Friday, July 2, 2010

Independence Day

This post is now linked to the Weekend Linkup at Write On Edge. To visit other links, just click here.

(This is a serious post and it is long. I have broken my PG rule in this post because I cannot tell you this story without it. The catalyst for change for me – my Independence Day -- came in the form of a four letter word. Please stop reading, though, if you will find it offensive.)

I grew up in a rigidly disciplined family. Things were done a certain way at a certain time and there was no grey area. Ever.

It was my parent’s way of raising us, and I am not faulting them for it.

But as an imaginative, tender, middle child, this caused me pain in many forms…from headaches to ulcers and horrible self doubt.

I was a dreamer. And dreamers did not exist well in an unyielding, precise military-type environment. In my house, if you painted a picture the skies were blue and the trees were green. In my house, clothes were folded precisely and put in closets just so, and all the forks, knives and spoons were parallel to each other. There was no room for painting rainbow colored trees or arranging clothes according to color or setting the table in a different fashion. Those were “stupid” ideas and they were wrong.

This is not a criticism. It’s just how it was.

I was suffocated by these controls. And frustrated by the fact that no matter how hard I tried I could rarely please my parents. I was always too flightly, too off on a tanget even back then, and I always asked way too many questions.

Thought I recognized at a very early age that I always disappointed them, I always, always wanted to make them proud of me so I struggled even harder to be "good".

When I graduated from high-school, I married my parents. I wed my first husband, a very rigid man who believed in classifying men’s work and women’s work and who firmly believed that only two colors existed in the and white and neither were to be trifled with.

He was a good man in many ways, but we were constantly in battle. I was always too flightly, too off on a stupid tangent, and I always asked way too many questions.

After several years of marriage, I was miserable. True, deep unhappiness engulfed every fiber of my being. I tried to be perfect. I tried to do things in ways that would make everybody happy.
I believed that if I was perfect, my parents and my husband would love me. That my perfection would one day allow them to say to me, “Wow, Jenny, you are actually pretty cool. We just never noticed it before,” and they would see ME. See my heart. See my being. See that I was "good"! Somehow, magically, it would become OK to be all the things I was inside.

As more years passed, though, that just never happened. At the time, I believed it was because I didn’t try hard enough. I felt that I just didn’t put enough energy and effort into following all the rules and regulations of being a “good” person. And I ran even faster on that hamster wheel of self-recrimination with no hope of ever actually getting anywhere.

One day, however, I received an unlikely catalyst for change from an improbable source.

Our nearest neighbor on the beautiful, rural country road we lived on was a guy I had gone to school with named Walt. He had remarried a much younger woman whom I had befriended. They had two children and we all hung out together quite a bit.

Walt worked night shifts, and he and I spent a lot of summer hours together swimming with our five combined children. We would talk about this and talk about that, but we were never really close, confiding friends…we were really more like hang-out buddies.

One day my parents stopped by for a typical visit. In retrospect I’m not sure if these were ever really visits, but more inspections of my never-good-enough life. As always, my house was not clean enough. My children were not dressed right. My iced tea had too much sugar. My cookies were under-baked. The yard looked bad. As always, I felt like a failure.

Trying to be the perfect daughter, I would scurry around trying to correct all my flaws. By the time one of these visits were over, I would be a wreck. My stomach would hurt. My head would pound. I would be disgusted with myself.

Then I would begin gearing up for my husband to get home from work. I knew the dinner I made would not be right, he would be in a bad mood (which would somehow be my fault), the house would not be clean enough, he would be tired from work and unable to help with the kids and I would end up revolted and dismayed at myself because I could never, ever, get anything right.

Pleasing these unpleasable people became so important to me that I forgot about myself. I forgot that I even existed as a person, with my own thoughts and ideas and dreams.

But on one particular July afternoon changed all that for me. During all the hours Walt and I hung out with the kids during the summer, he had watched the comings and goings and criticisms and my constant mini-breakdowns around my “loved” ones.

