My guest on today’s show grew up in a hostile, abusive environment. So it’s no surprise Jennifer Ramirez developed anger and self-worth issues. She became a single mom in her early twenties and survived domestic, emotionally, and financial abuse as an adult. Then she was introduced to personal development and counseling, which she credits for helping her transform her life. By the time she was 30, she had paid off $25,000 of credit card debt and graduated from college completely debt-free, while working full time and raising her daughter.
It was through therapy that she found the strength to start talking about her childhood sexual abuse, even though her family and her culture encouraged her to leave the past in the past. She realized she was the one who had to step up, speak out, and stop the cycle of secrets and shame.
In this episode we’re talking about what’s often a taboo topic and how using your voice to speak your truth courageously helps you overcome all types of trauma. I can’t wait for you to hear about the super-hard question Jennifer asked her mom and where the answer led them.
Jennifer Ramirez is an author, speaker, entrepreneur, and the founder of &Rise which is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower women to be the ultimate versions of themselves no matter what adversities they’ve faced. She says the & means your story isn’t over yet; there’s more to tell. And the rise means rising above any adversities you’ve been through. Jennifer loves helping women rediscover their badassery.
She mentions the upcoming Bet On Us Casino Night fundraiser. You can find out how to contribute to that as well as more about her organization at WomenRiseChicago.org. You can also text the word “healing” to 773-770-4377 to subscribe for info on upcoming events, free resources, and more!
Hype Song: Survivor by Destiny’s Child
Today’s episode is sponsored by Zen Rabbit. If you’d like to find peace of mind amidst the chaos and no matter what’s going on around you, get on a complimentary call with me. In less than 30 minutes, you’ll get insight on any issue you’d like to bring to the table. And you’ll leave the conversation with clarity and renewed energy. Find the booking link HERE. Or text me at 571.317.1463.
And if you’re not into chatting just yet, you can go to ZenRabbit.com to find free resources, like meditations and articles.
[00:00:00] Lori Saitz: okay. Oh, that was weird. It was, uh, it counted down, but it, then it stopped. All right. Anyway, welcome to fine is a 4-Letter word. My guest today is Jennifer Ramirez. Welcome to the show, Jennifer, my pleasure jumping right into the important meaty stuff. What were the, what were the values and beliefs
Jennifer Ramirez Yeah. So I was raised in a very religious household. Um, Christian, um, my parents were extremely strict. Uh, you know, so I, I couldn't go past like the third house over. very, very strict, um, household. And we also were not really. I guess just like we weren't really taught a lot of things in a weird way, if that makes sense.
You know, like we, weren't taught like life lessons and here's what you do when this happens. And here's how you handle, you know, this, when that happens, it was kind of just like, we were just there so, you know, as I became older, I started realizing like, wow, there is a lot of things that I had to figure out on my own that I had absolutely no idea how to, um, handle.
Right. So, uh, so yeah, so I mean, it, I, I also had no boundaries. Also was sexually abused as a kid, which also made me, I was also very, very shy, shy to begin with. And then the sexual abuse made me even more shy and untrusting of people. Um, so that's how I grew up. I grew up being very, uh, kind of to myself.
Like I did have friends and things like that and have problems socialized, uh, that which did, which was something that didn't help as I became an adult. But yeah, so that's just a really, really quick overview of like how was raised and, and, you know, I became the adult that I am and was mm-hmm Absolutely.
[00:02:06] Lori Saitz: makes sense. Of course. If you're yeah, that you would've. To yourself, if you started out as an introvert to start with and then had all of that trauma that you wouldn't trust
[00:02:16] Jennifer Ramirez So I definitely had a lot of trust
[00:02:18] Lori Saitz: so then did
[00:02:19] Jennifer Ramirez with women because as you
[00:02:21] Lori Saitz: that inability
[00:02:22] Jennifer Ramirez very mean, especially
[00:02:23] Lori Saitz: did that play
[00:02:23] Jennifer Ramirez up and when you're in middle school, high school, even college even can be, can be hard. So I didn't have a lot of friends, but I had. You know, just a handful of people that I trusted and that I stuck with, uh, and then romantic relationships as well.
I didn't really like, I wasn't out there dating, but I did have like a serious relationship when I was in high school. And it was my high school sweetheart, uh, which that was actually a good experience. It was a good, like first time experience for me. And it was a normal relationship until I got a little bit older and then I started dating.
