JAIMIE / ARTIST & OWNER OF VELVIT LLC / CHICAGO IL
Jaimie is an exemplar—powerful, ambitious, humble. Her perseverance is moving, rare and inspiring, as she is my constant reminder that in me, there is always more. She has had an intense journey in these past few years and instead of fading away, I keep hearing about her accolades. So meet Jaimie, she’s a business owner of the online shop, Velvit LLC, that is committed to quality and highlighting underground artists, she’s training in MMA, and oh yeah, she’s in full freakin’ Bloom.
HOW WILL YOU BLOOM IN THE NEXT YEAR?
The next year will be about finding balance, taking more time for myself and doing more of the things that make me happy. I am learning how to find myself, and it’s been a continuous process of self-evolution. There are different moments in life, people I’ve met, activities I’ve participated in that have moved me and showed me new paths. In the past, I was afraid to try new things or explore new passions because of anxiety and fear of the unknown. I would ask myself what if I don’t like it? What if I make a fool out of myself? How can I let new people in?
I recently found the answers through burying myself in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). MMA has given me energy, made me happier and opened so many doors with regards to meeting people and exploring other interests. There’s something about the culture and community of each discipline that I love along with the self-discipline and sacrifice that it takes to practice, which means not only practicing for the sake of a “work out”. Previously, even if I was participating in an activity I was familiar with, my anxiety would take over. I would get anxiety before trying new things because the fear and rejection was so immense. I ultimately had to push myself into showing up to train everyday and being persistent, and I can say that I have been enjoying the choice.
Ultimately, you cannot bloom on your own. If you think about flowers, they rely on other flowers, insects and people to nurture them. It’s never one flower blossoming alone; it takes support. If those nurturing you are not making you feel good, then they are probably not right. It’s about not being afraid to step out and be vulnerable to exploring these relationships.
DESCRIBE AN OBSTACLE THAT YOU HAVE OVERCOME.
The past three years have been a series of obstacles and they have all been different courses. A friend once told me that the obstacles in our way are part of the way. I like to think of my obstacles as pathways. The pathway is never going to be paved with gold. If it is too easy, it may not be the right path and may lead to a brick wall. It’s the hard stuff that you have to get through to get to the good stuff.
I never used to think of my obstacles as lessons because they are things you would never wish upon anyone else, for example, my experience overcoming rape, lacking strong communication with my family for years or re-learning to be vulnerable. I would not be where I am today having not fought because the battle helped me learn to like myself. I don’t know if I would have gotten to this point of understanding and self-acceptance so early in my life had I not been raped. It was a wake up call. The experience was so traumatizing yet in many ways, taught me to adapt, find inner strength and to recover so I could grow. I don’t know if I would have been inspired to start my business as it evolved out of what happened to me.
By pressing forward, I was able to progress on my journey. For the first year, I didn’t know how — and STILL any time I talk about the rape, I refer to it as the “incident”—but over time moving forward started to mean cutting the ties that were toxic and stepping away from the people who were not supportive after finding out what had happened to me. I thought these people were my friends, but I found that they didn’t have my best interests at heart. I let them go and it helped me find happiness and the type of support that I wanted to have in my life. Had this not happened to me, I know it’s bad to say, but I don’t know if I would have been able to identify that these people weren’t there for me.
Not everyone is going to understand. Not everyone is going to be empathetic because they have not gone through the same sort of pain. It’s different for everyone which is why you cannot expect everyone to understand. People can only be as supportive as they know how to be. You have to accept the support they know how to give and keep in mind that having any type of positive support system is the best way to get through obstacles. On the contrary, knowing the type of support that isn’t working for you and how to remove the negativity are further necessities to press forward.
HOW WILL YOU HELP WOMEN?
I want women to know that during hard situations, times of assault or abuse, it’s okay to share because you will be able to share with the right people. We need to have these dialogues and grow this knowledge of sharing because a lot of people say things like, “Oh, that will never happen to me”, but it can and it does. We need knowledge so that more people know where to go and who to turn to for help during these times. Even if it’s a completely different type of trauma than assault, we must talk to each other more because sharing is healing and powerful.
I want to urge women and men who have gone through trauma not to bury themselves into a black hole, I urge everyone to press forward through talking, as this dialogue is what connects us all. I don’t think people are always open to sharing. There need to be more safe spaces for women where we can be vulnerable in a non-judgmental environment. We need to start these dialogues in a safe way. We could save a lot more people by being open to receiving their experiences.
LONG TERM GOALS...GO
Last year it was hard for me to define my purpose. It took time to find the things I wanted to pursue and with whom I wanted to pursue it with. I am finally open to love, loving without expectations and allowing people to care about me. I have been such a giver my whole life, that I didn’t understand that it’s okay to let others give to me and show me the care I deserved. This year, I feel I have a better grasp of my self and my purpose.
My goals are to be a great business owner and learn to speak to women in a way that is more relatable. My biggest personal goal is to maintain and work on this sense of balance and nurture the things I love so that I can see my full potential. I want to blossom my business and support small business owners. I want to continue my path in MMA fighting because it fills me up. And eventually, I want to continue on to grad school. Finding purpose in my life gave me clarity and helps me able to continue to pursue those things.