When you feel like there is nothing left to live for, go numb. Don’t feel. Don’t feel until you can stop feeling sorry for yourself. When you go back in time and need someone to listen to your story, the one no one wants to hear again because you’ve told it a thousand times – the one that means everything to you – the one that tells the tale of everything you have been through – be silent. Be still. Don’t even think about anyone or anything, not even yourself. “But if everyone could understand what it feels like to be in my shoes or what they would have done if they were abused, raped, molested, giving up dreams just to be loved, to be a single mom while my daughter had an educated father who refused to take care of her financially or emotionally so everything was left for me to do, I know I’d feel better. If they could just understand he lives the life of luxury, not because he earned it, but because he stole it, I’d feel better.”

Telling yourself and everyone your story, the same story they are so tired of hearing, the same story you are tired of living, doesn’t make anything better. It doesn’t make anyone understand. They may even be saying to themselves and to you, “Oh my God – stop already. We know; we know what happened to you. You were dealt a bad hand. Now move on.”

Telling everyone who has told their story in the #metoo movement to move on would be unthinkable. It would be heartless. Yet it is not how these acts affected a person’s life we hear about. It is not the amount of tears they cried we talk about. It is not the choices they made because of what happened to them we discuss. It is the chant of the movement we hear about. It is the finger pointing bandwagon everyone jumps on. People will say, “That’s terrible.” But how many people really stop to think what it must have felt like or know how it changed a person’s life? They can’t really know if they haven’t been through it.

No one can imagine what their life might be like if they too went through what you’ve been through. They just don’t want to hear your story anymore. You may also want to stop telling your story. You want to stop associating something that is happening now with something that happened in the past. The story in your head where you blame yourself for everything because you feel everyone is judging you and wondering why you just can’t get your life in order or why you let whatever horrible thing that happened to you happen – you want is for that noise to stop. If you can’t stop it, get professional help, a great way to start a new story if you can’t do it on your own.

If everyone took the time to insert themselves in your story, I mean really insert themselves in your story; if they closed their eyes and took every single shitty thing that has happened to you one after the other, where would they be now? If they were made to feel like nothing, who would they have married? If their husbands didn’t have a great job that afforded them a great life, how would they be living if they had to raise their children on their own? People don’t insert themselves into your story because they can’t. You can’t know someone’s pain if you haven’t gone through what they’ve gone through. Your friends and loved ones may validate your story but inside you know they can’t possibly know exactly what you’re feeling. I don’t know what it feels like to lose a child and I hope I never do. Would I want to hear the story of how they lost their child for decades? Probably not. I too might be saying, “I know. I know. We all know you’ve lost your child. Now move on and remember them with joy.” The wounded parent knows they’ll never be the same. Their friends and family will know they will never be the same, but they will never understand how it feels, because they haven’t gone through it. It is that pain, those feelings we desperately want others to understand, never accepting they just can’t. Ask the parents of the murdered children of #Newtown. You’re never the same when you’ve been violated. You’re never the same when someone has taken something or someone away from you. Never!!!! So what do you do? You do the only thing you can do. Write a new story. Writing a new story doesn’t mean the horror of the past never happened, it just means you’re going to do your best to discover as much happiness as you possibly can because you’re still alive. You have two choices: Cry for the rest of your life or make the rest of your life mean something; most importantly, mean something wonderful and joyous to you. It is a choice.

The question is what kind of life do you want for yourself NOW? You’re in control NOW! It’s easy to drown in all your pain which results in the suffering that makes you feel like you can no longer breathe – that makes you WANT to no longer breathe. If you put all the years you’ve cried into one place you would have a body of water where you could literally drown. Don’t drown. Pop your head up and swim toward a new life. Move toward new goals. You can’t rewrite your past but you can write a new story for yourself. Who cares what people think. They haven’t walked in your shoes and that’s all you have to know. Hold your head up high. You may have had a losing hand for so many years with the cards you’ve been dealt, but there are always new cards to be dealt. How do you know you won’t get a royal flush this time or hit blackjack! As the saying goes, “You have to be in it to win it.”

How do you win at life? Don’t quit. Don’t you ever quit. Do whatever it takes to reach one goal at a time, even if that goal is to get out of bed today. Baby steps. You have to walk before you can run. When you’re ready, ask yourself if happiness is your goal instead of money. What do you want to do with your life? If it is something humanly impossible like flapping your arms and flying like a bird, then make an adjustment and go sky-diving or take a plane and fly somewhere you’ve always wanted to go.

