Let’s Make 28 Great Again

For the past five years, I’ve ‘donated’ my birthday to charity: waterWhy?

Because birthdays are about celebrating LIFE – and, for me, Sept. 27 is a day to reflect on what I’ve done so far and what I want to do going forward. What’s the meaning of life?!?!? and all that crap.

You know?

So, as I turn 28, I don’t need things. To be drowned in gifts is so 1999. To be drowned in drinks is so 2012. (jk that shit is forever) And SURE I wouldn’t turn down a pup. Or cake/cookies/anything that will send me to the dentist for yet another root canal.

But I digress.

When I first learned about charity: water, their concept was simple: What if every person ‘donated’ their birthday so – in our lifetime– we’d get to celebrate every person on the planet having access to clean water?

Liiiike, holy bananas. It really is that simple. I was hooked.

Below is an excerpt from the first story I’d read in relation to charity: water. I found it hard to believe that shit like this could be happening in a modern world like ours. But that’s the thing. The modern world like ours is not theirs. We live in a bubble. A bubble made with clean, soapy water that runs and runs and runs from our taps and our garden hoses and we think nothing of it. And then there are kids like Letikiros. Kids who have to give up school days to walk miles for water – dirty, unsanitary water – in the blazing heat.

Letikiros Hailu, just 13, walked four days a week for water and attended school part-time for the other three days. Since there was no school in Meda then, reaching the classroom in a neighboring village was another 6 hour round trip walk. In order for Letikiros to be able to attend school at all, her mother would pay to rent a donkey each week which could carry four pots of water on a single trip from the Bembya River. But there simply wasn’t enough money to relieve Letikiros of her water duty altogether, and she quickly fell behind. By the age of 13, she had only completed the third grade.

One day in 2000, no one will ever know exactly what went through Letikiros’ mind after she collected her daily water. What is known, is that she somehow slipped and fell, smashing her clay pot full of water into small pieces. She must have watched in horror as the water spilled out on the dusty ground. More than 10 hours of walking and waiting had been undone through a simple misstep. Those who knew her well believed she must have been overcome with shame. She knew her mother and sister were at home waiting for the water. She knew they needed her water to cook dinner. And now, even the clay pot was destroyed — a valuable asset for the family. So rather than continue home down the path empty-handed, the 13-year-old slipped the rope from the pot through the branches of a tree, then around her neck and hung herself.


Okay, so, like, you totally want to do something after reading that…right? I’ve been following charity: water for yearssss now. I’ve volunteered with them. Met tons of their employees. Heck, I even tried to get a job there. I attended their gala back in 2014 and I walked the length of Manhattan that same year ON my birthday (it was damn hot that year too, my GOD) to help raise awareness. Blah blah blah, Jackie, what’s so great about charity: water anyway?

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Over the years, YOU have helped me to raise over 8k for this incredible organization. And every single freakin’ dollar has gone to the field. SO. Here we are again. Another trip around the sun, another opportunity to do some good in this world.

Here’s a link to my current campaign:

https://my.charitywater.org/jackieraps/let-s-make-28-great-again

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Thank you thank you thank you!

Spread kindness and cheer, xo
Jackie

‘Tis the best time of year

Saw the below pic on Insta today and thought YES! but also… “Christmas month” could be captioned so many other ways… and so my gal Kayleigh and I riffed this fun little LIST.

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  • Spooky month, mashed potato month, and peppermint month // gingerbread
  • And “Christmas cookie” month
  • And “Santa-shaped cookie” month
    –> are Santa-shaped cookies NOT Christmas cookies, Kayleigh?!
  • “tree lighting” month
  • “get fat” month
  • “I wanna ice skate!” month
  • “covered in bruises from ice skating” month
  • “mulled wine is festive but gross” month
  • “Charlie Brown” month
  • “couples holding hands and me vomming” month
  • “12 days of sexmas” month
  • “couples posting pics in front of the Christmas tree” month
  • “people giving each other meaningless candles and scarves for gifts” month
  • “another year of not being kissed under the mistletoe” month
  • “cheesy Hallmark movies that we hate but secretly love and wish we were in” month
  • “happy endings don’t exist except in massage parlors” month

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In other news, ’tis my BIRTHDAY MONTH and I’m stoked. 27 has been mad rad and 28 will be supa great. 🤘

Spread kindness and cheer, xo
Jackie

‘Someone Great’ Delivered This Piece of Great Magic

** An edited version of this piece was featured on Thought Catalog under the title, Netflix’s ‘Someone Great’ Delivered The Best Piece Of Breakup Advice You’ll Ever Read


I’ll admit it– I’m a SUCKER for a cheesy romcom.

