Standing Firmly in Who you are with Jessica Brown

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Jessica Brown is a motivational speaker and coach. She joins us to share her experience as a first-generation American, raised in a multicultural community, surrounded by Iranian and Argentine families. She talks about her childhood, time in the military, adopting a child through the foster care system, and learning to accept her identity.


{02:23} What makes Jessica a titan?

{09:22} Choosing Adoption

{11:30} Learning to not be ashamed of your identity.

{17:00} Almost dying at the hands of a drunk driver.

{35:30} Choosing to join the military.

{53:10} How to stop yourself from looking for validation from the opposite sex.

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Jessica Brown Bio:

Jessica Brown is a sought-after Empowerment Speaker, Confidence Coach, and Mentor. As a natural connector, Jessica has the ability to make people feel seen and heard. With 70% of teen girls not seeing themselves as good enough compared to their peers, Jessica is passionate about changing that narrative. As a teen, she looked for validation from others and became a perfectionist out of a desire to hide her external flaws.

Her exceptional communication is a result of her degree in Communication, learning English as a second language, and her fluency in Spanish which she learned as a child growing up in Panama. Jessica is a Veteran of the United States Army and attributes her level of resilience to overcoming physical and mental challenges she endured while serving, as well as various life-altering experiences. 

Connect with Jessica:

Hey, welcome to the show. I’m here with my fantastic Co-host, Carol. Say hello, Carol.

Hello, Carol.

And we have Jessica Brown in the studio today. I like saying in the studio because it sounds more professional than three people in different rooms in their own homes, but Jessica comes to us as a motivational speaker and a coach. She’s got her bachelor’s in communications as an Army veteran, and you wouldn’t know about looking at her, but English is her second language. Welcome, Jess.

Thank you. Thank you for having me, Travis, and Carol. I’m happy to be here and excited too. Just chat with y’all and share my story.

It’s fun. It’s like the highlight of Carol’s week when she gets to hang out with me and our special guest.

I have nothing else going on, Travis.

Yeah, right.

My God.

Nothing else is going on. She’s basically just lounging around Cheetos, wondering why she doesn’t have more Travis in her life.


And so, this OH my goodness.

Is this our compromise to get her some more, some more Travis in her life because, like who? Doesn’t need her, right? Am I right? You can tell from these overtures that this is a very serious show, and we want nothing more than to be procedurally accurate than some other nonsense. I’m sure. 

Jessica, you’ve done all these cool things and I didn’t realize English was your second language. Tell us a little bit about that and really what makes you? A Titan?

Yeah, so English Well, I’m a first-generation American. My mom is an immigrant. She was born in Panama, and my dad is Honduran. And or was he Honduran, he’s deceased now.  And so, both my parents were not born here, those, you know, South and Central America is where they were born and bred. 

And then came me and my siblings. And so, my parents got divorced when I was a year old. We met, and they got married in New York. They got divorced when I was a year old, so my mom was like, I’m taking my kids and I’m getting the heck up out of here. I’m going back home, so she moved us all back to Panama because that was really, quite frankly. My grandmother was in her support system. My aunt was there and that’s where her village was. 

And you know, much to my grandmother’s chagrin and other elders. That was like, why would you divorce this man? You have three kids. You’re a housewife. What are you going to do? You’re not going to have a life and she was like; I’m not going to stay with this man that is a habitual cheater. He is never here, he’s verbally abusive. Why am I going to, you know, why? Am I going to live here like this? 

And so, she’s like, I’m out of here. So, I was so young, right? So, then we learned about a Spanish country. And so, we learned Spanish and went to school there and all of the things. And then, you know, because she wasn’t yet naturalized. There was only a period of time that she could be out of the country before she had to be back or lose her ability to return to the US, even though we were U.S. citizens, she was not yet naturalized, so they were like you need to be back here or else your time is up. 

So, she highlighted it back to the US with us. And then we had to take ESL classes because we did not know a lot of English, so it was a very interesting dynamic. We came back here, and we were like these little black kids in school that spoke Spanish and everybody was.

Right. Oh my God.

It was. It was. Yeah, it was interesting. But I will say that at that school, there weren’t many that looked like us, but we were embraced. 

How old?

We were seven, so yeah.

You were. You were seven years of age when…

So, what would be first, second grade, or something like that? So yeah, we were embraced by our teachers. And the only thing my mom said was that the teachers told her to stop speaking to the kids at home in Spanish because, we need for them to learn the English language, and if they don’t, then they won’t learn it and she stopped. 

And so, my brother completely lost it. Like most, he doesn’t speak any Spanish at all anymore. He doesn’t know any. And so, he said that was a regret. Because that was a, you know, that’s a huge part of our culture. But because they said stop, then there wasn’t that continuous learning and just the continuous right enrichment of hearing the language regularly.

So, my brother lost it. I still speak it fluently and my sister’s kind of 5050, but yeah, so my mom said that. Her biggest regret was doing that because she really felt like it took away something from, you know, just kind of our heritage. 

But that didn’t change us, we still were around the language. Whenever she would talk to her sisters, especially when we were acting up. She thought we didn’t understand… But she’d be talking about And so it was so weird to me, because even like, you know, a few years ago, I was like, Mom, why would you always talk to, like, your siblings in Spanish and thinking? That you know about us. Thinking we didn’t understand, she’s like, I don’t know. I just thought that you know, you guys weren’t paying attention. I was like, well, we knew what you were talking about, so it was so weird.

So that started our journey, and we were raised around just different cultures. I want to say it was an Iranian family that took us in and then we had another family that was from Argentina. And so, we just were, we were always surrounded by like many United Nations. And there was a Filipino lady. They live in our apartment building. And she took my mom on like a daughter and she would always bring food and stuff for us. And so, we did.

We had a Little Mini village there in Northern Virginia that really loved us. My mom, you know, because I think you know, back then it wasn’t very common to see a woman immigrant in this country alone with three kids. No husband in sight. And so, I think they just felt sorry for her. But she was great.

