July Calendar Spread

I had such good feedback regarding my calendar spreads. Not only did I inspire people, but it made me feel incredible that people found them to be cute. So, in an attempt to keep the good vibes, I’m going to keep posting them every month!

Month Page

https://www.erincondren.com/lifeplanner-learn-more

So as you can see, I’m trying to work on color coating the design portion with the functional part. That way everything matches. I got a HUGE book of flower sticker so I thought this would be a fun way to use them for the monthly spread.

Week One

https://www.hobbylobby.com/search/?text=the+happy+planner&quickview=80926040

I can’t lie, this is one of the best spreads I have ever done. But, don’t get discouraged if a spread doesn’t turn out so great because the more you practice with different layouts and different supplies, the better they’ll get!

Week Two

https://www.hobbylobby.com/Scrapbook-Paper-Crafts/Planners-Accessories/Stickers/Simply-Lovely-Happy-Planner-Stickers/p/80926034

As I said before, every spread cannot be perfect. But, the great thing is that there are tons and tons of products out there. If I had really wanted to I could have gone out to buy some stuff to spruce up this page. However, I didn’t have the time or motivation for this spread.

Week Three

https://www.amazon.com/PPSV-18-Create-Planner-Sticker-Watercolor/dp/B01N2W1BTF/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2G8BCWH979BKO&keywords=the+happy+planner+watercolor+stickers&qid=1562795601&s=gateway&sprefix=the+happy+planner+watercolor%2Caps%2C161&sr=8-1

When I first started this spread, all I did were the middle vertical flowers. Honestly, I should have left it that way because it was adorable. So, just try to remember that less is more sometimes!

Week Four

https://www.amazon.com/Agutape-Skinny-Japanese-Masking-Supplies/dp/B01FS9LVIW/ref=sr_1_11?keywords=metallic+washi+tape&qid=1562794860&s=gateway&sr=8-11

Rose Gold is so popular right now, so I tried out this spread! Turned out pretty good!

Here is a list of the products used for this months’ spreads:

  • Erin Condren Life Planner (Vertical Spread)
  • The Happy Planner Sticker Book (Fun Florals)
  • Erin Condren Designer Sticker Book (Classic Collection/Edition 4)
  • The Happy Planner Sticker Book (Simply Lovely)
  • Agutape AGU Foil Gold Skinny Washi Tape (purchased on Amazon)
  • The Happy Planner Sticker Book (Watercolor)

Hope you enjoyed! Comment or share your ideas below!

xoxo

If You Can Organize Your Make-up, You Can Accomplish Anything!

Who’s sick of digging through drawers and bins full of eye shadow pallets and lipsticks to find what you need? I know I was.

So, Here’s a step by step tutorial on how I organized everything into 3 easily accessible makeup organizing accessories!

Decide what type of function you are looking for.

I really wanted:

  1. Firstly, create the ability to see the heads/tips of my brushes so that I could make an informed decision on which brush I needed to use with what product and get my desired effect.
  2. Secondly, organizing my makeup into categories based on their use.
  3. Thirdly, to stop having to dig and dig to find products!

So here are the three items I purchased to make that happen that are all available on Amazon!

Acrylic Make-up Organizer

Acrylic Makeup Organizer:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0721QQDC8/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_image_o06_s04?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Brush Organizer

Brush Organzier:
https://www.amazon.com/mDesign-Decorative-Organizer-Bathroom-Dressing/dp/B06ZXS6SKJ/ref=sr_1_7?keywords=rose+gold+makeup+brush+holder&qid=1561493724&s=gateway&sr=8-7

Acrylic Eye shadow Pallet Organizer

Acrylic Eyeshadow Pallet Organizer:
https://www.amazon.com/Acrylic-Organize-Transparent-Cosmetics-Collection/dp/B0791CQXMJ/ref=sr_1_18?crid=1YYJOFMPQ08P7&keywords=clear+eyeshadow+organizer&qid=1561493819&s=gateway&sprefix=clear+eyeshadow+o%2Caps%2C157&sr=8-18

Let’s Get Crackin’!

