Quarter Life Crisis.

25th birthday. 2017

The year I was turning 25 was the one of the toughest years of my adult life, mentally. Twenty-five was the year I thought I’d have it all figured out. I had heard so many around me say that by 25 they were married with two kids, had purchased their own home, graduated college/uni. and had landed their dream job. Prior to turning 25, I had family members reminding me that my biological clock was ticking, asking if and when I was going to have a huge wedding, if I was going back to school, etc. Turning twenty-five, was the year I felt so low about myself and where I was in life.

How I felt turning 25

My birthday is in March, as we all know by now because I have talked about it so much. So in January of 2017, something inside of me began to shift, I felt unsettled, I felt like I had this ticking time bomb inside of me, my emotions where all over the place. I remember constantly saying to those around me, that I was getting “old” and how I couldn’t believe how “old” I was. I giggle now at that, how I am older now and completely find myself saying how “young” I am or how “young” I feel.

I remember always feeling alone, in my relationship and in general, I am the only one in my family who lives in the Inland Empire. By late January I left my fiancé, I had compared my relationship so much to others that I found myself wanting out because it wasn’t where I thought our relationship should be. I won’t sugar coat things either, there were issues in the relationship that were far from perfect, and these things really were the straw that broke the already mentally and emotionally exhausted break.

novacane for the pain

I was living with my cousin and then back home with my mom, not knowing what I was going to do with my life, all I knew is that for the first time in my adult life I felt like I was “putting myself first”. I was doing whatever I wanted, like getting a very questionable piercing, cutting my bangs/hair, partying with my cousins, and doing anything and everything I could to not think about turning 25.

deep convos with young bros

My family threw me this huge beautiful birthday party, that started out as a surprise, until my mom spilled the beans. Even though I was walking around fearing this number, this age, I paraded around in my white dress that I claimed was my “wedding dress” because I was getting married to myself, and in my fake flower crown I handmade. I come from a huge Mexican family, partying is what we know how to do, and I loved being around family, but hated what we were celebrating because I did not feel worthy of celebration. What did I have to show for? What was worthy of celebrating? In my 25 years of life I felt as I had accomplished nothing. So that night I drank, I drank so much that I blacked out. I’m glad I remember cutting my cake and taking pics with family but I don’t remember my cousins holding my hair as I puked the bottomless tequila shots.

By now I’m sure you’re probably thinking, it sounds counterproductive right? Why would I leave my fiancé if I felt like I should be married with kids by 25? Why act so reckless if what I felt I needed and wanted was stability? The answer is complex, all I know is that at the time the only thing that made sense was to run. Run as fast and as far as I could to avoid these feelings of failure. Perhaps I thought that if I didn’t have a fiancé then that would explain why I wasn’t married yet, and why I didn’t have kids yet. Perhaps if I was single that meant that society, family and friends wouldn’t question why I didn’t have all the things I thought I should by 25.

I found myself crying a lot, I was depressed, I was at my lowest, and for the most part I played the “I’m happy to be free” card and role pretty damn well. I had those around me convinced I was fine, I was happy, I was just living my life as I wanted. Behind closed doors and when I was alone, I cried, I hated being alone, I hated having to confront all my emotions which is why I always filled my time with family and friends. To be alone meant to confront what was really running from, myself, and to realize that I had abandoned my life because of what society made think I needed to have.

San Francisco 2014. 22 bday trip

I have nothing but love, appreciation, and endless amount of gratitude for my fiancé, he fought ferociously and lovingly for me. He was there, ready to accept me back in with loving arms when I returned. I had hurt him, and I still cry just as I am now writing all this out, because I was so lost that year and I hurt him and those around me.

When I finally got passed turning 25, and I realized it wasn’t so scary, I was NOT old, and finally said F**k what society thinks I should have, I became much happier and THAT was liberating.

I realized once again that I have never cared what others thought of me, so why did I care now. What I have come to understand it was that while I thought I too wanted these things, I don’t care when they come to me, or when I finally obtain these things. I believe in that everything happens for a reason, and that the Universe and Creator’s timing is never wrong. I have learned that what is for me is for ME, and nothing can change that.

This year broke me, but I have spent the last few years building and growing. Since that time, I have started a business, some relationships I grew out of while some grew stronger, I have really stepped into my power and learned the art of self love and found a community. I AM SUCCESSFUL and I have so much more than I ever thought I would after turning 25!

Back to loving birthdays ♥️

I am back to enjoying birthdays, and I grow excited about their arrival. I am me, and this is my life, and I am more than content and happy with the way it is going and the way it has turned out.

I used to brush off and jokingly say I had a quarter life crisis, but the truth is I did and I was both anxious and depressed, and it is okay to admit this. It is my truth, I got help, and I have healed from this year. And I continue to do the work because I know that while it may have been an isolated time, I know that my mental health is important and because of this I am where I am today. Just a few days away from turning 29 almost 30 and I am okay with that, I am happy to start another journey around the sun 🌞

xo-

jay

#JLOVEKNITSVIRTUALCLEANUP

March 1st 2021 Ontario, Ca

Happy March!

March is a month, I looooovvveeee! Selfishly and completely bias as it is my birth month, but truthfully I love it for so many other reasons.

Like its Women’s History Month, with International Women’s Day being March 8th and Craft month!

I also feel like as a born and raised Cali girl, this is one of the last “Winter” months where the temperature is cool, with sunny skies right before we head into spring weather and scorching temps.

But let’s go back to being a little selfish and talk about my birthday, more specifically something I want for my birthday!

I have always wanted to host a beach clean up for my birthday, unfortunately that isn’t a possibility this year due to COVID, but after this panaderia is over I really hope to host one every year for my birthday.

So even though we may not be able to all gather and clean up a beach, I figured we could still do it “virtually” and socially distanced from the comfort of our own home/neighborhood.

