I Did It My Way

With an hour and a half left to go on the drive to the ocean Ibeyi’s newly released album is playing over the speaker. The sister duo played at The Neptune in 2017 and was the first concert Dave and I ever attended together.

It wasn’t just the power of their voices or the rare instruments I remember from that night, but my feet. Oh, my poor aching feet.

I’d wanted to put my best foot forward – pun intended – for the date, but those high heels put my arch at an angle that had my mid-30s tootsies crying out, “Why Jaclynn, why oh why?!”

Dave liked to be close enough to the stage to smell the artist’s cologne, but as I attended more concerts with him (in more comfortable shoes, of course), I withheld saying how much I’d rather sit.

I was scared.

Asking for and getting my needs met in romantic relationships wasn’t something I was used to.

But my therapist at the time encouraged me to try it out. So I did, and soon I was bobbing along to music, sometimes alone, in the upper seated section of venues.

I also remember the first time I negotiated for a higher salary.

At the time I was driving 45 minutes to start work at 5 am as a poker dealer at a casino. The clientele consisted of people sobering up from the night before and the stereotypical grumpy older man. It’s not a stretch to say that nobody there was happy.

When my offer was accepted and I could finally support myself working full-time as a mental health counselor, nothing felt better than kissing that horrid casino lifestyle goodbye.

And I had no one to be more grateful to other than myself.

I love reflecting back on moments like those. They remind me of how darn proud I am of the tough conversations and the choices I’ve made to get me to where I’m at today.

To be fair, there have been many helpers and guides. But it was me who put in the work. And I just want to say, thanks ol’ girl.

Love, Me

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