It’s funny to think that you all have been reading my blog post and YouTube videos for a year now, and yet all you really know about me is my Cerebral Palsy side. I mean I suppose that makes sense being that’s the whole reason I created Eyeliner and Empowerment in the first place, right? To spread awareness and give my little tips and tricks about living with a disability. I think that needs to change though, I truly stand by the term “you are not your disability” meaning yes I get it I have a disability but my disability doesn’t have me… at least most days it doesn’t and even when it does it’s not all of me. Cerebral Palsy is not your looks, interests or hobbies. There is still so much about each of us when we take Cerebral Palsy out of the equation.
Like for instance I love all things beauty from hair to makeup and fashion. I love, love. Literally. Everything about it, seeing people in love and being in love. I’m a total sucker for Valentine’s day too. So when I received an email form JORD asking to make my fiancé’s Valentine’s day extra special and to be in a partnership with them I was totally on board. To be truthful, I hadn’t heard of JORD when I received this email, but of course I went straight to the source… Instagram. I was blown away with how beautiful these wooden watches were. I was also extremely excited because I knew my fiancé would love it, especially because since we got engaged he has been saying he wants a wooden wedding ring so it knew this watch would be perfect.
JORD is a watch company that makes hand crafted wood watches that are truly unique, using 13 different wood types used alone or in combination depending on the design of the watch. Don’t get jealous ladies there is also a women’s shop as well as the men’s shop too. The one I choose for my fiancé was from the HYDE series Stacked Sandalwood & Olive with Ivory. When it arrived on our doorstep it was elegant from the start in a black matte postal package with JORD printed in white on the bottom right. When opening the box, you flip up one side and then you see it, the beautiful wooden box with a J on it. The wooden watch was placed perfectly in the middle with a small microfiber cloth and 100% natural finishing oil for your watch as well as well as a smaller polishing cloth for the face of the watch. The wooden box that your watch comes in is beautiful, with a magnetic top that comes on and off and a small draw on the bottom. JORD did not skimp with their packaging, it was truly high quality from the moment the package was in my hand.
Opening up and seeing my fiancés new watch for the first time brought so much excitement to me. It was simply perfect. I like to describe it as the wooden “Rolex”. The quality was strong and sturdy, it was trendy yet beautiful and elegant. The best part is your JORD watch comes sized and ready for you to wear along with the option to have it engraved. It was so perfect and I was so excited to give it to my fiancé I couldn’t wait for Valentine’s Day and decided to give it to him early. To say the least, he loved it, like I knew he would. His favorite part was the large watch face along with the small details that JORD puts into their watches to make them perfect.
Well now that I made you all fall in love with JORD this Valentine’s you have a chance to get a great discount of your own. If you enter you will have a chance to win a $100 gift code to use on the JORD site! One lucky person will win but everyone who enters will receive a 10% off code once the contest it over.
I promise I didn’t forget about you. In the mist of trying to grow Eyeliner & Empowerment and raise as much awareness about Cerebral Palsy as I can through my YouTube channel and Instagram I put my blog on the back burner, which I’m not sure why? It’s so much easier. Instead of sitting there all dolled up in front of a big ring light that makes me sweat by the 50th cut of video, I’m sitting here drinking an ice coffee, makeup free in a big tee shirt and comfy shorts & my hair is in a big messy bun…and not cute kind either.
I figured I take this time to updated you on my life. Basically I have always thought with my right side of my brain, which means I think creatively. Since I was toddler painting, drawing and designing have been constant in my life. I think I was the only 10-year-old girl who would think opening up a brand new paint set and think it was the most beautiful thing. I simply I have always been a creative person and as much as I love writing and letting all my thoughts flow though my finger tips for hours at a time I needed to challenge myself creatively, but I just couldn’t figure out how.
I didn’t always have the idea to make YouTube videos. It sort of just happened when I googled Cerebral Palsy and noticed there was no real everyday life information on the disability. Don’t get me wrong I could spend hours reading the terms of CP and a ton of doctor and physical therapist information, but it was written all extremely serious. Enough to even scare me and I have been living with this disability since birth. It was then when I started to really think and pray on an idea on how to get the Cerebral Palsy stuff that no one really talks about out there in the internet world. Fast forward a few days later I was scrolling through Pinterest and I saw a “Summer Life Hack” picture and a link to a video. A light bulb went off and I went to YouTube typed in Cerebral Palsy Life Hacks and nothing came up. I made a quick outline of how I wanted the video to turn out, dragged my fiancé around with me to be my “camera guy” and sat on my computer for hours and taught myself how to use a video editing software…and by hours I really mean days. It was hard I’m used to being a Graphic Designer, so editing a video was a whole new world to me but with the help of coffee, google and my determination I did it. I uploaded it and was shocked to see that the video just kept going up now I hit over 10K views on it. If you want me to be truthful I could care less about the views, what made me keep going with my next video was the outpouring support from you all, the emails, the comments everything was so amazing. I never felt so much support from so many people, I was simply on cloud 9. Within a month or two later I uploaded my next video which was a Question and Answer video with my mom a two-part video and now I’m getting ready to upload my 10th video.