Toxic guys that I had no business dating either. So, uh, yeah, so it did definitely affect me and the choices that I made. Yeah.
[00:03:18] Lori Saitz: Well, and that makes sense kind of, because
[00:03:22] Jennifer Ramirez absolutely. Yeah. So I, I didn't really, and I also didn't see my parents with a lot of friends either. They also stuck to themselves or more their, you know, their family members and stuff. So I kind of just grew up thinking like friends, weren't really a big deal. You know, that, that type of stuff.
I, I knew they were for me personally, but I didn't put so much emphasis on it. I was very, I still am very ambitious, very goal driven. So I was all about like getting to that next level. So, you know, when I was in high school, I was working on, what am I gonna do for college? And then when I was in college, I'm like, okay, what's my next move.
Uh, so, so that. A lot of my focus was more than I usually like teens, usually just all about their friends and socializing and going out. And I didn't go out a lot, stuff like that. So, yeah. Where. That's a great question, because I always wonder like where I am very, very different from the rest of my family. I'm very ambitious, very independent. Don't need
[00:04:23] Lori Saitz: did that drive
[00:04:24] Jennifer Ramirez Like I've never needed like direction in a sense, you know, like I just, I don't know. I'm very happy though that I am like, you know, I'm very happy that, that it turned out like that because I've been able to accomplish a lot of things.
But I do think actually it comes from. Both of my parents were very hard working people. So I think that drive of like, and, and it was also taught to me, like, you have to work hard for the things that you want, things don't just come to you, you have to, you know, so I knew that I had to work hard, but you know, I saw my parents work, but that's it.
I didn't see them going for other goals or doing other hobbies or being involved in anything other than, you know, working and coming home to, to the kids, you know? Yeah.
[00:05:17] Lori Saitz: mm-hmm mm-hmm yeah. Yeah. And so then as you got older and were going through college, what were you working
[00:05:28] Jennifer Ramirez yeah, so
[00:05:29] Lori Saitz: And
[00:05:30] Jennifer Ramirez when I.
[00:05:31] Lori Saitz: because it sounds like you're still ambitious, however that you have discovered
[00:05:36] Jennifer Ramirez I actually graduated early. Um, and I actually moved to the city to Chicago when I was 19. So I went to school for one semester at Loyola downtown, and then I actually dropped out, um, because. I lost my motivation. When I moved to the city, it was a completely different world.
I grew up in the suburbs. So when I came out here, I was exposed to a whole bunch of different things and people that I had never been exposed to in my life. So I kind of lost, it, turned into a big party girl. All I wanted to do was have fun. I kind of like lost that ambition. Uh, and then probably a year, year and a half later is when I got pregnant with my daughter, which.
A blessing because it calmed me down and it set my mind back to like, okay, what are we gonna do? you know, you can't just go out all the time and have fun. Like now you have responsibility, you have somebody that's depending on you. Like, what are you gonna do? And I actually did try to go back to college a few twice when she was a baby, but it was like impossible.
Cause one, she was too little at one point and she needed too much of my attention and time. And I just couldn't do the course load and, you know, be a single. and then, um, the other one was like, I couldn't afford to pay babysitter. These people wanted money for, you know, babysitting her and I just didn't have the means to do that.
So I was like, it's either school or my bills and my rent. And I obviously had to, to live. So I had to pay my, my rent and stuff first. So that was kind of one of the downfalls, but it wasn't until I turned. 25 26 is when I started really going back to college and taking it very seriously, which again was a blessing in disguise because now you're older.
So you're in a different mind frame. So you take it a little bit more seriously. And I actually enjoyed it. Like I turned into a nerd. I was like, I like learning. Learning's fun. You know? So , so it did, in my opinion, everything worked out the way it was supposed to. Um, and I did really well also going back as an adult, even as a single parent and everything I was on high honors.
Got really good grades, but I really did enjoy being in school. So, so yeah, so it's never too late. I always tell people that I have meet a lot of women that are like I'm at 50, 60 years old and it's too late for me. I'm like, no, it is never too late. You can be, you know, 80, 90, if you want to be and still go back to school or do whatever it is that you wanna do, you know? Absolutely.
[00:08:05] Lori Saitz: Absolutely. I, I think of that story. I don't remember where I first heard it, but of a woman who wanted to go back to school to become a, an attorney or a doctor or something. But she was like, oh, but I'm, I'm 50 years old already. And somebody said, so how long is it gonna take you to get your degree?
