Monday, February 18, 2013

My Happy Day

If someone were to ask me to name the 5 happiest days that I've ever had, my answer would be without hesitation:

1.  The day I moved back home to WA after living in UT for four years, and the summer to follow.
2.  The day that Will proposed to me.
3.  The day I married my best friend in the Portland LDS Temple for eternity.
4.  The day Preston was born.
5.  The day Taylor was born.

Yes, I have had many other happy days besides those, but these 5 are really standouts or me.

I have found myself reflecting on #1 lately.


Well, I suppose it's because it was a time in my life when I truly did feel happy.  Sometimes when I am not feeling so happy, I reflect back to #1 and it helps me figure out how to get that happy back.

2013 has not been the best or easiest year for me so far.  Poor Will has felt sorry for me all too often as he's seen me go through some really crappy stuff.  After having such an amazing year in 2012, it's been a little disheartening to experience 2013 so far.

I suppose I deserve it - after having such a great year last year.

I've deal with super sick kids this year, on multiple occasions. And not just sick kids, but Will and I have both had our fair share of sickness as well.

There have been MANY, many, many opportunities for my music that I've either submitted to and been rejected, or not heard back from, or taken advantage of, and more.  There have also been some awards that I was being considered for that did not end up working out - one of which was a BIG one (eh hem Grammy) that sort of crushed my confidence.  I don't really want to go into how hard I worked for that, and how my album took me 4 long years to create and so when people say "You can try again next year!" it really just makes me want to cry.

I also had a big mucho big project for my music that needed a certain synchronization license for, which I got a denial on.  I cried for 2 days about that.  (And most of you probably have no idea what a sync license is - no matter. Just know that it was a big deal, I went to the highest up people at Universal Publishing about it, even talked with the film composer himself and I was still denied).

I've also struggled to lose more weight and keep trying and failing, trying and failing, etc.  My biggest motivation to lose more weight is so we can have another baby, and so the longer it takes me to lose weight the longer we put off having a baby....and ya all just sort of starts to play negative mind tricks on you after a while! "Why can't you just do it already?" or "You are a failure" have often lurked around the inside of my brain on many occasions.

There's more. Even Will has had some crappy stuff happen to him.  It's almost gotten to the point where we just look at each and laugh, because there's not much else to do and not much else that could possibly be worse.


Before you start to feel too sorry for me here, there is ONE thing that I am very very good at.  It's that I am actually super good at finding SOLUTIONS to problems!

I really am.  When I'm hit down, I don't stay down for long because I refuse to accept defeat.  I don't like taking no for an answer.  My mind is always thinking of ways to fix whatever problem it is, or how to find a different way to accomplish something.

I. Don't. Give. Up.

This morning as I was working on that weightloss goal at the gym and burning calories away while speed walking on a treadmill and listening to my workout playlist mix, I reflected back to Happy Day #1.

And I often do, because I actually feel sunshine in my soul when I think of that day.

Do you want to know why?  Here's why:

Flashback:  Spring of 2003, I was living in Salt Lake City, UT and had been living there and/or Provo area for the 4 years up until then.  For the last 2 years (2001 - 2003), I had been dating a guy.  I suppose you could say we were pretty serious.  We both worked at eBay together, but in different departments.  I could see the top of his head in a distant cubicle on the other side of the building from where I sat.

We spent almost every day together both at work, and then after work.  He was a Mormon as well, but I wouldn't say he was the stellar type of Mormon guy I had always hoped I would date.  In the two years that we dated, I found myself on a spiraling spiritual decline.  In the beginning, it was me lifting him up. I thought I could change him, and I did, actually.  He started going to church again, and got rid of his bald head/goatee and started looking a little more clean cut.

(Okay you are going to get to see photos of me with my exboyfriend, of whom I have NEVER shared here on our family blog before, so here ya go...I admit, a bit painful to look at. Don't get me wrong, he's really a good guy and this is ALL in the past, but still)...

But through it all, I came down a lot in my standards on many things.  And after 2 years of dating him, I found I was a bit disconnected with friends, I was not as spiritually strong as I used to be, and I had also gained like 30 pounds. No joke.

