32 – Pediatric physical therapist/business owner
My first impression of Jessica indicated she was a very confident and self-assured person. She carries herself confidently but is a quiet force. She was recommended this project from my childhood friend which made me happy! The word of mouth is starting and it feels good that from one initial post, the project gained momentum. I admired Jessica for having such poise and a positive energy from the get-go. Through her story, I felt admiration for Jessica because of the hardship she endured in her teens and her ability to turn her struggles into a positive force in her life.
To Jessica, defining beauty isn’t about the outward appearance we can all see. It is a feeling. A feeling of self-love and confidence. I hear that a lot in my interviews and it is a struggle for me as I know we are often instantly judged based on outward appearances. Jessica doesn’t discount that aspect because we are visual creatures but for her, it is about what a person radiates that will define beauty for her. She is happy with the momentum of the new standard of beauty that is coming about in our time. The standard she sees is strong and fit as beauty, not stick thin as it was when she was growing up. Being healthy in your body and mind is what is important today and Jessica celebrates that message. On social media and in ads she still sees a mix of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ but she is able to filter those better today. She will follow real people instead of celebrities that show inspiration, triumph, and achievement.
Like many people that I have interviewed, Jessica had a life changing experience when she was young (16). She was in a roll over car accident that inflicted severe injury. She had her head shaved and developed scars all over her legs. Going into her senior year, looking pretty was what school was about at the time. Head shaved and an abundance of scars didn’t make Jessica feel good about herself and she was certainly self-conscious. Jessica went to college and wouldn’t wear shorts in the summer in the valley because of those scars. It took Jessica 5 years of struggle to finally heal and be ok with herself.Short of a heat stroke, Jessica realized living like that was not the way she wanted to live anymore. It was a life changing thought process when she finally realized no one cared about what she looked like or if she had scars or not. Going to college helped her realize that focusing on anything other than self-acceptance, school, and her future was not worth any angst she had about outward appearances. In addition, she was unable to hide her body at school as a participant in the kinesiology program with requirements for wearing swimsuits and athletic clothing quite often. She had to shift her thoughts towards succeeding in school and not her body.
Although she has made the shift in her thinking, Jessica still deals with her own internal voice that can be mean sometimes and it can make her feel less than beautiful. Her confidence can be shaken with that voice. To compensate, Jessica acknowledges the voice as internal only and switches her thoughts back to a more positive outlook.
Jessica is a pediatric physical therapist so she works with children everyday. She knows that she can influence them positively so she works hard to only speak with encouragement. In her business, she won’t say “can’t” and doesn’t allow the children to say that either. She will quickly change the words to “Not yet” or teach them to say “I need some help today”. She makes a difference with children through her job by being a positive influence in their life.
Jessica feels she can sense goodness, or beauty, in others by their actions and the ‘vibe’ that others give off. She feels people are most beautiful when they are warm, present, welcoming, and positive. Even when first meeting people, she can typically sense who she would like to get to know better just based on her initial feeling. Jessica is careful about who she lets in her life as she has been taken advantage of before. She described her friendships like buckets. If someone is filling your bucket, that is a good friend. If all that person does is take from your bucket, not only does that leave you empty but it shows that friend is not really a friend. It should be a give and take. Her mom taught her to value friendships and to be open but to also not take everything someone does as personal. It is ok to end a relationship if it is a negative force in your life. She feels like the best way to be a more positive person is to keep company with like minded people. Her mom also shared advice that Jessica is mindful of, that we can’t control the things around us, we only control how we react.
Jessica is aware that we are most critical of ourselves because we are with ourselves all day. She describes her positive thinking and how she keeps it positive like training for a triathlon. There will be good days, bad days, and negative things will happen. But life keeps going on. How we manage our thoughts and expectations is a constant learning situation. We should allow ourself to feel those things but move away from the days that are filled with negative thoughts to be played over and over in our heads. Think about it, process the thought, then move on. Self-help books have been helpful for Jessica to get the mindset that works for her. The current book she is reading is “Feeling good: The New Mood Therapy” by David Burns
Jessica is showing the next generation of women to focus on other things besides physical beauty. She is showing them to be good people, be kind and be compassionate. She shows the children by living that example. I appreciate Jessica’s outlook on life and more importantly appreciate her goal to help children learn what is most important.