My mom was a great woman, but they just loved us. And so, we were never without someone to watch us. Someone bringing us stuff they traveled, they would bring my mom things, so You know, at the beginning of the journey my mom’s work ethic is part of the reason why I think I’m. I’m where I am.

And as far as What makes me a Titan? OH man, I. Just would say so much about who I am. The fact that I fully embrace that I’m an Afro-Latina. I am a woman that’s walked her journey through all the challenges of childhood into adulthood and to healing and to being a mom that saw. But I wanted to be a mom so badly, right, that even though that didn’t happen in my marriage, I decided to take the journey of adopting a child alone through the foster care system. So, all of those things wrapped up in one and the fact that I’m just a cool a** chick.

Well put.

So yeah.

You know, it’s important to put the right emphasis on those words. Cool a** chick. Because if you change the emphasis. You can get a whole other meaning.

Yeah. Yeah. OK, we’re not going to, we’re not going to repeat those words under that emphasis, so I am going to ask you a question, Jess. I wanted to find out what was the reason you adopted it because your kind of briefly kind of breezed over that and was it the inability to possibly become pregnant? 

Yeah, that’s a great Question. So, I was married previously, and my ex-husband and I tried to get pregnant. And unsuccessfully. And so, we started the process of, you know, going through the test, you know, to see if I had any blockages, if his sperm was swimming right and all of the things at this time we were married, he was active-duty military. And so right before we got to the point of seeing, OK, are we going to do hormones? What are we going to do? Whatever he got deployed. And he was. Yeah, right. And he was going for six months, and that was the longest six months of my life. But also, that was the beginning of the end of our marriage.

It sounds like a huge blessing, right? You didn’t get yourself entangled with that guy. OK. Right because that’s a whole other can of worms. And then you were able to bless a young lady out of foster care. And I know that I’ve spent probably hours on this show already talking about my foster care journey, but that means a lot. That means a lot. So many people get hung up on having kids as having their own. And there are so many kids out there that really need a quality family to be around and interjected into and you know right now, like, aren’t you helping another young lady in the Houston area?

I am. I met this young lady at this she talks event where we formally met Travis and she we were just talking and she was sharing a bit about what she had just recently experienced, which was very much. Spoke to my heart because I too know her mom has Dominican background and so, but she looks like me. And so, you know her. Was going through how some kids online were saying, you know, oh, you know. You’re not Hispanic. You’re faking. And I was like, first of all, it is not your responsibility to prove anything to anyone, you need to know who you are and stand firmly in that.

Everybody, nobody else. And so, we just talk. But it just struck such a chord in me because when I was going through my teenage years, I completely shunned the Hispanic part of me because. I didn’t look like the Hispanic kids at school looked more like divorce.

I’m sure it was confusing too to a lot of people, so you know, shunning it was easier. I get it. I mean, I was a first generation here and my family is Taiwanese. And I wanted nothing to do with my culture now, I also spoke Taiwanese, right?

I didn’t want to be associated with being Taiwanese, so I only spoke English. You know, and it was difficult. I wouldn’t even eat our food. Because I was like, I just wanted to be incorporated as an American, and luckily, my mom was just like yours. You know, she would speak the language occasionally, and because we’re around family, we would hear it. So, it never went away, but… It sucks… to feel like you’re in the States and you can’t even eat or embrace your own culture without being either shunned or ridiculed or criticized.

I just didn’t want to have to explain my existence right when you are in high school, you just want to fit in. You just want to find your tribe, and so you know. But my friends would call me because back in those days, we did not have cell phones, so they would call my house. My mom would answer hello. Have a Spanish accent. You know, my black would be like who’s that? I was like, that’s my mom. That’s your mom? Well, she has an accent. Where’s your mom from? I was like, oh, yeah, she’s from Panama. Your Spanish?!

Oh jeez.

And some that Yeah, so it was. Just that nature of, you know, be like, yeah. But I would just.

You would have to Explain it all the time, right? It was like this identity crisis.

And so, because I would just kind of glaze over it really quickly. They just stopped asking, right and so and it. I didn’t speak to them. None of that. Just like you, Carol. And so, I just didn’t want to have to explain that because I was like, I just want to be, we’re going to hang out, we’re going to hang out. I don’t. Want to have to explain? My mom is from here. The guys from here but it just was a teenager like This a lot like to try to have to educate like all of my friends. 

So I was like, forget about it. And so, I didn’t speak Spanish for many, many, many years. Same as you, Carol, because I was like, but I did let me say, I did eat the food that part.

Just so you know, I did as I grew older because, you know, I think it became much more accepted. Stable at that point, but when you’re young, you really just want to fit in it. I was amongst you know, I lived in Orange County, so all the kids, you know, the girls were all blonde hair, blue-eyed. The guys were all surfers. I didn’t want to be, you know, the oddball out, right? 

And so, I just tried to embrace as much. Of the American culture, as I could just to fit. But as we grew old. Sir, you know, it’s hard to get away from traditions and culture because when you’re surrounded by family, all of a sudden you start embracing it yourself, because that is the other half of your identity, and you are shunning it. And when you start embracing it, then you can become a whole person again. You know, you’re missing something because of it. Are you? It’s the other part of you.

I had to find my way back.

That’s so true. I don’t have the same story about being a first-generation American, but I definitely can understand what a big pain in the *** is to explain your history to every damn person you meet, especially because kids and teenagers just don’t know they’re. Just you could say… You could call them things like dumb or whatever, but that doesn’t really get it. 

They’re just uneducated in that space and it takes so much, and you don’t even hardly know it yourself. I had to explain why I moved so many times and when you moved 36 times as a kid. It’s like you don’t want to explain anymore. You like it? No, I was just there now. Here. Now. Well, tell me. About that. Like, just stop talking about it. Like I don’t care. I don’t have time to get you through this. Thank you so much. I’m happy that you have lived in one house your whole life and you have got three friends. That’s wonderful. I don’t have that. You don’t? Don’t want to explain it to everyone. The body that comes along, you don’t want it like it’s just such a. Pain in the ***.

