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Where the heck has Jiwa been?


This time last year, I was enrolled in grieving counseling and narcissistic abuse counseling. Both sessions where helpful for my own healing. Looking back at it, I compare it to a mental type of surgery. Because I thought I was coming back for the girl. And God did have a plan for me to come back for a woman, but it wasn’t the love interest. It was my mother. I think that was turning point of my life that helped me understand where I needed to be, and what I needed to be doing in the world to share my stories, but more importantly, to share my heart, my joy, and my light.

If counseling was the mental surgery, then the group of people around me were the post-surgery aid that I needed in my world. I am lucky to know so many caring, and loving people. In fact, I read something, somewhere that said, “you are the average of the five people you hang out with the most.” You never know how many fantastic people you can meet until when one leaves. This past year has brought so many positive people towards me that it amazes myself how far away I’ve gotten away from toxicity.

When we fast forward a year, being able to physically setting out to do things you want to accomplish is so much easier to do with a healthy support group in life.

After I readjusted my retirement and life insurance plans, I felt an overwhelming amount of freedom to live life on my own terms; to not be controlled by anything but my own motivation to leave people in a better place than when I first met them (and most definitely not letting the uncertainty of the future control my mind). This has allowed me a joy that I still can’t find way to describe even now.

After the counseling sessions, I decided to go back and finish school. My (14-year) semester off came to an end and finally ended up graduating with original degree that I had chosen, after I changed three times before my long rest, Broadcast Journalism. Which is funny because mom had actually gotten her associates degree in Radio Journalism. HA!

In January of this year (2022), I felt that I had so much academic momentum that I applied for graduate studies. I was so freaking nervous that I wouldn’t be accepted to the program that I lost few hours of sleep before I found out that I got in.

Left: You can tell I was so tired that I didn't even switch sides in my sleep. Middle: What my fro is supposed to look like. R: I accepted the Assistant Director position for 1910 PR, the campus public relations firm.

I wanted to make more time to write about the experience and share it with everyone, but grad school is a ton of reading, writing, and answering questions I never thought I about before in life. School also provided me with more time to be at home and not have time to spend a bunch of money. This allowed me to save and take my new car for an 18-day long Spring Break. I had a chance to go to Houston, Galveston, Austin, a detour to Arkansas, The Colony, Dallas, and Fort Worth.

The reason I had to detour to Arkansas was because while I was gone, mom’s best friend, Nellie Short, passed away. Nell met mom when mom lost her wedding ring at the old Canyon High School track (now Canyon JH). Nell’s husband found the ring and when the Short’s and mom met up, they just suck together. I completed a news journalism piece on Nell for a class in the fall and it was a really fun piece to write. Nell was 103-years-old and told everyone how it was. She was a fantastic woman that had truly lived a great life.

When I got back from my extended break, before I even came home, the first thing I went to do was go see mom. I remember the story that mom told me about how they had mass graves when she was in Africa. I think it’s really great to be able to just jump in the car and go see her and talk to her physically…even though she left reminders for me everywhere that I see every day that she chooses to speak to me with. She always made it a point to take breaks and get out of town when she could to recharge. I think adopting that mentality allowed me to focus on writing three major research projects to finish my first semester of studies.

My first semester of grad school was really fun. It allowed me to write research papers about the Spider-Man multiverse movie, racially sensitive books, the movie Green Book, songs about Nirvana, and topics that I didn’t think I would be able to pick apart and analyze for academic purposes. I was able to accept the Assistant Director position for the campus public relations firm, 1910PR, while also keeping my position at The Prairie News as the Advertising Director. I also had a chance to be involved in Student Alumni Board, and started another path by getting involved with Student Leadership Board. Being on campus all day allowed me time to get (most of my) homework finished, squeeze in gym time after library visits, and most importantly, walk half a mile after finding a parking space #facepalm. It also helped me meet people that have the same goals, struggles, and journeys in front of them that I do. I found a few people that have yet to experience the world as I have and have been able to give them the advice they needed to know in the ways that were able to reach them so they can avoid the traps that I found myself in when I was their age. At times I felt like it was a scene out of "Back to School," but a remake. I also got to see old friends and I even got to meet Steve from Blues Clues in my adventures on campus.

Even though it was a lot of work, I enjoyed the learning process and pushing myself to another level. In all my time away from school I understand that all the jobs I had in that time were too easy for me. I wasn’t challenged, and that led to me an extended lull in my life. It was a time of unguided love that I shared with people. It was appreciated by others; but left me drained and empty when I closed my eyes every evening. It was something that the people around me needed, but I never took time to recharge the battery for my life.


Last month I did something that was really hard for me. I had to write my letter of resignation from the campus newspaper. I loved that job and this last fall I was set to be a graduate assistant. I was the advertising manager for The Prairie News. The time it allowed me to stay on campus, and also use my time to help to the organization was also a vital part of me moving forward to my goal of helping people succeed. The position put me around like-minded people and let me learn more about the university employee culture. The faulty instructors, students, and staff of WTAMU have been the most supportive people I have met in the last year. Dr. Emily Kinsky, Steve Sellars, John Bassett, Dr. Nancy Garcia, Imelda Saavedra, every single person in The Caf, the Cornette Library, the HELC, WT Bookstore, Emily Merrill, Dr. Franken, Missy Macon, and about 82 other people that I can think about just off the top of my head have been instrumental in my academic career.

This week I started my new career. I accepted the Marketing Manager and Coach position for the WT Enterprise Center. Here I will be working closely with business owners, the Small Business Development Center, and the university to help promote entrepreneurship within the entire Texas Panhandle. I so excited to start working in this position because it is allowing me to apply my knowledge from past experiences, as well as my newest learning journey, to a place that focuses on building bridges by connecting people to others. Not only that, but I am able to continue my education by staying within the Texas A&M system in my newest endeavor. I have found myself inline with mom's career focus now. Mom already had her masters by my current age, but the goal is to attempt to have the doctorate before she did. Granted I'm getting a lot of help from the university, but I wonder if this was the idea when I was growing up.

The challenges that are in front of me are not always solvable by working extra hours. They are not remedied by fancy charts or extended meetings to find an answer. What I will face in this new position is only limited by what I am not willing to accept from myself anymore, which is mediocrity. My time away from learning was more just time away from myself. Doing just enough to get by was alright, but it brought me towards a few more lost people than I needed to be around. I imagine that’s also what life would’ve been if I had continued my path with the wrong job, and the wrong woman. I am extremely fortunate to be able come back home and be here for the people who want me here the most. Those are the people that have allowed me to grow at pace that is turning out be much faster than I thought was possible.

The thing I am completely ecstatic about in this new direction is continuing my learning path while also helping others to succeed in their own world. For me, the point of that is that by sharing my light with people, this will allow them to share their light with others. A lot this feeling comes from understanding that mom did the same thing for 40 years in her teaching career. In reading through all of her old notes and going through all the stuff in the house, I know that she had found her joy in sharing her knowledge and her story so that others could understand their own path.

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