Hi, I'm Jemma...
and I've been studying humans and their interactions with great fascination for as long as I can remember.
"One-two-three-go," my aunt would direct me at seven years old to begin my animated and detailed impression of my grandparents' "traditional" marriage as she pressed record on the tape deck. As a kid, I contentedly spent hours observing the adults, taking mental notes I'd reference later when contrasting what I sensed and witnessed with what I was told about the dynamics at play. I've always been a seeker and a speaker of relational truths.
Though I took pride in receiving recognition for being perceptive and "wise beyond my years," it was sometimes overwhelming to process all that I took in. As an adult, I delight in how my insight and sensitivity give me the capacity to deeply feel, see and understand people across the globe as I connect with them, celebrate them, and sit with them in their pain while lighting their path to fulfillment. If I had to briefly sum up what I do, I'd say I teach people how to love.
I can now see how my childhood captivation with all things love and relationships (including the often neglected relationship with self) led me to my career as a personal and relational coach, but given the detours along the way, I didn't see it coming. I was convinced I was destined to be a veterinarian despite toggling back and forth for years between my passion for humans and my passion for animals.
In addition to continued learning and synthesizing of interpersonal neurobiology, attachment theory, polyvagal theory, somatic healing, as well as a relational and developmental skill building, I draw on my own experience of moving through and recovering from the dissolution of my twenty year marriage. After years of what I consider to have been a successful relationship to a wonderful man, I found myself feeling alone, stuck, and confused about how we were suffering from the crisis of connection that ends many relationships. My ex and I had advantages that most couples don't—both raised by mothers who were couple's therapists (with a practice together), EQ knowledge, skills, and a shared language to navigate challenges with respect and kindness—yet our marriage fell apart. I hadn't seen any long-term relationships between two people who still admired and enjoyed each other crumble and I couldn't find anyone speaking nor writing about it. I had a caring partner who never directly dismissed the emotional pain I told him I was feeling, however, he didn't directly respond to it either. All of this is what lit the fire in me to take my story, woven together with my coaching experience to TikTok. It was beyond nerve-wracking to be so vulnerable but I thought it was high time people understood what love is, what it isn't, who's ending unfulfilling hetero relationships (where partners most rigidly adhere to harmful gender role conditioning) and why. It turned out millions of people around the world agreed that these truths were long overdue—my first video immediately went viral.
When you're married to a good man who has been one of your closest friends for decades, it's painful, terrifying and quite shocking to fully awaken to the "knowing" that remaining in the marriage means compromising your well-being. I became keenly aware of how I had silenced my intuition to my own detriment while attempting to convince myself to be happy enough when my marriage stopped growing because leaving a good guy and prioritizing myself was selfish in the eyes of society. Giving myself permission to leave my marriage was one of the hardest things I've ever done. Though it's always been important to me to walk the talk of the holistic practices I teach my clients, the dissolution of my marriage was the ultimate test of my fluency in these practices.
I'm so grateful for the many years my marriage was a safe, fun and nurturing haven and I'm equally grateful I found the clarity and courage to leave when the relationship dynamics stopped supporting my development. I claimed time to reconnect to and evolve my relationship with myself as I healed from the self-abandonment that left me numb in the final years of my marriage. I now trust and rely on my inner compass to guide me rather than the internalized messages from a patriarchal society that shapes the thinking and behavior that harms love and connection. I also learned (thanks to the friends, family and healers who supported me) the very thing I want my clients to know, "You don't have to figure it all out by yourself. You're not alone. You're going to be okay."