Folio Vol. 38, Issue 8

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2024 4.17
3 CONTENTS VOL. 38, ISSUE 8 FOLIO STAFF: ANGELA PHILLIPS Publisher TERESA SPENCER General Manager JOHN PHILLIPS Vice President KERRY SPECKMAN Copy Editor/ Writer AMBAR RAMIREZ Creative Director CARMEN MACRI Multi-media Creative/ Social Media Manager/ Lead Writer SHELTON HULL Writer CARSON RICH Writer AMIYAH GOLDEN Writer/Photographer MALLORY PACE Writer JILLIAN LOMBARDO Writer ATANI DAVIS Contributor DALE RATERMANN Crossword Curator BEHIND THE COVER: “48 Hours In the Ward” Cover story by Jillian Lombardo Cover photo by Carmen Macri & Ambar Ramirez FEATURES COLUMNS 10 Bailing Mommas Out! Atani Davis 13 Am I Gaslighting Myself? Jillian Lombardo 14 Riding The Wave Of Sustainable & Eco-Friendly Carmen Macri 18 ‘It’s The Time Of The Creative’ Amiyah Golden 22 48 Hours In The Ward Jillian Lombardo 28 Exposed: Feeling Like An Imposter In Your Own Life Mallory Pace 33 Interview With Scotty Bayer Shelton Hull 34 Getting To Know ‘Just A Girl’ Ambar Ramirez 7 Horoscopes Ambar Ramirez & Carmen Macri 9 Folio Weed Shelton Hull 27 Weird Wild Stuff Shelton Hull 36 Combined Minds Ambar Ramirez & Carmen Macri 39 Dear Dumbs Shari & Terry Jaymes



Presented by VyStar Credit Union

Join VyStar Credit Union as they raise awareness and funds for a featured charity throughout the night through ticket sales and promotions. Plus, VyStar Credit Union members can enjoy a Buy-One, Get-One-Free ticket special by using their VyStar credit or debit card at the box office.*


Presented by Coors Light

Join us for the best outdoor happy hour(s) in Jax! We’ll have $2 16oz drafts at select Thirsty Thursdav locations!


Be sure to stick around after every Friday night game for Friday Night Fireworks! Plus, Jumbo Shrimp players and staff will wear red each Friday to support the military, and fans who wear red save $1 on their ticket at the box office or can donate the $1 to charity.


Be sure to show up early for Saturday games — the first 2,000 fans through the gate will receive a unique giveaway item!


Presented by Baptist Health

Join us as we host a 20 minute pre-game catch on the field. Kids can also feel like the pros after each Sunday game by running the bases once the field is clear. Plus, each Sunday will feature complementary, PRE-GAME, face painting and balloon animals!

*Valid for ticket of equal or lesser value, subject to availability. Cannot combine ticket offers. AFFORDABLE. FAMILY. FUN. TICKETS

As you journey through life’s wondrous paths, may each step you take be illuminated by the gentle glow of hope and guided by the unwavering light of love. May your days be filled with moments of joy that dance like sunbeams upon your soul, and may your nights be cradled in the embrace of peace, serenity, and sweet dreams.

May your heart overflow with gratitude for the blessings bestowed upon you, and may you find solace in the knowledge that you a re cherished beyond measure. May every challenge you encounter serve as a stepping stone to greater strength, resilience, and wisdom, and may every triumph you achieve be celebrated with boundless enthusiasm and heartfelt applause.

May you be surrounded by kindred spirits who uplift and inspire you, and may you, in turn, be a beacon of light and hope to all whose lives you touch. May your aspirations soar to the highest peaks, and may you have the courage to pursue your dreams with unwavering determination and unwavering faith.

In the tapestry of life, may the threads of happiness, fulfillment, and contentment weave seamlessly through the fabric of your existence, creating a masterpiece of love, laughter, and lasting memories. And may the universe conspire in your favor, showering you with blessings beyond your wildest imagination.

Remember, dear friend, that you are infinitely deserving of all the goodness that life has to offer. So embrace each day with open arms, embrace each experience with an open heart, and embrace the boundless possibilities that await you on this extraordinary journey called life.

With heartfelt wishes for a future filled with abundance, prosperity, and unending happiness,


To the increasing number of wheelchair accessible ramps at the Beaches. If you think it’s hard to find public beach access on foot, try doing it in a wheelchair. Fortunately, there are a number of places along the Northeast Florida coast giving access to those who might not otherwise be able to reach the beach.

Anastasia State Park: Known to have the best accessibility in the St. Augustine area, the park has ramped boardwalks and a Mobi-Mat for beach access, Beach wheelchairs are available for loan at the Island Beach Shop and Grill or Anastasia Water Sports.

Atlantic Beach: First through 15th streets, Dewees Avenue and 19th Street Beach wheelchairs are free to use and can be delivered to access sites. Advance notice is required. For more information, call (904) 247-5828.

Jax Beach: Fifth Avenue North (Pier Parking Lot), Beach Boulevard and First Street, Red Cross Lifesaving Station, Sixth Avenue South and 16th Avenue South Beach wheelchairs are available at the Lifeguard Station on a first come first served basis. For more information, call (904) 270-1685.

Hanna Park: Accessible ramps and beach mats are available in lots 8 and 11.

Fernandina Beach: Main Beach is equipped with a Mobi-Mat to allow for wheelchair access. The Atlantic Recreation Center has three beach wheelchairs available for free. There is also a Mobi-Chair that can float in water. For more information, call (904) 310-3350.

St Augustine Area: St. Johns County Ocean Pier. While you can borrow beach wheelchairs for any of the beach locations, advance notice is required. For more information, call (904) 209-0326.

Vilano Beach: Porpoise Point Beach Access. Beach wheelchairs are available with advance reservations. Call (904) 209-0331 for more information.

For additional information on local beach access for wheelchairs, visit myfwc. com.


To Rayonier Advance Materials for pursuing construction of a bioethanol plant in a highly populated area in Fernandina Beach. Yes, we know ethanol bio fuel produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions than non-renewable sources of energy, however, they can still have negative impacts on the environment. Ethanol, for example, is a chemical prtoduced at bioethanol processing plants could generate occupational health issues related to airborne dust. Local residents are also extremely concerned about ethanol’s highly flammable nature. Oh, and then there’s the fact that the plant is not even zoned for chemical or petroleum manufacturing or refining.




With the Sun, Mercury (retrograde) AND a total solar (supermoon) eclipse in YOUR sign, April is a boldfaced invitation to go full-force, Aries. The universe is showing its hand, and it is by far in your favor this month. Serendipity at its finest.


Will you be able to handle awkward conversations and spontaneous meet-ups? This month is throwing a lot of curveballs your way, Taurus, so time to toughen up. Not only have you dealt with a solar eclipse on April 8, bringing upheaval and opportunity, but also a mercury retrograde. Just keep your head held high. April showers bring May flowers.


It is time to revisit the drawing board, Gemini. With Mercury entering retrograde on April 1— no, this is no belated April Fools’ Day joke — it may call for you to begin nourishing old relationships. Your ambition may be feeling like they are on pause. Push through this lull period.


Feeling a bit foggy, Cancer? Don’t worry, that’s just the effects of Mercury in retrograde. This month, you’ll be feeling everything from sadness to love, anger to joy, confusion to clarity. Simply, you won’t be able to tell what’s up from down. Just try to relax during this trying time. Once April 25 rolls around and Mercury goes direct, retrograde’s confusion will be over and new opportunities will come your way.

This month, Libra, find harmony in the chaos around you. The stars align to bring opportunities for growth and transformation. Embrace your natural charm and diplomacy to navigate any challenges that arise.

The first half of April may feel a bit hectic for you. You tend to double-book yourself and overexert your social battery. That will be the case until the full moon on April 23. As Aries season begins to wrap up, your life will seem to fall back on track. Just remember, it’s OK to say no to plans — you can’t be in two places at once.

Libra Scorpio Sagittarius

Flowers need rain and sunshine to bloom; you need balance to bloom, Sagittarius. On April 19, the sun transitions into Taurus, signaling a phase of indulgence and introspection. This is your chance to assert your confidence and take great strides toward your goals.


SLOW THE F*** DOWN. Take a breath. Relax. The end of March and beginning of April may have had you feeling in way over your head. Sometimes there are situations that not even you can control. Stop texting your ex. Stay in on the weekend. Nothing good happens after midnight.


With the full moon in Scorpio on April 23, you may be feeling like the rewards outweigh the risks. You know what they say — high risk, high reward. Trust your intuition; a gut feeling never leads you astray. Whether you are making a big move or finally cutting ties with someone, it’s time to let go of your past and finally move forward.

You’re in your busy bee era, Virgo. When things get stressful, people tend to take a step back, while you take 10 steps forward. There’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting to stay busy, as long as you aren’t overdoing it. Try to allocate all your free time to less stressful activities like paper art and polymer clay. You may unlock a new skill and feel refreshed afterward.

Mercury retrograde always seems to be out to get you, Aquarius. For most, the planetary movements seem to be a chance for other signs to work on themselves, whereas it is a personal attack on you. That’s OK. Why get stressed and overworked, when you can simply sleep. We’ll see you in May.

Aquarius Pisces

The tables have finally turned and it seems like the universe is moving in your favor, Pisces. The dominoes are falling into place for you this month. It may seem scary to have so many options finally open up to you. You need to jump on the opportunity. A new job in a new city is exactly what you need.



From the time I started this column, way back in September 2017, music has been a recurring theme. And that’s to be expected, given how intrinsically American music and cannabis culture have been linked, going back at least 100 years now. Let’s talk a bit about the past this month, and we’ll get back to the future in May.

The earliest criminalization efforts focused on the intersection between weed and music, specifically jazz, and the Black people who carried it from New Orleans to Chicago to New York, and soon after over the Atlantic Ocean to London, Paris and Berlin. And to be fair, pot was always a thing in that scene, almost as much as the bootleg beer, whiskey and gin that drove profits through Prohibition, thus funding the clubs in which the music originally flourished. This was due largely to the influence of Louis Armstrong, who put jazz on the national map in 1923, then took it Europe in 1927, and then the Middle East and back “home” to Africa in the 1950s. If there was a Mount Rushmore of weed, he would go in the George Washington spot.

Like rock and rap would later, jazz quickly crossed racial boundaries, uniting progressive youths of all types, and that will always terrify the authorities. The Marijuana Tax Act of 1934 was explicitly touted as pushback against jazz and the social values around the music, and not just politics: interracial relationships were a huge concern. Given that the majority of lynchings occurred for that exact reason (or at least the suspicion thereof), it makes perfect sense that the most potent tool for systemic racism of the post-war era, the Drug War, has its origins in the same fear that inspired Jim Crow and the tyranny of the Klan in a previous era.

Later expansions of Drug War protocols were not quite so on the nose, in terms of the propaganda, which is really not the right word. “Disinformation” might be better, or even just “blatant lies, easily disproven by science and reason, but taken at face value without pushback, because racism clouds people’s judgment as thoroughly as any drug and certainly more than marijuana.” By the 1960s, focus had shifted to the anti-war movement, then to rap in the ’80s at which point the drug game had changed dramatically, and that story dovetails from this one; we’ll touch on that another time.

Those 1960s hippies were little siblings of the beatniks who backed jazz in the 1950s, both the children of the pioneering white musicians and fans who flocked to those early Armstrong shows in the ’20s and ignited the Swing Era before going overseas to save the world from itself. And then they came home and set off the biggest economic and cultural boom that this world will ever see. And the children of those hippies grew up to be — well, probably you and whatever music you’re listening to right now, especially if it’s local. (Shout-out to The Independent 89.9 HD4!)