On your journey to happiness, you might have to make many adjustments. You might have many obstacles; but never forget your goal. How will you get there? Only you can figure it out. If you want it badly enough, you’ll find a way to make your dreams happen. You’ll tell your old story in one sentence instead of walking yourself and everyone else in your life through all the pages of your pain. That new sentence will be: “I had a tough life but I wrote a new story and now I’m basking in glory.” Doesn’t that sound so much better than repeating your old tragedies over and over again to yourself and others? It doesn’t mean the cruel events of your life doesn’t matter, didn’t affect you, or wasn’t grossly unfair; but now you can use that story to inspire others by the new story you write for yourself. You’ll become an example of hope. That’s a story you can be proud of. YOU ARE CAPABLE OF CHANGING YOUR STORY. DON’T TALK ABOUT IT. JUST DO IT!!!!!

Posted in #goals #SelfHelp #SelfLove #Changemylife #Hope #Metoo| Tagged ABUSE, GOALS, MOTIVATION, SELF-HELP | Leave a reply


Do you wake up in the morning and ask yourself, “What will I do today that will bring me joy?”
On any given day, I have a list of things I MUST get done and somehow a pleasurable activity like reading a good book, a bubble bath, flipping through a magazine, or dancing – rarely make it to the list.

How about simple joys:

Writing down what you’re greatful for
Really noticing the miracle of nature
Listening to music – really listening
#Meditation or
Smiling at a stranger.

Make some time for JOY each day and you and everyone around you will be happier and joyous!

New Beginnings

“Go get your mirror. Take it down from your shelf. Now look in your mirror and say, “I love myself.”  These lines are taken from my book, LOOKING IN THE MIRROR.

Each year we put so much pressure on ourselves to start a new goal. Start here; with loving your self. Until you master that, your dreams won’t feel as great if they do come true. So look in the mirror and as you brush your hair or teeth, take that one minute to really look at yourself, and reflect on your goodness, or the fact you deserve forgiveness, or list your accomplishments. Start off each morning with “I love me.” The rest will follow.

It is so much easier to attain your goals for 2014 when you believe in yourself. It is so much easier to believe in yourself when you love and care for the human being you are or strive to be.

Happy New Year and good luck. I hope all your dreams come true. They will – if you stop dreaming and MAKE them happen with that healthy sense of confidence you will attain by taking the time each day to appreciate who you are!


Like many children in the world, I grew up without a father. I never met him. My mom said I met him when I was five, but I don’t remember. Funny, since I remember so many things at that age.

I was told he didn’t want me or love me and once I was born, he left. I wasn’t even shown a picture of him until I was about eight. My grandmother showed it to me like it was a top secret document stolen from the CIA.

All my life, when people asked, I would say, ” I have a mom but I don’t have a dad.”  Most everyone would reply, “Sorry!”

Recently, I said the above in front of a friend and he gave me such a huge gift. He said,       ” Just because you’ve never met your dad, doesn’t mean he wasn’t real.” Someone said it out loud, without any judgement, without any horror stories about him. I never had the opportunity to have the perspective my father was real; a real person, not a monster.  I mean I knew he existed and people told me he was my father, but I never felt I had the right to truly claim him as my dad. It always just felt like a word to me “dad.” Underneath, I felt I never had a father because I never knew him.

I felt like a whole person when my friend Kevin said that to me. Sure, I heard it before, but not without some bitterness attached to it. It sounded so different coming from a friend or maybe it was because it came from a man.Whatever it was, I heard it, really heard it, for the first time.  I had a mother AND a father. Whether he acknowledged me or not, a fact is a fact, and the fact is, I have a dad, just like everyone else. In that moment, I felt like nothing was missing in my life. I have a real dad and not even he could deny it (were he still alive). WOW. It was a nice feeling. It didn’t matter he died before I could ever reach out to introduce myself to him. The fact is he was real; not just a title or a word. He was my father.

For those of you who never met your dad or the father of your children is not around, remember what Kevin told me – for me, it was one of the nicest things I’ve ever heard.

Your children are always going to want to love both parents, good or bad. Let them. Support them. Validate them. Both parents are real, no matter what they’ve done.


Grandpa Herb has died. He is being buried today. With him, all the love, peace, and family will be there as he returns to the soul of the universe for his next journey.

My daughter’s grandfather and I locked horns early in life. He disapproved of me because I wasn’t Jewish and felt his attorney son could do so much better than some poor, part black kid, from a broken family in the Bronx.The icing on the cake was I always wore a cross (still do), went to church on Sundays, and spent twelve years in Catholic school.

