Category Archives: Truths

Getting to know you

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.

It’s time to tell the truth

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, things don’t always go the way you want them to.

Some days I fail to live up to my creed
Free your heart from hatred – Forgive.
Free your mind from worries – Most never happen.
Live simply and appreciate what you have.
Give more.
Expect less from people but more from yourself.

Every day I read positive affirmations that I find on ‘healthy mind’ Facebook pages.

The messages are simple and all resonate the same theme – if you look at the world in a positive light you will be immune to its poisons – if you are loving, forgiving and humble you will be happy – if you see only the good in people you will be a better person – if you lose all negativity you will be free.

I want to believe that people who focus only on the positives have more meaningful lives, but I am struggling with putting the words into practise for myself.

  • When I watch the news and hear of the despicable things people do to others, I can’t forgive. I can’t feel love toward people who deliberately light bushfires, inflict damage, assault or sexually violate others.
  • When I see people behaving aggressively and threatening others on the roads, I don’t feel compassion toward them.
  • When I hear loud arrogant people dominating a public space and disrespecting the rights of others, I don’t hold positive thoughts about them.

I’ve read blogs by people who have dragged themselves from the depths of despair and transformed themselves into well-rounded people who appreciate everything about their life, just by changing their attitudes.

I believe that this has happened but I can’t imagine that it can happen to me.

I still hold on to stress and worries that haunt me and invade my mind no matter how hard I try to push them away.

I still feel dislike for some people.

I believe I have the right to be treated respectfully by others.

I still hold regrets.

I’m NOT quitting. I am just being honest with myself, and admitting that my path to positive entitlement still has a long way to go.

Stand up and be counted

Myredtree left a comment on my blog “Here’s who I am” urging me to share more of my life stories to let people to discover more about me.

This challenges me because I have always been guarded with my feelings and my stories. But here goes……………………

In high school I was good at throwing and catching a ball and each year I tried out for the diamond throw team that competed against other schools on sports day. I enjoyed playing this sport and loved being in the team.

One year a new young teacher started as our sports coach. Miss Bradley was super competitive and trained her teams extra hard to win at all cost. She drilled us to improve our times and strive to be better than the other schools.

Slowly but surely I started to doubt my abilities in such a competitive atmosphere. My confidence started to dwindle and I felt nervous every time I had to throw and catch the ball. I buried these feelings and didn’t share them with anyone.

On the day of competition the teacher was enthusiastic about winning so that other schools would admire her reputation. She kept telling us that we were the best and the other teams were losers. We were not allowed to talk to people on the other teams. Miss Bradley told us that they were the enemy.

Finally it was our turn to go on the field to compete. When I got out there my heart was thumping out of my chest with nerves, I was so anxious to win for Miss Bradley. The whistle blew to begin and I missed catching the first ball which blew our chances of winning in a split second.

As we were coming off the field Miss Bradley screamed in my face in front of everybody “you dropped the ball, you are pathetic, you are an embarrassment to our school, you’ll never be in one of my teams again”.

These words hit me like a blow to the face. They shattered my confidence in my teenage self. Her words were vicious and cut deep into my heart.

I don’t remember anybody coming to me for support, which reinforced her words as being true to me.

I didn’t try out for the diamond throw team the next year.

It took a long time before I volunteered my abilities for anything after that because I feared a repeat of public failure and humiliation.

If my coach had nurtured self-confidence, encouraged the enjoyment of the game, and of being in a team, maybe my heart would have one less battle scar.

I have never told this story to anyone before.