And all this started with jazz and a bunch of white high school kids who took trains in from Illinois suburbs to see Armstrong in downtown Chicago. They took a risk by going, and Armstrong took a bigger risk by letting them in. But they did and the ripple effects changed the world forever. One of those kids was my favorite drummer ever, Gene Krupa, who 21 years later would become maybe the very first celebrities ever busted for weed. So, in a sense, the reactionaries of a century ago were technically right, in that jazz and cannabis combined to help destroy the old order, but what it helped create is, in my personal opinion, vastly superior.

Having said all that, please note that I’m currently collecting fresh recommendations for new songs about weed. This was a very popular gimmick in the early days of this column, one we’ve not revisited in some time. Kindly send any suggestions to me at, please and thank you. We’ll print the best ones next month, with attribution, of course, and I’ll have many more such songs, past and present, playlisted on YouTube for you, the reader, the enjoy by then.

And Happy 4/20, to all who celebrate!



It is no secret — women, particularly those from minority communities, face disproportionate challenges. Data reveals a stark reality: Women in state prisons are more likely than men to have been incarcerated for non-violent offenses, such as drug or property crimes. Over half (58%) of all women in U.S. prisons are mothers, as are 80% of women in jails, including many who are incarcerated awaiting trial simply because they can’t afford bail. The people suffering behind bars cannot advocate for themselves — we know, as voting Floridians, we have to make a change on their behalf.

Consider these statistics: while 25% of women in prison have been convicted of a drug offense, only 12% of men share a similar fate. Likewise, 19% of incarcerated women have been convicted of property crimes, compared to 13% of men. These numbers underscore the urgent need to address the root causes of race-based and gender-based discrepancies in our justice system. Injustice anywhere should act as a threat to justice for us all.

Racial disparities compound the challenges faced by women behind bars. Black and Native American girls are disproportionately represented in the juvenile justice system compared to their Asian, Latinx and white counterparts. Black girls are more than three times as likely as white girls to be incarcerated with Native American girls facing an even higher likelihood.

The impactful response to these challenges came from organizations like Dignity Power and Fed Fam 4 Life. They have emerged with a mission to empower and advocate for incarcerated, formerly incarcerated, and impacted women and girls nationwide. Led by individuals Tray Johns and April Nubian Roberts, who have experienced the injustices of the criminal justice system firsthand, these organizations strive to effect meaningful change within our community.

Roberts draws from her journey through the criminal justice system to advocate for those who may not have had the same opportunities. Inspired by a transformative experience in Miami with fellow organizers, Roberts has dedicated her life to supporting women caught in the cycle of incarceration.

Similarly, Johns, founder of Fed Fam 4 Life (FF4L), leverages her legal knowledge and lived experiences to champion the release of women and girls from the grips of the prison industrial complex. Johns’ commitment to empowering individuals extends beyond advocacy to tangible support for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. She takes pride in being well known in the prisons and jail community for standing up to fight for her fellow citizens.

Central to the mission of Dignity Power and its partners is the recognition that incarceration affects not just individuals but entire families.

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With over half of women in U.S. prisons being mothers, the ripple effects of incarceration extend far beyond prison walls. From the trauma of separation to the exacerbation of mental health issues, the toll of incarceration on women and their families is profound and enduring.

Moreover, systemic inequities perpetuate the cycle of incarceration, disproportionately impacting Black women despite their status as one of the most educated and politically active demographics in the nation. Although there is no conclusive evidence of what works to eliminate racial disparities, appropriate responses most likely require a multifaceted approach. By addressing both external institutional barriers and internal conflicts such as “double consciousness,” organizations like Dignity Power seek to dismantle the systemic barriers that hinder progress.

One initiative spearheaded locally by Dignity Power and its partners is the Black Mama’s Bail Out, founded in 2018 and dedicated to paying cash bail to liberate women (and their children) who are unable to afford bail — before Mother’s Day weekend. As many protests over our lifetimes shed light on the mistreatment faced by incarcerated individuals, particularly Black women, initiatives like the Black Mama’s Bail Out offer a beacon of hope for this heavily affected group for Mother’s Day. (If you would like to sponsor a person, contact us at and

Dignity Power is looking for more women to bail out! If you have the name of a mother who could benefit from this, please reach out to the event organizers. Johns remarked that the organization would like to help moms with larger bonds/ longer time incarcerated this year. Volunteers are also needed for advocacy opportunities like #mysisterskeeper: FF4L’s advocacy approach for legal cases. They convene a braintrust of volunteer students, lawyers and paralegals as each case requires.

On top of these life-changing events, Dignity Power and other organizations lobby our legislators for real change. Currently, they are working on The Tammy Jackson Act. The bill amends 944.241 F.S., renaming the Act the “Tammy Jackson Healthy Pregnancies for Incarcerated Women Act.” The pro-life bill prescribes procedures for when a pregnant prisoner is placed in restrictive housing and requires detention facilities to adopt written policies about using restraints and body cavity searches on pregnant prisoners.

Ava’s Law is legislation sitting in the Florida Senate — passed the House, waiting to allow the Department of Health to help new mothers. This pro-life bill helps to eliminate the costs for things we know affect the baby through the mother in the most critical time of life while collecting data on this vulnerable community. Regular access to maternal health care is important for healthy pregnancies and healthy infants — and historically, minority women have less access to regular prenatal care, according to the March of Dimes.

Dignity Power meets on a conference line every Wednesday at 8 pm EST for all women, protecting incarcerated and impacted women in Florida jails. The next event is the Melanin Mamas March on April 14th at 11:30 am on Norwood Avenue, in conjunction with Black Maternal Week. Dignity Power seeks to uphold the principles of dignity and justice for all. By building a more equitable and compassionate society, where every woman and girl has a justice sisterhood: a voice when they have none.

Don’t even go there.

Helping keep black girls out of the prison system

The statistics paint a stark picture: Black women and girls suffer from the prison industrial complex. In the pursuit of justice and equality, it’s imperative to recognize and address the disparities faced by Black and indigenous American girls within the juvenile justice system. Data reveals the troubling reality that these girls are significantly more likely to be incarcerated compared to their Asian, Latinx and white counterparts.

Furthermore, despite comprising just 15% of youth incarcerated on any given day, girls are disproportionately detained for minor offenses. Once caught in this cycle, the systemic challenges commence. This disparity is especially evident in the status of offenses, where one-third of incarcerated girls are held for non-criminal behaviors or probation violations.

Additionally, since 1988, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention has mandated states address racial and ethnic disparities in juvenile justice. While progress has been made, there is still much work to be done to ensure equitable treatment for all youth, regardless of race or ethnicity.

In response to these challenges, organizations like Jewels of the Future Inc. are making a tangible difference in the lives of at-risk girls in 32209 and surrounding areas. Diamond B. Wallace was inspired to do this work by her grandmother and with the help of her family started Jewels of the Future. Through mentorship programs focusing on entrepreneurship, community service and education, this organization empowers girls to envision and pursue a future filled with promise and opportunity.

Studies show a community must make sure the children feel supported to reverse these statistics. An environment that instills in their children the belief that they can achieve anything they set their minds to will succeed. When people meet, it should serve as a safe space for the kids to express themselves freely, knowing that they are supported and valued, regardless of their backgrounds or circumstances.

Kids know that they only get love during “back-to-school” and the “holiday season.” We, as a community, must commit more time to our youth if we want to reverse these trends. And it is going to take more people and organizations to tackle this important issue. Jewels of the Future Inc. ensures that its meetings broaden their kids’ minds with activism and other events like Earth Day Cleanups and Mental Health Picnics. They also partner with other organizations like Dignity Power for the Melanin Mamas March this Black Maternal Health Week on April 14 at 11:30 a.m. on Norwood Avenue.

A community can foster a supportive environment aimed at breaking the cycle of incarceration and empowering girls to build brighter futures for themselves and, in turn, their communities. It is essential to provide vital support and mentorship to girls in a community and empower girls to realize their full potential and pursue their dreams to disrupt the prison pipeline.

Now more than ever, the world is starting to come to grips with a future where every girl has the opportunity to thrive and succeed, regardless of the challenges she may face. Political parties are realizing the power of the female vote and each year women shatter more and more glass ceilings. Organizations like Jewels of the Future and women like Wallace make a difference in creating a more just and equitable society for all.



The clock ticks down. Stuffed animals gather around your desk, a silent audience for your upcoming class presentation. Just moments ago, affirmations like “I am a capable speaker” filled your head. But now, doubt creeps in. Memories of your last presentation — the stutter, the blackout — cloud your mind. Are you fooling yourself with these affirmations? Is this gaslighting, or can you still pull it off?

After another creative conversation with my mother, she asked me this question, igniting my curiosity. Where is the line between affirmations and gaslighting?

Affirmations go back thousands of years in religion, such as Buddhism, and in philosophy with Rene Descartes “I think, therefore I am.” in the 17th century. An affirmation is an emotional support or encouragement. It is seen as a statement or sign that something is true, the action of affirming something. Affirmations promote a positive self-view when faced with challenges or obstacles and can increase specific neuropathways in the brain. However, some positive affirmations can feel false, as if you’re gaslighting yourself into minimizing what you’re going through. Inevitably, you are lying to yourself.

The term “gaslight” was coined in 1938 after the British play “Gas Light.” The play is centered around a man’s deceit and trickery to drive the his wife insane and steal from her. The word came from the man in the play changing the intensity of the gas lights in the house while the wife was alone, leading to her going crazy. Gaslighting, as defined by Oxford Languages, is manipulation using psychological methods to question one’s sanity or power of reasoning. The act promotes confusion and doubt about one’s feelings. As Webster’s 2022 word of the year, its impact on society in recent years has been heavy.

So where is the line?

Affirmations, when used effectively, can be a powerful tool to challenge negativity and boost self-worth. They have the potential to empower and support individuals by fostering confidence and a growth mindset. By acknowledging reality and highlighting positive aspects or potential for improvement in the situation, affirmations can help you overcome your 5K for the Jaguars charity run jitters. For instance, you might say, “I may feel nervous about my 5K for the Jaguars charity run, but I am a capable runner who has prepared for this situation.”

Gaslighting is a psychological technique used to manipulate people into questioning their reality or perception. It focuses on creating a false reality by denying or twisting events.

Gaslighting can erode self-esteem and create confusion. It makes the victim doubt their memory and sanity. For example, it can be seen as, “You’re imagining things; I never said that to you,” when in a previous conversation, the event did take place. Two things about it can be accurate simultaneously: It creates the belief that something is true when it isn’t and that something is false when it is true.

In some cases, an affirmation can be used to deny clear evidence, problems or limitations that can cause them to be an unhelpful tool. Saying “I am a perfect replacement for the Jaguars” may not be helpful if you’ve never played football, turning it into a negative affirmation. It is not a magical tool to erase anxieties. Affirmations must be realistic. An effective affirmation focuses on acknowledging challenges but focuses on progress.

Affirmations are a form of truth. Positive thinking can be a proper motivation to achieve something attainable, whereas gaslighting is a false belief that you can achieve something unattainable. For example, I am a 6-foot tall 200-pound male who believes he can be the world’s fastest horse jockey. The problem is that a horse jockey is a foot shorter and a hundred pounds lighter. An affirmation for this example would be that I am a 5-foot-tall man who has been around a horse his whole life, weighs 120 pounds and believes he can become the fastest horse jockey of his time. This is both achievable and attainable. Another factor to focus on is the action before or following the affirmations. Instead of just saying, “I am a good public speaker,” consider affirmations like “I will practice my presentation out loud three times before class” or “I will maintain eye contact with the audience and speak clearly.”

While the relationship between the two is like walking on a tightrope, gaslighting isn’t something to take lightly. Affirmations are a tool for self-improvement, while gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse.

Always remember to be mindful of your inner voice. If affirmations are your chosen method, be careful not to set unrealistic expectations. Start small with affirmations like “I love myself” or “The world needs what I have to offer.” Be patient with yourself as you build this practice. If you suspect gaslighting, it’s crucial to identify the issue and permit yourself to feel your emotions. Remember, you’re not alone in this journey. Talk to a trusted friend or seek professional help from a therapist.