I was so focused on my new YouTube channel that I didn’t even realize or think about my blog. It was when I received an email from one of my subscribers that brought me back to reality. The email was short and to the point…
“It’s a shame that you stopped writing on your blog. I love your videos but your writing spoke to me. Don’t put so much of your time and energy into just one thing and don’t forget where you started from with Eyeliner & Empowerment.”
Still reading that I feel my heart sink into my stomach and not because the email upset me, because it’s true. Eyeliner + Empowerment started from me in my PJ’s late at night typing on my laptop. It was SIMPLE. There were no ring lights, no cameras and no hours of editing. It was just myself writing what was on my mind. Don’t get me wrong I still do absolutely love making videos but I can’t forget where Eyeliner & Empowerment originally came from. So with that being said I’m going to try my hardest to post at least one or two blog post a month along with my YouTube videos. Now, don’t hold me to that because sometimes life does get in the way, but Eyeliner + Empowerment deserves the best of both worlds.
This post was sponsored by Verily. Personal opinions and thoughts are my own.
Social media is a big part of everyone’s lives. Most of us spend countless minutes of the day liking photos on Instagram, retweeting posts on Twitter and laughing at memes on Facebook. If you’re like me you get sucked in watching the endless amounts of videos on Facebook that can either have you laughing, crying or hooked on the newest gadgets. Every now and then we come across something that really catches our eye. For me I came across a video of a girl using this cool utensil for people with limited hand mobility. It was a few months back, and I remember watching the video a few times to see how it worked. I thought to myself, “wow this is a great product for people to have their independence!” I didn’t research it any further because I have Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy so only my waist down is affected.
Little did I know the company behind this cool Facebook video I saw was Verily. The utensil the girl was using in the video was called Liftware Level. It was a funny coincidence because I was contacted by Verily shortly after seeing their video and I was given an opportunity to try out and review their Liftware Level Utensil. I suppose I was interested in how their product worked, and they were interested in me helping getting the word out on this awesome device.
The Liftware Level is designed for really anyone who struggles with daily hand and arm mobility especially those living with post-stroke deficits, Huntington’s disease, spinal cord injury and Cerebral Palsy. When opening my package, the first thing I noticed is how sleek and modern it was. I loved the fact that it had an adjustable strap allowing it to stay in your hand without having to grip the utensil. The switch from spoon to fork is made to be effortless with magnets, and the product is lightweight and fits into your hand perfectly. I was surprised at how quiet it was when it was motion. There are no buttons on the Liftware Level, it is turned on and off simply by attaching and removing the fork and spoon. All in all, the product is so easy and simple to use and it charges with a USB port, how easy is that! In the handle of each Liftware Level device there are sensors that detect motion and a computer directs the two motors to either stabilize or to bend the utensil.
Regardless of my Cerebral Palsy not affecting my hands or arms I noticed right away no matter how I held, moved or twisted my wrist or arm the Liftware Level adjusted to my range of motion. It was always held horizontal without spilling or dropping anything off the fork or spoon. The Liftware Level takes away your stress and anxiety of eating. This product truly lets you just enjoy your food and the company around you. There is no more worrying about the way you hold your fork, or if it falls on the floor. Liftware Level has you covered in all of those situations, I truly recommend this to anyone who will benefit from it, I think it’s a fantastic product. The best part of it is it gives people their ability to eat independently back, making life easier, and to me that’s what it’s all about.
Go to Liftware Level’s website to learn more and purchase this amazing product. My first 15 readers who decide to purchase a Liftware Level will receive a free carrying case with the code – LIFTWARE-JESSICAM.
Today I am happy and I say that with a smile on my face, a real smile with meaning behind it. Not that fake smile that I hid behind for years of my life. As I write this my eyes fill up with tears, tears of acceptance, relief, accomplishment and happiness. The past years were brutal it was a constant battle of accepting myself and trying to find true happiness. Let me tell you, the truth is it takes time; a lot of time. Happiness just doesn’t come in the blink of an eye. Loving and accepting yourself the way you are doesn’t happen on a wish of a shooting star. True happiness doesn’t come easily and the biggest thing I learned is that to be happy and to feel happy are two totally different things. I learned that the hard way, by letting someone’s opinion of me take away my self-image and happiness. I had to fight like hell to get it back. I was so focused on being in love and having someone love me that I didn’t realize I was being mistreated, and once I realized what had happened to me I knew I had to change my mindset and work on myself.
