A Friday Moment

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A Friday ritual. A single photo — no words — capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

“This Moment” is a ritual found on Life inspired by the Wee Man adopted from SouleMama which was introduced to others by Sarah-Jane, of Almost There.

I was asked to participate in this by Anna Sides, of The Other Side of Anna and the other great blogging members of the Facebook group Blogplicity.

If you find yourself touched by a moment and would like to participate, post your picture on a Friday and leave your link in the comments section.

Copyrighted: InjensMind

#BlogTagYouAreIt ‘Sometimes I Wish…’

One of the blogging groups I am in is having a blog hop, we are calling it “Blog Tag…You’re It.” For those of you who don’t know what a blog hop is, let me explain. It is several different bloggers blogging on their own blog all about the same topic but done in their own unique ways. Phew! Say that 3 times fast. LOL This specific hop will feature 28 bloggers from around the globe. The essence of what World Wide Web stands for if you ask me. We each will have our own day to post about the topic ‘Sometimes I Wish…’ During this time, one blogger thanks the previous blogger for the introduction to their post and then writes a mini introduction for the blogger who follows them.

So here goes…

A very big thank you to Brenda, who writes at Passionate Pusuits. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you and sharing the  blogosphere world with you. Here’s to many more blog hops, posts, and getting to know a variety of bloggers inside and outside the group. You can click here to see her blog hop post on this subject.

Now for the introduction I am to give for our next blogger in line:

Say hello to Sili, who writes at My Mamihood. She writes about her life and the non-stop misadventures of her “Frog Princess”, which is the adorable nickname she uses for her young daughter.

Please take some time (after finishing my post of course) to visit both of these ladies.

Sometimes I Wish…

For somebody, aka me, to publicly acknowledge my wishes, I would first have to believe in them. But, I don’t believe in wishes or wishing for that matter. However, I did…once; a very long time ago when I was an impressionable youngster, back before I knew any better, back before the reality of what my life was hit me like a ton of bricks. It was during a time when wishes and dreams were what young children would thrive on, that is, until they realized either as teenagers or adults that wishes just don’t come true, no matter how much you wish on them or pray for them, beg, scream, plead, cry, or fuss about them, no matter how many times the people at Disney tell you they do… They just don’t come true!

I was approximately 5-years-old when I would lay in bed and stare at the night sky, wishing on the bright stars that illuminated my room. I was just as much a raging insomniac back then as I am now. (No doubt due to the volatile lifestyle I lived from a super-young age.) I even tossed several wishes to the man in the moon for good measure, then patiently awaited the entire night for somebody/anybody to magically swoop in and rescue me. I have yet to stop staring at the night sky (or learned how to fall asleep when the rest of the world does) but, I have stopped sending wishes out there, and I have most certainly stopped waiting for someone to ride in on their white horse and rescue me.

  • I wish my daddy and mommy didn’t fight so much.
  • I wish my daddy loved me.
  • I wish that “they” hadn’t touched me like that.
  • I wish those touching’s would stop happening.
  • I wish I could stay out of the principal’s office for fighting.
  • I wish people would just leave me alone.
  • I wish people would stop touching me. Why do they keep touching me?
  • I wish my mommy would come and pick me up more often.
  • I wish I could play outside with the other kids and not have to be in bed while the sun is still out.
  • I wish I didn’t have to sit in the corner so long every day.
  • I wish my step-mom loved me.
  • I wish I wasn’t hated so much by my daddy and step-mom.
  • I wish my mommy hadn’t moved so far away. Does she hate me now too?
  • I wish I didn’t have to sit behind furniture when we visited with family and friends.
  • I wish I could play with my cousins.
  • I wish my grandma didn’t get drunk and push my grandfather into the bookcase.
  • I wish my daddy didn’t get drunk and pass out in the truck.
  • I wish I didn’t know about alcoholism and its effects.
  • I wish my step-mom didn’t take out her insecurities about my mommy on me.
  • I wish my daddy would stop talking bad about my mommy.
  • I wish my step-mom didn’t talk badly about my mommy.
  • I wish I wasn’t talked about badly to my face.
  • I wish I could be loved like my little sister.
  • I wish my daddy didn’t move us so far away when my mommy moved back to town.
  • I wish I could see my baby brother every day.
  • I wish I didn’t have to see a school counselor for “my problems.”
  • I wish my step-mom didn’t take away things my mommy and grandma bought for me.
  • I wish I didn’t cry so hard every time I came back home to my daddy’s house.
  • I wish I didn’t get punished for vomiting after I cried so hard.
  • I wish I didn’t know what soap tastes like.
  • I wish my daddy and step-mom didn’t use a thick wooden paddle with holes drilled in it on me.
  • I wish I could sit down.
  • I wish I didn’t have to show the friend of the court my butt and all the still purple welts that hadn’t yet gone away after several weeks.
  • I wish somebody would help me.
  • I wish somebody would listen.
  • I wish the counselor would stop asking other types of social workers, guidance people, therapists, and groups to talk to me. Every time they give me a card or tell me how my life should be I am punished more severely.
  • I wish my school counselor didn’t call my step-mom and tell her everything I had confided in her.
  • I wish I didn’t get punished so much.
  • I wish I could go to friends’ houses and not always be grounded.
  • I wish I had friends who I could talk to.
  • I wish my “big sisters” in the sister program would do more with me.
  • I wish my “big sister” didn’t move away.
  • I wish I didn’t cry myself to sleep every night.
  • I wish I could fall asleep.
  • I wish I could stay asleep.
  • I wish I didn’t hear and see things in the dark.
  • I wish I wasn’t called crazy for seeing dead people.
  • I wish my step-mom didn’t force me to stand in a red ant hill while she yelled at me.
  • I wish the pain would go away.
  • I wish my grandfather who protected me as best as he could didn’t die.
  • I wish I died.
  • I wish I didn’t know what pain is.
  • I wish I didn’t bleed all over my clothes.
  • I wish my belongings didn’t get take away.
  • I wish someone would stand up for me.
  • I wish someone would save me.
  • I wish my sister would stop doing things that I get punished for.
  • I wish I didn’t have to come home.
  • I wish I didn’t go to school.
  • I wish I didn’t live in a small town.
  • I wish people would understand me.
  • I wish they’d all stop making fun of me.
  • I wish I could have long hair.
  • I wish I could wear new girl’s clothes.
  • I wish I wasn’t such a disappointment.
  • I wish I knew what I did wrong.
  • I wish I knew why I was born.
  • I wish I were never born.
  • I wish my mommy would come and pick us up on her weeks.
  • I wish my daddy didn’t tell me he doesn’t think I am his.
  • I wish he’d stop throwing things at my head.
  • I wish he’d stop hitting me.
  • I wish they’d stop touching me.
  • I wish I could get out of here.
  • I wish I had somewhere to go.
  • I wish someone would see the truth.
  • I wish they’d stop lying and calling me the liar.
  • I wish I wasn’t “a good for nothing whore, like your mother.”
  • I wish I knew what a whore was.
  • I wish they’d stop humiliating me.
  • I wish they’d stop degrading me.
  • I wish they’d stop strip searching me.
  • I WISH THEY’D STOP TOUCHING ME!
  • I wish I had money.
  • I wish my money from my job would be mine.
  • I wish I didn’t have to drive such an ugly car.
  • I wish I could drive when I wanted to.
  • I wish I didn’t have to go to the vocational school they chose.
  • I wish I didn’t have to be what they wanted.
  • I wish I knew how to make it all stop.
  • I wish my mind could rest.
  • I wish I could concentrate.
  • I wish I wasn’t scared.
  • I wish there was an end in sight.
  • I wish I had a better life.
  • I wish I could run away and never come back.
  • I wish they’d just finish me off and kill me once and for all already.
  • I wish someone else would stand up for me besides just me alone.
  • I wish they’d stop pretending that they are good and decent people.
  • I wish I didn’t have to send mean letters to my mom on behalf of my daddy and step-mom’s feelings.
  • I wish I didn’t have to have someone read my letters before I could read them.
  • I wish I didn’t have to start another diary again and again and again because my step-mom reads it and can’t face the truth so she takes it away and rips them up.
  • I wish I didn’t have gifts other people gave me taken away and given to my sister or thrown away.
  • I wish I didn’t have to be responsible.
  • I wish I didn’t have to be the oldest.
  • I wish my daddy didn’t spank me so hard that I flew from the living room into the kitchen.
  • I wish I could be a child.
  • I wish I didn’t have to stand in the corner for hours on end with my arms straight in the air.
  • I wish I knew how to get to my mommy’s house when daddy yelled and told me “if you want your mother walk to her house.”
  • I wish I didn’t get left on the front porch in the trailer park at 5 years old all by myself while my daddy and step-mom and sister went to visit with friends, because I didn’t know the way to mommy’s house.
  • I wish I could remember what my real name is. I haven’t heard it in so long.
  • I wish my life wasn’t so dysfunctional.
  • I wish there were no more secrets.
  • I wish I knew what love is.
  • I wish I knew what it feels like to be unconditionally loved.
  • I wish I were someone else, anyone but me.
  • I wish I could forget.
  • I wish I wasn’t permanently scarred and disfigured.
  • I wish I didn’t torture myself as much as they torture me.
  • I wish they’d stop forcing me to kiss and hug them good night and stop forcing me to tell them I love them after everything they did that day.
  • I wish I could stop hurting.
  • I wish there was a God.
  • I wish I didn’t live in Hell.
  • I wish someone could see what is happening.
  • I wish I could have chosen to give away my virginity.
  • I wish an apology was enough.
  • I wish I wasn’t “troubled.”
  • I wish I could stop crying.
  • I wish I could forgive.
  • I wish I understood why they say they forgive but keep bringing old things up.
  • I wish they’d get a different punching bag.
  • I wish it would end.
  • I wish I were intelligent.
  • I wish those who weren’t there would stop acting like they know.
  • I wish I could forget as easily as they all do.
  • I wish they didn’t control me.
  • I wish I could be me.
  • I wish being myself was enough.
  • I wish I were free.
  • I wish… I wish… I wish… I wish… I wish… I wish…
  • I wish I didn’t need to wish anymore…

