Day 189 - Jasmine (1st person I approached)
July 08, 2014 - Jasmine was seated outside a coffee shop, looking very serious and texting away. I asked her if I could chat with her for a bit and explained what I was doing. She said okay. When I showed her The Stranger Project 2014 Facebook page, Jasmine hesitated when she realized I wanted to take her picture. We had a conversation about it and she agreed to chat and let me take her picture. She had one more condition.
“I’m having a raging text argument with my ex-boyfriend. I promise to pay attention to you, and I’ll be texting as well, but I can multitask no problem,” she said. We had a funny little conversation about how men can’t really multitask (my thought) and she agreed, wholeheartedly.
Jasmine was born in Los Angeles, California.
“I was born there but grew up in the valley. I went to school there as well. And yes, I say ‘like’ and 'totally’ a lot. Today we were watching Saved by the Bell at work and I heard the word ‘tubular’ as in ‘that dress is totally tubular’ and I think I’m going to try and bring that back,” she says somewhat convincingly.
"My parents separated when I was about four years old, and for the most part I lived with my mother. Then when I was in Grade four, she remarried and my step-father moved in,” said Jasmine.
In her teens, the relationship between mother and daughter became somewhat tense.
“I was a good kid, but I guess with all the hormones of puberty, discovering more about myself and who I am, and asserting what I thought was independence. I did some stupid things. I wasn’t into drugs and didn’t do them or drink, but I might have let my mother believe I was. In Grade ten we had been arguing and fighting a lot and she threatened to send me to live with my father, I took that as an invitation and left. Thinking I’d show my mother I didn’t need her, I moved to Georgia to live with my Dad. I went to school while I was there, but it wasn’t really a good situation with my dad’s girlfriend and I. After living with him for about eight months, I tried to live by myself. In the end, about a year after being in Georgia, I went back to California, and my mother,” she said. Jasmine seemed to be managing the texting and talking no problem, even stopping to scowl at her phone and then continuing with our conversation without missing a beat.
As soon as she could, Jasmine left home and moved to Vancouver to attend UBC (University of British Columbia).
“I was living on campus. My mother helped me out for the first semester and then I got two jobs and went to class full time. It was a real struggle. I was studying Sociology and Film. I was looking at making documentaries. I lasted for about a year and half, and then got really sick. I essentially had a bit of a breakdown. So I’ve put school on hold for now and I’m working and focussed on looking after myself." Jasmine works in a local clothing store and also go-go dances occasionally at nightclubs and special events.
“I’ve always loved dancing and I don’t like crowded dance floors, so I’d find a spot away from others and just get into my dancing. Someone approached me and asked if I’d dance for an event that they were hosting. So now I get paid to do what I love. There’s the whole stereotyping of girls who wear skimpy costumes and dance. Let’s face it, many stereotypes are based in hard fact. But I don’t do drugs, I will never take my clothes off and I’m not one to sleep around or sell myself to anyone. Short of having a sign on my forehead that says ‘unavailable’ I don’t let what others think of it bother me. I know what I do and don’t do,” she said with confidence.
Jasmine got another text, rolled her eyes and then went into some of the details behind why her ex-boyfriend became her X-boyfriend. We agreed that in some cases, 22 in guy years is equal to about 12 in girl years. Immaturity and trust issues can be huge life challenges.
“I’ll be twenty in (three weeks) and I can’t wait,” she says making a little dance motion with her arms in the air.
“It sounds more credible. I won’t be a teenager anymore. I have a four year plan and turning twenty just makes me all the more determined to work at it,” she tells me.
“Sorry," she says to me. "I just have to write this ‘things I wished I’d said before’ text."
I sit quietly while watching her face contort and enact the emotions that her thumbs are aggressively putting forth.
“When I was younger and people would ask me what I want to be when I’m older, they always laughed when I told them. I want to be a soccer mom. I do. I want to stay home and raise some kids. I want them to have everything I didn’t have. Not to be spoiled, they’ll know the value of the dollar and that you have to work for what you want. But they’ll never want for anything. It’s my dream that they won’t grow up despising me,” she says.
“I’m thinking of maybe moving somewhere quieter, not going out and partying, finishing school, making some money and opening a clothing store. My plan is once the store is up and running and I reach a level of success, then I'll start working towards having children. First comes the clothing store, by the time I’m twenty four.” I ask what she has planned regarding the father of her child or children.
"Well, sure there’s the possibility of a good relationship. But it's not an absolute requirement.That’s the beauty of a financially successful business, I can do it all myself if I have to. I don’t have to rely on someone else to have my dreams.” #notastranger