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  • Jenny

Bringing Back the Sparkle

Life has its ups and downs; its ebbs and flows; its valleys and peaks. This is a natural part of creation; of our journeys. And we all know this, yet are somehow always surprised when we take a dip.

Last June, I felt like I was on top of the world. I was committed to an amazing health plan that not only had me feeling good, but finally looking like I felt. I was in control of poor habits that plagued me my whole life, and I felt at peace with myself. I was abundant in money, in friendship, in opportunity.

I was getting ready to release a book that was the most difficult project I had ever taken on in my life, because it ripped at my soul to release the undercurrents of my own story as I crafted it. I felt it deep inside that THIS was going to be the book that finally made me a best seller. I spent countless hours and dollars on research and marketing and other preparations. I had a press release and a plan. This was to be Jenny Dee’s Opus, and I was ready for the whirlwind of transformation that would inevitably come along with finally reaching my goal.

But somewhere along the line, it all came crashing down.

I had a planned surgery in July that I didn’t think would affect me all too much. A partial hysterectomy. I wasn’t upset about it at all; I had been blessed with two beautiful children and I had no need to continue suffering, and I didn’t feel like I would be any less of a woman without a uterus.

And so the surgery came and went, successfully, and the doctors told me I healed quickly for industry standards. But the ramifications of having an organ removed was to escalate on many different levels.

Little did I know that my body would react very different being 13 years older.

Physically, I was exhausted. I couldn’t do anything for myself. Since it was a traditional abdominal and not the laser kind, I was told it would be a longer recovery. But I thought since I had two prior C-sections (essentially the same thing, right?), I knew I could handle it and be back on my feet sooner than expected. Wrong. I couldn’t go back to work after a month as planned. All that hard work to build up an exercise routine was practically erased. I could barely walk around the block, let alone do cardio.

Mentally, I was still not as cognizant as I’d like to have been as a result of anesthesia. I couldn’t focus or function at work. I made poor decisions—such as releasing my “prize” book in the middle of recovery. At a time where I wasn’t capable of following up, or conducting online interviews, or doing the promotions one would normally do to make the splash I envisioned. I couldn’t even keep up with the website and blogs I had built around the intended audience, which was growing in interest pre-surgery. I stopped everything, and then wondered why it all failed.

I didn’t have the patience to wait for the right time; and that impulse cost me more than a failed book.

It cost me my confidence. My faith in myself. I resorted back to old eating habits and self-sabotage. I was emotional over the failure, and the prolonged healing, and the latest work issues. I gave up writing. I gave up the website and blogs. I barely posted on social media, posting only sporadically to stay present, in the hopes that the “universe” would miraculously promote my book and make it happen when I couldn’t.

But slowly, as I got better, I got some bearings. I had a few positive reviews, and it gave me hope. I returned to Noom (a wonderful lifestyle program that works for me) and began walking again. I returned to my morning routine, and by my birthday in September, I was ready to come out of the fog and face my future.

Life seemed like it was about to be on the upswing. I was all healed and ready to get back to normal activity, and I was mentally sharp again. I even met a wonderful man unexpectedly and embarked on a committed relationship—something I had not had for close to fourteen years.

But the consequences of my surgery continued to wreak havoc on my life.

I truly believe the anesthesia had lingering affects, and I ended up having severe insomnia for a month. Then, as soon as I started back on a happy workout routine, I was hit with a debilitating neck injury from a massage that revealed underlying spinal issues, and once again, activity was paused. My emotional state was like none other.

It was beyond depression. There was something wrong. I was easily triggered. My new relationship caused severe anxiety and emotional breakdowns, and it wasn’t even rational. My kids, both now in high school, began the natural teenage phase of always being out with friends, and I started feeling these deep pangs of pre-empty nest syndrome that I never thought I would experience, because I love my life independent of my kids, and I love that they create their own lives. But boy, did the pain of “coming soon” life reality hit me hard in the gut. I was a complete hot mess.

I still wasn’t writing or creating. I still couldn’t get back on a healthy track. And even though on paper, life looked pretty good all around, I was overwhelmed with grief. A dear friend (who also happens to be a life coach) shined a light on a stunning revelation: although I didn’t feel less of a woman by losing my uterus, I subconsciously felt like CREATION and BIRTH was removed. That fucking hit me HARD. He was right. I DID feel that post-hysterectomy emptiness so many face.

Because I felt like what was once a powerful part of my womanhood, my femininity, my power to create magic, no longer existed within me.

It took some time for me to come to terms with that untruth, and to un-do the belief that I’d never have that magic again. But let me tell you, once the truth of my feelings was exposed, I was able to heal it. I started to feel my power coming back. It took longer than I had liked, but it has arrived.

Six months later, I can feel my sparkle again. I no longer have heath issues plaguing me, as physical therapy has worked wonders on my body. I sleep regularly, and am even back on my healthy eating and Richard Simmons-loving cardio track. I feel energized.

I feel inspired. I no longer feel empty-nested by my kids. That heaviness that was depressive and unberable has lifted. I no longer have those traumatic emotional responses with my relationships, and was able to navigate myself to a place where I choose self-love over desperate co-dependency. Work has offered a new opportunity that has me excited—busy, but excited. And even out of nowhere, book reviews are popping back up.

It’s not too late for me to reach my dreams.

Maybe that book wasn’t meant to be my best seller. Or maybe just not right now. But it can’t keep me from my passion; my talent; what my soul was born to do. I need to write. It’s like breathing to me. I need to create and love and explore and do all the things that bring fire into my life.

And all it took was a little patience to find my sparkle again.

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