But look at it. Look at who you are now moving so much. You are so easily adaptable in every situation. You make friends so easily. I mean, you’re just you. You know.

Yeah, yeah.


There’s always that point in time when you give yourself permission. To be yourself, unapologetically, and we all know people that try to use that line to their advantage or disadvantage where they’re just like an *******. Like oh, I’m. Just being real, you’re being a jerk. What do you mean no, you’re? Something to be proud of, right?

But Jessica, you’re not without your own story. I remember back to our pre-interview you got in a pretty serious car wreck. You’ve got a fraternal twin, like, there’s a lot of stuff here.

Yeah, five. I was in a near-fatal drunk driving accident in Panama. We were, you know, going out for a birthday, and this drunk driver crossed over 2 lanes of traffic and hit us head-on. And so, you know, there weren’t child safety seats or anything like that, you know? 

So, I was the kid in the back seat and I used to like to sit right on that little hump in the middle, and so when he hit us head-on, guess who got the brunt of the glass? Me and in my face. And so yeah, just that journey of Hold on.

It was on your face. You have a beautiful face, so. I mean, do you have scars from it too?

I do. I have two on my forehead and one underneath my right eye. If it’s, if I’m tiny. It’ll show on the camera, but.

I don’t know what you mean. It’s really hard to look at. Past that smile.

Yes, yes.

Thank you. But yeah, that was the bane of my existence and really became my existence for many years because they were. I was five years old. And so, these scars were very prominent. Think about a 5-year-old in your life that you’ve seen. They’re little and a five-year-old little girl that’s cute and so you see this little girl. And of course, it’s like. What happened to your face? And so, when I was with my grandmother or my mom or my godmother, it was, oh, this is my granddaughter. OH, she’s so well, what happened? 

And so that was just This part of my journey every time I would go somewhere it was what happened. And so, you know, as you can imagine it and you’re hearing that all the time, all the time. I didn’t want to be seeing that, so I. Started to shrink. Really, really, really shy. Surprised, surprised, right? But I did. I was super shy. I did not like taking pictures. I did not like being the center of attention, and so even now, when I see pictures of us, like big Family Pictures, you’ll see me standing either behind an adult or, like really like, just kind of to the side because I just did.

You were so self-conscious back then. Oh.

And that, you know, really bled into adolescents, teenage years, even to early adulthood, because I hit behind that. By the time I hit, you know, I was able to do my own hair in middle school. I wore bangs, I wore bangs all through middle school. I mostly went to high school because I felt like it again. I didn’t want to have to. I didn’t want to have to defend who I was. I didn’t want to have to explain how I got scars. I didn’t want to have to go through all of that. I just wanted to be. Right. 

And so as young people, we’re trying to figure out who we are, but then. When you have, you know, and that’s for any kid if you know, an arm that’s or you have a limp or anything that makes you different. You want to hide that right? And so, for me, I hid that I was Hispanic. I hid. You know, I tried to hide the scars and all of those things because I just wanted to be. But what that did was I didn’t know who I was. So, I was pretty whomever I thought was the coolest person around at that time. Right.

And so, my friend groups, thank God I ended up having really solid friendships, but I ended up. I had a lot of girlfriends that were really, really beautiful. And when I look back, I realized it’s because I wanted to be around them because. I didn’t feel that I was beautiful, but if I could be friends with them, then maybe their beauty would rock me or whatever. Whatever crazy things.

Yeah, beauty is a transmittable disease. So, like if you’re, if you’re watching this right now and you’re seeing my face as she explains these things. I didn’t meet that, Jessica. I didn’t see the small hide behind the banks. Hang out with the pretty girls to feel like. 

She had, like on a skin-tight catsuit. Her hair was all flowing out. She was like. In your face, large in charge. Knew whom she knows who she is, knows what she was doing, and I would have never guessed in a million years. That was your upbringing, along with the Spanish. What else are you hiding from me, Jessica? That’s what I want to know. I want answers. What else are you hiding from me?

Reveal it all, we want to know it all.

All right. As you know, I grew up really with a sister, had an older sister, and of course, everybody’s like, yes. But like we didn’t have. A relationship with my sister for as long as I could remember, and she disliked me.

How many?

Every day.

Years difference between you two, OK.

And so, you know, that’s why, you know, my dad wasn’t around. So just that lack of that father figure, the abandonment of feeling like, you know, your father’s your first love. So not having that and as a result of that, right, not knowing whom I was not feeling like I was good enough because. I was flawed. Because of my scars and all of the things. Just the wayward life that I live just seeking validation from boys and men and people because my sister, whom I loved whom I wished I had that relationship with. She didn’t want to have anything to do with me.

 Fast forward to, you know, many years, family therapy, all the things. It turned out that she was. Did you know she has a mental disability, right? That was burdening back then. It was not diagnosed and so we didn’t know what the heck was going on. We were just kind of living in this perpetual state of craziness. 

And I was just like, I’m out. I was. I had my friends at school, so I was involved in everything social that I could. I was on track. I would like to play basketball. I was a cheerleader. I was on the dance team. I did all of these things because that was my outlet. That was where I found my friends and people that I liked being with and there was no drama. 

When I would come home. It was a fight about this. She was fighting with me. She was fighting with my brother, and it was just. You know, cause like we were. Laskey kids, it was just me. Mom was at work. And she would be like. I would figure it out because it was my job y’all can’t keep calling up here because it’d be a fight if we call her off. Something happened and she’d be like. Unless somebody is dead. Don’t happen. You know I’m working, you know, so.

Well, I want to explain something to our younger viewers. Looking back in those days, you had to know where the person was to call the phone at that location. Like you weren’t just sending your mom a Snapchat. No and saying. Hey, like this stuff is messed up.

