We had the good fortune of connecting with Jaymee WINS and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jaymee, why did you pursue a creative career?
I’ve always been artistic and creative even at a young age. But somewhere along the grown up world, you have to set aside your passion because bills need to get paid. But I always go back to it and as of right now, I’m pursuing it full on because I realized, after going through a health battle, how life can be so short to not do the things that make you feel alive and joyful. Hence, I’m here taking the risk.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I just wrote and released my first book on Amazon entitled “That Sh*t Called Cancer: The Not-So-Subtle Art Of Winning Your Life Back”. It shares my story as a 41-year old Filipina diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer (a total of 4 recurrences) in the span of 5 years while being far away from family in a foreign land to me which is America. The book contains the self-sabotaging thoughts I had (which a lot of cancer patients would be able to relate to!) that almost destroyed me and the winning affirmations I used to push myself to still grab life by the balls and keep on. What sets it apart from the rest of the cancer self-help books is that it focuses on the emotional and psychological battle that every person who got diagnosed feels which is actually the hardest part. It’s not just all advice, tips and pep-talk (a.k.a. toxic positivity). But more of acknowledging that every negative thought or fear is valid and there is something that can be done to propel the reader (cancer survivor) to move forward anyway. It is my unfiltered story with a nasty metastatic breast cancer diagnosis so it can’t get any more real than that. I’m super proud of this book because I started to create it at the peak of the global pandemic in 2020 while my health was deteriorating. I thought there would be no more hope! But as of writing this right now, I rose from the ashes and I am recovering so well. (Thank you God!) This book will always remind me that pain can be turned into purpose and that shitty situations can yield to something beautiful, if you make the choice to do so. Apart from the book, I also document the snippets of my life and heart-felt realizations on YouTube and Instagram as well as my motivation on my podcast show called “WIN Your Daily Battles”. Professionally, I’ve just started out with being an author and the road hasn’t been easy. I was confronted with lots of self-doubt in the writing process and was always confused on what route to take, self-publishing or traditional. I had to find people who will hold me accountable so that I can keep going and not give up. In terms of social media and podcasting, I’ve been here for awhile now and I’ve definitely had moments where I feel like I’m just wasting my time. But I always remind myself why I’m doing it in the first place: and it’s to inspire people with my story and hopefully, help someone going through a really difficult time in their lives especially a cancer diagnosis. So I go right back up on the saddle and carry on. I’m learning along the way that pursuing an artistic life should come from passion and you shouldn’t get too attached with the results. But rather, just enjoy the entire creative process and come from an intention of wanting to share and inspire. And that not everyone will understand and support your work and that’s okay. Stay stubborn and keep creating anyway. I’ve coined my artist name “Jaymee WINS” back in 2017 when I was initially diagnosed to remind myself that whatever sh*t life may throw at me, cancer included, that I’ll still choose to see the glass half full. That there is always that choice to win over a situation even if it’s not ideal. But it all starts with a gentle switch in perspective. And that is my story.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I don’t know Los Angeles too well as I only go up there for gigs or auditions. But my turf is definitely San Diego! So if a best friend would visit California, I’d love to show them around my town. I’d definitely take them around North Park first, the area where I live, which is the artistic district in San Diego. It’s got lots of cute little local cafes, restaurants and bars that’s worth trying out! My favorite ones are all located along Adams Avenue which Underbelly Ramen and WayPoint Republic on top of the list. Little Italy is also amazing at night time with all the luscious tasting authentic Italian restaurants and bars. My go to restaurants are Barbussa and Civico 1845. It’s also worth checking out the Sunset Cliffs by Ocean Beach for an amazing, breath taking view of the sunset and going for a long walk along the clean shores of Coronado Beach. La Jolla shores, watching the sea lions, enjoying kayak activities and the dainty shops along Prospect Street would be a nice day time activity. And to experience a lovely meal by the ocean view, I’d go for Caroline’s Seaside Cafe in La Jolla for brunch, Cannonball in Mission Beach for happy hour and C Level Lounge for dinner. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’m super grateful to my medical team in UCSD for always looking after my health. The Guevarra family for taking me in as part of their family here in San Diego. Elaine Reyes for the hard work in helping me mount the first book I’ve ever written. Ryan Mahle and his dog, Cali for being my source of calmness in the midst of my storm. My beautiful and supportive friends (the list will be too long if I write them all here but I’m sure they know who they are) that choose to stick around in my life journey even when it gets too crazy. And my family in the Philippines for loving me unconditionally even from a distance. And for the kind strangers who have helped me along the way, whether in person or simply by following my work. All my creations would all not be possible if not for them. So THANK YOU! 🙂
Nicole Connelly, Kaia D’Albora, Julie Licari, Pan Productions LA