Intercultural Relationships

Monday, April 8, 2019

A: “Linda”...
Me: WRONG GIRL..My name is JAYME (Thinking did he really just call me the wrong name, we've been dating for a week)
A: “I was calling you pretty...Linda in spanish is pretty, cute, etc”

A: “Haina” (Pronounced Hi-nah)
Me:...DID YOU JUST CALL ME A HYENA (Thinking of  The Lion King hyenas)
A: “Haina is Spanish street slang for babe”....

This is just a glimpse of an intercultural relationship with a slight language barrier, we laugh about it now. I’ve been in many interracial relationships, relationships with socioeconomic differences, and maybe slight intercultural differences, but not to the magnitude that my person, A and I are currently in.

A is first gen Mexican, and I am a Korean that grew up in South Dakota with a White family. We were bound to have quite a few differences. There are the days when our language barrier, social norms, gender norms, Christianity & Catholicism, and about everything catches up to us. I remember we had a weekend where we were snowed in days in a row where it seemed like every cultural difference from beginning to end was popping up, including food. We couldn’t even agree on what type of food we could both make that was something in both of our households growing up.

Except pancakes. If anyone ever asks the “Waffles or Pancakes” question to me, pancakes have always been my pick. While A grew up with La Leche dripping off his pancakes and he learned to make them from his beloved Abuelita (Grandma). So that snowy weekend, Pancakes was the food item that made us feel less of a worlds difference, and it also allowed us to shop at either grocery store - because we definitely do not shop at the same grocery places...which that could be its own separate post!

So, we have made pancakes a weekend ritual. Saturday or Sunday you can hear the pancakes on the fryer, or when we don’t know what to eat, or can’t agree, pancakes come in for the win.

I still know/think/feel I have SO much to learn about the world. 30 isn’t a magic number into adulthood where I think I’ve entered this - been there, done that mindset - I hope I never feel like that. There are so many things I haven’t done, so many goals, dreams, and life skills that are still waiting for me to discover. I never thought I’d learn to dance Nortenos, or make tacos that don’t look like taco bell, or learn conversational Spanish and actually understand it. And I definitely never thought pancakes could bridge cultures and solve disagreements, but apparently, the theme of 2019 is, I am still learning :)



Choosing Margin

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Made it to Alaska to see the Bestie celebrate her 30th and to cross it off my list! 8 USA states left to visit!

"Outside of my career, I only love xyz"...this was such a common phrase for me for so long. For years, I kept saying I could only love a few things outside of my career, because my career took the biggest space in my life for so long. I hid behind it, like most ambitious (and insecure/haven't dealt with their ish) people do. As many (not all) are too scared to see if we could be good at anything else. That we could be capable of having lives that we do not feel we need to work to deserve.

Let me tell you, this is the season I've been needing for years, but finally chose to take. 2019 is a year of Rest, Roots, and Progress, and I have been practicing since December. At first it felt weird. Numerous times a week, I would tell home team member and roommate - "I feel so off...I want to rush and do 1,000 things to feel 'normal'"....and she would say, it's the shock to your system of leaving a career of stress, emotional emergencies, and high risks behind...Welcome to life, enjoy it.

And it's true. Nobody is going to force you to rest. No one is going to force you to stop valuing your humanity and self through money and achievement.

It's been such a humbling year, and now that I have 7 months of hindsight of what I was doing to my body, my brain, my heart, my relationships...I can't imagine going back to a life where I am constantly running myself into the ground.

I went from having 0 weekends free for 4 months, to leaving weekends free on on purpose. For the first time in probably ever, I can hear and see things without worry of "Am I doing / being enough". I just know I am enough. I am good enough, doing enough, being enough. And my enough may be a different measure to someone else's enough...and that is 100% okay.

Over the years, my career took precedent over literally everything. I missed my brother's wedding. My nephew's birth. My friend's funeral...All for work...for work I don't even remember, for days I can't even get back.

And this year, I've cancelled workshop after workshop. Even removed myself from a keynote speaker list to officiate another friend's wedding in May. I've declined projects to go to concerts and to attend birthdays and welcome visitors to my home. I've made time for family and the few friends I've made in Seattle.

These days, I am choosing margin. Thank God for home team members that have been blessed with words. KD, thank you for giving my current life chapter a title. I'm choosing margin. Choosing simple. Choosing little. Choosing what I do intentionally, and what I just don't care about, and not feeling guilty about it. I even started telling people who call me in crisis mode that they can set up an appointment with me through my side hustle business. I charge people for emotional labor - I am not your counselor, the person to solve your own issues, and I am definitely not your idea generator because you're too lazy to do the work yourself.

