Hey everyone! With everything that’s going on with the coronavirus and quarantine, I thought this week’s interview for our March series, “Women Workin’ Wonders”, will be a little different from the rest. The young woman I got to interview is one of the most caring people I know. She’s also a super talented make-up artist, chef/baker, and creator. Her name is Jaelin “Birdy” Brown and she has a very unique story of both hardship and triumph. Birdy is eighteen years old and I’ve known her for her entire life because she is one of my four sisters! The summer of 2019 was a very difficult time for Jaelin, as well as my family. From being a healthy senior in high school to abruptly going into liver /multiple organ failure, getting a liver transplant, to becoming a bilateral midcalf amputee; everything just happened so fast. God gave Birdy a second chance at life and she can’t say it’s been easy but she’s been resilient and pushed through all the trials and tribulations. Below, is a video from Fred’s Footsteps, an organization Jaelin and my family were honored at and also gives you a full background of what happened during her journey.
After both of Birdy’s surgeries, her life has changed drastically and has caused Birdy to constantly feel up and down day but that hasn’t stopped her from being amazing! For a moment after her surgery, she was having a lot of pain in her left leg, which forced her to go back to using a cane and/or wheelchair, after she was already getting used to walking with her prosthetics. Birdy worked with her physical therapist three times a week and pushed herself to get back to where she wanted to be in her progress. Now, she’s constantly getting better at walking without her cane, was the guest of honor at Fred’s Footsteps charity event, and she’s back to riding on the train and going out more with her friends. Her friends have been what the definition of true friends are! They constantly check on her, come to visit, and still continue to go places together.
Before graduating high school, she was accepted into Temple University and will be attending in the fall! She’s extremely exciting because this will be a new, fresh start and she’s never been away from our family. She’ll be able to meet new people and see the world beyond what she’s used to. Birdy is not sure yet what she wants to major in, which is perfectly fine because she has so many different avenues she can travel down. Fantastically delicious doesn’t even begin to describe her cooking/baking skills! I’ve seen her make so many different dishes and desserts, killing it every time. She also enjoys painting and doing arts & crafts projects, her artwork is shown throughout our family’s home with bright colors and interesting textures.
Whenever I come to visit, I beg Birdy to do one of the many things she’s super talented at and that’s make-up. A party, a wedding, a natural beat, whatever it is, I promise she can do it! The pictures above are of me and just a few times that she’s made me look flawless! From bright to neutral, she’s done so many different color palettes on me, my mom, and our sister Layla and we always receive so many compliments. Even after her surgery, her dominant hand was badly bruised and she was still beating faces, with ease. She’s liked make-up from the time she was young and was so happy to finally wear it once she turned sixteen. Some of her favorite brands are Colourpop, NYX, and E.L.F. At sixteen, she didn’t have much money, so these brands were cost-efficient but still very good quality. Birdy still uses these brands today but also has invested in the Crayon Case and Fenty Beauty, especially since they are black-owned and have really beautiful, unique products. ULTA is her go-to store for make-up because they have a lot more options that are both drugstore make-up brands but also high-end ones like Sephora.
It’s easy to be upset about how her life has changed but what motivates Birdy the most is seeing other amputees living amazing lives! My mom and I often send her photos and articles of amputees living their best lives, with the hope that it will inspire Birdy to do the same. She’s seen models, Olympians, and everyday people, enjoying their everyday lives gives her the to push to keep going and to live a great life as well. The advice she’d like to give someone in her situation is to keep pushing forward. She knows it may be annoying and very hard to do in the beginning but it’s what you have to do to get where you want to be. She also insists on listening to your therapist when they tell you to put your legs on and exercise! From experience, she says “try not to give your family too much grief about you getting up and moving because they just want the best for you.” Last but not least, seek mental help, and journal about your everyday experiences; you will get through this!
Who knows what the future may hold but I know for sure it’ll be bright! Birdy’s stood tall through everything thus far and will continue to do so, especially with the amazing support system she has beside her. Jaelin would love if in 10 years she’ll be a famous actress or a best selling author. She also enjoys singing and maybe if she’d stop being shy, she could sing around other people. She also said, “this sounds corny but I really hope to fall in love and me a mother someday.”
Here’s a surprise for Birdy, not included in our interview! Just a few nice words from me, our mom, dad, brother, and sister about how special she is!
“When Birdy was born, I was in the room and the first person to feed her her first bottle. She had really bright red lips and I was so happy to have a sister. She truly is one of the sweetest people I know, with such a kind soul. She’s forever showing the world how amazing she is and I’m so blessed to have her as a sister and friend.”
“Jaelin is a miracle! A true, living miracle. By all accounts, she should be dead, but we’re blessed to still have her smile and sense of humor grace us each day. She has a lot to be sad about, but she’s learning to make the best of the life God has given her. Jaelin is one of the most thoughtful, caring people I know, I love her beyond words, and I am honored to be her mother. “
“Jae is a warm loving soul, I love her creative spirit. She’s willing to at least try new things, at least once. She’s always open-minded.”
“Much love to my big sister Jae! She’s an amazing person and I love her.”
“Jae to me is such a fun and bright spirit. I admire her creativity and uniqueness in style. Her beauty is evident from the inside and out. Her laughter is contagious and seeing her smile can brighten your mood. Even though she annoys me sometimes, I don’t know what I’d do without her.”