Editor’s note: This is one in a series of profiles in the Humans of Wausau series, which is funded in part through a grant from the B. A. & Esther Greenheck Foundation. Follow the Humans of Wausau Facebook page here.

By Kelli Oligney for Wausau Pilot and Review

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Jessie Wiertella, 35

Q: What are some of your hobbies?

A: They include time with family and friends, car shows, crafts (when I’m up to it), going on adventures with my dad and pin up contests. I’ve been doing them since 2016 – I’ve always dressed vintage and started doing them because of the love of pin up and decided they might help with my anxiety and stage fright. After my first one, I was hooked. The women that I’ve met and the people who attend have become family and it makes me feel confident and happy. It’s an awesome time.

How many pinup competitions have you participated in?

This year, I can say, I’ve only participated in one. Otherwise, I participate anywhere up to six and it’s all over the state and sometimes into Illinois or Minnesota.

Awesome. Knowing that you have Fibromyalgia, can you explain what it is?

Yeah, I’m going to get technical on you. Fibromyalgia, according to Mayo Clinic, is “a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory, and mood issues. Researchers believe Fibromyalgia amplifies pain sensations by affecting the way the brain processes pain signals.” That is the medical definition, but everyone I have met and talked to that has Fibromyalgia – their definitions vary. It’s very different for everyone who has it and this is one reason why it can be difficult to treat and diagnose. I do not remember the exact date I was diagnosed.

My mom has Fibromyalgia.

My mom does too. It runs in the family. It took a long time for her to get it figured out. She had to go to Mayo Clinic and finally, they figured it out.

How have your Fibromyalgia symptoms been with being pregnant?

I’m not able to be on anything for medications for Fibromyalgia. I’ve had normal flare ups – they haven’t lasted as long. Some things in pregnancy have been harder. Such as the swelling and dealing with the pain because you can’t take anything for it. Otherwise, it’s basically the same.

What are some struggles you face in everyday life with Fibromyalgia?

It seems strange to say, but everyday is different. Some days, I can barely get out of bed and wearing clothing is even very painful. I don’t sleep well due to the pain and being uncomfortable so most mornings are hard. If I do any kind of activity during the day, I have to take several breaks and that’s all with the knowledge that after the activity, I will be in more pain and totally exhausted. Making plans is hard because I don’t know how I’ll feel and keeping them is hard because I need to know my limitations on certain things.

What was the hardest age for you growing up and why?

It would be middle school. I went to a Lutheran School – the school is amazing, but I got bullied horrendously and I have learning disabilities. I have ADD, ADHD, and Dyslexia so growing up with those in a smaller school was difficult. I’d come home everyday crying.

Was it because of how everyone treated you?

Yeah, and learning was so difficult and such a challenge for me. I felt like such a failure because I didn’t know how to process information. It didn’t click with me until high school – when I was able to teach myself how to learn and how to study.

What is one of the most memorable moments of your life?

I’d have to narrow it down to four moments. Two of them were when my nephews were born. They are my heart and soul and I love them to death. They are amazing and give me hope for the future. They give me hope there’s going to be kindness and love. The other two are when I found out I was pregnant and when I found out my brother and sister-in-law were pregnant. We are really looking forward to the little rascals coming and growing our family.

What is a lesson you have learned in life?

You can’t let negativity rule your life. You have to be positive and don’t let the past dictate your future. Obviously, look to the past for lessons, but don’t let what happened in the past make you scared of what could happen in the future.

What motivates you each day?

My family and now, being pregnant, this little guy. With Fibromyalgia, it comes with a lot of challenges so I also have depression and anxiety. With all those things, it makes it more difficult so I would definitely say my family.

What’s your favorite quote and why?

“Be a star and poke a hole of light in someone else’s darkness.” I don’t know who said it, but I believe the world needs more happiness and positivity. Just finding a reason to have somebody else smile and to go out of your way to make them smile, brighten their day, and change their whole outlook.

What’s a hidden talent that you have?

Oh my goodness. I have no idea.

Everybody has one.

I can keep my hand on a flat surface and completely turn it around in a 360.

Prove it.

I’ll have to stand up for this. (She proved it)

Jessie Wiertella: Photo by Kelli Oligney

That’s fantastic! If you had to give advice to anyone, what would it be?

Be kind to yourself. Be kind to your family, your friends, and strangers. The world needs more kindness. Pick up garbage. Help an animal out.