Look for the Lessons

Guys, I used to HATE hugs.


I mean, to the point that I would cringe so hard it was almost impossible to hug me. My whole body would recoil involuntarily. I’d been hurt so much that physical touch was painful and scary to me.


Sexual abuse as a child, followed by many other assaults growing up had taken their toll. Neglect, abandonment, and emotional abuse broke me. I didn’t feel safe and protected in my home, where most people learn safety, love, and boundaries. I learned that being polite trumped boundaries, which is why the assaults continued. I have always been a strong person in many ways and most often presented myself as such, so people around me misunderstood that I was able to protect myself. The truth is, I crumbled when I was in an uncomfortable situation. (Take note if you read the story about Aziz Ansari and thought the girl was to blame. There’s always more to the story than you know.)


Don’t misunderstand, I am no victim, but you can only navigate life based on what you’ve been shown until you learn better. We don’t magically know all the answers. We have to be curious enough to find them. When we face adversity, we must learn to acknowledge that it’s there because there is a lesson you NEED. Don’t look at your problem and say “this always happens to me” or “this is unfair.” This problem is there to shape you. Look for the lesson. If you don’t, the shitty thing will keep happening over and over until you grasp the lesson. I know from experience, dude. (Billy Madison reference, because these things pop in my head at inappropriate times...and I love that.)


Things have changed so much in the last few years. I’ve done A LOT of work to heal from my experiences. I’ve been presented with challenges that forced me to learn and grow by leaps and bounds. I’m a different person with those close to me...and new people too, actually. I regularly tell people I love them. I love hugs! I have clearer boundaries. Now, I’m not saying I’m perfect or “done,” because we never are. There’s always more to learn. I stumble. I backpedal. But I know what I have to do now and I don’t stay stuck.


In fact, in a very ironic moment, one of my lessons smacked me in the face, AS I WAS FINISHING THIS POST. (You can’t make this shit up, folks.) I had no idea there was still a lesson left in this past experience, until it was literally walking right toward me. In the past, I probably would have just been stressed about the problem and not realized within 5 minutes that it’s ok. It’s just a lesson that I still need to take in. So, I’ll just be over here learning from this fun, little surprise that popped into my life unexpectedly. Please feel free to learn from yours. If you can’t find the lesson, hit me up and I’ll help you navigate.


xoxo,

Jen

The Magic of Starting Over

I’ve started over a few times. Moved far away from home. Left jobs. Left a 10 year relationship. And in the most recent example below, was displaced after a mentally abusive relationship. It was hard. It was scary. But I am so thankful for where it has led me.


A little over a year ago, I started over...again. I was sitting in the middle of the pieces of a bed frame alternating between feeling intense agony and extreme hope. Sobbing on the floor, then picked up by a TED Talk about, you guessed it, starting over. Broken-hearted that my relationship had been complete bullshit. Excited to finally have a bed to sleep in again.

 

I’d been sleeping on a hand-me-down pullout couch for weeks following the horrific discard phase of a narcissistic abusive relationship. Thank goodness I worked with some fantastic people, or I would’ve been sleeping on a floor. I’d moved across the country with my ex and had very few of my own belongings left. I’d spent all of my money on couples counseling due to his betrayals, extravagant date nights trying to salvage the relationship that immediately started crumbling the week we moved, and now, deposits and movers for the new place. Funny thing is my ex had promised help. The story to my face, opposed to what he was telling others, was that the breakup was his fault and he would pay for movers and help me to get set up on my own. Then when the time came, I didn’t “deserve it.” I was alone, thousands of miles from any of my friends or family. I was broke from spending all that money and wishing I would have left one of the many times I tried to before.


In spite of my pain and confusion, I still had a serious glimmer of hope. I had been through worse and knew that if I confronted my fears and pain head on and chose to deal with them in a healthy way, I’d grow a ton and end up happier, stronger, and better than ever. It was an excruciating and amazing journey. I’d been putting off things for years, because my plan was to find someone to grow with and then proceed on our journey together, supporting each other. I guess that wasn’t the plan the universe had for me, so I began the next phase of the journey alone.


Something in my life felt off ever since I graduated college and got my first corporate job. I had always felt stifled. Trapped, like a caged animal. I knew there was something missing, but I’d always been busy trying to save something and never knew what I needed. I’d started over before and learned a lot about myself then, but my passion...my purpose, was still MIA. This time, I was lucky enough to find it.