Step #1: Firstly, dump everything out onto a flat surface and make every item visible. Certainly remove all of your brushes and put them into the brush organizer. See? This is easy! Secondly, take out all my eye shadow pallets and put them into the eye shadow pallet organizer. My pile is looking much smaller already.

My Piles VS. Your Piles

Well, then comes the interesting part. It will be different for every person depending on what products you have. The acrylic organizer that I purchased has 4 large drawers, 2 small drawers, and a topper with one large section, two medium sections and a bunch of little small sections for lipsticks. Lets start with the drawers. Divide you makeup into piles.

Large Items

Things that will not fit- These products just take up too much damn space. It’s not a perfect world. But at least I can replace my GIANT make-up bin with a much smaller bin to accommodate these four items.

Eyeshadow

There is no way I will ever use all of this before my untimely demise. Therefore, I will be leaving these in my will to one lucky son of a bitch in my will. Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor. This is most definitely my biggest pile. It wont all fit in one drawer, but we will get into that later on.

Lip Products

Obviously, this pile is incomplete as any makeup connoisseurs will be. That’s because they’re EVERYWHERE (in your car, in your junk drawer, in you purse or purses, in your desk.) Healthy habit tip: Once a moth gather them all up! Fortunately, there is tons and tons of extra room in the top divider to display my collection!

Eye Liners

Because the piles were so small, this includes eyeliners for your lids and brows. Throw away any dried up liquid liners you may find.

Blush

Non-Brush Utensils

Mascara

This is a good opportunity to clean out and old dried up mascara if you have any! THROW THEM AWAY PEOPLE!

Primers

Face and lid primers are both in this pile.
I currently have any type of contour/bronzer in here too, but later on you’ll see that I decided to combine different things together so that everything would fit.

Not Pictured:


Pile #10 is not pictured because I forgot to take a photo (“Great job, EmJay”): Highlighters!

Pile #11: Trash; sometimes baskets for storage can just be a catch-all for everything; just take it straight to the trash can!

I Have Too Many Piles and Not Enough Drawers!

Step #2: Secondly, you’ll need to combine some piles. But, how do you do that? OK, so there are 4 big drawers and 2 small drawers. That’s 6 drawers in all that I currently have.

What Piles Can You Subtract?

Subtract your piles by 3 if:

  1. If you have a trash pile
  2. A pile of things that won’t fit
  3. Or a pile of non-brush utensils. Essentially, I have 6 drawers but 8 piles.

Let’s Combine!

Therefore, I need to combine some of these piles. Subsequently, the non-brush utensils will go onto one of the little compartments on the top.

My two smallest piles were my liners and mascaras. Therefore I combined these and put them into one of the small drawers.

Too Much Shit and Not Enough Drawers Space?

Now I have 5 drawers left (1 small and 4 big) and with 6 piles. Certainly, my biggest pile is definitely my eye shadows. There is no way that all of my eye shadows will fit in one drawer. So I can a split them up in a functional manner?

Divide Big Piles into Smaller Piles.

In conclusion, I divided my eye shadow into 2 groups:

  1. Pallets/ or multiple colors in one compact
  2. Single colors

Take a look below at my two piles.

As you can see, I divided my eye shadows and then used to of the big drawers and they fit perfectly with some room for growth, but lets be real. I don’t need anymore eye shadow ever.

Combine What Fits, Not What Doesn’t!

Alright, what does that leave me with? I still have 1 small drawer and 2 big drawers. My piles are down to 5.

Take a Look at Your Progress!

Next, was the part I had a little trouble with. Long story short I felt like all face related items (e.i. foundation, concealer, primer, bronzer, contour, blush, and highlighter) really all belong in the same category, but I couldn’t fit all of it together. As a result, I had to move some things around.

Small Detour Ahead

During the process not everything will always fit. I tried to combine a few categories with no avail. But eventually I came out on top. Therefore, I took these 6 categories and divided them into:

  1. Contour & Blush
  2. Highlighter
  3. Foundation & Primer

Nope. Nope. Not Today, Satan.

Definitely didn’t like that. I didn’t like all my foundations and primers out on the top. Just for purely aesthetic reasons. It’s not pretty to look at. So I had to switch it up.

