As I sit here at my desk for the last time at PGN, I am overcome with emotions.
Friday, August 29, 2014
As I sit here at my desk for the last time at PGN, I am overcome with emotions.
I’ve been someone who has always been exceptionally fortunate in the blessings I have had in life. I come from a supportive family, I have the best friends in the world, the most amazing partner in life and I have had some of the most meaningful opportunities.
The Summer of 2011, I found myself at my first Philadelphia Pride with my uncles. Although I wasn’t newly out to myself, I was newly out to the world. I had told my parents and my friends that summer as I was away working at West Chester University as a resident assistant, far enough away to hide myself from reactions. As we stood there, cheering on the various floats streaming past us, I was handed a rolled up newspaper inside of a rainbow bracelet — inside was the Pride edition of the Philadelphia Gay News. I was baffled — a newspaper just for me? For my community? What?
That night I took it home and read it cover to cover. I remember thinking, “Jesus Jen Colletta is the luckiest girl to have this job” because at the time, I was gearing up for a semester as news editor for West Chester University’s The Quad. I could have only dreamed of that opportunity while people told me it was impossible.
Fast forward to graduation in 2012 where my future was uncertain. I ended up taking a temp job at an insurance company, ready to give up on my dream when my mom, in a panic, told me to apply for the position. You see, I figured I would never get it because as embarrassing as this is, I had sent some of my student work to the former editor for freelance opportunities and when I heard nothing back, I figured I would not be a shoe-in for this position.
And then I got a call and had an interview and got another call and my life completely transformed.
The thing is, PGN changed my life. I walk out of this office more confident than ever. PGN gave me the skills and the opportunities that I was told repeatedly as an undergraduate that I would never have.
I have had the opportunities to talk with celebrities but more importantly I’ve had the chance to connect with local community leaders and legislators. This has been the most heartbreaking process of it all — saying goodbye to them as a writer. These people have filled my life with such happiness as they have conquered and stood up for those who are underrepresented.
My co-workers, though, have breathed new life into me during these past two years. I started out as a shy and awkward individual, not sure of anything and ended, still awkward but confident and resilient.
I am excited for my new opportunity at the Bethesda Project. I am blessed that this staff has decided to take a chance on me and to be honest that feels great. Through my work at PGN, I’ve latched onto several non-profit organizations, adoring their missions, their programs and their initiatives. To have a chance to work at one of the city’s finest non-profit organizations is an honor. I can’t tell you how excited I am for this new opportunity.
I am excited about a couple new endeavors I have going on, both in freelance and in voluntary form. I am really excited to be a part of some fantastic organizations and endeavors in the future.
So thank you so everyone who has made this journey fantastic.
No day but today.
Monday, January 13, 2014
Acknowledge the nominating blogger. Share 11 random facts about yourself. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you. List 11 bloggers. They should be bloggers you believe deserve some recognition and a little blogging love! Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. (You cannot nominate the blogger who nominated you.)
I’ve never heard of the Sunshine awards before but I was nominated by a lovely fellow journalist who I had met through the Northrop Boot Camp, Kara Newhouse. Kara is a blogger (check out her blog here) and also is an education reporter at Lancaster Online. I also found out a fun fact about her during dinner one night at the conference—she interned at the HRC in Washington, D.C.
11 random facts about me
-I used to cry every time I watched Disney’s Cinderella. I didn’t want Cinderella to leave! Now, I really can’t stand watching Disney movies (I know! The horror!)
-I play with my hair—a lot. I am not sure if it is a nervous habit or what, but it is something I just do.
-Through my job at PGN, I’ve learned a lot about my interests. Before I worked here, I forgot about the branches of government and to be honest, wasn’t super interested in what the government did. Now, you can’t stop me from talking about it.
-Also through my job, I’ve learned that one day, I hope to serve as a press representative or director for a progressive politician or a communications director for a progressive organization.
-I used to be the biggest theater nerd—now I can’t even speak in front of people without stumbling on my words.
