Friday, March 16, 2007

The Perfect Storm

Hurricane season hasn’t even begun, yet I find myself sitting in the middle of a huge storm. I had plenty of time to prepare for it and I knew I would eventually have to face it. I laughed at the warnings, the premonitions, and dreams I had, and just always hoped that at the last second it would make that sharp left, detour, and leave me unscathed. Unfortunately, for once the weathermen of my life got this one right.

The @#$%-storm that is my personal life made landfall a few weeks ago, and turned my world as I had come to know it upside down. The first half of the storm brought catastrophic winds that ripped down the walls I had built to protect myself and no amount of plywood or preparation could match this force. The insults and personal attacks fell like pelting rain, and there was no one there to protect me when they did. Then came the eye, the part of the storm where everyone tried to assure me the worst was over, even those that had previously churned the already rough waters. People insisted that it would only make things easier, and that once the sky had cleared that my life would go back to normal. Only one problem: I didn’t even know what normal was anymore.

Storms however are unpredictable, and the only person that truly understands their outcome is God. When the clouds parted from this particular storm, even He couldn’t answer the questions I had. After events like the ones I described shake our personal lives, even the strongest-willed individuals will feel shipwrecked and alone. The weak accept their fate, and try to adapt to their new lives as much as can be expected. But the resourceful survivors put a message in a bottle, and pray that someone on a distant shore finds it and comes to their rescue.

I have spent much of the past few weeks sorting through the debris, and coming to grips with the aftermath’s implications. There have been hard times, there have been better times, and there have been even harder times. All the unanswered questions. What did I do to deserve this?... I took a chance on a person, on life, and love… and in the end I was left stranded by myself. Maybe I made a mistake by trusting someone as wholeheartedly as I did. I was a hopeless romantic, and he was… well, hopeless. Maybe our mistakes are what make our fate. Without them, what would shape our lives? Life isn’t about finding ourselves, it’s about creating ourselves. Perhaps if we never veered off course, we wouldn't fall in love, or have babies, or be who we are. It’s about weathering the storm. You may come out a little tattered and worn, but nothing that time and love can’t heal. It doesn’t matter who broke your heart, or how long it takes to heal, you will never make it through it without your friends. You pick up the pieces, learn from them, and live to fight another fight. Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, its learning how to dance in the rain. It’s short...unpredictable, and nothing is ever a sure thing. So break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, and laugh uncontrollably. Above all else, never regret anything that once made you smile.

This particular storm churned up a lot of issues I thought I had long overcome: with trust, with men, with relationships in general. I’ve always approached relationships and friendships with guarded walls and a sense of insecurity. Some I guess would call it baggage, but mine was far worse than that… it was a friggin’ anchor. Maybe our pasts are just that… anchors that are holding us back. You have to let go of who you are, before you can become who you were meant to be. If you never raise the anchor, and really set sail, you’ll just end up beached on shore, or worse, caught in the storm. I’m a stronger person than a lot of the things I have allowed myself to be subjected to. And I deserve better.

It's hard to wait around for something that you know might never happen, but it’s even harder to give up especially when it’s everything you have ever wanted. Legend has it, that the Ibis is the always the last bird to flee from a hurricane, but even the bird knows when the time has come to leave. The storm will come and go, and the Ibis will be the first to appear in its wake. It’s about perseverance, and courage in the face of adversity. So maybe this isn’t giving up, maybe it’s waiting for the winds to die down. The pieces may be broken, and scattered, but nothing is beyond repair.

The rebuilding process has really made me reevaluate who I am, where I am at in life, and where I am going. The turmoil and anxiety that plagued me, the what if’s, and insecurities… they made me something I wasn’t. I have always been a people pleaser, and it killed me that I couldn’t make everyone like me. Then again.. why would I want to? You shouldn't have to sacrifice who you are just because somebody else has a problem with it. And it’s better to be hated for what you are, than loved for what you are not. People can judge from the outside, and give their opinions, but unless you were sitting there when the storm came ashore, then you don’t have the whole story, just the abridged, second-handed one everyone wants you to believe.

Bob Marley once said--”Who are you to judge the life I live? I know I am not perfect and I don't live to be, but before you start pointing fingers, make sure your hands are clean.”

