I’ve spent the last year writing for myself rather than for a validating audience. It’s allowed me to uncover parts of my core I had changed over the past few decades in an attempt to earn acceptance and inclusion.
Part of grounding back into myself has been working on my first novel. A challenging experience, given I never thought I had any talent in writing fiction but have since realized I just never learned how. I’m aiming for a zero draft by my 33rd birthday on April 3rd, and a final polished first draft to start pitching to agents by the end of 2020.
But while I’m here, I wanted to share a few quotes from a book I read last month, Alix Harrow’s gorgeous The Ten Thousand Doors of January. They have become major comforts through my writing process.
“Words and their meanings have weight in the world of matter, shaping and reshaping realities through a most convenient alchemy.”
“Even my own writing – so damnably powerless – may have yet enough power to reach the right person and tell the right truth, and change the nature of things.”
“Word magic comes at a cost, you see, as power always does. Words draw their vitality from their writers, and thus the strength of a word is limited by the strength of its human vessel.”
I don’t do new year’s resolutions because they hold no real importance to or impact for me. I already put so much pressure on myself to succeed that they feel like yet another source of pressure and – let’s be real – ones that are rarely stuck to.
So after college, I shifted. Instead of resolutions, I started choosing words – one word per year – to guide my intention. They become my theme, my gut-check:
“Does XYZ serve this intention I’ve set? Yes or no?”
And if it’s no, it’s out. For me, it’s both easier and bigger. Setting a one-word intention is far more about who I want to be, rather than what I want to do.
It shifts my value from what I can produce to what kind of human I aim to be. Continue reading Choosing your 2019 word.
It is one of my favorite Carrie Fisher quotes, stated in her frustration around the public debate on whether or not she had aged well.
“Youth and beauty are not accomplishments,” she said. “They’re the temporary happy byproducts of time and/or DNA. Don’t hold your breath for either.”
We do others a disservice when we only celebrate the things they have no control over.
For kids, for friends, for strangers, we often point out the things that will inevitably fade or pass, and things that – because they were applauded for so long – these people will fiercely hold on to, then be terrified of losing.
When youth or beauty were the things that were elevated as the person’s value, what happens when they are gone?
I have a slightly manic obsession with being the first/youngest person to do something. When I go into classes/conferences I automatically look around the room and try to figure out if I’m the youngest and, if not, how many other people are “beating me.” Continue reading Youth & beauty are not accomplishments.
In the early 2000s on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, a healthcare group was having trouble improving health outcomes for certain populations of native peoples.
The problem they were trying to solve was not unique – this population of native peoples tended to be obese, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and died young – 30s to 40s – from complications of all. The healthcare group wanted to help these native peoples fix the problem.
To paint the picture, you may know the remake/mash-up of “Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World,” sung in a soothing manner by a man with a high voice playing a ukelele.
The song is by Bruddah Iz – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. He died at 38 from complications of obesity – he was 6’2″ and at one point, 757 pounds. He is of the group of native peoples the healthcare group was aiming to help. Continue reading Doctors: How do you best help patients? Try asking questions.
I’ve seen a lot of posts on IG from women along the lines of “other girls are just mad they don’t look like me” or whatever else. There’s a ton to unpack there, but I’ll say this:
If you feel as though your best accomplishment is your looks, you’re missing the bigger picture of who you are. I promise there are more interesting things about you. Your value is not based on your ability – perceived or actual – to make others jealous of your looks.
I think you’ll find that when you’re busy growing and developing your mind, your abilities, your character, your spirit, you start to realize there is no competition physically. It’s just not where the real work exists. That contest stops mattering.
I am with you that I love being called beautiful by a partner or a close friend – but it’s because when they say that, I know they’re saying it based on knowing the whole me. When they comment on my beauty, I know it’s for the whole package. Continue reading Don’t be a hard rock when you really are a gem.
Imagine what you’re doing to your brain if, for days, weeks, months, years, you are repeating the story – I am sick. This is hard. I’m tired. Everything hurts.
