Recently I had the honor of speaking at the Be Bonafide event here in Los Angeles. The event was incredible and I wish I could attend something similar to it monthly. Just because it was great for my soul and being around women who were so vulnerable and willing to work on themselves was humbling. Seeing women gather to support one another and share in each others trails and triumphs is aw-inspiring. Be Bonafide is all about breaking down our barriers and connecting with one another on a level playing field. Making ourselves vulnerable helps us connect in a more real and raw way. Resulting in such amazing outcomes and personal connections made with women who can help each other in more ways than one. You can follow along with Be Bonafide here and keep an eye out for their next event. It is truly worth it and I hope to see you there when the time comes! (I know I will be there).
The girls who run Be Bonafide asked if I would be willing to speak at their event and I jumped at the chance! I decided to pull together words on how I channel courage to share my personal story. I decided to share my story and how I bank of my own courage to help propel me forward while sharing every inch of my life with my blog readers and social media community. I knew I wanted to talk about this specifically because I have come to realize that sharing my personal story has been beneficial for so many. I wanted to share in hopes of inspiring others to share their own stories and help others by doing so.
Below are the words I pulled together for my speech. It might have sounded different in person but the message is still the same. As always, thank you all so much for coming here and spending time with me and my family. I adore you more than you know and I can't think of a better way to get through this life than to share it all with you.
. . .
"Hello! I am so excited to be here on such a special night. Thank you a million to the Be Bonafide girls for inviting me to this incredible evening. For those of you who do not know who I am, my name is Jacqui or Baby Boy Bakery. But my actual name is Jacqui ;) I am a mom of two, I have a son name Ryan who would have been 6 years old and my daughter Mila who is 17 months! I run an online business called Baby Boy Bakery Kids where I create products that encourage parent child involvement and memory keeping. Some of you might follow along with me and my family on Instagram, where I share our every move. When the lovely ladies of Be Bonafide asked me if I would be interested in speaking here tonight I thought at first what would I talk about? But this online world is growing by the minute and one thing it lacks are people willing to share their true self and the trials they go through. I get it. It definitely is more fun to share about the great outfit we are wearing or how cute our children are. Though, for me I started my tiny space on the internet seeking friendship and conversation and over time life happened. To me, I had no other option than to share my life and what was going on. The good. The bad. The tragic. But like I said, it is a lot easier to share the "fun" stuff. To share the bad or sad take guts. To share your entire being and your truest thoughts takes courage. So, I’m here tonight to chat about how I use an immense about of courage to share my entire world with everyone. And in the end I'm hoping you'll start to do the same.
As I mentioned before, I started my blog about 6 years ago when my son Ryan was just a baby. I started it because I was the first to have a baby in my circle of friends and I was craving friends who knew a thing or two about having kids. I started out sharing recipes and motherhood mishaps from my first time parenting experience. When Instagram became a thing I joined and began sharing everyday, twice a day even what Ryan and I were up to. I am not kidding, I would take photos of everything and post them. Not really sure (or caring even) who was looking. I just did it for me and my son to have and still to this day our photos are my most prized possession and I can't thank God enough I had the brains to capture our every move! Over the years we accumulated this rad little online community and I made some life long friends via social media. Three years ago on what seemed like a normal day, I woke up early. Ryan and I got ready and made our way to our favorite place. Disneyland. The movie Cars was his absolute favorite and the Cars Land at Disneyland was his hot spot. Though he had never been tall enough to ride the main Racers ride. That morning though I had a hunch and we arrived at Disneyland when it opened so we could hustle to be first in line. The cast member manning the line let us through and I honestly think it was Ryan’s massive head of red curls that made the height requirement. But we rode the ride for Ryan’s first time and it was incredible! We spent the rest of the early morning and afternoon running around Disneyland and then headed home to have dinner with our family.
That night we lost Ryan and he made his way to Heaven. It happened quick, too fast, but it happened and my entire life started to crumble and that was it. From that moment my whole life changed.
I spent weeks just sort of sitting in a haze. I honestly couldn’t tell you what happened during that time. All I know is that my husband and I were surrounded by our family. Over the past month I made my way up for air and was blown away by the support from strangers all over the world. It was incredible. I remember thinking, "Ok Jacqui. You have two options. You can roll over and pull the plug on what you and Ryan had built together (Baby Boy Bakery). You can go about your life and slowly but surely things will ease back. Or you can get up and shout from the rooftops what your feeling, how you are dealing and reminisce about Ryan for whoever cares to see and listen." I honestly felt like I couldn’t ever stop talking about my son. I love talking about him and my memories of us together. He gave me three and half years of goodness! All not to be forgotten. When I wrote about my grief and how I was dealing with the loss of my son it helped me get out emotions and that fierce anger I had inside of me. So I kept writing and posting it on my blog and social media, not for anyone but for me and for son. Or so I thought. It turns out, my son and I, I've come to believe are here to share and to help those going through pain or loss themselves. Or even help families love a little deeper, live a little wilder and to not take a second for granted.
I remember at first people writing me and even coming up to me in person telling me “Thank You!” Thank you for sharing, you have helped me get through my mom passing away or other hard times. At first I was mad. I didn’t understand how my tragedy was helping others. I remember being livid like “Thanks, I’m glad my son passing away is helping you out!” But in time, it clicked. It wasn’t my sons passing that was helping, it was the fact that I was still showing face and trying my hardest to live a life in his honor. In some way, seeing someone take a serious hit is scary. But seeing them get back up and keep going is oddly satisfying and albeit inspiring. Though, when someone tells me I am inspiring I still can wrap my head around it. I am just a mom, of two, doing my best at this life given to me. The only way I know how to cope is to talk about what I am going through. And when I'm tired of talking, I eat ice cream and watch Friends re-runs.
Day in and day out sharing my hurt isn’t easy and it is scary letting your thoughts roam around the internet! It takes a lot of courage to share your life! It takes courage to share the things that aren’t so pretty or things that don't add up to create a perfect IG feed. I’d encourage you do channel your courage and share whatever you are going through. Because you’ll end up helping those around you. Honest. Sharing our trials and tribulations connects us and creates a safe community where we can be ourselves. So, over the past three years my husband and I have been working on redefining our life and what it looks like with out Ryan. We were blessed with our daughter Mila and she has helped us heal in ways we never imagined. Our live is ever changing I am so deeply proud of us. There are hard days and really great days all compiling to create this great life that we live in honor of Ryan. I imagine him smiling with us, laughing with us and cheering me on as I break down my barriers and share my most inner thoughts with you all."