Saturday, April 24, 2010

"what's in a name?...

...that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."
-Romeo & Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

growing up, I've had a lot names.

depending on who you were, my names would range from baby june, junie, junester, jazz, jazzy etc. the evolution of nicknames was a direct result of hating my name when i was a little girl. there was no one else out there that had my name! why did my parents have to name me after a month?! because, even til this very day, i always get asked if my birthday is in the month of june. (really? really!) And even still, whenever i see a nametag stand displayed in a souvenir shop, there is never a 'june' tag. always a 'jane', 'joan', 'judy'...never a 'june'.

take a peek at this brief evolution.

baby june: i've always thought that this name was given to me for the sole purpose of embarrassment. but then, looking back now, i was a 'baby' growing up. i would whine whenever my brother and sister would bother me. i used to always cry whenever i'd get my picture taken. in fact, i would cry about everything. hey, it's not my fault. once you're given a moniker, you tend to live up to it. so there you go.

june/junie: after a while, i seemed to grow out of baby june. obviously during early childhood and pre-teen years. so rightfully, i asked my parents to drop the 'baby' part, and simply be called 'june'. and with that, came the endearing 'ie' at the end of every one syllable name - hence, junie. more fittingly given by my sister. but even then, i could still not escape 'baby june'. i would hear it whenever my mom and my aunts would get together and talk about us - my sister, brother, myself and my cousins. and every now and then 'baby june' would slip out. oh well, at least they weren't calling me 'baby june' in front of my school friends anymore.

jazz/jazzy: aaah, high school. after moving from winnipeg, manitoba to surrey, bc, i had a chance to finally reinvent myself. to finally escape the made-up reactions in my own mind that people would get whenever i would introduce myself as 'june'. So you see, i've always had a fascination with the name 'jasmine'. and during this time i had met one of my best, long-time friends, randy. i told him my alias (after sneakily bringing up the subject of nicknames) and he then rebuked back, "that name doesn't suit you." well, great....who asked you! but after cutting the name in half, he started calling me 'jazz' and miraculously the name stuck. so for those of you that know me by 'jazz', you can thank my best friend randy for that!

at last! i had a cool name! i would revel in the feeling of meeting new friends in grade 8 and taking in their reaction whenever i would introduce myself as 'jazz'. "hey, that's a cool name", "i like your name". i loved it. throughout high school up until now, those particular people who are my long time friends still call me jazz. i even met my husband in grade 8, started dating in grade 12 and til this day, and he still calls me jazz. i even carried jazz all the way up to college.

then, motherhood came along. so i wasn't meeting as many new people like i did during my adolescent and college years. a couple more years past by and after my 2 boys were at a certain age, i had decided to go back to school. mind you, at this stage in life, i somewhat matured and didn't want to have to explain myself anymore as to 'how i got the name jazz when my name is june'. so i reverted back to june, just to save myself from the explanation. then, came graduation, i landed a job and all of this happened surprisingly with me feeling a bit more comfortable with my given name now.

then a few years later, something called social networking came about. it was only then that these nicknames started to catch up to me. the obvious question was 'what name do i post myself as'? oh no. i knew at some point i would have to suck it up and finally accept it. filling out my profile information - NAME: ("just grin and bear it") JUNE SAN JUAN. phew....there i did it. i knew that friend requests would probably come in hesitantly, but to quickly resolve that problem, there came the profile pic. done and done!!!!

then something happened that shook my world. and changed the way i looked at things forever. on june 22, 2007, i got the dreaded call that my dad had passed away in the philippines. my dad had been estranged from my mother, myself and my siblings for quite some time. so upon getting the news, i really didn't know what to say, or how to react. i was already at peace with the fact that he left us years ago, and that i had already created a life of my own. i harboured no more anger towards him. but at the same time, i had no other affection towards him either, other than those created during my childhood years.

upon reflecting on his life, i came to the realization why i was called baby june.