After one upsetting visit from my Dad, I was floating on a raft trying to regain my composure. In my mind I can clearly see the towering white clouds in that cerulean blue summer sky. Walt had just given the kids a snack and he came over to me and dumped me off the raft. When I came up sputtering, he was right in my face.

He told me that he just couldn’t watch it anymore. He told me that it made him sick how my family treated me, that they were bullies, and that they were taking advantage of my niceness. He told me there was nothing wrong with me that growing a backbone couldn't fix. He told me that I needed to stick up for myself, and that I deserved to be treated with respect and kindness. He told me I was an amazing person.

And then he told me, grimly, “You will never please them, Jenny. Just stop trying.”

I can still see the drops of water in his wavy, brown hair.

I started to cry.

I told him that they had to act like that because I was such a screw-up. And that I did everything wrong.

He hit his fist on the water and told me that it wasn’t true. He told me to stand up to them.

I told him I couldn’t. They were my family. They loved me.

And then, lowering my gaze to the sparkling water, I told him I was afraid that if I stood up to them, they wouldn’t love me anymore.

And he said, “They don’t love you now. They love who they want you to be. They don’t love who you really are.”

And I thought about that for a moment. I had been a good, obedient, trying-to-be-perfect person for 31 years and I still didn’t please them. And I was miserable. And my heart felt like it was dying.

Keeping my back to the five oblivious children sitting on the deck stuffing themselves with potato chips and grapes, I cried harder.

“I don’t know how to stop doing it, Walt,” I said.

He leaned very close to me and said, “You just tell them to fuck off.”

Now this might not seem like such a big thing to you. But it was electrifying to me. Not only did I never swear, no-one around me swore. I mean the extent of bad words at our house might have been, “Damn!”

I’m sure my mouth dropped open…and stayed open.

Walt leaned in again and said, “Did you hear me?”

And I said, “I can’t believe you said that out loud!”

Walt retorted, “I’ll say it over and over again until you listen. You deserve to be happy, too.”

The kids had finished their snacks by then and jumped back in the water. The splashing of the water could not silence Walt’s words echoing in my brain. It was like a perpetual loop that would not stop. “Just tell them to…” I couldn’t even say it inside my own head.

The perpetual loop kept playing all through dinner and continuously for the next several days.

And finally, I decided to grow a very small backbone.

When my Dad started criticizing me for having a messy linen closet one day, I looked at him and thought the words Walt had told me to say. Though they didn't leave my lips, they worked for me! As my Dad looked at me, waiting for me to scurry to tidy it up, I shocked myself and said, “Dad, this is my linen closet and I LIKE IT MESSY!”

When my husband complained about dinner I thought those words even harder and said, “If you don’t like what I made, there’s the kitchen.”

I didn’t become all mean and nasty. I just decided that it was OK for me to stick up for me because, obviously, no-one else was going to. And by not sticking up for myself I was really telling these people that I didn’t deserve any respect or consideration. My silence was tacit agreement that, yes, everything about me was wrong.

My loved ones did not go gently into the good night of my changed attitude.

They pushed and pulled and shoved and questioned and pondered and complained and cajoled and bullied me, but I just kept thinking about what Walt had told me.

I’m not going to say my life was totally and magically improved. It wasn’t. They didn’t wake up and say “Wow, we were wrong, we’re sorry, we’ll never act like that to you again.” While I think that’s really what I wanted them to do it never happened.

And after more time passed, I didn’t need to hear that from them anymore.

I just needed to be true to myself and all the things that made me unique.

I find myself going back to that moment over and over again as I encounter other people in life who would prefer to tear my wings off rather then to just let me fly in my own way.

I don’t know why there are so many people that find power and pleasure in making others doubt themselves. It saddens me, but it is true.

Maybe you know some of these people who speak to you in harshness and criticism and denigrate who you are “because they love you”.

Maybe you stay in situations because you’re afraid if you stand up to the people who are trying to crush you, that they will no longer love you.

I did.

And sometimes I find myself wanting to fall back into that old pattern of accepting someone else’s vision of me as the truth.

