A Year in Reflection

Google Image


Google Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

On August 23rd of last year, I was in the hospital undergoing the biggest decision I have ever made in my entire life…prophylactic double mastectomy/breast reconstruction. At the time it seemed like the obvious choice, in hindsight, it was the most intensive rite of passage that ever plagued womankind.

 

I’m a strong woman. I know women claim that every day and then something trivial throws them into a panic attack of mega-proportions. I, myself, have been there. Where do you think the words Drama Queen came from. But, I digress. I AM STRONG! And as a woman who has idly strolled through several neighborhoods of Hell, I tell you I was not prepared for the emotional torture I would be facing during this reconstruction. It turns out even strong women can have weak moments.

 

They say, “What doesn’t break you makes you stronger.” I hate that saying with the entirety of my being, not because it isn’t true but because it is quoted repeatedly by people who have not been through a sliver of what I have. Am I comparing my struggles to the lack of theirs? No, I’m just reflecting on those moments that transpired along the way. Like I said in the previous paragraph…“Weak. “Drama Queen.” “Hell.”

 

Feelings of inadequacy, self-loathing, comparisons, bouts of deep depression… just a few of the bullshit moments I had in the past year. After all of that work I put into myself in the last few years I was undone by my f**king breasts. That’s right, like a teenage boy, I lost my ever-loving mind over breasts. Apparently, my vanity knows no bounds.

 

When did I, the woman’s woman, turn into an exceedingly breast-obsessed man? If I had to pinpoint it, I’d say roughly between birth and the total hysterectomy 12 years ago but, I am just guessing here. Seriously, though, why the hell are we as a society so obsessed with oddly placed sacks of fat hanging off of one gender’s chest? And why did I get sucked into that absurdity? Because, that is what happens when you make a choice to save your life but still want to have some sort of normalcy… and FFS, I just want to be a woman, something I feel like PCOS, being raised as a boy, and an early hysterectomy robbed from me.

 

But, have I been robbed or have I just fallen victim willingly into the societal princess programming that all females are force-fed?! I’d like to think I am no victim let alone a willing one. But, yes I fell into the world’s biggest trap, allowing society to dictate their idea of what a woman is. Funny, I don’t remember signing up for that in my contract. Yet there it is in all its hideousness.

 

My surgeon told me this was a journey. I knew what I was in for, well, I thought I knew what I was in for. But, I was not ready for all of that. I didn’t know that my breasts were directly tied to my emotional core. An explosive core that was clearly ticking and this “journey” was the detonation. That’s what I get for holding on to 40 years of trauma. There has to be a better way to “let it go.” I’ll work on that.

 

So on Tuesday, I’ll be in my surgeon’s office getting the final touches on my breast reconstruction…purple glitter tattoos on my reconstructed nipples. Because why not? A girl should be a girl any way that she sees fit, not forced into being what society tells her she should be. And that is how you become a strong woman!

 

 

beginning-lamour

Google Image

Advertisements

Champagne For Everyone! Jen’s Writing Is A Year Old

Cheers! Sláinte! Prost! Prosit! ¡Salud! Santé! Saúde

It’s hard to believe that it has already been a year since I began writing on a blog. My life, my thoughts, my fears out there…in the open for all to see.

Those of you who had followed me from Blogspot to WordPress might know that For Jens Sake has only been up for 3 months. Raps and Poems and Books, Oh My was my first and the poems I wrote on that blog (which can be found here) is what has me celebrating my 1st year blogoversary. Woohoo!

I decided to celebrate this festive occasion by taking all of you through my year; through every up and down, win and lose, tears and smiles. What an exciting year it has been, not a single moment of it has been dull. Some of you may already know that I started out writing with poetry. It was all poetry all the time, like the Cartoon Network, only… poetic.

A couple of months went by and I decided I wanted to try writing as a career. Unfortunately, poets aren’t in high demand right now in any field. That’s a shame really because I think that music (of any genre) could be several times greater if the song writers took it back to good ol honest poetic lyrics and flow. Someone get Diddy on the phone I have an idea for a new reality show…Making the Poet!

