The Courtship of Jenny's Demons

One of my favorite writer friends, Cindy Reed, posted something that really resonated with me last week. Called "I have lost my words", it's an effort made by a writer to explain how it feels when that delicious ability, the almost effortless way some of us can spill our feelings and thoughts into a group of words that make a story...just goes away. Imagine something you can do easily. Something you've always been able to do, and do well. Can you knit? Draw? Ice skate? Now, try to fathom what it would feel like to wake up one day and know damn well that you CAN still do that thing, but for some awful, mysterious reason, you CANNOT do it.

Cindy struggles with things that I do not. But we are both struggling. As I read her post, I felt that warm feeling one gets when you realize that you're not alone. That what you are wrestling with may indeed be your own special kind of demon, but there's someone else, not too far away, who is trying desperately to get their demon into a full nelson, too.

I miss being here. I miss sitting in my bed with my crappy laptop heating up the tops of my legs while I blissfully clickety-clack away, oblivious to the minutes sprinting by or the dawn creeping up outside my windows.

I miss connecting with people, miss writing things that kinda make me feel insane but I know just make sense. I miss this. The sound of the keyboard, my dog snoring next to me, the taste of my way-too-strong-coffee fresh in my mouth. The television show I have on for company sounds far away and distant and although it's something I'd love to just sit and watch, it's taken a back seat to what's happening right here, right now.

So what's the deal, Jenny? I've asked myself that question every single day for the past several months. Many times a day. After I read something inspiring. After I read something insipid and roll my eyes. After I read something that's just kind of meh, I think, "I could have done that better." And then that part of me I can't stand, that bitch Inner Critic, says, "Could have and did are two different things, loser."

I'm struggling lately. My life is actually going pretty well, on the surface. The money stress is not as bad as it's been in the past. The emotional distress of raising teens is in a semi-reposed place right now. I love my job and going to work is not something I do with any dread or disdain. And yet, I'm struggling.

Fat shame on me, my weight is, well...weighing on me as of late. If you've been here a while you know self acceptance is not one of my strengths. Apparently, eating everything in the world and not exercising is. But if you are cut from the same cloth, you know. You know that sometimes hating yourself is much more convenient than doing anything about it. Excuses flow from me like lava. "I'm tired!" "It's so dark out!" "I don't have time to work out and shower before I have to be back at work!" "None of my exercise bras fit." Blah blah blah. This particular struggle seems to have overshadowed everything right now, and frankly, it's becoming tiresome.

My son Henry has this super annoying habit of taking pictures of me. All.The.Time. While I'm driving, when we're standing in the kitchen, as we sit on the couch. Takes them and then shares them on whatever site all the kids are on these days. Snapchat maybe. Or is that so last year? #clueless  All I know is that I hate it. Sometimes I feel like one of those ancient peoples who believe that the camera will steal my soul. Except my fear is that the camera will expose mine.

So the other night, he snapped one of me while I sat there and played Words With Friends on my phone. My face was tilted downward and he took it from an upwards angle. CHIN CITY, folks. Plus, I was wearing my massive black and white heathered sweater-burka that keeps me warm but also makes me look like a killer whale with a pigment disorder. I demanded that he show me the picture and when he complied I wanted to die.

"God, Henry...you have to stop doing that. I am so ugly!" I said this with conviction and not in the way one does when fishing for encouragement or compliments. I topped it off with "I am disgusting and fat and I hate myself right now."

Henry looked at me and said this: "I think you look great, Mom." And then, because he's one of those wise kids, he said, "If you think you're fat, you should do something about it."

Uh huh. So there's that. I guess it's just a matter of the loathing defeating the lazing. Which, fingers crossed, happens soon. I miss wearing jeans and also I'm getting tired of pulling my stunned stomach muscles when I bend over to put my boots on.

Another struggle I've been having is something of a similarly personal nature, but with a more intimate twist. I've been involved with someone, off and on, for a long time. (no, it's not John McCain, but this one overlapped and intertwined with that whole debacle-relationship) I've never written about it, and aside from divulging to a few close friends, never discussed it with others. To call it a "relationship" would be like calling leggings "pants": probably true by definition but certainly a misappropriation of the word.

It's nothing serious, and yet it reeks of solemnity. I walk away from it feeling bad, and even my fractured self knows that means it's not something worthwhile. It makes me feel wanted, at least for a little bit, but at the same time makes me feel despicable and lowly and so bottom-feederish. It's only future is that there isn't one, and for some reason that very aspect of it gives me comfort. Knowing that it's nothing more than pure and unfettered physicality, with no strings, no annoying conventional relationship complications attached, makes it easy. Easy to continue despite the very obvious fact that it's holding me back from finding someone who has strings and complications that I might find attractive. Fun, even.

For someone who likes to discuss the size and grandeur of my balls, they are nowhere in sight when it comes to this quandary. And that, like my current dissatisfaction with my weight, is bugging me.

Phew. I feel like I just spent some quality time in a confessional. And I haven't even gotten to the part about blogging, and how I'm more and more apt to disassociate myself from that word. Let's just say, I started out as a "blogger" but now find it almost embarrassing to be called that. I think it really struck home when an Allstate commercial came out that shows a tired mommy having an off day and yet still strives to be the best damn mommy ever. She proclaims, "I should totally start a blog." and then crashes her SUV into a pole. I'm a mom, I have a blog...does that make me a mommy blogger? These are the thoughts that haunt me, people. I'm a lot like Thoreau in that way.

