journal day

Following the promptings of Danielle of Sometimes Sweet and Elizabeth Haley I've decided to join in the soul-diving fun! Deep breath everybody, and exhale. Okay.

Looking at all of the life you've lived so far, can you pinpoint one time frame or instance that you feel truly contributed to your growth as a person? This may be a turning point, a positive or negative experience, a moment or collection of moments that stand out in your mind...something that changed you as a whole.

In all my 31 years of life, I can pinpoint several instances or lifetime events that have changed me as a whole. I'll try to stick with the 'big' ones.

The first was when I was little, no more than 9 or 10. I (like so many other children) experienced the sheer panic and torture of being sexually offended. While this was the first, and most traumatizing time, it unfortunately was not the last. There were other men, and older neighboring boys that took advantage of being alone with a girl who didn't know how to say no, or stand up for herself. When a person's sexuality is not naturally discovered, in other words when someone 'offends their sexuality' at a young age or otherwise, it forever changes the view and direction of that person. Sex and sexuality is such a personal and important part of life. It interlaces with love. It took me a long time to understand that. It has taken me a long time to understand a lot of things. I still have a lot of unanswered questions and guilt, but I have (thankfully) come to a place where I can say what I feel on the subject and not allow it to weigh me down, or define me. That took some time, getting to that point where I was no longer defined myself as 'tainted' (you know, the bruised banana. okay, bad reference, but still, gotta keep it light here. lol) Just saying, now as an (ahem) adult, and more importantly a Mama, I am (how do you say...) overprotective, when it comes to the opportunity of children being touched or molested or worse. I look over my own children, and niece and nephew, and some of the neighbor kids, and my friends kids... okay, kids in general. It will not happen on my watch.

The second lifetime moment was when I quite seriously went through the worst depression and downward spiral of my life. I believe that everyone goes through some form of depression in their lifetime. Call it being down, being sad, in a funk, but there comes a time where you physically and emotionally feel depleted, and buried and it feels hopeless on ever getting out of that hole that you are stuck in. Sometimes it lasts for a week, a month, sometimes long enough that when you come finally come out of the darkness you barely recognize your own reflection. This is where I was. And while it was very scary, and my relationships paid dearly, I thankfully made it to the other side. Essentially what happened is  I lost my mind. I had a snap, a break, no a breakdown, a nervous breakdown (aka mid-life, or rather quarter-life crisis). I didn't know which way was up or down, I tried using anything as a distraction (food, drinks, shopping, etc.) and to put it bluntly, I lost myself. I didn't know who I was or why I was here. Small step by step I was able to pull through, with the support of a therapist and some friends and family who love me dearly and stayed by my side (even when I least deserved it). In finding myself, and in finding balance in life, all that negative that I went through, all the dark... led me to the light, and positivity began streaming in my life again. Making positive choices, surrounding yourself with Gods love, and being able to speak so that you are heard are just some of the life lessons I learned in those dark years (yes, I said years... very long, painful years). Now, instead of hiding and masking my pain and problems, I stand right in front of them, accept them, deal with them, and move on. 

Which leads me to the third life-changing event in my life. (C'mon, you all know what it's going to be). September 15, 2011. The day my father passed. Having a parent pass away is something that most everyone on the planet will have to experience in life. Knowing that makes me feel less like I'm the only person to know this pain. It is a pain that you can really only experience, and not exactly share or explain how it feels. Jokingly, it almost feels like a secret society, but I think it really does bring people together who have experienced it. Those newbies (like myself) are comforted by the people who have already been through it, and the cycle will be that when someone I know experiences is for their first time, I will comfort them, because I've been there. (Getting a little off track here). Having a parent die, or really having anyone that close to you die brings you closer to death that you ever had been previously. For me, the words 'die' and 'death' would send me into an instant panic attack. Truth be told, if I saw a hearse driving on the road, or a funeral procession, I would have to pull over because I would lose feeling in my hands, feet, and face and start to convulse. Seriously. Dying is such a touchy subject. It's uncomfortable, it brings up religion (which can also make people uncomfortable) and the crazy thing is, every single person WILL go through it. But when I got the call, and when we were going through the hours after, the day following, the week following, the funeral, the emails and cards and empty house and so on so forth, it was as if I were asleep. Everything, my reaction, my planning the funeral, making calls, dealing with the life insurances and utilities and everything, it was all automatic. Definite auto pilot. When the reality started to take over it wasn't a pretty site (and I will spare you the details). But now, a year later, even though it still hurts and I burn in pain, I have this very real ease about death and dying. I'm not as scared. There is almost a calm come over me about it. Like, 'see, everything is going to be okay. Daddy's on the other side waiting for you. He had to go ahead and reserve out table'. Yes, I am a Christian, and I believe that I will reunite with my Daddy (and my grandparents and other family) in Heaven. And while I am excited about that, and give all the glory to God, I'm not exactly rushing to meet up with him. lol. And one day, when it's my time to go, my children will experience this feeling as well, and they will grow from it too. 

Wow. I didn't quite plan on writing a novel. Or getting so personal. But there you have it. If you've made it this far, congratulations, you get a gold star! :-)


Gina said...

Wow Jen. You've written this so beautifully & it's all so heartfelt. You've experienced some tough trials in life & the fact that you're alive & happy shows alot about your character. Take care, my friend.

Carrie Rosalind said...

Girl, this post is amazing! You are such a strong woman and I admire you so much. You are very brave!! xoxo

Tiffany said...

Jen~ I have chills all through me right now~ You are such a strong and amazing person! You have been through so much!~ I have admired you so much since we "met" in blogland but somehow my admiration for you increased tenfold today! You are always such a positive and supportive person, I cannot tell you how much your comments and support help me! Thank you for always being so open and honest and sharing so much of your life and your heart!
xoxo~ Tiffany

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