This season, I've enjoyed long drives. Walks. Reading. Writing. Attempting to learn Spanish. My work, but not the point of obsession. I enjoy sleep and water. I love, or try to love the growing pains of my home team and what it means to connect with the people we are today, not the people we were 6 mos ago or even 16 years ago for some.

Because I was "too busy" in my career, my bestie from high school / college has lived in Alaska for 7 years, and I had not visited her once, even though she has visited me twice in California. For her birthday 2 weeks ago, I made it up there. To see her home, the people who make her feel at home, and to meet my nephew kitty. I know I won't forget that trip, but that's a different post for a year when our parents won't read this blog - HA!

I just am enjoying the slowness of life.

My aunt, my friends, my family...said it's the happiest they've ever seen me and the wisest I've ever been.

And even though I am about to turn into another chapter of "busy", it's comforting to know I have a baseline of when I am leaving the margins of what I have chosen for this season.

Slow, steady, and kind. Here is to have Chosen Margin & to keep choosing it.

Open Floor Plan

Thursday, December 27, 2018

San Francisco - Spring 2018

This morning, I looked at my half full closet and 80% occupied dresser...with much space for more stuff...but also feeling like I don't even need all the space I have. A sweet reminder of how much space I've created for the unexpected and how stuff really doesn't make me any happier.

2018 has been more than enough for me, and this is how it has shown up...

I am thriving in my own skin. I listen to my body, and I am learning to rest.

I am loving God and faith without constraints of what it should look like.

Writing. I've had so much time to write and blog, and co-blog with beloveds.

Continuing sacred's and rituals - cousin facetimes, bestie birthdays, 3rd of July reunions, pageants over Thanksgiving, 4th annual Giants game, and a yearly hello email to all my former student leaders and teams.

Co working dates, daily starbucks runs, and new happy hour spots.

Got to officiate my besties' wedding; Saw Drake in concert; Traveled to Mexico City.

Hosted 26 visitors between San Francisco and WA.

Walked through the streets of San Francisco after a rowdy rooftop bar night.

Went go carting on the gravel roads passing through my family's acres on a warm July evening.

Felt the worn out moving boxes holding my belongings that are mostly gifts and the art I feel connected to.

And with who I've become and what I've done, this is where it has left me into 2019;

I miss driving on the Bay bridge into San Francisco at night. The lights were bright enough to reflect off the water and warm enough to make me feel at home.

But the green and precipitation of the Seattle sound is enough to nourish my soul, and I know I'm blooming in a season of what feels like starting over, but really it's just a continuation.

Love really does exist.

I also learned what it meant to let go of someone you have love for because that's what that person really needs...and also hoping the absolute best for them.

I like my grey hairs and wrinkles around my eyes, and the stretch marks on my thighs. It shows a well lived body participating in the life in front of me.

My smile feels so real; My heart is a direct line to my smile.

Getting to see the fridge with my loved ones holiday cards on it - each one of them drenched in memories.

I like moons, flowers, reading books that I bought so long ago, but never had the capacity to indulge in. I love celebrating. I like cheering people on. I love all the things that make others feel good about themselves.

I'm operating this next chapter of life like an open floor plan.

My family is healthy, strong, and very happy. That's probably the highlight of this all.

Experiences over things.
Presence over presents.
Humanity over perfection.

& Turning 30 this year, and I feel like life is just getting started!

South Dakota - Summer 2018
Seattle - Winter 2018

20 Years with American Pageants

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

2019 National Titleholders - photo by My Heart's Desire

20 years.


Besides a few friendships, 20 years is the longest I’ve ever committed to anything in my life. 2 weeks ago I was at the 35th Anniversary of American Pageants, formerly known as Miss Teen of America.


My affiliation with the program was in 1998 when my Mom convinced me to be in this scholarship program called Little Miss of SD. From contestant to honor court member in the Teen division, I went on to choreograph, emcee, judge, direct at the state level, and then at some point recruited judges for our state, regional, and national pageant.


This program has been my consistent and familiar long after leaving my parents home, it’s the 1 thing I’ve taken with me on the journey of a dozen zip codes from South Dakota (minus my car, but even she was put to rest in November).


The program took a break with the transition of leadership and I won’t forget in April of 2016, getting a call from our President that she wanted me on the team. I had just quit a job I hated and moved to my dream city San Francisco while I shared a home with 4 other people. I was hustling as much as I could on the side and in my work as a Fashion Design Advisor to live in the most expensive city in America (We had just surpassed New York City - Manhattan). This offer was a piece of home that to me in a space I was just easing into.


It is easy to list off the reasons why I love this program. From recognizing all girls and women for their achievements, the lifelong friendships, teaching girls/women that we are not each other’s competition - that we are our biggest competition,  the life skills - interviewing, resumes, and personal development...all fundamentals that are evident everywhere in our pageant’s history and present. That’s just the shortlist.


