1. Tell us a little bit about yourself + where do you reside and what it is you do? Where can we find you on social media?
Greetings! My name is Jessica Gordon and I live in Charlotte, NC. I am a new mom and wife and an Educator for a large, urban public school system. I am dedicated to living a life of transparency and full of love. I desire to share and help others live the same.
Instagram: LiquidGoldMama_ & LiquidGoldMama on everything else.
2. What was your childhood like? Were you introverted/and or extroverted?
My childhood was full of contradictions. My Dad never ate a meal with me in my childhood (he did once I asked at 26) and my mother was living with a serious mental illness and was more like a sibling than a parent. In that same mix of confusion, my grandmother held it down and gave me structure to do well in school and gain employment at 14. I was certainly extroverted all my life.
3. At what age did you begin to struggle with confidence? Explain what transpired during that time period?
I began to struggle with my confidence at the age of 18 (2005). I was beginning my Sophomore year in college and I had to hitch a ride to bail my mom out of jail in our hometown. My grandmother had been deceased for one year. Life as I once knew it has changed drastically and I felt like I didn’t belong in college. I also felt isolated because so many of my friends had parents that cared for them and did so many things for them. I was working two to three jobs just to have enough money for me and my mom to eat. These life situations made me feel less than and I took the blame for my mother illness. I felt insecure about who I was as a young woman.
4. Did this have a negative effect on your relationship with yourself and others?
This had a huge impact on my relationships. I began a relationship with a guy that was verbally and physically abusive. I shut down and refused to address how I really felt. Mainly because I felt that there was no time to address my feelings of having a mom with Schizophrenia. Nor was there time to cry about my Dad not wanting to be in my life but seeing pictures of him raise his other children. I was mean and aggressive towards people that probably really cared. My abandonment issues wouldn’t allow me to be vulnerable with people. My relationship with myself was miserable and I made tons of decisions that were harmful to myself because I numbed myself with distractions of men, sex, and partying.
5. What was the most challenging time period in your life?
Shit. Excuse my language. The most challenging? Besides pushing this 7lb baby out my vagina, it was definitely the years of trying to keep my mom off the streets, pay her bills, pay my bills and teach 7th graders everyday.
6. Did you ever feel as though you were spiraling out of control? If so, at what age did you begin to lose self-control?
Oh I was definitely spiraling out of control internally and privately. However I am a proud woman so my bad decisions never interfered with me working everyday nor paying my bills. I was out of control from ages 19-25. Damn that hurt to even type that I was out of control that long and more confirmation of why I desire to share my story because I want to save another Queen some time and heartache.
7. Did you ever seek professional help? If so, what was that like?
Yes I did seek professional help at the age 25. It was shortly after I moved my mother to live with me and it didn’t work out and I had to move her to an Assisted Living. None of our family would help with her and I had my first panic attack at work. I decided that day because the panic attack happened at work and I had never experienced anything like that and I couldn’t have anything coming in between me and my coin. I searched for free therapists because NC Teachers don’t make much money. So I found a Wake Forest graduate student that needed clinical hours to graduate and she happened to be a black woman. The experience helped me answer questions that I never had an opportunity to ever consider due to living day to day. I encourage others to try therapy. Although it was difficult revisiting things that I had suppressed for decades, it certainly helped me be a better version of myself.
8. Do you have anyone in your corner? Who are your biggest supporters?
Yes I do now! I went to therapy from 25-27 and then went back to therapy at 29. This second time I had already addressed so much of my childhood issues that I was ready for solutions and break cycles that I had been repeating. So now I have an amazing husband that loves, respects and honors me. I have a small circle of friends that I call sisters. We encourage each other often.
9. Do you believe social media has a positive or negative impact on the way you view confidence from within?
Social Media can cause you to compare yourself to people when it is not necessary nor realistic reels of their life. Once I realized that a few years ago, I learned to take breaks from social media and center myself within.
10. What was the hardest thing you had to embrace when it came to YOUR truth?
The hardest thing that I am having to embrace is accepting things as they are. I deeply desire for my mother to be well. I am the daughter of a mother with a serious mental illness. I still hold back and wont tell others when she is hospitalized or wandering the streets. Before therapy, it was challenging to embrace that my actions were the reasons I was being mistreated and disrespected by men. I blamed them for mistreating me when I should have been loving and respecting myself.
11. What are something’s that’s holding you back from being confident in your truth?
I took a vow to myself to walk in my truth. So overall I am confident in my truth. However as a human, I sometimes worry about judgment from others about the years that I was promiscuous and having abortions.
12. What steps do you need to take to show up for yourself?
I need to continue to forgive myself and recognize that without the bad I wouldn’t be able to appreciate how great things are right now.
13. How are you going to cultivate confidence/wholeness this year and moving forward?
I cultivate wholeness by being transparent in my conversations and actions. I maintain integrity. I keep myself open and I am vulnerable with those that I know love me.
14. What lessons have you learned? What advice would you give to someone who is struggling with cultivating confidence and their truth?
I have learned that walking in your truth is an action that requires work. It easy to hide. It is easy to imitate. It is challenging to lead yourself to wholeness because you have to address issues that may hurt, you may have to cut people off that no longer serve your greatest good. I would tell someone that going through it and really doing the work is beyond worth it. There is so much freedom on the other side of this work.
15. If you had to tell anything to that little girl you used to be, what would that be? & also tell her what type of woman are you today?
I would tell myself to go to therapy earlier. Having parents that are alive and they can’t/won’t support you are not things that I asked for and from those childhood experiences I needed therapy to sort through those feelings. I would tell myself that church and praying are great and will definitely provide you with community and fellowship but there are things that you have seen that you didn’t deserve but you have to work through it to get beyond it.
I would tell that little girl that the woman I am today is resilient and full of love. This woman has forgiven her father and taken care of her mother.