Friday, April 3, 2015

Rebirth: What's Love Got to Do with It?

Today is Good Friday, the day before Easter, and whether you celebrate the holiday or not, the season is certainly focusing itself on renewal and rebirth. Grass is turning green again, flowers are poking through the dirt, and I can finally walk outside again without getting frostbite. We're waking up, stretching, and looking forward to long, golden days and weekends that seem to stretch into the workweek. Renewal. Rebirth. What a wonderful time of year.

This spring is especially radiant to me for a number of reasons. Yep, I got my chickies. This is also the first spring I have the blessing of being home with my kiddos. But this spring is also particularly eye-opening for me. I'm challenged with adjusting my habits, desires, and expectations to meet this new reality.

You see, my lovely readers, I married a man who is nothing like me. I am friends with people who are nothing like me. I have family members who are nothing like me. I am surrounded by people I love, but are nothing like me. And although I've always considered myself an independent person, I've realized I am placing too much of my happiness in the hands of people who do not define life, love, and happiness the same way I do.

Now I get it. Some of you are probably shaking your heads. Duh, Jen. People are different. Deal with it, look at the good in people, and move on. 

Well I wish it were that easy for me.

Those who know me on a personal level know I am empathetic to a fault. I absorb the emotions of those around me, whether they're family, friends, or strangers. This quality sometimes serves me well - I can be a very good sounding board for those I love and respect. This quality also causes me to be quite judgmental, way, way too sensitive, and prone to anxiety.

So what's a girl to do?

Well, the most common answer I've received is to emotionally detach from people, particularly those I'm around most frequently. Don't worry, be happy. Take the good, leave the bad. Unfortunately, that's akin to asking a dog to stop barking, or a cat to stop climbing, or a rabbit to stop multiplying. It is possible to cease what feels natural, but not without breaking me down into something that won't resemble the real me anymore. My emotions are tied to my identity, no matter how warped or silly or trivial they seem.

Now the old Jen, the pre-reborn Jen, would've said, "Surround yourself with people who love you! Do good things with good people and you will be good! Plan something for your family to do together! Organize something with friends!" And for the most part, hanging with those I love does make me feel good. I love my husband. I love my family. I love my friends. And they love me so, so much.

But searching for solace from this life in the actions, thoughts, and words of others is risky...because there's a chance the people you're leaning on won't understand you. Or want the do the same things. There's a chance they won't see your conflicts as conflicts. Or feel happy with the things that make you happy. There's a chance they will want to follow a different path through life. A path completely different from your own. And when these people are the anchor to your happiness, you're going to get dragged down by differences. And it will depress you and make you feel like the last thing you are is reborn and renewed.

But what if instead of being reborn through the love of those around me, I be renewed through the love I have within me? How about truly earning some of the independence I claim to have and learn how to be happy, alone? Wouldn't it be grand to take pictures just for me? How beautiful would I feel if I could finally look in the mirror and think, "Stunning, just as you are...."?

It's a time of renewal, dear readers....and for me, that means realigning my plans so the end picture has more of me, less of me among everyone else. I need to be more selfish with what I truly want and less giving of things I do not derive joy from. I believe it was a dear friend, Kristen from Mommy in Sports, who once told me the cleaning can life instead. What a wonderful truth!

So here I go. I am pushing myself to be reborn from a love of self. I am aiming to be more independent and try things I've always wanted to do, but haven't. I am going to stop waiting for a dance partner and just start dancing. I am going to stop waiting for others to join me and learn to be happy alone, in my unique reality....because I truly think the only way we can be fully happy in a relationship is when we are happy with ourselves.

Any of you have a go-to activity you do when you're alone? Something that is just for you and makes you feel beautiful? Share it with me below, will you? I can use all the help I can get! :) A very happy Easter and spring to you, lovely readers. Thank you, always, for reading. 



  1. Yes! Do it! Be who you want to be and let the rest follow along. You will be surprised at how free you feel...I am slowly doing this in stages. Happy Easter to you and your family and I am so glad I could help, if only in a small way. I love reading what you are up to every Saturday morning, you and a cup of coffee have become my ritual!

    1. Thank you Kristen :) You are a part of my Saturday morning tea routine, too!! :) Missed you guys last week. On my way over to see what you've been up to :) Thanks for stopping by!! Happy Easter ! !! !

  2. Go on a vacation with yourself or friends. I do this once in a while. It helps me become "me" again.

    1. I love this idea and am all in favor. Vacations = yes.

  3. I agree - I am the black sheep of my family so I get it. My partner and I are like ying and yang so while we're different in many ways these differences compliment us instead of bring us farther apart. My family is definitely nothing like me - we're opposites in more ways than one so I get it. Growing up was very difficult but now that Im' apart I've felt my emotional and mental health stabilize incredibly, including my son's. It's amazing how the people you're around, while they mean well (most of the time), can be so detrimental to your stability. Distance is key - and diverting your attention to things that matter to you and help you be a happier, better version of yourself are key. If you have to take dance classes alone - go for it, there will be other single folks to dance with who love dancing too. :) Hope you had a great Easter and take care Jen!! Talk Soon -Iva

    1. Iva you always put so much thought into your comments! Thank you for that!! I am so in need of distancing myself from the things (and people) that bring me down. It is so hard for me to emotionally separate - I hang onto things like it's my life! So unhealthy! I'm practicing, though, and hope to get better at the catch-and-release. I hope you had a wonderful Easter, too :)

  4. Years ago a co-worker told me always go alone you will be forced to network. Of course she was talking about work events, but I think your message is the same. Going alone forces you out of your comfort zone. And the experts say that is where the real growth is. I am at the same point in my life, but do need the motivation to get out there.