But I think it’s more than what’s on our social media, it goes beyond how it prepared me for a college essay or a job interview, it's prepared me for womanhood:


I text our President a week after the pageant that if it weren’t for some of the advice I had gotten from her and the friends I’ve made in this program, I would have settled in my life - in every aspect. I think I would have taken the first good life that presented itself. But that first path was not meant for me at 18 when I graduated high school, at 22 when I moved to Los Angeles, or at 24 when I finished graduate school, or now at 29 - where I am just feeling like life is just getting started!


This pageant has kept my character accountable. It’s really easy to cut corners and to copy/paste what’s out there. It’s easy to not be original and to replicate what’s been done. I would have made very different life choices in college, in relationships, and in situations that I could have taken an easier path, and no one would have known. But that wouldn’t have been nearly as satisfying. On this same note, it also taught me to take RISKS. To explore, discover, to find what works for me. There are so many paths out there, that this pageant family no matter what decision I've made (even if they disagreed) has supported my journey of becoming.


Finally, this pageant taught me to CELEBRATE. We get so caught up in achievement, that achievement becomes the benchmark in all that we do. It’s why I’ve felt devastated after break ups, dissolving friendships, etc. Because I’ve been trained my entire life that achievement is what matters, and everything including things related to the human heart has a formula for winning…and obviously finding out that couldn’t be further from the truth. And by all means, achievement matters, it’s just not the only thing that matters. This pageant is a reminder to pause, and to recognize how far we’ve come...and that we can achieve, list out everything on a resume, and so forth, but what value is that if we can’t appreciate ourselves?

My trophies, plaques, tiaras, and sashes sit with dust at my parents house. But everything I’ve mentioned here are the most valued things someone can say about me - that I don't settle, my character matters, & that I celebrate the achievements of others and myself.


American Pageants & our AP fam, thank you for a decorated 20 years. I love the way you’ve shaped my womanhood in every possible way.

American Pageants, 2 years in a row has been named Top 10 Teen Pageant & Top 10 Best National Pageant by the Pageant Planet.

Death & Birth

Friday, November 30, 2018


While November started off as a total sham...Let me bullet thy ways.

  • Got into a car accident, had to buy a new car, got a $1200 tow, and a parking ticket
  • Grandpa died, bought last minute plane ticket to South Dakota for funeral (It was cheaper to fly to Ukraine)
  • Found out a friend got cancer and then their little brother died...in the same 24 hours
  • One of my best friend's dog died, who was her whole world
  • I had 3 rounds of meds to get rid of my 2 month Pneumonia...to finally get better before Thanksgiving, only to now be sick again and breathing through my mouth like a Jurassic Park dinosaur...you can make fun of me, I know I am

Am I ready for November to be over? Uh yes. But with death, and well, adulthood - I can say that my life is truthful, good, and exactly where I want it be. And frankly, although November was a sham, it could have been much worse. Death has manifested itself in many forms in this transition, but it's also birthed a life I had never anticipated. A life that's been a subtly sweet surprise.

Here are some of my reflections from November, a month of death & birth:

Love
I thought I loved X, but I loved the idea of X. I thought I loved Y, but I just had mad love for Y. I tell Z I love Z, but that love has had so few hours on earth that only time will tell if that love will last.

Church
I reconciled the ways of how I do Church & love God a long time ago. But today? Today, I love the way I do Church...in nature, in relationships, in solitude, in journaling and prayer. In long conversations with those of us who grew up in Church, but have later reclaimed our relationships with God in a very personal and deep way that only God can really understand.

Priorities
Unless you are my Home Team, Hustle(s), Spiritual Rhythms, & Rest, you matter, but you are not a priority in December.

Address Changes
This week, I finished changing all of my addresses from California to Washington. Erasing CA from my address has felt like changing my last name. Knowing the best is yet to come, but leaving a part of your identity in your past - is a sad & seems like a too soon goodbye.

Decision Making Committee
I don't make a big life decision without mentors, home team, and essentially my decision making committee. But lately, I've learned that some decisions are best decided alone in a quiet room. I am my first relationship and I'll be my last relationship, best to make decisions that's best for her.

People I Don't Deal With
Shauna Niequist's book, Bittersweet talks about making a list of THINGS I DONT DO...and as counter intuitive as that is, it also helps me re gain insight to my priorities. But this month, I also wrote out people I don't deal with, because I refuse to do others emotional or intellectual labor, and this is separate from empathy and grace. But reality is that some people are looking for layers of me that I shed a long, long time ago. 

Practicing Hospitality

Sunday, November 4, 2018


There have been many perks about living in a larger space, and with a roommate (Cher bear) who also values the practice of hospitality. I learned hospitality from my parents, specifically my Mother. She is the hostess that makes a full course meal, makes your bed with love, and greets you in the drive-way even in a blizzard. 