The idea and goal is simple, pick/clean up an area such as a park, or even your street, or heck your sidewalk or neighbors sidewalk, etc. wherever you see trash on the floor. Whether that be on your daily walk, like me, or a trip to the park with your kids, or the parking lot of your local Target or shopping center. *Please be safe when doing this, do NOT pick up trash with your bare hands, or hold trash in hands. Use gloves and/or a grabber tool/pick-stick and use a trash bag. Have hand sanitizer with you and wash hands once done.

I remember the first day I decided to do this on my walks, I was so disheartened and surprised at how much trash was at my neighborhood park. I had my bag half way filled before I even arrived at the park, and once I began my lap around the park I had filled it up within the first come of minutes. It saddened me to see this place filled with trash, I was upset that I had not properly prepared and brought a larger bag. It opened my eyes, it made me realize that even though the park and our streets “looked” clean while driving by that wasn’t actually the case. It sparked something in me to want to continue doing this on my walks. So now I’m prepared when I go out every morning, I wake up excited to go and do my small part. That is what this journey is about, making small changes/actions that can lead to big impacts.

My hope with this virtual clean up is that it may encourage or even spark that same desire to continuously do this.

If you do choose to participate, please share a pic on Instagram and tag me @jloveknits and use the hashtag #jloveknitsvirtualcleanup. Those who participate and tag me + use the hashtag will be entered in my birthday giveaway which will be posted on my instagram later this week with the full details.

Sending so much love & light to y’all!

xo- Jay ♥️

Reclaiming my space.

For the last 2-3 years, most of my time and focus has been on growing my brand and business JLOVEKNITS. I have enjoyed and I am sincerely proud and happy with the community I built there, but as I continue to share my journey outside of eco-friendly alternatives I felt like it was best to go back to using my personal Instagram @jlove_g. As I share more beyond business tips and info, I felt it was time to separate JLOVEKNITS and JLOVE.

I want both platforms to be true to me, Jay (the J in JLOVEKNITS) but keeping one about business with the occasional personal insights and the other to being personal and a bit more candid and about this blog. Both cohesively existing but in separate places.

I have enjoyed sharing with my JLOVEKNITS community but at one point I realized that perhaps not everyone who follows JLOVEKNITS is there to know me the person behind the brand but to only stay up to date with new products, launches, and release dates. Which is totally understandable, when I follow a brand I follow them to stay up to date on new products, and release dates. When I follow bloggers, celebs/people its to see what they are up to, and to keep up with them, the person.

So I guess you can say this is me slightly breaking up with using JLOVEKNITS as a space to be vulnerable and share my story and journey and the beginning of me taking back a space where I can openly and freely share my story.

Coming to that realization is what lead me back to using my personal page on Instagram. Which in turn made me realize that the people on there, more specifically the ones who followed me, were people who never engage in any posts, and who I have not had a conversation with in years (if ever!).

When I began to post on their it felt strange and uncomfortable, I had a bunch of people who either made my upbringing painful, and to be honest were just looky loos. This space lacks that community feel that JLOVEKNITS has. Earlier this week I asked those on my business page to follow my personal page and to my surprise quite a few did show up to help me reclaim this space and fill it with individuals who make me feel loved, and comfortable.

Now I get what you’re thinking, not everyone that follows has to have some sort of connection to me, nor are they obligated to engage beyond what they want to or feel like doing. But considering how at this point in time, that space is still very small and intimate. I want those who are on there to want to be there because they can either relate and/or because they do genuinely want to be apart of this community, because that is what I want to build, community. I am totally okay with people not always liking me and fully prepared to have people hate on what I am doing and trying to build. I guess the part that irks me at this moment is how there are people on there who did deeply hurt me and I don’t understand why they have chosen to be here.

But moving forward, I refuse to let people who again I hardly ever, IF EVER, spoke to dictate or control how I feel in a place that is mine! I will continue to share candidly, openly and freely. And I will let those looky loos keep watching because clearly they find me intriguing (not to sound conceited or full of myself, but if I do then…oops) and if they choose to be here then who am I to deny them that.

And as I have said before in pervious posts, my hopes in sharing my story is to find and grow a community. One where we can all relate, come together, encourage and be there for one another.

Sharing my story and parts of my life feels very cathartic and like it is part of my legacy.

Here’s to sharing, growing, and evolving together. *chin-chin/cheers*

xo,

Jay

Quitting my 9 to 5.


I let go of fear, and decided to believe in myself 1000+% – jay

During the months of April, May, and some of June, as I was put on leave from my job due to the pandemic in the U.S. and I got a taste of what it would be like to work full time at JLOVEKNITS

Granted I was working crazy hours as I tried to meet the high demand of face masks, but I didn’t care. I was working from home, spending the day sewing, cooking all my meals, waking up early to workout and enjoy a cup of coffee. I was living my best life and had found a nice schedule and rhythm to my days.

During these months I was able to save so much money, ironic as that sounds considering I was put on leave, but I also wasn’t spending as much as I typically did. If you’re wondering how that was possible well then let me give you a quick rundown on what I typically spend money on in just ONE week while working.

  • Starbucks/Coffee & Breakfast – at least 3x a week, sometimes more! Also buying some for my coworker/amiga almost every time (we would take turns buying coffee, but I definitely was the bigger coffee fiend)
  • Eating out for lunch – at least 2x a week (some weeks more), mi amiga and I would also take turns buying each other lunch.

I have great shame writing that out but as you can see I spent A LOT of money on coffee and food, not including groceries, and other expenses.

So yeah, I was able to save a ton of money by just staying home.