Their visions are not true.

I know who I am. You may not like me, and that is your perogative. But you will not change me by cruelty and by harsh words and by criticisms.

I may allow myself to change, but it will be me making that decision. The choice will not ever be made because you tried to shame me into it.

That day in July many, many years ago was truly my Independence Day.

There is a quote from Thucydides that really speaks to me of that time. “The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage.”

My courage came from the unlikely source of a four letter word. But it came nevertheless.

We are approaching a holiday that is about freedom. On July 4, 1776 the colonies that became the United States of America declared they were independent of Great Britain. They made up their minds that they would no longer accept things as they had been, and that they would find a new way according to their own truths.

Martin Luther King said, “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”

We all deserve to be ourselves, to be unique and to be true to what makes us happy. No-one has the right to take that way from us.

We must DEMAND the right to be ourselves in our own lives.

People can only take our hearts and souls away from us if we let them.

And on this day of Independence and courage I say to any of you who are doubting yourself...

Let Freedom Ring.

Happy Independence Day, my friends.

post signature


Kathy @ Sweet Up-North Mornings... said...

Cheers Jenny...
Here's to you and your fabulous backbone!
I was just trying to create a backbone for a friend yesterday...
No one should ever take that kind of criticism as well deserved.
I am going to forward this post to her.
and I'm calling it positive reenforcment!
Happy INDEPENDENCE Day sweetie!
xoxo~Kathy @
Sweet Up-North Mornings...

Ms. A said...

I need to do this with some people in my life. I'll never measure up to what they expect and I get so weary trying. Thanks for putting this out there.

ImagiMeri said...

I love you are right, we are sisters of the heart and soul. God Bless you and keep you and that wonderful man you are now married to who loves you for you.


ain't for city gals said...

Jenny, I was lucky enough to learn this lesson in my early twenties but it took until I was in my thirties to be truly free..what a feeling! I believe we do what we know..but we can learn something different and sometimes it takes a "Walt" to show us another way. I have tried to instill this in all my nieces and I think they have the idea...and seeing them grow up to be kind and strong women with a background has been the joy of my life....good post

Sherri said...

Wow, what a life to grow up in. Good for you for growing that backbone. That is one thing for sure I have. I have no problem at all telling people to F-O If I had too. I myself don't use words like that, but it's my life and you and won't control it. I'm proud of you Jenny for sticking up for yourself. At least I never have to worry about anyone telling me my house is too messy, one thing for sure i'm always cleaning...I grow up in a dirty home and was the middle child as well. It sucked being that middle child, because I never got anything, it was always the hand me downs. Out of my 4 brothers and sisters I have, i'm the cleaness one there is. My feeling was i'm going to live like that when i'm on my own. I have also said to my family when it comes to dinner, if you don't like what I made, theres the kitchen. Good post and keep taking up for youself, stick that back done out there girl friend.


Sherri said...

oops...type-o, My feeling was i'm NOT going to live like that when i'm on my own

Terra said...

What a good good friend you had in Walt and thank goodness he came you to when you could still do something about it (before you had nothing left to give) you my friend, are an amazing person Walt said all the right things and you followed through by acting on it and that is strength and it is courage and it is wonderful.

I hope you still talk to Walt from time to time and I hope you even giggle ans share a little FO story from time to time!

Terry said...

Great post! Wish I'd had a "Walt" in my life about 20 years ago!

RoeH said...

EeeYuppp! I married my father also. I have thought about that so many times. Why why why why why! I still don't know. But I'm not married to him anymore. I have a cat. And he's much better that either of the other ones.

Catherine said...

Great post!!!yes i need a friend like Walt in my life too! but now i don't accept any criticism anymore! nobody is perfect this is my reply now!

Natasha said...

Jenny, I salute you!!!!

'nuff said.

Karen said...

You are an amazing woman! Your story is very moving and good lesson for many women.
Enjoy your independence day to the fullest!
Ladybug Creek

Sami said...