In a season of recovery and rest, Cher bear and I wanted to provide that same experience for our loved ones while visiting...and we absolutely love it. 

Whether it’s our mismatched towels freshly taken from the dryer, grabbing blankets that have many stories attached, late night airport runs, getting people’s favorite snacks, bringing home fresh flowers, the smell of brunch filling our home, or the excitement of writing WELCOME _____ on our white marbled marker board...we love exercising the practice of loving others and doing it well. 

Our Midwestern and Southern roots have felt so watered welcoming, by the end of next week our 20th visitor since July. Twenty people who we have gotten to fill our bellies with laughter with, exchange mutual love with, and created some new memories with.

Our home, truly is your home. 

My 7 year relationship with California

Saturday, September 15, 2018

The Castro District - San Francisco

This post is dedicated to one of my longest relationships, my 7 year love of my life, California.

I wrote a year ago about how when I moved to Southern California, I was 22, scared, cried when my parents left me - this small town girl from South Dakota. In many ways, I am still that same girl, and in about every obvious way, I have evolved into a woman I am also proud to be.

Southern California was all about re-exploring the ideas and values that I was taught, and if they really matched me. It was about Disneyland runs, receiving my Masters degree, doing all the tourist things - the beach, Santa Monica ferris wheel, wine country, big bear, dodgers/angels games, and establishing my CA pageant family. It was a beautiful life, but I ended up moving to California's Central Coast, Monterey Bay for my first job post grad school.

Monterey Bay gave me the career I needed to define the type of professional I'd be for years to come. It gave me friends who I am so lucky to be officiating their wedding next month, a home 2 miles from the beach, students who I talk with regularly, and an almost reality show gig...Monterey Bay was slow, steady, and sweet. It breathed clean air into my life that felt polluted with personal mental health, my mom's cancer, and my dad going blind. Monterey Bay brought me to almost whole and it gave me space and community that held me when everything I mentioned piled in the same year.

But, like in every story, there comes the part where you feel this is the reason the story exists.

It is so cheesy, but I now understand the song, I left my heart in San Francisco. After Monterey Bay, I was looking for a faster paced life - filled with creatives, night life, and being close to an international airport for ease of travel. So, I moved to San Francisco.

San Francisco was all about my liberation of what it meant to be a woman...and a woman of color, and the power and sacredness it holds in my dark locks and my brown sugared skin. The light and energy that pour from my dark mocha, and beautiful almond shaped eyes. I was surrounded for the first time, with like minded peers & students who were organized and I felt like the student instead of the educator for the first time in awhile.

Despite the dramatic comments from family members gossiping about how, "Liberal San Francisco is making me sin"...Still makes me laugh out loud...San Francisco also gave me a great sense of who God is, what my faith actually meant and how it was practiced. It's where I started my side business, it gave me my first live in boyfriend, the best birthday parties I've ever had, it gave me friends who I consider family, friends who know entirely too much about me. I also came out of a job with skills that prepared me to move up the ladder in my field.

San Francisco was everything I ever needed AND wanted.

I've lived in DOZENS of cities. I have made places that felt like home, but as a friend said, they thought San Francisco was etched as my forever home. And all of these experiences have now spit me into the sound of the Seattle area. 

Seattle has been the easiest transition I have ever had, but when people ask if I miss San Francisco...You have to understand, I am the only blood relative I know, so finding home has been a life journey, and so I am going to respond as if I am recovering from a heart break.

This is a good life, even though I left my heart in San Francisco, I think rooting my dreams to bloom in Seattle is also going to be its own adventure and love of my life in its own time.

29 & Navigating

Sunday, March 18, 2018


I turned 29 last week and had one of my favorite birthdays. A friend asked what I had reflected on this past year and any thoughts on 29.

Here are some reappearing topics, conversations, frustrations, truths, and sentiments I am navigating into 29.


Bay Area Birthday Party @ Sunset Brewery
My Wild SFSU/USF Fam @ My Tarot Bday Party
Monterey Bay Fam Bday @ the delicious Sur in Carmel

Womanhood is not 1 dimensional: This is almost a duh statement. But you'd be surprised the interesting things people say. As a person who has people from church, pageants, politics, career, many religions, and just anything else random in my life, I always get the, "You're different in different environments...Like you can be loud and wild, passionate and angry, joyful and sweet, positive and salty"...It's true. My energy changes, but my values don't.

Because I have EMOTIONS. Emotions as in PLURAL, and depending on the context, I will exercise whatever emotion that fits. But in a world where we are told, regulated, and shaped how to feel and think - Raw or multiple emotions seem "scary" according to a friend. Scary to who? You?...To someone who cannot live their own truth and scared by mine? I will never apologize for exercising my emotions, but I will apologize if my delivery and tact causes harm. Womanhood will never be 1 dimensional, so why should my emotions be?