[00:08:24] Jennifer Ramirez Yep. That's something there's a saying, there's a saying that says the time will pass anyway. So you're either gonna take that, you know, five year degree and, and you'll have a degree in five years or five years will pass and you still won't have your degree.
[00:08:37] Lori Saitz: be 58 and have a degree?
[00:08:39] Jennifer Ramirez really important to remember you.
[00:08:51] Lori Saitz: Right. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. When we were talking on, um, in our conversation before we were recording, you were telling me about the time when everything in your life was fine. Obviously the
[00:09:06] Jennifer Ramirez sure. So, like I had mentioned, I,
[00:09:09] Lori Saitz: fine, but you were, but they really
[00:09:11] Jennifer Ramirez as a kid, and then I
[00:09:12] Lori Saitz: a little bit about that and how you moved
[00:09:15] Jennifer Ramirez assault as an
[00:09:16] Lori Saitz: there to where
[00:09:17] Jennifer Ramirez And that was very detrimental, but to the outside world, It seemed like I was okay. And I always portrayed myself as okay. Because that's what I was taught.
You always act like every everything's fine. Like nothing bothers you, you know, it's something that was instilled in me, unfortunately. So, um, I just acted like everything was fine, but I was actually depressed. Um, I was very angry. I had major anger issues. I was resentful of a lot of people in my life that had done me wrong or whatever, you know, I.
This angry, angry ball of anger walking around. And everybody that was around me, like could feel it like even my family was like, what happened to you? Like, why are you so mean now? But I think it was also a defense mechanism. I turned into this like badass, if you will, because it was a defense mechanism, so nobody can mess with me anymore because so many people had messed with me.
And taken advantage of me that I turned into this like badass. And I was like, yeah, you can't mess with me and I'll beat you up. And, you know, starting an argument. And I was just, like I said, a, I was actually angry. So like I used to like wanna fight people and argue with people and I would go at it like, and all day, every day and it used to make me happy or so I thought, I thought it was fulfilling.
Cuz I thought, I, again, I was like showing people. But little did I know all I was doing was hurting myself because that's not really who I was inside. I wasn't an angry person. I'm really a genuinely nice person with a really good heart. So I didn't realize that I was actually doing a lot of harm to myself.
A lot of self sabotage. I did a lot of things that I should, you know, shouldn't have done. And I think it's because I also had low self-esteem and I didn't love myself back then. And I didn't even know that self love was a thing or healing. Even counseling, you know, I wasn't in counseling back then. And it wasn't until my late twenties that I started going to counseling for the first time in my life.
And it was absolutely a game changer for me also self-help books. I know people always laugh when I say that, but self-help books were like a huge piece of my healing. , uh, it really was because it made me become more self aware of like myself and the things I was doing and why I was doing. And I was like, oh, okay.
This all makes sense now. And that's kind of what started me off on my journey. And, um, I was in a toxic work environment also for seven years, a very long time. And I didn't even know there was such a thing as a toxic work environment either. You just think these people are just assholes. oh, So, yeah, so, so I didn't real.
And then once I got promoted and I like left that job and I realized how toxic it was after I
[00:11:55] Lori Saitz: my gosh,
[00:11:56] Jennifer Ramirez in this normal environment with
[00:11:58] Lori Saitz: so much work you have
[00:11:59] Jennifer Ramirez did I like deal with that for all that time? I had no idea, but then again, I also had no choice because I was making pretty good money considering that I didn't have a college degree yet at that time.
And single parent, you know, You do what you gotta do, but it was once I got into this new work environment, I also was working with people who were now college educated, which I had never worked with before and just positive. Everybody was just so different and supportive and it was just so different and it motivated me.
It put like, So much drive into me cause I was like, wow, these people are so impressive. I wanna be on their level. You know, I wanna be like smart, like them. And that's actually what made me wanna go back to school? I actually started going back to college because of that. Cause I wanted to work my way up the corporate ladder.
And that's kind of what, what, what led me to everything else? You know, I was also a single Mo, like I mentioned, a bunch of times single. Really broke really poor. I was in $25,000 of credit card debt, which was also added to my depression and to my anger because I never got financial help from the kid, my kid's dad.