Over here, the telephones were Rotary. We were like pencils. 

Oh yeah.

But we had the punch ones we have.

Ohh, you didn’t tell us you grew up rich? Jessica, what’s up?

Yeah, that’s right. So like, well, there. She’s not here. Where is she? Would you like to leave a message? OK. Yeah, I guess I will.

Yeah. So. So weird for these kids these days, they have no idea how easy it is for them to be in communication or in contact with people.

Absolutely, yeah.

I fully remember growing up with a mom that had bipolar disorder and wasn’t taking care of those things and taking care of her health and a lot of times we were home alone, out wherever not knowing what was going on really just didn’t know. And that creates all sorts of difficulties, you know the reason we moved around so much. 

And trying to reconcile that stuff as a kid is nearly impossible, and so few kids of any age are able to. Think about that from a perspective with some kind of objectivity, because that’s just not how most kids develop. I was very objective from a young age. Fortunately for me, I could have it like when something happened like it was crazy. Like the chaos, you grew up in. I was like, it’s not my fault. I had nothing to do with this. Most kids can’t do that when something goes on. Insane or someone goes crazy like they have no ability to think it’s anything other than what has to do with them. And, you know, growing up in those situations like we all did with single parents or in foster care or wherever the hell else I live, listening to old shows to get more serrano I don’t get time for that?

Right, right, right, right, right.

It changes and it creates a different kind of person, and we have all this brokenness within us. But when we actually start to repair those things, when we start to believe in ourselves as people live. Of, you know, stand firmly on who you are. As Jessica said earlier, when you can do that and know who, even if you have not got to figure it out, right? Even if you’re like me, I still don’t know these things. If you believe in yourself. To do whatever the thing is… You can change anything, you can change any aspect of your life, any aspect of who you are. You can stop, you can grow those bangs out, which he will listen to the show knows how…

How he feels so bad, they just ask him how he feels about bangs. 

Thanks, Travis…bangs.

You know, bangs hold a special place in my heart. I’m just happy that gals are willing to let me know that they’re going through something right now. Anyone that’s listening to that has bangs, please feel free to e-mail Carol and tell her all about it.

Everybody said thanks for a while. Freaking teenage years when you’re breaking out like crazy bangs were your best.

Especially yeah. When you have the Right, right. Yeah, not to mention the bangs make the sits worse but. You know, we won’t go there.

Yeah, well, yeah. So. Don’t need to hear that, but anyways.

Yeah. So. My son, right now I’m talking all this stuff about bangs. My son right now his hair is, like, completely over his forehead, and like the side that I’ve got, you can see, like, that’s all grown out. It’s like he’s got a hedge on the side of his face and then he looks like he has bangs. Right now. I don’t know what he’s doing. I’ll tell you right now that that hair is not helping him either, just turned 15 this weekend. It’s not going well for him.

Ohh my goodness.

He wants us to be crazy. I don’t know if he wanted me to grow. A beard when? I retired, so I stopped shaving and I’m like you going to get a haircut. He’s like now, I was like. Why not? And he’s like, do you see how crazy Mom is? Is about my hair. I was like, yeah, Like I’m doing it just because it bothers her like…

I swear, you know.

But my goodness, my goodness.

Jessica, you were saying before we got on the recording that you had, like, a crazy morning. Do you want to share what happened this morning?

So going back to these kids that don’t listen. Do you know those little ones she got … we went. She went to the dentist. And, you know, she had a clean, clean bill of health. They don’t give you candy, they give you like a little coin and you put it in the slot machine, and you get, like these little, tiny balls that you. See for like when you play jacks.

A little rubber ball or a super ball.

So, we have a 2-year-old Labradoodle that if you know, puppies, eat anything, right? If they can ingest it. And so that’s and I said put the ball away because we don’t want her to get to it? She will try. Eat it well, she won’t eat it. I’m holding it. I’m like, OK, so she got distracted. And guess what? Walls wherever and what did she do? She ate it. 

So, this I get back from the. Gym and I walked into the house, and I was like. What stinks in here? And I thought it was trash, you know, sometimes. You float in there. And I walked further. And I’m like What you start from walking? We have two, we have an older dog. He’s the OG, and then we have the newer and so he’s sleeping. In his bed like I Don’t know what’s going on. And so, I. Walk over to her Kennel because she sleeps, and the puppy sleeps. Like kennel and I look and it’s just I don’t need, It’s a diarrhea mess and I’m like, what the hell?

I mean super. Balls aren’t part of a healthy diet.

And she’s been there in the back. Like, I don’t even know when that happened because she sleeps in there. And you know, we cover it up and I’m in my room and I’m. Like and I. Look, and she’s just looking at me like. Hi, Mommy. And I’m like. Daughter, my daughter. But I’m like, I need you to help me. I’m like Charlie. And so, I had rubber gloves on, and I had to drag her out of that thing and just like. It was just a nightmare. Mind you, this is before. Like getting to school. I mean, I’m coming in. I’m Zen. I got my work out and it was just a nightmare so I’m outside. It’s still dark out spraying her down. I’m like you And I’m like You’re my daughter’s like. She just woke up. She’s like what? What’s happening?  And I’ve been losing. I like and so do I’m. Like, get your gloves.

Yeah, being a single parent is messy and you know, sometimes it’s great to blame. The kids or the? Puppy I don’t know how your house runs, Carol, but my house got up yesterday. Had a nice, easy morning, was in here clicking on the computer, and doing some stuff and I heard in the other room my wife was just me, my wife, home. And she’s like *** ** * *****. Are you kidding me? And I’m like. What is going on in my house?

Uh oh.

Not my house. So, you know, just so everyone is listening, my house is pretty much Zen-like. All the time, there are never any disasters or catastrophes. My son hasn’t discovered the magic of girls yet, so he’s just really chill. Like there’s just not a whole lot ever really happening in my house.