Life Paths: I am a natural seeker. I formally studied college counseling and student development, but also grew up with a piece of my history closed (adoption). I love to ask questions, gather feedback, and make my own decisions. As I enter 29, if I don't own a house, have a spouse, and some kids, according to where I was raised - there is something "wrong" with me or I am not a real adult or I am not honoring "God's plan" for human life. But as a seeker, I have been gathering feedback from friends who have a spouse and kids, a spouse and no kids or who have kids & no spouse. And as I speculated, all of them gave different answers. Some were ecstatic, some were happy with a little regret, some just wished that they had waited or that it hadn't happened at all.

I have a list of goals, dreams, and experiences, and settling down is on it, but not today....or for tomorrow, or even through the end of 2018. Yes, wild, but I am very content and happy...and I don't have a 5 year plan, a spouse, a kid, or a desire to own a home with lots of space...right now. One day, yes. But time will certainly tell.

Romantic Love: I have known for some time that I needed someone independent, who has their own life, patient, loyal, and adventurous. A collection from both my desires and suggestions from my home team. I have learned I will never tell a man, "You're my everything"..."You are my better half" ...or say "They're the reason I live!"...First of all, my life was/is full before my boo came into my life. Secondly, I had a life I created worth living for before he was established into my daily routine...Doesn't mean I don't adore my boo. Doesn't mean I don't value him. But I know when I love my life, I have the ability to also love who he is and what he does and what our relationship holds.




Advice: A downside of being a seeker is that I seek advice from my home team maybe too frequently...and as I have learned over the years, but heading into 29 is that I have learned to journal more and blog less...that a private life really is a happy life...and that some advice is meant for me, and some that is meant for later or never meant for me at all...and it is my decision in how I apply or archive that advice. I have learned that as I evolve, my life looks nothing like I predicted and definitely nothing how people think it should be.

And at the end of the day, if I died, I could say for what I know and have lived, my life feels complete.



I have 1 year left in my contract at work, and I am going to enjoy living in the city I have planted some roots in.

I love the cultural blend of lifestyles the Bay Area represents. I value that I can walk down a street and hear multiple languages being spoken. I love seeing so many different races and ethnicities, places of worship, and varieties of foods.

I have a deep and wide type of community of people who I am living life with. I have a life that is fruitful, giving, loved, and known by who I want to be known by.

I am going to live my truth.

I am going to live by the God I love and pray to and the route(s) God has for me.

Welcome to Jayme at 29 - Multidimensional and emotion exercising, skipping into my own life path watering flowers, clearing out the garbage, and shining my light to all who want to receive it...and open enough to let all the good people, things, plans, and ideas that are meant to land into my path.

Losing My Best Friend

Thursday, March 15, 2018

I am so excited to feature this kind soul, Ryan. I met Ryan when I was a Community Director at California State University Monterey Bay when he was a Resident Advisor. Although I did not supervise Ryan, we bonded over loving San Francisco and once he graduated, developed a friendship where we are able to talk about life. Ryan's writing is a reflection of his personality - warm, eloquent, and energetic. Read about his relationship with loss and with his Grandma here:

Hi! My name is Ryan Haynes and I am so glad you took the time to read my post! Bios are always super hard, but I'll try my best to keep it brief and interesting. I currently reside in the Bay Area and spend almost all of my free time with my dog, Boo Boo! Boo Boo and I go on walks, hikes, to the beach, dog parks. When I'm not being an overly-obsessed dog parent I like to read, write, cook, spend time with loved ones, do anything drag related, and express myself creatively. I work as an Academy Assistant at the Academy of Art University. 

When I was younger I would look forward to summers because that’s when Grandma Eva would come to visit. When Grandma Eva was staying with us everything seemed better; I had my other half.

In the mornings we would sit at the kitchen table together. She would read the newspaper as I work on my newest creation; a drawing, painting, statue, play script. I would always ask her for help. I was in awe of her creativity; her ability to add exactly what my art was missing, to make it seem complete to me. In the afternoons I would perform for her. I would make use of my karaoke machine to put on a show; act out all the parts of my play, sing, dance. Then, we would watch a movie, The Wizard of Oz, more specifically. I would be sure to cover her eyes during all the scary parts and tell her every single thing that was about to happen, even though we had both watched it together the day prior. At nights, we would lay in separate beds, in the same room, and talk until it was far past my bedtime. I would tell her about my dreams, all my secrets. I remember specifically telling her once that I wished I could try on wigs, makeup, dresses, and that I would love to dress up for Halloween, but I knew my parents would never let me. To fall asleep I would have her tell me a story. Her stories were always so creative. It’s still hard to understand how she came up with the stories she did.