By understanding the power of affirmations and the dangers of gaslighting, you can cultivate a positive inner voice that empowers you to reach your full potential.


Riding the Wave of Shopping Sustainable and Eco-Friendly

Summer is right around the corner and it’s time to finally ditch that old ratty bikini and trade it in for something better — for you and the environment.

It’s always a mission to find a swimsuit that’s both durable and easy on the wallet — every girl’s dilemma. With high-end brands charging a fortune for a bikini and the dark side of fast fashion wreaking havoc on our planet, it’s tough to navigate. That’s why when local businesses start rolling out eco-friendly, sustainable and affordable swimwear options, it’s time to jump on board.

Choosing eco-friendly, sustainable swimwear isn’t just about following trends; it’s about aligning our values with our actions. By opting for swimwear made from recycled materials or produced ethically, we’re making a statement about what matters to us. It’s a way of saying we care about the health of our planet and the well-being of those who make our clothes. With each purchase, we’re not just buying a piece of clothing; we’re investing in a better future — one where our oceans are cleaner, our communities are supported, and our impact on the environment is minimized. So when we slip into that eco-friendly swimsuit, we’re not just making a fashion statement; we’re making a conscious choice to swim in style while doing our part for the planet.

Among the limited local brands that truly catch attention stands Noelani The Label. Based right here in Jacksonville, Noelani represents a local, sustainable, eco-friendly, and budget-friendly bikini line. Every thread of this brand is the creation of Kyla Noelani, who serves as its founder, owner, designer, seamstress and everything in between. Launching her venture right out of high school in 2019, Noelani was driven by frustration shared by many toward the subpar quality of available bathing suits.

“It’s all handmade by me. I just love bikinis, I love fashion and I love sewing. So I kind of combine that all into my little business,” Noelani shared. “I was getting bikinis from Target and Shein, and I just never liked how they felt on me and how they fit. And then when I started learning about how it’s made, the materials and the labor, you know, it’s kind of questionable.”

Noelani discovered her passion for sewing during her middle school years, initially finding joy in it as a simple hobby. However, it wasn’t until she explored the fashion industry, particularly the bikini sector and witnessed the staggering amount of waste it generated, that she felt inspired to take matters into her own hands. Balancing the creation of a fully eco-friendly, sustainable swimsuit line alongside staying abreast of trends is undeniably challenging. It requires extensive research to ascertain whether materials are ethically sourced and environmentally friendly.

“I figured I would just do it myself. Simple,” Noelani explained. “I started learning about sustainability and how much waste fashion produces.

So it’s kind of a hard compromise, wanting to try new styles and trends and then also trying to balance that with being sustainable.”

One crucial aspect Noelani prioritizes in her brand is minimizing waste that could accumulate during manufacturing. That’s why every item crafted by Noelani is made to order, ensuring that no excess material is left behind, thus reducing the risk of it ending up in landfills. When it comes to the actual material used — all regenerated material. Plastics, carpets, fishing nets, and water bottles are all gathered and transformed into a type of yarn, which is then repurposed into a new fabric. Or she uses deadstock fabric.

“Sometimes brands have extra fabric that they never end up using to produce their items. So they’ll have like hundreds of yards extra of fabric just like wasted,” Noelani explained. “And so sometimes I come in and buy some. Then I’m able to turn that into something new, whereas it either would have been sitting in a warehouse forever or they would have just thrown it away.”

Noelani’s bikinis offer added value with their reversible designs, essentially giving you two swimsuits for the price of one. Instead of sticking to plain solid colors, Noelani prefers vibrant hues and eye-catching patterns, drawing inspiration from the iconic swimsuits of the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s.

“So I always try to have kind of more timeless and like vintage-inspired, the 90s florals, plaids and gingham,” Noelani explained. “I like to create things that I can see people wearing for decades, not just something that’s a micro trend right now.”

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Recently, there’s been a growing spotlight on Arcane Swim, another local swimwear line renowned for its eco-friendly, ethical and sustainable practices. The attention it’s garnered is completely warranted — here’s why.

Arcane Swim’s fabric, crafted with biodegradable materials, is manufactured by garment workers represented by IndustriALL Global Union, a force for better working conditions and trade union rights worldwide. The brand ensures carbon-neutral shipping and employs compostable packaging, supporting projects like the Cambodian Water Purification Project through EcoCart. Partnering with One Tree Planted, Arcane Swim plants a tree for every purchase, contributing to global reforestation efforts. They offer a range of second-hand and vintage clothing at affordable prices to promote sustainable living. Committed to slow fashion, Arcane prioritizes quality and fair treatment of workers, avoiding rushed production. They educate consumers about sustainable practices and textiles, advocating for a kinder approach to the environment. Their fabric, OEKO-TEX 100 Certified, boasts CO2 control technology for environmentally friendly production and UV protection. The Light (CO2), a circular knitted fabric made with biodegradable nylon, decomposes rapidly, exemplifying Arcane’s dedication to eco-conscious innovation.

The women behind it all?

“Lulie” Mayo.

“I came up with the idea for Arcane back in 2016, but it wasn’t until a few years later that we really got things going. It took a lot of research, figuring out how to start a business and testing out tons of fabric swatches to find the right materials. Finally, in the spring of 2019, we were able to launch our first collection,” Mayo shared. “After we launched, we didn’t even get our first order until two or three days later. But within two weeks, we completely sold out of the collection.”

In an effort to reduce waste in production and packaging, Arcane Swim implements several important measures. They prioritize shipping all products in biodegradable mailers, ensuring customers feel good about the eco-friendly delivery of their swimwear. Through a partnership with EcoCart, they offset carbon emissions from shipping, making all shipments net zero and lessening their environmental impact. This collaboration also supports The Cambodian Water Purification Act, contributing to global sustainability efforts.

Arcane also ships tagless and often includes a metal ring as a “tag” for hanging suits on towel racks after handwashing, enhancing sustainability throughout the customer experience.

“We’re all about sustainability. We’re guided by the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), focusing on areas like climate action, responsible consumption and production, and gender equality,” Mayo added. “This means that every swimsuit we make is not just stylish — it’s also helping the planet and supporting social causes. We’re also part of the Fashion Revolution movement, which is all about making fashion transparent, sustainable and ethical. It’s about changing the way we think about clothes from how they’re made to how we wear them. By partnering with Fashion Revolution, we’re working to create a fashion industry that’s better for everyone.”

In high school, Mayo dove into the world of retail at a Jacksonville Beach surf shop, where tasks ranged from handling shipments to arranging products. This hands-on experience shed light on a couple of things: the limited inclusivity in sizing and modeling, the questionable ethics of some big-name brands and the over-priced products. Immersed in Jax Beach’s swimwear scene, Mayo realized that when she eventually started her own swim line, she wanted to do things differently… And she did.

“Creating and maintaining an eco-friendly swimwear brand comes with its challenges, but I think something I’ve recognized and see not only in Arcane but other brands as well is that sustainability is a privileged conversation. Some people can’t afford to be more sustainable because eco-friendly products are often more expensive with higher cost usually due to the better quality of the products and the fair wages paid to workers,” Mayo shared. “But here’s the thing: just because you might not have the budget for it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to make sustainable choices. We believe it’s our job as the company to make sustainable products that are accessible to everyone, regardless of their budget. We want to make it easier for you to find products that not only make you feel good but also help the planet. Finding the balance between affordability and sustainability is tough, but as we grow and learn more about running a business, scaling up and sustainability, we’re getting closer to finding our footing.”


Residing in a beach town, it’s crucial for our community to play a role in enhancing the environment and preserving our oceans. And if bikinis aren’t your thing, fret not. “Folio” recently chatted with the owner of Eco Eclectic, a fresh zero-waste shop that recently opened its doors on the corner of Third Street and Eighth Avenue in Jacksonville Beach.

Sara Fagen’s frustration peaked during her beach strolls, witnessing heaps of trash tarnishing our dunes. Determined to make a difference, she launched a shop focused on zero-waste refills with eco-friendly products at the core. Initially, Fagen operated her shop out of local farmers markets across the beach area. Since 2020, she’s spent her weeks scouting eco-friendly alternatives for everyday essentials like laundry detergents, dish soaps, shampoos and conditioners. Additionally, she sources recycled plastics, tins, glassware and other containers for refills available at her booth — now her store.

“I live on the beach, and I was seeing all this trash, so I was like, oh, what is a way that I can change this by having different products?” Fagen explained. “There wasn’t anyone local that I supported, so I was kind of like, oh crap. I have to do this myself. And then from the farmers market, it grew into the store.”

When Fagen isn’t tending to her newly established brickand-mortar store, which opened its doors in October of last year, she’s immersed in her role as a research scientist at Mayo Clinic, focusing on drug discovery — a subject close to her heart. While her primary focus lies within her store’s refill center, she also utilizes the space to champion other local vendors committed to sustainability and eco-friendliness. Within her store, Fagen hosts numerous vendors who align with her sustainability ethos, switching plastics for clay and opting for local vintage shops like Keeks Vintage over fast fashion outlets. Recycled or used books and old vinyl records find new homes instead of ending up in landfills, while spots for brands like Arcane Swim can add to the eclectic mix. Eco Eclectic hosts a monthly clothing swap as well, offering a sustainable alternative to discarding old clothes by facilitating exchanges among customers, ensuring a continuous cycle of secondhand garments being exchanged rather than languishing in landfills. Whatever does not find a home that day will either end up back on the rack or will be donated to Mission House or Salvation Army.

“We kind of wanted to inspire people to start wherever they are, whether it’s coming in to buy a plant and then they’re like, ‘Oh, we could go refill things,’”Fagen explained. “If they’re not on board with that, but they like to get thrifted clothes, we have that option too. There are so many ways to be eco-friendly, and we kind of want to be the gateway, the entry point, to all of that.”

Everything inside of Eco Eclectic is sourced locally funneling money back into our city while also being conscious of the effects the products might have on the environment.

“We try to get as local as possible,” Fagen said. “Handmade ideally. We also look for women-owned and minority-owned companies. And then for things like the refills, are we able to send those back and refill them? If not, can we recycle or reuse those containers? Are they even natural products? Are they biodegradable? We’re so close to the ocean, and these things are going down the drain. So we look for natural biodegradable ingredients while supporting local vendors.”

Sustainable shopping has often been associated with higher costs, justified by the quality of products. While this holds true, Fagen at Eco Eclectic believes in making ethical and sustainable shopping accessible to her community. As a result, her prices are unbeatable, prioritizing affordability without compromising on sustainability.

“Plastic bottle and waste reduction has been through the roof,” Fagen shared. “People bring in the same containers to refill products, which is amazing. We track how many bottles we’re saving. We want to be a hub for that and support those people that are doing cool, sustainable efforts in the community.”

The journey toward sustainable living and eco-conscious consumption is not only attainable but also essential for the well-being of our planet. We see that small changes can make a big difference. By supporting businesses that prioritize sustainability, we can contribute to a healthier environment and create a brighter future for generations to come. So whether it’s choosing eco-friendly swimwear or shopping at zero-waste stores, take proactive steps toward a more sustainable lifestyle — our planet will thank you.

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A statement that will forever grind my gears: “There’s nothing to do in Jacksonville.”

My face immediately morphs into this deadpan expression and my eye starts to twitch whenever I hear this.

As a native of Jacksonville, I have not only have I seen this city grow tremendously, but I have connected with so many pioneers who are doing the work to improve this place we call home, instigating a chain reaction that has produced projects of passion, infrastructure constructed from love and events that speak to the ethos of Jacksonville.

My own integration into the local art space has been healing for the soul. As I begin to see the tangible manifestation of a fire lit by a manifold of beings who wish to see their community thrive, their servitude yields a beacon of light that illuminates ambitions — not only as an inhabitant — but as an artist and devotee to the cause in ways that make me feel emboldened.