Once we were called to return, I had so many questions concerning how they would keep everyone safe, myself, my coworker and the clients/consumers. That concern would then get me labeled as “difficult”, imagine that working at a Intermediate Care Facility (ICF) with individuals who were both intellectually and physically disabled, ALL with compromised immune systems, and out of sincere concern you ask what precautions were going to be implemented to keep them and yourself safe, and simply having questions about our return, only to have upper management not giving you any clear answers but somehow you’re the one being difficult. I cared deeply about those we served and did not want to put any of them at risk. (Like any decent human being who is taking this pandemic serious) That’s just who I am though, a caring, super cautious, empath.

Between not getting any clear answers, and being labeled as “difficult” I was then informed that they wanted to place us (coworker and I) in a new home with a new client/consumer without any information or training, I was ready to quit. I was fed up, not because I’m incapable of handling change but because for the last four years this job had given me nothing but headaches. I will definitely give y’all the full tea on that later because I don’t want this crappy job to take too much space on this post.

There were so many reasons to leave that job, and I had done so in the past but I foolishly returned.

I had my resignation letter typed up since May, about a month after I was put on leave. I was so in love with the way my days were being spent working from home that after one month I knew this is what I wanted to do Full Time. I never sent it in, I told myself I should wait to see if I still felt this way if/when they called me back in and if I did THEN I should quit. Welp, they called me back in and even after all the drama, me questioning them over the safety, being placed in a new environment with zero training, I still didn’t send my resignation.

It had nothing to do with not making enough money on JLOVEKNITS, or not having enough money saved but it was a matter of fear.

Even before this pandemic, JLOVEKNITS was bringing in more money than my 9 to 5 and while producing masks did help grow my online presence grow but no masks sales were not the only reason my income grew. I have to let y’all know that no I did NOT quit my job because masks were making me money.

When I first began to make masks, I was not making ANY money. I repeat for MONTHS I did not make a profit. I was selling them at cost, meaning I only charged whatever it cost to make them material wise, that did not account for my labor. I didn’t want to profit off of this horrific pandemic, and did not want to “price gauge” especially when everyone was having a hard time getting a hold of masks, before the whole world began to produce them.

So when I first announced I quit my 9 to 5 some troll direct messaged me on Instagram asking what was I going to do when this pandemic was over and no one wanted to buy masks from me. That message made me giggle, of course I wasn’t going to rely solely on one product as a source of my livelihood. I had more than enough money saved, and while yes masks helped bring in a new audience, and more customers, I was able to convert mask sales into returning customers who would then go on to try my reusable items. I experience a tremendous and rapid growth in sales, selling out in less than 10 minutes at a time!

After being back at work for nearly 4 months and realizing that JLOVEKNITS was growing momentum and the demand for my items were so high that I felt like I couldn’t keep up. My 9 to 5 was hindering my ability to keep up with the demand. My 9 to 5 was no longer the thing that made JLOVEKNITS possible, I no longer needed it to keep the lights on at JLOVEKNITS because JLOVEKNITS was self sustainable all on its own.

My 9 to 5 felt like something that was holding me back. I felt as though if not now, that the demand is high at times overwhelmingly so in the best way possible, then when? I knew that if I didn’t do it now, then I would regret it. I wanted to make sure I maximized the exposure and momentum I had at this time. So I did, I finally did it, I sent that letter in.

It was the most liberating feeling I had ever felt, don’t get me wrong I was scared sh*tless but nonetheless I was READY! I was ready to give this little business of mine all the love, attention, care, my everything, just as it had given all the same to me. JLOVEKNITS saved me nearly 3 years ago, it helped me heal, grow, and evolve and I was now ready to do just that for JLOVEKNITS.

My Advice

If you are considering quitting your 9 to 5 and pursue your small business full time, here are a tips and advice. *keep in mind I am no expert in any of this, but this is simply what I did, what worked for me may not work or be for you.

  • Keep your job for as long as you can, do not rely on a “good month” of sales. Let your job fund your dream, until your dream funds itself, pays your bills, AND leaves you with enough leftover for savings.
  • Pay down as much debt as you can prior to quitting. Obviously not talking about your mortgage, but any credit card debt, or even your car note. It will help ease your mind and you won’t be as worried on slow months.
  • Keep your personal and business finances separate and keep track of your business expenses, and money coming in.
  • Never make a permanent decision on temporary feelings.
  • Register your business, open a business checking account, and get a tax ID number.
  • Create a support system for yourself. There will be days when you feel like you’re on the right path, then there will be those days where you feel like giving up. Having people you trust, and can turn to will help you walk off that ledge when you find yourself spiraling. You will find that they are also your biggest supporters and cheerleaders. Love and cherish them!
  • Don’t make permanent decisions on temporary feelings. You may feel ready to leave behind your 9 to 5 but really sit with that decision. Make sure you’re like me who would have one bad thing happen at work and say “ugh that’s it I’m quitting” knowing full well it wasn’t possible to do so a.k.a me, year one of starting this business, making only $20 a month. (lol)

“Let your job fund your dream, until your dream funds itself”

Q & A

My community on Instagram had some questions that I promised I would answer on this post.

Q: Did you have monthly expenses that stopped you from quitting before you did?

  • Yes and no. When I first wanted to quit, I said I would do so once I paid my car off. Then when I did pay off I kept working and realized that it wasn’t my monthly expenses that kept me from quitting but fear. I was making more than enough to cover my monthly expense for quite some time now.

Q: Did you need to get yourself financially stable? Or did you just think f*ck it?

  • Having experienced the crash of 2008, where my mom lost her business, the family SUV, and the first house she purchased, I definitely had to make sure my finances where stable, and that I had a game-plan. I made sure I was being smart with my money as well. Not living beyond my means, saving, saving, saving, and made sure to invest in the stock market and build my portfolio.

Q:Did you have to get your own health/dental Insurance or did you already have it?

  • Yes, I did. My 9 to 5 provided all my benefits, health, dental, vision, and life insurance. I had to get them all myself once I quit.

Q: Did your family and friends think you were crazy for quitting your job?

