I’m Back! A Personal Entry

Things are well, and couldn’t be better, but even though everything is going great I still have my bad days, where I am doubtful of myself, and of others. But trust is a thing that takes a long time to build, and like anything else you build, it must be maintained, and practiced. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

It’s been over a year since I posted anything here, but I’m back now!

Basically I just got kind of busy living life. I also don’t have a computer to use at home, mine broke down and I still haven’t replaced it. I decided I wanted to live OFF the internet as much as possible, and sort of figure out what I wanted to use it for, rather than just fall into it again.

I’d also like to tell you about where I’ve been, and where I hope I am going!

Here I am in December of 2009, when I got to meet Neil Gaiman! I was about 35 lbs overweight, and still had my dreadlocks. I am pretty sure by this time I had lost my job again, having been laid off from a temp job I’d gotten.

I have sworn that I will meet him again, and ask him if he remembers the sobbing girl who told him she was so excited to meet him she might throw up on him

I was so excited I cried on his shoulder. He’s one of my IDOLS.     I’ve read his books since about 1999, and his writing has gotten  me through some rough times in my life.

So the next year I was unemployed. I got interested in Bonsai, but didn’t have any money for it. I learned how to make do. I still did things, I had a few interviews, and even went on a trip to Atlanta with my best friend’s mother to help plan my best friend’s wedding. Something happened on that trip– I started to realize my self-worth again. I had become angry, and bitter, and miserable, but my best friend treated me with the same cheerful acceptance she always had. She, her mother, and her in-laws and friends all did the same, and I started to remember what being happy was like.

But there are still VERY few pictures of me between 2006 and 2011. I just couldn’t stand to see what I’d become– physically and spiritually.

In August of 2010, I got a callback for an interview. The job would have been amazing– 40 an hour, on a contract. I made a decision: I sat down, and with my then-boyfriend’s help and a huge tub of conditioner, combed out my dreadlocks.

These dreads were made with the crochet and handroll method, and I washed them once a week. They had completely locked up without any products at all!

It took 40 hours. It was one of those things that just NEEDED to be done. I had enjoyed having weird hair, it got me a lot of attention, but I was ready to move on. I cut off the dead ends, got a pro haircut for the first time in almost 4 years, and nailed the interview. They wanted me to start immediately.

I didn’t get the job that I’d gone to all that trouble for, but I got an even better one, for a government contractor that a friend set me up with. I started working there in October of 2010, and I am happy and proud to say that I am still here! I paid off my car, paid down some of my consumer debt I incurred from being unemployed, and started trying to do more positive things with my time. I also cut way back on my internet usage, because I was distracting myself a great deal.

In March of 2011, I was diagnosed as pre-diabetic. My fasting blood sugar was 143, my cholesterol was 195, and I was miserable most of the time. I was also drunk most of the time, too, with a highly cynical view of the world. Being diagnosed as something, even as pre-something, was a pretty big shakeup.

Only three tummy rubs, then death
Herzog demonstrates what I was doing most of the time


So I cut back. On EVERYTHING.

I cut back on drinking. I stopped eating carbs, almost completely. I got into the whole Paleo-Primal Blueprint thing, and I started following a more structured workout program.  I challenged myself almost daily, in every aspect of my life. I chatted pleasantly with strangers, I walked places I had previously driven, I practiced looking people in the eye when I talked to them.

I didn’t realize the weight was coming off until I saw how much bigger my clothes were on me, and when my friends told me I was losing weight. I lost about 30 pounds, my cholesterol went down 30 points, my blood pressure too, and I am managing my blood sugar without needing any medication.

I even self-published a novel!  It’s called The Secret Wilderness, and I had been working on it while I was unemployed. It’s pretty dark though, at least to me. I wrote it while I was in a very bad headspace, and self-published it in a whirlwind of activity so it’s not the best thing I’ve written. But you have to write the bad books out of yourself before you can get to the good ones, and so I am still writing, and still trying. For the rest of my life, I will tell stories. It’s up to other people if they would like to hear them or not.  The Secret Wilderness on Amazon has the first six pages available, if you’d like to check it out!