A testament to this power of light comes from the creation of Wine Down Wednesday, a monthly event curated by five individuals who delight in the pursuit of showcasing local artists and their gifts while curating an atmosphere that also appeals to their attendees.

I had the opportunity to sit down with the Wine Down Wednesday crew composed of Dr. Dominique Tull (aka Dr. Dominique), Khalliah Bryant, DJ Larry Love, Yung OG Rawby, and Will Morgan (aka “The Vagabond”) in a candid conversation surrounding culture, family and art.

I recall my first time seeing the promotion for Wine Down Wednesday. It was constantly being reposted by my friends and mutuals with familiar names announced as a part of the line-up each month; it was something I knew I needed to pay a visit to. I was determined to be a witness so I seized my best friend and forced her to drive me to Murray Hill and hobbled my way into Vagabond Coffee — crutches and all — to be in that audience.

I saw old and new faces alike and was met with the most contagious energy from strangers who passed by. This coffee shop by day turned into a dwelling of solace that night, complemented by idiosyncratic performances, a gallery of inner perspective and community connection.

From entering and seeing the visual art, musicians and the surprise treat of getting to hear a cypher to vendors and food services supplied by Chef Anderson, owner of feedtheville — and of course wine — I began to see the reason for all the fanfare. All five of my senses were certainly tantalized.

The event is organized to highlight an alternative vantage point of Black art, an immense subculture that is frequently limited due to media portrayal and nescience. It often emanates as dogmatism, which can result as a hindrance to many Black creatives when trying to emerge into new spaces. I’ve talked about this in a previous article, but the myopic labeling often precedes us, when in fact it’s just a fallacious ideal.

The architects behind Wine Down Wednesday come to challenge these limitations — and not for fame or profit — but the genuine longing to see artists succeed, analogous to a garden that cultivates an environment necessary for flourishment.

“A big part of my mission as a human and with Wine Down Is to help infuse the culture in the city and to make sure the culture remains in the city as it grows,” Dr. Dominique said. “Being from Nashville I was able to see it become completely gentrified. The city I had known changed in the blink of an eye.”

As this event welcomes the entire community and inspires affinity, it doesn’t disregard the importance of the preservation of Black ethnology and the desire to share it with other distinct cultures.

“Vagabond was created to be a place for something like Wine Down, to be a place that facilitates community, culture, love and light,” said Will Morgan (a.k.a. The Vagabond), owner of The Vagabond Coffee Co. and Vagabond Flea Market. “I was invited into my friend’s culture, and I was able to present my home, to create a space where there was a deficit for the kind of event we do here in Jacksonville.”

Ward began his coffee ventures over eight years ago with amazing success since. Alongside his brand, which has been stamped onto the hearts of many Jacksonville residents, the blood of an artist still streamed through his veins, making the cosmic collaboration between the bunch so organic.

“When you have the same spirit and energy, nothing matters,” Ward added and quickly opened the doors to his shop to host the first Wine Down Wednesday — and many more to follow.

“We’re curating a space for creatives to get back out there or level up on their craft.” chimed in Bryant, who serves as the event’s graphic designer alongside her husband Dr. Dominique.

Art is embosomed by the pair with both embracing their own artistic skill sets. Bryant coined her own self-expression as the art of communication aside from her graphic designer title, using her career as a marriage and family therapist to integrate her skill sets beyond the office.

“When I first got into this sphere of the art world, I was like I don’t fit in anywhere, but the more I worked with Wine Down and came out to different events, I realized the art is in community and I do fit into this,” Bryant said. “Wine Down is the physical manifestation of good community relationships that are practiced in a healthy way.”

Dr. Dominique has established his role of scouting artists for each event. This occurs outside of his profession as a physical therapist. Through various avenues such as Influence Crew, the Ritz Theatre & Musuem, CoRK Arts District and various exhibits, he is able to round up creative wonders event after event.

“I’m just being a fan and over time you get to know the artists and now we’re constantly on the search for talent but there’s so much talent in the city that it’s easy to find,” he added.

Dr. Dominique served as the initial link between the creator of Wine Down Wednesday, Yung OG Rawby and Ward. Dr. Dominique and Yung OG Rawby initially crossed paths in college and then reconnected sometime later at The Walrus in Murray Hill where Yung OG Rawby was performing. After expression from Yung OG Rawby about his concept of Wine Down Wednesday, Dr. Dominique recognized a parallel spirit between Yung OG Rawby and Ward and introduced the pair. They instantly hit it off, forming a bond that is certainly evident.


DJ Larry Love who is also a part of the local rap collective L.O.V.E. Culture offered his talents to Yung OG Rawby when he caught wind of the event. His presence blended seamlessly into the fold.

“Wine Down was so important for me as a DJ because a lot of people see me mostly in clubs or certain events, but I’m a creative and I like working with the artists,” explained DJ Larry Love. “You have a lot of DJs who won’t mess with artists, but if we want our city to grow and our people to shine, our job as DJs is to do that.”

As this combined mind continued to host their monthly expos, the buzz surrounding this Hump Day affair grew. Spectators and artists began to anticipate the next installment. Wine Down Wednesday was revealing itself as all that was hoped for.

I can confidently say that their reputation truly precedes itself. While the art is stellar and the music is *chefs kiss*, it all would be null and void if the energy that flows throughout that place wasn’t on par. As someone with social anxiety, entering uncharted territory is extremely nerveracking and the last thing I want to encounter is cold shoulders and judgment. However, I walked through the threshold and instantly was met with smiles and greetings prompting immediate reassurance — midweek relief I didn’t even know I needed following the constant hustle and bustle of life.

FInding a place to decompress with authentic fellowship, I realized that fire was burning bright again.

“Wine brings people together in a certain kind of way. When you have wine, the right music and a beautiful space, it’s going to bring the right people and vibrations,” DJ Larry Love said.

While the libations are greatly appreciated, the sheer ability to spark rapport with individuals you may never otherwisecross paths with — due to daily quests or the distance that partitions us — envelops the divide, facilitating the efforts needed to unify.

As Young OG Rawby explained, “Coming back here and falling back in love with my city as an adult, I realized it’s a huge need for events like this. I’ve always wanted to see my city come together on a creative tip.”

Ward agreed. “The heart of [Wine Down] is representing the true culture of our city. Jacksonville is a beautiful city with people from all types of races, and it’s ridiculous to me how little representation there is. There’s all types of performers and artists and we’re doing our best to highlight something that hasn’t had its day in the sun, and we’re bringing it to light, so everyone has to look at it!”

But this is just the beginning of the Renaissance. Creative resurgence is here – it’s always been – but it’s needed somewhere safe to blossom. What the minds behind these events in the city are doing is way bigger than merely creating clout but encouraging rebirth and revival.

“It’s the time of the creative to build this city to what it’s supposed to be. Providing a beautiful space for people to come and bring their art to the world,” said DJ Larry Love.

And Ward chimed in: “One of my bucket-list dreams is for one of the people

“After Wine Down started, there were other spaces that were similar or akin to what we created or inspired by [us]. It’s better for me to go to these places and support them because these places need to be fostered! Collaboration really is the key,” young og rawby added.

who’s performed to literally blow up. I don’t care if they ever mention Wine Down because we will know that we’re completing our goal.”

The sincerity these people lead with is invigorating. The elation they emote as they talk about the joy of irrigating a system that promotes and lifts artists who warrant notice or those who need a boost of assurance exemplifies their character.

“Overtime we’re putting more people into that spotlight and limelight which is the ultimate goal,” Young OG Rawby said.

The group recounted moments when various artists were aptly compensated for their craft, with no prior expectations — with the sole objective of sharing their work — communal belief and support contributed to furthering concepts and confirming their worth.

“As an artist when you have someone say ‘oh that’s a cool idea’ it’s like a kiss on the mouth because to have the validation of something you feel as though is a representation of your creativity is really cool, and you can see people getting motivated and encouraged and growing because maybe no one’s seen their art before.” The Vagabond said. “It’s cool to have a stranger go ‘That’s rad, let me get that.’”

With Wine Down Wednesday’s first birthday approaching, everyone began to reflect on their first year of success. Major strides were made that they should all pride themselves on. My expectations for this next year are high, too, as I now know the capabilities that each possesses, and the talent hanging in the back pockets of so many unearthed talents in this city.

Now, don’t ever let that phrase, that starts with “There’s nothing to do …“ come out of your mouth again. Go support local art, develop relationships, drink some wine and take a load off. Wine Down Wednesday can serve as your monthly escape to be transported into an oasis of melodies, art and community.

Now, an exclusive tidbit for you if you made it all the way to the end … a festival is coming …

You can now be on the lookout for a Food and Wine festival from the creators of Wine Down Wednesday. Infusing music, food, and wine – three elements that come together to elevate your experience. To stay up to date on future dates and locations for Wine Down Wednesday and the upcoming festival you can follow their Instagram page @winedownwednesdayjax.

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Your unique life, planned. Understanding what people are passionate about is how we help them plan for what’s most important. Backed by sophisticated resources, a Raymond James financial advisor gets to know you and everything that makes your life uniquely complex. That’s Life Well Planned. Art aficionados. Real estate developers. Urban revitalizers. © 2024 Raymond James & Associates, Inc., member New York Stock Exchange/SIPC. 24-BDMKT-6351 KS 2/24 Will Shepard, MIB, AIF®, AAMS® Financial Advisor 245 Riverside Ave, Suite 500 Jacksonville, FL 32202 D 904.248.5438 O 04.858.4100


“Positivity is much harder to achieve than negativity,” said Ashley Lombardo, a previous inpatient.

The precipice of self-destruction is a teetering point of known and unknown emotions. The chilling certainty that this is the end, a yearning to escape the relentless cascade of pain and despair. Lost in a labyrinth of questions, wondering how or why you arrived at this crossroads. Was it the lingering torment of a father’s absence, the heartache of a lost love or the relentless pressure to be the perfect daughter? Or was the sudden upheaval of a global pandemic that shattered the world, turning everything you knew and cherished upside down?

Depression envelops a person in a cloak of hopelessness, a suffocating weight that renders words inadequate to express the depths of the despair. Therapy, acupuncture, medication, even the pursuit of religion — seeking solace in every outlet — yet nothing seems to subdue the anguish. In this moment of desperation, the mind grows hazy, the familiar world receding into a distant blur.

Looking back, I recall recounting my suicidal thoughts as a joke, and it never crossed anyone’s mind to take it seriously. Mentally ill individuals possess a knack for concealing their inner turmoil, presenting themselves as jokers, masking a troubled soul. Self-deflecting humor, often rooted in trauma, serves as one of our most effective coping mechanisms. I attempted to seek help. However, the global pandemic at the time obscured my efforts. I was at a crossroads.

Seeking help at the Behavior Health Center in my hometown was a life-saving decision; however, not everyone’s experience is the same. Some are pushed aside or dehumanized. In my case, family and friends with a normal mental state deemed it a “waste of money.” The stigma surrounding mental illness suggests that in a moment of crisis, anything else would be better than spending thousands to focus on mental health. The inability to respect it the same way we do physical illness creates the illusion that one’s emotional and psychological struggles are merely a matter of personal weakness or lack of willpower. According to the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, 31% of Americans have worried about judgment and 21% have lied to avoid telling people they were seeking mental health services. That same survey found that 29% of Americans have wanted but did not seek mental health treatment, citing reasons such as not knowing where to go. These statistics underscore the need to address the stigma surrounding mental health and encourage people to seek help when they need it.

Eighteen is the first year you feel like an adult until you are Baker acted at that same age and find yourself in the adult wing. I never felt smaller. It was here that I wished I was still a kid. I feel like a guppy in a sea full of sharks.

