditions. Fifty years later, it continues to exist. I just recently watched a series entitled Maid, based on a true story, a contemporary story, and was saddened to see how women are still treated badly, and how much they have to struggle. Even though my novel, A Scarcity of Virgins, takes place in the 80s, the subject matter, which includes, marriage, family, patriarchy, misogyny, feminism, fidelity and infidelity, is still relevant today. Women cannot allow themselves to be used and abused by men and are often unfairly disqualified from jobs or social assistance. Additionally, a theme that I include in my novel is that of the immigrant experience, the struggle, and prejudice experienced by many hard-working new immigrants.


Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: To me, feminism means the freedom to be ourselves, without fear of reprimand or retaliation, without physical or emotional abuse. It means being able to have control of our own lives, and most importantly, having equal rights and opportunities, without the consideration of gender.

MORE FROM JOANN: I lived my early years in Toronto, Canada, where I studied, married, worked, and raised my three children. After retirement, I moved farther north to enjoy country life on the shores of Georgian Bay. I am so happy that I was able to combine the launch of my first novel, A Scarcity of Virgins, with my mother’s 106th birthday on October 23rd. We had to have two separate cakes, of course!

Book to order: amazon.com/author/jo-annwrites

Website: joanncatania.com

Facebook: JoAnnCatania2

Twitter: JoAnnCatania1

Instagram: joanncatania1


Thank you for reading!

I’d love to connect with you! 🙂

Woman Wednesday: Lauren T.


Q and A with Lauren T., Milford, CT

You deserve to have happiness. Sometimes, that may mean facing pain to make it to the other side of the rainbow.”


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: I love reading, traveling, learning about mindset, being with my dog, trying new recipes, and also being with my family and my partner. Walks on the beach or gazing at the stars has always fascinated me. I like adventures as much as I like quiet nights at home curled up on the couch and watching a suspenseful film (preferably with my own bowl of popcorn!). I am passionate about writing, which is what I am currently working on. I used to do affiliate marketing within the health and wellness field. However, I found myself dissatisfied. I knew I had a higher calling, so I hired a purpose development coach to help formulate my purpose (which ties into my upbringing).


Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I grew up as the middle child in my family. I often felt unnoticed between my older sister and younger brother. I suppose it did not help that he was born exactly on my 5th birthday. Having to share my birthday led to bitterness and a sense that maybe I didn’t deserve a day all about me. My parents often fought and I acted as a mediator. However, that often backfired as no one took me seriously. School was very challenging because I was extremely shy. It was difficult to make friends, and the “cool” kids would sometimes make fun of me (my mom used to cut my bangs and did a horrible job…). I turned to focusing on my appearance. That I could control. I felt unloved on the inside and was desperate for attention. My life forever changed when I was 14 years old. I was hospitalized for depression and anorexia. But what really transformed my life was when a nurse came wheeling over an old book cart. Instead of handing me a book, she handed me a journal. And so, I wrote away my pain, shared my deepest secrets. I spilled my heart onto paper. It opened up a portal where I could give my heart a voice. Little did I know how big that portal would become. After I was released home, I continued journaling. I began writing inspirational messages and poems to others. I loved being a gateway to their soul where I could bring joy and self reflection. 21 years later, I’ve held on to the same dream, which is helping others express themselves through writing…to serve how I serve best, which is through pen and paper.


Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: You can conquer limiting beliefs. Hang in there because you are strong, beautiful, and powerful. I believe in you. I found myself in a mentally abusive relationship for 6 years that turned into a marriage. I didn’t think I was worthy of someone, something better. I was made to feel so low that it seemed like I truly would never find happiness. It took one person to plant the seed, “Why can’t you be happy?” That thought ate away at me, and it was like I began seeing my life and relationship with a different lens. One day, I asked for a divorce, unplanned, but something inside me was screaming it. Never forget you are in control of your life. You deserve to have happiness. Sometimes, that may mean facing pain to make it to the other side of the rainbow.


Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: Seeking compassion and collaboration instead of comparison. Standing up for yourself and knowing your self-worth despite anything else. We (us fellow women) are all super unique and strong.