14 years’ worth of child wishes and countless more things that had been wished and were never fulfilled, never answered, never my salvation. Star wishes, birthday wishes, prayers to God, pleas to anyone who had the power to do something… all fell on deaf ears and ignored by blind eyes.  A child who wished for death because it was the only way that she knew of, that would make it all end. A child who cut her wrists at 12-years-old because she didn’t know how she was going to go on after the death of her grandfather, her rock, her only love. The only one who could see the truth, her truth. A child who clearly grew up long before a child should ever have to.

It would be another 16 years after her 14 year sentence in Hell, before that child/adult would figure out that making wishes, dreaming, praying, and asking for help were all an enormous waste of her  time. One thing she had learned all to well, was that nobody could undo what had been done and even if they could nobody would be willing to switch places with her and take on what she had.

Those 16 additional years they had stolen from her, enslaving her within her own mind. When she wasn’t trying to shield herself and her children from their newest ongoing attacks via telephone, she was visualizing moment after moment in her head, replaying them in her dreams, like a never-ending horror movie, secretly hoping for a different ending, a happy ending. Trying to fill in the cracks whilst new ones were continuously added. Attempting to raise her two children differently than she had been raised, giving them everything she never had. Protecting her children from the vicious spiteful words that the so-called family were trying to pass down to them as if it were the family Bible. Hoping that the man she married who held a strong character resemblance to her father, would not pick up where her father and step-mom left off and continue to violate her tortured and nearly broken spirit. Several times in her life, wishes could have been the way to go, but her mind was so infected by the past she didn’t even consider wishing for her children not to suffer along with their mother. (Or a million other things that the Universe relentlessly pummeled her and her children with.) It never even entered her mind, not because she didn’t believe in wishes anymore (which she didn’t) but, because she was fighting a life vs. death battle inside. Deep inside herself, where there was only going to be one survivor and one alone. Would she come out alive and capable of being a competent mother, wife, human being? Or would she remain trapped inside herself, waiting for that final blow that would finish her off for good?

Then surprisingly without any warning whatsoever, the inconceivable happened and she lost her younger sister to cancer. She was no stranger to death or to cancer for that matter but, losing her sister suddenly did something that no other death could do. It was at that precise moment when the prison door she had been locked behind for most of her life, swung wide open and she walked out of the solitary confinement where she had awaited her death sentence. A light as bright and warm as the sun encased her and she was finally free…free of them, their actions, their words, their evilness, their lies, their prejudices. But wait… she was the one who had allowed them to torture her for over 30 years, even though they had not been a part of her physical life in more than half that time. They only had power over her because she allowed them to have it and use it as they wished. She had allowed the past to be her focus, which held her stagnant in a place where she couldn’t move towards the future let alone appreciate the now. So, she took back the control and freed herself; she freed her past, she freed her mind, she freed her spirit, she freed her future, and she flew away freely with the knowledge and tools that would never allow her to be imprisoned by anyone ever again!

✓ “I wish it would end.”

✓ “I wish I was intelligent.”

✓ “I wish they didn’t control me.”

✓ “I wish I could be me.”

✓ “I wish being myself was enough.”

✓ “I wish I were free.”

✓ “I wish I didn’t need to wish anymore…”

So ok… maybe some times wishes do come true. However, simply wishing for something to happen isn’t going to make it happen. Time, actions, and choices make things happen not the “magical powers” of the wish itself. I don’t need to wish anymore because I’m living in the present. I don’t want to change my past, for if my wishes had come true at that precise moment that I had wished them I wouldn’t be who I am today. I don’t know about you but, I like the person I am today, and I know I will continue to like me even more as time goes by. Something that the young me couldn’t, wouldn’t, and didn’t do.  So thank you for rejecting my wishes so I could be a strong fighter and survivor, outspoken and an activist, a better person than I or anyone else could have dreamed of. Thank you for allowing me to find my path in my own time that ultimately broke the cycle of abuse, violence, alcoholism, blame, inability to grow or move forward, and neglect that plagued my entire family for generations upon generations. Thank you for teaching me lessons that can never be unlearned. All of which allowed me to be here right now telling  showing you… becoming the living proof that anyone can overcome their past and transform into something more than they could have imagined. Wishing is short-sighted, if your wishes came true you wouldn’t learn anything. You wouldn’t be able to keep the knowledge you were taught. You wouldn’t have lived fully. You wouldn’t be able to grow and you most certainly wouldn’t be free. So give your life the time, chance, and education that it needs to grow into something miraculous.