There is just one word for you - faaaabulous! Seriously. You are fabulous. Thank you for posting this; it must have taken a lot of bravery to do so. I know this weekend I'll be celebrating my own newfound personal freedom as well; thank you for the reminder, and enjoy your holiday as well!!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Jenny, I think this is the most amazing Fourth of July essay I've ever read! I am speechless. I hope you know how very outstanding this is. BRAVO! And I hope you can hear me clapping for you through the miles of cyberspace!

I want you to be YOU because that's what I enjoy so much about you. The very qualities you mentioned are what drew me to you in the first place. So I'm saluting your friend who told it like it was along with you for having the courage to be yourself!

My BFF had this situation with her ex-husband, and she has got to be the genuinely nicest person I've ever known. You remind me a lot of her, so you know I'm applauding you for being yourself. More power to the nice people!


Sheila :-)

Betty said...

What a great post. I grew up in similar circumstances and have worn myself out since my mom died trying to please my Dad who is mostly unpleasable. Now Alzheimer's has taken most of his mind and he rarely speaks. I'll visit for an hour or two and he might not say a word. Last week I got him a cup of coffee, but he forgot it was there and let it sit for 45 minutes. Finally he picked up the cup, turned to me and said, "The coffee is cold." The only words he spoke the entire visit. I just can't win.

Bossy Betty said...

Incredible post! You say so much here and illustrate your point beautifully! Loved this. It really touched me.

Bossy Betty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Busy Bee Suz said...

This is beautiful Jenny.
I hope that if anyone out there is living with little or no backbone that they read this and are inspired.
Walt was a smart man; a good friend.
I don't condone 4 letter words, but in this case, it was perfect.

Tammy said...

Wow. That was powerfully and poignantly written. I was just blog-hopping and can't help but think of this contest:

Happy Independence Day from another newly independent person.

Julie Kwiatkowski Schuler said...

That is amazing. You should take that message on the road! Everyone everywhere needs to hear this!

Jeanie said...

Abuse does not always come in the form of punches and slaps and when it comes in the way of words it can be harder to defend against. You are a survivor, Jenny, who found your defense with the help of Walt. Kudos to you!

Judie said...

Jenny, this is an all too common theme in some families, and you have never been alone.

I had a different theme in my family, also a common theme unfortunately. Please go to my blog and read my series entitled The Road Home.

You are a gifted woman, even if you do have a messy linen closet!!

Deb said...

I'm so glad you met Walt and that he steered you the right direction...just think how boring your blog would be...if you weren't Jenny...with Mr. Jenny...You go girl....

LemonyRenee' said...

Oh, Jenny, every word of this speaks to me. I am in this very place. I am having to decide whether some people can remain in my life, because they will never change. If I'm still so unacceptable at 40, I don't think things will ever get better.

I'm so happy for you and proud of you for reclaiming yourself . . . and thank you for sharing your story. I find so much inspiration in it.

Do you still keep in touch with Walt?

Blessings and freedom to you, my friend.

Cheryl said...

My husband has been trying to teach me to say "bite me" for years. I can do it in my head, but not from my lips.

Congratulations on your emancipation from that little box called "other people's expectations." Ain't it grand?

Pondside said...

Way to go, Jenny!
I've become more outspoken and able to stand up for myself as I've gotten older. I think that at a time when many women are losing bone I'm growing even more backbone!

Tina said...

You are amazing. Not only are you funny, encouraging, talented, loving and generous, you're also brave. Takes a lot of courage to do what you did, and to write about it and share it with all of us. Way to go! You inspire me.

Unknown said...


Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

I'm proud of you Jenny.
A Backbone is the thing we must teach our young girls about that we don't. Telling them to be nice and be polite sometimes make them think they need to be walked all over. But you can be strong, nice and polite all together as you have shown.

I'm sorry you had to go through this but thrilled you came out the other side and better than ever!!

Lorrie said...

Yay, Jennie! This is an inspiring story, one I will remember.

Happy Independence Day!

Marlene said...