  • No, not at all. My mom is an entrepreneur herself (I got it from my momma) so she has always supported me on this journey. My fiancé has always been there for me, he’s the one who bought me my first sewing machine. At first he was a bit apprehensive when I would talk about quitting but that was when I first started and instantly wanted to quit 😂 So thankful he kept me humble and grounded. By the beginning of 2020 and when I really started to seriously talk about quitting he definitely encouraged it and was so happy for me and the business I built. Had I quit when I first started then I am certain my friends and family would have thought I was bonkers but they have all seen how hard I have worked over the years. They definitely see that I am serious about this, and are super supportive now.

Q: How do you handle working from home? Do you have a set schedule?

  • I don’t necessarily have a set schedule, but I do have a routine. When I first quit I really wanted to create this super structured “work & personal” schedule. I found myself not being able to maintain it and would feel so bad about it. I had every hour counted for, i.e.: 6:45am Wake up, 7am Workout, 8am Shower 8:30am Breakfast, and so on. So on days when I didn’t follow it I felt super bad and like I had failed. More often then not I was overworking myself and not enjoying any of the perks of working from home. Now I have routines for the morning, afternoon, and night that are not time restricted.

Q: Was it scary to quit your job?

  • I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t. It was terrifying, well okay not terrifying but it was a bit scary. This was a big responsibility I was placing on myself, but I knew I was ready so that took the pressure off. I also knew that I couldn’t let fear stop me.

Q: Any tips on how to respond to negative family and friends who don’t believe in you?

  • Do not respond to them. People tend to project their own fears and insecurities onto others. Their negativity does not fund you or your dreams. Do not let what others think or say get you down, do not give anyone that much power over you. Someone wise once said to me, if they don’t pay your bills then f*ck them. Real talk, you are the one who has to believe in yourself in order to make your business and dreams happen. I am sorry if you are experiencing this. Try connecting with other small business owners, they are some of the most supportive and nicest people I have ever met!

I honestly would not be in the position I am in now without the community I built on Instagram and at pop ups (pre-COVID). I am so thankful for everyone who helps fund this dream of mine. Those who share my content, and page. To those who set reminders for every launch. I am so thankful they love and accept me, and that they make me feel safe to share my story and journey with them. I am also thankful to those of you who are here reading this. Thank you for taking the time to read a piece of me. This journey has not been easy but having a community like this definitely helps.

Thank you ♥️

xo

Jay

Loss

“Your eyes show the strength of your soul.”
― Paulo Coehlo, The Alchemist

*Trigger Warning* Please be advise that this post will contains content that may potentially upset those who have experienced trauma or loss.

I know this year has been crazy for us all, so many of us have experienced great lows, with millions being affected by this global pandemic who are simply striving to survive this year has been so incredibly difficult.

For me loss came in 3’s and they started in July my family lost my uncle to COVID-19, in August we lost our fur baby Bagheera (who had been with us for pretty since my fiance and I first go together, so 12 years) and by the first week in September I had a miscarriage.

A few weeks prior to even finding out/becoming pregnant, I had experienced severe pain in my in my right side. The pain was so severe it landed me in Urgent Care. After a few tests and a CAT scan my doctor informed me that I had a kidney infection and that my scan showed a growth on my right kidney. The doctor couldn’t give me a clear or straight forward answer on how I might have developed an infection as I had not had any UTI’s ever or had any other medical issues in the past. They sent me home with pain meds, and I was to wait for Radiology to call me once my insurance approved an MRI to see what that growth on my kidney was. This entire visit was overwhelming as it left me with fear and more questions than actual answers. I go home and begin to feel fine as soon as the next day.

About three weeks after, I realize my period was 5 days late. I had realized that it was late by the first day, and even though my period is always on time and the Eve app tracks it accurately I didn’t want to automatically assume I may be pregnant. Mostly because in the past I had gotten my hopes up my jumping to the assumption that I could be only to take a test, it come up negative, then have my aunt flow show up the next day. So I had decided I would wait this time to save me $10 and crushed hope. I waited as long as I could, 5 days, I wanted to wait a full week but I couldn’t. It was Saturday and I knew I couldn’t make it through the weekend without knowing. Off to Target I would go!

I made the silly mistake in inviting my mother in law (MIL) with me, well more like I showered, got ready to go, decided I should go to Joann Fabric and Crafts since it has a Target right next door. So forgetting why I was going to Target, I invite my MIL. Panic set in once I stepped inside the store, and realized I couldn’t let her know the test was for me, for several reasons. Something that should be known about my mother in law is that she is a woman of faith who is heavily involved in the Christian church, so I didn’t want her to know out of fear of how she might react since my fiancé (her son) and I aren’t married yet, and even though we live together and she’s okay with that I wasn’t prepared to face her with this just yet. Secondly, if I was pregnant, I didn’t want her to know just yet, cause you know you’re “supposed to wait until your in the safe zone”.

This next part is quite humorous and well quite childish to be honest. I had to come up with a little white lie. I went in and started to do some grocery shopping then I let her know that I was buying the test for my friend. Yes, I a 28 year old WOMAN resorted to my teenager excuse (you know you used this line as a teen too lol) and to further make it believable I went on to say that I had let my friend know I was at Target and she gave me a small list of items to buy. *YES I KNOW CHILDISH, and honestly this just goes to how messed up religion can truly be, it will have you living in fear and shame over things that truly shouldn’t.* But anyways I went and bought training diapers, baby wipes, and diapers for “mY fRiEnD”. Shout out to my amiga who totally laughed after I told her this whole ordeal.

So I made it out of Target with what I went for, a box of pregnancy tests. My MIL completely believing my elaborate and might I add expensive lie. I get home, give myself a pep talk, and say to myself, “it’s okay, you will be okay no matter the outcome, if its negative be gentle and kind to yourself and do not grow discouraged”. I should add that we in no way were actively trying to conceive, but given we had been together for 12 years and we had not gotten pregnant since ya know doing the baby making thang, so I was beginning to have my doubts and was lowkey worried something might be wrong.

