"Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact." – William James

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Believe. Hope. Trust.: Winter Wonderland Thoughts

Believe. Hope. Trust.: Winter Wonderland Thoughts: NYC today was a child's winter wonderland playground. I haven't seen so many children out with their parents since the summer. Carrying thei...

Winter Wonderland Thoughts

NYC today was a child's winter wonderland playground. I haven't seen so many children out with their parents since the summer. Carrying their snowboards, sleds and snowball makers (whatever happened to making your own snowballs?!?) the kids were all laughing, running around with joy, not a care in their head. While their parents may have been worried about their little one running in street or slipping on the ice, they too appeared pretty happy. Waking up to a snow covered ground does something to people: even if you don't like going out in it, you have to admit, it's beautiful to look at outside your window.  I'll admit, I wanted to throw snowballs at a few strangers today and climb on top of the large piles of snow. While I didn't, even the thought made me smile.
The lightness in the air wasn't the only thing I noticed today. On a subway, I saw I child say to his mother "I'm hungry." She responded "what did you eat with dad?"He said pizza. She started examining his backpack and pulled out a granola bar and said "isn't it nice Dad packed snacks for you in case you get hungry?" She then unwrapped the granola bar and gave it to him. He immediately started eating. There was no hesitation on this child's face, no looking at nutritional information on the label, no deep breath to get through the anxiety. He just ate. Why? Because he was hungry. The very thing we were made to do when we are hungry. Our bodies cue us to let us know that they are running low on energy and politely say "please feed me." However, into days society, we hear about pills, supplements, drinks, etc to curb these feelings, to suppress our body telling us what it needs. It's no wonder we are all so confused as to whether hunger cues are good or bad, whether food that are dense and fill you up are suppose to be eaten or not eaten. When did we all lose our childish ways, our carefree nature, our ability to put food where it belongs- in our mouth and not on a pedestal. We keep it up there, letting it define our worth, our value and our strength. I challenge everyone, including myself to find that inner child, the care free one that eats because your hungry and eats what your body craves. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Year....the Real Me

Life is more then merely waking up, going to work, dreadfully eating each meal, trudging along until my head again hits the pillow. Life is full. I never dreamed that life, at least MY life, would be more then the previously mentioned. I was used to living by the clock. Alarm goes off. Wake up. 7:00 Breakfast. 9:00 snack (if I felt like it). 12:00 lunch. 3:00 snack. 5:00ish leave work. Then fit in dinner, meeting, a snack (ok let's be serious, sometimes a snack) before 10:00. It was as if an alarm would go off at each time, on the dot, and my robotic self would make its way toward the desired destination.  But that isn't the case any more. Yes, I still need an alarm, or two, or three, to wake me up, followed by a caffeinated beverage, but the rest of my day is so much more open, yet so much more full.
Freedom from self, freedom from bondage, freedom from the every day torture that I put on myself and thought I deserved. Freedom. Something I had only dreamed of, yet I never dreamed would be possible for me. I didn't deserve it, or so I thought. But this is far from true. I am worthy of love, worthy of compassion, worthy of a full life. I had to let myself experience this though to believe that I was worthy of it, to see that bad things wouldn't happen to me if I tried it. I learned who I was, who I wanted to be, what I enjoyed, what made me happy. Then I had to set aside the fear and actually be that person. Yes, setting aside the fear was and still is hard, but the freedom that comes from it is worth it. I no longer feel encapsulated by the strings that were trying to hold together the person I thought I should be. The person that society says is "normal."
As the new year approaches, I am striving to continue to learn more about the person I really am and growing to love that person. Instead of making resolutions that in the past have never been healthy, or have set me up for failure, I made a list of 10 things I want to accomplish/do by the end of the year (ex: go on a random weekend trip, go back to TK and speak, continue to learn to love myself, etc). Why should we make resolutions to change ourselves? Why not make goals to become more of who we really are?
What do you want to do in the next year to learn more about yourself and grow to love who you really are?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Beauty of Living

Walk in the Park this weekend with friends

It seems like only yesterday that I thought my world as I knew it was over. Partially, it was, but what I didn't know was the beauty of what was to come. Two years ago at this time, I was walking around the halls of a hospital, trying to manipulate every nurse that I could there. Making them believe I was an innocent girl who only wanted to do the right thing, until their backs were turned. I was angry at just about everyone, except the nurse that gave me medicine because at least that allowed me to numb out some. I was angry at my school's rules that I had to drop out for a year because of missing some of my rotation. I was angry that I couldn't leave the hospital until I agreed to residential treatment. I was angry that my parents now knew more of what was going on. Simply put, I was angry that I was alive.

Today, I write this after finishing my last day of physical therapy school classes, 1 day before my hooding ceremony and 2 days before I walk across the stage and graduate with my Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. This degree means more to me today then it ever meant 2 years ago. At that time, I was merely going through the motions, graduation was suppose to be a year away and it was just the "next step." It didn't really mean anything to me. You see, I wasn't living life then. I did what I had to do to get by. I studied, went to school, slept, ate (sometimes), numbed out however I could, and made sure my mask of happiness was always securely on. In the last 2 years, I have lived, truly lived, more then I had in the 6 years prior. Not only have I made accomplishments academically, but I have personally, mentally, and emotionally. I hate that I spent so much time in life stuck, not living, not experiencing, not loving, not truly laughing, but I'm SO glad that I'm able to do so now. What's holding you back from living?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Truth or Lie

Recovery is a journey

Yesterday I got the random idea to go back and read old blogs from this time in 2010, aka the point in time where shit was hitting the fan, where life was becoming unmanageable, where I prayed each day for God to take me in my sleep. I was expecting to relive this horror a little through these readings, end up in tears, call my mentor and her ask me what the heck I was thinking when I went back to read them. First of all, there was 13 posts...13 in April alone! Apparently I was a writing fool while being a full time student. These writings included:

* a video of pictures showing why recovery is better then a life with Ed
* logs of my life in "recovery"
* talk about the "great strides" I had made
* info "following the guidelines" required for the prep/post colonoscopy I had done
* talk about relationships being better
* my desire to continue fighting
* many other positive, inspiring comments....

