Jessie Fales: Red Booter Profile thing we are noticing over here in Red Boot land, is how the universe just loves love. Without any push, selling or convincing, Red Booters are just coming out of the wood work. Our inbox has been gettin' stories that will melt your heart and make your mama do backflips and cartwheels!

We met Jessie a few years back...and have been fans of this Red Booter since she was just a tyke. Lately though our little tyke has grown up (something all humans do!) and has been challenged by some rather unsettling (to some) and disheartening (to others) life circumstances.

HOWEVER, those of us who see the dandelion, not as a weed but the most beautiful flower on the planet...somehow remain grounded in that big, bold and audacious Red Boot Love...even when the weeds seem to be multiplying.

So we reached out and asked Jessie to share a few words. This is what we got and her words confirm one of our core Red Boot Beliefs. Leadership is an inside job and requires attention to even the smallest of thoughts. At any moment...we can opt for the big expansive LOVE centered view that opens doors, lives and space or opt for the teeny tiny view that might work for about an hour or two.

And if wearing Red Boots on a regular basis wasn't enough, Jessie is also a coffee drinker.

Cool beans. Cool coffee beans.

So here goes. Jessie, we love you sister.

I am deaf and chronically ill. My name is Jessie.

Those brave enough to wear the red boots live into a big, bold and audacious love that says, “World. Bring it on! Give me the heartache, the pain, the joy, the sorrow, the learning, the serving, the leading, the sweet stuff life is made of ’cause I got on my red boots and I am strong, powerful, human, vulnerable, real, free, compassionate and loving." 

Why do I mention my maladies before I mention my name? Because it can be easy to focus on my illnesses rather than who I am, which makes me worried that my identity has shifted quite drastically over the past few years. Seven months ago I suddenly lost my hearing, and consequently had to take a year off of school.

If I had ever dreamed of a gap year, it would have involved backpacking around the world and partaking in various forms of humanitarian relief, because that’s the kind of person I dreamed of being. Instead, I have found myself relearning how to hear with a cochlear implant, and spending one out of three weeks at my local infusion center, receiving medicine that may or may not change my life.

Indeed, I do seem to be defined by my unfortunate circumstances. This is not a bad thing. If I am going to be deaf and chronically ill, then I am going to be the best deaf and chronically ill person I can be. My life has forced me to discover the light inside of myself during a time when it seemed like there was no light to be found. At least, this is probably how people expect me to feel. In fact, finding the light inside of myself is quite easy, because it is necessary.

The mistake people so often make is that we expect ourselves to be sustained by the light of others, and we don’t depend on ourselves the way we should. This is unfortunate when we suddenly realize that other people cannot live our lives for us. At the end of the day we must endure our own hardships, and it is impossible to do this without believing that we are capable of withstanding more than we think we can. We must believe in our own light, and trust that it is genuine and wholesome. In being the leader of our own lives…loving, leading, leaning into self-acceptance…we free up others to do the same.

I am Jessie. I am strong, compassionate, and authentic. I enjoy talking to strangers and sometimes hugging them. I am a friend, a sister, and a daughter. I am a lacrosse coach, and I will be a collegiate varsity athlete when I get back to school. I am a teacher. I am a photographer. I am a writer. I am an artist. I wear weird clothes, but feel invincible in them. I like coffee, coffee shops, and the people in coffee shops. I believe in everyone’s limitless potential. I believe that there is beauty in us all. I enjoy singing and dancing around, even if I can’t hear pitch. I confidently embrace the world around me, even if it’s sometimes terrifying. I don’t mind that it’s terrifying. I don’t mind the struggle, the pain, or the things that make it difficult to get out of bed in the morning. I believe in love and I know that it is powerful. There is a whole world of people who will lift me up, and I continuously feel their energy through their love.

However, I also love myself, and that might be the most powerful energy of all.

I am deaf, chronically ill and...Jessie...a Red Booter.