I was so insecure about myself, I agreed to have two weddings, one on Friday night for my side, cleaned my gown on Saturday, and had a wedding for Randy’s side on Sunday. His parents made up some story about my parents being Spanish Jews to save face for friends and family.

Obviously, I should have known then his son didn’t love me enough to accept me for who I was and I certainly had no love or respect for myself either. I reconverted to the Catholic church eight months after we were married and later on God gave us the gift of our daughter, Rachel.

Needless to say divorce was inevitable and Rachel and I lived a wonderful life together of love and fun. Financially it was hard but I was grateful for this incredible child.

As the years passed, Rachel’s grandparents remained kind to her. Years later, Grandpa Herb, after our horrible parting of the ways during the divorce: restraining orders, break-ins, taking Rachel and threatening not to give her back neither to his son nor myself, etc, etc., walked up to me at an event and said, ” You did a great job with her.”

In that one sentence he displayed all that mattered to him was Rachel. That still could have been true without him giving me credit for doing a wonderful job raising her. He could have just said hello or said nothing. Instead, he chose to be a man with integrity and speak to me with kindness.

It’s funny; although I know a long time ago he didn’t want me around and maybe he still felt that way, all I remember now, is he loved my daughter, got a kick out of listening to her imitate Forrest Gump’s, “Life is like a box of chocolates”, he built an amazing built-in fish tank, and paid me the best compliment a mother can ever receive.

What will people say about you when you die? If those who you have harmed or who you have had misunderstandings with, can say, ” I loved him/her in spite of our differences”, you have lived a life of grace. I’m glad I had a chance to say, “Thank you” for Herb’s compliment. It meant the world to me. But most of all, if not for him, there could never be a Rachel.

Rest in peace Grandpa Herb.


The Cost of Not Teaching Your Children To Love Themselves

The week before July 4th, for the second time, I tried to take my life. The first time I thought about dying, I was eight years old. A girl in my Catholic School class was hit in the head by a swing. I never liked Regina Rowland but the day of her funeral, buried in her Communion dress, I was asking God why He didn’t love me enough to take me instead of her.

The worthlessness I felt then continued into my adulthood and I finally have a diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder. Between the abandonment of my father and a stressed out mom who thought constant beatings and emotional and verbal abuse were a form of discipline, I grew up feeling worthless. I fight the feeling now but at times there are triggers that bring me back to the worthless feelings and/or the feeling that something beyond my control, is my fault anyway.

This is such a morose subject matter, especially while I am trying to sell children’s books, but if I can drill into parent’s heads what you do now, as your child is young, has an impact on them for years to come, it will be worth it.

Save your child years of pain. Just love them now. Love them and find a way to deal with your problems without putting them in the middle of your mess. Get help. Explain things to them. Tell your child when there is chaos, it is not their fault. It’s not too late. It’s never too late. Most of all, if you’ve made a mistake, admit it. Be an example to your child. Caregivers are their heroes. They depend on you for the most basic of things: food, clothing, shelter, most of all love.

Let them know whatever happens in life they need to love themselves first. The rest will come! Is it ironic I wrote “Looking in the Mirror” to teach children to love themselves and yet I struggle to love myself? NO, I say. It is the very reason I wrote the book. I know how important it is. I see how different my friend’s lives are and my daughter’s life is because they have a healthy sense of self.

Suicide and depression doesn’t make you crazy. Halle Barry once tried to kill herself. Justin Beiber’s mom tried to commit suicide. Joey Pants wrote his book on depression. Ms. Zeta-Jones suffers from depression. Millions of people have issues. Try to take care of your children the best you can when they are young so they have the best chance to grow up as healthy as possible. That is a parent’s responsibility. If something is wrong, seek help a.s.a.p.

For the most part, I live a fairly happy, zany, life. I enjoy my daughter and my home, and I have the best friends in the world. I wish those lapses in judgement, those memories of the past, those feelings of worthlessness that can be triggered just by someone blowing me off, didn’t exist, but they do. I’m working on it and one day I will appreciate the wonderful human being I know deep down inside I am and I’ll be able to say, ” Hey, I love myself anyway!”


Mom lets six year old cut her hair – BRAVO!

I remember when my daughter was seven and she wanted a bob. Her hair had been to her  tush since I could remember and it was beautiful. Everyone always commented about how beautiful her hair was. I didn’t want to cut it and I asked Rachel why she wanted to cut off her beautiful hair. She responded with a reasonable answer: “I’m tired of having to sit still for one and one-half hours while you blow it out. I just want something different” I told Rachel I would give it some thought as she reminded me it was her hair.

