Six weeks ago, I was laid off. For a long time, I’d felt like I was running on half a tank, but I had finally sputtered and stopped. I had nothing left. That press release I sent out for approval? Yeah, it came back with every word rewritten. Ouch.
Time to go. Getting laid off felt like a blessing. It was a respectful and friendly parting. It felt like one more act of generosity and kindness from a company that had gone above and beyond in supporting me through the worst time of my life.
If you’ve ever read my blog previously, you’ll know that my 36 year old husband died of cancer in March 2014. And I haven’t posted anything since, until now. Felder’s death broke me. I took A LOT of time off work. I should have been pulling up my bootstraps alone with no support, dammit, this is America! Instead, I had legions of family, friends, co-workers and strangers knocking themselves out to be generous and supportive. Their love, along with my daughter’s, helped me realize that I needed to love myself.
When Felder died, I felt this empty chasm where he once was. All of the love and energy that I gave to him had nowhere to go, suddenly. I dreamed about being a philanthropist, or dreaming the Peace Corps. I finally realized that I had to direct some of that love towards myself.
I took a good look at myself in the mirror. I couldn’t recognize this person. I had been drowning my sorrows in packages of Oreos, ice cream, cheese, and casseroles. I felt I “deserved” these treats. Suddenly, I realized that feeding myself this way was not a loving way to treat myself, and it wasn’t making me feel any better. I deserved to be healthy. I deserved to feel beautiful.
I said out loud to that face in the mirror, “If I have to be a f***ing widow at 36, then I am going to be a f***ing HOT WIDOW!”
“Hot widow.” Well, that made me smile. I stood a little taller. It wasn’t easy, but I gave up my sugar addiction, along with the white flour and butter. Within seven months, I lost 40 pounds! (Thank you, 17 Day Diet.)
This culture loves a good makeover story, but I’ll admit that as of today, I’m still not quite where I want to be. I finally look like a confident, successful person, but I feel overwhelmed with the prospect of new beginnings, and getting started.
I’ve finally gotten rid of all the obstacles, and realized that the only one holding me back at this point is me.
My favorite poet, John O’Donohue wrote “To refuse to begin can be an act of self-neglect.”
I felt like not getting started on my dreams was just another way I was being unkind to myself.
“You haven’t re-launched your blog yet,I say to myself.
“You’re not really a writer. Writers write. You are all talk!” that voice inside me (whom I shall call “Mean Jen”) won’t stop saying.
Ugh! I hate “Mean Jen!” She’s such a bully! No wonder I avoid myself and phase out over stupid Internet stuff instead of working. “Mean Jen” is such a drag! I swear, she makes me feel so ashamed of myself that I focus on guilt rather than creating something new.
“Above all this: Love one another as you love yourself,” Jesus commanded.
How do you even love YOURSELF? This is what I’m still figuring out. I’ve come to realize that I’m really good at loving other people, but I’m I have a lot to learn when it comes to loving myself.
So, I am re-launching this blog as an act of self-love. I have a story I need to tell. I have habits to change. A new life to build.
I started 100 Million Prayers in an effort to save my husband. It actually saved me.