Me, Myself and I, was born because I needed a résumé of written articles. It kind of felt like high school all over again, being forced into something, that is. But, what does one write about when they want to become a writer? News…ick, no thanks. It’s depressing and causes people to run out, buy guns and ammo and board themselves up inside their homes while they drink beer and wait for the zombie apocalypse to happen. News was most definitely not me.

Then I thought…celebrity gossip. Ah, the old let’s talk about other people’s business (which clearly has nothing to do with us) and never once find out if what we are writing is true or not. Nope… gossip definitely was not me either. What’s left? Opinionated ramblings? Ding ding ding…we have a winner. Hey…I ramble and I am opinionated. Oh my God, it’s as if that was made just for me.

I worked hard daily, on both blogs. I would take turns… poetry one day, opinions the next. Back and forth, establishing a following of loyal readers and 0 comments. Oh yea, I was getting famous. LOL But, you know, it didn’t matter because I was saying what I wanted to say and that was good enough for me.

I finally decided to look for poetry contests and joined a few sites. Out of all of them, Allpoetry was the best. I started making a few friends there by joining groups. I entered a few contests, won a few trophies, and then got seriously fed up with the site. Why? Because newcomers were outsiders. The site was one huge clique after another and they were adamant about their poetry being better than anything “a noob” could write. But, that is a post for another time.

So back I went and focused completely on my two blogs. I learned how to autoshare my posts on other networks; thank you Networked Blogs. Doing that left more time for me to write, instead of running to a bunch of sites and posting links. The creator of that app is my idol.

I signed up with Odesk and began building my official résumé. I have not had a résumé in my entire life, so making one was most definitely exciting. It was also very frustrating, trying to remember dates and addresses and names of companies from over 18 years ago. Some of them are long gone, so even if I said I worked there and I did, where’s the proof…

Before I knew it 5 months had passed and it was already February. My heart jumped out of my chest as I listened to a voicemail I had received. I called my mom and the world went silent… “Your sister is in the hospital with Stage 4 Breast Cancer.” Tears streamed down my eyes… as they are doing now because it still hurts. My baby sister lying in a hospital bed… liquid in her lungs and around her heart…lesions on her liver… cancer. CUCK FANCER!!!I called her every day. A lot of people get cancer and they have plenty of time for their families to come to grips with it. I was worried out of my mind even though I knew from experience; it wasn’t over until it’s over.

R.I.P. Baby Sister

3 days later I get a call late in the evening. My baby sister had died while the doctor was draining liquid from around her heart for the third time in 6 days. She laid in that bed 6 days, sick. And I had 2 days to tell her everything she should know before she is gone out of my life forever and I said… nothing. Absolutely, the worst part of this entire year were those 3 days.

I didn’t write for weeks, I tried and tried and tried to put up something, anything. All I wanted to do was curse God, curse the world and lay in a ball in my bed and cry until my eyes dried up forever. And that is exactly what I did! When I finally sat down again and wrote, it was all about Jess and pain. At that moment, I gave up any hopes or dreams I had of being a writer. I just had to let the feelings out and I didn’t care if anyone read it or understood. I didn’t care if anyone agreed with me. I no longer needed anyone in my life except my two children, who watched me struggle to hide my tears and depressed bloodshot eyes. I died with Jess that day!!! (R.I.P. May 13, 1977- February 8, 2011)

Then something unexpected happened… I met someone (Sweepy Jean) who added me to a group that led me to fellow bloggers/writers/poets, which in turn led me to more and more blogging groups. Finally, I could connect with people who were somewhat like me. I had also applied to be a writer for a website. Imagine my surprise when I got an email welcoming me to the site as a writer. Wow, little ol me, still choking on the pain and tears from my sister’s death was now a writer for Technorati. So, I wrote for them. I wrote 4 articles in March and two of them were about Breast Cancer and my sister. If I were to agonize over losing Jess than the world could too.

A few months later, I was applying to become a contributor for Yahoo Associated Content and what do you know…I was accepted there as well. As my tears had flown heavy over my loss they had also motivated me to find the perfect place to become published. I am waiting on the final approval of my third article on Yahoo as I write this.