I think you're a pretty amazing person!!! YAY to you for growing that backbone! My first marriage sounds a lot like your first marriage. It took me awhile, but I finally grew a backbone, too! It's LIBERATING!

Thank you for writing this! Such a beautiful post.

Susan Anderson said...

This is about as close to sheer post perfection as it gets.

Happy Independence Day, Jenny!


amariaf2000 said...

Awesome post!!! If your family still doesn't care to be around you, it's their loss!! I've thoroughly enjoyed getting to know you through your blog! You are delightful and creative! Keep it up!

~angela @ peonypatch

Theresa said...

WOWZA Jenny! Thank you for sharing your Independence story! I have one similar, just my first husband had me believing that I could never do better than him... HA, then I married my Honey 25 years ago and he makes me feel beautiful, important and loved! See, I did do better... I am not ugly and dumb like the 1st husband made me feel:) Once I learned that in my heart, I was a new woman!

Love you Jenny! Keep being Jenny and screw anyone who doesn't like it:) HUGS!

Vickie said...

Good post, Jenny, and good for YOU. I can understand where you're coming from. I've had some oppressive people in my life and it's SO hard to fight that. I'm a people pleaser, too, from way back, but at 53, I'm finally learning. Maybe your family will come to grips with this someday.

jeff campbell said...

What can I say? One of your best Miss Jenny...I hope I did not drive you to get too serious :-) Serious times call for serious people...Peace and backbones

Julie said...

AMEN Jenny, AMEN!!! But it takes awhile sometimes to start putting yourself in the equations. I know, really I do.
I have gotten to, love me for me or just skip it. I'm not changing for anyone, I can't...not any more.
Thank you for sharing and breaking your rule.
Please take care, have a safe and terrific Independence weekend. God Bless!!!

Julie said...

AMEN Jenny, AMEN!!! But it takes awhile sometimes to start putting yourself in the equations. I know, really I do.
I have gotten to, love me for me or just skip it. I'm not changing for anyone, I can't...not any more.
Thank you for sharing and breaking your rule.
Please take care, have a safe and terrific Independence weekend. God Bless!!!

Cynthia said...

OH Jenny, thank you so much for this post.

I'm sure it wasn't easy to write...but essential for us to hear...esp. those of us who still need a bit of a backbone ;^)

You are a master with words. Truly one of your many gifts!

Happy Independence Day. You deserve it.

Cheryl D. said...

An absolutely brilliant post! Very powerful. While I read it, I couldn't help looking at both sides of the equation in my life: 1) how I assert myself when loved ones criticize me (and my husband is a bit of a nit-picker), and 2) how what I say could affect my daughter. The second part if inspiring my Monday post. I think I'm going to write on the issue of curing vs. embracing autism.

Tracy said...

I understand this post so much. I am always trying to please people I stayed in an adulterous marriage just cos I thought it was th right thing to do Myhusband had siad i could do nothing without him. My dad said I would do nothing my aunt says my house is untidy my amily aay I am too fat . now I am seperated I think I am a failur I have no backbone

~Kristen~ said...

Well, sweet friend, I have two words for you: YOU ROCK!!!!!!!! xoxo

Together We Save said...

Thank you!! These words mean more to me than you could possibly know.

Jocelyn said...

Happy Independence Day my sweet friend and thank you for sharing this with is today...You are reaching out at a time...where I too need to stand up and say enough...problems that have been looming and make me sad....make me sick....and I have had enough!!!! I can so relate with what you have written....Joe always tells me to stand up and say NO......but I cave!!!

Wishing you a FABULOUS DAY!!!

Laura~Pretty Pix said...

Thank you, Jenny.
That may sound strange, but your words have helped me today, especially today. I still need to grow a backbone. Perhaps I am, slowly, I just don't see it yet.
Freedom is hard to grab hold of, and harder to hold on to. Not simple, as some think when they tell me to just get over it.
I will remember your words, remember that one word, and try. Baby steps.

The Words Crafter said...