So that added to a lot of that. And then once I got out, I was a hundred percent debt free. By the time I was 30 years old, I had put myself through college and it just was a game changer for me. I just like realized like, man, I can do all these things like who knew. I just started looking at myself in a different light and started learning to love myself and through the counseling and the self-help books and just all my work like on myself, it's led me to who I am today and everything that I'm doing,
[00:13:41] Lori Saitz: That's so impressive and congratulations to you. I have some questions. What, what led you to counseling or to, was it the self-help books first
[00:13:51] Jennifer Ramirez Oh, actually I do. So it was
[00:13:53] Lori Saitz: into
[00:13:54] Jennifer Ramirez last
[00:13:54] Lori Saitz: Like reaching out to find and, and what led you
[00:13:58] Jennifer Ramirez counseling together, uh, and that's kind of what, like I was like, oh, this is good. You know? And then when he, me and him broke up, I still continued to see the therapist that we were seeing.
And it helped a lot. And that's actually where I started talking about my sexual abuse. I'd never talked about it with anyone outside of like my family before. And so that was very healing to just be in a space that I could just say these things that I never was able to talk about before, because I was told not to talk about it.
I had a lot of shame and guilt. For talking about it, cuz my family always used to try to make us feel bad if we ever spoke about it. Cause that's the family secret and you don't talk about those things, you know, nobody needs to know that. So I think, yeah, I think that's how the counseling started and I saw how much it was helping me and I just stuck with it.
And I still to this day, see a counselor every week,
[00:14:47] Lori Saitz: of course.
[00:14:48] Jennifer Ramirez wrong in my life, but just because I believe in it so much. And I think it helps to just talk to a person on a, you know, regular basis about whatever it is that's happening in. Mm-hmm
[00:15:08] Lori Saitz: Yeah.
[00:15:10] Jennifer Ramirez Yeah, absolutely.
[00:15:12] Lori Saitz: It's like preventative medicine, right? Like you don't, you wanna take care of yourself before you have something majorly wrong.
[00:15:21] Jennifer Ramirez worries. so.
[00:15:27] Lori Saitz: Yeah. Um, I had another question now it left my head, but it will come back. Um, So, um, I'm just thinking, and I will have my editor take this part out. Um, so that we don't sound like we don't know what we're talking about. Um, no, the, um,
when we talked also before the show, you mentioned now,
[00:15:59] Jennifer Ramirez Mm-hmm
[00:16:01] Lori Saitz: So you mentioned about the counseling, you are now also in counseling with your mom, which I think is fascinating.
[00:16:11] Jennifer Ramirez Um, I asked my mom, so to give you guys just a little bit more background, so again, childhood sexual abuse, my mom knew about it and didn't do anything. So I had a lot of anger and resentment and if, believe it, or not more, more ill feelings towards her than the, my dad was the one who did it.
Um, I don't know how to explain it, but that's just how I felt. Right. Because I felt like she should have protected. So I have been going through a whole lot of healing and work, a lot of deep work on myself. And I was actually talking to my counselor about it one day, cuz I knew I always wanted to go to family counseling with my mother, but I was always like terrified and scared just cuz he just like, even for, to ask her to go was like a scary thought.
And I had told my counselor one day I was like, if my mom died tomorrow, I would never forgive myself for not going to counseling with her. I would, that would always be on my heart. So I think I just need to bite the bullet and ask her. And I did, I reached out like, I think two days later I reached out and I think I just sent her a text and I was like, Hey, would you be interested in going to counseling?
Like family counseling with me? And she was like, yeah, she was very receptive, which I was totally expecting her to like, just ignore me or say no way. Um, but she was like, yeah, that's totally fine. And you know, we can do that. And I was like, wow. Okay. So I, you know, we, we were on a wait list for a little bit.
And then finally we got to see a counselor and we'd been in counseling for like two and a half months now. And it's been very, very good way better than I expected. She's been able to kind of give me closure on a lot of things that I never thought I'd get, like she's been, she's basically admitted. Like I know I wasn't the best mom.
I know I messed up here. I know I did this. I know I should have done this. I know I, you know, but. I also have a lot of empathy towards her because in our sessions I've realized or I've learned that she was also being abused by my dad. Like my dad was also a narcissist on top of a pedophile. Um, so he was actually like physically and sexually abusive to my mother too.