The stereotypical imagery of psychiatric wards — sterile white walls, eerie corridors and vacant rooms — is a trope that has permeated popular culture. These depictions invoke a sense of uneasiness and dread, yet an undeniable calmness pours throughout the space. While the hushed whispers of the past echo through these halls, the screams of those who still battle their inner demons add a haunting melody to the atmosphere. It is a discordant symphony of pain and hope, a reminder of the fragility of the human mind. At the same time, the screams of those who came before reverberate off the walls like a discordant symphony.

Three pale walls with a light pink hue stood in my room, while the fourth wall was an odd shade of mint green. The two beds resembled the mats I used in preschool with twin frames raised off the cold floor. I chose the bed with mint accents, seeking comfort amidst the unsettling surroundings. An old ropes course stood outside the window, stripped to its bare wooden frame. It hinted at a time when this place had been more vibrant.

The bathroom “door” was painted with a beautiful monarch butterfly covering most of its surface. I use the term “door” loosely, as it was more like a cardboard panel attached to a hinge and fastened with Velcro when closed. To the left were two light switches, one red and the other the usual white. My anxiety that the red switch was a fire alarm or some sort of alarm prevented me from turning on the light for the first day and a half. The room was surprisingly warm, starkly contrasting with the icy chill that permeated the rest of the wing. It reminded me of a dorm room with two desks, a standalone sink and shelves for clothes. Safety precautions were evident throughout the room. There was no metal, all surfaces were rounded, and everything was firmly bolted to the ground. The fire sprinklers remained dormant in the ceiling, ready to activate in case of a fire.

The concept of time began to slip away during my stay. A single clock adorned the wall above the nurse’s station, but I opted to gauge the passage of time by the sun’s position outside my window. I sought answers to the question reverberating through my mind: were the days dragging along like a reluctant snail or hurling forward like a relentless river? For my sake, I prayed for the latter.

As the day continued, I watched shadows dance beneath my door, their rhythmic sway a constant in this unsettling environment. Outside my room, a lady cried on and off. I have since learned her name is Mary. In some moments, she would replace her cries with songs. It was a beautiful melody in the otherwise silent corridors; I wanted so badly to join her. Mary’s fragile state took a swift turn, and her song was replaced by fear and paranoia. She was convinced the building was destined for destruction to which the nurse responded, “That’s not appropriate.”

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As the evening progressed, an older gentleman emerged from his room, his face crimson in anger. He launched into a tirade, complaining about his lost pencil before directing a string of insults at Mary. His voice echoed through the hallway, the word “nut house” stinging like a physical blow before his war ended with a swift slam of his door. Mary’s cries resumed the following afternoon, her voice shaking in a desperate plea to be reunited with her home. I felt a surge of empathy for her, recognizing my fears in the reflection of her anguish. The overwhelming dread of my fellow residents and my anxieties conspired to keep me confined in my room, sleep eluding me for most of that first night.

I met Randall in those sleepless moments, a colorful character who became a constant presence during my stay. Brought in by the police on my first night, Randall exuded an air of confidence that seemed unsuitable to the somber atmosphere of the ward. Our first encounter occurred that very night. As I ventured out, I found Randall engaged in animated conversation with a few nurses. He invited me into the discussion without hesitation and even attempted to teach me a two-second self-defense move.

Randall’s sleep patterns were as erratic as his personality. He abruptly woke up at 2 a.m. and 5:20 a.m., disrupting the tranquility of the night with his constant request for the time. The nurses, seemingly used to his nocturnal habits, would remind him, “It’s too early. Please go back to your room. Everyone is asleep, and we need to be quiet.”

Randall’s tales were exuberant; every interaction was a new, outlandish story about his life. He amused me with stories of his two millionaire girlfriends and his side piece, boasting about his lavish lifestyle, which included piling crack on top of his weed and embarking on hours-long trips. His anecdotes were a welcomed distraction from the grim reality of our surroundings.

The following day, we headed to the cafeteria for breakfast. The food was typical hospital fare — bland and uninspired. Apple juice became my saving grace. It was served in little pudding-like cups, sealed with foil. On my first day, the nurse thoughtfully provided me with three cups, which I discreetly tucked away in my room. I spent the rest of the morning in the common room, waiting for my meeting with the psychiatrist and social worker. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, visitors were prohibited, but payphone-like phones were available in the common areas for contacting loved ones.

Looking back, I encountered a cast of intriguing characters in the common room. One patient recounted his unconventional wedding ceremony, involving the exchange of Cheetos rings instead of traditional vows. Another, convinced that I was a drug user, engaged in an odd flirtation by boasting about his extensive drug history and inviting me to visit him in his car when we got out. Yet another, while munching on pretzels, regaled us with tales of his ad -

venturous wedding crashing escapades, which invariably involved impressive splits. And then there was the man who arrived later that evening. He inexplicably began comparing me to his Indian wife, subjecting me to uncomfortable stares and persistent shadowing for the rest of the day. I also faced a barrage of sexually suggestive comments from several male patients, who dismissed their inappropriate remarks as mere jokes. The common room, while offering a temporary escape from the confines of my room, proved to be a microcosm of the ward’s diverse and sometimes troubling population. The interactions I had with these individuals, though often unsettling, provided a glimpse into the complex and frequently challenging realities of mental health. The nurses in the wing became my guardian angels. When one of the patients took it too far, one would interject and change their focus to something else.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, “U.S. psychiatric facilities have largely focused on minimizing restraints and preventing suicide … occurring at a rate of three per 100,000 inpatient psychiatric admissions. Far less attention has been paid to sexual violence in this setting, which happens much more frequently.” In one study, only 39% of inpatients who experienced sexual misconduct informed staff. The fear of shame, being dismissed and dismissal due to the perpetrator’s mental state have been identified as reasons for the lack of reporting.

Joseph was my first real friend in the ward. Our paths crossed during our initial group therapy sessions, and from the outset, he exuded a calming presence and a genuine willingness to connect. He encouraged me to inscribe the word “everything” on my mirror, a simple act that served as a poignant reminder of the vast possibilities ahead. With unwavering conviction, he asserted that change, though often daunting, represented a pivotal step toward personal growth and healing. Joseph’s words resonated deeply with me. He eloquently captured the suffocating grip of anxiety, likening it to a constricting belt around one’s chest, rendering it difficult to draw breath. His life story, a tapestry woven with hardship and resilience, unfolded gradually over our shared time in the ward. His every utterance bore the weight of lived experience; his voice was infused with a depth of understanding that transcended his years.

Despite his struggles, Joseph generously offered me invaluable advice on how to navigate the complex relationship with my estranged biological father. His guidance proved instrumental, leading to the initiation of family therapy sessions involving my father, his wife and me. He also urged me to prioritize my self-esteem, a journey that continues to unfold. Joseph imparted wisdom that he wished he had possessed in his younger years. A series of devastating blows had marred his life: his father’s abandonment at the tender age of 11, the untimely passing of his younger sister and a subsequent nine-year incarceration. Despite the scars etched upon his soul, he carried himself with an unwavering spirit, determined to reclaim his life.



The last thing he said to me before he left the facility was, “Someone cares.” They were simple yet profound, a beacon of hope amidst the darkness that had engulfed me. His belief in my inherent worth was a powerful affirmation, propelling me on my journey of healing and self-discovery.

After 38 long hours, the day had arrived when I was to commence my Lexapro journey. Beginning with a modest 5 mg dose, I was immediately besieged with the fatigue and disorientation that often accompany new medication regimens. The stigma surrounding mental health treatment usually paints a picture of institutions hastily prescribing drugs that further exacerbate the patient’s condition. Fear gripped me as I contemplated the potential consequences of this medication, envisioning myself perpetually drained and my mental state deteriorating. The first day unfolded in a haze of naps and periods of mental fog as my body adjusted to the influx of new chemicals. The fatigue, while uncomfortable, was a testament to the drug’s active engagement with my system, signaling a shift toward healing. I was thankful that the nurses, with their characteristic empathy, understood my apprehensions and granted me ample space to process the effects of the medication.

The National Institute of Mental Health concluded that anxiety disorder, mood disorders, substance use disorders, eating disorders and personality disorders are common conditions in which an individual would seek treatment in a facility. Anxiety, affecting over 300 million people, often begins in young adulthood, and mood disorders like depression which impact 21 million adults in the US alone. Substance use disorders, with over 275 million cases globally, often begin in adolescence, as do eating disorders, which affect 30 million people in their lifetime.

These numbers highlight the importance of mental health awareness and access to resources for all.

The following day, I found myself drawn to the common room, seeking solace in the company of fellow patients. The flickering screen of a television playing “Supernatural” provided a comforting distraction while conversations flowed effortlessly around me. Donna, a fellow patient, opened up about her fears surrounding an impending heart surgery, sharing how her repeated postponements

When I shared my previous dream of owning a hotel, Kerry Anne offered encouragement, suggesting I start with an Airbnb as a stepping stone toward my ultimate goal. Her belief in my potential fueled my determination to pursue my aspirations.

The once-vacant bed in my room was now occupied by a mother, her youthful appearance suggesting an age no older than 35. Her ebony curls cascaded gracefully down her shoulders, framing a face adorned with delicate glasses that rested perfectly upon her nose. She had chosen to be there, driven by a profound desire to improve herself for the sake of her family. Despite her inner turmoil, her beauty shone through, captivating me with its quiet strength.

had led to her admission to the ward. Her longing for her beloved dog was palpable, a testament to the unbreakable bond between humans and their furry companions.

Personality disorders, affecting around 10% of the adult population worldwide, can also impact anyone regardless of age, gender or background.

Kerry Anne, another patient, captivated me with her resilience despite her struggles with lupus, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Her pain, both mental and physical, was evident, yet her spirit remained unbroken. We spent the day engaged in deep conversations, forging an unexpected connection amidst the challenges we faced.

The tremble in her hands and the redness that stained her eyes betrayed the fear that gnawed at her heart. I could empathize with her apprehension, as my anxieties concerning the unfamiliar environment of the mental hospital still lingered. We were two kindred spirits, bound by the shared experience of seeking solace and healing within these walls.

The morning of my last day brought an encounter with Courtney, a young woman whose journey to recovery had taken an unexpected detour. Initially destined for a rehabilitation facility, she found herself in the unfamiliar confines of the psychiatric ward due to unforeseen circumstances. Her frustration was profound, and rightfully so. She vehemently expressed her concerns about the ward’s lack of resources to support her detoxification process adequately. The fact that she was far from home, having traveled to this city based on positive reviews of the rehabilitation facility, only amplified her sense of displacement and fear.

Though raw and unfiltered, Courtney’s anger was merely a facade masking the deep-seated pain she carried.

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The scars etched upon her skin spoke volumes, silently narrating a story of struggle and resilience. Her presence served as a poignant reminder of the complexities of addiction and the multifaceted challenges faced by those seeking to break free from its clutches.

The echo of that hospital stay still lingers. It wasn’t easy, but it was a turning point. The diagnoses of Persistent Depression Disorder, Panic Disorder and Generalized Anxiety felt heavy, but they also provided a path forward. My last session there was a beacon of hope — my doctor set me up with a therapist and psychiatrist at a local non-profit. Under their guidance, I embraced therapy, each session chipping away at the shadows of fear and doubt. Moving to Jacksonville for college was another milestone, though therapy remained a vital anchor for nearly a year.

Today, the medication I still take is a constant reminder of the journey. My once 5 mg dose has slowly grown to 20 mg, a testament to the ever-shifting landscape of my mental health. It’s a tool I use with gratitude, even as I dream of a future without its constant presence. The growth I’ve experienced since that hospital stay is immense. I’ve developed coping mechanisms that shield me from panic attacks, built stronger relationships that support me through tough times, and discovered a newfound confidence in myself.