MORE FROM LAUREN: I left my job that treated me disrespectfully and I would not let it compromise my values. So, here I am, full-time creative copywriter coach.





Thank you for reading!

I’d love to connect with you! 🙂

Thoughts, questions, or comments?

Let us know! Comment below! 🙂

Woman Wednesday: Elaine T.


Q and A with Elaine T., Nassau, Bahamas

“I have learned to never ignore your passion. When you are walking in your purpose, your passion will indeed bring value to those you are meant to serve.”


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: I am passionate about the art of writing. My father took the television away from my siblings and I when we were very young. We were only allowed to read books! Because of this, I am familiar with what a good book is comprised of! This love for reading sparked my imagination and also generated a love for writing. I like to think of my writing as a divine energy that travels from the spiritual realm and into the physical through the portal of my fingers. This is why I started Authors in Action. Through courses, coaching, and ghostwriting, we help our clients to achieve their author potential through the power of self-publishing. I absolutely love the look of pure excitement on my clients’ faces when they hold their book in their hands for the first time. Watching them experience that “I can’t believe I did this!” moment is special and beyond uplifting. I was motivated to start Authors in Action due to the many who wanted to become published authors. I’m currently working on separating my coaching and ghostwriting into two separate entities. I have decided to do this because my ghostwriting packages are the most popular. Lots of executives, pastors, founders, etc. have amazing skills and knowledge that need to be shared with the world; however, they don’t have time to write! It brings me joy to help them be able to add another stream of income to their dynasty, share their knowledge, and achieve their goal of becoming a published author.


Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I grew up on books. I did not experience television until about four years ago. My school years consisted of my classmates laughing hysterically whenever I admitted that my family and I didn’t have a television. Yes, it was embarrassing, but now I am grateful. I didn’t experience being on the computer unsupervised until my senior high school days back in 2003. These were days when my mom allowed us to sneak in an hour or two whenever my dad was at work. Thanks Mummy! I loved shows like Desperate Housewives, Downton Abbey, and later on a series called Revenge. I still loved books. I will always embrace a good book. My favorite childhood authors were Enid Blyton, Ronald Dahl, Anne Martin, and Carolyn Keene. These authors took me on many memorable journeys through my imagination. This creativity translated across into my writing and gave me a new found love and a unique way to express myself. In addition to reading, I did professional ballet classes. My father says this was one of the hobbies I took extremely seriously. Many may not know that I have completed the American Academy of Ballet Examinations with mostly gold medals straight up to level twelve which is pointe work. I was trained through Virtue Dance Academy in The Bahamas and was judged once a year by The American Academy of Ballet. This was the perfect school for me as they did acting and Christian stage performance also. Dance and writing are similar for me as I consider them both to be a presentation of energy flowing from another world into reality.


Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: I have learned to never ignore your passion. My passion has always been writing; however, I was encouraged by a guidance counselor to pick a more “realistic” career. I was told that I would not be able to make a living if I chose the path of writing. My income so far for the month of March 2021 is 9k. May I add that the month isn’t over yet (as I’m writing this). I would like to encourage you to trust your passion. Money should never be the driving force behind what it is you choose to do; however, when you are walking in your purpose, your passion will indeed bring value to those you are meant to serve. As long as you bring about an outstanding result, wealth will follow. Why? Because people will indeed pay you for the results you are able to give them. You will absolutely give excellent results if you are passionate about what you do. No matter how small your dream seems, still pursue it. You may not see the full vision at first, but eventually, you will come to discover that your passion is connected to your purpose. Trust the passion God gave you. It is He who will use it to achieve His purpose for your life.


Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: I believe a woman can be independent; however, having a partner is valuable. I have always found the concept of teamwork beautiful—one team working towards one goal. I feel a husband and wife who are two whole people walking in their purpose and impacting the world together is a force to be reckoned with. Respect, love, empowerment and bravery of both parties is crucial. At the end of the day, we are all human beings—none better than the other. If a husband and wife are stuck on a deserted island, they both need to operate as a team to survive. His strength is needed to build a shelter. Her endurance is valuable when hunting food. Each has brought something unique to the table. Each has something different yet valuable to offer. Both are equally great because both have something exceptional to offer. Yes, some may say you can do it alone, but I am a huge fan of teamwork and so, this is where I stand on the subject. It is possible alone, but it is even better using teamwork. This is just my opinion and how I feel although many may disagree.