When I reached High School, Grandma Eva moved in with my family and our synchrony continued. As I made the decision to leave home for college, the idea of no longer sharing a bedroom with my great grandmother and no longer talking with her every day, terrified me. Although, she was always my biggest fan, and of course, told me I have to move out so that I can  discover myself and begin my journey, and so I did.When I was in college I would call Grandma Eva every few weeks and we would catch up. She would talk about the current state of the world, how her doctors visits were going, how my family was, how proud she was of me, and much more, and I would talk about school, work, my friends, and adventures. We would exchange books or readings that we thought each other would enjoy. I could feel her love for me through the phone.


In December I graduated college and moved to Oakland. I had no idea (and continue to have no idea) what I was doing with my life, but my grandma was so proud of me. She was so proud of all that I had accomplished in college and all that I had ahead of me. She was proud of who I had grown into; a strong, determined, loving, kind individual; someone she always knew me to be. She saw that I finally loved myself. I always knew my Grandma Eva was the one person that I would never have to come out to, because she knew all of me, parts of me that I don’t even know, so when I casually mentioned my queerness in an email I already knew how she would respond.

In early January my parents called me and told me that Grandma Eva was diagnosed with liver cancer. I called my grandma; I cried and told her that everything would be ok. She assured me that she would fight it, and I told her that if things don’t work out that way, that would be ok too, and she agreed. I told her about a new project I had started. I had started to create a podcast, a sort of “New Years resolution” idea I had to produce something creative. She was really proud of me and all the ideas I talked about, and I told her I would love to talk with her when I got home and record her for the podcast; she was really excited about this. I headed home to see her a couple days later and her state had deteriorated drastically. I recorded some of our conversations, but a majority of her days and nights were spent sleeping; she couldn’t talk long without losing her breath.

On January 18th, 2018 my great grandmother, Eva Harper passed away. I held her hand and laid my head on her chest, crying hysterically, as I felt her breathing become more and more delayed and more and more shallow, until finally she smiled once more before her pain subsided.

As I slowly move forward in figuring out my next steps in life, a life without my other half, I have been navigating in a different way. I think of my great grandma and what she would do, what she would say, how she would support me in these turbulent times. The adjustment to losing a best friend is not easy. Even as I finish writing this, I wish my grandma was here to read over it, like she did many of my college essays. As I toy with the decision of going back to continue my education or find a job I wish she was here. As I have been struggling with my mental health and have finally decided to begin medication I wish she were here.

My podcast, entitled Things We’ve Learned focuses on reflection as a place of growth and liberation. Each episode will feature the narratives of myself and others, as we discuss how we’ve grown and continue to grow in different topic areas. In each episode I will also talk about my great grandmother; what I believe she would have to say on the topic if she were here to still talk with me.


Ryan with close friends at Brunch


Email: thingswevelearned@gmail.com

My body is a sin, my body is a temple.

Monday, February 19, 2018

This month's author, is my beloved friend Cherie. Cherie and I met when I was visiting Azusa Pacific University during a graduate school interview weekend. She was my host. Later in life, Cherie and I ended up working together at San Francisco State University - and besides our work, Cherie and I are kindred's in 2 ways - body image and our Christian Faith. Cherie was my Church for many Sundays in the last 2 years. You'll find her message thought provoking, beautiful, and gusty, and easily how I describe her, and how she draws people into her space.

Cherie Bachman has always had a passion for people but that has been expressed in different ways through out her life. She began her work in child care and then worked with college students. Most recently, she has changed gears in her career to work in clothing retail. This shift still allows her to focus on her love for people, but now specifically with plus size people in helping them feel comfortable and beautiful in their own skin. In the past year, Cherie was inspired to start her own fashion and body positive blog and Instagram with one of her good friends, Erin. They consistently strive to be vulnerable in their journeys of self love and excitement for fashion in order to inspire others to do the same! 

Two truths about me:
I’ve always been fat.
I’ve always been closely knit to people of Christian faith.


One thing that I have always been shown:
My body is a sin.

One thing that I have always been told:

My body is temple.


At my on campus job when I started, someone said, “We have a dress code here, you must dress in business casual. No T-shirts or jeans.”

After a couple weeks of abiding by the dress code, “It was brought to our attention by many who work here that the clothes you are wearing expose more than we’d prefer to see. Please dress more appropriately.” I cried the whole way back to my dorm and then proceeded to wear t-shirts and jeans.


My body is a sin.


At Church, listening to the pastor speak, “Now, ladies, you come to church with your chest all out just causing temptation and pushing our brothers to sin”...Is he looking at me? I swear, he’s looking at me.  


My body is a sin.


“Are you really going to wear THAT out? Shouldn’t you try to cover up more? You don’t want to be a distraction”...


