Tuesday, July 23, 2019

31 Things About Me: Jen Vincent #exploring identity

I've been thinking a lot about identity lately. My understanding of my own identity is constantly changing but I'm also starting the school year off with the theme of identity so I thought it would be good to do a blog series about exploring identity. 

In 2015, I participated in the month-long Slice of Life Challenge. The ideas is to blog every single day for an entire month. I had spent time unpacking my identity and thinking about my experiences and how they shaped who I am so I decided to take the entire month to write about this. That month of blogging was so powerful for me. I cried while writing most of those posts! Those posts are probably some of the most vulnerable writing I have ever written.

You can find links to them all in my wrap up blog post: The One Where I Have to Share My Stories if you're interested in reading them. 

But that was four years ago and I've learned even more about myself since then so I thought it would be good to share a little more about me again. This year during the March Slice of Life Challenge, my friend Mandy Robek wrote a post called 31 Things About Me at her blog Enjoy and Embrace Learning. Mandy got the idea from Lisa Keeler at Reading, Writing and Learning. Here's her 31 Things About Me post. I saved the links to their posts to use as a mentor text and now I'm happy to present my 31 Things About Me post!
  1. I adore Megan Stielstra and her essays and would love to meet her someday! They inspired me to write a short story about loving Guatemala which then led me to buying a ticket to go and visit last month.
  2. My friend Leticia recommended the podcast Let Their Be Luz to me so I listened to every single episode and it has been life changing in so many ways. I definitely recommend it!
  3. We got a minivan last spring and I LOVE IT mostly because we can fit lots of people in with us and traveling with friends is always more fun. 
  4. Baths are amazing. I discovered Lush about a year ago and love their shampoo bars and their bath bombs.
  5. Yellow is my favorite color.
  6. The sun makes me happy. I even got a sun tattoo last year. 
  7. I think I'm fairly coordinated but for the life of me, trying to get better at something like baggo or bowling stresses me out.
  8. I love Chocolate-Covered Katie's black bean brownie recipe (gluten free and vegan!) and I also love sharing them with people because most people love them too and never guess there's a whole can of black beans mixed in. 
  9. If I could live anywhere...it would be Guatemala.
  10. I used to write regularly in my laundry room when I was working on my first novel. 
  11. People should have the option to take an afternoon nap. Like, this should be a regularly scheduled afternoon plan.
  12. My first Story Exploratory workshop was in 2015. My sister and my neighbor came...which I considered a huge success but at the same time didn't think was a success at all. Then it took me until 2018 to remember how much I believed in Story Exploratory. In 2019, I filed for my doing-business-as certificate!
  13. When I trained for (and ran) the Chicago Marathon in 2003, I would see rabbits all the time. I always thought they were my grandpa coming to visit me and to remind me that I was strong and beautiful. Since starting up my Story Exploratory workshops, I've seen more rabbits again and now I really think it's a sign from the universe that I'm on the right path and that I should keep going. 
  14. Any time I visit a new place, I like to find a local coffee shop and/or an independent bookstore. They are the coolest places.
  15. I've been vegetarian since 2010 and vegan most of those years. I swear, my skin is softer. And I kid you not, I feel absolutely zero menstrual cramps (and before it was bad!).
  16. I consider myself to be super low maintenance but my friend Elizabeth sells Color Street and I do like doing my nails from time to time.
  17. Star Wars is an epic love story and I'm a huge fan. 
  18. Adopting our puppy Perdi from a shelter in 2015 was one of the best decisions of my whole entire life.
  19. Tacos are amazing. Just like ice cream in a cone, you don't need utensils or containers so they're good for the environment too!
  20. I'm always up for an adventure. 
  21. Sometimes I wish I had a more Latina name. Even my maiden name, Jennifer Jones, wasn't Latina. Our names are such a part of who we are and my Latinx heritage isn't represented in my name. Although, when I went to Guatemala earlier this summer, I met people whose names sounded American to me so maybe what I really need to do is get over this idea of names belonging to a place.
  22. The first time I experienced professional development in my school district that focused on identity, I cried. It was emotional for me because identity and discussing topics of anti-racism and being anti-biased is something important to me but at that time, it felt like we never discussed it as a system.
  23. I love winter but don't like all the stuff that goes with it. Especially as a mom...snowpants, hats, gloves, boots...ugh.
  24. Writer's workshop is my jam. I'm so lucky that I had teachers who gave me the experience with writer's workshop as a student because it just made sense to me as a teacher. 
  25. The kidlit community is the best.
  26. I find it hard to half-ass anything. But sometimes in life, you have to decide it's okay to put in the minimum so my motto has become, "We're going to full ass the minimum."
  27. One of the best compliments a student ever gave me was when they said, "Mrs. Vincent, you're like a student." Yup. I'm a true lifelong learner and super proud of it.
  28. I often feel like people don't understand me. Like my ideas are so out there. Like I approach things differently. Like I'm comfortable diving into things. Like I'm not worried about stuff. Sometimes it's lonely and other times it feels pretty badass.
  29. I've been known to turn down a lunch invitation because I had an amazing, just-ripe avocado waiting for me at home. 
  30. I cry. A lot. But most of the time I cry because I'm so so so happy and that's how my body reacts. I also see it as a form of cleansing. It's my body's way of releasing or processing the emotions...I think? I'm not really sure but these two explantations make sense to me at this time.
  31. There are three things I absolutely know to be true: I love myself, stories make the world a better place, and things change. (I have a blog post about this coming up next!)

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