So instead, I combined my foundation, concealers, and contours into one drawer.
I then combined the blush and highlighters into another drawer.

Pucker Up Buttercup!

Lets go over what is left, shall we?. Well, its pretty simple. I have one small drawer left and a pile of lipstick! How meant to be is that? Keep in mind: You have lipstick all over your house. And I love all the colors I have. Put the ugly things in the small drawer and display all the pretty ones or ones you use regularly up top.

Fortunately, I still have some space on the topper. So, what can I use it for? Well, the topper is like, easy access, so I decided to pull a few every day essentials out of the drawer and store them on top. That way I can just grab and go!

Share Your organization Tips Below!

I hope that this little “how-to” was helpful for you. To see the finished product, please click the link to my Instagram!

xoxoxo

Dress-up your Dressed-down Wardrobe

So most people aim to be comfortable in whatever their wearing, but what if you want to be comfortable AND stylish? Here’s how a turned a basic T-shirt into a grunge-inspired, fashion forward outfit!

First and foremost, let’s talk about what you can do to the actual T-shirt to dress it up. Knot it. Putting a simple knot or a hair tie bunching fabric to either side or to the front will drastically change the way a T-shirt looks and it also accentuates your mid region. Most T-shirts are loose fitting which makes the bottom appear saggy, baggy, or ill-fitting. Putting a simple knot or tie into a shirt give the T-shirt dimension and something else to look at beside its natural seam line at the bottom. Just bunch up any extra fabric that covers your pants and throw a tie in it and tuck it under the shirt, If you have a lot of extra fabric as I did with this shirt, you can pull the fabric together, twist it tight and then loop it through itself to tie a knot.

The next item I recommend to dress up any outfit is a generic blazer. It will completely change the direction of your outfit from “I woke up like this” into “I’m going to make today my bitch”. For this grunge inspired look I stuck with black, but a blazer in any color will work. I rolled up the sleeves on mine for 2 reasons:

  1. The interior of my blazer has a different print which give my outfit some more dimension
  2. I live in Alabama and it is hot AF outside.

Be mindful of what kind of jean cut you pick. My advice is to pick the opposite pant style as your shirt. If your T-shirt is SUPER fitted I would recommend a boot cut or a flare. If it is more bulky try a skinny jean. You can also play with the rise style and how tight or high you make the knot in your shirt. The jeans I chose are high rise and I tied the knot accordingly so that my belly would stay at bay (for the most part). If you go with skinny jeans be aware of wear the jeans end and your shoes begin. I cuffed my jeans to accentuate my shoes; another useful tip for dressing up an outfit!

Accessories, accessories, accessories. When dressing up any outfit, accessories are KEY. It’s incredible what a big pair of statement earrings, a belt, or even a simple bracelet or watch will do to an outfit. As you can see I chose to stay in the same color family, but feel free to step it up with a big pair of hoops or tassels in your favorite bold color.

I haven’t ever been super into belts with jeans. I usually gravitate towards waist cinching belts with any type of dress to accentuate my non-existent waist. Here I chose to use a belt really to draw attention away from my belly. Because the belt is a different color than my outfit, it is more likely to catch your eye than my midriff if it pops out accidentally.

OMG, shoes. Lets talk about heels. I love them, but how can you make it through a whole work day with heels without feeling like your feet are going to fall off? Here’s my trick: Platforms. Hear me out. If a heel is 5 inches tall and the platform under the ball of your foot 3 inches tall, technically your are only separating the ball and heel of your foot by 2 inches. The platform portion is giving you 3 inches of height without changing the angle at which your foot is sitting. Therefore, in my not-so-professional opinion, platforms are much easier to walk in for longer periods of time. Also, if you don’t have a pair of black combat-style boots, you’re missing out. They can go with pretty much anything.

