There I was, participating in my daily Instagram scroll, (seems all my interview ideas start this way) and I saw a video begin to play. I noticed the name of the uploader, and I was immediately intrigued. The video shows a woman speaking through pain while in depression. She looks frail and begins to cry. To some her words may seem to be random, or scrambling, but to me, it was just a regular Tuesday. I have recently began to share with people that I have battled depression and anxiety, and that day I saw myself in Jacqueline Horbrook, aka Jackie The Educator. She mentioned in her post that her counselor instructed her to create video diaries, and that she wanted people to see that who she is today is a testimony of a story. I reached out to Jackie, because I wanted to share with you all that on social media many see the results, but don't know the struggles, challenges, and steps behind it.
“We all experience lows and highs in our lives, most of our highs are caught on camera, while our lows are dealt with, or left unaddressed, in secret”. - Jackie The Educator’s Instagram Video Post
I came back to social media to be a light in people’s lives who were living through dark spaces, and feeling ashamed to share and reach out. I loved seeing Jackie’s transparency, it was her way of telling her following, I may inspire you, but you need to know I’m inspired by God, who is the lifter of my head, and He can lift yours too! She gave hope and encouragement that day. It was her second time posting the video and she mentioned it was much easier to share than the first time she posted it. This is what she had to say about the first time she posted the video:
“I was nervous to see others reaction to my story. I didn't want to be perceived as weak or inadequate. I actually posted it then took it down and then reposted it. Finally I just walked away from my phone and let whatever happened, happen.”
Jackie stated that seeing how many people were blessed by her vulnerability made her cry tears of joy. People, including myself, view Jackie The Educator as one who has it all together, and she said it was important to show people the road that brought her to today, and she was glad it served as an inspiration. Jackie said she learned a great lesson from her faith move.
“I realized that the enemy uses shame and guilt to stifle our testimonies. I believe God wanted me to see first hand that sharing my testimony didn't make me appear weaker, but stronger”.
I am honored Jackie was so open about her life and the things that helped shape her. She told me about the events that led up to her seeking counseling. Her ex-husband and her were beginning to drift apart. In marriage counseling they learned he was dealing with trauma from war, and it was affecting his ability to take on the role of a husband and father.
"As a medic in the Army for more than 18 years he had seen a lot of war. We came to find out that the war caused more trauma than we knew. After several hospitalizations we realized it would be better for him to live elsewhere for the well being of our children”.
Jackie then began to seek individual counseling where she realized the trauma her ex-husband had endured, inadvertently affected her as well. She began her journey to gaining a closer relationship with Christ and is a walking testimony before us.
“Today I am healed from that trauma, and have moved forward with my life. Although my ex-husband and I could not salvage a relationship, I am thankful that I lived to tell my story”.
Living life now as a single mother, Jackie is balancing mommy life and business life. She stated that she takes it one day at a time, and as moms we must be flexible and be able to respond to change quickly. Her daughters are so adorable, and they are one of Jackie’s main driving force.
“My daughters are my reason for pushing myself to new levels. They watch everything I do, and often try to imitate my actions. If I want them to be their greatest, I have to first show them the way”.
I was curious what young Jackie was like. She was often the kid wanting to organize and teach others. Jackie was the boss lady even as a child.
“I often found myself in leadership roles, I was even bold enough to run against a boy for student body president in 6th grade. I didn't win, but he eventually became my first boyfriend so in theory I kind of did”.
Boss moves! Ha! Jackie also informed me her first career choice as a child was journalism, and she wanted to become a news anchor. We would have so been childhood friends. I could see us getting the inside scoop on what was in school lunch and sharing with our peers. In high school Jackie was well known for being a State Championship Speech and Drama student. As time went on, her focus shifted to working behind the scenes.
“I let intimidation get the best of me and decided I wanted to be the creative genius behind TV commercials (I was inspired by Gina from the show Martin). I eventually landed in education where I found the satisfaction of everything I ever wanted to do”.
Jackie has a Masters in Counseling & College Student Development, with a Bachelors degree in Business & Marketing. She does wonderful programs and classes for our youth. I asked her what lessons she felt our youth of today are in need of beyond reading and mathematics, and she responded; critical thinking skills. With me being a homeschooling mother, I thought what she said next was such a gem:
“As a mom and teacher I focus less on learning techniques and more on developing strategies. At the end of the day they probably won't use the quadratic equation as much as they would need to know how to prioritize processes. It all boils down to the old parable; If we can teach our children how to fish vs. handing them the fish directly, they'll never go hungry”.
As a Black, Christian, Woman in Corporate America, Jackie has seen the reality of prejudices in the work place. She refuses to let it block or stumble her on her path to being one who ministers, teaches, and promotes change.
“At an early age I recognized that my color and faith were barriers to overcome. But having my womanhood as a barrier always frustrated me. I could be just as smart and gifted as a Male, but my sex would always be another barrier. I quickly learned to use it to my advantage, as most women in corporate America do”.
Jackie has founded Black Christian Influencers (BCI), Inc. It serves as not only a platform, but a community that supports those desiring to make a positive impact in their communities. Come on, you see why I had to talk with her, right?! This is the kind of kingdom business I enjoy and must support! Jackie also has a show on ArtSoul Radio called Higher Learning. While in search for ways to gather an audience for her show she created a web space that connected the people she set out to teach and learn from.
“I wanted to appeal to the Christian Intellectual, as well as the ministry focused leader. I started by connecting a few of my friends from different circles into a small Facebook group, and after a few weeks I noticed it was really becoming a hit, so I ran with it, and here we are. I would love to take credit but it's clearly a God ordained initiative”.