Smells Like A Friday Moment

Google Image

A Friday ritual. A single photo — no words — capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

“This Moment” is a ritual found on Life inspired by the Wee Man adopted from SouleMama which was introduced to others by Sarah-Jane, of Almost There.

I was asked to participate in this by Anna Sides, of The Other Side of Anna and the other great blogging members of the Facebook group Blogplicity.

If you find yourself touched by a moment and would like to participate, post your picture on a Friday and leave your link in the comments section.

Copyright InJensMind 8/17/2012

Get To Know Me

 

Copyright: InJensMind 8/16/2012

There have been many people lately, who have expressed an interest in getting to know me better. So yesterday on Facebook, I announced that I will be doing a special blog post. In the post, I will be disclosing the things that you all really want to know about.  Anything that you’d like to know about me, now is the time to ask.

Here’s how you will be involved:

  1. You are allowed to ask me up to 3 questions. These questions can be personal or about my writing, you choose.
  2. I will be connecting your questions with your names, social networks, and blog url’s. Please include all the links you would like promoted in with your question.

This is an excellent and free opportunity for you to get to know me and to promote your blog, YouTube channel, fanpages, etc…

If by chance you are more of a shy type and really want to ask something but, you don’t want the world-wide web to know it was you who asked, simply tell me when you send me your question and your name will be withheld.

Now for the details:

  • You can contact me via Facebook, just send me a private message. (you can do this without being my friend if you’d like) Click here.
  • Or you can email me directly at injensmind@gmail.com
  • Or even still, you can use the contact button on my Facebook fanpage.

 

All that I ask for in exchange is, if you participate in this by asking a question, that you go and “like” my Facebook page, For Jen’s Sake. That way you will be notified when I answer your question. Simple enough, huh…

I look forward to all of your questions and hope you all have a wonderful and blessed weekend.

 

Becoming Free Thinkers In A Society Of Sheeple

 

Zazzle bumper sticker

In a society of Sheeple, we spend more than 90% of our lives doing what we are told. We follow because we are taught to follow, not to lead. No matter what we decide to do with our lives, we will always have someone who is telling us what to do, when to do it, why we need to do it, how to do it, and where we should be doing it.

We are taught from the moment we can talk until we start Kindergarten, that asking questions is the best way to learn about something that we do not know. At some point while we are in school, that awareness changes from it’s ok to ask into shut up, sit down, do as I tell you, and stop asking questions. It becomes the life-long version of; “Because I say so, that’s why.”

 
Every parent dreams of having a unique child, right up until that precise moment when the teacher sits you down and explains that your child just won’t behave like the other children. You are told that your child will never be able to function in a healthy society when they are adults because they cannot seem to follow along like the other children do. You are then advised to get your child checked out by a medical professional to be medicated for the mental defect your child has that keeps them from doing as everyone else does. With or without a medical diagnosis or pharmaceutical medication; your child is now officially labeled as “different”, “unable to follow simple directions”, a “trouble-maker”, “difficult”, “learning impaired”, and “unteachable.”

I know this scenario very well from my own childhood. I could never really follow along with what everyone else was doing. The teachers always said that I had potential but, that I was basically a dreamer. They insisted that I will never accomplish anything worthwhile, because I just couldn’t do what I was told to do. My father’s word for that was, “stupid”. He didn’t realize, much like the teachers who were trying to teach me, that I wasn’t a follower. I couldn’t learn like the others because some of what they were teaching me I knew was bullshit. Some of what was being taught wasn’t advanced enough and I got bored easily because of it. And some of what was going on had to do with the terrorism I was experiencing at home on a daily basis. In other words, for me to be able to succeed in learning I needed to be taught the things I didn’t know by someone who was willing to learn what they didn’t know from me.

 

When I had my own children I did what every other parent does, enrolled them in a public school. My daughter started in Kindergarten and my son started in Pre-school. I was the epitome of school-mom. I drove them to school and picked them up every day, from the exact moment my daughter got bullied on the bus by a much bigger and older girl who wouldn’t be reprimanded by the school or bus driver because well… there was no way the driver could possibly watch the road and see the bullying that was going on, so it never happened. I went up to the school every day at lunch to eat with my children and their friends. I participated in all field trips and events pertaining to the education of my children. I sent snacks for their classes, hand-made snacks… that was allowed in that school, not like in so many others these days. I helped my children with homework every single night before bed. I worked just as hard if not harder in school as my own children did.

It didn’t take long to find out that my daughter had a reading problem because she had a seeing problem. From birth she had an eye that is blind. (Now they know it to be astigmatism, lazy, a congenital cataract, smaller jagged pupil along with the blindness.) Everything she “sees” from that eye is too blurry to really make anything out. So after eye exams, she got glasses. The glasses did nothing to help her reading problem though, so she was enrolled in a special class to help her with reading. Yet, Kindergarten through 2nd grade she struggled to read. Come to find out, right before we moved out of that school district, that her reading teacher was a nasty ogre of a woman who enjoyed bullying children by yelling at them for not being able to read. When I brought this to the attention of the principal and the teacher herself, they decided to go down the road that I was a bad parent because my daughter had missed several days of school that year. Why did she miss several days? Because she had recurrent bouts of tonsillitis which eventually led to the doctor removing her tonsils. Every single absence my children had were excused, since I had the medical documents to prove it. But, when it came down to the wrong doing, the school preferred to blame someone else instead of addressing the real issue, a teacher who doesn’t belong teaching.

This did not deter me though, because I still had faith in the school system. After all, I went to school and I graduated from school. It is what everyone does, right? It wasn’t until we moved to another state and both of my children were diagnosed with disabilities did another issue come up. We were new to the area and new to these illnesses my kids were diagnosed with (just finding out my daughter had Hashimoto’s and my son was moderately/severely deaf) and therefore we needed to have them seen by specialists. Well, needless to say to any parent who has dealt with a disabled child, seeing specialists in a Children’s Hospital is a very time-consuming event. And since these hospital’s see an entire city’s worth if not state’s worth of children, the appointments are limited and you go when they tell you or you don’t get seen period.

Once again I found myself being harassed and blamed by a school official for my children’s absences. Although there I stood with doctor documentation in my hands, I was still threatened and bullied by someone who I am supposed to trust to teach my children. I had had quite enough of that after only 2 months of them being in school, and considered homeschooling. While in the local library researching the state laws on homeschooling, I ran into a woman who homeschools and wrote a book. It was a sign! After speaking with her, my mind was made up and my children were pulled out of public school the following Monday by certified letter.