So there you have it people. If you have any questions about what or where I got any of the items I’m wearing or for more helpful tips please contact me! xoxoxo

June Calendar Spread

Alright, so recently I started doing a little more “designing” in my calendar to keep it fun and fresh and functional. I was tired of having notebooks with lists, a calendar with appointments, and sticky notes everywhere. So I purchased an Erin Condren calendar and over time I have collected a butt load of stickers. It makes my planner not only cute and functional, but it always keeps things interesting. It is also a HUGE stress reliever to design a planner page! I usually dedicate at lease one hour of time for myself on Sundays to design my calendar/planner pages. I try to do it when the weekend is winding down and I’m getting ready to start another work week. I figured, since I love it so much and I always look for other designs, why not share my own in hopes that it inspires some designs of your own! I will list several of the products I use below the pictures of my June calendar/planner pages below if you would like to purchase any of the same products!

So Here is my June Calendar page which is located at the beginning of the month. Then I have separate planner sheets for each week in that month. This inspiration was really just because I purchase some new flower stickers and wanted to see how I could fill some negative space. I love stickers with clear backgrounds because if they are a little too big for a space your can just overlap and still see what is below. I’ve also been practicing my script skills. As you can see in the top row, before the actual June calendar days start, I practiced a quote and added a “beach” with an arrow showing when I will be on vacation!
I am a total stickler for matching colors or color schemes. As you can see the color scheme is mostly hot pink in this one. Not only can you play with stickers to build your design, but you can also use washi tapes. They are basically decorative tapes. You can see where I used some tape on the bottom right page and a little bit throughout just to kind of break up the negative space. If you look closely you can also see where I have already messed up. IT OK TO MESS UP. It’s only a week and once the week is up you won’t have to look at it anymore. I use that whiteout tape to cover up any mistakes or to “erase” appointments that get canceled or changed.
Sometimes when I start to run low on stickers, I have to pick something I have a lot of and then build off of that. So for this one the theme is strawberries and watermelon. I used mostly red but there’s a little bit of green in there as well. Definitely a wonderful summer inspired spread. There is also a little bit of gold washi tape to accent.
The best thing about this Erin Condren spread is that it is completely up to you to customize it. I would say this spread is the closest thing to bullet journaling because it has three dot outlined segments for each day. I’m not going to lie, bullet journaling scares the shit out of me; I don’t feel like I’m creative enough to design a whole functional page. This spread kind of splits the difference. Erin Condren has other calendar spreads such as a daily one where it has 30 minutes times listed from morning until night. I had that one and didn’t like it because it wasn’t customizable enough for me. This one gives me the freedom to make my own functional spaces while still keeping track of daily tasks and appointments at my leisure.
This is most definitely my favorite layout in this month. Watercolor flower sticker are my absolute FAVE! Not much to say about this one. It’s pretty much the shit.
Pretty simple. Mint and Gold. Sometimes you can go ALL out with stickers and sometimes minimalism is better.

So here are some of the items that I used in these spreads of you are interested:

  • Erin Condren Life Planner (vertical layout)
  • The Happy Planner Stcikers (Various packs, all available at Hobby Lobby, Michaels, or Target)
  • agenda 52 sticker pack (also available at Hobby Lobby, Michaels, or Target)
  • Dalus gold foil washi tape (purchased on amazon)
  • agutape skinny gold foil washi tape (purchased on amazon)

As always, feel free to reach out with your comments and questions!

Xoxo

Plump Plump and Away!

Ever thought about getting lip fillers? Let me tell you. Love it and Hate it (sort of).

So when I originally considered getting lip fillers, it wasn’t actually because I wanted my lips to be bigger or more full or more defined. It was because I hate my nose. I know, all of you are probably like, “Shut up, EmJay. You have an amazing nose.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this. And all I can respond with is that it’s not about how you feel about my nose. It’s about how I feel about my nose. I hate it. It’s too big for my face. It makes all my other amazing features seem smaller. I honestly, I don’t care what anyone else thinks. And honestly, if you’re doing anything cosmetic to yourself, it really should be about improving your own self image, not improving other’s image of you. BOOM…. Knowledge…. Anyways, so my thought process was, if my lips were more prominent then maybe my nose would feel so big and out of place on my face. Well, in this aspect of it. I think I was definitely right. Think about your face as a pie.If you cut a slice of pie that is 10% of the whole you will have 90% of the pie left, but if you cut one slice of by that is 25% of the whole you will have 75% of the pie left. It’s all about proportion AND portion.

