As a young girl growing up in Memphis, Tennessee (Orange Mound, to be exact), Essence Magazine was a staple in our house, my grandmothers house and the beauty salon my mom went to get her hair done. I even remember seeing my junior high school English teacher with Essence Magazines. Essence Magazine has been in my life since I was a little girl. That’s why I get teary eyed thinking of this past week. Life is a journey and dreams do come true.
I was hired to be the host of the Essence Lifestyle Experience stage for Essence Festival 2018. And not just that- my book “Date, Girl! 143 Reasons Why I Believe Women Should Date Multiple Men (With No Intimacy) was selected to be in the Essence Festival Bookstore. And …. not just that- MY BOOK SOLD OUT IN LESS THAN 48 HOURS IN THE ESSENCE FESTIVAL BOOKSTORE!!!!! Life is a journey and dreams do come true.
My grandmother and my mother were both women who worked over time to provide for my sister and I. They were both professional women, who most of their lives worked in corporate America. But after 23 years of working as the Regional Personnel Manager for Target Stores, I saw my mom start and build Crystal Mortgage (named after my baby sister) into a thriving mortgage company. Helping people get to the closing table to purchase their home was a passion for my mom. I remember seeing her (RIP Mommie) stay up late nights working for her clients, making sure she had received all the docs she needed to close their loan. These people were not rich people. My mom loved helping families who never thought they would be able to purchase a home. Middle class, hard working people, who honestly thought “buying a home” was not something they could accomplish. She would walk them through taking the home buyer’s education classes offered by the GA and walk them through credit counseling classes. My mom had a passion for helping people. Her career was her passion.
Over the years, I have done a LOT of amazing things career wise. And thankfully have operated at the very top tier in everything I have done – from politics to entertainment. It’s been a ride filled with lots of exciting adventure. However, after my mom passed and lots of introspection, I realized that none of those things were my passion. I thought about my mom and her passion for helping people. And I decided I wanted to feel that same passion for my career.
My mom passed away at 56 years old. In 2012 I decided that it was time that I too, like my mom, took a chance on myself and my passion. I wanted to pursue a career that I was passionate about, that did not feel like work. One that was connected to helping enrich the lives of others.
I thought back about a conversation my mom and I had before she passed while she was at hospice. Showing my sister and I that “love works” my mom shared was a dream of hers. She didn’t grow up with her father and wanted to show us something different. Her choices in love, were fueled by her desire to show my sister and I an example of what healthy romantic love looked like. Her fear was that my sister and I would grow up and not see for ourselves love between two people and because of that not be able to create it in our own relationships.
Unfortunately my mom was not able to show me healthy romantic love while walking this earth. She was going through her fifth divorce while fighting cancer. However, she did birth in me my love for love and learning what really makes two people able to come together and create a healthy romantic love. That then led to my becoming a self study over many years, looking at myself and my choices and pursuing change to make better choices in love. This led to a best selling book sharing my empowerment journey in dating and love with single women, which then led to having a thriving career by becoming a coach to single women across the country giving them the tools I have learned over the years to – living, loving, laughing, learning and enjoying their single life to the fullest. Now, after many years, I have created a methodology for single women to attract and keep the love they desire and deserve. And it works.
I am finally after soooooo many years of searching- doing something that I LOVE to do. When I am talking to single woman, hugging on them and spreading the joy of life and love, its really hard to believe its work. I’m finally in my career passion and it feels so good. Life’s a journey and dreams really do come true.
Over the years, I have certain milestones I wanted to hit on my journey. I told God, “if Essence Festival would just call me and ask me to be on a panel, that would be amazing.” Three years passed- No call. But I kept it moving. I kept being positive. I kept doing the work to change the lives of every single woman that I could touch by sharing my story and my dating, love and relationship methodology. The fourth year, after my book had become a best seller, I had spoken at many conferences, been on many tv shows and featured in many magazines (online and print)…including EssenceMagazine. I said “Lord, I’m going to just stop reaching. When the time is right, you will give me favor with The Essence Festival.” One week later I got the email from Essence saying my book was selected for the bookstore and then one Day after that I got a call (from what I believe was my earth angel) offering me the opportunity to host The Essence Lifestyle stage for the FULL WEEKEND of the Essence Festival 2018. She said “I wanted to call and see if you would be interested, the whole Lifestyle Experience stage is yours to host, if you want it.”
I screamed to the top of my lungs, YESSSSSSSSS!!!! And then I began, while she was on the phone thanking her and Jesus at the same time.
Aidah Muhammad, Essence Festival Producer, Lifestyle Experience Stage
Why am I sharing this? Well what I know is, there is someone TODAY in the same place I was before I got my call from The Essence Festival. There is a dreamer who may be feeling discouraged, just like I was, working hard to accomplish a milestone in their career. I want that person to know that God got it!!!! In one day, it can all come together. I want that person to know that life is a journey, not a marathon and that dreams do come true.
All I remember is praying to God and asking God to make it happen that I speak on a panel at the Essence Festival and what he had plans for were much bigger than I had planned for myself. He gave me a FULL ESSENCE STAGE FOR 3 DAYS.
When you are frustrated and tired and wake up with only a pinch of sunlight as you try to get out of the bed and do the work in excellence to make your dream a reality, remember the story of Stacii Jae Johnson, the girl from Memphis Tennessee, who worked her ass off to make her dreams come true. Remember that she did Essence Festival and because she did Essence Festival in a BIG way….YOU CAN TOO!
Stacii Jae Johnson, Essence Lifestyle Experience Host, jumps in and learns double dutch (in less than a minute) taught by world double dutch champions Michelle and her husband Sean.