So you want to know more . . .
Nice to meet you beautiful! I’m Jolinda, and I’m thrilled that you’re here.
If you’re anything like me, you love a good about page. I mean, if you’re thinking about working with someone you just met online, it’s only natural that you want to know a little bit more. Am I right?
My official bio is at the end of the page, but if you’re curious about who I really am (beyond all of my degrees, certifications and that shiny magazine cover to my left), grab a cuppa and take your time.
If you’ve got a minute to spare, there are a few things I’d like to share . . .
I was born with a club foot. Two club feet, actually, but the right one corrected itself.
Funny how the thing I was most ashamed of as a child is the first thing I’m letting you know about now (Ha!). If you don’t know what a club foot is, Google it up!
Suffice it to say, I couldn’t walk normally until I was twelve years old. That’s when I had my fourth and final major surgery that involved a complete restructuring of the bones of my left foot.
While I get around without a problem today, you’ll never see me in a pair of high heels. Black leather boots on the other hand . . .
My name is my mother’s name . . . with a twist.
Growing up, whenever I would go anywhere with my mom, she would always introduce us like this: I’m Linda Jo, and she’s Jolinda.” A lot of people assume that the Jo has something to do with my dad, but his name’s Robert so there goes that theory.
I do, however, have his middle name. Jolinda Krozett Johnson.
I guess they knew when I was born that I’d be a one-of-a-kind.
Once upon a time, everyone thought I’d be a lawyer.
With an Ivy League degree in History, having specialized in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies, you’d think I’d be an international lawyer or a diplomat by now. And, truth be told, when I graduated from Columbia University back in 2004, I thought that would be my path too.
After earning my Master’s of Science in Education while teaching full-time in a middle school in New York City (in what was supposed to be my break before law school) I decided to stay in the classroom for another ten years. I loved my time as a teacher, but I always knew there was something more in store.
Being a Wellness Mentor and Priestess is that “something more.” I had to take a few detours to get here, but at least I know now that I’m on the right path.
I have an invisible disease that mostly affects white men in their 40s. WTF?
In the summer of 2011, I went to bed with a sore neck and the next morning discovered that I couldn’t move it—at all. The first doctor I saw put me in a neck brace and told me to read romance novels to relax. After months of not being taken seriously and trying everything from physical therapy to acupuncture, I was finally put in touch with a rheumatologist who was willing to run the tests I needed and confirm the diagnosis I had suspected all along.
Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is basically like spinal arthritis and can lay dormant years before the first real flare. Once you’ve got it, you’ve got it for life, but you can manage the symptoms through diet, exercise, and by avoiding doctors who don’t believe your symptoms are real.
I had never been to Spain when I decided to move here eleven years ago.
When I first arrived in the fall of 2008, I had never even visited. I only knew that I wanted to live in Europe and become fluent in Spanish (so it seemed liked the logical choice). I signed up to be a Language and Culture Assistant through the Council on International Education Exchange and went from the bustling streets of New York City to a sleepy town in Jaén. Culture shock, anyone?
After finishing the school year, I was offered a job teaching here in Barcelona and the capital of Catalonia has been my home ever since.
Everything changed for me when I became a mother.
When Leonard was born, I thought I had it all figured out—husband, job, baby. The only problem was, in checking off all the boxes, I had totally lost touch with myself. Despite being married to a man who tried to convince me otherwise, I realized that I really was capable and intelligent and strong. Nothing like having to take care of a baby on your own in a foreign country to get you in touch with your inner badass.
I never wanted to get divorced or to be a single mother. But sometimes you have to give up the life your past self wanted and embrace the one your current self needs.
Some stories only my tattoos can tell . . .
My first tattoo is the queen of hearts, which I got as a couple’s tattoo with my partner in Wales. We had only known each other for a few weeks, but I figured if the relationship ended I would always love (and lead) with an open heart no matter what.
The second tattoo is on my left index finger and it’s a glyph that means “transformation”. That finger is also associated with personal confidence and self-trust which has been key to my own transformation in the last few years.
The third tattoo is just above my right wrist. It’s an ancient symbol called the vesica piscis and represents two parts coming together to create something new, while still remaining whole within themselves. It’s my personal reminder to never look for my missing half in a relationship, because no matter what I am complete on my own.
The fourth is a tiger on the back of my left arm. Tigers are known for their strong will and determination, their ability to travel long distances while conserving their energy for the hunt, and of course their fierceness when it comes to going after what they want. Tiger mothers also raise their cubs entirely on their own, making me a tiger mom indeed.
The fifth is the cross of Camargue. I first learned about this symbol from the book How to Love Yourself (and Sometimes Other People) by Meggan Watterson and Lodro Rinzler. It’s a cross with an anchor at the bottom and a heart at the center representing, faith, hope, and love. And yes, the greatest is love.
The sixth is a lotus flower and a semicolon on the back of my neck. The lotus flower is a symbol of spiritual awakening as well as regeneration and rebirth. Even out of the murkiest waters, it manages to bloom. The semicolon marks where the author could have ended a sentence but chose to continue. This tattoo is for all of us who keep going, keep fighting, and keep blooming no matter how many times we’ve wanted to give up.
The seventh is a serpent that goes up and down the entire length of my ribs. A snake must shed its skin or die. This one reminds me that it’s okay to release what’s no longer serving me and move on to the next evolution.
The eighth is a quote from Florence and the Machine: “Give me arms to pray with instead of ones that hold too tightly.” I got it the day that Spain went into lockdown in 2020, not having any idea of what lay ahead.
The ninth and tenth are the butterfly and the bee. The bee reminds me to work hard and remain consistent, while the butterfly tells me to trust in the flow.
The eleventh is “L’Amoureux”, The Lovers from the tarot deck. It features two skeletons holding a rose. This card is all about duality as well as making a choice about what you truly believe in regardless of the societal norms.
The twelfth is the last three lines of “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou. There have been many times when I wanted to give up, but I know that the vision that I carry inside is bigger than my fear. And so, even when I’ve failed or things haven’t quite gone my way . . . I rise, I rise, I rise.
Jolinda Johnson (M.S.Ed., CHHC) is an award-winning Certified Life Coach, Holistic Health Coach and Priestess who specializes in burnout and perimenopause. She’s obsessed with helping changemakers and revolutionaries get their spark back so they can go set the world on fire. She wants to change the narrative around perimenopause and give attention to the voices that are typically left out of the conversation, including BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and people under 45.
She is a sought-after guest on podcasts such as My Daily Business Coach, The Female Wellness Hub, and The Priestess Podcast, has been featured on the cover of Inspired Coach magazine, and was the recipient of the Beautiful You Coaching Academy CEO Shine Award in 2021. She’s also taken to the stage as a motivational speaker for other life coaches and can be found on the popular website Healthline.
Jolinda’s originally from Detroit, Michigan but earned her B.A. from Columbia University in New York City and completed her Master’s of Science in Education as part of the NYC Teaching Fellows program at Pace University in 2006. For the last thirteen years she’s made her home as a single mother in Barcelona, Spain.