Woman of the Week: Jessica Johnson
Jessica Johnson is not afraid of authenticity – hers or yours. A teacher, poet, mother of two, and blogger, Jessica looks for the truth, and she wants to see it in others, too. The truth can be scary or blissful or anything in between and then some, but Jessica believes it is something to be embraced. She knows that’s a tall order. But our Woman of the Week has made her mark on the world by accepting challenges, no matter how daunting.
Jessica grew up in Aptos, and decades later, still lives in her hometown. Like many residents of Santa Cruz County, no matter how hard we try to move away, the pull of living here is too strong to refuse. She’s proud to say that she’s taken the same freeway exit home for 99% of her life; she has deep roots in our county, in many areas of her life. She writes a monthly column on creativity, The Creative Life, for the Aptos Times. To find out more about what makes Jessica tick, I highly encourage you to read her blog, Vinegar and Vanilla, where, as she puts it, she “overshares about life as a writer, seeker, creative, and former athlete.”
It took me a few emails back and forth to realize that I know Jessica. Well, maybe not know her personally, but know of her. We went to the same high school, a few years apart, and her track times for many distances were the best in school history. Her name was painted on the wall with all the other record holders, and I, like a generation of student athletes, spent four year in the Aptos High School weight room using the letters in her name as the focus point to do just a few more reps. She still holds the county record for the 100 meters, is a member of the AHS Hall of Fame, a three-time All-American in collegiate track, and placed second in the 100m hurdles at the NCAA Division II Nationals. She is no stranger to the benefits and power of hard work and determination.
Jessica does not give up, and her family – Maya, 15 and Tosh, 10 – keeps her grounded and inspired. She is currently designing the next chapter of her life – one she believes will be her most successful to date, primarily due to her working to clear any last vestiges of self-doubt and to focus on who she is and what she has to offer others. She is looking forward to offering workshops, online courses, and retreats that encourage other women to live brave, courageous lives. It’s a tall order, but Jessica has proven that she is a force to be reckoned with. She’s powerful, introspective, creative, and our Woman of the Week. Congratulations, Jessica!
Thank you to this week’s W.O.W sponsor:
and to our Blogger: Carrie Kingsley