And she starts going off and I’m like, what on Earth is happening? I go in there and my son has two ferrets. And they have a litter box. And it gets cleaned out daily. They’re taking care of it really well, but it usually ends up in the trash can. Little trash can that usually sits on top of the ferry cage until it’s time to take it out or whatever, and I go in there and I look in that trash can that has been dumped over and over. There’s **** every. 

And I’m like, baby, what happened? She’s like, I let the ferrets out. I cleaned up the stuff, I put the trash can on the bed. On the top of the cage, she put it on the bed, so far. Worse, because she knows. She’s the one that. Did it cause the ferrets jumped from the chair onto the bed? Ferrets are wonderful and they’re cute, but man, they want to put their head in Knocked it over. Everything. 

You’ve got a cup of water that you’re holding like they’ll dunk their head in the cup to figure out what. The heck is, right? Like, oh, here’s a new toy on the bed they dump, they climb up in the trash can, and it all dumped out. And she’s like, oh. He spent Three hours there cleaning up litter and whatever else was in the trash can, and she did it to herself because she put the trash can in the wrong place. I’m not saying this to embarrass my wife, but. Sometimes I think the kids, sometimes it’s us that gets the **** all over things and then we got to clean it up. That’s just how it goes sometimes. Ferrets are. Do you follow my wife? Page the cutest pics. Watching them wrestle and tumble over the place. Get distracted by a bell and then Chase said that they’re hilarious to watch. But every now and again.

I like to Remind Me of Rats.

Every now and again.

You are just never.

Know what’s going to work, what’s going to happen.

No, I can’t do very, very little things.

They’re cute. They’re wonderful. We’ve had some exotic pets we had, we had ferrets, we had a snake. We had a ball python in the house for a number of years. Like all sorts of weird stuff. Oh, oh, Toothless was amazing. Yeah, but he wasn’t toothless. But we called him toothless. Like ball pythons. Like, if they get scared, they just turn themselves into a ball like they don’t attack or do anything.

And eat you alive, though, can’t they?

Well, not these. Don’t get that big ball pythons like the longest they get is like 5 feet and they’re not that big around.

But ohh in diameter. OK, I’m taking the Python I’m thinking of.

No, no, no, no, not a Ball Python. So, like my daughter she was like, I want to go take Toothless for a walk and. I’m like, what do you mean? You got, like, a little harness for the snake. I’m like, what do you mean? 

She’s like, no, I just wanted to know, wrap him around the neck and go walk around the neighborhood. I was like. Yes, go ahead. And I was telling this to another parent and like, why would you let your daughter do that? I was like, isn’t anyone going to touch her with a snake around her neck? 


My safety is based on how much cake I eat. Her safety is. There’s a snake. I’m not worried at all. Like no one’s kidnapping me. No one got anywhere near my daughter with a snake around her neck. I’m fine. Go ahead.

Oh my God.

Ohh, my Lord. 

When you decided to go into the military, was this a choice or did you have something that you were considering doing as a profession before going into the military? I know I switched really quickly. I was just reading some of the stuff that we had, and I was like, oh, I want to ask that question, so sorry for the quick switch.

Sorry, Travis.

Going to push it in the clutch when you’re changing gears. Carol, you know this.

I know.

So, I actually wanted to be a nurse. I always thought I wanted to. But you know, my mom was like, you know, I would love for you to go to college. But you know, I can’t afford to send you to college. So, you’re going to have to figure it out. So, I was like, OK. So, they had a career day and of course, you know, they got the line of recruiters, Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force. And they’re off course. All like, yes, we’ll give you money for schools and not. And I was like, OK, how long would I Have to commit? They’re like four years old. I’m like, oh, that was it. That was what it was.

Why the army?

Do you still have bangs at this point? Let’s be clear here.

Stop it. Stop it.

I did

And I was so into the social scene totally. Like missed the whole like. Yeah, you need to apply to colleges. Like so, I would say, my guidance counselor was like Jessica. You’re too late. I was. Like what are you? She’s like, you know, all those contract applications like those that were like I think this was like, I don’t know March. She’s like they were due like December, January and I was like, oh, she’s like, so your options are, you know, Community College or sit out a year. And I was like, no, I’m like the Community College. So then, like the career fair was after that.

And so, I was like, well, this is going to be my Direct Line because I didn’t have a car. So, I was like I’m. Not about that bus life. I’m not getting on the bus to go to…Like that was still a little bit buggy back. In those days. I mean I’m. Buggy now, but you know, I was not about to get it. On the bus and go to anybody’s Community College. I didn’t have a car. My mom was cheap. She always drove a stick shift and she was like. This is my only car. You will never learn how to drive this car. You are on your own. 

So, I was like, no, nothing. I signed up to go and I began my journey and so they said, we’ll give you your GI bill and you know, money. It was just four years. I was like, oh, I rationalized it as four years of high school went by really fast. So, four years in the military would go by fast. Little did I know. Longest four years of my life before I finished basic training. I was at Fort Jackson getting ready to be deployed.

I was like. I look, I didn’t sign up for all this. They’re like, yes, you did. The moment you put your hand up, you sure did sign up for it. And I was like, well, I mean, I was getting geared up. I was getting measured. They left me. I was like, oh, this is really happening. And I was literally talking to my mom. Like, yeah, Mom. So, I don’t know what I’m going to talk to you again. 

You know, because. It was really you moved from one station, then you’d have to get your vaccines and you. Had to get a new uniform and I was like, what’s happening here?

What? What year? This.

I was. This was. ‘91. So the desert enters a desert storm.

Did you know that was going on before you enlisted? Or was it going on before you enlisted?

No, I didn’t. Maybe vaguely, but I didn’t. That wasn’t that much, yeah.

Didn’t realize you signed up for war. That was happening right then.

No, because I think things were contained. Like whatever was happening there and they, so I didn’t really, and my MOS was like Transportation. And I was like.