-a picture of my dad at age 21, in the Philippines. on the bottom left, the last family photo ever taken of us, back in 1998.

my dad's full name was Angelo S. Jimenez Jr. but my relatives, cousins, and family friends would always call him Tito Jun. tito for uncle in filipino, and jun for the fact that he was a junior. and jun - without the 'e'. as a little girl growing up, i never questioned it - why his real name was different from what family would call him. but in his case, this was not an identity crisis. his nickname actually made sense.

One year before i was born, my mom had successfully brought my dad over from the philippines to start a new life. with the difficulties of sponsorship and immigration, my older sister had been only about 3 years old once my dad came and settled in. And after 9 months after he settled in, i was born. since my dad had been there to witness my mom's pregnancy and birth with me, he felt it fitting that i be called June - with the 'e'. and even more appropriate, 'baby june'.

who would have thought that upon grieving the death of my father, i would come full circle with the 'issues' i had with my name. not only did i have a lasting connection with him that i didn't realize was there all along, i also felt that i could now embrace my name endearingly, fully and completely.

instead of cringing whenever i would overhear my mom call me 'baby june' while talking to my aunts, i would warm up inside and smile to myself. and quite recently when i would email my aunt about what's going on with my family, i would lovingly place at the end of the message,"Love, Baby June". and you have to admit, how many other 'June''s do you know out there? it's quite unique and rare, i would say.

so there you go. that's the story of my name and why i have so many of them. mind you, i find all my names endearing. so those of you who know me as 'jazz', can continue to call me 'jazz'. and those of you who know me as 'june', well, of course there it is.

but i'm sorry to say, my birthday is STILL NOT IN JUNE!!!!

happy weekend!

Friday, April 09, 2010

beautiful struggle

i don't know what it is about struggle. today i found out some news that really struck me to my core and saddened my heart. some news that really hit home, as i went though something quite similar. but i won't go too far into it, out of respect for that particular someone.

i don't know what it is about struggle. so much anger. tears. frustration. doubt. hopelessness. speechlessness.

i don't know what it is about struggle. but i know that in this (women in particular) beautiful stuggle, we know how to overcome it.

to that particular someone - i cry for you, i pray for you, and i love you. and the only way i know how to relieve so much of these mixed emotions is to write. but please know that i am here to help you rise above it. because we are women. daughters of God. we draw strength from each other. the road may seem dark and mournful. but there is light. there is a glimmer that seems to fight its way through for you.

i don't know what it is about struggle. but it makes us women phenomenal.

Phenomenal Woman
-by Dr. Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.

I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That's me.
Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Monday, April 05, 2010


life experience dictates what i write. mostly about love. hurt. struggle. the ability to rise above. but the one and only thing that i can never ever have the perfect words for is to describe how it is to watch my 2 boys grow up.

-isaiah & reece, age 4 & 3 (2004)

as much as i try, there are never enough words to try to explain what they mean to me...

-isaiah, age 5 (2005)

-reece, age 4 (2005)

...and at the same time they are everything.

-reece & isaiah, age 6 & 8 (2008)

sometimes, i have to remind myself to just relax and enjoy the moment. as i realize, it won't last very long. they grow up so fast right before my eyes.

-isaiah, age 10, present day

-reece, age 8, present day

i just have to put down my pen....

...and watch.

..and simply, that is enough. :)

Sunday, April 04, 2010

my other new found hobby.

card making. i stumbled across this new form of 'therapy' on the hunt for making invitations. had i realized what i was getting into, there would have been warning signs along the way. this was a whole new world waiting for me. for instance, i never thought that i would spend hours upon hours inside a scrapbook shop that had nothing but paper inside it. and upon leaving the store, with a huge stack of card stock and patterned paper, i then wondered to myself what the hell am i gonna DO with all this paper?

with the guidance of my sis-in-law (you have unleashed a monster), and taking a few card making classes, i soon got the hang of it. here are some of my creations. enjoy!!

this set was a result have having an idea for boys' bday cards.

the next few series was from a couple card classes i took. big thanks to colleen, my instructor for all the ideas!

again, cards that i made from a card class with the same instructor. colleen, you rock! its nice to have this set of cards laying around, having 2 boys myself, really helps!