So when Netflix suggested I watch Someone Great starring Gina Rodriguez (as Jenny), you KNOW I clicked. And watched. And laughed. And cried.

But it’s one scene in particular that GOT ME.

Jenny sits on the F train with tears streaming down her face as she pens a letter to her ex.
A person she was with for nine years– most of those years spent in her twenties.

And, as a person who has penned many a tear-soaked letter and journal entry, it hit me in the feeeeeels.

So, naturally, I decided to transcribe all 226 of her spoken words into a kind of p o e m.

Because maybe you don’t like watching romcoms, but you need to hear this too.


Do you think I can have one more kiss?

I’ll find closure on your lips and then I’ll go.

Maybe, also, one more breakfast, one more lunch, and one more dinner.

I’ll be full and happy and we can part.

But, in between meals, maybe we can lie in bed one more time?

One more prolonged moment where time suspends indefinitely as I rest my head on your chest.

MY hope is if we add up the one more’s, they will equal a lifetime.

And I’ll never have to get to the part where I let you go.

But that’s not real, is it?

There are no more ‘one mores.’

I met you when everything was new and exciting,
and the possibilities of the world seemed

endless.

And they still are.

For you.

For me.

But not for us.

Somewhere between then and now, here and there–

I guess we didn’t just grow apart…

…we grew UP.

When something b r e a k s,
if the pieces are large enough,
you can fix it.

Unfortunately, sometimes things don’t break.

They

s

h

a

t

t

e

r.

But when you let the light in, shattered glass will glitter.

And in those moments – when the pieces of what we were catch the sun – I’ll remember just how beautiful it was.

Just how beautiful it will always be.

Because it was us.

And we were magic.

Forever.

###


Oof. Breaking up is hard to do.

But what I love about this cheesy movie is that the happy ending wasn’t found in the reconciliation of a relationship. Nor was it found with the beginning of a new romance.

It wasn’t, ‘Oh, I don’t need him, I’ve got [insert newer, handsomer guy]!’

It was THIS!

Jenny’s heart-wrenching, tear-soaked letter that reassures all of us that even shattered glass can bring LIGHT.

Glittering, shimmering, shiny light that makes YOU feel happy and joyful and alive.


I’ve been working through my very first break-up for the past year now and it’s been a rollercoaster. But I’m finally at this shimmery, glittery phase.

And the funny thing? I actually wrote my ex a letter about a month ago to let him know that. Like, I can finally look back at our relationship with happy, fond memories. I can think about it without feeling angry or upset. I can smile as I think about the good ol’ times.

And, at first, that confused me.

If the times had together were so happy, why did it end?
I guess I wanted the ‘one mores’, as Jenny put it.

One more this, one more that–
I’ll get it out of my system and THEN I’ll feel better.

I can move on.

But I’ve finally learned why certain happy times lay in the past.
And they don’t need to be dug up in the present.

Because constantly digging up the past leaves a lot of messy dirt, strewn about. It’s only when we rest that we’re able to see growth. The flowers are finally blossoming and, my, they’re lovely.

You see, there lies a relationship that was good and great but wasn’t meant for always.

And may it rest in peace.

Someone Great reminded me that finding someone great shouldn’t be my objective.

I am someone great.

And so are you.

Spread kindness and cheer, xo
Jackie

What I Definitely Don’t Wanna Be When I Grow Up…

Hi, hello, I’m currently a freelance writer, editor, Jack(ie) of all trades…
but I’m very much still figuring out my life.

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I earned a BA in Journalism from Northeastern University back in 2013
but, over the years, I’ve considered becoming a flight attendant…
and I’ve been rethinking this pursuit lately.

In fact, I recently applied to a bunch of airlines and even landed a few interviews!

But y’all know me. I’m essentially George Costanza.

And I’ve since reconsidered.

And, sometimes, it’s easier to find clarity when you figure out what you DON’T want. 

I’m still not sure what I’m doing but I know
I definitely DO NOT want to be a… 

Doctor – blood? eek!
Lawyer – abiding by the law? eek!
Drug Dealer – not abiding by the law? also, drugs? eek!
Chiropractor – fake news! eek!
Baker – have you watched my insta stories? eek!
Coroner – eek? eek!!
Mathematician – numbers? (I had to Google 9×7 the other day) eek!
Toilet Attendant – smell ya later? eek!
Librarian – shushing people? (I literally cannot whisper) eek!
Candle Maker – SCENTsational headaches? eek!