So, when I first went to my dentist (yes, I get my fillers done by my dentist), I was worried about over-doing it. The celebrities or reality stars that come to mind are Pam Anderson, Catherine Argo (Bachelor contestant Season 23), Lindsay Lohan, Farrah Abraham (Teen Mom) the list goes on and on. But hey, maybe that overfilled plastic look is what they are going for.

How do you gauge how much is too much though? This is what I have experimented with. Start small. Minuscule. Microscopic even. You can always put more in. There is no waiting period for lip fillers. You don’t have to wait weeks or months in between sessions, but if you put too much in, it takes months and months for it to wear off and I know you can get a doctor to remove it, but really, that sounds painful and expensive.

So the product that my dentist offers is Juvederm. When I did my first session I had them do half of a tube (around $250). I wanted a little more definition and a little more volume. After leaving they were a little swollen and I loved the look.

However, after the initial swelling went down, you couldn’t really tell that I did anything to my lips at all.

So for my second session (about six months later) I got a full tube (around $500). Totally defined, totally plump, a little too big and puffy during the initial swelling. It’s only been about 24 hours since I had my second session done so the swelling is still there, but let me tell you. I have already had three people come up to me and say the same exact thing, “You look amazing. Something is different, but I CANT TELL WHAT” THAT right there is exactly what I wanted.

Before the Second Session

After the Second Session

I don’t want to walk around thinking that anyone is talking about my lips being filled. It’s a noticeable difference, but not so noticeable that you can pinpoint exactly what it is that I have done. I also haven’t been staring at my nose constantly wondering if I contour my face a certain way if it will make it appear smaller.

So the important thing to know about lip fillers from what I have gathered is that there are two different types or way of injecting it depending on what look you are going for:

  1. Definition: If you want more definition in your lips you will want to have the injections put in or near the outline of your lips. This will give you a clear indication of where your lips end and the rest of your face begins. I wore lipstick today to cover some of the initial bruising that takes place but even so I’m so happy. Before when I put on lipstick I have a very difficult time figuring out where to end my lip stick. I would always end up drawing them too big or too small or WAY uneven. Now with this extra definition I have, there is a clear difference between where my lips and and my face begins.
  2. Volume: If you want poutier, plumper, more voluptuous lips, you will have injections going directly in your lips in all different places. You can choose if you just want your upper or lower lip done or both! I have several friends who have either had some type of lip trauma or just have a thin upper or lower lip. In this case, they can volumize just one area. For example, I wanted to take away some of the attention from my SHNOZZ and redirect that attention somewhere else, being my lips! Therefore I had them add some volume to accomplish that.

Here’s the part that everyone hates. PAIN. I’ve heard women say countless times, “Why would I do something to myself that’s going to hurt like a mother fucker?” And look, I don’t blame women for asking that. It can hurt like a bitch. Find a good provider who offers pain injections, hence why I go to my dentist. I don’t feel a thing. I get enough local anesthesia so that I’m numb. Like so numb. It might be more expensive, but let’s be real. If you’re already spending money on lip fillers, a little anesthetic can’t hurt either.

24 hours after

And the bruising! No one tells you about that! I’m not going to lie, without my current lipstick, I would look like 50 Shade of Grey turned into 50 shade of purple. I can only think of this one GIF to sum up how it feels.

It may be painful both physically and monetarily, but boy, it’s awesome. How amazing is it that there are so many things you can do to boost your self confidence! But if cosmetic alteration isn’t your bag, that’s OK too. I’m all for it, but ONLY IF YOU DO IT FOR YOU!

Comment any questions or if you have your own experiences that you would like to share!

Ready, Set, LASHES!

Video

It’s FINALLY here ladies! Have you ever tried eyelash extensions? Have you ever wanted to try them? Let me tell you. I have all the tea. They are the best thing I have ever done to help enhance my appearance. I’m obsessed, but the downside is they are really expensive to keep up. So how can you get amazing lashes without spending all of your moolah? Watch my video below!