The true lesson of life isn’t to love yourself it really is to accept who you are today. Accept every little flaw that makes you who you are too. Sometimes it’s so easy to get caught up in others people’s lives and others appearance. That’s when the saying “The grass looks greener on the other side” comes into play. You have to accept yourself with no makeup on. Accept yourself with that extra five pounds that you hate. Accept everything you hate about yourself and learn to love it, because once you do it will be a lot easier to strive to be a happier and healthier version of yourself. Never let one person change your self-image because you have to know that you are enough and you will always be loved. The most important person to have love you is yourself and once you realize that you will be truly happy.
Today I do have someone special that loves me, and she is looking right back at me in the mirror. I accept myself and I love every little flaw about me that makes me who I am today, and most importantly I got my happiness back, and it never felt so good. I may have not been made the way I would have chosen but I am the exact way God wanted me to be. Although he didn’t give me the perfect legs, he gave me so many other qualities that made me who I am today. He gave me incredible strength, a caring heart, a selfless personality. He gave me beauty and confidence. He gave me all the qualities that made me the women I’m supposed to be today.
The truth is everyone has a daily fight, whether we want to admit it or not. The only difference between you and me is you can see mine; I can’t hide it or pretend that it doesn’t exist. It does exist and each day that I’m fighting my battle head on and it’s out in the open for the public to see. I used to think that it was unfair and I would wish I had a different battle to fight one that I could hide, but why? What’s the point? So what you can see my fight, but you can also see my determination, my progress and my pride. My pride of which I am, my determination of making myself stronger each and every day and my progress of how far I come. My fight made me the women I am today and the women I’m supposed to be, and I would never want to change that.
This week lets chat about dating. If you want me to be honest I hate the whole dating thing, I have always been that hopeless romantic girl who falls way too hard way to quick. I guess I watched The Notebook one too many times. Dating is difficult to begin with especially in this day and age and I hate to say it but dating with a disability puts a twist on things. Let me give you a background on my dating history. It all started the last few days of middle school, it started out like your typical first relationship would start…the night before when his friends tell your friends that you’re going to get asked to be his girlfriend after 3rd period science class. Let’s be real, being the mama’s girl that I am I ran and told my mom, I was confused because I thought it was a joke, no one ever wanted to date me before. I was always self-conscious of the way I walked due to my cerebral palsy, so of course I had that in the back of my mind. My mom gave me her first of many boy pep talks; she explained that there is so much more to me beyond my walking, that I am beautiful and have an amazing personality, and if a boy doesn’t like me because of the way I walked then I don’t want to date him anyway, and since then that stuck in my mind. Well, the bell rang and my heart dropped within 3 minutes of everyone else switching classes I had my first kiss and I was a girlfriend just like that.
I personally think that after you get out of high school it’s a thousand times easier to date, people are more knowledgeable and don’t care about a silly limp. Throughout my experience I can basically describe people in three different ways when they are faced with dating someone with a disability. There are the ones that see beyond the disability, there’s the ones who plain and simply won’t date you because of it and of course my personal favorite, the ones that like you and want to date you, but won’t because they are scared of what their friends might think. Now, I do not judge because I don’t know what it’s like to date someone with a disability… however on the other hand I know what’s it’s like to date with one. I also know that pit in the middle of your stomach when you know someone doesn’t like you because of your disability. I know what it’s like when you have to walk past your crush and you try and do your “best walking” you know the slow and steady, heal to toe one what we all learn at physical therapy. I have had amazing boyfriends that respected and didn’t think twice about my walking but then again on the other hand I had boyfriends that weren’t so respectful when it came to my disability. Just like anyone with or without a disability you have to know yourself worth and do not settle for anything less than what you deserve. It’s so easy to lose yourself in a relationship it happens to plenty of people and it happened to me.
People are going to come in and out of your life for many different reasons, they are either going to love you and bring happiness into your life or just be a lesson learned, with that being said I believe that each lesson you learn from a past relationship will make you stronger for the next, each person you date good or bad is getting you ready for your future husband/wife. Of course I got my heart broken, turned down and disappointed in a relationship, I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t. I’ll be honest, my biggest flaw in dating was always thinking that it was my walking. I always had it in the back of my mind. Every time someone broke up with me or didn’t want to date me that was the reason in my head. I gave myself zero credit when it came to my self-worth. I had to sit down and literally write down all the good things and bad things about me and completely eliminated Cerebral Palsy out of the equation. When I looked at the list, I had a lot of good things to offer and I had other bad qualities about myself that didn’t even have to do with my disability. It was good to see and get in my mind that it’s not always about Cerebral Palsy. So when you’re out there learn from my mistakes never forget your self-worth and don’t always assume it’s your disability, because people who don’t have a disability are going through the same dating problems as you.