But this is already way too long and rambly. Just so I don't forget, I'll remind myself here that a good title for the next post would be "Mid-Blog-Life Crisis". Let's just hope it doesn't take me six months to get to it.

Thanks, as always, for reading. And for being here.


  1. I miss hearing from you Jenny! I first found you a few years ago at the beginning of my divorce process and I think of you as an old friend who was there with me through all the chaos, laughter and tears of this crazy journey called divorce. So many times you said perfectly what I was feeling and thinking. And I think you are awesome!

    I also struggle with the weight and taking pictures things....because in my mind I see 20 and in the pictures I see a stressed and tired 48 yr old! My kids tell me the same thing "Stop it mom and just take a picture with me". It happened Thanksgiving day. Then they posted that picture I was worried about with "Today I am so thankful for this lady in my life" And then the tears started and I forgot all about what I looked like in the picture. I was just glad I was wearing black and it was before I indulged in all lasagna, turkey and everything else.

    I always complain about how I look and they tell me to do something about it over and over. So I joined the ymca and started weight watchers 3 weeks ago....it's a slow and painful process but I am the only parent they have and I need to be healthy for them. We'll see how it goes.

    Hang in there Jenny! You are a great mom and a great person and a great blogger!!

  2. "I walk away from it feeling bad." That's all you need to know.

    The weight and fitness thing can be overwhelming, and you can't fix it all at once. I've been plugging away for a year, but I've learned that doing just one little thing good for me (say, my 10-minute core exercises video) goes a long way toward making me feel better about myself. So don't worry about marathons or even 5K's - just baby steps. They add up. I haven't lost an ounce of weight, but I feel way better.

  3. Oh, and I CANNOT BEAR to see my pictures. My sagging chin(s) make me look 10 years older than I am.

  4. Ohhh Jenny! Big big hugs!! We have missed you so! I miss your honesty! I miss reading how things are going. I was in a Target in ND last weekend{I'm from Canada} and all I thought as I walked around was YOU! And I don't even know you! LOL! I'm not going to say its ok or it will get better. You have to decide if and when that will happen. But know this you are not alone. I am with you!!! I feel this way about my weight too and I know we are not alone. So here's a big hug from me to you and keep your chin up!!!!! Take care! Andrea

  5. It's getting hard to read these kinds of blogs now...because this is how two other blogs I used to love and followed for years decided to pull the plug on their (long term and how-they-got-a-NYT-bestseller-book-deal) blogs. They started to struggle with inspiration for their posts. They started to think about why they were blogging in the first place. And then, they just bowed out. Boom. They're now both completely inactive blogs, and it's just sort of sad. I hope you don't decide to go the same way. I hope you keep writing. But, as someone who took a 2 year break from art after a literal lifetime of drawing beforehand, because being pregnant and then beyond exhausted to a child who wouldn't sleep made me unable to do anything creative, I do know that sometimes we just can't make anything. Not words, not pictures, not crafts, nothing. Nothing more than what we need to do to get through our lives, relatively well. I hope it comes back to you, that desire to make and the ability to follow through on those impulses. I hope that it, like regular exercise, gets easier and easier and energizes you again the more you do it. But, mostly I hope that this isn't a prelude to the end of your days as a blogger. Awkward internet stranger hugging can now ensue. =)

  6. Hey! You're back! I want to give you some sort of cavalier wisdom about your body but it would sound trite. The gist is something like a body is a marvelous thing and just nourish it physically, spiritually, and mentally. As for the dude, well, drop him if he isn't as wonderful as you. There are products more effective than men, you know.

  7. Hi Jenny! I just discovered your blog in the past few weeks and have been reading voraciously through your story from the beginning. It's like a really good book that I can't put down and want to find out what happens next. I am at the beginning of my own story and trying to make the difficult decision of whether to divorce or not. As a 38 year old mom to two boys my main concern is them, but after finding infidelities and dealing with many bold faced lies over the past few years I struggle with whether to stay for them or leave for myself. My husband wants to stay together and is making me feel guilty for wanting to leave. Your story has been a comfort in recent weeks..something to look forward to, laugh with and maybe even cry. Thank you for your words and I hope you continue sharing because you may not know it but there are many who come to find your words. Whether it's a blog, novel or comic book I'd still read (:

  8. Jenny, you're like Mae West...When you're good, you're very good and when you're bad you're better.....One morning you'll awaken to the return of your balls and the determination to "fix" yourself the way you want to be fixed. Until then throw the bat out the door and stop beating up on yourself. If boyfriend doesn't ring your bells then throw him out with the bat and ring your own bells..... Even your old posts are being used. Was just on the She's a Homewrecker site and saw you posted twice. James Milhoan, Georgia or his mistress Amanda Edwards Johnson, Georgia.....I think the other was Stephanie Wyre Oklahoma??? Your words are being used to help others, and any day that you wake up is a great day.

  9. Oh please don't stop writing/blogging...ever...please!! I'm from the other side of the world but I really look forward to reading your blogs. Not a week that I don't check your site if you have a new blog or not. I, too, started to get to know you during the first few weeks of my divorce. You really made me feel better Jenny. Really. Just knowing that I'm not all alone in this oh-so-painful journey makes me feel just a little better. Thank you so much for that. Please...please don't ever stop writing.

  10. (((((HUGS))))) I love reading your blog, you are real.

  11. All this love here in the comments is beautiful!


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