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Everything Will Be Ok...

7.28.2016

 #everythingwillbeoktour
Ok, where to begin... First off let me start by saying that marriage is tough and anyone who says otherwise is either lying or in denial.

I also want to make it perfectly clear that no one is to blame here. I could say it was my fault for never realizing how dependent I became on him... I could say it was his fault for never speaking up until it was too late... I could say it was both of our faults for not being cut out for traditional marriage... But I'd rather say it wasn't anyone's and we did the best we could.

Marriage... it's something I didn't give much thought about going into and have a whole lot in the last few weeks, months, years as it unraveled. I'm not sure if marriage suited me or rather, maybe I didn't suit it? I think the problem (maybe) was that I was stuck somewhere between traditional and modern without realizing it. As far back as I can remember I've been taught to be a strong and independent woman. You can do anything, you can conquer it all, the world  is yours to do as you wish. And so I did! That role I knew how to embody and so I thrived. But what happens when you get married (which is change enough already) and you move to a foreign country where you struggle to find work, make friends and just basically rely on someone else to be your absolute everything? Walking into marriage with some traditional expectations without even realizing it while making it perfectly clear that I had no intentions on being a traditional wife, let alone a housewife (not that that's what he wanted either). Sitting on the sidelines and watching in frustration as the person you're supposed to love unconditionally thrives in his career and you experience an overwhelming mixture of pride/resentment for him and pity/anger towards yourself is something I didn't expect or know how to cope with. And it happens more than you think, just no one's willing to talk about it. Trying to find the balance when everything seems and feels and looks so off balance to you that you don't even know what it should be like, let alone know if it's possible to restore. Losing all faith in yourself, confidence on the floor, feeling like the world's worse wife and still you carry on with a smile on your face because surely things will fix themselves in time and if you don't say them out loud, then maybe, just maybe they'll go away.

Then we moved again and I had such high hopes/expectations (you'll notice I use that term a lot and that was one of my mistakes) for LA. This will be our new beginning, our chance at that honeymoon phase we never had except that for various reasons, that wasn't the case here either. You can't fix something without really evaluating the problem and simply treating the symptoms... Everything seemed so easy for him, a seamless transition into a foreign country and yet I continued to struggle. I didn't know it at the time but I had been dealing with depression and anxiety for a few years now and while everything was spiraling downwards quickly, I only blamed myself (sometimes/often him). I remember crying at thoughts of old me and wondering how I had gotten to be the way I was now, so sad and insecure. I used to be happy and full of life... what happened? Was it my fault? Was it my marriage's fault? I didn't know how to separate the two that had become so deeply entwined. Who was I? I was a failure therefor my marriage was a failure therefor I was a failure and the viscous cycle just kept on repeating in my head. Thinking back, he did everything he could and man I must've been hard to love. He tried and tried and tried until he couldn't which given the circumstances, is understandable. Dealing with someone who suffers from depression and anxiety is rough but dealing with someone that isn't diagnosed and keeps insisting that they are fine and can fix everything on their own, don't need any help thank you, is even harder! I was after all, the world's greatest pretender and fool them all I did. No one had any idea just how sad I was, him included. Sometimes I think I even managed to fool myself but I'll save the details of that journey for another post...

So after years of trying, we decided to separate. Or rather he thought it was best we did and I cried and begged and pleaded all the while thinking that he may be right. We still loved each other deeply but the way things were/had been going, it was only going to lead to more sadness and heartbreak. He said we should focus on our individual happiness and not try to force us anymore. Can you imagine hearing that from the person you love? And what was even worse was that I didn't know what made me happy anymore. Sometimes I feared that maybe I could never feel happiness again to be completely honest. "But I need you and I can't..." I would whimper. Surely I would die. And then I'd remember how when we first met and were falling crazy fast, head over heels in love with each other and I was at the height of my independence/happiness I told him once "I don't ever want to need you. I want us to be to individuals that chose to be together because we love each other"... shit, fuck!

I can be so reckless sometimes... reckless and stubborn... reckless and stubborn and blind...

I am an emotionally passionate wrecking ball that loves and feels too deeply always. I can spend years building something and then in a moment of anger/frustration/sadness tear it all down. The let me run away before you can hurt me more and I'll show you, I don't need anyone kind of personality that you love and hate simultaneously. So naturally that's just what happened. It was all or nothing in my eyes and in my hurt I decided that if he couldn't try anymore, than neither would I and I'd just forget him. Divorce is such an ugly word. It's daunting to think about, let alone say out loud. It's like they want you to feel like a failure with a label like that one. I kept trying to decide how to say it best for when you know, the world started asking. I settled on "we're splitting up"... felt less invasive, less ugly.