A series of coincidental moments led me there. My neighbor was walking by while I was moving things out of the apartment. We had passed each other in the stairwell many times, but generally only said hello. I’d always felt a connection with her, but for some reason I never explored that until now. She stopped by and we talked a bit. She asked me to lunch, where we discovered many similarities in our paths. She had also been an accountant that wasn’t satisfied and was currently going to school to be a counselor. I’d always been interested in psychology, but knew my empathic nature would make that difficult. She recommended her program highly, so I went home and researched the school. I felt a weird tug at my heart when I saw a life coaching option that could lead to a masters in psychology. I enrolled immediately. I stopped thinking and started following where my soul led me. Over the next week, I realized I was already following multiple coaches on social media and had never truly noticed. Funny how synchronicity works. 😂


I completed my certification and am building a business out of my passion. It’s fulfilling my need to connect with and encourage amazing women. So believe me when I say there are blessings in every tough time you go through. You learn. You grow. And you may even become thankful for the pain you went through. I know I have. 😌

 

xo,  

Jen

9/20

I had an odd experience today. So, when you start doing self-work, sometimes you'll be hit with things you didn't even know you needed to work through. The more you work through things, the easier they seem to come. It kinda sucks when they hit you at inopportune times, but that's another story for another day. 😂

This morning, I saw the date on the calendar and felt something. I had this feeling that it was meaningful, but I didn't know why. The events of the day unfolded and led me to the answer (and several others actually). It started with a simple comment from a friend on a Facebook post. We hadn't talked for quite a while and ended up catching up for a bit afterward. For the first time that I can remember, I wanted to ask how my ex was doing, as this was our mutual friend. Not out of any sort of interest, other than I genuinely hope he is doing well. Wow. That's a breakthrough I didn't even know I needed. That relationship feels so distant to me now. I don't think about it often, but I think deep down I must have been harboring some negative thoughts about it. I'm sure these thoughts have held me back in one way or another and I didn't even realize it was happening. I started to think through a lot of things and had some serious revelations. I realized what I really wanted back then and what I want today. I realized neither of us were truly ready for that relationship for different reasons. We both made mistakes, but we both also did a lot of things right. We actually worked at holding on to it for ten years. That's really impressive for how young and clueless we were. I don't think either one of us was totally to blame for the relationship ending. I think we may have held on for too long out of comfort and fear. Nonetheless, I am grateful for the experiences, both good and bad. He was my best friend for ten years and I learned sooooo much from that relationship. I am a better person and a better partner, because of it. I had a moment where I felt overwhelming, genuine forgiveness for both of us and it felt AMAZING!! And then...I realized today, was what would have been our 15th anniversary. What a weird little coincidence. 😏 

xo, 

Jen

And so it begins...

I am creating this blog, because I've been through some very dark times and have felt so isolated and alone trying to claw my way out of them. It's a lot for one person to deal with. So I am sharing stories, insight, etc. in hopes of reaching people who may be going through something hard or something similar, so they feel some sort of connection. It can help so much to know that you're not alone and that someone else has been there and pushed through. Things get better. Life is all about the change of seasons. Things get tough at times, but they pass and then life is wonderful again. And PLEASE hold on to that thought!! If you can make this a core belief and remember that they ALWAYS pass, you can focus on hope. I want to help the setbacks pass more quickly for anyone and everyone possible, to help you experience more of the wonderful. 💕 

 

This blog will document some of the most important pieces of my journey to date. Last year contained betrayals and heartbreak that led to a complete 180 for me. My life changed more in a few short months, than it has in any five year period before it. This will absolutely contain some difficult and uncomfortable moments, but it is about positivity and how you can overcome anything and make it through to the other side with infinitely more strength than before. My plan is to open up and pour myself out completely. There are lots of thoughts, ideas, and feelings that we keep quiet for many different reasons. And much to my dismay, I've done a lot of it. I've kept quiet to protect people that didn't deserve it. It stops now. Fear will not prevent me from living my truth out loud anymore. I'm disgusted that I let someone cause that kind of fear in my life. I was full of good intentions. I have nothing to be ashamed of. I want everyone to see that other people have similar thoughts, issues, experiences and it's ok to have them. I don't want anyone to feel alone with their darkness. Let it out. Confront it. And grow stronger in spite of it. Your biggest failures, heartbreaks, etc. lead to the biggest positive changes. I am hoping this will be mutually beneficial for me and anyone who reads my blog. Feel free to contact me. To vent. For comfort. For love. Just to say hi. Community is important. Positive fellowship makes such a huge difference in our lives. 

 

xo, 

Jen