My body is a sin.  


“I don’t think she is going to find anyone who will find her attractive enough to marry her unless she loses weight.”


My body is a sin.


I have been treated as if my body is a sin, immoral and pulling others into its black hole of filth and disgust. Having a fat body full of curves that peak out of my clothes, I'm constantly told that it's “too much”, and to hide my body. I'm told that me, just being, affects men. Men who can't seem to control their own bodies and do things and say things to me that I don't want them to do and say. I'm shown that my body isn't welcome unless it is edited by making it smaller or invisible if I can.

Cherie was recently featured on Torrid through her styling on @Thickfunandfabulous
When, I was living in L.A., it felt like everyone was thin and perfect. I whispered to myself, “You're either going to love or hate yourself.  What do you choose?” I can't imagine hating myself. So, I choose love.


So actually, my body is a temple, and this is how I know...


My mom gently traced the freckles on my back, “your shoulders are beautiful.”

Yes, my body is a temple.  


I reach for my toes, arch my back, stretch my hands high, breathing - Giving myself space, giving myself relief.

My body is a temple.


With the Golden Gate bridge as a backdrop, he pulled me off the trail and under a tree. He pulled me close and kissed me. My body tingled from my lips to my toes.

Yes, my body is a temple.


I have always been told that my body is a temple, that I should take care of it, treat it with love, and present it well.


My body is a place of worship. A place to be grateful, it has been a shelter for weathering my storms. It has been a shelter for others when they can't build it for themselves. My body is comfort. My body is love. My body is empowerment for me, and others. My body is beauty in whatever forms it has. My body is a sin...No, my body is a temple.

Follow Cherie's IG @Thickfunandfabulous

Self-Forgetting by Katie Koho

Thursday, January 4, 2018

I wanted to introduce my first ever guest contributor Katie Koho. You can read about my 2018 blog collaboration HERE. If you'd like to collaborate, please email me at info@jaymealexis.com. Katie and I crossed paths as colleagues at San Francisco State University. She has taught me more about myself, exuding light to others, and reminding me to bring humor to the work place. Becoming friends with her this year was one of my 2017 highlights. Read her story about alcohol recovery:

Katie was raised for 18 years at the base of a dormant volcano, Mount Shasta, and moved to San Francisco in 2009 to attend San Francisco State University.  She completed her B.A. in Psychology, and is now in pursuit of her M.A. in Adult Education through SFSU's Equity, Leadership Studies, and Instructional Technologies program. When Katie isn't working (holler, SF State ResLife) or attending her night classes, she enjoys nature walking at a non-incline and attending various support groups in the Bay Area.

I was very young when I first heard the word ‘alcoholic.’  When my parents decided to have children, they also had the very serious discussion of whether or not to include their children in their recovery meetings.  They ultimately realized that it would be in our best interest, long-term, to expose us to the not-so-pretty-bits of human life, because they wanted us to learn empathy. 

“What is an alcoholic?” I remember asking my mom.  She was a social worker and an educator, and she understood the importance of answering a child’s question about a sensitive topic. 

“An alcoholic is a person who has a disease of the feelings.”  She went on to clarify that they were empathetic people who had never been taught to intrinsically self-soothe or to set boundaries.  Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, these people transformed from people dependent on a substance to heroes who had learned to alter their habits by helping their fellows.  I continued to go to meetings with my mom until I was in third grade. 

Taking care of a family when you’re in fourth grade is no easy feat, but I assumed my role as my mom’s caretaker, my dad’s business organizer and helper, and my sister’s stand-in mother.  When I left that household at the age of 18, I had only known alcohol as a destructive force that made messes of peoples’ lives and robbed them of their mental sanity… and anyone, myself included, would be smart to stay away.  This worked for a bit with the help of being a Resident Assistant, where role modeling correct behavior permitted me a valid excuse to not go too HAM at parties, although, I’ll admit, there were two nights where I voided that rule. 


I allowed myself to experience my first drunk 9 days before my 21st birthday.  But there were still things to do, people to take care of, and people to impress.  In 2013, I graduated with a B.A. in Psychology (I see you fellow first generation college students), my sister was supporting herself and being a successful bada** at Sonoma State University, and I no longer had 60+ residents.  Yeah, why not afford myself some experimentation?  I fell into a deep, self-medicating, and harrowing depression.  At that time, I fueled my troubles and withdrew from people.  I remember very clearly one night drinking a whole bottle of champagne by myself in my tiny, San Francisco room and convincing my roommate to drive me all the way to Santa Rosa to see my sister.  Sitting on the swings in the rain with my best friend (extremely drunk) at 3:00am, while my roommate was in my sister’s house doing homework and awaiting our leave, I knew I was an alcoholic. 