Here is a list of the products I used:

  • ARDELL PROFESSIONAL LashTite For Individual Lashes- Dark Adhesive
  • CHERISHLOOK professional eyelashes- Double Knot Free Flare- Short Black
  • CHERISHLOOK professional eyelashes- Double Knot Free Flare- Long Black
  • ARDELL DURALASH regular individuals- Short Black
  • ARDELL DURALASH regular individuals- Medium Black
  • ARDELL DURALASH regular individuals- Long Black
  • Regular Tweezers
  • Compact mirror

If you have any questions about what I used or my process, please reach out!

The Legacy

So for those of you who don’t really know much about me, I have Cystic Fibrosis. It’s something I have always struggled with emotionally. Physically, I have been pretty damn lucky. But when it comes to the emotional side I have always felt so “detached” for lack of a better term. I ignore it, I make light of it, I always act like it doesn’t bother me every single second. And I think recently I’ve discovered the reason for the “lack of connection” to the emotional side of it. and it was just that- A LACK OF CONNECTION. My family and I have recently partnered with a well-known individual who has his own cystic fibrosis foundation. He focuses on that connection which is desperately needed in the cystic fibrosis community. Don’t get me wrong, the amount of research that organizations such as the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation does is incredible and most likely I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this to you had they not made such great strides in that aspect, but what about hugging a mom and dad with a 6 year old son with Cystic Fibrosis who stay up worrying every night about what their son’s future holds?

What about meeting (and my meeting I mean waving a screaming to each other from across a bar) a 31 year old “B-E-A-U-tiful) woman who underwent a double lung transplant and is thriving and did I mention stunning? This foundation does that. I have always felt like the reason for my lack of emotional connection with my own disease is because something always felt like it was missing. You can even ask my parents. My mother swears that growing up, the cystic fibrosis “community” was non-existent. They may have even purposefully kept us away from each other for fear of infections or bacteria being passed from one person with cystic fibrosis to another, essentially contaminating each other. This foundation, The Colton Underwood Legacy Foundation, has given me purpose that I so unknowingly desperately needed. I finally feel like I belong somewhere. I have “people” and I can give back to those families and individuals who have had cystic fibrosis impact their lives in so many different ways. Watching an 11-year old become an honorary Tennessee Volunteer cheerleader, or a 6 year old play laser tag, bumper cars, and do a ropes course with Colton, just fills my heart with so much joy and hope for the future. I feel full, complete, satisfied.

Not to mention that these recipients are receiving life changing medical equipment from Afflovest that without insurance can cost $16K a pop. I don’t know about you but I don’t have that type of money to throw around willy nilly. And for us, its not really an option. We HAVE to have it. So if you haven’t looked into what this foundation does or the impact it has I highly recommend checking out the website at http://www.coltonslegacy.org.

Another thing that you should know about me is that I LOVE WINE, more importantly, a good rose wine. And what’s better than a wine that supports a good cause? Nothing. Literally nothing. So I’ve been given a unique opportunity to offer a 10% off code for all orders of the very special legacy wine label. Please visit http://www.coltonslegacy.org/legacy-wine for your order today as quantities are limited. And I’m not gonna lie, you may want to order as much as possible because who knows how long it will be in stock. I am for sure stocking up. Us code “EMJAY10” for 10% off your order today!

xoxoxoxo

-Becoming EmJay

65 Roses?

When you think back on your childhood, everyone always can think of their first “memory”. Maybe it was the first time you played soccer, or the first goal in hockey. Maybe it was your first recital, or the first fight you got in with your sibling. Maybe you were 5 years old, maybe you were 12. Everyone’s first recollection is different, but it is burned into your memory. You can remember what the weather was like, you remember the smell, you remember, every detail about the room you were in, about who you made eye contact with. This moment will always be a part of you because you have stored this moment in your long term cortex. For me, this memory isn’t what an average person would expect.

