Jamie Jo Zunick. Like most children, I hated my name while I was growing up. First, the other little kids used to tease me about having a boy’s name. Second, the last name of Zunick always kept me firmly situated at the back of any line. Finally, my mother told me that I was named after my father. His name was Joseph John Zunick. We have the same initials. Unfortunately, that’s all we ever shared. My father and I never had a relationship even though we lived in the same house. That was partly my fault, though. I was terrified of my father. I would try to avoid his emotional and verbal abuse by staying as far out of his presence as I possibly could. I don’t think he ever missed me. I don’t think he even knew I was gone.
Unforunately, I couldn’t hide from eveybody. Going to school was always miserable for me. Other children would laugh and tease me because I had a very bad speech impediment. I literally spoke my own form of gibberish that no one could understand. My first grade teacher thought I was “retarded” or just lazy…or maybe both. Her solution was to hit me for every word I mispronounced… I got hit a lot. I became mute for many years.
Even though, I stopped talking, I continued to think and to dream and to explore. There was a will inside me to never give up. I wanted to prove that I wasn’t retarded or lazy or worthless. I began to read a lot of classic books like Gone With the Wind, The Grapes of Wrath, and Les Miserables. I put myself through college working three jobs while going to school full time to gain my Bachelor’s Degree. I lived for a year in England and explored Europe. I spent an eye-opening and soul-searching few weeks backpacking alone across Malaysia. When I returned to America, I studied massage, energy reading, energy balancing, and chakra therapy. I owned and operated a large private office in New Mexico for seven years. I still continued to do energy and chakra readings in California. I am a teacher now at a college in Southern California. I hope to teach my students more than Basic Math and English. I want to teach them about following dreams, about leaving behind the past, about moving forward, about confidence and self-discipline…all the things I am still discovering. I just recently published my first book, The Sweetness of Life, which details my life events. Over the years, I’ve realized one constant: there has always been a plan for my life. I had to go through everything in my past to get to where I am today. I have been so blessed. I am a woman, strong and determined. I am a teacher, sharing my wisdom. I am a healer, helping others through the confusion and pain of life. I am a storyteller, crafting tales of life’s adventures. I say my name with pride now. I am Jamie Jo Zunick.