It took less than a year for me to find out that my children and I were not the “schooling” kind. And the longer I chose to teach my children in my home, the more my family, who was not living anywhere nearby to us nor knew anything about what we were doing or going through, worried. Why? Not so much because I wasn’t a licensed teacher, although that did come up occasionally, but because it was not the way that the world expects you to do things. I was stepping far outside of the norm and that scared the Hell out of them. However, the more I researched, read, and practiced this “unusual” way of learning; the more I found out that we were not a homeschooling family but actually what is known as an unschooling family. My beliefs about how a person learns, fell into the unschooling category perfectly, unlike the more religious reasons most homeschoolers have. So instead of forcing my children to learn subjects by grade level or solely what I believed in, we starting turning everything in our daily lives into a learning experience.

The more I unschooled my children and myself, the more we thrived in learning and as a family. In aiming to teach my children, I have been taught. We learn everything that we’ve always wanted to learn and we do it together, each one of us interchanging between student and teacher. We don’t believe that you can only learn certain things at a certain age. If we want to know about something, we learn about it. There are no whines, complaints, or not doing of the work because it isn’t work and it isn’t school… it is life, our life, and not one second of it is wasted. Every single moment of every single day spent learning freely without restrictions and timetables. Learning all that the world and life has to offer us by becoming free thinkers in a society of Sheeple.

After The Storm Passes

Google Image. Vinyl designs by CJ

My last post really had several people concerned. I appreciate the comments and the messages and those of you who basically got a slap in the face wake-up call with that post.

I assure you all though that I am fine, the kids are fine, and my dogs and husband are all fine. No pun intended. Seriously, unlike my last post states we really are fine.

 

This isn’t the first time that some of you have seen me fly off the handle like I did yesterday. In fact, many of you who have known me for some time now, know all too well how hot-tempered I can be. And although I was angry when I wrote the post I assure you, I have had time to calm down and work through those overwhelming feelings and emotions.

 

I also want to say that, unfortunately anger is an emotion that must be expressed on occasion or it will do more damage later on to others and ones own self. It is a very explosive and extremely volatile emotion and as you all know, it had built up like a pressure cooker inside of me. If I hadn’t closed the lid so tightly and let some of the steam escape occasionally, I may have been able to stay calmer and have kept a cooler more level head instead of blowing up like an atom bomb.

 

The post I wrote, wasn’t meant to upset those who really do care and check in on me frequently. It wasn’t aimed at any one person specifically. In a nutshell, it was directed at society as a whole. It was a “Wake the fuck up people you aren’t the only ones struggling!” type of message. Which I admit, I most certainly could have portrayed my feelings in a less demanding and ignorant manner.

 

We have become a society of immensely selfish people. We allow our lives to be entirely consumed with so much trivial bullshit that we cannot possibly think of anyone else and how their lives may be turning out for them. We quickly jump from one thing to the next without stopping and realizing that even though we have moved on from the sadness and empathy we had once felt for a friend, that maybe they were still not over the thing that they had went through. (Example: my sister’s death and my family’s health and financial situation.) We are so quick to forget about our grieving friends feelings and if they don’t constantly remind us about their situation, it slips to the back of our minds. The more time that passes the more we believe they are no longer hurting and it not only shocks us but often time annoys us that they haven’t “moved on” yet. But, that is not how some of us see it and those of us who are on the receiving end often times get angry because our friends have left us stuck in time when they swore they’d always be there. We feel abandoned and neglected. As time continues to pass, we often feel alone because the world just kept on spinning while we stood there dizzy in need of assistance. We don’t want to ask for help because we don’t want to be a bother to anyone and we get angry because no one ever needed to ask us for help we just did it. It becomes a vicious cycle that many don’t break until after they have lost many people from their lives. And even then it may still  continue.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as guilty as everyone else. As I was writing my last post I knew exactly what it was I was saying, feeling, and projecting. I also know it came off very childish in a whole temper-tantrum sort of way. I was screaming for attention and oh boy did I get it.

 

But not only in the ways you might imagine. Letting all of that anger and emotion out really helped me to see things in a different light. I realized after writing it that I am not the same person I was before as I thought I was in my post. I’m really not that depressed, weak-minded, angry person anymore. I know you are shaking your head at me, like wtf is she talking about…the post was full of depression, anger and weakness.

 

Yes, it surely was. I thought it was all that built up stuff coming out and once I could calm down enough to reflect I realized how much of the past 7 months were actually anything but anger, depression and weakness on my part. Regardless if I was truly feeling and dealing with the emotions or just flitting back and forth between them, I did have many more happy and content days than I did depressed and angry days.

 

I have gone through a lot in the last year and a half and my writing reflects that. I know I don’t need to tell any of you who have been by my side throughout it all. What I learned in this experience was that I can no longer hold things in and just wait hoping they go away. I also learned that I have a good handful of online people, be it family or friends, who support me more than I was aware of or wanted to admit. Also, that I am a writer and as such I have to write. It doesn’t matter if I am a paid writer or if I am nothing more than a blogger with a never realized dream… I HAVE TO WRITE! So, the best thing for me to do is give you all smaller doses of my mind more frequently, instead of bombarding the world with larger doses all at once like I did yesterday. Not only is it better for all of you it is better for me too.

 

So thank you all for bearing with me through my ups and downs. Thank you for reaching out to me and letting me know you care. And above all, thank you for always allowing me to be who I am, even when I am not on my bestest behavior.  Nothing in this world feels better than the love I have felt in the last couple of days from those of you who prefer me just the way I am. I can now move on with my head held higher just knowing that I do indeed have  several shoulders to lean on if I just reach out for them.

 

Oh and before I end this, I’d like to give a special shoutout to my new readers and followers. Thank you for joining me on what was a very difficult day in my life. I hope you stick around and continue to ride with me on this crazy ride that is my life.

I’m Fine. Really.

One misconception people have of me is that I don’t pull any punches when it comes to verbalizing the way that I feel. I say many things that others wouldn’t say, that is true. But, I do pull punches, I do censor myself, I do internalize a lot of how I feel until it’s been pushed far enough down where I can go out in public again and not be an utterly incomprehensible asshole… so to speak.

 

But, because I do this I end up feeling more stressed out than I should. And right now I am in Stressville eating from the Stress Buffet and praying that nobody says a fucking word to me for fear that I may completely lose my mind, my temper, and my lunch! However, since so many really want to know what is on my mind… let me break it down for you.

 

I’m freaked out. I didn’t expect to fall back into a depression. I didn’t expect to go from being an optimist who helped others rise up into the light, to just rapidly decline back into what it was I had fought so hard to get out of the beginning of last year… a dark abyss of nothingness and despair.

 

Last year; despite everything that happened,  I was optimistic. I was hopeful. I was happy. My happiness hasn’t entirely been depleted yet but my optimism and my hopefulness have just about been sucked right the hell out of me.

 

I had pushed through grieving my sister rapidly, choosing to bury myself in writing instead of dealing with that whole ordeal. Then there was the family and friends I lost. I shook that off and kept on my journey, never looking back. Then in October, there was my breast issue. Again, I picked up the pieces and ran off towards my vision.

 

Despite all I had gone through in a short period of time, my descent didn’t officially begin until the week of New Year’s Eve when I spent 3 days in the hospital with my daughter. She was very ill and it was then when I began to notice how very mentally exhausted I was. It was when I had time to really think about life and death and everything in between. I had a chance to slow down enough to realize what was going on with me. And of course, I was worried out of my mind about losing my daughter.