Because I wanted to go into nursing and those recruiters, I mean you. Now they sell you, they’ll sell you your own Mama back to you. If you let them. I was dumb. I was like, just all, right? And they’re like, well, based on your scores, this is where and I was like, this is not nursing. They’re like, no, this is what we have available. I was like, all right. What did I know I didn’t know? To like, push back and be like, no, I need to see whomever I need to see about getting into the nursing program.

So. I was in transportation and yeah. So, guess what? Travis, they were like ohh transportation.

We are going to be Shipping all of this equipment overseas to Saudi Arabia and we need you. So I was, yeah. So right. I didn’t know what the MOS was. They just said this is what they give you a very brief one-liner. 

OK, so once I went through basic and then I got into it, I was like. Oh, this. I’m in. I’m all in, right? And then once I finished AIT, they were like, yeah. So, I’m like, oh, where’s my duty station going to be? They’re like, yeah, so your duty station is going to be for you. But guess what, that group is getting ready to deploy us everywhere?

Off to Fort Jackson, I went. And yeah, and that was the beginning of yeah, my first deployment. It was scary as hell, I mean, I was a baby. Technically, like I left my mom’s house, and yeah, and so I and the day I landed in, where did we land? It wasn’t in Saudi Arabia. It was one of those places I guess I was just all the pomp and circumstance. I was so sick to the point that they had to give me an IV, I was high. I now know I was dehydrated but. I was like what, literally remember, because you’re in a new country and you. Now even in the chow hall. The food is not like the food in the US, so I don’t know what was going on, but I remember the smells. And I remember sitting there and then I remember.

Just didn’t agree with you, did I?

I didn’t eat. I hadn’t eaten. I just went through the line with my thing. I still had, like, my food, was all on my tray, but I just remember sitting there and I was just kind of. Like and then, yeah, and then.

Well, yeah.

I mean, you learned one of the three pillars of military medicine, right? Dehydration and you’ve got Motrin and clean socks. That’s the end of all the medical training anyone in the military gets. At least that’s how they recommend it to their people. I think maybe it’s getting better now, but back in the day. And was that drinking more water? You don’t feel right. Take Motrin.

Yeah, that, and yes, we’re going to pump you up with this IV bag, but oh, by the way, this hanger that you all are living in until you get to your next. The bathrooms are outside, so I’m like, wait.

So, in the middle of the night, I’m out here. Oh, and then you have to take this. **** it. I’m just like what is this like literally all the things going through my young mind were like, what did I… what have I done?

What have I signed up for?

Learning that I was already in this foreign country, dehydrated for 24 hours and of course, had nothing because they gave me all this water and said you. Must drink it. So, I’m going to the bathroom and like in the middle of the night outside of the grant, there were, you know, the MP’s and all. But I’m still like, I’m like, it’s dark out here. I’m peeing outside in a bucket… this Is what is.

This is nuts. Yeah, so. How many years, then, did you end up spending in the military?


OK, so the full four, and then did you when you got out of the military, what did you do? Do I mean like what was your game plan at that point?

I Went to college because I was like they wanted me. To stay. They’re like, oh, you’re a good soldier. We could See you ‘re retiring. I was like. Look, I came in for the money. I’m not staying. They were Like, is there anything we mean… they were throwing away all the incentives. Was like no. My best friend from high school was already in college. I think she was not too. Almost two years. Well, she was a year shy of graduating, and she was in Williamsburg. I was in Newport News, and she was like. Just come, move in with me. I’ll help you do college. Application I was like, OK, let’s. Do it.

So, I literally got out and went. Yeah, we had an apartment, or she had an apartment and moved in with her. We signed the lease. Things and I got out in September, and in January I started my spring semester in college, so I was focused. I knew what I wanted to do.

And would you major in?

I wanted to say Something about the military right there because when you’re in, you’re carrying your own bathroom bucket. But when you’re getting ready to leave. Oh, man, do they want to give you anything and everything to get you to stay. The only time they’re your friend is like, oh, I hear you’re getting out. I want to let you know that all of these great things are now going to happen now that you stay in. And when you say yes.

Why didn’t they just? Offer it, to begin with.

Because they got you. They own you. Once you’re in. You have orders whatever those are, and you execute them, and when it’s time for you to reenlist all of a sudden, they remember that… Ohh, they’re your best friend and they want to make sure you have a great college experience or great military experience. And then two weeks after you signed, it goes right back into the suck. 

And that’s one of the things in the military called embrace the suck. It’s so terrible that everyone just goes ahead and onboards it as their personal opinion, like when. When I went to retire. They gave me a promotion that I had to decline and send back. They made me an ‘O4. And I wasn’t listed for 11 years and then Commission for 11 years. Like, yeah, we want you to say you could make some real difference. You make sense you just told me three weeks ago that we can’t make a change because we work for Strack Home. So, were you lying? To me then or are you lying to me now?

Well, what would it be?

Take you to stay. I’m like, Sir, you.

No, Lord.

Can you give me your paycheck? I wouldn’t be interested.

Yeah, yeah, they did. Where would you like to go? Your next duty station to be. We can send you anywhere you want to go, and I was like, yeah.

Oh, now they’re. Giving you choices. Come on, man. Yeah, yeah.

And it, you know, I won’t even like just… That’s even the journey, right? I don’t. I don’t regret going into the military. It truly did help me get that foundation of you’re an adult. Now and really grew up in those four years because I couldn’t call Mom and be like, can you help me with this? No, like I had to figure it out. I asked her, but you have to figure it out. No one was there. You figure it out. 

And so, I feel like my thing is I think a lot of kids, especially kids today, that are so entitled, they need to spend a good year in and just figuring it out and then come out and go to college, do whatever. Because when I came out, I was laser focused. But my experience in the military was not necessarily all roses, but my whole thing. The thing that kept me in was because in basic training these girls were like quitting left and right because it was hard. I was like, I’m already signed up, I’m going to finish when I started. 

