-Interview and feature by Corynn Rothmann
Gymnast and Gutsy Girl Extraordinaire!
Everything is Possible is an uplifting story for readers of all ages, that tells the story of Jen Bricker, a woman born without legs, who refuses to let anything get in the way. Jen Bricker has a positive attitude unlike any other! She continued to play sports all her life, like basketball, softball, volleyball, and power tumbling! Yes, I said power tumbling! As a former gymnast, I know how hard tumbling is to do with legs, but to tumble without just doesn’t seem possible. But as Bricker and the book title says, “Everything is possible!”
I can tell you, even a simple cartwheel would be extremely hard to coordinate, not to mention a back handspring. The level of upper-body strength you would have to have is crazy. Yet, not only does Jen power tumble, she actually became one of the best in the state of Illinois. And she and her positive attitude didn’t stop there. She went on to become an aerialist, acrobat, and dancer. The level of strength and commitment someone would have to have to do all of those things is crazy, but Jen makes it look easy.
I have been utterly inspired by Jen’s book, and excited and honored to have the amazing opportunity to ask her questions.
Corynn: Throughout your book you showed such a positive attitude, how do you obtain such a positive attitude?
Jen: My positive attitude definitely comes from my faith in God, growing up knowing that I was born on purpose, and for a purpose not by mistake. I would also say I’m just a naturally upbeat, kind of a “cartoonish” person by nature anyway (haha!) and thankfully my parents encouraged my quirkiness and actually loved it! I read my Bible every morning, pray, work out 5 days a week and make sure I get 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night. All of that goes a LONG WAY into making me be and stay positive!
Corynn: What advice would you give to men, women, and children who struggle to accept their differences?
Jen: I think it’s a bit of a de-programming that we have to do to ourselves, getting a new perspective of ourselves, our purpose, our bodies, and really stepping back to see the “bigger picture” and constantly fighting and striving for that, peace, happiness, balance. I think when we step back, things that we’ve made as “mountains” become much smaller in the bigger picture, it allows us to break down the “scary mountains” and realize they’re just little any hills and we can easily overcome. All of us THROUGH our differences is what makes this world so unique and the more unique you are, the more opportunity you have to stand out, shine, and touch more lives.
Corynn: How do you deal with people treating you differently?
Jen: We have a lot more control over how people treat us than we think. For example—if I lived my life, insecure, feeling down, woe is me, people would treat me like that 100%. If I felt awkward with myself, people would feel even more awkward about me not having legs. But if I’m ok, confident, and happy with myself and the way I am, then it puts people at ease and takes away the “sting” to a certain degree. When people treat me differently sometimes I just want to react with an attitude, but that isn’t going to get anyone anywhere, only backwards, and no one wants to go backwards. Those are the real teaching moments, and also, its never actually about me, its about them and where they are in their lives. So I have to sometimes bite the bullet, swallow my pride an remember all of these things I’ve just said and try to respond with kindness not pride or attitude.
Corynn: What has been your favorite experience?
Jen: Wow, there are so many amazing experiences I’ve been blessed to have around the world, it’s hard to narrow down to just one! One of my coolest memories was on Easter of 2013, I was in Dubai to perform my aerial act in a venue that was just opening. All of us “opening performers” were from all around the world and we did an all day safari “experience” way outside the city in the desert. Rode camels, went “bajaing” and drifting through the sand mounds, 4-wheeler riding, belly dancing. Henna tattoos. And at the end of the night we all sat down on the ground at this huge long table and shared a meal together in the middle of the desert on Easter, it was beautifully epic!
Corynn: How does it feel to be such an inspiration to people around the world?
Jen: Yikes! That’s such a big weight to carry! I’m fully aware of it, but I never really see myself as that person! I’m actually really glad I just see myself as “just Jen” from a small, middle of nowhere town, country roots strong, and quirkiness in full swing! It’s a massive responsibility and blessing that I do take very seriously and I make sure that in everything I do, it is fully authentic and truly who I am. It’s a blessing, honor, and privilege to do what I get to do and I am forever grateful and thankful.
Corynn: What was your inspiration for writing a book and how did you go about writing it?
Jen: I’ve known pretty much my whole life I would eventually write a book, I just thought it would come much later in life, kind of in retirement from performing. But God put it strongly on my heart a couple years prior to the release that now was the time to start the book. I was at a place in my life where I was comfortable with opening up about certain things and I just knew the time was right. So I told my management team and we got a literary agent and then a writer, then publishing company and the rest is history!
Jen’s story is not only amazing because of her accomplishments, but because of her attitude throughout every challenge she faces, and and how she meets them head on with her strong faith in Christ. Jen sets an example for us all, that with a little courage, perseverance, and faith everything is truly possible.
Author Jen Bricker is an inspiration to people around the world. She may have been born without legs, but that didn't stop her from living her life to her fullest potential. From a young age she was determined to do things in life that others said was impossible. With the help of her family and friends she was able to achieve her goals. This amazing story is one you can't miss. Read "Everything is Possible" today.
Meet Jen Bricker
Everything is Possible: Finding the Faith and Courage to Follow Your Dreams
By Jen Bricker
Baker Books, Sept. 2016
Nonfiction inspirational, memoir