Jasmine Woodson talks Living in Her Truth & Accepting Imperfection
Imagine what life would be like if you hid behind a disguise in order to please others. But, in disguising yourself, you inhibit your own happiness. That was Jasmine Woodson, before she began to live her truth.
She aspires to educate and empower women who can relate to some of the struggles she’s worked hard to overcome.
Read more for an exclusive interview with Jasmine and find out what’s in store for her new venture, Diva Demeanor.
How was your childhood growing up?
To me, my childhood was beautiful. I was the only child, very shy and quiet, until I was by myself and then my imagination took me to so many different places and brought out my true personality. I would be alone in my room having the time of my life playing make-believe. I would have my echo microphone and radio pretending to be a radio DJ, standing on my bed singing and dancing for my stuffed animals like I was an entertainer, playing teacher, doctor, astronaut, whatever I wanted to be.
I was the "good kid" in school, followed all the rules, well-mannered and made good grades. I started off at schools in the inner city. But, by the time I got to middle school my parents had moved us to the suburbs. It was a huge culture shock but it gave me a unique perspective, I got to identify with both cultures. Everything was peaches and cream for me growing up, nothing ever seemed "bad" or "hard." I hear horror stories from so many people who say their upbringing has scarred them, but my parents were always so good at guarding me from the horrors of the world, so good that I noticed them, but they never affected me.
What has molded you into the person you are today?
I was always the "good girl" and "the nice girl" and I always prided myself in being "different" than the other people around me. This seemingly good thing was a world of trouble. Deep down, though I wouldn't admit it, I was arrogant, thinking my morality and life choices made me better than others.
I was also living a facade, I never shared my shortcomings or flaws and I definitely didn't know who I truly was inside, I just knew I had to keep up this image of "good." I made every decision based on "is this what a good girl would do?"
Once I gave my life to Christ, finally admitted that, "Baby girl, you're filthy even though you keep up that image of wholeness so well." I began to discover all the darkness in me, began to do all the things I swore I never would because they were "bad," began to explore my thoughts and my desires, became a leader in different ministries, got married, got divorced and rode the turbulent waves of finding a career and a purpose in life. All those things together put a mirror to my face and showed me who I truly was. I had to shake off the shame and finally own my story. I had to understand that it isn't about being "perfect" and that freed me to be unapologetically me and purer hearted than ever before.
What insecurities did you overcome and what advice would you give others with similar ones?
I used to feel that if people truly knew me, all of me, that they wouldn't love me. I felt like what I had done and my mentality was too "raw" or too "unorthodox" for anyone to love. I felt that I would be judged for my true feelings. I would write them in journals but never share them out of fear of looking "silly." I thought people would look at me different. I thought I needed to water myself down to be accepted and loved. If you feel that way too, just know that being "perfect" does not mean that you will be loved and that this world desperately needs you at 100 proof. It needs the true and unfiltered version of who you are. Please explore yourself, all your desires, and allow yourself to love and embrace every dark corner of your heart. Embrace all your mistakes and all the things you wish no one knew, because your scars are what make you beautiful and real and they help you connect with others and transform their lives in a way that "perfection" never could.
What is Better Tomorrows all about?
"Better Tomorrows" is the non-profit I work for. I just began working for them at the end of April. Basically they employ social service coordinators all over the world, I am at the Houston location. Each location is housed inside of a low income apartment complex. My job is to assess the needs of the community and connect them with outside connections and providers and I also create life changing programs and events. I love that I can meet them right where they are and bring in programs, events and people that can change their perspectives and their lives. Remember, I didn't spend my entire life in the hood nor did I spend my entire life in the suburbs. I am able to bring the luxuries, resources and opportunities the suburbs provide to this neighborhood, yet I am still able to keep that soul and that flava that connects with the hood. I love being creative and creating something that doesn't exist anywhere else. I've always had the gift to take anything and use it as a platform to change lives. I can take a dance class, an art class, a financial workshop, an after school program, a family fun day, anything, and put my twist on it to make it exciting and give it a deeper, truer meaning and purpose.
What should we expect in your upcoming book?
One word: rawness. The target audience isn't girls who think they have it all together. The target audience is more for girls who are in treatment centers that have suicidal thoughts and have been sexually abused, women in prisons, girls in the hood with no guidance, girls in the sex industry, high school girls who are exploring their sexuality and getting hurt in the process, girls in the church who people say are too "raw" or too "edgy" because of how they look or what they've been through and who feel out of place.
It is a book and a workbook to heal the hurt and explore your worth. It is for girls who have been hurt, manipulated or abused by men in regards to relationships, friendships and sex. It digs deep into my life (each chapter stemming from unfiltered excerpts from my own journal) and breaks down our worth as women; shining a bright light on the fact that we were created to be so much more than just eye-candy and a sex object, but that we have power and purpose in this world.
After reading it and working through the activities, I hope every girl understands that her body was meant for more than to be used, tossed around and lusted after but it was meant to go out into this world and change the world.
What are your ultimate goals? What should we expect from you in the future?
My ultimate goal is to show young girls that you can make it without selling out or selling sex. It's to show this world that women are meant to stand side by side with our brothers on the frontlines and fight for the issues that matter to us. I want my upcoming non-profit (Diva Demeanor) to empower, educate and enlist some raw females to go out and change their communities and this culture forever. More than anything, I just want to live a life that truly matters and fill the particular void in this world that God created me to fill.
In the near future I will be launching Diva Demeanor! It’s been my dream for so long and now it is finally coming into fruition. I will also be working on releasing my book "Beautiful Corpse."
Anything that comes from me, you should expect realness and not something that can fit into a particular box. You should expect to see me walking alongside and assisting women in the hip hop culture to be positive examples and impacting their communities. Expect dope website content, some one-on-one diva sessions to propel women into their purpose, women getting connected to service and ministry opportunities, dope women traveling and impacting juvenile detention centers, residential treatment centers, prisons, schools, clubs and hoods and look forward to seeing ministry and outreach in ways you've never seen it before.
For more inspiration, follow Jasmine on Instagram, @theplatform.