 

Everything I had went through had all managed to catch up with me and it had multiplied into something that I clearly wasn’t prepared for or capable of handling. And I’m sorry to say it has cracked me in a way that nothing else ever could.

 

I had aspirations, dreams, goals… I thought every post I wrote on Yahoo, Technorati, my blog, and guest posts were leading me to being a paid writer. I seriously believed for a good minute there that I was talented enough to make it. But, talent doesn’t pay bills when there isn’t enough work experience to get you a job. And I just don’t have that experience and now I’m afraid I don’t have that drive anymore either.

 

I cracked beyond repair at the beginning of the year when I got paid for my hard work from Yahoo. They paid me a whole $1.42 for the 8 articles I had written. My friends told me not to let payment determine my worth as a writer. But, as much as I wanted to believe them I couldn’t get past my husband’s laughter about how even Yahoo thought I was a bad writer.

 

I know, I know… I shouldn’t put so much value into words. But I am supposed to be a writer and writers use words and words are supposed to mean something very important, if they didn’t what would we need writers for?

 

The more I focused on those words the more depressed I became and my blog posts dropped off to maybe one or two a month. Because at this point who really cares if I write or if I don’t? I know I surely don’t.

 

I tried to stay strong. I made it through my sister’s deathaversary. But, more and more things began to bother me. My kids had countless doctor appointments going on and those brought up old feelings about why they were disabled. Then my husband ended up in the hospital for heart palpitations because he was completely irresponsible and drank 3 energy drinks in one freaking day. And financial issues kept resurfacing. Not enough money and too many bills, not enough food and too many mouths, not enough work and a vehicle that kept breaking down…

 

And through this all, I smiled and laughed and kept pushing it all further and further down. I kept pretending it was all ok. I kept insisting that I was strong enough to handle it all and everyone else’s problems too. I didn’t want to bother anyone with my problems but I took on their problems. I didn’t want to fall back into the type of person who feels bad for what is happening in their life when so many have it worse. And I know there are many out there worse off than I. Truth is though… it has been pretty bad for my family too, and the people around me have really pissed me off.

 

I have kept as much of my emotions and feelings to myself as I could throughout this entire year. I looked on the bright side as much as I could. But, all of these people with their bullshit and their “woe is me” and their “oh if only I had this”… They don’t even realize how much better they have it than my family does right now at this moment and how badly I wanted to tell them to their face. But, I didn’t and I haven’t and now I’m becoming one of them by complaining. Uff! But, I don’t care because I need to let it all out so…

 

My car died just about 4 years ago. There are no roadtrips, no vacations, no going out…I only get outside of the house when I grocery shop, which is at night once a month or less, or when the kids go to the doctor, or when one of us ends up in the hospital, or once a summer for the Festival of Nations… oh and last week we got a special trip to the Science Center. Wooo, one extra day this year that we haven’t had in 4 fucking years. My friends have either removed themselves from my life or don’t have time or live too far or don’t care or whatever they have going on. I live in a bad neighborhood. And I do mean bad, so it’s not like my kids and I can just go a-walkin’ outside and enjoy the scenery. Noooo, we get to sit inside and wait… Wait for the day when my husband (who is never home except to sleep a few hours) to have enough money to do things with us or let us go out and do things. Because to him money means power and respect and love, I guess. So because I have none to offer him I am not top priority.

 

Speaking of money, I haven’t been shopping in 4 years. I haven’t had new clothes in 4 years. I am lucky to go out to eat 4 times a year, my kids birthday’s, mine (if my husband feels like being nice to me that day) and my husband’s. (sometimes) Grocery shopping is a nightmare, I never have enough money to buy things I’d like to make, so we stick to simple and cheap recipes. Here’s another little thing that has me on edge. I quit smoking in October and not only do I now have more issues breathing but, I gained 30 pounds as well. Isn’t that great???!!! Who knew that smoking was actually de-stressing me? I guess I do now, huh…

 

Oh and while we are on stressing about weight, here’s something that keeps me awake at night. My son’s doctors are harassing me because my son isn’t at a normal weight for his age. I’ve done all I can to get my son to lose the weight; changed his diet, put him on an exercise plan. But, despite my efforts he just doesn’t understand that if he doesn’t lose the weight the state will take him away from us. How do you like that? My husband who also was told to drop weight, refuses to listen and continues to buy foods that shouldn’t be in the house. And me? Well I can’t do shit about it, short of divorcing him and moving to Alaska, or stay up all night and day guarding the refrigerator. Because lord knows I am already not sleeping anyway so why even bother trying anymore.

 

My husband and I are nothing more than roommates now. He is on the couch and I am in the bed with my daughter who hasn’t left my side since I was in the hospital in Oct. Apparently, the idea of losing me scared her so deeply that she cannot be away for me more than 5 minutes at a time since then. I spent my whole life protecting my children from the scary things in life and my daughter ends up worrying about me. That screws with me more than I can explain.

 

And as if there wasn’t enough going on, my husband had the bright idea to bring home another dog. Only this dog has major issues from being abused when she was a puppy. Now she is over a year old and still paranoid, still barks at my husband who clearly she doesn’t like, she still sleeps near me, lays on me because I am her salvation. She isn’t training at all for me. I’m losing my mind over this dog because I don’t know how to help her. She just won’t leave my side for anything. And clearly I am selfish and an asshole for wanting some space and time alone.

 

So here is the final kicker. My 9 year old pitbull, Rosko has been sick. I’m worried this could be the last of his life. My husband being the person he is may or may not take him to the Vet. And if the Vet suggests a treatment that we can’t afford well I get to sit there again with one of my babies in my arms and watch him die.

 

I am stressed beyond the imagination and meaning of the word. Yet, I get to sign on to my social networks, where I go to get adult conversations (that I don’t get from my husband or anyone else in my day to day offline life) and to clear my mind of all the shit going on in my life for a brief time… and I get to see half of the people on there complaining about how “bad” they have it. OMFG, really???!!!! Ugh. And if I say something about how shitty I feel well then I get to be told how dramatic I am being and bla bla bla… Because if things were so bad for me I’d have posted it so they’d all know, right???

 

So I drop to my knees throw my hands up towards the stars and scream, “WHY ME???” And the answer comes back…Because this is my great fucking life. This is the part of my life I don’t talk about, the part that my enemies love, and my friends ignore. The part that keeps me awake at night in tears. So please, if you would can you tell me once again how bad your life is going for you?  Because I’m fine. Really. Aren’t I always?

My Wedding’s Quinceañera

15 years ago (tomorrow), on my then 22nd birthday; my fiancé decided it would be the right time to get married. Clearly 3 years into a relationship that had already produced a daughter, was the perfect time to tie the noose… err I mean the knot.

It’s not like either one of us didn’t want to be married. Hell, we were already living as husband and wife that entire time anyway. It’s just… there were bills to be paid and a child to feed… If you really want to know the truth, we were doing our part in saving the planet by not creating superfluous paper. Sounds funny I know but, eh, it’s the least we could do for our children’s future, right?!