But I didn't obviously know that cuz I was a kid and I didn't know what that stuff was. And um, so. Now that I am in it with her, I understand her a little bit better. And I'm like, how could this woman have helped me when the same thing was happening to her? She was in the same situation. Um, so, you know, I have a lot of empathy towards her and she's apologized and I think, just think I've gotten a lot of closure from it, which I honestly never thought I'd ever get in my life.
I was just kind. Set on, like, whatever I lost my mom, like my mom's like physically around, but she's not like mentally around. And I just kind of accepted that for what it was. So now that we, um, are doing this, we talk a little bit more. It's not where I want it to be. Like, we are not like BFFs or have like the best relationship ever, but we email each other and we talk about like how we feel and she apologizes and I apologize cause I've done things too, you know, I've said very hurtful things to her in the past as well.
Thinking that she still remembers from when I was like 18, that I said that still like hurt her. And I was like, wow. But I was, you know, a young, dumb kid, um, at 18. And I, I told her I'm like, my intention was to hurt you. , you know, I did want you to feel bad about it, but now I, that I'm an adult do feel bad.
[00:19:28] Lori Saitz: Right. Oh, right. And, and I think a lot of, of us at that age are we're exploring our
[00:19:46] Jennifer Ramirez I agree. I have a teenager.
[00:19:48] Lori Saitz: You know, teenagers say mean things to their parents. They just do. I think that's part of it. I don't know, maybe maybe they don't all do it, but I remember saying some pain, some hurtful things to my mom too, because you're just, you're growing into becoming independent, like preparing yourself to leave and go out on your own.
And so was your, has
[00:20:13] Jennifer Ramirez counselor in
[00:20:14] Lori Saitz: what a gift that
[00:20:15] Jennifer Ramirez started this and she still doesn't see a counselor on her own. But it's my
[00:20:19] Lori Saitz: she had she been in counseling before this,
[00:20:22] Jennifer Ramirez for us and that she will then be able to go off on her own. And I've told her that before. I really hope that you go off on your own with someone one day to work on things cuz you have, she has a lot of things to work on and it's definitely a cultural thing too, where Mexicans.
So it's definitely like. She's even said, we don't need this. Why can't we just leave the past the past? So like, that's just, that would be great if it just, you could just leave the past and the past, but that's just not how it works, you know? So, um, so those are my hopes with her is that she'll find her own
[00:20:54] Lori Saitz: mm-hmm
[00:20:55] Jennifer Ramirez yeah.
And I think she's slowly but surely starting to see that counseling helps
[00:21:02] Lori Saitz: Right. We're not, we're not wired that way as humans.
[00:21:12] Jennifer Ramirez Yeah. Yeah. I'm, I'm happy about it. And I never thought I'd be the one in the family to like,
[00:21:17] Lori Saitz: a, like I said,
[00:21:18] Jennifer Ramirez the, not the
[00:21:19] Lori Saitz: that you were
[00:21:19] Jennifer Ramirez I don't consider myself the fixer, but just the one to like help people heal and go see counselors and, you know, Stuff like that mental health stuff that I think is really important.
[00:21:45] Lori Saitz: There has to be one person in a family. I was actually on a networking call earlier today in a group setting. And somebody was talking about you as like the people who are listening, being the one in the family to do things differently. Someone has to step up. So why couldn't it be you like I'm speaking to the listeners, I'm speaking to
[00:22:11] Jennifer Ramirez am that person in my family and like I said, I never expected for that to happen, but you know, if it has to be me, it has to be me. I'm the only one that's like, An entrepreneur and, you know, think very public about my abuse. My family is obviously they're not so I know it was very weird for them when I started talking about it on Facebook and stuff.
And they're like, what the hell is wrong with you? Are you, you know, but I think they've also seen me, um, heal and worked through a lot of things and they're like, huh, it leads them. Maybe I should try that because it's helping her and she's doing so well now, you know, so I think by my example, they're, I'm hopefully leading them in the right path.
[00:23:11] Lori Saitz: So many people I've talked to have privately shared stories, not exactly your story, but stories of abuse. The shame around it and they are so unwilling and afraid to talk about it publicly, which I get. I get it. However, by you standing up and, and sharing, you allow other people to see that they're not
[00:23:41] Jennifer Ramirez I actually started a blog. Um, that's what started
[00:23:44] Lori Saitz: what was it that inspired you to start
[00:23:47] Jennifer Ramirez 20, 19, 20 18. I think I started the blog and that's where I actually started talking about it. And it was like free. I felt free after I spoke about it in the blog. And then.
