HI my name is Jackie and this is my story.
I graduated college in the early 90's from University of Maryland, with a degree in English and Spanish. I grew up in a middle class household in Long Island, NY, not wanting for much. Around high school graduation, the pinnacle of when teenage life gets complicated, my parents came into some serious financial troubles. We were on the brink of losing everything. Some parents are the "don't tell the kids" type, but that wasn't my family. They were very open about the situation and said to myself and my brother, "get a job". It wasn't a big deal, I was just different. Most of my friends in college didn't have to work, but I didn't resent it. I always felt like it made me stronger.
In writing my bio to share with you all, I didn't know how far back to go, or if I should share life through Instagram filtered glasses. The truth is that this hardship was the foundation of what has given me the drive, passion and work ethic I have today. My family ultimately did end up losing the house we grew up in, and we had to move (downsize) . #lifechanging The downsize didn't hurt me, seeing my family struggle to rebuild did. That gives me the strength, the courage and the determination to get up every day, at whatever ungodly hour to catch a flight, wake up extra early to get an hour to myself or to put my baby girl down to bed, and then come sit at my computer with a glass of wine at my computer to write, build, create and continue to grow my business.
I graduated and decided I have to help my parents. With zero financial experience, I decided to join the world of Wall Street, because, well...they "make more money than doctors, and don't cure cancer". This world was fascinating to me. I said to my parents, "they don't make anything, build anything, sell anything, or cure anything, and they are all rich" I was obviously young and naive....but you get the gist.
I spent 12 years on Wall Street, as an equity sell side trader. Being in that setting also made me have to dress the part. I learned the likes of Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo, and Chanel. This was WAY before the internet, Instagram or even My Space! But it was right around the time of Sex and the City. It was on the cusp of womens empowerment, sexual freedom, an era filled with "toxic bachelors" and women learning "he's just that into you" . This sexy single life was sprinkled with Patricia Fields tutus and Fendi calorie free baguette bags. Women could make their own money, buy their own, apartments, wear sexy shoes, in what seemed to be a debt free life full of calorie less cocktails and endless men. It was the era of throwing back $16 cosmopolitans in $900 cocktails dresses. They could freely sleep with whoever they wanted, and pretend that it was emotionally ok.
“It's slim pickings out there,” said Samantha during one of many episodes where the four besties were discussing their dating prospects. “You can't swing a Fendi purse without knocking over five losers.”
I dated a few of those losers they were referring too.
This left me at 35, unfulfilled and burnt out, and looking to make a change in my life to pursue happiness.
I "eat, prayed, loved" (the verb) before the book came out. I decided to ditch the money, the shoes, the cosmos the men, and embark on a life changing adventure of traveling the world and loving ME.
I traveled on my own...for months. To tough places life Africa, India, and Israel. I climbed Kilimanjaro in my quest to sweat out the toxins of toxic men, and not being true to myself. The truth was, I didn't even know who I was or what I wanted because I was working towards a goal of survival...not happiness.
I returned to NYC..happy, but not yet settled. I decided not to return to Wall Street, but to join my family's jewelry business. They had built themselves back up and were growing. My brother, 2.5 years my junior, was working there and sold me his pitch. I would be his partner in growing it, and they needed a womans touch. For 5 years we worked side by side, successfully rebranding and building the family’s business,
I was happy and flourished in my new role as Creative Director. At 40 years old however, I was still single, and missing something. I wanted a family of my own.
I wanted a baby.