As all of this was happening; I evolved. I made new friends, lost old ones, and gained a new respect and love for who I am. I made the big switch from Blogspot to WordPress in June, deleting the old blogs and continuing to write poetry and my opinions on the new one, and most of all… I continued to be seen throughout the world-wide web for my writing. Then came offers to guest post; truly a great honor for me.

Out of nowhere, I wrote the poem that put me on the fast track to the stars…I Have Lived Life. It has been published on Yahoo, won the month of August poetry contest, is semi-finalist in an international poetry contest, is scheduled to be published in a poetry book in November of this year. All of a sudden, I realized that I had done exactly what I set out to do…touch someone’s life with meaningful and honest words. I had already arrived at the place I aimed to be.

Much to my surprise, a day came when I received an email that Google was interested in interviewing me. Unfortunately, I had to turn it down. Not because I wouldn’t love that opportunity but, my laptop had died and along with it my Skype and webcam. Besides, I had no cover letter even written yet, which is now on my to-do list. I don’t fret over it because I don’t see it as a missed opportunity but, as the beginning of many more to come.

The next goal was to continue to climb and become a better person and a better writer, so I applied to the St. Louis Writers Guild (SLWG). Hello, my name is Jen and I am a member of the SLWG. Woohoo…

In closing: I have been setting aside the negativity, allowing myself to grow and thrive, and have started to learn that; the people who should be at your side during your finest moments…well, they won’t be. But, it’s ok because as the seasons change, so do people. I have changed and that probably has scared many of the people I use to know or rather, who use to know me.

Losing someone close to you changes you; for better or for worse but, it does change you. I will mourn my sister’s death until I am ready to let her go but, I will also keep moving forward in my writing. I feel her hands guiding mine to the keyboard as she whispers into my head… “You were meant to tell the world. This is your calling,it’s what you were born to do. Take ahold of it with both hands and lead it where it should go. If you write it, they will read. If you speak it, they will listen. If you live it, they will follow!”

And when my final day on this planet arrives; I won’t be wishing for the ones that had left, to be at my side. I will be content, knowing that the ones who were always meant to be there will be with me from the beginning until that last gasp of air has escaped my lungs.

I have lived life and this past year was only the beginning…

Handwriting is not my forte anymore and on a cake it's even worse. LOL

I Have Lived Life

I have shed blood, sweat,immeasurable tears
Stared bluntly in the face of my greatest fears

I have had good thoughts and some insane
Some brought me great pleasure, some brought me great pain

I have been free and trapped in a cage
Been bursting with love and insufferable rage

I have known death and I have known birth
Seen Heaven and Hell in my life on this Earth

I have been lost and also been found
Been lifted up high and kicked down to the ground

I have turned hate to love and love into hate
Done magnificent things, a few not-so great

I have several friends, enemies too
Some of them old and some of them new

I have spoken with ink, lips and heart
Written and read inspirational art

I have lived life as well as I could
Some parts might have been bad but, most parts were good

I will rise up each time that I fall
For life is worth living so I give it my all

A True Writer’s Epiphany

I have just had an epiphany!!! A special heartfelt thank you to my dear wonderful friend Sweepy Jean for posting the article ‘The 7 Virtues Every Writer Needs to Succeed.’

I found part of it to be quite enlightening…“The true writer understands that she must lose sleep, lose friends, and lose her sanity, and that even then she has no guarantee of ever being recognized as a writer.”

Prior to reading this I had been thinking about all the friends I have lost in the last few months and the ones I have gained. I am evolving again; I no longer tolerate what I did when I wasn’t a writer. Now my world is positive and more upbeat with an occasional backslide because I am human after all but, I am no longer the sarcastic, negative, cursing, badmouthing, intolerable, depressed person I was just a mere year ago. Every single day to me is now a new opportunity to be great.

A year ago nothing really mattered to me, I was stuck as a housewife and mom and had no aspirations of being anything more than what I was…I was content; grouchy and rude but, content. Then last year my journey began when instead of walking the same tired path, a treadmill walk so to speak; I had abruptly turned and strolled down a new path that I had never seen before.