But they were harassing us? They knew we were all young. Most of us. First time out of the hall and out of the home. A lot of us never even had experience with a man, and so these drill sergeants were in these positions of power, and they used them to their ability.

So, when I saw that Vanessa Guillen thing and you know several years ago when all that stuff happened at West Point, I’m like it hasn’t changed. Now it’s revealed, but that was going on then. I, My Ranger buddy like Ranger Buddies are your people that you’re? That’s the person that you’re always with, you never go anywhere alone. You’re always within your range. Your buddies. What they call it in the army. But I mean, it was harassment on every turn your and you’re thinking I’m in this camouflage uniform that is big and baggy. There is nothing at all sexy about it. But it was that power. So that power dynamic and that’s, you know, it’s got to change. It hasn’t changed because we still are seeing these young girls being harassed and when they complain, they end up dead.

You know, I want to jump in here a little bit. Not to, you know, discredit the things that you’re talking about. But to make people understand that there was rape in the military long before they allowed women to join.

Yeah, yeah, that’s true.

Oh, OK yeah, that threw me off.

Yeah, it II talked to a guy that in his union when he was stationed up in Washington, a guy would come in and complain that. His rear end hurt all the time. It was very strange. It turned out the person that he was sharing a room with would wake up early and throw a chloroform rag over his face and rape him. 

And then… He never saw it coming because he didn’t know what it was, and he finally forgot how they found out about it. But as that stuff happens and it’s not. Is it terrible? It happens to women. Absolutely terrible. But I’m not going to pretend for a second that it doesn’t happen to men too.

Well, the only difference that I find disgusting is that women are weaker in nature. And so having a man do that, I mean it takes… They’re just taking advantage of the situation, right where a man does it to a man, and it’s equally as horrible. However, you know and…

We’re just getting him when he’s sleeping.

Well, that’s the same position.

Yeah, well. Hello, women get roofied, or drugged, or whatever, right? Same thing. I mean, it’s. I just found it a little bit more disgusting when a guy does it. To a girl, yeah. Purely because of size and they’re taking advantage.

Yeah, yeah.

Of their size and their strength.

We’ve actually had a guest that was roofied. That was an.

I’ve been a roofie. I’ve been roofied, I know, and it sucks.

One of our male guests was roofied in Vegas.

Who is this?

Matt Russell.

Ohh yeah, it’s been a while.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s yeah.

Since we talked to Matt. It’s been a long time. But these things are still pervasive. They still hit the news. I know you got to meet Janae when we were in Houston, her show, and the things she does and talks about and fights for are all about fighting exactly what Jessica’s talking about because this stuff happens on a daily basis.

I’ve got a book on my shelf over here that I helped. They are called resilient warriors. And there are 22 females sharing their stories about their time and service and different things. And I helped edit Sixteen of those gut-wrenched, heart-wrenching stuff. Just horrendous things, especially when you get someone that’s young and they don’t know any better and they get married young in the service, and all of a sudden, they’re overseas or somewhere else and they cut off their spouse financially. Cut them off for your family. Cut them off financially, especially before everyone had a cell phone, right? It’s so easy to cut someone up. Ohh we never hear from them. We have no idea. They’re in their own personal torture chamber at home in Germany or wherever they are at the time with no help, no way to call for help, no. Way to do any of these things.

Oh, see, isolation. That’s horrible.

Forced isolation as these things happen.

Yeah, because you are… You learn the chain of command and they drill that into your head, and you do not go against that chain by any means necessary. So yes, you suffer in silence because they use that power dynamic to manipulate.

Yeah, they really do. I don’t know what it was like for you. I mean, you would adopt a girl out of foster care. But like in foster care. Every time I share my story, I realize how fortunate I am because I don’t have a bad. Had a foster care store, and even though I was in five different homes, they were all far more well put together and were able to take care of me far better than my mom was at the time. So, I realized that being in five different homes and not having a single problem like that is definitely not the norm. Definitely not, yeah.


Very, very fortunate.

You’re absolutely right.

So, when you got out of the military, and you started going to school what was your major?

I majored in communication, and I minored in, and I minored in Spanish because the Spanish that I knew were conversational. And then Spanish which I learned in high school. Wanted to be able to write. You know, like writing a paper and writing because I was like, what in the world?

So, I had to tap in on my mom and be like, OK, does this make sense? So yeah, so I minored in Spanish and majored… I was undecided, though, for the first year. Because I was like… I don’t know. And then I took all these tests. And so yeah.

You’re using that now with HR and you’re coaching and speaking business, right?

Very much so, yeah. I went on to get my master’s in HR and organizational management. So yeah.

I want to jump back a little bit to some of your previous stories you kind of glossed over the fact that you were trying to get the attention of boys or men from your childhood. What does it take to stop Searching for that kind of validation from the opposite sex?

It takes realizing that there’s a value that you value outside of anyone else’s validation that you have intrinsic value within, right? I was looking for my value from men specifically because I did not have my dad in my life and so with all of the insecurities that I had based on everything that I’ve been through, I felt like that was and you know when you’re a young lady and you start to mature and your body’s changing. You get that attention naturally. So, I was like, oh, right. So, I was like this is great. Attention, but it turned out to be not so great. Attention because right not all of the boys or men had the best intentions. 

So how do you stop it? Unfortunately for me, going through a lot of situations that were not so great and did not hurt me but all that left me even more insecure and feeling devalued than I started and Getting to a point. Where I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. That’s that really. What it was, and I was like, I cannot keep doing this and so meant that I was the common denominator. So, Jessica, what do you need to do? What is it to keep looking for something that you’re not finding and then you keep getting hurt or mistreated? So, what is it? 

And so that’s where that self. Work comes from. The realization of I’m tired of bawling my eyes out, saying what’s wrong with me? Why me? Why this? Why that and realizing that I am good inside, but I need to believe I need to know that I need to understand that I don’t need to get to know who I am. right? 