I think I may have been going through the various phases of grieving at this point...  denial,  anger, bargaining (I won't even embarrass myself further by explaining this one), depression and then finally acceptance. One day I was wandering through the Rose Bowl flea market and it just hit me, he's right (hate it when that happens!). The ultimate goal in life is happiness and that's what we should be after. If it leads us back to each other (which I whole heartedly hope it does) then that's great and if it doesn't, it won't really matter in time because at long last, we'll be happy. He used to complain that I never listened and he was right, I only heard what I wanted to hear. Fear of judgement and my own preconceived notions of what was right and wrong, black or white just didn't fit our situation. I needed to focus on myself and rebuild from within. Then and only then, could there be hope for a possible us in the future (after everything I am still a hopeless romantic optimist at heart) if that was the way things were meant to pan out. So I put on my big girl pants and announced to him that we could try the grey area, separation... not quite married, not quite divorced, on our own terms and by our own rules. I knew then that this would mean a lot of uncertainties, a lot of uncomfortable moments so we agreed we would try this as long as it worked for us. Then I asked myself where I would be if I could be anywhere and he wasn't a factor in my decision making and the answer came up from deep within my soul, New York. It's the last place I remember being truly happy and fiercely independent. Something about that city just challenges you to be your very best and I felt like I was ready for that challenge!

So I'm assuming you guys have either read or seen Eat, Pray Love, well this is kind of like that but different. No Italy, at least not yet... Not at all inspired by it, just a coincidence. It wasn't until someone pointed it out that I decided I needed to reread it and man, at times it feels like it could've been written about my life right now but like I said, different. Almost overnight I had decided, Brooklyn and I would head to NYC! I had always promised him I'd take him to where he was named after and finally the time had come. I could feel the growing pains as I started to spread my mental wings and question my own ways of thinking, squashing the doubt and the insecurities. For about two seconds pity and sadness managed to shake me when the thought of the cross country road trip I had been planning on doing with him one day seemed to die in front of my eyes. Then anger (not so bad when applied appropriately) made me ask myself, "Well why couldn't I just do it myself? Wasn't dependency the root of my problem and didn't I need to fix that not only for my own sake but for the sake of any possible relationships in the future?!" And so that's how I went from being overly dependent to completely independent. Like I said, wrecking ball.

I decided this could be my chance to reinvent myself. To take the good and leave behind the bad because as much as I didn't like who I had become as Jackie Beale, new Jackie couldn't exist without her long and often painful journey. And the old Jackie Lugo that I had so desperately continued to search for, well I had to come to terms with the fact that she was now something of the past. Now I would be just Jackie... maybe Jackeline? Of course I did what most girl's would do under these circumstances, I dyed my hair, got some tattoos, packed my car up (and my cat) and headed east.

So anyways, that's the story of how the #everythingwillbeoktour was born, because no matter the outcome, I genuinely believe that everything will be ok in time. I have tears of sadness and happiness running down my cheeks as I sit here and write this all out, realizing just how far I've come and everything that it's taken for me to get here. It has been an incredible journey and I have had the good fortune of meeting some of the most amazing people along the way, each touching my heart exactly when I needed it most. And as bittersweet as this journey has been, I know that I can't have the good without the bad and I wouldn't be doing this without his encouragement. He always believed in me, even when I couldn't. I still have a long road ahead and I don't expect it to be smooth sailing but I'm ok with that.

So who am I now? I'm just a girl who lost herself in marriage and is on a journey to find herself again (with her cat), embracing all the adventures and bumps and bruises along the way.

Feel free to follow us along on this crazy journey of ours on instagram ---> made.with.love.by.jackie & jackie.the.crazy.cat.lady

>>>This is deeply personal and still pretty raw for me so please be kind. If you have no nice thoughts or comments that's totally ok, but then I'd rather you keep them to yourself. Only hope and positivity allowed, thank you!

***Today I am thankful for a newfound perspective on, well just about everything! I can really change the way you experience things***

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Beautiful Messes...

6.06.2016

 ^^^beyond excited at this point!^^^
^^^the spread^^^
 ^^^ the ridiculously talented oh so lovely dana^^^
 ^^^folding away like i know what i'm doing^^^
 ^^^memorizing indigo dye & bubbles^^^
 ^^^ta-da!^^^
 ^^^such a beautiful mess^^^
^^^my babies!^^^

Fabric dying is something that has always seemed a bit intimidating to me, fashion degree and all. Picking out already fabulously dyed and printed fabrics, no problem! But actually doing it myself... well let's just say it's one of those things that was always way too scary for me to actually do myself so I never bothered. Thankfully Dana walked into my life at one of my last gigs and her genuine enthusiasm and passion for all things dye and fabric related was so catchy that I got curious. It also helped that she had this yearning to further explore and teach herself and from that Warp & Weft Dye Co. was born... and you better believe I jumped on that!

After months of eagerly hearing about her new adventures with it all, our schedules finally lined up and I was able to sign up for my very first shibori indigo dye class. You guys, it was love at first dye!!! This whole working with yours hands has been such a therapy for this overwhelmed brain of mine. Not really having any expectations of what I wanted to create, I just let my instincts guide me (and Dana too of course). Since this was my first time, it was hard for me to fully understand what my folds, the clamps, rubber bands and shapes would do to the dye or what the outcomes would be. I'm such a visual learner, I literally have to do things myself and watch the process from start to finish for the dots to all connect. I mean sure, she tried her hardest to explain that wherever these things were the dye wouldn't penetrate, acting as a dye resist... and I just nodded along like "yea, ok Dana".