I wrote in High School. I was in Advanced Writing as a Senior, it was not advanced enough for me. I found it boring and I often skipped class. I would find out what my assignment was from a friend, write it, hand it in and that was that. I graduated with an A+ average in that class and yet I was almost never there. Not once did it come to mind that I should be a writer. All I dreamed of doing with my life was to escape the tyranny of my abusive household; and I did but, I became a wife and mother soon afterwards and I just accepted that… that was my life, end of story.

But, last year I quickly went from roasting and goofing off in a rapper’s chatroom to keystylin’ (writing raps directly from my head using a KEYboard) to writing poems to freestylin’ (saying raps off the top of my head) to writing articles. In that short period of time I evolved into what you see today. I was moving forward with ease because of my supportive friends and I refused to put the damn pen down.

So back to my friends list; I know it seems a bit petty to gripe over it but, the people on my list are in categories of family, friends I have known in my personal life for at least 8 years and online friends I have known for at least 3 years. So why all of a sudden, were people deleting me or blocking me? I have always been loud, outspoken, rude/crude/lewd, bluntly put I’ve always been a bitch… nothing had changed, so why were they offended enough now to remove me?

Oh wait a minute… I CHANGED!!! It wasn’t my outspoken voice that was bothering them, it was the fact more people were listening now. It was the positive feedback I was getting from my new friends. It was the point when others and myself realized I was destined for greatness. Every time I posted a new accomplishment or published an article… like clockwork I lost friends. How dare I stop being a boring, uneducated, “loser” of a housewife and become a voice that people were cheering for… How dare I not go to college and have a great talent for writing… How dare I not only continue to speak my mind but, actually convince people that I was right in what I was saying… I have some nerve, don’t I?

This is the part where I should say I am sorry but, I won’t. Because I am not sorry for becoming more then what I was, for making my children proud with each new accomplishment, and I sure as Hell am not going back to plain ol’ housewife status so some people can feel better about their lives. I will never feel bad for accomplishing my goals and dreams. If it means I lose more so-called friends, so be it. Friends support one another and if mine aren’t supporting me than you weren’t my friends to begin with.

Now you know I’m a thinker and my mind has more to say:I also realized that as I was losing “friends” I was gaining new ones as well; more professional, supportive friends. Ones who actually read what I write not judge it based on a title; people who not only support my dream of being a writer but, gladly hand me the tools and knowledge to make those dreams come true. People, who like me, refuse to treat others badly, no matter how much they deserve to be told off. You know, the kind of people who think games are for kids.

The Universe was flashing a huge neon sign at me and I had missed it, until now…Yes I miss signs too. These people who were removing me are doing me an enormous favor; every time one leaves it opens the door for “new” people to enter my life. Before long my timeline’s will be full of people I actually enjoy interacting with. I will want to continue to better myself because I see them making the world a better place. That excites me, I have always felt like the outsider and now I don’t. Home at last, home at last thank the Lord I am home at last!!!

So now every time I log in online and someone is missing, I can say “Thank You” to the Universe and roll out the red carpet for my new special friend. And to everyone who has stood beside me from beginning to end, you my dears are appreciated more then you will ever know. Because I am a true writer!!!

I Have Lived Life

I have shed blood, sweat,immeasurable tears
Stared bluntly in the face of my greatest fears

I have had good thoughts and some insane
Some brought me great pleasure some brought me great pain

I have been free and trapped in a cage
Been bursting with love and insufferable rage

I have known death and I have known birth
Seen Heaven and Hell in my life on this Earth

I have been lost and also been found
Been lifted up high and kicked down to the ground

I have turned hate to love and love into hate
Done magnificent things, a few not-so great

I have several friends, enemies too
Some of them old and some of them new

I have spoken with ink, lips and heart
Written and read inspirational art

I have lived life as well as I could
Some parts might have been bad but, most parts were good

I will rise up each time that I fall
For life is worth living so I give it my all