Imagine how much it fucks with your brain to HAVE to repeat that story to doctors in order to get them to believe your symptoms. To explain to your friends and family, over and over again, why you’re not up for doing XYZ thing.
Imagine how much, in the struggle to know your experience is valid, that this isn’t just in your head, that what you’re going through is real, you have to ground yourself in that reality.
In having to tell your sickness story over and over again just to be seen, heard, or understood, how many times have you emphasized to yourself just how sick you are? Continue reading What you focus on, grows. (aka, maybe your perspective sucks.)
Looking like it’s time to do a new hello, nice to meet you!
I’m Lala 👋🏼 I’ve lived in Brooklyn for a little over two years but I grew up bouncing between Hawaii and Seattle, went to college in Miami, and did my baby adulthood in Atlanta.
Having type 1 diabetes since I was 10 and a whole host of other autoimmune issues since my mid-20s has taught me courage, to be incredibly in tune with my body and its needs, and sent me toward a lot of really fascinating research on neuroscience as a way to understand our thought patterns, nutrition for immune health, ACTUAL self care (not just Instagram’s version of a bath and a face mask), and other awesome things to help us be well.
I pay that forward with my book Beyond Powerful, all about the superpowers we gain from a life with chronic illness, as a one-on-one personal chronic health coach for people who need a bit of extra help navigating a rough time with their health or want to reach a next level of sustainable wellness (LalaJackson.com/Coaching) and by working at @jdrfhq
Continue reading Just saying hi
Video from my keynote below! This past weekend, I had the really wonderful opportunity to give a closing keynote at the Students with Diabetes national conference. I spoke about the superpowers we gain from the challenges we go through. I shared some stories from others and a few of my own –
– At the start, I taught hula, because that’s how I wake people up at 8:30am on a Sunday.
– At 12:34 I tell a story about how my mom taught me to use my superpower of voice.
– At 20:30, while talking about the superpower of vision, you’ll see why I think some of my superpowers are transparency and vulnerability, because I share an incredibly tough and personal story from last year.
– And at 42:02, Continue reading My superpower is transparency
Because I’ve lost 50 pounds so far, I get a lot of questions about my workout plan. Truthfully, I don’t have one. At all. I just go with what sounds fun at the time.
Because while nutrition has been 98% of the key for my body getting healthier, exercising – even if it’s as simple as an hour walk around my neighborhood – is the biggest factor in my mental health. I eat well mainly for my body, but I have to keep moving for my mind.
Not only does moving my body help boost endorphins and serotonin, keeping me calmer and able to better deal with stress (and helping my immune system deal with stessors too!), but reminding myself what my body can do reminds me that I’m a strong – physically and mentally.
I was a major athlete up until a persistent wrist injury took me out after my sophomore year in high school. I was gunning for the Junior Olympics US Rowing team and, in the summer before my injury finally made me have to give up the sport entirely, I spent 4-6 hours a day, 5 days a week on the water. Continue reading Exercising isn’t my weight loss key.
My earliest memories start around three or four. In one, I have climbed up a wooden fence, trying to balance my weight against the top while I reach out to feed a neighbor’s horse, that I have named Cow, a piece of my apple.
In another, I am wandering down the street back toward our mobile home, having just returned from the post office a half mile away. I had told my mom I was going and she had said yes, but when I asked to go to the post office to mail Mema some leaves I had burned holes into with a magnifying glass, she assumed I meant the “post office” that I had imagined in my bedroom. The leaves did not make it to my Mema; I had remembered a stamp but the address “Mema, Raleigh” was not specific enough.
In one of the most vivid young memories, I am on our home phone, sometime in the evening because I was in my soft, pink footie pajamas. I was about as high as the counter, my eyes just barely reaching to see its top. I was speaking to my dad – my biological dad whom I wouldn’t know I looked like were it not for pictures – and I was about to hang up the phone to go to bed. Continue reading On not being allowed to love.