And then I started doing Facebook lives and talking about it in videos and things like that. And every time I spoke about it, I felt better and better and better. And I felt like I didn't have this thing holding me down anymore. This thing that was like so shameful, you know? And then I also realized in talking about, it was like, it's not my shame to hold.
I didn't do anything wrong. I was a freaking kid. I didn't even know how to put words to what was happening to me. And I'm like, that's my dad's shame to hold. So I think that was a huge piece of why speaking is so important. And I always tell people like your truth is so important and your voice, God gave us all a voice to speak, use it, you know?
And the only person that benefits from your secrets is the person that told you to keep it a secret in the first place. Usually a perpetrator of abuser of some sort. They're the only one that wins from it. And that's on purpose, you know? So. I think it's important to speak your truth, whether other people believe you or not, whether other people say, you know, I don't believe that, or you're a liar, whatever, it's still your truth.
It's still your story. And nobody could ever take that from you. And I always tell the ladies that I work with that, cuz it's so important. Yeah.
[00:25:23] Lori Saitz: Yeah.
[00:25:26] Jennifer Ramirez Sure. So, uh, I
[00:25:28] Lori Saitz: And now that you mentioned the ladies that you work
[00:25:30] Jennifer Ramirez and rise. So the,
[00:25:31] Lori Saitz: did you come
[00:25:32] Jennifer Ramirez isn't over yet. There's more to tell and the rise means rising above any adversities that you face. So we're an organization, um, that empowers women to be the best version of themselves. And so, uh, we offer free counseling.
We offer free support groups for female trauma survivors, whether that's sexual trauma, emotional trauma, physical trauma, anything like that. Uh, and then we also have like women's empowerment events. We do life coaching. We do, um, personal development, professional development. So we wanna help women be that best version, whether it's personally or professionally.
And I think it's really important. And I just basically created an organization that I needed once upon a time when I was going through all of my stuff, you know, and being able to, to have a safe space where people could come and talk about these things that do have a lot of guilt and shame associated with them.
And when they do try to talk to friends and family about it, they are ashamed or they feel worse off, you know, after trying to talk to someone about it, cuz they. Oh, my gosh. You're still talking about that. You're not over that yet. Or why don't you just leave them already? Oh my gosh. Cuz it's just not that easy.
Like you've heard the statistics with domestic abuse survivors. It usually takes eight, eight or nine times for them to finally leave their abuser. And it's not just like, oh yeah, they know they need to leave 'em they know that, but it's harder, easier said than done. Especially when this person is being physically abusive to you, you know? I love what I do. I love helping women and I love helping them just get to that next level in life, whatever it is that whatever that is for them, you know, I think it's really important to just empower women. And we are very, very powerful people. And personally, that's why I think that we're, we're trying to be held back right now.
You know, all the things that are happening in the world, I think. There's people out there that know how powerful we are and they're trying to keep us down because I think if we all came together, we'll blow this freaking world out of the water. Like, and I think we're better leaders than men personally, but that's just,
[00:27:41] Lori Saitz: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:27:45] Jennifer Ramirez what's. so we're definitely small, but mighty we have some pretty we've,
[00:27:52] Lori Saitz: What, what
[00:27:52] Jennifer Ramirez years old in October. Um, but we big awesome
[00:27:56] Lori Saitz: what's next for
[00:27:57] Jennifer Ramirez up. We have our biggest, like fundraiser coming up in October. It's called the Bet On Us Casino Night fundraiser. We have an event coming up at the end of this month with Bumble, with the dating app, which I'm super excited about.
So that just shows me that we're growing. There's people out there that really believe in our mission. And I guess what's next. I really want us to be a worldwide organization. And this is a long term goal, like 10 plus years away. Um, but I really see us being an organization where we help women all around the world because as you know, there's other countries.
Don't have any type of resources or rights for women or anything like that. So I wanna be that organization where women can just come to for whatever it is that they need for your counseling, a support group, you know, help with their resume or help with getting to that next level and their career changing careers even.
And how do I do that? You know, or just educating them also on health, healthy relationships, what's normal, what's not red flags, you know, pay attention to these signs that. I believe in education prevention. So to preventing sexual and domestic abuse from happening in the first place, I think it's really, really important.