MORE ABOUT ELAINE:

I was born and raised in Nassau, Bahamas. I absolutely love island hopping and visiting our local resorts. I have two sons—ages seven and four. They both adore cars, Amazon, and taking long drives. The eldest hates reading while the youngest began reading at the age of two and loves it. Like all kids, they are both different but equally special.

Thank you for reading!

I’d love to connect with you! 🙂

Thoughts, questions, or comments?

Let us know! Comment below! 🙂


Woman Wednesday: Mecyll

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.         


Q and A with Mecyll, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany

“My family struggled financially so much that we reached the point where we had to mix rice with used oil, soy sauce, or salt just to have a flavor. From breakfast, lunch, and dinner, we varied what “flavoring” would we add to the rice. It was a hard life. Buying a kilo of rice and a can of milk for the family were already big hurdles for my parents. At the time, I didn’t have enough notebooks for the next school year. As someone under constant pressure to be a straight-A student to please my parents, I had to get notebooks.” 

 

 Q: What are you passionate about?

A: First of all, I love to create. A crazy one—I’m someone who loves to challenge the status quo. I think I was born to make something unique, creative, and unusual. These depict my works, whether writing fiction (I write stories on Wattpad), making notebooks, or creating other forms of art like painting. If you saw one of my works, you could instantly say, “Oh, I haven’t seen such a notebook, travelers’ notebook, or planner!” I guess this is where my talent can be seen.

 

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Pictured: A journal created by Mecyll. Click here to check out her Etsy shop. 

 

Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I always feel different from peers I hang out with. Ever since I was a kid, I had been distraught by the fact that I couldn’t relate to others that easily. If needed, I have to consciously change my character to not isolate myself from other people. At times, it becomes too much to bear.

At a young age, I felt anxious, controlled, self-loathing, and depressed in an extreme way. Given the financial crisis my family faced at the time in the Philippines, I grew up in a hostile environment. And showing my feelings about it was unacceptable.

Introverted, I don’t necessarily feel shy or whatever, but I often find myself in an awkward situation, looking to escape/withdraw from other people. I find interacting with a crowd draining, especially if I have to meet them many times a week, for example.

 

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Pictured: A journal created by Mecyll. Click here to check out her Etsy shop. 

 

As a result, I turn to art. I love to learn new things I find interesting. Notebook making, for example.

Because of my inability to express my emotions socially, I express them through creativity. A creative outburst, if you will. Fourteen years ago [in the Philippines], my family struggled financially so much that we reached the point where we had to mix rice with used oil, soy sauce, or salt just to have a flavor. From breakfast, lunch, and dinner, we varied what “flavoring” would we add to the rice. It was a hard life. Buying a kilo of rice and a can of milk for the family were already big hurdles for my parents.

 

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At the time, I didn’t have enough notebooks for the next school year. As someone under constant pressure to be a straight-A student to please my parents, I had to get notebooks. Otherwise, I’d be doomed. I was 12 years old.

 

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Pictured: A journal created by Mecyll. Click here to check out her Etsy shop. 

 

At that age, I felt like I didn’t want to burden my parents anymore by asking for some pennies for a few notebooks, including the cheap ones. It felt worse when I happened to visit my cousins, who had boxes filled with nice new notebooks. I told myself, “This is how comfortable they are that they could easily buy them whenever they want to.” I know I wasn’t. My parents couldn’t afford them.

Looking at my younger sister who relied on me a lot, I chose to suppress the negative emotions built up and became stronger for her. I had to do something so we wouldn’t bother our parents—who were already in an absolute financial obstacle. So, I reached out to my aunt.

I shared my sentiments with her, who lived with us on weekdays. In turn, she shared her skills of binding with me. That was the first time I was able to bind my old notebooks, recycling my old spring notebooks for reference and binding the remaining blank pages together to make a new notebook. That was my way of life for years, until I finished high school.