Waiting patiently (or as patiently as I could manage while downing the champagne) for my fabrics to absorb the dye was pretty hard. When I finally couldn't take it anymore and decided that I didn't want my stuff to be too saturated anyways, I frantically opened up my projects and it was like my birthday and christmas combined! The grin on my face grew wider and wider with every reveal of my work. What I learned was that somehow my style was mainly geometric and pretty precise. Clean shapes, lines and patterns which was perfect because I'm not a huge fan of overly traditional tie-dye but that's just me. It was so great seeing how even though we had all done and followed the same techniques, because all of us in the class are so uniquely different when it comes to our creative visions, all of our things were very distinct from each other. And yet we all had a similar style within our bodies of work. And now I get it... I GET IT!!!

If you're local to the LA area or happen to be passing by, I highly urge you to check out one of these classes. The learning experience and creativity of it all was so much fun plus I got to hang with some really lovely ladies for the day. If you're too far don't fret, you can also pick up one of her at home dye kits with easy peasy beginners instructions. Intimidating, maybe... but the beauty of this is that there really are no mistakes to be made. It's all a beautiful mess and sometimes the most wonderful creations come from when we let go of that control.

***Today I am thankful for Dana and her amazing dye class... I'm a dye hard fan now!***

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Local LA: Poke-Poke

5.21.2016

^^^order at the window^^^

 ^^^food with a view^^^
Poke-Poke // 1827 Ocean Front Walk, Venice CA 90291

I've been meaning to share this gem of a place for the longest time and the time has finally come! If you're a local to Venice (and maybe even Santa Monica) you may already about this place, but just in case, I'm telling everyone anyways! Tourists visiting, listen up! When your'e strolling down the Venice boardwalk (which we all know you will do) make sure to keep your eye out for Poke-Poke, an absolute must have. The ordering window is to the side of the building so it can be kind of easy to miss but there is usually a line of eager customers waiting to order so just get in line behind them.

Poke is a delicacy that originates from Hawaii and consists of mainly fish, in this case ahi, which is marinated in soy sauce, sea same oil, onions and sesame seeds for starters. From there you can customize your poke since they make them to order which also means your getting the freshest bite. I like adding avocado and spices to mine but skies the limit really. And on top of all that goodness, it's actually a pretty healthy dish too so it's a win-win!

***Today I am thankful for the delicious and healthy goodness that is Poke-Poke!***

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Weaving Dreams...

5.20.2016

 ^^^isn't marryanne moodie just the cutest?!^^^
^^^drinking & weaving^^^
 ^^^her gorgeous examples^^^

I have a kind of an embarrassing confession to make but here goes anyways... I became completely obsessed with the idea of weaving when I came across Marryanne Moodie on instagram. I mean I fell head over heels with her designs, her use of color and texture, pretty much everything really. She was teaching weaving classes in Brooklyn at the time and I remember thinking how jealous I was to be on the opposite coast and also how unlucky it was that I hadn't discovered her while I was living in Brooklyn. One of those funny life things, you know? Anyways, when she started selling beginners weaving kits, I instantly jumped for joy and bought one as quickly as possible. And then it sat in my closet floor for a year (A WHOLE YEAR!) and that my friends is my sad/embarrassing confession.

You see the thing is, I had gotten to a place in my life where I was tapped out of creativity. Sure I could still appreciate and admire creativeness when I encountered it, but left to my own devices, I didn't have it in me to initiate the spark that it required to be re-born. I felt so completely frustrated with myself for not being able to just pick up the loom and start weaving due to lack of inspiration so I just hid it. Then one day Marryanne announced that she was going to be touring to teach classes and L.A. was on the list so I signed up without a second thought. I just knew this was the push I needed/had been waiting for (maybe?) and just went with it. Well I'm happy to share, it worked! It filled my heart and soul with the spark I had been craving, inspired me to the utter most brim and got my creativity flowing again! It felt like a dam had burst and I was finally able to feel that hunger for making things again! So thank you again Marryanne, you have no idea just how much that class meant to me!

***Today I am thankful I got the chance to meet and learn from the lovely marryanne!***

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Travel Guide: Second Line

5.19.2016

 ^^^look at that lil' guy!^^^
 ^^^street cart jambalaya^^^
 ^^^she had killer moves^^^
^^^parading past some colorful houses^^^
 ^^^wink, wink^^^
 ^^^could be related to snoop dog?!^^^
 ^^^people out on their porches to catch the excitement^^^
^^^the parade was in her honor!^^^

Parades and carnivals are pretty much staples when it comes to New Orleans history and culture so it was pretty exciting when we just happened to stumble across one during our visit. I say lucky but apparently they happen pretty frequently around those parts and so maybe not so much luck but awesome city norms. I briefly touched on some of the parade highlights in this post, but felt the need to include more pictures in a separate post of it's own so here you go! This is what I like to call views from a short person participating in her first second line... or something a little less complicated ;)

***Today I am thankful that I got the chance to experience what a second line is all about!***

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