Good for you!!! I understand. As a child, I was a non person. No one stood up for me, I had to do it myself. I still struggle with the thought that I matter...and no, people do not like it when you say sister stopped talking to me once because I wasn't able to babysit! Love that line..."to be ourselves in our own lives." Wow, that's profound! HAPPY PERSONAL INDEPENDENCE DAY!!!!

The Muse said...

An entire military band....
fife and drum...
is playing so loud for this post!!

Can you hear it Ms Jenny?

I ever, most sincerely HOPE you can :)

Jo said...

Jenny ... geez ... how lucky you were to have had such an honest friend ... and taking his advice in your own way was brilliant ... three cheers to backbone ... so hard to find sometimes ... but so worthwhile to have ... one of your best posts ... ever!!! (((hugs))) ... just because!

the thrifty ba said...

i so understand your story! may parents were toxic to me in so many ways. 5 yrs ago i stopped talking to them (they live onthe other side of the usa) and my life has been so happy, less stressful and i dont talk bad about myself to myself. best thing i ever did.

"Cottage By The Sea" said...

Wow Jenny, I can relate. As my therapist always says, their stupidity ain't your problem. Carry on and Happy 4th!

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

This is a wonderful Independence Day essay. I agree that an oppressor never grants freedom. But some of us have the oppressor in our own heads... we don't need to DEMAND freedom so much as EXERCISE it. I hope your post helps change a few lives; I suspect it will!

Melinda said...

Amen Sister. Good for you!!!!!!

Happy Independence Day to you.
Congratulations to you for gaining this freedom for yourself.
You deserve it.

Love you!!!


Serline said...

Life is too short and precious to march to another's drum beat... march on, Jenny!

Anonymous said...

Wow. I'm so confused. Why is your dad inspecting your linen closet? No, wait. That's not really why I'm confused. Since I've known you for a few years now, I sincerely can't image ANYONE not loving you from the first time they met you. And, this is your family?

It still amazes me that adult-type people can scar a child's heart so badly. And so permanently. We never really get over the hurt, do we?

Linda @ A La Carte said...

This makes me want to stand up and shout AMEN! I spent so many years trying to be what everone else wanted me to be that I didn't let the REAL Linda live. It occured to me one day I didn't know who I was and it scared me. Took years to really break free and find me but I did and I would never go back. i have missed some things in my life but I like me and I am content with that! Jenny you are the best and this is wonderful to share your Independence Story! BRAVO Dear Friend, BRAVO!!

Christy said...

Happy Independence Day Jenny! What a courageous post to share. It makes me wonder about my own backbone - and whether I use it! I am glad Walt was there for you.

Connie said...

Well written, well said! I have a daughter who was backbone-less in a marriage. It was destroying her! It's hard to grow a stiff spine but if we want to have some self-respect, it needs to be done.

Happy Independence Day!

Malisa said...

WOW! Just WOW! I am giving you a standing ovation right now! Bravo!

In many ways, my story is very much like yours. Unless you have been in that environment, it is hard to understand the mental turmoil that accompanies it. Congratulations for breaking free and for having the courage to write about it! What a friend,that Walt!


Dee said...

Good for you Jenny. I had a similar up bringing. I never had a chance to say ----you. But I did learn with the help of the Lord to forgive them for what they could not give me. I also was finally able to find the strengths I have from that upbringing.

Unknown said...

I am so glad you had Walt!!!! I just recently had an episode with a member of my family, and I feel so liberated!!! No more worrying about what is said, or done or taken wrong.....I have no problen with F-O....sometimes it just fits...perfectly!!! Jenny I have so much to learn from you! :):) Happy Independence Day!!!! Love ya! Sandy

Viki said...

Great post. I think a lot of us had parents like that.

Brenda said...

Well said. Have a great holiday weekend!

Amy said...