I was 11 years old. It was 2001. My parents had just allowed me to make my very own AOL account. This really makes me feel old just thinking about how far technology has come. What I really wanted an AOL email for was for the instant messaging feature called, “AIM.” My best friend at the time was Honey Girl (this was her nickname and so for her own privacy I will refer to her as such). Her house was just behind mine, but we thought it was so cool that we could message each other form our houses. It was like the advanced version of the cans on the strings. What was that called? Tin can telephone. Except the cans were our computers and the string was the internet. Well, with the internet comes a vast black hole of information and once you start you really can’t stop. Honey was much more technology savvy than me for an 11 year old. She knew how to manipulate a search engine and how to look up juts about anything. This may have to do with the fact that my parents were a lot stricter regarding technology than Honey’s parents. And looking back I wonder if this was intentional. Were they trying to postpone the inevitable information I may stumble upon? Were they trying to protect me? Who knows.

One night Honey Girl and I were instant messaging. About tons of nonsense as usual. Until one particular moment that will be seared into my brain forever. Honey knew that I had Cystic Fibrosis. Did she know what it meant? Probably not, I mean, I don;t think I even knew what it meant. It was just an adjective that I had heard over and over to describe myself. It wasn’t ever a noun, it wasn’t ever a physical object. It was just a word. I had heard it time and time again. But at this particular moment, Honey sent me a website. so nonchalantly she said it was about cystic fibrosis and I needed to go check it out. I clicked on the link. I started reading. The words that I remember most clearly were things like “statistics” “lifespan” “average age” “death”. Mind you, this was 2001. Things have come a LONG way from where they were. But as an 11 year old can you imagine feeling like something as serious as this was kept from you? At least that’s how it felt. How could I prepare for the thought of dying? How could I be worried about my life span? Why is there an “average age” of someone like me? What does this all mean?

I think this is the first moment I ever felt like my life was not my own. That things were spinning out of control. Control that I was so certain of carrying myself. It was no longer mine. This adjective to describe me was no longer an adjective. It was a noun. It was a person. It was a shadow that came in a stole my control in the most ordinary of moments. Everything had changed, right then. At first I was angry at my parents. I asked to talk to them and I screamed, I cried, and I asked why. Why me? Why didn’t they tell me? What does this all mean? Am I going to die at 18? 35? 50? All i can remember is that they didn’t know what to tell me. They thought they had explained it all, but they were wrong. Until the words were read by me with no fluff, no extra nonsense to make it seem less terrifying. I truly didn’t understand the seriousness.

When children are little and cannot say big words, like cystic fibrosis, they use words that sound a lot like what they actually are. The story of “65 roses” can be traced all the way back to 1965 as a term to help young children learn how to pronounce the name of their disease. Kind of ironic though. Something like “65 roses” without knowing what I know, would make one thing of something overwhelmingly fragrant, beautiful, sweet, colorful. Can you imagine a room, empty of nothing other than 65 roses? What would that look like to you? To me, it would look quite the opposite of those words: Putrid, unsightly, sour, colorless. This disease, is not everything that “65 roses” alludes.

So what is cystic fibrosis. Well its a combination of a lot of things that affect everyone that has it completely differently. To put it simply, it is a genetic disease that affects your lungs, mostly. People with cystic fibrosis are not able to break down mucus in their lungs like a person that is unaffected by the disease. Due to this, it is easier for us to contract certain bacterias and more difficult to get rid of them once we have them. This in turns directly impacts our lung function. Gradually creating scarring within our lungs and in turn reducing lung function even more. A viscous cycle.

After this pivotal moment in my life. Things definitely changed. Doctor’s appointments had a different meaning. Certain words would trigger me into a complete “come-apart.” Relationships changed. Comments people made about my cough! Oh that would crawl under my skin. Before I didn’t even think anything of it. “Are you ok?” they would say. Fuck no I’m not ok! But is it worth saying that to someone? Nope. Definitely not. Because then I would have to basically explain my whole life. It took me a long time to learn that its easier to say “yeah, I’m fine.” Because not everyone deserves to know that intimate most vulnerable side of me. Even some people that I thought did deserve to know, such as best friends, or boyfriends, proved me wrong. Conspired with my shadow against me. Turned this disease into a reason to leave, or as a weapon against me. Can you imagine what it would feel like to learn that someone who are in love with cannot love you back because of something you cannot control. “It too much for them to handle.” It’s too hard.” “It’s too sad.” “Who would want to be with someone with a certain death sentence.” It a huge emotional blow.

