A year ago I found it difficult to disclose things about myself. Perhaps I was fearful of judgement or maybe I doubted my qualities and uniqueness.
After a series of monumental life situations I experienced a physical and emotional reaction and knew I needed to re-evaluate my existence. My body was screaming at me to find a better way of coping with stress.
My search within led to blogging as an outlet to explore emotions and interact with others about the ups and downs of everyday life. Initially I was guarded about exposing my vulnerabilities but gradually started sharing personal stories, which began the regeneration of my self-confidence.
As my first year of discovery draws to a close I’m stepping further outside my comfort zone and revealing more about myself that I haven’t blogged about this year.
I’ve written some questions and answers that may connect more of my personality puzzle pieces together. I would love readers to answer the same questions as a post on their own blog or in the comment section to my post. Feel free to answer one or all of the questions, or add new questions, as you wish.
What is your real name and where do you live?
My name is Jennifer Donovan but I prefer Jenna Dee.
I live in Melbourne, Australia
What makes you sad?
I was a lonely child and yearned for a sister close to my own age. As a mother I had a son followed by two daughters close together in age who grew up as great friends. As adults my daughters are not as connected as they once were and this makes me a little sad.
Seeing the loss in my Dad’s eyes because he misses the love of his life, my mum, who died seven years ago.
What are your major mistakes?
Although I’ve learned to let go of regrets I believe their acknowledgement as a part of our lives is important.
Getting married at 18 remains my biggest mistake. Although legally an adult, I was an unworldly child with no idea of the enormity of my decision. The marriage lasted 7 years and finally failed after we decided to have a child.
When I was pregnant with my first child my husband started ignoring me and staying out all night. I was upset he didn’t want to share the joy of having a baby. I am ashamed to say I began a relationship with a married man I worked with. To me it was nice having someone pay attention to me but to him it was more. He talked about leaving his family to be with me, which freaked me out. I ended the relationship abruptly and broke his heart, which I am not proud of.
When was the last time you cried?
Recently I cried tears of being overwhelmed when I attempted public speaking (described in my post Closer to the Edge) . Sometimes sad movies cause a few tears to fall.
When my mother died seven years ago my tears flowed freely There are only three times in my life I remember sobbing uncontrollably; when my first marriage finally ended, when I lost a baby early in a pregnancy (the first baby for my second husband and I) and when my mother died.
What makes you angry?
- Arrogant people who feel they are superior to others.
- Every type of injustice.
- I feel upset that my daughter who is a lesbian is not entitled to the same privileges as heterosexuals.
What is your most recent happiest memory?
Celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary this year in Shanghai, China. We travelled to Tongli in rural China to the ancient houses and gardens that hold mystical power over me. As we entered one of the courtyards light fluffy snow started to fall making it a magical memory.
When were you most scared?
Being in Fiji during Cyclone Oscar in 1983. This was the only time in my life that I thought I was going to die and at the moment of realisation a bizarre feeling of peace and calm filled my body.
When my relationship with my son disintegrated and he left home. I was terrified for his safety and well-being.
The night my mother fell and the emergency hospital staff told us that her injuries were the worst kind.
When were you most brave?
- Making the decision to return to university as a mature age student when I was 37.
- Knowing I needed to reclaim my individual identity and revert to using my family name Donovan, even though I knew it upset my husband.
What haven’t you done that you wished you had done?
- Lived independently as a single adult.
- Participated in a study abroad program.
- Taught English in Japan.
What makes you different from most people?
- I don’t like being around a lot of people. Situations such as airports, trains, crowed pubs and shopping malls make me uncomfortable. I like my own company and love being with my family but I don’t have a large circle of friends.
- Unlike most people I prefer silence rather than listening to music or the radio.
- I’m not easily led towards fads, fashion and trends preferring to enjoy my own treasures.
Who has influenced your life?
I met my husband Peter when I was 16 and he was 18 and formed a close friendship. We married 12 years later after my first marriage ended and have now been married for 25 years.
We are different in personality and ideals but it seems to work for us. Peter is my steadying influence and is tolerant and kind. As the person I am closest to, Peter often bears the brunt of my frustrations.
We are a team and I am proud of the parents we are to our children. He is my soul mate and I would be lost without him in my life.
My mother also influenced my life. She was quirky and had an uncanny ability to see through the falseness of some people. My mum saw the best in me and gave me confidence to believe in myself. After she died I struggled to maintain my self-confidence without her input. My mum was the kindest, most understanding and wise person I have met in my life.
What is the greatest lesson you have learned?
This year has been by far the most influential year of my life creating possibilities for many changes within.
The greatest lesson I have learned is that to change your life all you have to do is change your attitude. It is that simple.