You can't complain about the dark if you aren't lighting any candles.
Name: Jessica Gale
What is your job? I teach yoga and meditation at a well known destination resort/spa and at a local power yoga studio.
What social causes are most important to you? Child/Teen Health and reproductive rights.
What charity do you support – and how?Tu Nidito and their affiliation with Camp Erin. I volunteer my time.
Why do you have a passion for this one in particular, is there a personal tie? During my first semester in college, my dad died. I was devastated. It was the greatest catastrophe of my life, I was frightened, lost and emotionally paralyzed. But I told everyone I was fine, and I acted fine. Years later, at the end of a particularly toxic relationship, I got past my thinking-I-was-fine and asked my mom to help me find someone to help me figure out my life.
It was time for therapy. (My inner invincible 15-year-old self disowned me. It's fine.) I ended up in the "office" (read: playroom) of a children's grief counselor. We played a board game. It would have been great—if I were 10 (not 20-something). Next up, a psychologist. She thought if she could make me cry as much (and as hard) as she could, I'd feel better. So she did. And I did... cry that is. But not a whole lot of feeling better. I went to a psychiatrist next. She prescribed a 6 month course of SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. For example: Zoloft, Lexapro) that helped with emotion regulation. She also told me I didn't have any good friends. That was about enough for me—so after weaning off the SSRIs (as required), I took a little time off my I'm-ready-for-therapy platform. I ended up finding relief a few years later through the Grief Recovery Method, but that’s not here nor there.
What I’m saying is this—after losing the most important person in my life, I was lost. For years, I couldn’t find a helpful resource. Now, since I have the opportunity, I try to live at cause… being part of the solution. I help provide teens with the safe space they need to process their lives, heal their hearts and establish an enduring connection to the deceased, after loss.
Is there a particular way you would want to encourage readers to be involved? If readers have ever lost someone close to them, I would encourage them to donate to Tu Nidito. Donations can be made in memory and honor of whomever they lost, knowing that they are providing hope, and securing a safe space for grieving children.
How would you define social responsibility? Social responsibility is working towards the outcomes you’d like to see in your life and in your world. It’s being faced with challenging situations, and stepping up to be part of the solution.
I saw a great thing on Pinterest (of course) last week: You can’t complain about the dark if you aren’t lighting any candles. Social responsibility is lighting these metaphorical candles.
Do you have any tattoos that relate to your social work? Since I work with grieving children and teens, the tattoo I have of my Dad’s initials, in his handwriting, is applicable. It’s one of the ways I’ve established a lasting connection with his memory.
Quick list of your work?
Ganesh-focused ¾ sleeve done by Tim Senecal at Off the Map in Easthampton, MA.
Bird of paradise/praying mantis side piece by Christian Perez at Hope Gallery in New Haven, CT.