I'm proud of you Jenny! I'm learning to think the F-bomb sentiment myself. Although, I nearly swallowed my tongue when I read it on your blog!! LOL I'm so glad I know you and all your wonderfulness!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

That was wonderful Jenny! Thank you. I wish I had the courage to drop the f-bomb on a few people. There are so many people I can never please. People I've been trying to please my whole life...Thanks. Maybe once your story perculates in my mind long enough...I'll get the courage to not worry about their opinions.

RNSANE said...

Great post, Jenny. I know about trying to mold yourself to suit everyone never works and is just crazy making. I don't think it is selfish to put yourself first, only then can you take care of others. I learned that the hard way.

People Who Know Me Would Say: said...

Super heroes show up in the most unexpected places. So it was with Walt that day in the pool. Without him that day, I would not have your friendship this day. I'm so very thankful.

Matlock, when you write about something that goes to the core of your being, you provide us with a magnifying glass AND a mirror. There is no better way to teach or to tell. xo

Anonymous said...

Although you have got lots of comments Jenny (& I feel a bit shy when that happnes!) I had to leave my thoughts.
This is such a brilliant piece because it touches so many parts of my life. Unlike you though I don't know who I am completely even at my age! I am finding out though & will save this post to remind me to keep going! Thank you!

Tolentreasures said...

I didn't take the time to read all sixty seven comments, but I am sure that there are some there the same as mine. I was and sometimes still am there. I understand it all and how many years it has taken me to "grow" into this understanding. The love and acceptance of an amazing man has helped so much. He constantly reminds me that he married me BECAUSE of who I am! Thanks for putting it in words! I did not have as much of an Independence Day as Independence Months and Years!


Have a great holiday!

summersundays-jw said...

Lots of us have been there. I was born a "pleaser" & still struggle with it -- but I'm so much better. Great read!. Happy 4th! Jan

One Photo said...

Amazing post Jenny. You know I think the greatest gift we can bestow upon our children is to embrace, love and celebrate them for who they are so that they grow up with pride and confidence in themselves, believing they are good people who deserve to be recognized and loved for who they are.

I am glad you found the courage to finally be who you are, not easy to do after 31 years of thinking everything you did was wrong. What a good friend Walt was to you - he alone could see the really wonderful person you are.

Auntie sezzzzzz... said...

-I love you, for what you have become.

-I love Walt, for giving you the wake up call.

-I love myself, because I finally learned to say a rousing and OUT LOUD "Fuck Off!" to any and all, who lay down Rules for me.

It should have happened sooner. But it happened. And I love it and myself, that I was brave enough to allow it to happen.

And I'm so lucky to be married to a man who always allowed me to be myself. For over 50 years now. Which is pretty wonderful, in itself.

No, he doesn't like the word Fuck. But he doesn't bug me about it either. Go him!!!!!!

Happy 4th of July!!!

Nadeen said...


I have 2 answers:

because some parents think they can make who their kids are gonna be

it's some people's way of elevating themselves by putting someone else down.

Surely you know by now that there are tons who love and admire you. Thank God for your creative self. You put lots of color in my life!

YouGoGirl! I hear you roar!

Unknown said...

dont ever change, cause I love you just the way you are.....

"Alone again.... naturally!" said...

You're singing my heart and soul. You rock Jenny!

Holly Lefevre said...


That was a powerful post. I have been that person before...but as I got older I snapped out of it. My mom lived that sort of life - nothing ever good enough in her family...she is the butt of the jokes, etc.

I am glad someone saw it in you and told you that you can do it, you can stand up for yourself. No one should have to live like that.

We love ya Jenny!

Matty said...

Hello Jenny,

I saw this post on Holly's blog at 504 Main.

To some extent, my dad was like that. No, not nearly as you describe, but he was hard to please. I knew not to break the rules. I was always afraid of him. I'm glad to read that you stood up for yourself. Walt was a Godsend for you.

Bless you.

Anonymous said...

Reading your story was like looking back in my own life...the life before I got my backbone. I don't know you but this brought tears to my eyes, and pride in my heart for you. You are amazing and Strong! And I have to say that the F word has never been used so appropriately, in my humble opinion.
Awesome post!
Thank you for sharing.