But seriously though, the reason’s we both had; although looking back I’m not so sure it was a “we” thing, were our reason’s and ours alone. Nobody, no matter how important they thought their opinion was, had the right to tell us when we should get married. Of course, that didn’t stop them. 37 years later in my life and those same people still haven’t stopped trying to manipulate and control me and my life. SMH!

Anyway, back to the day at hand… July 17th, my 37th birthday/wedding’s Quinceañera . Aww, I feel like I should throw it a huge party while wearing a bright multi-colored billowing dress and be surrounded by a bunch of drunken people, that may or may not be my family, and they will be gyrating and partying like it’s 1999. Because if there is one thing my anniversary/birthday is lacking, is the extravagant publicly humiliating celebration of leaving behind the innocence of childhood and diving head first off the deep end straight into the abyss of womanhood. *SIGH*

I have yet to figure out what it was that ran through my husband’s head the day he decided to forever taint my birthday with a wedding anniversary. I’m pretty certain that it was the countless bottles of booze that he ingested on the regular, but that is just too obvious an answer to be the correct one. So it must be something more diabolical; like say…I don’t know, the satisfaction he gets from knowing that I will never have another day for the rest of my life that is totally just about me! That sounds a lot more like the evil drunk I have spent my entire adult life with.

Or it could be that he was just trying to be what every woman dreams of… Prince Charming! Oh hell… now I feel bad for calling him names and being angry every single year for the last 15 years.  Way to go Jen, you fucking Romance Nazi!!!

Copyright InJensMind DO NOT COPY OR REPRODUCE July 17, 1997 @Shalimar Wedding Chapel Las Vegas, NV

C’mon Baby Light My Grass On Fire

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As the 4th of July rapidly approaches, I sit here and reminisce about our country’s Independence Day and the memories I have from when I was a child.

From the age of 8 years old, until I was almost 19; I lived in a very small town in the upper part of Michigan, not to be confused with the Upper Peninsula. I don’t remember doing a lot of things on the national holiday at my father’s house in that small town. Most years, crowds of people would flock to the Ausable River where they could see the little city’s puny fireworks show. As a child any and all fireworks shows look amazing and produce the signature ooh’s and ahh’s.

It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s and living in Las Vegas did I realize the true beauty of huge firework displays. Whereas most of the entire city flocked to ‘The Strip’ and ‘Fremont Street’, I had small children and it was too much of a hassle to battle overly drunken crowds of that magnitude. Fortunately, for my kids and I, there were plenty of places off the beaten path where we could catch those giant, colorful, gloriously booming stimuli in the night sky.

Still, watching those magnificent displays of our nation’s pride and joy couldn’t be trumped by one specific childhood memory I have of long ago.

It was summer, a hot and sticky, worst drought ever, Michigan heat wave. My younger sister Jessica and I were at our mom’s house in Mt. Morris for our summer vacation. Mom was always on the go, so for the most part we spent much of our vacation days at one of her friends’ houses. This particular 4th of July was no different.

She took us over to one of her good friends, Fred’s house. This had to have been maybe my second time at his house. There were many adults and some kids, three being my 2 siblings and I. Of course, the kids were anxious and restless from anticipation. I mean… Really, what kid doesn’t love lively fiery objects that go boom? But, the damn drought had rained on our parade, washing away all of our little hopes and dreams.

A  severe drought that summer had everyone in the city under advisement to not set off fireworks of any kind. The odds of starting a major uncontrollable fire were far too high of a risk warned the city officials.

However, Fred being the greatest and most genial of all the adults, tells us that if he were to strategically place one measly  firework on the picnic table it would be perfectly safe. All of the children delightfully screamed, myself included. Because even though it was technically illegal, it is what the 4th of July is all about, right?  We were free men and women. We were free of the English tyrants. We were independent, free to do as we damn well pleased… FREE TO BREAK THE F**KING RULES MAN!!! *Said in my best Janis Joplin voice* WOOOOOOOOO!!!! Way to go, stick it to the man, Fred.

First Fred placed a little green army tank on the picnic table and lit it. Eyes glued to the table, we waited for it to do something patriotic. Without disappointment, it soon started racing down that table, leaving fiery tread marks behind it. The table had been just as dry as the grass.

Still, that little incident didn’t deter Fred the Magnificent. He grabbed another miniature firework, placed it in the middle of the picnic table, and lit it.

We all stood there staring at it. Then suddenly it started spinning; faster and faster and faster and then…it shot up into the sky.

Blinded by the mid-day sun we lost sight of  it for a moment but, soon it reappeared in all its fantastical glory.

It had landed on a patch of grass in the backyard catching it on fire. Someone scurried to go get the water hose to put it out. The little hellish firework jumped up again. By this time adults and children were screaming but not from delight. In the meantime, the little firework that could, had landed and caught a second spot of the yard on fire.

By the time the hose was retrieved and the flames doused, there were 3 burnt crop circles in Fred’s back yard. Now, I’m sure that Fred and the rest of the adults weren’t happy with that Independence Day fiasco. But for me… BEST 4TH OF JULY MEMORY EVER!!!

Father’s Day Project: Build-A-Dad

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Yesterday was Father’s Day. I am sure I do not need to remind any of you. As I sat around, well no… that isn’t exactly accurate. My husband was home all day and when he is, there is no sitting around. Clearly, he can sit around, demand things to be done/brought to him, or blankly stare at a plethora of asinine TV shows in English and/or Spanish but, me… I am required to go, go, go!!! Do I look like Speedy Gonzalez to you? Don’t answer that…

So as soon as I woke up, I mean got up, at about 10 am or so… I don’t remember. I just know it was still morning. Don’t judge me…. I’m an insomniac and sleeping is a problem for me. My husband started with his usual assholery and yelled something about the clips. “Where are the clips?” he yelled. “What clips? You mean… the clippers?” I replied while trying hard not to call him an illiterate son of a bitch. After all, it is his day, right?! So… I got up and waddled around the house. No, I am not pregnant but, I am somewhat fluffy these days. From room to room to room I went. Dodging dogs, shaking my head at the children that were still sleeping, over/around/up and down through the junk that has taken up permanent residence in my home from lands far and wide. Why was I cursed to marry the Mexican Fred Sanford from ‘Sanford and Son’? Or would that be, Federico Sanford de  ‘Sanford y su Hijo’? *Sigh*

Finally, I remembered where they were last put and handed them to him. All of this, not because he wanted to cut his hair mind you. But because he wanted to shave his beard and apparently shaving it with a razor or 5 was just too much freaking work for him. But, me wandering the streets of Can’t-Find-A-Damn-Thing-Without-My-Help-Ville wasn’t work at all….. *SIGH again*

I made sure at some point to mention, that I would like to go to the store, since it was Father’s Day and we had no gift for him and more importantly we had no damn milk. There is no way I was cooking breakfast on Father’s Day. I mean, hell, you know what I mean… I cook every single day. Why do I have to cook a meal that no one and I do mean no one, in my house even likes to eat? Besides it was starting to heat up in the house because the Midwest is in the center of Hell (hence the name Bible Belt) and we still have no working air conditioner. So I dressed myself, yes I know… woo-hoo Jen has finally learned how to dress herself. Do you guys always have to be so mean??? *Insert evil snort laugh*

My daughter got up and decided she would like to go with me to the store.  Shopping is one of our mother/daughter bonding times. Frankly, I take her along more often than my son because she isn’t the type to whine and throw a fit if I don’t buy her something. Just as we were about to walk out the door, my husband yells out, “You can’t leave. I need to go to Home Depot.” Didn’t I tell him not more than 10 minutes before that I needed to go to the store? *Scrolls up* Yes, yes I did. Welcome to my life people. Isn’t it a hoot?

