A year ago this week, I announced I was moving away from retail and into full-time coaching. I knew in my bones that everything was about my life was about to change.
What I couldn't know is that a simple yet hard decision would bring me back to myself.
With each step away from my retail life, I find myself super annoyed with my former self for ever taking on the persona of Jaci (pronounced “Jackie”). But the truth is, five years ago, I needed Jaci. I felt like a toddler learning how to show up in a new reality of self-love. Jaclyn felt too vulnerable to expose to the world.
If you don't know the story, I opened Jaci Blue fresh off a West Coast hiatus. My time in Los Angeles stripped me of all the things I hung my identity on. I was left with nothing to do but learn who I was and then learn that I actually liked myself. When I chose to come back to my soul home, New Orleans, and revamp my relationship with retail, I was just learning how to walk in the shoes of real self-worth.
It felt raw and a little scary to show all of me to the world. I knew I needed a hard boundary between private and public life––and I believed the easiest way to do so was to have two names. Besides, I had been hiding out on social media since MySpace with the pseudonym Jaci Blue.
Jaci first came from having two Jaclyns in the same nursery school class, and the teacher asked us each to pick a nickname to help distinguish the two seatmates with long brown curls and the same name.
It was an easy choice. Even at that young age, I had fought against people's inclination to "shorten" my given name. Always frustrated because Jackie and Jaclyn had the same amount of syllables, so was it really shorter?
The Blue part came from a one-hit-wonder from the seventies. In my early twenties, a friend used to sing that song when I walked into the room. It caught on and stuck.
The pseudonym had always felt like a superhero cape protecting the private me from the world. It seemed like a natural choice–– the shop would be Jaci Blue. I started referring to myself publicly as Jaci because I thought it was better for the brand.
And while it never really felt like me, I eventually got used to the name. The old aversion of the sing-song-tone of jak-ee started to disappear. And despite my best efforts, I ultimately stopped correcting some of y'all who pronounce it JAY-see and would answer to that as well.
Somewhere along the way, I stopped correcting people outside of work as well. I rationalized my desire to be called by my given name with "Well, I answer to it most of the day, might as well here too."
Despite feeling like a lie, it somehow felt easier to just go with it than to speak up. Setting myself aside to make others feel more comfortable is why the entire congregation of my church doesn't even know my real name. The pastor called me Jaci one day from the pulpit. Not wanting to make a fuss, I didn't say anything.
Jaci became so embedded in my life that when someone would call me Jaclyn, it was noticeable––in an uncomfortable way.
For all my gregariousness, I’m really an introvert who cherishes my alone time. I'm a lifelong learner who nerds out on anthropological documentaries, metaphysical books, and deep dives toward healing. I recently became certified in plant medicine by learning about the power of essential oils. I can't wait to share more about that with you.
A year ago, the world was on lockdown, and I was spending a lot of time with my coach, discerning my next steps. I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I was ready to put retail life behind me. But I was scared that I would lose the plus-size lady krewe that I had spent years building.
I made a fear-based decision to keep the name.
Then twelve more months crept by. I shed more layers by continuing to work with coaches, healers, and astrologers. I have spent a tremendous amount of time making weird art, connecting with nature, and crying on my floor (growth doesn’t always feel good). I have yet to put on red lipstick.
And while I'm incredibly grateful to have laid the foundations of self-acceptance all those years ago on the West Coast, I no longer need a public persona or fancy shoes to stand in my truth.
So this is me: Jaclyn, not Jaci. I'm a woman who is doing her best to embrace all her parts and help other women embrace theirs.
If you are here because you want to see where Jaclyn is going and how her deep dives might help you, please stick around.
If you were just here for the clothes, that's okay too. You can unsubscribe to my mailing list. In fact, I encourage you to do so. You won’t hurt my feelings.
Eventually, I'll change the social media handles, the website, and maybe even my email––though that last one seems annoyingly complicated at the moment. For now, they will stay the same as I discern my options. I promise to keep you posted when I decide on a new handle.
And if you call me Jaci, I will lovingly correct you.
 One day the bestie of the band came into my shop, thinking I was a superfan. The next thing I knew, I was on FaceTime with the lead singer of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, flirting to avoid a sudden fear of copyright infringement! Luckily, Jaci knows how to turn on the southern charm when needed.
 Which, in hindsight, it's pretty laughable considering some of the top things on my list were to have weekends and never to be called Jaci again.