 

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Pictured: A journal created by Mecyll. Click here to check out her Etsy shop. 

 

Fast forward to the present, I didn’t expect that the skills I learned from her would eventually become appreciated by others. As I explored the world of notebooks more, I discovered that I could also create travelers’ notebooks and other types of journals in my own version. Although I feel anxious every time I show them online through Etsy and Facebook groups, they applaud each piece I make, which is unexpected for me.

 

Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: Being different is great when you fully accept it in your heart. Of course, you long for social interaction and want to belong to a group of people; however, if it would compromise your character, your true self, for the sake of it, it’s not good.

I learned it the hard way. I had a lot of excuses to deny who I truly am, which lead to my inner demise. Even at present, I am in constant agony in every aspect of my life because of trying to be someone others want me to be. I beat myself spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally just to get out of the black hole inside me.

These are outcomes of trying so hard to make an identity that society finds acceptable. Rather than embracing myself, I chose otherwise, which was wrong. When you feel different, keep in mind that your uniqueness is special. From there, you can express yourself in art uniquely as well. In a way that is only you.

 

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Instead of loathing yourself for being so different—even in your marriage—show how unique you are in your own way. So as a word of advice, it’s best to embrace who you really are rather than trying to change yourself for the sake of satisfying the crave of social life. Be the real you.

 

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Pictured: A journal created by Mecyll. Click here to check out her Etsy shop. 

 

Many people praise my notebooks because they’ve never seen anything like them before. Some are willing to pay the high price to get them. Again, this business is an outcome of reflecting on the worst circumstance of my life in a deeper way. In my early years, I could have played a lot with other kids and enjoyed life in my teens. I didn’t. I wasn’t able to do it as part of a sacrifice to be the overachiever of the family. But look where it has brought me.

The pain got me here. The pain of economic distress and the pain of being unable to connect with other people easily brought me to where I am now.

 

Q: What does feminism mean to you?

A: I grew up in an Asian family, so I have a different view of how feminism is for me. So, I am not sure how this works for Western culture or for others in other parts of the world who might be reading this blog.

Where I grew up in a part of the Philippines, we have this stigma in which women aren’t able to express themselves completely. Our country might be rapidly progressing; however, not so much for our culture. Even in our own homes, the issue of inequality among women exists today.

I remember my mother wasn’t able to have a career or do things she enjoyed when she was younger because my father prevented it. She had to be a mother, not a single woman. There were expectations that she could no longer do the same things she used to enjoy because she had to take on the new role marriage cast upon her.

Where I grew up, only the men had the right to show how angry they would get or how pissed they were that they could lash out without warning. There, only the men have the right to do whatever they want. A woman, on the other hand, has to keep her emotional turmoil to herself and resolve it on her own. I’ve seen my mother and my aunt (who taught me binding) on the verge of a breakdown many times, but they managed to keep going with suppressed emotional turmoil. While doing so, they had to do their roles our society had assigned to them.

I guess we’re all familiar with a high percentage of women suffering from different eating disorders, self-harm, and other destructive ways than men. Why am I so familiar with it? You might be asking. This is because I, too, am suffering from these. For more than 10 years, I suffer from an eating disorder and have problems with my emotional regulation. By acknowledging suppression, it became a way to become stronger.

 

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For me, women have to urge themselves to stand for what they think is right for themselves. It doesn’t matter if you’re single or married or widowed. We can’t just fight our emotional battles alone and in a dangerous way. We’ve got to love ourselves as much as we can and be equal with men in enjoying what we want to enjoy. In my case, it’s my notebook-making that saved me. Otherwise, I would have succumbed to deeper negativity and worthless life. A life without direction.
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Disregard what other people say. As my sister told me this morning, “Keep yourself first.” I guess this is what feminism is all about. It’s not about the gender, it’s about the message we’ve got to share to the world.

 

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Pictured: A journal created by Mecyll. Click here to check out her Etsy shop. 

 

I’d love to connect with you! 

 

 

Thoughts, questions, or comments?

Comment below! 🙂