About waringis.com


jana-headshot-smallHi! Welcome to waringis.com and thank you for taking the time to visit. I started this space as an interviewing site for the City of Orlando and its people back in May 2007. The idea for this blog originated from my innate curiosity to know people’s stories. Although I wasn’t always a writer, nor did I want to be. But my options were limited after becoming paralyzed during a stunt show at Sea World back in November 1998. What I quickly learned was that writing felt a lot like those lonely days of high school when you’re all by yourself, inside your head, arguing with your insecurities and hoping people will like you. So documenting people’s stories became a way to surround myself with people while working on my craft. It also got me my first job as Managing Editor of Wakeboarding Magazine, where I spent three years curating material for teenage boys and also adults who wished to be teenage boys again. It was when I left that position to get a Masters Degree in Liberal Studies at Rollins that this website was born, and eventually a collection of the interviews featured here became my grad school thesis project and a book named Who’s That: Discovering Interviews One Story at a Time.

After grad school, I spent some time freelancing for magazines and volunteering in the community. I co-founded an independent publishing company named Burrow Press (which still exists today under the 501c3 Urban Think Foundation. Go check them out! They do great work!). And then met a handsome fella who convinced me to move across country to Los Angeles, leaving all of our family and friends behind, to pursue big ideas and big dreams together.

SO HERE WE ARE UNIVERSE. LET’S MAKE IT HAPPEN.

The rest of the family: Zola, Riley and Cory.

Over time my blog has evolved to earnest stories about me, my husband, my C5-6 quadriplegic injury, big city living and all its awkward glory. Sharing these stories is much cheaper than going to a therapist, so let my pain be your reading pleasure. And let’s not be weird about, okay? I do enjoy (positive) feedback so feel free to comment, like, share, tweet and send mail. In the case you’re feeling charitable and are looking for PR materials to help me turn into a juggernaut, well then here you go. I need all the help I can get.

Random fun facts to make you feel qualified to wildly promote Jana and her blog:

Fun Fact #1: Depending on your age, you might recall an old 90’s game show on Nickelodeon called GUTS. It was kind of like an American Gladiators for kids with a catchy little theme song that went, “D-d-d–d-do you have it? GUTS!”. Well I was on it twice, once for the half hour show where I won a piece of the glowing Agro Crag with a perfect score, and then a second time for a GUTS All Stars 1-hour long special. My Mom went into a BlockBuster one night and came home with a VHS of my All Stars show, which I thought would be the only proof of this event ever happening. And then the internet was born. Now Jana “Warrior” Waring and my embarrassing teenage angst lives forever thanks to YouTube.

Fun Fact #2: On November 16, 1998 I was paralyzed in front of a live audience during a stunt show at Sea World. No, I wasn’t riding whales (and no Sea World did not award me any money). I was performing as a gymnast in The Intensity Games gymnastics and ski show at Bayside Stadium. You can read the nitty gritty about the awful day here.

Fun Fact #3: I had no idea what I wanted to after becoming paralyzed, but knew I was bored out of my mind and couldn’t continue to sit around and do nothing. So after only missing one semester from my injury (I had just received my AA degree from Florida State University the Spring before), I enrolled in University of Central Florida with a focus in Interpersonal Communications and graduated in 2001. What had lured me to that degree was a Non Verbal Communications class.

Fun Fact #4: When I applied for the job of Managing Editor at Wakeboarding Magazine, I truly thought there was no way I’d get the job. I had established incredible relationships within the community, but it was a male-dominated sport and I had never wakeboarded. So when the Editorial Director brought this fact up in my job interview, I was blunt and firm, thinking I had nothing to lose. “Never having wakeboarded and being a girl is exactly why you should hire me. I’m not trying to be another bro in your mag. I literally can be the eyes and ears of the industry without worrying about ego or what looks cool. I don’t want to be behind the boat or in the images; I want to be in the boat and writing articles and interviews of this incredible group of people who have shown me nothing but love and support during my time of need.” Two weeks later, while at a happy hour, I got the offer for the job. Looking back now I can say I was wildly naive and unprepared to run a magazine, but it was one of the best learning experiences of my life (until it ended tragically with me being dropped while being carried from boat to dock, fracturing both my femurs).

Fun Fact #5: Here is the story of “WaringIs: After I parted ways with the magazine, which felt more like a super messy, sloppy and unpleasant break-up, I no longer had an email address. Wanting to help, a close friend surprised me with a new email address using her AOL account. She had combined my maiden name “Waring” with the word “is” so it would read “waring is at aol dot com.” Since I had nothing to use (and that was back when AOL was hip and cool), I accepted and used it up until 2008.

Then, while I creating and contemplating the name of this blog while car-pooling to class one day, a different friend suggested simply using my email address as the URL address. In her words, “Just use waringis.com. ‘Waring’ represents you and ‘is’ represents what you’re doing. It’s simple. It’s easy. And I doubt anyone will have that domain.” She was right. When I went to search for the domain later that night, it was free. So I bought it and ‘waring is dot com’ was born.

Fun Fact #6: I met the love of my life, Cory Helms, in Thorton Park at a shitty dive bar named Burton’s (a burb of downtown Orlando). Two years later he proposed to me while vacationing in New York City, at Brooklyn Bridge Park, on July 28, 2012 with a toy Tetris ring. On May 2, 2012, we married at the ACE Hotel in Palm Springs, one of our favorite places on Earth.