Admittedly, the roadblocks in the mental health field are real, especially the struggle with insurance coverage. Five-minute psychiatrist appointments can cost upwards of $200, a burden that weighs heavy. But I refuse to let these obstacles dim my hope. I’m actively exploring alternative treatments and monitoring my dosage closely, inching closer to a future where medication feels more like a gentle nudge than a constant necessity. I know the road ahead won’t be easy, but with every step, I move closer to the person I’m meant to be.

Everyone thought I was writing a book and was utterly fascinated by the idea. I learned quickly that everyone there lies in one way or another. I still believe they all just wanted to be seen in one form or another. Donna even suggested I self-publish a memoir of my time here. Well, Donna, here it is, my love.

Resources for mental health:

Behavioral Health:

Here Tomorrow:

Mental Health Resource Center:

NAMI Jacksonville:

Veterans Affairs:


Weird Wild Stuff

April Fools’ Day will have come and gone by the time you read this. We deliberately waited to file this column until afterwards, just in case anything interesting came up on that particular day. And that is exactly what happened. So, in lieu of the usual smorgasbord of shenanigans, to which we shall return next week, let’s binge on the rampant creativity of our fellow folks.

Most media outlets and regular runes on social media seem to agree that the world has gone so crazy in recent years that April Fools’ Day seems almost redundant. There is a noticeable decline in what had long been one of the great traditions in American media. Without fail, every single outlet fell well short of their usual AFD standards, except our pal Jana “Earth” Angel of River City Live, who struggled to announce the sudden departure of co-host Rance Adams. She struggled, that is, because she was lying, which comes much less easy to her than it does to, say, everyone on CNN.

Rosetta Stone and Fluent announced a new translation app designed specifically for stoners, which would’ve been very useful for researching Folio Weed. The name, of course, is Rosetta Stoned, and you know we’d be mighty perturbed to see such a fantastic pun bypassed. Likewise, infant supply firm BabyQuip announced a similar product marketed to parents who want to converse with their babies. These two fake technologies would, if used together, surely result in tremendous content.

(By the way, the Florida Supreme Court approved the ballot initiative for what will henceforth be known as Amendment 3, which will fully legalize recreational marijuana. But the fateful ruling happened on April 1, so many folks thought it was a joke, because usually they just do whatever stupid, hateful bullshit the governor tells them to do. But it’s true!)

The Lids sportswear company announced their new 59fifty collection of nobrim baseball caps, which is dumb because the brim is the most important part of the hat.

The website WWF Old School announced that disgraced former WWE chairman Vince McMahon will be returning to the company he founded, just in time for WrestleMania XL, which of course came and went with nary a mention of him, because he will never be seen or even mentioned on WWE programming ever again. Until he dies, at least, and probably not even then.

Social media influencer and shockingly proficient pro-wrestler Logan Paul unveiled a new flavor of his Prime Energy, which is so good that you should

drink it, even if you hate him — and if you do hate him, we totally understand. The new fake flavor is “fried chicken”, but it’s really no more ridiculous that some of these weird novelty sodas that turn stomachs across the internet. Speaking of which 7-11, in collab with Miracle Seltzer, announced the release of their newest flavor: hot dog water with ketchup and mustard. It sounds terrible, but very real versions of this can be found online from other brands. Also, Pringle announced a collab with OLIPOP to release a Sour Cream & Onion flavored soda, which is truly no worse than similar products that were really introduced by Doritos and even Peeps. Even Moe’s, such normally sensible folks, announced the release (in every sense of the word) of their new Queso Slush, which is just evil.

Speaking of food, Dole announced a new banana peel sleeping bag, made from real banana fibers. It’s shocking that this isn’t already a real product!

Scientists at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium announced the discovery of “Elephas manatus,” a species of manatee previously thought extinct. “This unique species is a descendent of the elephant, with retained elephant-like features such as tusks and large flapping ears. This mammal descended from a group of common ancestors known as Tethytheria. These early hoofed mammals lived during the early Cenozoic age.” They, being scientists, were able to lie so skilfully that most people took that nonsense at face value, so they had to circle back to make sure we weren’t taking them seriously. Of, course, as Floridians, we never take scientists seriously.

For our money, nobody does pranks as well as the police, especially when they have a warrant. The Brook Park Police Department in Ohio, announced the formation of its all-feline unit — which, if you know cats, is surely the dumbest idea of all the ones listed here.

Here’s something similar, that is actually real: Our beloved Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp are known for their monthly “Forever Vets Animal Hospital Canines and Crustaceans (Dog Day)” at 121 Financial Ballpark, which is truly a thing to behold, verily. (The next one is on Sunday, April 21.) They’re doubling down this season by adding a new feature, “Purr in the Park.” How does that work? We do not know, but we are here for all of it.

Also, Donald Trump is selling personalized Bibles to help raise money to either pay off court costs or to run for president, maybe both. If you don’t think that’s funny (which we certainly do), it’s probably because this is actually real!


When I first started my internship at “Folio,” I felt like a fool. After I was accepted into the program, my thoughts quickly turned from excitement to doubt. Despite being well qualified and having a loaded portfolio in my pocket, I felt as if I had somehow tricked my way into the role. I thought they just made a mistake and they’re going to figure it out quickly. Still, I pushed through and wrote my first few articles, feeling the uncertainty and desperation through the screen with each sentence I wrote. After they were published I thought “OK, you got lucky this time, but it won’t last.” Month after month, meeting after meeting, article after article, I prepared to be caught like the fraud I feel like. Here I am eight months later still writing, still feeling uncertain. No matter the amount of praise, positive feedback or support I receive, my brain convinces itself that I’m a phony, and everyone will see right through me; it’s only a matter of time. That’s imposter syndrome.

Imposter syndrome is the tendency to discount or diminish obvious signs of our success, and it’s a common feeling, especially in an online age of exposure to everyone else’s success. Just by scrolling on LinkedIn, we may find ourselves taking other people’s accomplishments as evidence for our own self-perceived incompetence. Through social media, especially, we’ve evolved to compare our lives, success and happiness to other people, in our circle or not. As a result, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to celebrate or even recognize our own achievements because there’s always something to be done better, quicker and more effortlessly. There are several types of imposter syndrome and how it affects someone, but most commonly it refers to the psychological experience of feeling like a fake or a phony despite any

genuine success that you have achieved, according to an article on the website Verywell Mind. The term was first used by psychologists Suzanne Imes and Pauline Rose Clance in their 1978 book, ‘The Imposter Phenomenon in High Achieving Women” after Clance discovered how many of her students, primarily female, shared these feelings of inadequacy and fraudulence. Since then the term has only grown in popularity among both men and women from a wide range of backgrounds and professional fields.

According to the Imposter Syndrome Institute (ISI), 75% of executive women say they’ve experienced imposter syndrome, 80% of CEOs feel out of their depth in their role and 84% of entrepreneurs and small business owners report having a similar experience. Though it’s not technically a clinical diagnosis, it’s been observed across populations and disciplines through research studies.

According to the National Cancer Institute, a systematic review of 62 studies evaluated prevalence of imposter syndrome, indicating rates as high as 56% to 82% in graduate students, college students, nurses, medical students and other professions. From entry-level professionals to successful business owners to top dog executives, this feeling of being a fake or a phony is widespread. Michelle Obama even admitted to sharing these feelings of imposter syndrome during her talk at an all-girls school in North London in 2018. Surely, that’s comforting.

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The term is commonly associated with gender as conversations focus around women primarily experiencing imposter syndrome. Anyone can experience these feelings, but it’s well established in research literature and in a number of large scale studies that there’s a significant difference in how men and women perceive and exhibit confidence in the workplace. Women have an inverse relationship with confidence and competence, explained psychologist Tracy Alloway. In women, our competence is typically high, but our confidence is lower when we compare ourselves to our male counterparts, who tend to have higher levels of confidence regardless of where their competence falls.

In addition to being a licensed psychologist, Alloway is an author and professor at the University of North Florida who has focused her work primarily on the brain and how we make decisions. She explained that imposter syndrome is a stress mechanism to which people respond differently to. As women, our default in the workplace is to underplay our competence, and as a result, we adopt a lower sense of self-confidence. Broadly speaking, men tend to adopt a fight or flight response to criticism as a defensive approach, whereas for women, the general stress response is tend or befriend, meaning we’re more likely to seek social support and reassurance from others in response to stress and criticism.

She recently conducted a study looking specifically at imposter syndrome among women in the workplace. With over 300 female participants across different industries, job titles and demographics, Alloway’s study found age to be a significant factor in how much an individual experiences imposter syndrome.

“Interestingly, we found this slope, where the younger the individual, or the female, in the workplace, the higher the incidence of impostor syndrome was,” she said.

Her study found very different mechanisms in the workplace that can contribute to imposter syndrome based on age. Among the 18-34 population, their perceived stress was the biggest predictor for their sense of imposter syndrome. Alloway clarified that objective stress is distinctive from perceived stress, where levels are dependent upon an individual and how they respond or perceive a stressful situation. She pointed out, however, that the idea of perceived stress can be empowering because if you can learn how to reframe the way you approach stress in the workplace, you can learn to manage it in a healthier way. In the 35-44 age bracket, stress was an important indicator, but this group also heavily looks to workplace support and whether they feel they have access to supportive resources as a predictor for such feelings. In the older population, Alloway explained, it was their sense of social connectedness to other employees in the workplace that best indicated their levels of imposter syndrome.

Gender aside, identity as a whole typically plays a role in someone’s level of imposter syndrome. In the context of race, people may feel like an imposter in a work environment as a result of their attributes. In a podcast from The Anxious Achiever with Morra Aarons-Mele and psychologist Lisa Orbé-Austin, they discuss the correlation between minorities who experience imposter syndrome and discrimination-based depression. Orbé-Austin explains that if someone faces microaggressions in the workplace related to their identity, it can serve as a catalyst for feelings of isolation, like they may not be cut out for their job or perhaps feeling like they only got the job because of their identity and not their qualifications. It could also be that they don’t feel represented in their environment among coworkers or top-level positions, so they may feel inadequate or out of place.


The way someone experiences imposter syndrome is partially dependent on their perception of what it means to be competent, according to Valerie Young. Since co-founding ISI in 1983, Young has led the way in providing information and tools to organizations and individuals on this phenomenon. Her book, “The Secrets Thoughts of Successful Women,’” dives into her decades of research and studies on why capable people (men and women) suffer from imposter syndrome and how to thrive in spite of it. In an article by Young on ISI’s website, she writes, “People who feel like impostors hold themselves to an unrealistic and unsustainable standard of competence, falling short of this standard evokes shame.” However, not all people experience failure-shame the same way because they don’t all define or perceive competence the same. Young has determined these different types of competencies, or imposter syndrome, in five unique categories.

The Perfectionist focuses on the quality of the work to the point of perfection. One minor flaw or shortcoming results in feelings of failure and shame. They believe that unless they were absolutely perfect, they could have done better.

The Expert focuses on what or how much they know or can do. They measure competency in quantity and can feel like an imposter if they don’t know everything there is to know about a subject or haven’t mastered every step in a process. Because they expect it of themself to know everything, any lack of knowledge results in failure.

The Soloist believes a task needs to be completed on their own and to need help is a sign of failure and consequently, shame. Because they couldn’t reach success on their own, they question their own capabilities.

The Natural Genius measures success by the ease and speed of completing a task. If they have to struggle to master a skill or can’t quickly complete a task on the first try, they may feel like a fraud simply because they don’t believe they’re naturally intelligent enough.

The Superhuman believes they must be the hardest worker or reach the highest achievement possible, or else they’ve failed. They base competency on how many roles or tasks they can juggle and excel in, including in their job, as a parent, friend, student, etc. Falling short in any role results in feelings of shame.


Alloway emphasized that imposter syndrome does feed into a bit of anxiety, but the question isn’t whether it’s good or bad, but is it healthy or harmful?