I also prepared myself if it was positive, because at this point I found myself hoping, and praying that it would be positive. I didn’t care that it did not fit into my plans or my timeline. All I cared for in that moment was to see a “+” on that little screen. I tried to completely block out that little voice full of fear and doubt that permanently lived rent free in the back of my head that said “it wasn’t possible, it won’t be positive, you’re just late”.

I finally take the test, those three minutes feel like the longest three minutes of my life. I’m sure if you’ve ever had to take a pregnancy test then you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Three minutes are up, I’m already crying because whatever that little screen says I know it will either leave me crying from disappointment or tears of joy.

The results are in, when it comes to possibly being pregnant, Jessica Galarza YOU ARE PREGNANT!!

I have actual video footage of me looking at the test, I knew I wanted to have this moment document. Deep down inside I knew I HAD to have this documented. I am crying and thanking God, thanking the universe for this gift that I had been entrusted with. I have a good cry, and I instantly want to pick up the phone to tell my fiancé, to tell my close amiga, my primas, I literally want to shout it from the rooftops. Of course I don’t because I had heard you’re not “supposed to”

I sit with this new information, I take the second test the box came with, once again it’s POSITIVE. I have no idea why, but I wanted, no NEEDED more tests, I had to be absolutely sure. It’s close to the time my fiance is out of work so I let him know we need to go to Target.

Once we reach the parking lot, I couldn’t keep it in any longer and I show him the tests. It definitely isn’t how I wanted to do, I wanted to do something “cute” to let him know but I needed someone else to know and who better than him. And honestly who are we kidding how was I going to go shop for pregnancy tests a second time at Target without it being obvious this time. He’s shocked but happy as well, he said he knew it since I was so late. Yeah we comfortably and casually talk about my menstral cycle every month. I let him know when its time to brace for impact, or if my Aunt Flow is running a bit late.

He is more trusting and confident in the first two tests I took. I wasn’t so sure, chalk it up to years of self doubt, worry, fear, and the paranoia of possibly not being able to get pregnant but I needed more tests. I had also began googling what could cause false positives and something kidney related popped up so I was almost certain that the first two tests were flukes.

Fast forward to me talking allllllllll the test, FIVE to be exact, and they all said the same thing, “pregnant” and “+”.

I am ecstatic, I am over the moon happy. I am the girl who has had her children’s names picked out for years. I am the girl who has been researching doulas, birth coaches, midwives, and just basically researching all the baby info. Strollers, how to sew my own eco-friendly diapers, everything under the sun I’ve looked up. Not because I’m baby obsessed per say but I just like being prepared and I am someone who likes having as much information I may need in the future. The more I know the better.

But even with all this excitement and glee, there is this pessimistic voice there lingering. I set up my first three OBGYN visits, I select my midwife, and get the ball rolling. Unfortunately due to COVID my first visit is over the phone, and my first in person visit with my midwife was a month away. ONE WHOLE ASS MONTH AWAY! Too long of a wait for me, I set up an in person visit at a small women’s clinic that could see my the following week and so I pay out of pocket because I needed a medical professional to put me at ease and let me know that yes indeed I was expecting.

I had let my amiga who is my closest friend and who happens to be my coworker at the time, that I was pregnant. I had let her know in case I had to excuse myself frequently to use the restroom, and because she is someone I trust completely and felt comfortable sharing this with.

The weekend before my in-person appointment at the clinic I began to experience light bleeding. I had to text my amiga since she has gone through this before, she is a mom to an adorable 3 year old, and I needed to ask someone if this was normal. She reassured me that it indeed was so long as I wasn’t bleeding heavily, which I was not. But of course the worry-wart in me was slightly anxious. I also call my doctor who pretty much said the same as my friend. So now I just have to make it to Monday I said to myself, and all would be fine once I made it to Monday and had my appointment.

Monday morning finally comes, I’m a nervous wreck but relieved. I asked if my kidney infection could cause false positives and the doctor said it was highly unlikely especially since both bloodwork and urine tests came back POSITIVE. I mentioned the bleeding over the weekend and I ask for an ultrasound, the tech leaves to get the doctor, who tells me that I may be too early for anything to be detected/picked up on the ultrasound and that bleeding in the first trimester is normal so long as it’s not heavy, or I wasn’t filling up pads, which I was not. So while I found out that I most definitely was in fact pregnant, I was left wondering why nothing showed up on the scan but I decided I wouldn’t dwell on it and I would trust the doctor who said I just may not be that far along.

A few days pass, and everything is fine. My fiancé and I began talking about moving out and getting a bigger place. We began to plan when and how we would let our families know. We discussed baby names even though we’ve had them picked out for years. I began to look at and add baby items to a secret Amazon wish list. I looked up fall themed pregnancy announcements, and had mine all planned out, it would feature pumpkins, a onesie, a round slab of wood with chalk paint that read “Our Little Pumpkin April 2021” or something equally as kitschy. I also inform my cousin who is my personal trainer that I would have to do low intensity workouts moving forward, and the reason being that I was pregnant.

I think the thing I hated most was how I felt bad for sharing this new information with others. While of course I understood that many choose not to share “just in case” a part of me didn’t get nor did I like the shame I felt in sharing this with others before making to the “safe mark”. I felt shame because I knew that not most share this until they are further along. It almost felt like I was tattle telling on myself, like “ooooo I’m pregnant, and I’m not supposed to tell you, in the unfortunate event I miscarry and then feel more shame about it”. I know, I know, I’m a bit strange and unusual and I also completely 100% understand and I am sensitive as to why most do not share until after the first trimester. I just hated the fact that I felt some type of way for sharing to those I felt NEEDED to know. I most certainly could not continue to train the way I was with my beast of a personal trainer @_trainwithali_.