Along with being the founder of BCI, Jackie also has a plan to open a Counseling Cafe. Read that sentence again…. A Counseling Cafe. The cafe will be a safe space for individuals that need to seek mental health treatment. Are you smiling as hard as me right now? This is a project I am so excited for. The location will be in Chicago and Jackie shared with me that construction is projected to start within a few weeks!
“This is my ultimate pride and joy. I love being innovative and I think this space will be a game changer……I absolutely would love to open more locations, especially in the non traditional neighborhoods that could really use unique spaces like this as an outlet”.
I’m just gonna put in the atmosphere that her next two locations are DC and FL! It matters not that those just so happen to be the two places I call home… On the real, knowing these communities, it will be such a great addition and serve a grand purpose in so many lives.
As this posts comes to an end I want to say thank you to Jacqueline Horbrook aka Jackie The Educator, for taking time to share with me, not only more about who she is, but what she is about. She dropped knowledge and shared her truth. I want all my readers to go to her social pages and websites and learn more about the great impact she is having in our world. Jackie seeks to be a voice for the millennial Christian, and I must say she is a voice that all could learn from.
Jackie The Educator
Black Christian Influencers
Our life is not in snapshots and short videos. I started taking social media breaks years ago after I noticed how much time I spent on my phone. The first few days I got to see just how much I used my phone, because I would be out with my family and would be reaching to take a pic of every moment. I would say, “Oh this is a post”. We went for a walk downtown and I wanted to show the “world” the beautiful view, then it hit me: Why don’t I just enjoy this view with my family?
I began my Instagram and Twitter this year saying I had a love hate relationship with Social Media. I love that it is a way to connect with family, friends, and new people. You can share the love of God with millions across the globe. You can see news, fashion, comedy, and simply cute chunky babies with little curly fros that will make your day better! I hate, or better yet, strongly dislike, because I come from a generation where saying, “I hate” is a bad word/phrase. I strongly dislike the way Social Media allows people to say horrible things about others in mass numbers. I strongly dislike the way it makes so many women and men fall into the comparison trap. I strongly dislike how so many people are willing to put their life at risk for the ultimate selfie. I strongly dislike how Social Media keeps children from actually being social! Most of all, I strongly dislike what Social Media does to many peoples mental health state.
Over the last few years I have seen so many stories of children committing suicide because of online bullying. I have watched so many YouTube videos of people having to quit their online presence because they entered into a state of anxiety and depression. I have also seen so many people be one way online, and another way in real life. This online social life has become full of social eyes, believing social lies! See what I did there…I get deep sometimes…ha
Now you know I’m all about raw honesty, so here is my raw moment: I have to constantly be mindful of myself, because I do deal with depression and anxiety, and cannot afford to allow myself to fall into the comparison trap; and lately I have started tipping around that trap. In my life I have dealt with the need of acceptance. When you’ve been so different for so long, you want people to accept your difference and love it. I’ve always been Shervyse, she’s the only person I know how to be, and the only person I wanna be, and I will not change who I am, and how I am, to fit a “like everybody else mold”. So when you have a person who is different, and not willing to conform; who desires to be in an industry full of conformers....girlllll….issuuueeessss!
Ok, that’s enough vulnerability for today! I got stuff to do and I can’t sit here and have a therapy breakthrough….just yet.
A few days ago I found myself getting ready. Sounds normal right? Y’all, I was getting ready for a selfie! Not getting ready for my day, not getting ready for some outing, just thinking about how I wanted to look for my selfie! Holy Spirit straight snatched me by my under an inch long curls and told me to pause. He reminded me that what I was doing, was exactly what I told myself I would not do. You see, I’ve done social media before, I’ve had a site, I had multiple socials, and I’ve had some success in being reposted and all that jazz. I hit a turning point in this social life, that many influencers hit, I had to step back and remember why I started.
It’s so easy to get caught up in attention. I’m such a girl of science and I know how to hit trends, market, brand, and be noticed. I know what posts will return a good viewing. I know what will gain me more followers, and you know what, I refuse to do it!
I came back to social media, because I wanted to fulfill my childhood dream of helping people. I love encouraging people and making them smile and laugh. I know that by being online I can reach more people than I can reach on foot (Or other modern transportation lol). I also saw how much negativity is online and wanted to be that authentic, positive light in someone’s life who needed it. I found myself focused on getting the numbers up, and I have to turn back to why I began!
You know the funny thing? When I started my social presence back up, it took me forever to find a recent picture of myself. When you’re not on social media, you don’t take selfies! Anywho, so where do I go from here?
I will focus on spreading love, light, laughter, and most importantly, The Lord! I’m gonna share with the world this love I have found in Jesus, that is incomparable. You see, for a girl who constantly wanted to feel accepted, I am accepted by God. I didn’t have to do anything. I was just me, and I just came to Jesus. I told y’all I’m a girl of science. I told God, prove to me I can trust you, and I will. He has proven who He is to me, my whole life, and I still trust Him.
If you find yourself comparing who you are, how you are, how you live, and the relationships you have to those online, just stop! I tell myself daily, what God has for me, is for me. I want you to know that to be true. Know that what God has for you, is for you, and is coming to you! Whether being an online influencer is your job, or you have a company that needs online views, or you're simply someone who enjoys sharing pics and videos, never compare; and always stay true to you, because the right people will come, at the right time! You’re freakin amazing, and walk tall knowing that!