Dear 2018 Jen
Dear 2018 Jen,
This is a really cool little ritual that you created last year. A reflective gratitude letter to yourself. Last year it sort of came to you as a way to process beating yourself up over spilled milk. But isn’t that how the best ideas come to us? By accident.
So current status is babies are asleep (for the time being) and so isn’t Mike--after your 16 hour drive from MA where he did all the driving, he definitely needs the rest. So don’t wake him--even though I know you’re tempted to.
And as for you, you didn’t sleep much at all and could be sleeping now--but there is something magical about this space. Space. Time. Something that you don’t get often but something that you crave more of. And something that you hope to create in the new year. But that’s a different letter for a different time (20 minutes from now when you write your intention letter).
You have been listening to Wicked’s Defying Gravity all day long. I know you feel it--2019--it is THE YEAR. The year you will truly “defy gravity” and make your wildest dreams come true. The year you will truly shatter the ceiling of self imposed limitations.
But before you delve into that high vibe, empowered energy of the future, I want you to look closely at the past. Because every experience is a sum of their parts and this badass 2019 Jen to be would not be who she is without all of those other versions who came before.
So let’s look at 2018.
From the gate the year felt good--8 is your favorite number after all--and after some struggle and strife you were finally preggo and by this time last year knew that you were going to have a little boy (Ryan--of course you have had the name picked out since like college--Type A). Despite being sick, you always love pregnancy and admittedly the extra love and attention you get and give yourself permission to receive--so vibes were good there. You were about to launch Mastermind Mamas with Jackie and about to start a prenatal yoga class in your new hood which was exciting---and both of those things turned out better than you could have imagined. In fact, tribe, sisterhood, and the power of women connecting became a bigger theme than you anticipated in 2018.
Mastermind Mamas became a really special and transformative space for the women involved and also for you. It was easier to take some leaps knowing you had a soft place to land--on Voxer--amid like-minded women who offered honest and supportive feedback. You love spaces like that but the best part about this one was you had the courage to create it! Dang girl--a former version of you would never in a million years have thought she was worthy of that.
And then somehow you stepped deeper into sisterhood here in Charleston too. The yoga community that I mentioned a minute ago became really special to you--a sacred time for you and your baby and other women experiencing something similar to bond over. It really confirmed the need for the tribe and your passion to become a doula and be a support during other women’s pregnancy journeys. Although you postponed the doula certification, I believe you will get there someday--so I will speak it into existence for you here.
Beyond yoga class you started connecting more with local soul sisters and ended up at the Illuminate Festival in February with Techa and Tiffany and holy mama did you have some downloads there! You literally woke up in the middle of the night with an acronym for a nonprofit that you hope to launch in the future (INSPIRE) and a strong desire to host Sacred Bliss Women’s Circles--a name that came to you as well. And host you did--in lieu of a baby shower you held sacred space for a few soul sisters to come together and synergize. And you created magic that had a ripple effect. Post baby Ry, you hosted 2 more and have another coming up next weekend. Damn girl--from vision to reality in just a few short months while preggo? You make me so proud!
Then there was the whole idea of surrender this year. Surrender came up big. This pregnancy was difficult. It was hard to trust again after miscarriage. People giving their opinions about Zika Virus in Aruba. Then pregnancy anemia. And finally the culmination--placenta previa and finding out you needed a c-section. Looking back now it seems fairly trivial and yet it was a real trauma for you to cope with. The conflict of expectations--it gets you every time. This was supposed to be the pregnancy where you kicked labor’s ass--the natural way--like you always wanted to do. But you did it--you surrendered. You had a beautiful delivery and created a peaceful zen den and mindful c-section experience--which was so inspiring to witness. You even spent some time writing about it and digitally detoxing for Ryan’s first month of life. Again--just beautiful.
Learning to be a mama of 2 was your next great feat which you handled and continue to handle with grace and ease. That’s not to say you don’t lose your shit sometimes--because let’s be real--mommy meltdowns definitely happen in your world. But you are so much calmer and more confident. The juxtaposition from being a first time mom to a second has just been so powerful. I think all those nights you spent crying and praying for the baby you lost has shaped you into the mindful and appreciative mother you have become to both of your children. This is a reminder that even our most traumatic experiences can bring us lessons and blessings.
And then there was the now golden unicorn--the bliss of a 5 month maternity leave. It was pure magic. Month 1 was just you and Ry and Mike time. Mikayla was at school and you did your 31 days of surrender to detox and be present --which was just so profound. June and July resembled another dream of yours--an unschooling mama. With Mikayla home, you had the chance to teach her and be present for both of your kids. There was so many highlights (and definitely so low lights too)--some that stand out are starting a garden (even if it’s not doing great now and was just a container garden--baby steps girl), butterfly release, the lady bug release, and all of the library shows and story times. I am just so damn proud of how you balanced the two of them and found harmony in motherhood. I think having the space from work and intention to be truly present helped so much and is a reminder to you that you thrive when you have space (hence your strong desire to create more of it in 2019).
Then came August and it was time for your big girl to start at your school...without you. Wow. She handled it like a champ and so did you mama. But with all that “extra time” what to do? Only a true badass like you would use that time to achieve a life long goal and write a damn book start to finish in a week’s time! Girl your badassery is palpable. Say what? Was it perfect? Hell no. That thing is wrought with errors and weird shit--but is it real? And did you do it? That one gets a big hell ya. SO PROUD!
Back to work has been a challenge--that is for sure. But you are not giving up hope and when you are feeling down you need to channel that inner badass--you know that one who did all the unthinkable aforementioned things in 2018 and all the preceding years of your life. That girl--don’t let her stay hiding, okay?
And---if you have learned anything along this journey it is that you get to be the heroine of your own story. As your girl Maya says, “if you don’t like something change it, and if you can’t, change your attitude”--and so my darling. I will end this gratitude letter with a little challenge. Because I think you already know that I think the world of you. What’s that you want a few more compliments before I make you do a hard thing? Okay fine--it is a gratitude letter after all---you are one of the most inspiring people I know. Like for real. People come to you all the time asking for advice about inspirational things they want to do. You have come a long way and broken yourself out of depression and anxiety. You have committed to being real over perfect and exercising grace with yourself. And most importantly you have realized that being under construction is what this life experience is really about and the human journey is so much more fun when you are open and adaptable to trying, failing, and learning. Damn girl you make me cry with pride. I don’t know why I am in cursing mood-- but I fucken love you.
Okay back to the challenge---so you don’t like a few things right now right? Like your addiction to sugar? The fact that you resort back to victim mode? That you pick at your nails? (I’m just putting all the cards on the table--because hey, why not? And besides awareness is the first step to making a change) That you don’t work out anymore? And that you feel like your life (mainly day job) doesn’t reflect your priorities and is too restrictive? Well Ms. Badass I wrote a book in a week, survived a miscarriage, and moved 1000 miles away from all the family I have in the world--what are YOU going to do about it?
All my love--even when it’s tough and full of curse words.
Your Higher and Even MORE Badass Self,