I want the old me back, only a little stronger, a little older, and a little wiser. But who is she? Then it all comes flooding back….

I’m the kinda girl that will dance to eighties music in my underwear when no ones watching. I’m the kinda girl that will defend my favorite sports team like I do my family, and God help you if you insult them. I’m the kinda girl that puts my family and friends before all else, and a guy is lucky to come second. I’m the kinda girl that loves my cat, even if she’s a total bitch and no one else understands her. I’m the kinda girl that will listen to everyone else’s drama, and help them sort through it regardless of whatever @#$% I am experiencing in my own realm of reality. I’m the kinda girl that loves to put a smile on others faces, by sharing mine with them. I’m the kinda girl that smiles for absolutely no reason, and doesn’t care if I am the only one that gets my jokes. I'm the kinda girl that will burst out laughing in dead silence about something that happened yesterday, not because I am slow, but from the sheer memory of how a good laugh feels. I’m the kinda girl that’s sick and tired of Mr. Right Now’s, and simply wants to be with the one that makes me happy.

Yeah. I’m THAT girl.

The past few weeks have really shaken my soul, but never my faith. I put my trust and faith in the fact that God has a plan for me. People are brought into our lives for a reason, and it’s up to us to figure out what that reason is. You never know when the person you meet may be your savior. They were the rope God cast when you fell overboard from the waves in your life, to pull you back to Him. Maybe things aren’t always perfect, and the sun isn’t always shining, but who’s to say it won’t once the skies have cleared? Sometimes it takes weathering these trying circumstances and situations to prove to ourselves who we are. It’s when you learn from these experiences and grow because of them that you become the better human being. And when that little ray of sun bursts from the clouds and the warmth hits your face, you’ll know you have weathered… the Perfect Storm.

"Love is patient, love is kind, It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."

--(1 Corin. 13: 4-8)

11 comments:

Jeffrey said...

Keep your head up Jenn, things will get better ;)

Gildorg said...

I am still sorry that I missed your visit to Oregon.

Don't relationships suck?!!? Life can be a real kicker sometimes. I was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer a few years back. The day I found out the cancer wasn't going to get me, was the night I found out my wife was cheating on me. That kind of pain can be truly hard to come back from.

I am glad to read that you are a person of faith. I moved away from mine and recently have started to move back and am enjoying it greatly.

They say that there is someone for everyone out there, but why does it always seem that your person apparently didn't make it through the security gate or got loss somewhere!

I cannot even begin to understand the pressure on you based on you celebrity status. It must color every relationship that you attempt to have. Great, just what you need, relationships are hard enough on their own, without the extra pressure.

Well, here's to ya, kid! Remember your own words on this very blog from a little while ago. It is okay to be alone. Though, sometimes being alone is always the most fun, but sometimes you need that "Me" time.

Good luck to you and I hope with the first day of Spring coming up, that the new season will treat you well. God Bless You.

(P.S. - You gotta love the 80s music!!!)

Mike said...

Sterger --

Take a step back and listen to yourself. You're talking in cliches. Stop --

Love sucks sometimes -- its really hard when the person you tell yourself is 'the one for you' turns out to be something other than what you've built them up to be in your head.

You're a smart girl. Assess your situation and go do whatever it is that makes YOU happy. Stop worrying about what someone else can do for you and your happiness. You'll never be truly happy in a relationship with someone else until you learn to be happy in the relationship you have with yourself. When you do that, great people end up sneaking up on you --



Things will work out --

Jon said...

Especially in times of trouble, the hardest thing to hold onto is the foundation of our life to come: hope. As long as you have that, everything pulls toward peace.
Take care, Jenn.
Blessings to you.

~Jon.

Joe said...

There are no words I can speak, as someone who doesn't know you that can bring any relief. But I will try, as I am not one to shirk from that kind of challenge.

There was a famous violin maker whose work was the envy of his peers. They could not figure out why his instruments produced the sound that was so rich and so remarkable compared to their own. He told his secret to his successor. He chose not the trees int he valley protected fromt he storms. He chose the trees that had weathered the worst storms that life could hurl at them. Furious winds. Terrible pelting rain. He went to the top of the mountain to find the strongest wood to make the most beautiful violins. The soul of those trees went into them, and made them more special than any other made.