One night while looking up healthy pregnancy safe meals, I began to experience slight cramping. Nothing severe, almost like period cramps but less painful. I go to the restroom and check for bleeding, there is none. *Phew* “We’re safe, we’re okay” I said as I rubbed my belly. I had begun speaking and holding lower abdomen one the way to and from work everyday after I took the five at home pregnancy tests. It was my ritual, my new normal.

The next morning, I woke up and noticed some blood on my underwear, but I tried not to panic as all the doctors said it was normal to experience bleeding, so long as it wasn’t heavy filling more than one pad per hour. I wasn’t, we were safe.

As the days progressed that week, so did the bleeding. I remember looking at my partner while we were watching tv and saying “I think I’m having a miscarriage”. I had spoken to him since we first found out about the “importance” of telling anyone we were pregnant especially family until we made it late September/early November. So he was used to hearing me mention the big M. He knew all about the bleeding from the first time it happened. He knew it all, because I kept him in the loop the entire time and he was extremely supportive since our Target trip.

I knew he would think it was nothing and that we were going to be okay. We are people of faith after all, (even though we aren’t the picture perfect example of a good ol’ wholesome Christian couple, mainly because of how progressive our view are) and God was with us and would make everything okay.

But I knew, I knew what was happening, and by the third day I decided to go to urgent care. I would have gone the first day it started but again as my doctor said over the phone once again, “I shouldn’t be alarmed unless I am in pain and bleeding more than what I was, aka HEAVILY”.

As my fiancé is driving me to urgent care he’s doing his best to calm, soothe, and support me. I’m an emotional mess the entire drive. I KNEW what was happening, I knew I would leave the urgent care broken. The walk from the car to the building was the loneliest, most painful experience. Due to COVID my fiance was unable to go in with me and I was a wreck and so was he. The entirety of my urgent care visit I was alone, there I was scared, nervous, anxious, needing and wanting my fiance to be in there with physically. I was in pain and needed him there to hold my hand and comfort me, and I know he so badly wanted to be there with me. Once inside and every time I had to wait to be seen I began to imagine how other people have had to be in this hospital alone due to COVID19. The empath in me begins to weep more for those facing hardships through this time as well.

All I can say is THANK YOU to all essential workers, and a HUGE THANK YOU to healthcare workers and even that is not enough to express the gratitude I have for them. The ones who took care of me during this time were complete angels, so kind, so gentle and as comforting as they could be given this pandemic.

I was seen right away, bloodwork, ultrasound, pelvic exam all done within 30 minutes. I was at the finally waiting area to see the Urgent Care doctor. We go over my bleeding, I describe the clots I had passed that day. I had taken pictures, and she asked to see them. She lets me know no fetal heartbeat was detected, no gestational sac was found but could not say if I was or wasn’t miscarrying because my HCG levels was good, and I could just be still too early for the ultrasound, and that some women do experience bleeding throughout their pregnancy. The only way we would know if I miscarried was to get my HCG levels checked the following week. I was completely confused and heartbroken. My fiancé, kept having faith everything would be okay. For his sake and my own I so wanted to believe it would be.

I spent the week knowing the inevitable. I had continued to bleed, and by the time I went to get the bloodwork done I just knew in my heart I was no longer pregnant. But I had to sit in the waiting room, I had to get more blood drawn, drink an obscenely sweet drink for a glucose test, wait an hour and get MORE blood drawn. A whole morning spent being poked and uncomfortable.

I left with very little hope, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t pray religiously for a different outcome. I go to work, constantly checking the Kaiser app to see if my results were in. By lunch time, the results were in, my HCG level was significantly and dramatically low. This was it the moment I knew was coming but it didn’t make it any less painful. A few moments later my nurse who I had spoken to when the bleeding first happened called me to deliver the bad news I had already seen.

I was given the same statistic from her that the Urgent Care Dr. gave me, “10-15% of pregnancies end in miscarriage”. She expressed how sorry she was that if any pain persisted for more than a few days to go back to urgent care or the ER.

Once again, I felt my whole heart break. Even while knowing I was miscarrying I still held onto a sliver of hope. I prayed for a miracle, but I also asked the God and the Universe to do what it must. I would accept and try to understand if things did not turn out how I wanted them to. I know that if I am really ready and open to what the Universe has for me I musts also respect it when it takes something away. I believe in things happening for a reason, and while I believe and am at a much better place today, the same can’t be said when I was in the thick of it.

July through September felt so heavy for me, I experienced so many emotions in such a short amount of time. The biggest most constant emotion I experienced was capital P A I N. I had lost so much in such a short period of time. I will forever remember these three months as the season of loss ad grief.

If you’ve come from Instagram because you follow me on @jloveknits, let me start of by saying thank you, you all were extremely kind and gentle even though you had no idea what was going on. Just know that I felt like I had this secret I was keeping from y’all. It felt like I had to keep working and moving forward as to not let anyone know the pain, grief, and even shame I was feeling.

I don’t fully get why the subject of miscarriage is so taboo, and I was brought up to believe that we don’t share these things, that this must be kept a secret from family and friends which I know is also as to not cause THEM pain or hurt. I mean can you imagine, YOU the birthing body going through this loss, grief. and feeling like you can’t tell anyone so to not make others feel sad, and also you don’t necessarily want to share because you feel some sort of shame/guilt/are blaming yourself, feeling down on yourself and there is of course the fact that you are honestly just too sad to share but I came to a point while I was going through this all I wanted was to reach out to friends, and even my mom or MIL for support (outside of my S.O.) to even know if what I’m experiencing is “okay” or “normal”. During this entire process I felt alone and isolated, the very small circle of friends and primas I did confide in had never experienced this (THANKING GOD FOR THAT but also feeling super alone) most have healthy kids/babies so their experience with pregnancy was completely different from mine.