The following week, I went for a trim and told Cherylyn, my stylist, my conversation with Rachel. Cherylyn had really long hair. “If she wants to cut it. Let her. You don’t want her to think she is only pretty because of her long hair. You want her to think she is pretty and worthy no matter what she does and it grows back.” This was the way I had been raising Rachel anyway and I caught myself worrying about what everyone’s reaction would be. I realized at that moment Rachel was confident enough to try something new and I was proud of her.

I went home and told Rachel she could cut her hair any way she wanted to. She would still be the same gorgeous person with the same great heart. She cut her hair; loved it for a while, then started growing it back. It was a great experience for both of us. It taught us so many principals like respecting each other and what really makes someone shine. Parenting isn’t just about saying “yes” or “no”. It’s about listening.

Bravo to the mom who let her daughter go to a salon to cut her hair. One day your daughter might be the next CEO of her own company or the best stay at home mom ever. As for my daughter Rachel, she always does the right thing and is studying for her Masters at NYU. I think there is something to be said for moms who participate in letting their daughters make healthy choices for themselves.  BRAVO!!



For all the sweet little children and their parents, all the teachers, all their loved ones, for every person affected by the horror of Sandy Hook, I feel the only way to truly honor those who have passed in this tragedy is by making a difference.

To keep the “monsters” away, we have to stop creating them. The only way we can do that is by being invested in our youth and in mental health.

Have you ever seen a happy and kind bully?

If children are taught to love themselves, they will feel better about life, about their neighbor, and about the world around them. Unfortunately, some children don’t have parents who care enough about them. Some children are born with a mental disorder or due to trauma develop some issues. There can be many reasons a child is sad, angry or doesn’t fit in. So many of us think it’s not our problem until a child with unattended problems becomes an enraged adult.

I am creating the:



There are seven special books. Each one has one single letter I wrote and initialed in red, in back of the book. Together, the letters spell I LOVE ME (also the words in the last page of the story). During the year, a panel will choose one letter from an individual, a school, a book club, a team, an office, etc. describing how they made a difference by making sure every child knows he/she is special and/or every child has the best opportunity to receive the tools they need to grow up happy.

 The challenge can be accomplished by:

  • Making a difference in one child’s life who truly needs help
  • Coming up with a solution so every child is aware of self-love like every child is aware of brushing their teeth in the morning
  • Finding a way to improve health coverage for mental health for all – no matter your financial circumstance for those who didn’t have this opportunity.
  • Creating a bill which makes it mandatory for children to receive psychological exams as well as annual physical exams – perhaps parents too!
  • Any other way you can think of to create permanent change

All entries are due by December 31st. Mail to: Looking in the Mirror, P.O. Box 2192, Huntington, CT 06484

Each Valentine’s Day the story of the winner with the most change provoking act or accomplishment will be read in honor of the children and teachers who died on December 14, 2012. The first book with the letter “I” will be given out next year, February 14, 2014.

Let’s see which state, school, person, etc. wins the most letters and makes Valentine’s Day a day of love for Sandy Hook. It gives us seven years to come up with a solution or solutions and make real change. Let’s truly honor those who suffered at Sandy Hook.


Let Valentine’s Day be the day we love all children a little more by asking:

  • How have I been as a parent this year?
  • Do I take the time to ask my child about their day? Are they happy?
  • Is there a child I know who may need my help and I’ve just been ignoring the issue?
  • Is there anyway I can volunteer my time to help in the field of mental health or bring awareness to the problem?
  • Is there a parent who is overwhelmed and could use some help?
  • Do I think the child next door is being neglected or abused?
    Additional prizes and awards may be announced To purchase a copy of “Looking in the Mirror” go to www.jeanninemarieauthor.com.  A percentage of all purchases go to charities supporting the well-being of children. It is my hope I will eventually be able to give free books to all children in need.


Gifts come in many forms. They come wrapped up in boxes with shiny paper and pretty bows. Some are big. Some are small. Some of them are so beautiful, we cry with joy. Some of them – just make us cry! Some gifts are funny. Some are boring or even ugly. But  being in the company of people who would even bother to give you a gift, is in itself, a gift.

This season, don’t complain about your gifts. Be grateful for whatever you receive. Focus instead on what you have to give; and the best thing that you can give……….. is love.

Happy Holidays from my bunk to yours, with love.

Jeannine Marie