In May of 2011 I realized that I had been unhappy for a long time, and that getting to know myself was going to be hard. I was reevaluating where I had been, what I wanted, and where I was going in life. I ended a ten-year relationship because I desperately needed to find out who I was, and I couldn’t do that while I was with someone. It was very hard, and certainly hurt someone very deeply, but I wanted everyone to be happy, and that included me.

October 2011
I took this in October of 2011, it’s the first photo of me with contacts!

I lived in my little apartment with my cat, Herzog, for a few months. I was a bridesmaid in a wedding for the first time, I went out with friends when I could, I worked out and swam and read and watched movies and just lived life. It was very quiet, but definitely what I needed. I reconnected with old friends and family, and all of them said that not only did I look different, but that I had a new light in my face and happiness in my voice that they hadn’t heard in years.

In October of 2011, I got myself contact lenses for my birthday. I had never worn them before. I still wear them almost every day, only wearing glasses when I feel lazy or on weekends. Or when I want to watch a sad movie and might need to cry!

That same night, one of my oldest and dearest friends threw me a birthday party. She had invited many of my new friends from work, and one of those friends brought a friend along who lived in Miami, but was intending to move to Orlando. And that was how I met Jonathan.



Jon at Flagler Museum, St. Augustine
Taken at Flagler Museum during our 2012 St. Augustine trip. You can barely see Samantha, his husky, down there on the right. She found the fountain water delicious!

Jonathan worked in a hospital when I met him. We have been dating since November of 2011, and I am thankful every single day that he is in my life. He’s a wonderful, kind, and considerate person, and anyone would be lucky to have him in their life.

Jon moved in with me in October of 2012, applied and was accepted to UCF, and looked for a job. He found one, and started working at another hospital earlier this week.

Things are well, and couldn’t be better, but even though everything is going great I still have my bad days, where I am doubtful of myself, and of others. But trust is a thing that takes a long time to build, and like anything else you build, it must be maintained, and practiced. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

For a long time, I had a complex about happiness, and smiling. I thought if you weren’t happy, and pretended that you were, you were lying to yourself and others and hiding from the truth. But I’ve found that sometimes, even when you don’t feel like smiling, the act of DOING IT, and of telling people ‘No, I’m okay,’ sometimes helps you feel better. I was mostly expressing negativity when I did express my feelings, because I felt bitter and cynical all the time. I didn’t realize how GREAT I had things until I was able to get some peace and quiet and find myself again. I took a lot of things for granted, I realize. Now I appreciate life and my friends, and when I encounter a negative situation I challenge myself to see the good in it. Doing so has become second-nature, so much so that people often comment on how positive I am these days, and how I can see the good in anything.

So! This post will serve as a milestone in the new path I’ve already started! I’ll still do film reviews and such here, but I’m thinking about starting a whole new blog that is more about me and daily life. And quite honestly, I have begun reading some new, positive blogs about things that I’ll be linking to and hope to meet some new people that way.

And so this post is the first post in the rest of my life, heh!

Thank you for reading, I hope you’ll stick around for more!


Author: jennnanigans

Orlando-area writerly person.

6 thoughts on “I’m Back! A Personal Entry”

  1. This was a wonderful post to read; I’m glad that you’ve had good stuff in your life of late. I’ve missed reading your posts.

    1. Thank you! That is so nice to hear! I have been reading and enjoying your blog as well! I’m amazed at all the places you have been for work!

  2. You are a wonder, and I can’t wait til the next time we get to visit with each other! And I think you are spot-on, I seem to remember reading that there have been studies that showed if you make your face smile, you feel better.

    1. Awww, thank you! I can’t wait until we can visit either! Yeah, supposedly the act of smiling, like a real honest smile, releases ‘feel-good’ hormones which improve your mood. 😀

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