Going through this and experiencing those bouts of how loneliness and isolation is exactly why I knew I wanted to be open and share. I wanted other birthing bodies who may experience or go through this to know that you are not alone, you do not have to feel shame, or like you’re less than because you did not carry to full term. Your pain and grief are valid, you’re NOT worthless, if you identify a woman and go through pregnancy loss it does not make you less than a woman, 10-15% of pregnancies end in miscarriage and it is important to know that miscarriages very rarely happen because of something YOU DID or DIDN’T do. It is also worth noting that even if something increases your risk of a miscarriage, it doesn’t mean that it was the cause.

I am continuing to work through this and occasionally have to remind myself to be kind to yourself Jay. Try to remember that it is highly unlikely you did anything to cause this.

I eventually reached out my mom who of course was so supportive and there for me and expressed her sincere sympathy and only felt some type of way because I didn’t reach out her. I am so grateful to have such a supportive, comforting, and understanding mom.

As the days go by it gets easier, my mental health is a top priority to me, and I have read several books, online resources, and once in-person sessions resume I will be going to therapy to continue this healing process. If you find yourself in need of help, please do not feel like you have to suffer alone and reach out for help.

It hasn’t been easy, I still have triggers like when the very expensive hospital bills began to trickle in, which also lead me to make the very difficult decision and pause the donating of all sales made on JLOVEKNITS.COM

I usually donate 5% of all sales every quarter and in the summer I was donating every month to a different organization. The decision was pretty much forced because the medical bills were rolling in, each one larger than the one before it. It sucks and I feel incredibly bad about this decision but having just quit my day job to purse JLOVEKNITS full time meant any money made had to not only cover my monthly bills, business expenses, but also cover these unexpected hospital bills which are no joke expensive even with health insurance.

I know this post was a lot to take in, and read just know I am so thankful for each and everyone of you. I’m so thankful you all have followed JLOVEKNITS, (and even if this is blog is your introduction to me) know that I appreciate all of your continued support and love and just want you all to know that you have someone here who is more than just a small business trying to bring eco-friendly goods and alternatives, I am a human who just like you is trying her best to get through/survive this year.

I didn’t write this in hopes of getting attention my hopes in writing this piece was to help destigmatize the conversation and shame associated with miscarriage. I know I may not be the most eloquent nor the best person when it comes to writing in general but I do speak from the heart and from my soul. I may not always get a lot of things right and I do not believe I am someone who is the most skilled or knowledgeable and I never claimed to be, I may not be able to offer the help you or others who have experienced or are experiencing this trauma but remember that you are not alone, you have a friend, sister/hermana, friend/amiga who is here for you. If at the very least this post made you feel seen even just a tiny bit, then that makes me happy, I know that is all I wanted in the darkest hours of this experience. I just wanted someone who I could relate to, and feel like I was not completely alone in this.

x️o-Jay

Resources:

Pregnancy Loss Support Orgs – https://www.verywellfamily.com/miscarriage-support-organizations-2371339

Thankful.

Though the darkness tried to lie and call me weak, I arise and smile at its defeat. I am enough, I am everything the darkness is not. – Jay

*I want to first and foremost acknowledge & check my privilege, and shed some light on the history of this day, I realize I am not able to do so on my own experience or by my own words. I will instead list some resources I have come across as they are truly helpful in teaching, educating, and bringing forth awareness to why we should use our voice to shift the narrative and bring visibility to the oppression and the erasure of Native Americans. I will also list some of my favorite and resourceful accounts I follow.

As I reflect on 2020, I’m seriously blown away at how much has happened in ONE year. It almost feels like I’ve lived many lives this year.

While the heaviness of this year weighs deeply in my heart, I want to simply reflect on the good that has happened month by month in this post.

Lets start.

January

This month my fiancé and I went to watch our favorite comedian Sebastian Maniscalco live at the Forum in Inglewood. It was nothing but laughs the entire day and night. We had so much fun on the drive down to LA from Ontario, and it brought me so much joy to see my fiancé excited.

During this month Australia was devastated by wildfires, causing wild life to be displaced as their homes were burned. So in an effort to try and do my part I was able to make and donate over 30 joey pouches, thanks to the incredible help of my community!

My last and final happy memory this month was being able to watch my dear friends get engaged! It is a beautiful memory that I will cherish and forever be thankful that we were able to witness.

February

My favorite memory this month was Valentines Day weekend. My fiance and I had a staycation, where we spent the night at our local DoubleTree where we relaxed in the hot tub at night, then went dancing. The next morning we went took a tour of Warner Bros Studios in Burbank. It was honestly such a good time and I highly recommend visiting (once it is safe to do so).

March

March is selfishly my favorite month, my birthday is March 10th. This year all I wanted to do was spend the day at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure with my entire family. It really was the most magical time, this would be the first time ever that my mom, dad, two brothers, my fiance and I would spend the entire day together. My parents split up when I was very young, so the child in me was absolutely happy, and the adult me was so proud and happy as well at their growth. Having the both of them at family events is something I will always appreciate and cherish. This trip happened a few days prior to COVID-19 causing the state to go into lockdown, and way before we all knew/realized how serious it was.

April-June

Quarantine/Lockdown, I was placed on a leave of absence my from job and honestly I was thankful but for all the wrong reasons. Reason number one I hated my work environment, it was full of drama, pettiness, and unnecessary cattiness but that’s a whole other post I can fill you in on later. The other reason I was glad to be on leave was because I truly care for the health of those I served. I worked at an In-Home Day Program, providing sensory stimulation and overall silliness to mentally and physically disabled individuals with compromised health. So naturally I completely understood and was glad to be put on leave if it meant keeping them safe.

