The evolution of #RealTalk.

#RealTalk vol 15

It's a busy week ahead for me. In preparation for my cross-country trip back to Florida from Washington, I had planned to get lots of content shored up for you all. Unfortunately, I’ve not had a creative rush, and I don’t have a backlog of posts at the ready. Well, I do… sort of. 

I have docs upon docs of drafts just waiting for release, but I don’t schedule content weeks in advance. Perhaps it’s silly of me but, I’m uneasy with the idea of having stories post that aren’t reflective of how I’m feeling in the present. 

The #RealTalk blog isn’t my first rodeo. In the past, I’ve had blogs where I set up a robust editorial calendar to auto-publish content. The problem was that I’d have a story publish and feel like a fraud if how I felt when I wrote the post had passed by the time it posted. I prefer to publish stories or social posts in real-time. As I said, I know that sounds silly, especially to my professional blogger folks out there who understand the value of front-loading content but, it’s my process.  

I once read an interview with Prince, where he explained that he got to a point in his career where he refused to sing songs the same as how he recorded them. He found in each new moment a choice to reflect on the past from a new perspective. Reflections take on a new dimension, depending on what angle we give focus. With that understanding, he found new ways to sing the same songs without feeling stale or like a fraud.

Gosh, if I can remember where I read that but, the sentiment struck me. Sure, I can look back at stories that I wrote and remember why I wrote them, but it’s not with the same eyes or heart space. 

And no, I’m not making excuses for being unprepared. The truth is, I don’t feel connected to any of my drafts right now. I’m not going to publish something for you before it’s ready, nor will I post anything that isn’t from my heart. 

With that said, the short of it is, until I have a story worthy of posting, I offer you a look back at some of my early stories. These are the stories that laid the foundation of #RealTalk

  • When Too Much Creativity Damages Productivity: This was my debut post after deciding to break from sharing content on several different platforms and launch on Substack. I hadn’t yet found my writing voice, but I was one step closer.  

  • How to Push Through Self-Doubt and the Fear of Failure: When I’m dealing with sensitive issues, especially fear and self-doubt, I write to myself first and then find elements that I hope can help others. This post was my first attempt to weave a personal story into a motivational article of sorts. 

  • Why I Now Live on Purpose Versus Live with Purpose: The seeds of #RealTalk were germinating when I wrote this post. I finally found that I wanted to write creative non-fiction but, I wasn’t entirely sure how to go about it without writing “diary” posts. It was after publishing this post, (and after a come-to-Jesus chat with my bestie) that I finally dared to break free of writing how-to articles.  

I have so much more to share with you. I appreciate your patience and support as #RealTalk grows and evolves.

Stay tuned for #RealTalk in Real-Time the podcast and new premium rewards in Soul Sessions - motivation to help you embrace your inner badass. 

Please know the foundational elements won’t change - #RealTalk is a reflection of my truth shared as stories from my midlife journey along with insights and resources to help you #LiveOnPurpose.

With all of that ahead, there’s also a lot of moving and shuffling happening behind-the-scenes in the Hermann household, plus I have some profound professional changes coming up too. Fun times.

I'll see you back here when the dust settles a bit. As always, please let me know what content you'd like to see more (or less) of in the coming months. 

Thanks again for joining me on this journey.


Want more? Upgrade for only $5 /month. Don’t miss out on the other #RealTalk premium content brought to you by yours truly. xo, jae

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Why real talk matters.

#RealTalk vol 14

Welcome to #RealTalk - the Digest. Each Friday I offer you a micro-post followed by ‘This Week in #RealTalk’ - posts from the week, curated links of interest, good news, inspirational bits, and a groovy tune.


This week marks the first anniversary of my explant surgery - surgery to remove my 20-year-old saline breast implants. My introduction to Breast Implant Illness (BII) came after watching the film The Bleeding Edge last July. After years of trying to figure out what was making me sick, I learned how my implants were slowly killing me. 

Today, I’m still in the throes of acceptance; I’m coping and learning about midlife while sharing and hopefully helping someone out there.

As a look-back, I tried to write a reflective post. I wanted to detail lessons I’ve learned, instead, when I sat down to write, nothing flowed. It’s been a whole year, but I’ve yet to completely process all that my new normal (and not so attractive body) means to me. 

How do you process defining moments in your life? How do you push through, get over, and move on after a traumatic life experience?

Attempting to sort through my breast explant experience while sharing resources was the reason I started writing again after several years of jumbled brain poo. BII caused early-onset menopause, accelerating brain fog and confusion, robbing me of the sense to coherently string words together. Gaining back my ability and desire to write was my first indication that the #HealIsReal, as my fellow BII survivors often say.   

Most of my post-surgery days feel like a string of Facebook emoticons - 👍 (I’m cool with it.); ❤ (I love me!); 😂 (jokes on you, IDC!); 😳 (WTF??); 😞 (I’ll never wear a bathing suit again, sniff.); 😠 (I hate my Frankenboobs, and I hate the world, grrr!). 

Who knew the mighty Book of Faces’ urban hieroglyphs so accurately describe the stages of grief and denial? Mmmpff.

I don’t want to shy away from the realities of my life. Humans are hard-wired to avoid pain and to take the path of least resistance. In life, though, resistance is futile. Sepia tainted images of a “perfect” life plastered across social media can cover over the truth. Eventually, though, reality will find a way to lay bare your lessons, whether you want them or not. So, why run or hide?

I’m choosing to face my midlife experiences head-on and treat them as life chapters. Lessons to learn and value, pearls to pass along that may provide an outline or addendum to someone else’s storyline. 