Now as a 28 year old, I will say that it hasn’t been all bad. I’ve learned so much about myself through having cystic fibrosis. The most important thing I think is that buttering something up is not the same as telling the truth. Being straight forward has such a drastically different impact. I wonder what kind of impact it would have had on me if my parents had told me straight up at 11 years old what this phrase would do to my life. I wonder how it would have impacted that moment in the instant message with Honey Girl if I was able to explain what she had found instead of feeling like the floor below me had disappeared. Instead of free falling into a bottomless pit in my stomach. I knew in that moment I would never say anything less that exactly what I wanted to or needed to say. Has that created animosity? Absolutely. Do I regret being straight forward? Not a bit. Do I think Cystic Fibrosis has changed me for the better. Yes. I try more and more each day to live in the moment. To appreciate every success AND every disappointment. Ti learn something from every experience. Will my “lifespan” truly be shorter than the average human being? Maybe. Maybe not. But will I feel as if each moment has been executed with purpose? Every experience has been carried out to its fullest? No doubt. So maybe what you can take away from “65 Roses” is not beauty, or colorfulness, but The ability for those roses to grow, to soak in the sunshine, to fill its core with water to feed their growth, to bloom, to flourish, and to wither, As all life does. But those who were able to witness the roses through all of their transformation are better off after knowing them, witnessing them, sharing what they’ve observed, and how it has made an impact on them. You are only fulfilled in life if you leave the world a better place than when you found it. After all, isn’t that the purpose of roses in the first place?

xoxo

“She made broken look beautiful and strong look invincible. She walked with the universe on her shoulder and made it look like a pair of wings.”

-Ariana Dancu

The Revelation

This is where it all starts, or should I say, this is where it begins again. Life is what you make it. And for me, it seems to have been nothing more than making it from one point to another. Hey, but what about the in between? Shouldn’t that be part of the journey too? This life that I have lived thus far has been so much about the next things, and the thing after that, and the thing after that, so much that I think I have lost touch of what it all means or what it should mean.

Those of you that know me know what I struggle with and why but for those of you who don’t, let me informally introduce myself. I’m EmJay. I have cystic fibrosis. I’m a mother, I’m a fighter, I’m the most genuine individual you will ever meet. I don’t apologize for it and that’s ok. I’m not particularly religious, but I have my beliefs. With that being said I’m pretty sure Jesus didn’t say “you have to tell the truth, but only if it doesn’t hurt someone’s feelings.” Anywho, back to me (insert hair flip). I’m wild, unapologetic, unfiltered, and unstoppable. Society may think they have control of my ways, but, boy, were they wrong. That’s where this idea formed. The idea that I can have a “safe place” to rant, to talk about whatever whenever with whoever (that’s you). 

I want you to know what I’m all about. Well to be honest I don’t know yet! I am evolving every second. So are you. This is the important part though. WE GET TO CONTROL HOW WE EVOLVE. Join me on this journey and see what you can control in your own life and what you can’t. I’ll talk about my life with cystic fibrosis, art, food, fashion, design, and anything else that tickles your fancy (or mine, cause hey, why else would I be doing this?). Oh, and another thing. If it offends you, don’t  let the .dontgiveafuck hit you on the way out. Xoxo.

-BECOMINGEmJay

p.s. Yes I’m Gossip Girl

“The difference between my darkness and your darkness is that I can look at my own badness in the face and accept its existence while you are busy covering your mirror with a white linen sheet. The difference between my sins and your sins is that when I sin I know I’m sinning while you have actually fallen prey to your own fabricated illusions. I am a siren, a mermaid; I know that I am beautiful while basking on the ocean’s waves and I know that I can eat flesh and bones at the bottom of the sea. You are a white witch, a wizard; your spells are manipulations and your cauldron from hell yet you wrap yourself in white and wear a silver wig.”

C. JoyBell C.