I'm Jen: a writer and suicide loss survivor who’d love nothing more than to see you turn your pain into medicine. I’m honored that my words help people heal better from the terrible things they’ve been through. It’s been the light in my darkness. You being here means, well, everything to me.
Through my free content, poems, books, and anything else I make, I'm in this for the love.
“How’d you get started doing this?” - Someone asked
We got the news on May 4th, 2011.
It was supposed to be a season of hope, the way the sun feels on your face after a winter that made you forget spring even existed.
That's when my brother Mark committed suicide. He was 25 years old. I never got to tell this Marine who loved to help everyone, that he had help. That he was a real life hero, and things would change.
His last words: Love each other. Love yourself.
What I couldn’t tell my brother, now I tell others through my work. It started with a poem to Mark the day after I found out he was gone. I sat on the bottom bunk where he used to sleep, pen in my hand as everything collapsed.
Five years later, my dad passed away from heart failure after surviving a lifetime of kidney disease, and about 59 other things. He was resilient as a rock and my biggest supporter (besides Mom… hi Mom).
My sanity shook. My depression grew more branches. And writing, again, gave me the courage to lean in. To stand in the storm and breathe through what hurt. No running away, no feeling better right away. I tried to face it with grace.
Nothing has been so hard, so terrifying. So obviously, I learned some things.
I learned that you can be afraid and brave at the exact same time.
Some wounds are meant to hurt. If you let it, the pain wedges you open, so that new things can get in and something else can come forth.
In the hollowed out place where your life used to be, starting again is part of the medicine. And part of the revolution.
The way you heal can be its own healing.
You can make change, connections, things, beauty. You can take what you’ve been given and give back differently. You can love people better, even the people you don't like… including yourself: because deep healing is brave work. And important. And, well, WORK.
Love is always relevant.
You rise from trauma by rooting in love, right where you are, scars and all.
Me? I believe words have the power to bring you from cold to warm, lonely to held, lost to available for a long, deep breath. It's how I choose to love. It's also why anything from rock to poetry to fantasy makes me feel things.
Music is definitely love, especially around a fire. Yoga on your own terms feels like love. Plant power is real. Loving yourself and loving each other... it's kind of the same thing.
Most recently, I learned that it’s OK to live. And dance and be silly again. That even after such terrible things, it’s still your turn to breathe. It still is.
You feeling it? Do this next...
My dad once told me that "we rebuild, together."
If you're all about that, the next best thing you can do is click on this link to get my Hope Letters sent to your inbox. You'll usually only hear from me on Tuesdays -- more if something is time-sensitive or too helpful not to share.
Readers say my emails are "a breath of fresh air" and "exactly what I needed to hear today."
As soon as you sign up, you'll get your first exclusive (and free) treat: the Healing Brave Manifesto: 5 Ways You’re Amazing Because of How You Carry On, a digital devotion that'll help you fall better and heal better.
Can't wait for you to read it.
Namaste: "I bow to you."
Sawubona: "I see you."
Ngikhona: "I am here."
Thanks for being here. In every way, I mean that.
P.S. If you want to help me keep writing and making, support the cause by buying something I made. Every purchase helps that other person who needs love today, but can't afford to buy anything right now, but who will *still* get love through the work I do for free.