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Straight Talk from the Heart!
You've listened to Jaci Velasquez sing her songs -- now you can read what she has to say about her family, her friendships, and her faith. A Heavenly Place is Jaci's inspiring story, from her childhood dream of pursuing a musical career to the success she enjoys today as one of America's most popular Christian singers. But it's more than just an autobiography. Jaci talks openly and honestly about the challenges ...
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Straight Talk from the Heart!
You've listened to Jaci Velasquez sing her songs -- now you can read what she has to say about her family, her friendships, and her faith. A Heavenly Place is Jaci's inspiring story, from her childhood dream of pursuing a musical career to the success she enjoys today as one of America's most popular Christian singers. But it's more than just an autobiography. Jaci talks openly and honestly about the challenges she's faced and the lessons she's learned as a young person growing up in today's world. Here are her views on topics ranging from dating and relationships, emotions and self-esteem, the all-important bonds with family, to, at the heart of it all, the Christian faith that motivates and guides her. Jaci's story will make you laugh and smile -- and think about the things that matter most in your life.
"I wanna be like no one's ever been before
And I wanna mean what no one's ever meant before
Get my hat on backwards -- I'll be unique
I wanna be different -- just like everybody else"
-- From the song "I Wanna Be Different," by Bob Halligan, Jr.
It's hard looking in the mirror sometimes, especially when you tell yourself, "Oh, my hips are too big," or, "Oh, my stomach's too fat." And you flip through magazines and you see these perfect, perfect creatures. You look at the cover of Cosmopolitan and you see Claudia Schiffer there with her perfectly thin body and beautiful hair and beautiful eyes and everything. Then you go home and you think, "Oh gosh, I look terrible!"
I remember a time when I desperately wanted blue eyes instead of my brown ones. I have a friend who has big beautiful blue eyes. I'm never going to have those blue eyes. But you know what? You get over it. I like my eyes because they are unusually almond shaped. I think that it comes from my dad's side of the family. And I love my hair. I have great hair! But, there are still days when I would kill for big blue eyes....
I started thinking critically about the way I look when I was probably eleven or twelve. Before that I could have cared less. But eleven or twelve was when it kicked in, and I started saying things like, "Oh my goodness, I can't wear this!" All of a sudden I didn't want to wear certain things because I thought they made me look fat. I became very concerned about my appearance and worried about whether I looked bad. Those kinds of thoughts can really get to you.
They sure get to me.But that can be a problem. If you're too hard on yourself, you can start to lose your self-esteem. You can lose sight of who you are and what you are. And it's all because you think you have to be something that you can't be -- like me wanting to trade in two perfectly good brown eyes for blue ones. It's just not going to happen!
What's important is to realize and get to know who you are. I know that first I'm a child of God, second I'm a daughter to my parents and a sister to my brothers and sister, and third I'm a friend to others -- and then comes everything else that makes me what I am.
One thing I've always known about myself is that I'm a very outgoing person. When I was little, I would just walk up to people and talk to them. My mother would always go looking for me because I'd just wander off and talk to strangers. "Hi, my name's Jaci. What's your name?" Here I am, three feet tall, and talking to everybody in the world.
Actually, I like being outgoing...mostly. I'm not self-conscious when it comes to meeting new people. I can walk up to just about anybody and say, "Hi, what time is it?" or, "I'm looking for this, can you help me?" But there is one drawback. I've always thought of shy, quiet people as being smart and serious. When I'm with someone like that, I wonder what they're thinking. With me, you always know what I'm thinking!
Years ago, when I was still attending public school -- I'm home-schooled now -- I would always try to act like I was shy on the first day of school. I didn't talk. It was killing me. I was dying inside! But I didn't talk because I wanted to look cool. I'd probably seen another kid acting that way, or I'd picked it up from a movie. Of course by the end of the day I was talking -- I never could keep my mouth shut.
On the first day of seventh grade, a girl in my class was singing something, and she sounded good. So I guess I wanted to show her (and everyone else) that I could sing too. She was singing Whitney Houston's version of "I Will Always Love You," and I joined in. And she said, "Yeah, girl, you and me ought to get together." And I was like, "Oh, okay." So at the end of my day of being shy, I didn't just open mymouth to talk -- I had to sing! I've always been a ham.
The flip side of my outgoing personality is that I actually steer away from deep conversations. I don't know why I do that. I guess I just assume that people expect me to be happy and fun all the time. Like when my friends ask me what's wrong, I will just say there's nothing wrong, just because I don't want to talk about it. I know that's something I need to work on.
Another thing I know about myself, that I know I also need to work on, Is that I tell people what to do all the time. I'm so bossy. When I was little, I would make my friends in the neighborhood play with me, but I would be Cinderella, and they would be whatever. I would say, "You stand here. And you stand here. And these are your lines." I was the director and the star of everything! I always told people what to do.
I notice now that when I go out with my friends, I'm always the one who sets everything up. I make the plans. I make the calls. I'll find out which movie's playing. Everyone kind of looks to me and expects that from me. Lately I've been getting tired of it. And actually, I am dating someone who has that same tendency to be the leader. Sometimes we butt heads a little bit, but I'm starting to enjoy not feeling like everyone's looking to me for all the plans.
Everybody enjoys attention. I love it too, but lately, since I've been getting so much attention because of my music, I don't mind pulling away from the spotlight a little. When I go out with my friends, it doesn't matter to me as much anymore whether I'm the main attraction or not.
Still, it's hard when people don't like me. I went to a slumber party one time, and there were tons of girls there. For some reason I never knew, one girl, one of the "cooler" girls, didn't like me. And we got into this pillow fight. She had her fist behind the pillow, and she just hit me. I could not understand how this person, who didn't even know me, could not like me...and it hurt, in more ways than one.
When I was younger and did concerts with my parents, sometimes there would be girls in the back of the audience who would mock my hand motions (I use my hands a lot when I sing) or my dance steps. When they made fun of me, I would get so upset, thinking, "Why don't they like me? They don't know me and they're making fun of me?" Maybe it's that they were jealous or something, but it hurt me then, and things like that still hurt me now.
But I also know you can't live your life that way, always worrying about one person's opinion. Someone once said that in a crowd, 80 percent of the people are going to love you and 20 percent aren't going to like you. I get so worried about that 20 percent that I forget about the 80 percent! It's such a stressful thing, but you have to get over it or you'll drive yourself crazy.
I know I'm not a bad person, I just have things about me that I don't like. I guess every young person deals with that, but it's the way we deal with it that makes the difference. It's an easy trap to fall into, the trap of comparing yourself. Like, "Yeah, my hips look really fat, but that girl's hips are even bigger than mine." That's not fair -- either to yourself or to the person you're comparing yourself to.
If I didn't like something about myself, my mother would say, "Remember you're made in God's image, so don't complain." At first I took it literally and I thought, "Well, that's dumb. God's not even a girl!" But I guess I started to understand that God loves me and He doesn't look at the outside. He's not looking at whether my hips are too big or what color my eyes are.
Some people are going to look at you on the outside and be critical, but you don't really want those people in your life anyway. You want the people in your life who are going to care about who you are on the inside.
The people who are truly attractive are those who can admit, "There are still some things I don't like about myself," but yet they can catch somebody's eye with a look that says, "I'm confident about myself and I know who I am."
You have to know who you are -- that's the secret. And you know what? Most people don't care if your eyes are blue or brown or green or purple. If you want others to like you, the first step is to like yourself.
"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the eart, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." -- Psalm 139:13-16
Copyright © 1998 by Jaci Velasquez