A healthy dose of imposter syndrome can encourage us to continue growing and challenging ourselves in the workplace, she explained. But it becomes harmful when it’s crippling or paralyzing to the point where we don’t seek promotions and opportunities or speak up to share our ideas because this idea of imposter syndrome is keeping us from doing so. It can be difficult to acknowledge that what’s holding you back is all in your head, but Alloway said it’s important to have insight into our own mechanisms and drivers. For example, if a promotion comes up at work and you decide not to go for it, consider what’s truly driving that decision.

You recognize that while impostor syndrome, or that self doubt, may be one of the factors influencing your decision for promotion, it’s not a major factor,” she said. “Conversely, if you recognize ‘Hey, this is a job I’ve always wanted; this is a job I know I can do’ and you feel you have the competence to do it, but that self doubt is affecting your confidence.”


A large part of managing or healing these feelings is in how you choose to let it affect you. If you give into these thoughts and let them take control over your choices and actions, you give them the power to overcome your life. The average human brain generates roughly 6,000 thoughts per day, and some studies have found that at least more than half are negative. Our brains are powerful, especially in the weight of our thoughts and how they affect self-perception. Because of negativity bias, we’re more inclined to dwell on negative thoughts and allow negative situations to affect our psychological state more than positive ones. When you combine that tendency with an over-saturation of social media and a comparative outlook on life, it’s no wonder why people experience imposter syndrome. But, by picking apart that equation, we can start to recognize triggers and begin to learn how to respond.

Though it’s a personal experience, it’s important to consider that systems also play a significant part, according to the American Psychology Association (APA). On the other side of what Alloway found regarding people needing access to a support system in the workplace, there are ways that employers and companies can foster success among their employees, especially in underrepresented groups. This can look like hiring and promoting people with underrepresented identities, increasing access to internal support resources and creating an overall safe, supportive work environment.

On an individual level, Alloway suggested a tip that can almost reverse engineer our sense of self-doubt by making our bodies trick our brains into feeling confident. She called it power posing, where you stand up straight and tall, hands on your hips, chin up and shoulders back like Superman or Wonder Woman. Typically, our brain communicates to our body how we should act; if your brain is feeling nervous and intimidated, your body will respond to that by slouching, making itself look small or you’ll engage in self-soothing behaviors like nail-biting or fidgeting.

“But we can reverse engineer it by having your body tell your brain ‘Hey, look at me, I’m standing upright, my shoulders are back, I’m standing in a very confident posture’,” Alloway said. “It’s almost like you’re tricking your brain into feeling confident.”

The APA lists several tips for dealing with imposter syndrome, including sharing your feelings, fears and failures with others. Opening communication, especially with coworkers or people in your similar position, helps break down the wall of insecurity and can invite others to relate to your experience. They also suggest letting go of perfectionism and learning to cultivate self-compassion. Adjusting your standards to be more reasonable helps lower the fear of failure; resist the urge to see your failure as exposure, according to the APA. Finally, celebrate your successes — allow yourself to be proud of your achievements. By celebrating the small things, you can learn to redirect your thoughts and responses when you’re faced with a challenge. Push through the negative thoughts, especially when facing new opportunities, and when you come out the other end — because you always have before — be proud. Take your accomplishments as evidence of your strength, not your ability to “fake it” because you’re not. In your inevitable failures, find room for growth, not corroboration for what your brain is trying to convince you of. Remind yourself of the things you have done, and if you’ve made it this far, you can certainly keep going.

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Scotty Bayer’s Christmas present to himself was a new speaker, which he first deployed while playing at Bold City Brewery Downtown on Friday night, the 12th of January. He’d been double-booked at the original location on Rosselle Street in Riverside, so they sent him over to Bay Street for a couple hours. I happened to be there already, having work-week wind-down beers with the great Gary Sass (whom you may sometimes see dressed as Andrew Jackson as he leads walking tours of Downtown) and a rotating cast of creators, several of whom are guitarists themselves. Bayer’s presence proved salubrious, for sure.

It was my first time seeing him perform in about a year, and I was impressed to see how much he’d raised his game, in terms of both performance and presentation. I’ve known Bayer for about 15 years, long before he began to really pursue his trade in earnest. Back then, he was just one of the many talented young people in the audience at our friends’ shows around town, but he was one of the tallest and, thus, easier to spot. Now he’s the one on stage, and it suits him.

More people are seeing him now, in fact, than ever before because the man is all over the place. He’ll be playing the Cinco de Maibock Festival at the Grace Note on May 5, the Ocala Oddities Market on May 17, Bold City Brewery Riverside on May 31 and the Green Turtle in Fernandina on June 8, in addition to a dozen or so other venues he plays regularly with more coming almost weekly.

The singer-songwriter scene in this city is dense with talent and diverse with perspectives, so there’s plenty of room for young players who, extending the sports metaphor, want to get their reps in, and Bayer’s been seizing that opportunity. He spoke with “Folio” recently via email.

Folio: How long have you been playing music?

Bayer: I’ve been playing ever since I was a little kid. My dad is a musician and played in a band when I was growing up .... There was always music playing around the house. Lots of The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and other classics. I remember really liking it as a kid. I started learning to play the ukulele when I was in third grade but wasn’t very good and got really frustrated at first, but I kept at it and got better eventually.

As I got older and my hands got big enough (probably around late elementary school/early middle school), my dad started teaching me how to play guitar and picked it up fairly quickly. I didn’t really get into singing ’til about six or seven years ago. I’ve always played bass, guitar or drums in local bands doing original stuff. Mostly punk, metal, hardcore and heavy rock bands. Although I did do some backup vocals, I just wasn’t really in the spotlight then and didn’t really have a desire to be. About six or seven years ago I saw Soundgarden live and was just blown away watching Chris Cornell sing like he did and was really inspired to want to be more of a singer/frontman but didn’t really have a band, so I just picked up the acoustic guitar and started writing songs and learning covers. I spent a lot of time working on my voice, learning songs and writing some and started really enjoying doing it.

Folio: How has your career progressed since those early days?

Bayer: It’s been a journey. A very humbling yet rewarding process doing the solo acoustic thing around town. At first I wasn’t very well received at lots of the places I played at because what I did was a little too niche. I played mostly ’90s grunge covers and a lot of B-side Chris Cornell solo stuff, and a lot of people didn’t connect with the music at first. As I’ve been expanding my repertoire, I’ve been finding a good middle ground with playing a lot of the ’90s and early 2000s alternative rock, mixed with some classics from the ’70s and ’80s that I grew up listening to, and have been experiencing much more success with that. It’s just a totally different playing field when you’re used to playing original music, but I’ve learned a lot just from getting out there and doing it. Feels like my hard work and what I’ve learned from my past experiences, good and bad, are starting to pay off now.

Folio: How many songs do you have in your current repertoire? And do you have recordings available?

Bayer: Probably about 40 or 50 now, but I’ve been making a point to learn at least one or two new songs a week, so it’s constantly growing.

I have lots of recordings on my SoundCloud. Mostly live but have been recording and getting videos of songs on my live performances that I’ve been posting more of on my Instagram and Facebook. If you want to keep up with where I’m playing next and see some clips of my live performances, those are the best places to find that.

Folio: Who are some of your favorite local artists?

Bayer: I always enjoy going up to the jam night at the Southern Grill on Monday and Wednesday night. I enjoy jamming with Shane Platten, Brandon Howell and John Parkerurban. There’s lots to list here, but some of my favorites are Shaun and Kristen doing their acoustic duo thing. Elise Berlin has an incredible voice and is an amazing musician. Megan MacKenzie has a very powerful emotional voice and writes some great songs. Leroy Copeland writes some cool songs, does some great covers, and I always enjoy watching his full-band, multi-camera videos that he does of him playing every instrument and ripping some great solos on the guitar. Oh, and Tori Nance is crazy talented, writes some really awesome stuff and puts on a great show. My dad and his friend Natalie have an acoustic duo thing they do called Tom and Natalie that’s really good. They play really well together and do some great harmonies.

Folio: Anything else you’d like to add?

Bayer: I’d like to give a special thanks to Will Frazier and the Miller family at Bold City Brewery. I owe a lot of my success to them for consistently booking me and providing me with a place to perform and get more experience playing live giving me the opportunity to try out new songs.

For more information on Bayer and upcoming dates, visit



The implications of yet another TikTok trend

In hindsight, the signs were always there. The quiet rage and rebellion, the natural aversion to pink, the color bestowed on all women before we are even born. And yes, I would say that I’m like a pretty emotional person … and so what?

It wasn’t until another TikTok trend stumbled on my, and every other girl’s ‘For You Page’, that I realized I’m not the only one who struggles with finding a relatable phrase that resonates with the many awkward experiences.

I’m just a girl.

Not to brag but I would be lying if I said that was the first time I heard and related to the saying. The first time I heard the phrase was in No Doubt’s “Just A Girl.” I know, a classic. But the song sings of a very different (but still relevant) experience of being a girl than what the TikTok trend highlights.

Let’s just take a quick look at the chorus from the feminist anthem: “’Cause I’m just a girl, I’d rather not be, ’Cause they won’t let me drive late at night.

Oh, I’m just a girl, guess I’m some kind of frea. ’Cause they all sit and stare with their eyes.

Oh, I’m just a girl, take a good look at me, Just your typical prototype”

Whereas No Doubt singer Gwen Stefani highlighted the not-so-fun aspect of being a girl (i.e., not being able to go on walks at night alone, having to wear

modest clothes or risk having old men stare at you like you’re some kind of zoo animal, etc.), the TikTok trend uses the phrase “I’m Just a Girl” to emphasize some of the common experiences all women share.

For example, accidentally hit a curb on a tight turn? … I’m just a girl. …. Slept with your ex-boyfriend? … I’m just a girl. Needing the GPS to get to the gas station that is literally around the corner from my house, sorry, I’m just a girl.

And while the trend is popular for its ability to be an umbrella term for what girls go through … is it all that innocent? Is it another term that diminishes and belittles the struggles women go through? Or is it simply that relatable?

Don’t get me wrong, I say “I’m just a girl” pretty consistently. There’s just something about those four words that flow off the tongue in both depressing and joyful moments. But just because most girls and I have been hyper-fixated on the phrase doesn’t mean there isn’t anything wrong with it.

Now, hear me out, is “I’m just a girl” similar to “boys will be boys”? Obviously, I wanna say no. Boys will be boys is a popular idiom that has been used for generations that excuses (not all) men’s tendency to be aggressive and improper. A phrase that in recent years has been canceled because toxic masculinity doesn’t deserve a platform. Still, “boys will be boys” excuses bad behavior…doesn’t “I’m just a girl” do the same thing? Just some food for thought. And “I’m just a girl” isn’t the first trending TikTok phrase that focuses on girls’ experiences. It is also not the first to be questioned.

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Just take a look at “girl math” and “girl dinner.” The former makes it seem as though women don’t know how to do basic math rather than its intended purpose of making a joke of women’s shopping tendencies. Same thing with “girl dinner,’ which which we covered in a recent issue. The trend brought to light women’s unhealthy eating tendencies and tried to make it relatable rather than emphasizing that almonds and Cheetos are not a meal.

It’s harmful to internalize any message that says women are “just” anything. And in the same context, it is just as harmful to put any gender in a box and constrain them to “just” being something.

This leads me to another popular phrase gaining traction on TikTok. It’s not just girls that get to have all the fun (see what I did there). Let me introduce you to “I’m him.” The phrase is increasingly being used by the male population to highlight their strengths or for a guy to hype himself up (i.e., moving up in liftable weights at the gym). Just made a touchdown and got the winning point? I’m him. Meal prepped for the week? I’m him.

Now, clearly I don’t know much about men seeing as though the only examples I used are in some way related to sports and gym memberships, so I don’t want to give the wrong impression and say that there is anything inherently wrong with that. As mentioned before, toxic masculinity is very prevalent in our society and has dire effects on young men across the globe. Any chance to highlight your strengths is, dare I say, a strong thing to do.