“Do you think I’m an alcoholic?” I asked her.
“That’s for you to decide,” She replied.

It took me up until July 2, 2017 to walk myself to a meeting, where I am celebrated for being a wreck and am loved up by fellow women who share an identity with me.  They loved me until I could love myself (corny and cliché as hell, I know). 

Where I’m at today because I place my recovery first: I attend at least three meetings a week; they are my first priority and I cherish them.  Today is my six-month birthday.  It is not my first birthday in sobriety, but it is the birthday I am claiming today.  I have gained a higher power of my own understanding, as well as a community of people who, like myself, alter their habits by helping their fellows.  I have learned humility, forgiveness, and acceptance.  For anyone trying to find the courage to go to battle with one of your addictions… you’ve got this.  You are loved; you deserve healing; and your recovery matters. 

You might be sitting there thinking, heck no, Katie, I’ve done a lot of shitty things… nothing is going to absolve me now, but as someone once said to me, “No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.”


Katie Koho
Instagram: @KatieKoho

2017 Highlight Reel

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

You can read what I claimed 2017 to be back in January, and here is what it actually was...More or less I stuck with my 2017 theme. I used my year to invest in relationships, projects, and things I already had.

It was a year of reunions, sacred traditions, and internally focused. 2017 was about staying, rooted, rituals, and the adventure of consistency and steadiness. It was the year I needed; stay with me for my 2017 highlight reel...

Jayme Alexis LLC:
After working for a talent agency for 10 years, my mentors encouraged me to do my own thing. To not work based off commission and to go referral only. It's been a bumpy road, but I have made fewer, but stronger connections in my side hustle that I hope one day could be a full-time hustle.
Former client's Spring 2017 collection that was headed for NY Fashion Week
Miss Covina: 5 years with this program as a committee member, coming back to volunteer as Judges Chair felt like coming back to see family! Miss Covina is a preliminary pageant for Miss California.
Miss Covina 2017 court
28th B-day: Smorgus board of people. It felt like a Monterey Bay and Bay area reunion for all the parts of my life - work, church, pageantry, and the random people I dated (ha).
Canvas Small Group Crew
When your first set of students become your real friends...scary I know...
Family visits: My mom and 2 cousins came to visit San Francisco. I LOVE when my family can experience this city I call home!
Lands end with my forced best friends (cousins)
My wonderful Momma who has now been 1.5 years cancer free!
10 year High School reunion: Most people wouldn't be excited. But I genuinely liked most of the people I went to school with. The 4th of July is when everyone comes home to celebrate America's birthday and that is exactly what we did. We rode in our town parade, watched fireworks, and went to many rodeos. Two of my home team members (One from college, one from pageantry) also came to visit me during the 4th and it was the first time in years where half my home team was in one spot!
Class of 2007
Half my home team at the 4th of July Rodeo! Katie (College), Becky (Pageants), Caitlin (High School)
1 year at SFSU: I made it past 1 year at SFSU. I have been VERY fortunate to call my colleagues my friends as well and people I rely on and adore. I also am bias, but I have enjoyed working with SFSU students - they are fierce, much smarter than I ever was in college, and super extra and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Fall Training 2017!
Night out on the town. PC: J. Gomez
2017-2018 Tower Patch Kids

2016-2017 Area Coordinator Squad!

2016-2017 Tower Rangers
1 concert per year tradition w. Hive: I met Alex & Sondra (We missed Alli!) in my first professional job at Cal State Monterey Bay. They were like my big siblings and each year we go to 1 concert - Ingrid Michaelson (3 times), Jason Aldean, & Luke Bryan. I was so happy we carried on our tradition and kept it classy with wine in a canteen.

American Pageant Nationals: I have been affiliated with Miss Teen of America and its sister programs since 1998, but it was a full circle to become keynote and Judges Chair for this year's national program in Orlando. I also got to see my friend Cara Mund, current Miss America!
Miss America - Cara Mund
Judging Panel for American Pageants
2018 American Pageant National Titleholders

San Francisco night life:...I'd be lying if I didn't mention this year was wild...and one day when I'm 50 and can actually publicly speak about all the things that went down...I'll post it. It will make my future children very uncomfortable and I cannot wait. But to put it tamely, I enjoyed all the nights out partying in San Francisco this year that led to some....laugh until I cry stories...and also stories I cringe when I hear them being told by my friends.
Hip Hop Party August 2017
Village/Towers Reunion
Love life: Shout out to all the guys who loved me this year...and who spent time with me...and who they let me into their lives too...their families homes and let me make real connections with their closest friends. It takes courage to date in this day and age and share your life. To the ones I am genuinely friends with - cheers to finding what we want and need. 2017 brought some good humans into my world...and some not so good ones...and that's okay, I didn't know my heart could bounce back and be such a bad @$$.
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