Who was I lying to? Others? Most definitely. Myself? Possibly. Did I really have myself convinced that everything was ok? Looking back now, I can see my life at this time from the outside. I can see it spinning out of control. I can see my depression, my misery, my giving up. However, I honestly think that at that time, I thought everything ok. I really was lying to myself as much as I was lying to everyone else. I put on such a mask that I had myself confused as to who was the real Jenn.

I'm so grateful that I don't have to lie to myself or other today. I am able to be myself and feel my emotions. When I'm feeling down, I'm ok with telling someone else that as I know they will not judge me. It's so much easier to just be myself then trying to keep 18 stories straight with who I told what to. Today I can say that I truly am grateful for recovery. Yes, I do still have my struggles, mostly with body image in particular, but I choose not to act on it these days. I do still have days that I choose sweat pants over jeans because yes, I'm not perfect and I'm still a work in progress, but that's ok. I haven't given up. I thankful for my willingness to put one foot in front of the other. Even if just for today. After all, today is what matters.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Easter Egg from 2 Years Ago

I've been thinking a lot lately, which at times is good and at others is bad, but what I wanted to write about was the miracle of the good. The gratefulness I have for my life today. It was nearly 2 years ago that my life really was hitting bottom, that I felt more comfortable in a hospital then I did in my own house, and that I prayed every night for God to take me in my sleep. However, on this Easter weekend, I am so grateful to say that I can see so many miracles in my life and not only in my recovery but in really living life. First, I am alive. Medically, I don't know how my body survived. Spiritually, I know that God is the only reason I'm here. He still has a plan for me.
Secondly, the most important thing to me that recovery has given me is the ability to form relationships with people again, and repair relationships that were broken. I am beginning to learn to trust people, which is something I never dreamed I could do again. That in itself is a miracle.
Third, I am able to feel emotions. Yes, I did say "Able To." Don't get me wrong, there are still many times that I want to feel numb, that I don't want to feel those "negative" emotions, however, having the ability to feels those today also gives me the ability to feel the positive ones. I can feel happy. I can enjoy myself. I can REALLY laugh. I don't have to wear that fake smile 24 hours a day. (Yes, I think I kept it on while sleeping just in case someone caught me). I have laughed so many times just today, it amazes me.
Forth, I can remember each day. I don't have to have people tell me what happened a week ago any more because I'm actually cognizant of what's happening to me and those around me. I had to look back at pictures from Easter 2 years ago to try and recall what happened. It's scary how much time I've lost, but I have so much to gain now.
Fifth, and lastly, I have a future today. I am able to live in the moment, but know that there is a greater plan for each moment. I am able to help other women through similar struggles as mine which is such a miracle. It reminds me of where I've been and keeps me working on myself to continue to better myself.  I have dreams, goals and ambitions. I don't want to die today. I want to live. I want to love. I want to sing and dance. I want to be me.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Overcoming Fear

From the time I was really young, I used to hide from my fears. The comfort of being under my bed, surrounded by my stuffed animals, on my pink carpet, in the darkness, always seemed to make everything bearable. As I got older, I would run away. Run to the woods behind our house. Or just outside to our backyard where I would cry with my dog. Or I'd just sprint down the street and back. The fear seemed to disappear, at least for the moment. However, it wasn't until recently that I realized that it never really disappeared. In fact, it always came back heavier. Making me feel heavier. And more scared.
Today my fears are much bigger then when I was younger. I fear relapse, abuse, moving, never finding love, never being comfortable in my own skin, gaining weight, not getting a good job, not being able to move back to NYC, etc. While in some aspects, these fears keep me grounded, at times they can become all encompassing. I have days I don't want to leave my room, or even my bed, because the outside world is just too scary. Or other times that I become so focus on body image in order to avoid thinking about what's really underneath, which is often one of my fears. Other days I'll bury myself in work in order to avoid my feelings, my thoughts and my phone. 
These past 5 months, while living in NYC, have been different though. Yes, I've had my fears, A LOT of them, but I've tried to act opposite of them.  I've lived in a city where my temptations stare me in the face constantly. Where fashion and the external appearance seems to be of upmost importance. When I first moved here, that's all I could focus on. I constantly compared myself to others. All I could see is what they had that I did not have. I lost focus of all the things in my life that I do have. The things I've been so freely given. The blessings I have. Before I knew it, I was in this place of thinking I was never going to be good enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, rich enough... to do anything. Fear of the future overwhelmed me. But what did I do? I kept stepping forward, as uncomfortable as it was. I kept speaking about my feelings, even though it wasn't always nice words. I asked for help. I didn't let my fears lead me into the darkness. 
This pattern is one that I'm sure I'll continue to have throughout my life, but I'm learning how to deal with it. Again this past week, I've had a lot of fear come over me as I again move to Wyoming for 5 months for another clinical. I'm scared to leave New York, a place that has become safe for me. A place that has become my home. However, I know its temporary. I know that I don't have to look at the whole picture either. I just have to stay in today. And enjoy today. Because today is all I have right now. Why should I be overtaken by fear and lose the one day I know I have? As my best friend always quoted "Today is a gift, that's why we call it the present." Cheesy, but true.