-I was in a sorority for two semesters before I decided to quit. It was the best decision I have ever made. Not only was it draining my bank account, but my grades were going down. I still kept my close friends from it and I learned that sometimes, it is good to let things go.
-My girlfriend and I are currently looking for apartments to rent. I’ve never lived with a significant other before but when you know, you know…ya know?
-My English degree did nothing for my career. It was my valuable experience at my school’s paper that got me where I am.
-I am a proud West Chester University ram.
-I am too hard on myself sometimes when really, I have a lot to be proud of.
-I could have mac n cheese all day, every day if I could.
I nominate eleven bloggers:
The lovely Sharon L. Cooks: http://makingourliveseasier.org/
Deanna Vasso: http://www.rantsports.com/nhl/author/deannavasso/ slash whatever tumblr you have.
Mollie Welborn: Your tumblrrrr
Carol Fritz: your tumblrrr
Rebekah Balmer: Your tumblrrrr
Ginger Rae Dunbar: MAKE A BLOG
I can’t think of four more…bah.
-What three accomplishments in your life are you the most proud of?
-What are some of your smaller goals in life?
-What’s one of your favorite questions to ask new friends or to get a conversation going?
-What did you do on your 16th birthday?
-If someone were to make a movie about your life, who would you hope would play you?
-Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
-What did you want to be when you were little?
-What is your favorite color?
-If you could go back in history, who would you like to meet?
-If you could visit any country in the world, where would you go?
Thursday, January 2, 2014
I love even numbered years. It’s a thing.
I can’t tell if it is because of my obsessiveness for things being even and neat or the fact that 2008 and 2012 turned out to be some pretty amazing years for personal accomplishment. However, 2013 has shown me up.
Every New Year, I have this ever-growing fear of what is to come, which slowly evaporates into an overwhelming feeling of positivity for the up-and-coming year. 2013 was a year to never forget. My mom turned 60 years old, I moved into my first apartment in Philadelphia, I celebrated one year with the Philadelphia Gay News and I found love again. Why would I want to leave that all behind?
Well, simple — to see my mom turn 61, to continue where I live or move some place different, to celebrate two strong years at the PGN and to celebrate one-year with my love.
I’ve learned a lot in 2013. I’ve gone through heart break, disappointments and some pretty tough times but if there is one thing that got me through this year, it was my strong will to always find the positive. Here are some of the things I learned:
-I learned to never settle for less.
-I learned that although your heart may ache for someone, if their heart doesn’t ache back, it is not worth it.
-I learned that I can be loved in the way I have always dreamed of.
-I learned to always be true with people, no matter what. Tell them your intentions and if they still don’t listen, not your problem.
-People earn second chances — they are not given.
-It is okay to be an introvert. It is fine to spend an entire weekend by yourself.
-But people may want to hang out with you, so that is why you should open your heart to people.
-Always listen to your friends—well mostly. If it weren’t for Laura or Janene, I probably wouldn’t have found my love.
-I learned that she was not the end all, be all. There was much better out there and I got it and I plan on putting a ring on it, ayyyy (not for a little while.)
-I learned that I am more passionate about trans and gender non-conforming issues, especially when they affect good friends of mine.
-I learned that someone will still love me even if I am a size 14 and still have pockets of flesh left on me.
-I’ve learned to not focus on mortality as much as I used to. It is hard when you are so obsessively scared on not being here anymore, but life is a gift worth enjoying it and obsessing over something that is not in your control will not make anything better.
-I’ve learned that you don’t need to start over in the New Year. Every day is an opportunity to better yourself.
So it has been real 2013 and it has been good and although I might still be a little apprehensive about 2014, there is no other direction but forward for me. To health and happiness!
|Some of the roommates|
|My mom and I on her 60th birthday in Atlantic City, N.J.|
|The Pittsburgh skyline|
|My first Pride with PGN and I dominated the front page|
|Some of my best friends and I in Pittsburgh for a Halloween party|
|My love and I during our first Christmas|
|Starting the New Year with my love and my best friend|
|To many more cute, awkward and silly selfies.|