So I have a lot of missions in my life. Uh and also another thing that I wanna do in the future too, is bring more awareness to the black and brown communities around mental health and just putting the word out there that it's okay. It's not for crazy people doesn't mean there's something wrong with you.
It's just okay. To talk to somebody. About whatever it is, that's going on with you and we need to normalize mental health services. For sure. Yeah. Mm-hmm your physical.
[00:29:39] Lori Saitz: absolutely healthcare is healthcare. Whether it's mental healthcare, physical healthcare, it's all healthcare. Yeah. I, I remember the question I was gonna ask you earlier. Uh, yeah, the, so it was more of comment, I guess, than a question. Around you were talking about that you didn't even know that, um, that that counseling was a thing or that what was happening in your family was not quote unquote normal.
And I just wanted to jump in and say like, right, we I've spoken to so many of my guests
[00:30:19] Jennifer Ramirez right.
[00:30:20] Lori Saitz: clients
[00:30:21] Jennifer Ramirez I think that's really important that you said that. Cuz I always talk
[00:30:25] Lori Saitz: tend to beat ourselves
[00:30:26] Jennifer Ramirez ladies about this and cuz they blame themselves a lot. I should have done this. I should have known better. I should have, you know, done something different and I'm like, you did the best you could at the moment with the information you.
At that moment. And if all you knew how to do, if all you knew how to do at the moment was freeze, then that's all you could have done. And if you fight, then that's great, you know, whatever, but don't be upset at yourself for not handling it a certain way because your body does react to trauma. It does.
And some people freeze. You've heard of it. Fond, freeze, fight. All that stuff. Like it's real stuff and everybody is different. I'm not gonna lie. I'm a freezer I freeze, but they're, you know, the person next to me could be a fighter and that's okay. You know, there's no right or wrong way, like how to deal with, with things that come up, especially when they're traumatic, you know?
So I always tell people, give yourself grace, you did the best that you. You did the best that you could at the moment with the information that you had, you know? Um, but yes, you're right. People do tend to blame themselves a lot for like coulda shoulda. Would've done this, but that doesn't really help when you're trying to heal.
Cuz that's just like more self blame and that doesn't make you feel any better. So just giving yourself, grace is a really huge piece of healing and, and just forgiving yourself too, you know, uh, self forgiveness is a huge piece of it as well. And saying, I forgive myself for maybe. For maybe staying too long in that relationship or allowing somebody to do that to me, you know, it, we, we tend to forgive other people easier than we do ourselves, especially as women.
We're very, very hard on ourselves. So I, I really think it's important to just, you know, relay that message out to whoever's listening right now that maybe needs to hear that cuz yeah. Um, you know, you do the best you can and that's all you could do. Yeah.
[00:32:29] Lori Saitz: Yes. Yes. Thank you for sharing that. My last question, before we go, cause this has been such a, a valuable conversation is when you need that extra boost of energy, you're getting through a long day
[00:32:45] Jennifer Ramirez me
this before. Um,
[00:32:47] Lori Saitz: you've got a lot to
[00:32:48] Jennifer Ramirez think I said, was it Destiny's child? Uh, what was the, the name of the song? Um, independent, I think. Is it independent woman? Yeah. I think that's what it is. Um, yeah, I think so too. Yeah. I mean, I have a lot of different songs that I like, and it really just depends on my mood.
Um, but yeah, I, I love Destiny's childhood, but Beyonce
[00:33:10] Lori Saitz: okay. Yeah.
[00:33:12] Jennifer Ramirez that's a perfect.
[00:33:23] Lori Saitz: That's a perfect song for you. We're gonna put a, a link to that in the show notes. And the other thing I'd like
[00:33:30] Jennifer Ramirez So it's Jennifer
[00:33:31] Lori Saitz: in the show notes is how somebody could get in touch with you. If you, they
[00:33:34] Jennifer Ramirez Um, or you can just go to our website as well and check out the website, www dot women rise chicago.org, and check out all the things that we're doing. Sign up for support group or sign up for an event that we have coming up.
We have a lot of great, uh, events, but definitely feel free to reach out. If you wanna talk to me about anything or ask questions, I'm always happy to talk to anyone. Appreciate it. Thank you for having me.
[00:34:12] Lori Saitz: Fantastic. Thank you so much for joining me today on fine is a 4-Letter word, Jennifer.