All of me, the Hispanic, me, the bilingual me, all of the things. What, me with the scars and what that meant and all of the realizations that came with that, not having a dad? The losing opportunity at a young age that all of the things right and saying you know what? Yeah, that’s my story.

But that’s not… That’s part of who I am, but that’s not who I am.

Doesn’t define you, yeah.

That’s not all about who you are. You know, as a father listening to your stories, and I have a young daughter myself. And she fell into some of the same patterns, even though she had a dad in the home. And for me as a father. It’s super heartbreaking because. I’m not in the day and age where I could just, you know, punch a kid in the face and tell him to **** ***. Right. You. Right. You. Can’t it be no longer acceptable? You know, was it?

Was maybe acceptable.

It wasn’t. No, no, no, it wasn’t acceptable back then either.

But no one knew that alertly no one knew about it, right? It was never acceptable. But like I don’t have any recourse as a parent and to watch my daughter go through those things and know that there largely wasn’t anything I could do that she wasn’t willing to do for herself. As a parent. It just kills you. It is so awful, just flat-out awful. You get these.

But Travis, they have.

Guys come into your home that you can’t.

You can’t beat off with a stick. Do you mean? Yeah, but that’s her journey. I mean, truthfully, you know, we all have to go through it and experience it and then come out the other side and understand who we are as an individual, what we stand for. And I think that’s when we can stand in ours. We can change those things about us and the decisions we make.

But that’s absolutely about realization because unfortunately there are many people that are still living their lives and not realizing that they’re the one… They are the ones with the issue or really acknowledging what their issue is and so they continue on this collision course of ruining lives, ruining their own lives, and all of this craziness and wreaking havoc. And then just wondered, oh, it’s everybody else, right? So that’s self-realization and knowing right? 

But yeah, you know what, I’ve dropped a whole bunch of stuff up that’s because I was jacked up then. And I didn’t know. But that’s something that I preach. That’s self-work is crucial. It is brutal cause I can’t tell you how many tears I cried and letters I wrote to my dad and all of the things right, like all of the things. 

But it’s necessary because that is why I stand in this place because I was that. I was that teenage girl, and I was that young, that young adult still going through these changes, right? And I’m like, you don’t need to do all that. But what you need to do is look inside and figure out who you are. And on all your ********, all of it. All of it. All of it, right?

You have to learn to go through all that. It allows you to heal, but it also allows you to forgive, and forgiveness isn’t for the other person. Forgiveness is for you to be able to accept everything that has been made. You who you are.

Are absolutely, absolutely. And I hold no, I hold no grudges at all because I’m like, why I’m living my life. I’m doing and being all of the things that I never even imagined. That I could do. Because I was who I was. So, I’m like, I don’t have time to learn about somebody else. I love you.

I pray I pray for you; I love you from afar. And if you ever decide you want to engage and let. Let’s do it. But I’m not about chasing any relationships to make them work. I’m too old. We’re going to make it work collectively, but I’m not going to chase you. To make a relationship work. I’m not doing that.

Yeah. Yep, 100%.

Knowing you’re OK without them. And then OK with you when it’s just you. Yeah, I love it. I love that story. Like all of us here really help refine who we used to be when we were in it, right? It is defined. Who we are. And now you’re realizing it’s just refining who you are, making you a little bit better every day. When you start making decisions take responsibility for your own ****. 

I know I have to do it. I know both of you ladies have done it. And when you actually take that step. You realize there’s so much BS that you will no longer allow in your circle in your sphere in your house because you finally have standards that you’re enforcing and it creates the most beautiful you that you can possibly be inside, outside, spiritually, on whatever plane of existence you agree with or think about it when you realize that you matter above everybody else, and that’s not coming from a place of selfishness. Because if you’re not whole. You can’t really help anyone else anyway.

100% true. I mean you really have to have boundaries. You have to know who you are. You have to have those boundaries. If people cross those boundaries. Then you go, yeah. No, this is my line. You can dip a toe over my line, but then we’re done, you know. If you are that definitive and you don’t allow people. In your life, they don’t take accountability for their actions. Then you have a great group of people in your life at that point.

Absolutely. As we’re getting ready to wrap up here, Jessica, share with the audience something. If someone’s out there struggling, whatever mess they’re in right now, what kind of advice would you have for someone in that place?

Yeah, I would say first and foremost. Even if you caused the mess, right? Even if you cause the mess that you’re in, we all cause our own messes. But it is up to you to figure out what got you there and find the resources to help you get out of it. If that means I need therapy, I need to figure out why I’m angry. I need to deal with my abandonment issues. Whatever my loneliness, my depression. Figure it out. Like, and sometimes it’s going to. You’re going to need help. You’re going to need someone to help you. Other times it’s doing that. 

So, forget those self-help books to help you learn more. About your journal. Journal I was never really a fan of journaling, but in the last during the pandemic, I started. And I was like, wow. You know, just those seeing your thoughts on paper, that’s next level like it is. You’re like, I didn’t even realize. I felt like that but did the work. Find help. There are so many resources out here. 

Therapy. Find therapy. Low-cost therapy. Friends, family. Look to people that truly believe in you because. If you look for help from people that are worse off than you or don’t believe in anything, they’re not, you’re going to end up in the same spot. So fine, even if it’s that one person, that teacher, that person at church, that coach that believes in you and says I need your help, here’s what I want to do. I don’t know how to do it. Can you help me? And I believe I know 100% of the time that person will say absolutely. I will help you. So that’s my advice.

Thank you so much, Jessica, for being our guest today. I’m so glad that our meeting in Houston has borne some fruit. We get to have this great chat and you get to meet the fabulous Carol. If you want to connect with Jessica, go to and you can send her an email from there, she’s got her social links there. Connect with her again., thanks so much.

Thank you. Bye.

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