At the time though, I did not realize that I had become a worse version of myself.  It had all happened so slowly, it wasn't until the Spring of 2003 when I was sitting in my cubicle at work one day, staring at his head from across the workplace in a far off cubicle, and realizing that I was not happy.  I wasn't happy with myself, my life, my dating relationship or anything really.  Why was I working at eBay when I loved music?  Was I just going to live in UT forever?  Why?  Why was I there anyway?

It took me about 2 weeks of serious contemplation to realize I no longer wanted to be there.  I was homesick for my family in Washington.  And once I realized this, the decision was SO easy.

I emailed my mom and told her that I was thinking about moving back home to Washington.  I didn't even really have to explain why before she wrote back and said she had a feeling about it, and she knew it was the right thing for me to do.  My biggest worry though, was that after living on my own since I was 18 that it would be incredibly pathetic to move back home with my parents at 25 years of age.  I still remember my mom's funny answer though - having something to do with the fact that it was okay since I was a girl, but if I were one of my brothers it would not be okay. Haha.

The next day I gave my work a 2 week notice.  I gave my roommate a 2 week notice, and we gave our apartments a notice to vacate (she was moving as well).

But as for the boyfriend....well....I have never really been very good at breaking up with guys.  I didn't exactly break up with him. I just figured that moving to Washington over 1,000 miles away would be a no-brainer:  Duh, we can't date anymore because I'm 4 states away kind of thing.

I still remember the day that I left Utah.  My mom and Grandma had come to UT to help me move, and we had a pickup full of my belongings (I'm amazed that all my belongings fit in a truck), and my car was filled with my junk as well.  I met my boyfriend in the church parking lot as we were about to drive off, and we said our goodbyes. I remember being so happy and just wanted to leave already, as he stood there incredibly sad, practically crying and not wanting to let me go.

It was the longest goodbye ever and I just wanted it to end already.

Our 14 hour hour drive to Seattle was gleeful as I munched on M&Ms with one foot up out the window as I drove my VW Jetta across UT, ID, OR, and finally WA.  I had a lot of time to reflect and think about things, and I knew I had made the right decision to move home.

Here's where we get to the HAPPY part of this story...

We had arrived home to my parents house late in the evening, and my parents helped me unload everything out into the garage.  We had dinner, they got me situated into my bedroom - which I might add, was a brand new house for me because they had moved while I was away. So I had never lived in this home before.

The next morning was my happy day.

I woke up around 6:00 that morning because the sun was so bright and peeping in through the blinds into my room.  I was SO excited to be home, I decided to get up. And I NEVER get up that early unless I have to. So this was new for me. I got dressed and went outside to catch the view.  My parents live on an island, and at that home they were living in - if you step outside onto the deck or onto the front driveway you can see a view of the ocean, the surrounding islands, and the cascade mountains.

I remember seeing the ocean which was SOO incredibly blue and so beautiful, with the sun shining down on me, and having this feeling of absolute elation and total utter happiness. I could not stop smiling.  And so then I decided I would wash my car since it had just driven over 1,000 miles.  So I got the bucket out, put some soap in it, got the hose out and washed my car.  Then I decided I would also wash both of my parents cars as well as my Grandma's truck.

Two hours later, my Dad comes outside and is like "What are you doing washing your car at like 7 in the morning??".  I told him I couldn't sleep any more and that I was so excited to be home I just had to get up and come outside.

As time went by that summer, I got to spend a lot of time with my parents and I got in the habit of family prayer again, reading my scriptures, going to church and having it actually be meaningful for me.  I also worked out faithfully everyday with my Dad (whom at the time was going to school to get his certification in personal training).  It was literally like a place of ReHab for my spirit and body.

By the end of the summer, I had lost 30 pounds and felt fantastic.  I felt reconnected to God and very spiritually strong.  I felt confident.

And many of you know the rest of the story....that Fall is when I met Will online.  He and his guy buddies had taken a scuba diving trip to the San Juan Islands, and on their way back to Portland Will had the distinct impression that he needed to come back. He didn't know how or why though since he didn't know anyone from the area. So when he got back to Portland, he joined an LDS dating website and set his search criteria SPECIFICALLY to find a girl who lived on an island near the San Juans.

And who did he find?  Yep. Me.  And the rest, is as they say, history :)

I often think about that summer and moving back home.  That summer was literally a ray of sunshine for me in my life at that time.  I have such wonderful memories of it. Not only just getting back in shape spiritually, but also all the mornings getting up at 5:45 to workout with my Dad. He and I bonded a lot that summer!  I don't think I had ever felt so close to my Dad as I did from that experience.

