I started with a dream at the tender age of seven. However, nothing could have prepared me for seeing my books on the bestseller’s list some twenty years later. Many do not know this about me, but I spent most of my teenage years as a ward of the court/juvenile. I aged out of the system at 18, and was homeless for a brief stint. After barely earning a GPA, I enrolled at Cleveland State University for 2 years—majoring in Film and Digital Media.
I could hardly afford to maintain the cost of tuition and books, even with government assistance. So at the age of 18, I started stripping. I danced for a total of three years before finally calling it quits. Unfortunately, I had gotten side-tracked, forgetting my priorities, dreams and what was important. I struggled financially and mentally for a long time. There was even a time in my life where I couldn’t afford to buy a roll of tissue! Could you believe that? I even grew depressed for a small period.
I finally hung up my stripper heels at 21, and decided to get a 9-5. I worked a few odd jobs—my last of which being Target—before reality finally set in. I told myself I could either live my life doing what I love or doing what was expected of me. I couldn’t deal with the latter so I chose the former.
At 22, I packed up all my shit, tossed it in my ’96 Regal and drove down to Georgia. I had no family and hardly any friends. Yet, I knew a change was much needed. They say “when God wants you to grow, he makes you uncomfortable”, and that was certainly what He did in my case. It was one of the hardest decisions I’d ever had to make but one of the BEST.
Now, four years later, I’m a bestselling author living my childhood dreams. I say all this to say your past doesn’t define you. Anything is possible with hard work, faith, and dedication.
- Jade Jones