This new set of photos with the lovely Kel-Z Photography has really blown me out of the water. It's by far the series that I am the most comfortable with and feel like I look like myself. This particular outfit is no exception. In fact, this outfit has a long list of stories. The skirt basically cut off all breathing ability and we giggled a LOT as I tried to drive us around Ogden cut off lung capacity. The belt is turned backwards because I think it looks dumb the "normal" way with this tunic from Chic Style Utah. Last, but not least, the shoes are bad-ass-smokin hot, but were purchased in an extremely challenging period of my life. And thus, we engage in some real talk avec Ray for this week's blog post.
A couple of months ago I decided to deep clean the closet and donate a LOT of shoes to a non-profit that my friends run. As I was going through my shoes I came upon these beauties. At first glance my heart jumps a little because they are HOT. Vintage-inspired, polka dots, peep toe, good heel. But, in the same string of happy emotions, my heart also sinks just a tiny bit as I have a flashback with a flood of memories that are attached to these shoes. In that moment, as I sat on my closet floor, I opted to keep them because I needed the reminder of how far I've come since they were purchased lots of years ago.
One of my favorite Beatles hits is "In My Life." The lyrics speak to me and it is one of those songs that I will randomly remember while I'm going about my day and sing out loud. The lyrics I particularly love are, "There are places I remember all my life. Though some have changed, some forever, not for better; some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments of lovers and friends I still can recall. Some are dead and some are living; in my life I loved them all." Things have changed for me; friends and loves have come and gone, but I do remember them all. When I think about the events that surround these shoes I get teary. Not because I'm sad that it didn't work the way I thought it was supposed to; that was impossible. I get teary because I was STRONG in my time of weakness and I worked through it and I am a BETTER human because of it because I let God's timing take over.
This past week I felt compelled to share my "closing remarks" from my last session of therapy with a dear friend. It's been at least 2 years since I've read them from start to finish. They are the kind of words that I am a-OK with staying in the past, but I haven't forgot what I wrote. My therapist encouraged closing remarks with a series of questions that were the highlights of the goals I set to accomplish in my journey with her. For me, it was a critical part of my healing because it forced me to really think about what we had accomplished, but what I also had in front of me as I went about my life without the security blanket of a third party helping me cope. I've decided to share a portion of them with you today because I think this is a sentiment that many of us can relate to at some point in our life. I can also attest to the absolute feeling of despair and mourning that I felt as I went through the process of therapy. As you shed the shit your brain actually has to go through a process of reprogramming to adjust to life being different (even though it is better).
"In many great movies when the film concludes the sorrowful words, "The End" stream on the screen and the viewer is done. Done knowing what happens next and perhaps hoping for more. However, with most stories "The End" really just means an end to THAT moment, not an end all together.
So, here I sit celebrating that I am at the END of my time in therapy.
It's not easy to admit you're jacked up to a complete stranger. It actually sucks really bad and hurts like hell, But, slowly as each layer of hate was peeled back and thrown away I got better. For every bad thing I went through it seemed that little good things snuck their way in.
The question has been posed to me when do you go back to loving deeply and what is the plan? Well I don't know what the plan is. The last 2 years were hell on earth and I had to purge some of those I loved the most out of my life because their love was toxic. And I am here to tell you that any way you toss it up, toxic is still toxic.
So, with a tear in my eye and a cute new outfit to boot....I say, cheers to the end because it only means a new beginning."
As soon as I copied those words in to the email for my friend I had to take a long, deep breath. A moment to let it sink in that I HAVE improved. I HAVE grown. I HAVE overcome so much. And thank God. I thank Him every single day for The End meaning The Beginning for me.
Not all therapists are created equal (they are still human) and I've had friends express sentiments of frustration that their attempt at therapy wasn't as successful as mine. On the same hand, I've also had friends who have shared my sentiments that therapy was absolutely the BEST choice they've ever made because it saved their life and gave them the coping skills that they were missing and helped them move on. If you are reading this and thinking, "I'm one of those people who HATED therapy." Please don't give up. Shop around. This is your life we are talking about! Embrace that you are in control of your happiness and healing and find your "Jenn." She or He is out there; I promise.
The Beatles' "In My Life" continues by saying, "And I know I'll never lose affection for people and things that went before. I know I'll often stop and think about them. In my life I loved you more. In my life I loved you more."
The moral of the story: The storms of life are REAL and will suck all the color out of life, but if we will have courage, faith and perseverance, the colors and sunshine WILL return. In your life and in my life, love them more as we recall that they are the beginning, not the end.
Until next time, my lovelies!