So, like, I’ve basically got it all narrowed down. 😂
I left flight attendant off the list because it’s not a definite NEVER ever
but, like, never for now? Classsssssic Jackie.

“Why am I trying to become what I don’t want to be … when all I want is out there, waiting for me the minute I say I know who I am.”
– Death of a Salesman (speaking of which, I do NOT want to be a salesman either)

Truly, though, over the years I’ve realized the things that make me happiest are being outside and being around animals (the non-human variety, of course).

Anyways, I did a thing and made a YouTube video!
It’s been a minute and, as much as I LOVE writing, sometimes I just need to TALK to understand my own train of thought…

…because half of the time this train is choo-choo’ing out of the damn station before I have time to register that it was even there! 😂

As an INTJ, I live inside my head 99% of the time.
So, here are 3.5 minutes of me trying to decipher these thoughts of mine…enjoy!

 

Spread kindness and cheer, xo
Jackie

How I Scored Permits to Havasupai This Year!

Before I write this, I have an admission to make…

I had never heard of Havasupai before this year.

I KNOW, I KNOW.

How can I call myself a travel aficionado (I don’t) and not know what this majestic place is!?

For those who are as uninformed as I was, Havasupai Indian Reservation is considered one of the most remote Indian reservations in the good ol’ USA.

Actually, it’s THE most remote village in the lower 48.

In fact, folks who LIVE in this village still get their mail delivered by MULE.

Did I mention this reservation is tucked away IN the Grand Canyon and the only way to get there is to traverse 20+ miles RT on foot? (I mean, okay, yes you can helicopter in but WHAT FUN IS THAT!?!)

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And did I mention that you need a PERMIT to even attempt the hike there?

It’s apparently a BIG DEAL and there are folks who have been trying for YEARS to score permits. They go on sale just one day a year: Feb. 1

I came to find out about this magical place through a fellow couchsurfer I met while in Montana. Remember Montana? And my undying adoration for it? Anyways…

I kept in touch with this fella and he reached out to me at the end of January asking if I’d ever heard of Havasupai. I immediately Googled it and was like, holy bananas, HOW HAVE I NOT HEARD OF THIS WONDERLAND!?

Fast forward to a few days later, Feb. 1st. Everyone and their mothers are visiting this website to try for one of these coveted permits.

Pro Tip: You have to make an account to even attempt to get a permit, so make one IN ADVANCE! Then, as soon as the window opens, you’ll be logged in and ready to go!

I was logged in half an hour before the window even opened to start buying…once 10AM (EST) came around, I was click-click-clicking away!

By 10:51AM, I had gotten through to the calendar page – where you pick out the dates you want (it’s a set parameter of 4 days/3 nights, no exceptions) – THREE times but the site kept crashing on me.

At 11:03AM, IT WORKED!

I had gotten through and I had the confirmation email to PROVE IT!

Beginner’s luck! It took me over an hour but I was persistent.

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I also kept trolling Twitter with the #Havasupai tag to see how others were making out. I saw a lot of folks having trouble but there were also some beacons of light who encouraged folks to keep clicking through — and that’s exactly what I did!

I also kept refreshing my browser, which I think many folks were afraid to do…fearing they’d ‘lose their place’ — but those were the people who ended up with no permits at all.

Keep in mind this is not a FREE trip. The below info is straight from the website:

ALL campground reservations are 3 Nights / 4 Days.

$100 per person per weekday night
$125 per person per weekend night (Friday/Saturday/Sunday nights)

These prices include all necessary permits, fees, and taxes.

This means that a 3 Night / 4 Day stay will be a total of between $300 and $375 per person (depending upon how many weekend nights are included).

I’ve been told that the prices have gone up significantly (again, I had no idea because I’d never even heard of this, whoopsie!), but I figured it was a solid investment for memories that’d surely last a lifetime.

So, when am I going?! THREE WEEKS FROM TODAY!!!

April 28 – May 2

Fun Fact: This will be my FIRST time legit camping in a tent outside.
It’ll also be the most challenging hike I’ve ever done. Eek!

Stay tuned for my packing list and TONS of photos.

Spread kindness and cheer, xo
Jackie