July

This month my fiance, his family and I took a quick trip to Vegas. We played it safe, by staying in a resort that had all the amenities we needed, so we stayed there 90% of the time and took all the precautions necessary to ensure the safety of others and ourselves. This was the first time in over 10 years that we all went on a family vacation. It was really nice to be able to spend time together.

August

August was by far my heaviest most darkest month for me. The one thing I am thankful for this month is simply surviving it.

September

September was the month I finally saw my brothers and mom again in person since March. We went to have brunch together and celebrated my mom’s birthday. In this month I also finally quit my job to pursue JLOVEKNITS full time. I can’t begin to describe how liberated, yet nervous I was to take this leap of faith all I can say is I am so glad I did.

October

I am super thankful that October was spent being busy with JLOVEKNITS and all about learning how to work full time from home.

and at last we reach November, this month I am thankful for my fiancé. We took a short to trip to Seattle, (no need to shame or guilt trip me believe me I did that all by myself the entire time and all precautions were taken and practiced). We had planned and book this prior to ‘Rona, and Seattle has been on my Must Visit list since I was in the 5th grade! My fiancé’s birthday is on the 28th and our anniversary is on the 29th so this trip was to celebrate us both. After the heartache we both endured this year, we selfishly enjoyed this trip and each other.

Although this year is not over just yet and I left out all the bad that went on, just getting to write out all the good made feel a bit better. It can be so easy to look at the negative. At times it can even feel like we are drowning and simply trying to stay afloat seems impossible. I know a lot of times this year it certainly felt that way for me. Doing this helped me to really reflect, think back and find the good.

We also don’t need one particular day a year to do this so I ask you to try and do the same whenever you get a chance, write out a list of only the good that has happened this year. But please do not compare your list to mine, and do not feel bad if you find it hard to find the good. The fact that you are here, and you are reading this is what I am thankful for most. Your life, is worth being thankful for, as icky, as tough, as hard as it may be, you are a survivor, a warrior, and you will grow and prosper. Surviving and living through times such are much to be thankful and proud of.

xo- Jay

Resources:

Find out more about local Indigenous territories and languages at https://native-land.ca/

A guide to Indigenous land acknowledgement https://nativegov.org/a-guide-to-indigenous-land-acknowledgment/

Tia Wood Instagram: @tiamiscihk Tiktok: @tiamiscihk

Allen Instagram: @lilnativeboy

Thanksgiving: The National Day of Mourning https://www.papermag.com/thanksgiving-native-american-history-2620937254.html

Jessica, aka Jay.

My name is Jessica, but I like to go by Jay or simply “J”. I am a 28 year old Latinx small business owner, who hand makes reusable eco-friendly items, but I’m also much more than that.

I started JLOVEKNITS in 2012/13 on Instagram to showcase my handmade knitted and crocheted goods. I began this craft journey as a way to gift friends and family members presents during the holidays, birthdays, etc. I was a broke college student working PT and my family was recovering from the financial crisis of 2007-2008 (thinking back to those days still triggers me sometimes but that’s a post for another day).

I sorta kinda forgot about my business Instagram only to restart it in the winter of 2017 (after yet again recovering from some personal issues) but this time I was making it all. Candles, beanies, scarves, Cricut crafts, you wanted it, I made it anything to help supplement my income and to fill my time.

It wasn’t until 2018 when I finally found my purpose, making cute and affordable REUSABLE ITEMS. You’ll also get to hear more about how this journey all got started if you keep following.

It has been two years since I rebranded JLOVEKNITS from handmade knitted and crocheted goods to handmade eco-friendly alternatives. Along this journey I have found personal, financial, and emotional growth & success. It hasn’t always been easy, and trying to balance building a business, keeping up with a fiancé and home life, and the occasional bouts of anxiety can feel overwhelming at times but the support I have received from my peers, *community, family, and friends has helped make this journey worthwhile.

  • I really don’t like using the words “followers” and “supporters” because those words feels too impersonal and snotty for me, which is why I tend to say “community” instead because honestly the love and support that has been sent my way goes far beyond what a “customer/follower” is)

So if you already follow me on IG then you already know I can be what some might consider an “oversharer” for being a business page. I always knew I wanted to create a blog where I could openly share my life, not because I think my life is so great or because I want to boast about it. But because I feel like sharing, story telling, and writing has always been a great form of expression for me. It has always felt like a set in the right direction towards healing. Journaling has been a love of mine since I was a young girl, it helped put down the words of my heart and soul on paper. It was where I would write out what I wish I could say out loud, in hopes that there were others out there feeling or going through the same thing so I didn’t feel so alone or so that I could share in my excitement with. This blog has been in the making for a long time. If only I could have found the courage I now have today. I let fear and self doubt keep me from pursuing this.

I was riddled with pesky little thoughts “who would care”, “why bother”, “your not interesting”, “what about the meanies of the internet”, etc. But as I continue to grow I have come to let go fear and self doubt, and I have decided to say, stop worrying about what others might think, stop letting fear dictate what you do and don’t do. I have come to a point where my biggest fear is not doing this and letting myself down.

And to those who maybe wondering why not just get a journal and keep it private? Well, I honestly have enjoyed sharing my personal journey, business experience, setbacks, and more with my community on IG and finding so many that can relate on there that I feel compelled to continue to share my journey on here where I’m not as restricted or confided to a single square and 2,200 character caption. That this blog too continues to grow to be a place where we all find community and perhaps a place where you feel seen.

I plan on continuing to share more in depth personal experiences, lifestyle tips, and of course shamelessly promote my little baby, my business JLOVEKNITS. This blog (and a book) was something that even as a kid I knew I would do, well actually as a kid I had no idea what a blog was, but I don’t know why or how I knew at such a young age that I would share my story.

My hope is that if this blog finds you that it may inspire, bring hope, joy, or even just laughter, or that you may feel like you’ve stumbled upon a relatable virtual amiga.

xo- Jay