In the time my husband is gone, I wash the dishes, that he requested I do. “You SHOULD wash the dishes before you leave the house,” he gently told me. Haha who am I kidding, right?! He has never gently told me anything in our nearly 19 years together. But, instead of complaining, I just do those loving things that a doting wife does out of the sheer goodness of her happy and fulfilled heart. *Awwww* Stop it…

My husband though… I mean, you just have to know that this man doesn’t know the meaning of a day off. Holidays, birthdays, Sundays… they are just another day to him. He is the epitome of a workaholic without the skanky secretary and the bank account to make it all worth my err, I mean his while. LOL So, what does my husband do on his day off? The one day where a father is allowed to be a mushy couch potato? The one time where everyone in the house is at his disposal? My genius of a husband chooses to rebuild the patio. Because his paranoia trumps mine by a longshot… “I have to fix this before it falls and the city condemns the house.”

At first, it was supposed to be just the railing because it was at a 45-degree angle and well… that is not what a railing on the second floor above a concrete driveway should be doing. The kids and I had long abandoned going out there because the patio door kept getting stuck on its track and I was terrified it might fall out and break. But, as the day progressed it became more and more things that needed to be done to that patio.

My daughter and I came back home from shopping to find my son sitting in the driveway guarding the wood and tools. My husband was standing on the patio, with the entire railing torn off. I graciously handed him a Monster energy drink and then continued carting bags inside the house.

It was a long day for all of us.  My son helped his dad out on his all day into the night Father’s Day project. Build-A-Dad; blackened by sweat and hard work, barely touched the dinner my daughter and I made for him. My daughter was exhausted from all the things she helped me do that are my daily requirements as housebitch.  *Sorry, I had to get in that last dig before wrapping this up*

And I? Well, I was my usual self. Tired, because being a mom and wife is hard work. Wired, because I have so much more work still left to do. A bit insane after all the “my dad is the greatest” crap I kept seeing over my Facebook feed when I finally had time to sit down and enjoy me time. But most of all I was thankful, because my kids and I have their dad in our life. And unfortunately, that is something many people don’t have. Hope you all had a splendid Father’s Day or just another Sunday in June, if you don’t celebrate.

What Is Really InJensMind?

What is really InJensMind? Absolutely freaking nothing! HA…

I can’t even begin to tell you all how overwhelmed I feel at times. My mind is always racing 100 m.p.h. except for the times when it is up to 200 m.p.h. which is usually when I am trying to sleep. I’ve come to notice something about myself recently and well I can’t help to wonder if it is just me or is there something else. Something… deeper, that is going on.

My brain is fried. You know like the egg in the skillet in the old 80’s anti-drug campaign commercials. You have no idea how much I despise eggs let alone a fried one inside my skull. But, it is true, my memory is kaput. I mean… Sure, I can remember certain things, i.e. my shitty childhood, birthdays, every single inch of every single building/house I have ever stepped foot in. Because who wouldn’t kill to own that delightful and mind-blowing skill!?! Can’t remember where I parked the car but, don’t fret I can envision with exceptional detail, every aisle in the grocery store without stepping foot in it. Humph! But, what I cannot remember is, have I ever told someone this story before? What did I eat for breakfast? Who is that person that keeps messaging me, have we spoken before? Where’d I put my cellphone? When was the last time I took a shower? Did I take my pills today?

I’m seriously surprised I can even finish a post. LOL It’s comical but, still it really isn’t. There are many things that I can’t seem to recall. Tiny inconsequential things but, many things.  An entire lifetime of things. I’m not sure if this is some kind of premature Alzheimer’s, my insulin resistance issue, a brain tumor, caffeine/sugar/carb overload, lack of refreshing sleep at night, being married for nearly 19 years, never leaving my house to socialize with anyone who doesn’t bark or was grown inside of my womb, a freakish Zombie brain eating accident, the lack of mind-blowing sex (oh wait, that wouldn’t be helpful whatsoever… or would it!?!) or just years of blocking out traumatic details to the point I don’t know anything other than my name. And even that is iffy at this moment. What’s my name? No really, what’s my mother****ing name? Sorry, I had a former rapper flashback.

All I know is, this is really beginning to bother me. Maybe, I should see someone about this. In the meantime… can someone give me Dr. Frankenstein’s number? I’m sure he has a few extra brains just lying around unused. Ooo EEEEgor, ver eeee’s meeee brain? Coming Master!!!

NaPoWriMo Day:7 A Sábado de Gloria Memory

Animated faces in a crowd
people of all ages gather around.
One of the best days en mi memoria
was this very day, Sábado de Gloria.

The Sun shined down, warming everyone
then someone cried out, “Look he has a gun.”
But this type of gun posed not a deadly threat
its main intent was to get, the entire crowd wet.

The children joined in, their parents too
gallons of water into the air flew.
The great water event started before noon
and continued all day ‘til the emerge of the moon.

Oh what a glorious Saturday
when everyone came together to play.
The moral of this story my dearest friend
is of harmony and bliss when we let love transcend.

Don’t forget to visit, share, and comment on these following poets pages as well:

Sweepy Jean Explores the (Webby) World
Lyric Fire
AscendingTheHills
142 Books
Sulekha Rawat: Memoirs

To create…
memoirs of a homemaker
One Time Pad
Thoughts Of Beauty In The Stillness Of Dawn…
EllieBloo
Chris Galvin 

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: A Lifetime of Cancer

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As we come to the end of Pinktober for this year, I can only hope that all of my Breast Cancer Awareness posts have brought a new outlook to all of you.

I hope that more of you have taken Breast Cancer more serious and have learned things about it that you didn’t know before. I hope that you all have passed on the information I have given you this month to not only the women in your life but, the men as well. I hope that you do your monthly self-exams and get yearly mammograms if you are of age or have a family history. And last but, certainly not least; I pray that nobody you love becomes afflicted with any type of Cancer or illness.

My goal this month was to raise Breast Cancer Awareness; to reach out to as many as I could, spread life-saving knowledge, and to show the masses that cancer affects us all even if you don’t see the connection. I have heard that awareness has sufficiently been raised and there is no more need for it but, I don’t think enough people are aware of how much Breast Cancer has invaded our families. I have heard it is time for more action. Well, I believe in action but, when I think of awareness it is a given that action is included. I was aware of Breast Cancer before it hit me directly. I have spread awareness to others by my actions, my words, my wish for a cure, etc…

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We can support the companies that are dedicated to Breast Cancer and we can be a part of our own health regimen but, other than that what more can we do? We can give money to find a cure for this heinous disease but, we can’t go marching into the Lab and actually find a cure by ourselves. We can donate our time, money and effort to someone afflicted with the disease but, we cannot remove the disease from them. Just because the things we can do are small, doesn’t mean that they are ineffective or not worth doing. Nothing worth doing is ever easy; all paths start with small steps…shall I go on or do you get the picture?