But (I’m going to say something a bit controversial here) why does “I’m him” highlight positive experiences, while “I’m just a girl” seems to highlight negative experiences? “I’m him” carries a sense of definitiveness and power whereas the “just” in “I’m just a girl’ implies that you’re a fixed idea. Again, just some food for thought.

The reality is that two things can be true at once. Yes, “I’m just a girl” can be seen as a light-hearted joke, but it can also be registered as a trend that highlights the self-deprecation of female intelligence. You’re not ‘just him’, ‘just a girl’ or even ‘just them’, you’re so much more. And it seems that I’m not the only one who caught on to the deprecation of the joke. Trends on any app tend to die out quickly (blame it on our short attention spans) or they evolve. Hence, “‘I’m just a girl’ So close! You’re actually…” and “‘I’m him’ So close! You’re actually…”.

Boys and girls took this trend one step further by saying things like “‘I’m just a girl’ so close bestie! You’re actually the reason I believe in genuine close female friendships in my 20s” or (one I was sent) “‘I’m just a girl’ so close! You’re the reason why going to work is tolerable because our shenanigans are the highlight of my day in the midst of late-stage capitalism that is trying to completely crush our spirits”. Naturally, there’s two sides to any story and boys took use of the adaptation of the trend to say things like “‘I’m just a girl’ so close but actually you’re the reason that I don’t just drink for fun anymore” or “‘I’m just a girl’ so close you’re actually the reason I question people’s intentions behind every action”. Definitely questionable but girls retaliated by changing up the “I’m him” trend, saying things like “‘I’m him’ so close! You’re actually the reason I can’t tell if someone actually wants to be with me or is leading me on”. I think you get the point.

While there may be some internalized damage from these trends, if you take it too personal, there is also a very real portrayal of boys and girls’ camaraderie and vulnerability. Any microtrend, good or bad, is a learning opportunity.



CARMEN: We’ve all been there. Some more recently than others. Don’t you wish there was a book that tells you exactly what to do after a breakup?

AMBAR: Or a book that tells you exactly what not to do? Yeah, well, us too.

CARMEN: For starters, when your ex says they want to go no contact… maybe go no contact, yeah?

AMBAR: When they say they need space, they aren’t talking about UFOs and stars. They quite literally mean detachment … from you. Harsh, I know.

CARMEN: So, without further adieu, here is your official, unofficial book on what not to do during a breakup. We have the credentials needed, don’t worry.

AMBAR: Do. Not. Text. Them. Do not call them. In fact, unfollow them on all social media apps.

CARMEN: It may seem a bit aggressive to unfollow or even block an ex on social media, especially if the relationship didn’t end hostile. But believe me, there is no reason you need to stay updated on your ex. You will drive your self mad checking their stories, followers and following list. Take it from me. I knew the second my ex followed someone new and could find them in .05 seconds. Did absolutely nothing good for my mental stability.

AMBAR: Exactly. Not only are you doing this for yourself, but they lose a fol lower and look like a loser.

CARMEN: Out of sight out of mind.

AMBAR: Running it back to no contact, it is super important, especially at the beginning of a break-up, to go no contact. Think of it as an addiction — you need to sweat it out for a couple of weeks to break it.

CARMEN: It will suck like nothing has ever sucked before. But after the first month, you will stop needing to scratch the itch of talking to them. It’ll lessen every day.

AMBAR: As they say, no pain no gain.

CARMEN: So, DO NOT BREAK NO CONTACT. Leave them alone. Your drunk texting and calling every weekend is only ruining your image.

36 Folio Weekly
JME PRESENTS LIVE ON THE WJC T APRIL 27 | 6PM Join us for a live all-local panel discussion about the state of jazz both locally and nationally, with a live performance by Ulysses and friends. Doors open at 6PM MORE INFO & TICKETS AT JAXMUSIC .ORG HOSTED BY Keanna Faircloth and Ulysses Owens, Jr. AN EVENING CELEBRATING JAZZ APPRECIATION MONTH THROUGH DISCUSSION & MUSIC LIVE EVENT SCAN HERE JAZZ BEYOND TRADITION SUNDAYS AT 7PM ON WJCT NEWS 89.9 & 10AM on The Independent 89.9 HD4 RADIO SHOW

AMBAR: Don’t post sad quotes to your stories. Don’t post Taylor Swift lyrics. Don’t all of a sudden have a huge social media presence if you hardly had one while dating because guess what? They will see right through it. They will know you are doing it for them and them only. And guess what again? That’s embarrassing.

CARMEN: We are moving in silence. There is NOTHING an ex hates more than having to guess what you are up to. No stories for a month, no posts, no sad song lyrics. Nothing. For all they know you are out having the time of your life. They do NOT need to know you are rotting away in bed watching “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” for the 15th time. Go radio silent and then pop up in a month or two thriving in Italy.

AMBAR: Don’t tell them how they hurt you. They already know.

CARMEN: You are beating a dead horse by trying to make them see how badly you are hurt. They don’t care. It changes nothing.

AMBAR: Don’t sign up for a dating app just to see if they are on said dating app. I’m looking at you, Carmen.

CARMEN: A short lapse of judgment. I said I had the credentials, didn’t I? Do as I say, not as I do.

AMBAR: Under no circumstances should you try to make them jealous. Do NOT reach out to their friends to find out which bar they are going to be at that night to orchestrate a silly little run-in. Again, looking directly at you, Carmen. If you are going on dates, there is no need to post about it. The best way to get at an ex is for them to hear it by word of mouth.

CARMEN: I can’t help it if THEY text ME. Again, do as I say, not as I do.

AMBAR: If this wasn’t a no-brainer … unshare your location and stop following them. It will do you no good stalking their every movement. You are not in the FBI.

CARMEN: If you suspect they may be moving on with someone new, do not start stalking the new victim. You will look insane, and it’ll only be a fun new inside joke between the two of them.

AMBAR: Essentially, you are a ghost. You cannot be found. You changed your name, got a new hairstyle and are living in Alaska.

TERESA: Good advice, ladies, but one more thing. No matter what they say or do, even if it’s a sad sob story about how much they miss you — especially if it’s a late-night call/invite where they might be intoxicated and are asking for some conversation only — it’s a trick. It’s really just a booty call, no doubt. So never, ever, ever meet them for a casual hook-up after the breakup. That’s giving them cake and literally letting them eat it too. “ NO CAKE FOR YOU” is the rule for getting over the breakup too.



Annabella suffered a meniscus tear but thanks to Injury Care Centers & our Biotarget Therapy she was back on the field in only 3 weeks.

dear dumbs

Dear Dumbs,

My mom listens to your show, and I’d like to get an answer from you.

I’m Stan and I’m 15 years old. I don’t have any brothers or sisters, and I think that’s why my parents are so protective. I’m not allowed to date yet. The rule is not set in stone, but it’s pretty clear that mom and dad don’t think I’m ready.

I have a new friend who has a hot sister who is 14 years old, and I think I love her. I’m sorry for using you to bring this up to my mom, but I don’t know what to do. This isn’t just a little crush, and I want to ask her out sometime.

Thank you, Stan

TERRY: This hands down is my favorite email we’ve ever received. And you have a great old school name.

SHARI: For sure, Stan! Own that name. And you’re damn adorable on so many levels.

TERRY: For such a short email there’s a lot to tell you here. I just don’t know how brutally honest I should be.

SHARI: Stan can handle it.

TERRY: OK. Well, let be try my best to get you some information without crushing your childhood.

SHARI: Look at you being responsible. That’s not the man I married.

TERRY: LOLOL. Let’s take it from the top. Your parents aren’t over protective. I know it feels that way, but what you’re experiencing here is love.

SHARI: You need to remember that your parents were your age, and they just don’t want you to make the same mistakes they did.

TERRY: We don’t have kids, but if we did and read this email, I think my first reaction would be to let the kid experience his first love and his first heartbreak.

SHARI: Yes, there’s definitely a right of passage here.

TERRY: So here comes the truth Stan. You are in love. But it’s a different kind of love than you’ll experience later in life. Enjoy that feeling. But the truth is you won’t remember this girl’s name in 20 years.

SHARI: He’s right, Stan. And she won’t remember your name either. I think you did the right thing by sending this email, and now your parents know it’s time for your first real adult conversation with them.

TERRY: You don’t have to agree with them but really listen to them and try your very best to put yourself in their position.

SHARI : It won’t be easy to see things from their perspective, but try.

TERRY: Together you can find a way to get to know this girl better. Hang out. Have fun and, by all means, don’t be afraid to talk to your parents about every detail.

SHARI: They are good examples of what love is, and they can help you.

TERRY: And please email us again when you’re completely devastated. We will be there for you. You’re a good kid, man.


Solve this puzzle like a regular sudoku, but instead of using numbers, use the letters O-R-T-E-G-A (for the Jax neighborhood) to fill each row, column and box.

41 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 R O R T E T G R E T G A E A
E R T A G O G A O R T E A T E O R G R O G T E A T G A E O R O E R G A T Across 1 Hems, but doesn’t haw 5 Harold’s Meat Market cut 9 Honkers in a gaggle 14 “You can count ___” 15 Gumbo veggie 16 Fibber’s admission 17 Norwegian Cruise Line port city 18 “Woe is me!” 19 Jags receiver Zay 20 Big houses inspired by old English residences in NORMAN STUDIOS? 23 Nametag word 24 Bold City Brewery brew 25 JIA screening org. 28 Big name in ice cream 29 Beneficial 33 Some bank charges 34 T-U tiny type size 35 Slippery 36 Noah’s attention-grabbing cheers in CATTY SHACK RANCH? 41 Ties 42 First Coast News reporter Phillips 43 Enjoy a lobster pot pie at Restaurant Orsay 44 Poet or rapper, e.g. 46 Pester 49 “Dig in!” 50 “Saint,” on Brazil maps 51 Only woman elected to the US Senate from Florida: ___ Hawkins 53 Moored monastery in BONEYARD BEACH? 58 Peptic problem 60 “___ Las Vegas” (Elvis movie) 61 Kind 62 “F” on a quiz 63 UNF’s Coggin College subj. 64 BPOE lodge members 65 Too big for one’s britches? 66 Chess piece 67 Part of R&R Down 1 Comfort 2 Came next 3 Without restraint 4 Justice Pub perch 5 Rich soil 6 Tex. neighbor 7 Persia, today 8 Fernandina Beach’s county 9 Toy soldier 10 Musk of SpaceX 11 ___ Bros. Bagels 12 Observe 13 Some Folio staffers, briefly 21 Difficult spots to play from at TPC Sawgrass 22 Not well 26 Religious offshoot 27 Queries 30 Utter 31 JU frat letter 32 Mayport river crosser 33 TV chef Bobby 34 Retin-A target 35 Mount Everest guide 36 Formally surrender 37 Reebok rival 38 Octopus’ arm 39 Most common Korean surname 40 Browns, on an EverBank Stadium scoreboard 44 “Go team!” 45 US President whose name is on a Lake Okeechobee dike 46 Suitable for marriage 47 “Smart” guys 48 Most merry 50 Rock debris 52 “Li’l” comic strip character 54 Monster’s loch 55 Puerto ___ 56 Rachael Ray vinaigrette acronym 57 Cold and damp 58 ET’s craft 59 UF chem class site S E W S L O I N G E E S E O N I T O K R A I L I E D O S L O A L A S J O N E S T U D O R M A N S I O N S H E L L O A L E T S A E D Y U S E F U L F E E S A G A T E S L I C K C A T C H Y A R K C H A N T S E V E N S R I L E Y D I N E R H Y M E R N A G E A T S A O P A U L A A N C H O R E D A B B E Y U L C E R V I V A N I C E F A L S E E C O N E L K S O B E S E R O O K R E S T


43 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23

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