(on board the ship that was in the Pirates of the Caribbean for a private tour- with my parents - a very happy day!)

(Spending some time with my little brother, after he just got home from his mission)

And to think, if I hadn't of followed my impressions to move back to WA....I may have never rehab'd spiritually and physically, I most definitely wouldn't have met Will (most likely), and who knows. I may have married the wrong guy (because another part of the story I did not tell was that he actually came to WA several times and had intended to propose).

So now, as I've been battling a really terrible year so far, I found myself this morning reflecting back to the Summer of 2003 when I made a decision to change my life.  Ironically, right now as I battle my "weight", I am the exact weight that I was when I moved home from UT and so it feels like I'm right back there again starting over.  And as I deal with issues relating to my struggles with food (an eating disorder that I have never told anyone about, save my husband and my parents and few close friends), I find myself also on a journey of spiritual ReHab as I realize that my problems can only be overcome with the help of God - who can help us overcome all things (and a personal trainer to help me - haha).

And so it is, I reflect back on a similar time in my life when I was able to overcome and it gives me great hope and happiness. :)  The End.

P.S. I want to say that the guy I dated really is a good guy!  I don't mean to discredit him.  But at the time and phase of life I was in, it just wasn't a good match for many reasons, obviously. He is now happily married with two beautiful little girls.


Daniel L.Thomas said...

You are a trooper. I think all moms have to be. The best part of the story unmentioned was that this also got you away from Ebay to start making music. That makes me happy.

I have a solution Jenni for the weight. For thirty years I have had an underweight problem that I tried to cure with steak and milkshakes. I had 12 inches of my gut removed and I gained 40 pounds in two months. Maybe you need 12 more inches of gut and many more steak and milkshakes.

I was really enjoying the blog until I saw Will's nipple.

Ron Southworth said...

I have fond memories of the summer of 2003 too. I am very glad you moved home. As I read your blog, I had to keep wiping tears out of my eyes.
I love you,

debra said...

This really is a great post. It makes me want to move back to Washington. I'm sorry you've been struggling so much this year. This winter has been brutal. It seems like everyone I know, including us, has had all kinds of nasty germs going around! You're an amazing, talented, gifted, loving woman and mother. I hope you find your silver lining soon.

Sandy said...

I am always inspired by your blogs. I love how you express yourself honestly and let others into your thoughts and feelings. You are amazing in so many ways and I admire you for them. I'm with you on the weight thing this winter. Wish I was a dedicated to workouts as you but maybe in time I can get on board. Keep going and have Faith in the Future. (check out the Uplift My Soul blog). I keep getting these gentle reminders. It's all good.

Mommy of Many Hats said...

Wow! What a great read. I didn't anticipate it going in the direction it did, most probably because of my own struggles and attitude. :) I always just keep saying to myself, "It could be worse, so I'll be thankful and just suck it up."

Yet, I love your reflections of such happy times and how you use those times to lift you up. I love how you laid everything out in detail and showed how one thing led to another, and even though you didn't see the end in mind you did what you felt inspired to do, even if it didn't make sense.

Lastly, I've gotta say, I think you gain more beauty with each year that passes. <3

Jenni said...

You guys all make me smile. :) Daniel - sorry about Will's nipple shot. Understood. Haha. Sandy I did read your cute blog about the flower! Love it. Renae thank you so much for the very kind words!! Debra - thanks for the mommy empathy :)

Jenni said...

And Dad I love you!!

Dan Thomas said...

Thanks for sharing! I hope you and the boys have fun while your husband is way having fun.

Mike Southworth said...

Appreciate the glimpse into the journey of your life, Jen. Brings back memories of those years here in Utah. Looking back, it sure does become clear that you made the right decision in moving back to WA and in finding a great partner to spend the rest of your life (and beyond) with. I'm confident that if you keep focused on your goals, you'll accomplish whatever you put your mind to. Your musical accomplishments and your family are proof of that.

Kate said...

This brings tears to my eyes Jenni.. You're a beautiful person. And you're such a fabulous writer too! Be kind to yourself and be patient. I started out the new year praying for patience and perspective and it's paid off. My life has gotten considerably better and I know yours will too! xoxoxo