You quote Paul's letter to the Corinthians. His commentary on love is an excellent place to begin. But all his letter to the Romans to seep in. "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him who are called to His purpose." Paul wrote about the challenges that regular folks like us face. God has a plan. And He reveals it on a need to know basis. This too shall pass, Jenn. Good lucka nd God bless.

Jordi said...

Wow. Sheesh. Time to belly up to the bar, down a beer or two, and tell the bartender to put the game on. Then down more beer. At least that's what I do.

Lozo said...

i thought for sure this would be a blog that had 1,000 comments per post. go figure.

i think we need to start dating. we have a lot in common. we're both journalists. we're both bloggers. we're both into sports. and we both get countless offers to pose naked due to our smoking hot bodies.

shit will work itself out. it always does.

dam20906 said...

Jenn,

Stay focused on what you want. Make it clear what you want. Visualize it. Feel what it would be like to have what you want. That's what gives you power.

Focusing on what you don't want (the perfect storm -- the one you could see coming -- what I heard is that you were dreading it) leaves you paralyzed and powerless.

When you clearly see what you want, problems will not seem like problems, but rather lessons. You can shrug them off. If you could get to the point where you ask for what you want and know it will come, just like you know that you will get the meal you ordered in a restaurant, then the easier it will be for you to have it.

See if that works for you. Wishing you the best.

Chris said...

Jenn,

I have read a few of your blogs, and some of your advice on the SI.com page. I commend you for putting your entire life on display for the public to see. I'm sure there are some cons that come along with that. From what I have seen you handle everything well. Some of the responses to your blog are interesting. I am not down playing anyone, I just thought there were some interesting comments. Jenn, you seem like a bright individual who has a great head on your shoulders. We all have weather problems. Storms make up life, and, as you know, these are the things that scultp us individually. The refiner's fire, right? The thing about life though, is that it is so individualistic. We may all have similar experiances, but no one knows exactly how you feel because we all react differently to the same experince. Take the guy who drinks his feelings away that posted earlier. Even though we are all full of advice and want to help, the biggest thing that I have found to help me is that I never settle for anything that does not make me truly happy. Who wouldn't do that right? I know so many people who have setteled for someone they deep down didn't really want to be with and doesn't fulfill their dreams. There are those out who will treat you they way that you want to be treated, and not just for the short term. Maybe your looking in the wrong places, I don't know, but you don't sound to happy with how your relationships end up. I don't know, who am I to give you advice. I have my own problems that I deal with. I hope things get better for you, and know that you are never truly alone. He is always there to listen, and though He may not answer in your time frame, and in the way that you want, He will always answer. Take care.

roothog229 said...

Jenn,

Sorry I've been late in posting on this one...I'm usually a lot better at keeping up with your blogs. Anyways, I wrote something for your mailbox...and I hope it helps a little.

JN

MCBias said...

Oh no...lure of comment box inescapable...opportunity to give advice to a person with an advice comment too tempting...Ok, I'll comment. Feel free to stop this from seeing the light of day, if you want.

Jenn, I found it interesting to compare this post with your Moral Fiber post of February. It seems that in this case you forgot to use your God-given discernment skills to protect the very person they were designed to protect: yourself. No judgment meant, just a thought. I've done it myself.

Sometimes I find that I do best in running my own life when I pretend I'm someone else, and then offer myself advice as if I was just anyone. Sounds crazy, but it may also help you.

Hmm...and maybe you are still who you were, to some extent. Sometimes high school, college, and 20-something selves messily collide, especially if one is a late bloomer in some aspect of life (intelligence, looks, whatever). You have to figure out which one of those is most like who you really are at heart.

Finally, there is a verse in I Corinthians 13 that I think often is missed in all the sweetness of the passage. It says in verse 7, "Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth." One can't have a loving relationship with someone who allows evil in their life or behaves in an evil fashion or another. It leads to a joyless relationship, because there is no solid core there to rejoice over. And in the end, it causes separation and heartbreak. If there is truth in a relationship, though, then love can flourish.