This realization is where I am, the reason why #RealTalk matters, and why I’m determined to write my truth and to keep it real. What you see is what you get, sometimes what you get ain’t pretty, and that’s okay. I haven’t gotten over or through all that’s happened this past year. I don’t have a happy ending yet because my story is a work in progress.   

Real talk matters because it keeps us grounded in truth and allows space to reflect and grow. Attempting to be someone I’m not or cover over my icky bits requires more energy than keeping it real — my path of least resistance. 

It’s rare nowadays, but I get occasional well-meaning comments from friends: This too shall pass. You will overcome it. Be grateful. All things happen for a reason.

Yup, all of that. And sometimes, the answer to pushing through, getting over, or moving on after a traumatic life experience is to stop trying to do any of that and be okay with not being okay.

Writing and sharing #RealTalk is my process to find the pearls, offer some insights, and be okay. Some days, I'm better than okay and other days not so much. 

I endeavor for #RealTalk posts to be honest, uplifting, motivational, inspirational, and at the very least, entertaining. Thank you for accepting the invitation to join the journey


This Week in #RealTalk

What you missed: [NEW!] #RealTalk open discussions. As a carryover from #WhatMattersWed conversation prompts, every other Saturday we’ll dive into another topic.

The idea is for us to chat about life, living, career bits, aging, transition, and reinvention - what it means to #LiveOnPurpose.

Offer up a topic, what would you like to talk about?

😳 Bits that made my ears perk: I have a busy brain so I found this bit alarming. New research suggests we should put our brains on slow-mode to fend off aging citing excessive brain activity could be harmful. Another reason for workaholics to slow down, set boundaries, and practice self-care.  

✉️ More to read: Other research about slowing down suggests that slow walking speed in midlife may be a marker of accelerated aging. Medical News Today, found that the faster a person walks, the longer they may live. 

Okay, slow my brain while speed walking… got it! 😆

Be inspired: “If there's one thing I've discovered, it's that stifling yourself will only lead to misery. You have to have courage. Real courage to explore, to fail, and to pick yourself back up again.” ― Siobhan Vivian

🎶 Groove to this: May you have auspiciousness and causes of success, May you have the confidence to always do your best, May you take no effort in your being generous, Sharing what you can, nothing more nothing less. May you know the meaning of the word happiness, May you always lead from the beating in your chest, May you be treated like an esteemed guest, May you get to rest, may you catch your breath. And may the best of your today’s be the worst of your tomorrows, And may the road less paved be the road that you follow…Jason Mraz - Have it All 😍 


Thanks for reading. Hit reply and let me know what you think about today's issue. Love it? Great! Please forward to your friends 🙏

Have a great weekend!

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Change doesn't scare me anymore.

#RealTalk vol 13

Welcome to #RealTalk - the Digest. Each Friday I offer you a micro-post followed by ‘This Week in #RealTalk’ - posts from the week, links of interest, good news, inspirational bits, and a groovy tune.


Opportunities to reinvent or transition from one life chapter to a new one give us a chance to reset, but a reset doesn't have to mean a complete do-over. Everything we learn and encounter gets added to past experiences, building upon the layers of our foundation. We grow in wisdom with each new layer even though it can feel like we’re starting over. 

Change can feel especially tough if we cling to self-doubt, or we worry about the perceptions of others.

I’m a creature of habit. I find comfort in familiar places and predictable patterns. There’s security in the rhythm of repeating patterns, but I learned to relish the thrill of trying new things, figuring out logistics, and other geeky stuff. I learned to accept new ventures as opportunities to discover something new, get out of my comfort zone, and prove to myself that I could despite feeling afraid. 

I spent years worrying about public perception because I chose to pivot, to transition, to try new careers and projects. I feared my reinventions were judged as failures. I now appreciate each opportunity as a stepping stone that has led me to where I am now. 

When faced with an option to try something new, what would happen if you decided to release fear and self-doubt, or the judgment of others?

Understand that change is good. You haven’t failed when you choose to try something new. A transition or reinvention doesn't mean you’re starting from scratch; you’re only adding a new layer. You learn and grow with each new layer added to your foundation. And, don’t worry about what other folks think of your life changes, it’s your life. 


This Week in #RealTalk

What you missed: What do faded photographs, poor memory, and failing vision have in common? Yup, a healthy dose of gratitude, Losing my vision opened my eyes to gratitude. Boxing and self-care? Read Ebb & Flow: A lesson in life management.

😳 Bits that made my ears perk: My good friend Jas recently wrote about being skinny-shamed by family, which I totally get. Like Jas, I’m fortunate that my skinny is au-natural even though I eat my fair share of cheeseburgers, albeit healthy ones. Imagine my distress to read my beloved meatless burgers are under fire. Have you tried meatless burgers? Yay or nay?

✉️ More to read: Celebrate good news. The Goodnewsletter created by Good Good Good shares stories and tools designed to leave you feeling less overwhelmed, and more capable of being a part of the good in the world. There’s also a weekly podcast and a physical newspaper called the Goodnewspaper. Check it out here: http://goodnewsletter.org/join

Be inspired: While we can’t change the basic structure of our days, we can do things to change how we live out our daily lives.

🗣 News! Later this month, I’m going to be a guest on the Midlife-a-Go-Go podcastThis is What Midlife Looks Like. A huge part of why I started writing #RealTalk is to make sense of my midlife, but the true benefit is sharing and igniting badassery in others. I'm honored to share my story with Valerie's listeners. I'll share the link soon!


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Thanks for reading. Love it? Great! Please share it with your friends 🙏

Have a great weekend!

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