In the grand scheme of things, two year isn’t really that long of a time. But in reality – two years can feel like an eternity. And oh-so-much can happen.
The past two years have been eventful, to say the least. From love to heartbreak; new beginnings and finding my way; from health setbacks to mental victories; from AwesomeJennJenn to Jenn and the City – and everything in between, the past two years have been two of the most life shaping, personal growing years of my life.
When I first started sharing my life online, it was mostly through social media, my Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram channels were where I gave everyone a sneak peak into my life and everything I got up to. Writing has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. I have boxes full of writing examples, dating back to elementary school – so making the leap into blogging was bound to happen.
I’ve always tried to pride my social media channels, and eventually my blog, as a place where people could come and smile. I’m a happy-go-lucky gal by nature, always smiling and laughing – and my goal was to always share that with you, my readers and friends.
Throughout my life I have always been the silly, fun-loving girl you’ve all come to know online. I would go out of my way to make everyone around me laugh, mostly because I knew what it was like to feel utterly worthless. I’ve suffered (I prefer to say ‘survived’) through severe depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember. Even back before I knew what I was going through, before I knew the name for what was happening – I knew something was off. To mask this overwhelming sadness, I would plaster a smile on and fake it. Fake it til you make it, right?
So when I started sharing my life online, I glossed over the struggles I was trying to cope with. I put on the smiles, and continued the act. I had many years of practice, so it was increasingly easy for me to cover up the daily struggles. That’s the thing with mental health – much like addicts, those suffering can become masters of manipulation. We can easily hide the struggles and even worse – shun out those who attempt to help.
Those closest to me knew what was going on – some even encouraged me to share my stories. I can’t even tell you how many times Jo would push me, encourage me to share my stories and struggles telling me that those out there going through the same thing needed to know they weren’t alone. But it’s nerve-wracking. It’s incredibly scary to open yourself up completely and put yourself out there, flaws and all. It’s even harder for someone who is as much of a perfectionist as I am.
I was always worried about how people would judge me, what would they think? Would they shun me? Would the friends I had made back away because the subject of mental health/illness unfortunately still has such a stigma surrounding it?
It wasn’t until recently that I literally said, screw it. I had suffered enough and knew that I could no longer put on the charade. I knew all too well what it felt like to be completely alone and grasping at any sight of a life saving straw that was thrown my way. So I decided to share my story, be my true self – flaws and all. I had touched on the mental health subject here and there, but the first real glimpse I gave into my personal story was when I posted “Part One – How Did I Get Here.”
In this piece I opened up about my struggle with depression and anxiety and is the first part in an ongoing series about my suicide attempt and the aftermath of everything that followed…and what led up to it. This was an incredibly emotional piece for me to write, and I was terrified to hit publish. I had no idea how anyone would react, and in turn – that actually caused me more stress and anxiety. LOL
In the end – this has been the most popular post I have ever published, and I have received notes and comments from people around the world – thanking me for sharing my story. So many people have come forward to share their stories with me, and have encouraged me to continue sharing.
Over the past two years, I struggled to find my voice. I struggled to not only find my true voice, but to find a way to represent and translate that online. As much as I love going to new restaurants and events, and sharing those experiences with all of you – I knew there was more inside of me that I wanted to share. I knew that there was more that I had to share – and after taking that first step by posting “Part One – How Did I Get Here,” I think I have finally found it.
Another way I have found my voice is through sharing something a little more light-hearted. At the beginning of 2015 I found myself single for the very first time in my entire adult life. After giving myself some time to heal and get over my heartbreak – I jumped into the online dating scene…guns a’ blazing!
While I have had my fair share of dating disasters as well as victories, I have found that you guys have enjoyed reading about the disasters far more – which is fine by me! I will continue to share those stories, and more – as they happen, because I have this sneaky suspicion that there are still plenty more to come! LOL
I’ve mentioned it time and time again – but I love, love. Dating and relationships are things I thoroughly love. I seriously love every aspect of all things life and love, and what I love even more is being able to offer my advice and outlook to help others. It’s been a great feeling finding my voice online and establishing myself as one of the go-to relationship bloggers in the city.
I’ve gone from sharing my adventures in life to sharing even more. I’ve pulled back the curtain and have begun to show you all the real me, and you have welcomed it with open arms, and I couldn’t be happier or more grateful.
While 2015 was a challenging and trying year, it has also been one of true growth. I may not be where I had expected myself to be, but I’m a hell of a lot closer than I was – and for that, I’m grateful.
You better believe that you can expect a whole lot more from Jenn and the City in the near future! My YouTube channel will be launching in 2016, I’ll be hosting even more giveaways, there will be reviews of products and places, and of course even more dating and relationship posts. And – I’m excited to announce that I’ll be speaking at tradeshows/expos/seminars and I will even be hosting meet-ups and events! Of course, you’ll be getting an even more in depth look into everything behind the scene that I am battling/struggling with/beating/surviving etc.
I just want to thank each and every one of you who have reached out with encouraging words, there is no way I can put into words just how much that has meant to me; thank you for always stopping by and thank you for supporting all things Jenn and the City.