I started this month off with a challenge for all of you… a Facebook event to wear some form of pink visible on your person all month-long, did you do it? I did! I also offered all bloggers a way to support Breast Cancer Awareness by taking part in Pinktober on Blognostics site; did any of you join in? This post is dedicated to the question Blognostics asked, “How have you been affected by Cancer?”

May 5th, 1959; my paternal grandfather (my father’s dad) William George Babcock Sr. died from Leukemia. I don’t know his year of birth but, I guesstimate he was born the same year as my grandma making him age 23 when he died. My father was 4 years old and I wasn’t even a glimmer in his eye yet. You may ask me how this affects me if I wasn’t even born; well my father grew up without his dad. His earliest memories were of his 18 month old sister dying and a year later his own father was taken from him. My father’s firsthand accounts of dealing with death so early in his life resulted in his mental instability,etc… his lack of skills as a father is partly to blame for who I am today.

October 16th, 1974; my maternal grandfather (my mother’s dad) Leeroy Nichols died from Throat Cancer. He was 15 days short of his 40th birthday. My mother was 17 years old and at the time was in the beginning of her pregnancy with me. He walked out when my mom was very young as well. His abandonment of my mom resulted in her lack of trust/abandonment issues in men which trickled down into abandonment/trust issues in me.

I wasn’t even born yet and there I was, well acquainted with Cancer and what it does to “normal” people. Cancer changes everything in a person’s life when they get it but, it doesn’t just stop there…it has the audacity to change the lives of those who love the cancer victim as well. Cancer can and will break the strongest link in any family.

March 29th, 2001; my paternal grandmother (my father’s mom) Rosalie Mabel Simmons died from Stomach/Liver Cancer. She was 64 years old. It’s not quite certain as to which she had first because she wasn’t diagnosed until she had a stroke and ended up in the hospital; by then it had already effected her weight and was too late. It was only a matter of time until the cancer took her life. I managed to make it to Michigan to say goodbye to her the weekend prior to her death. She was so skinny but, for a little while she was her usual self. She was loud, talking shit about Chicago and how terrible a city it is and why on Earth would we want to live there. That was the grandma I had known my whole life. Then the hospice nurse came in and medicated her. She might as well have medicated the entire room because grandma turned into a zombie, she whined, whimpered, and was in terrible pain… all I could do was cry. I had known her my whole life; she was one of the few people in the world I could trust. She was one of the few people in the world who I knew for certain loved me unconditionally; as I did her. It was a Sunday the last time I saw her alive. My husband, the kids, and I drove to her house from the hotel and a song came on the radio. ‘You’ll be in my heart’ by Phil Collins; you may know this song as the one in the Tarzan movie. I cried out uncontrollably and to this day cannot listen to that song; I make the kids skip it when they watch the movie. My grandma died exactly one year to the day that I miscarried. She was and is still one of the hardest deaths I have had to deal with in my life.

June 2nd, 2002; my paternal aunt (my father’s half sister) Dawn Marie Like was diagnosed with diseased breasts (confirmed Breast Cancer during surgery). She was 39 years old. She had a double mastectomy, upon surgery it was discovered that she had cancer in both breasts which if not for the surgery would have gone undetected and treated late resulting possibly in death. She has been cancer-free for 9 years now. My aunt Dawn is the first and only person to date in my family, who was diagnosed early enough to be treated and be a Cancer survivor!

September 6th,2004; my maternal great-uncle (my mother’s mom’s brother) David McGinty died from Pancreatic Cancer. He was 60 years old. I barely remember my great-uncle David; I only remember meeting him once. My family wasn’t good about staying in contact and my father wasn’t good about letting me interact with my mother’s side of the family. My great-uncle had gone back to his normal activities after the Cancer was in regression; traveling and living life, when he went back home the cancer was back in full swing and he died shortly afterwards.

December 24th, 2010; my step great-aunt (my mother’s stepdad’s sister) Sara Isabelle Upton died from Lung Cancer. She was 68 years old. Now you may say “But Jen she is step family and doesn’t count.” I would reply, “You are right if we were talking about my bloodline and my chances of getting cancer. But, we are talking about how cancer has affected me in my life.” So, my step great-aunt, who I also only remember meeting one time in my life had also fell victim to cancer. I wish I had gotten a chance to know her better.

February 8th, 2011; my sister (my younger, only sibling who shared the same two parents) Jessica Rae died from… I want to say Breast Cancer because the doctors were adamant in telling her over and over and over for 3 days that she had Breast Cancer. I was later informed, that the same doctor who swore it was Breast Cancer and was ruling out other cancers when she died, had put on her death certificate… Lung Cancer. She was Stage IV when they told her it was cancer on the Saturday before she died. This same doctor had given her the run around about what was making her have difficulty breathing for months. She had an X-Ray on Wednesday, Saturday they were telling her Breast Cancer, Monday she was dead. She had 4 lymph nodes popping out of the side of her neck, months before this X-Ray. She had increasing difficulty breathing. They told her she had several lesions on her liver, liquid around her heart, and liquid in her lungs. She was 33 years old. She was the mother of 4, two which had just been born 6 months earlier and were living with her. She went into cardiac arrest when they drained liquid from around her heart for the 3rd time in those 3 days. I could go on and repeat everything I have said since her passing but, I won’t. She was and is the hardest death I have had to deal with in my life to date. She will also be the reason that I continue to spread cancer awareness!!!

Click on the image to read My Sister

October 7th, 2011; I had a sharp pain in my right breast.
October 8th, 2011; I have a 6×8 inch mass in my right breast.
October 9th, 2011; Admitted to the hospital pending an exam by a Breast Specialist.
October 11th, 2011; I get an ultrasound and sent home.
October 18th, 2011; I have a mammogram and another ultrasound and finally told I do NOT have Breast Cancer.

As you can see, I have spent my whole life of 36 years so far, being affected by Cancer. (These are who I remember while writing this, so if I missed someone it was purely accidental.) Not to mention, all the women I have met since February of this year who are still battling the beast. I value these women and am glad to have them in my life! This past year I have met, well not actually met per se, became acquainted with my cousin (my mother’s mom’s nephew) Terry and come to find out he had two lumps removed from his breasts (chest) as well. Proving that this is not a “woman’s” disease, if you don’t know that men can also get Breast Cancer, please read ‘Men are not Immune.’

Cancer is devastating, it breaks families apart, it isn’t your friend; but, I am and I am telling you to stay on top of your health because early detection is key to surviving any cancer. As your friend I want you to be around for many more years to come. So, self-exam, see a medical practitioner, and For Jen’s Sake… spread the word, share the knowledge, and support the finding of cures for all cancers!!!

And on that note: I want to thank everyone who joined in this month for Breast Cancer Awareness, you have all made me proud and may you all have a Happy and Safe Halloween!!!