What Makes You Feel Beautiful? 

Jenny Feldon

A while ago, I read a book called “Karma Gone Bad” by Jenny Feldon. I thought it would be a fluffy, summer read kind of thing, but it was so much more. Jenny’s writing style reminds me of Cheryl Strayed and her book, “Wild”. She is brutally honest, and let you see her heart and soul. I love honest writing, writing that makes a difference to me long after the book is finished.

The book is about when Jenny and her husband move to India temporarily for his work, and everything that means. The struggle to adjust to the culture, experiencing so many new things, how it affects their relationship; it’s fascinating. It made me think about marriage and how I live my life in a different way. I think it’s really important to constantly examine your life, and this pushed me to do that.

There was one passage in particular that truly struck me (the passage is above). I took a picture before I even had a blog, because it meant that much to me. I liked to go back to it and re-read it. Here is the passage for anyone who can’t see the picture:

“Yeah, sure.” I blushed under his gaze. “Thanks.”

Jay never told me I was beautiful. I’d been wounded by the absent compliment more than once, frustrated that he seemed indifferent to my appearance no matter how much effort I put in. Don’t you think I’m pretty? I’d ask. Of course I do. I married you, didn’t I? he’d answer, as though that were good enough.

I wanted him to think I was beautiful, or at least tell me so, even when I wasn’t. Because I wasn’t, always, but I longed for him to see me that way. My desire for his acceptance and approval hadn’t disappeared the day he put a ring on my finger. Sometimes I’d stand in front of the mirror, staring at myself, trying to see what he saw, wondering what flaw rendered me so ordinary to the person who was supposed to love me most.

But mostly, I let it go. There were other people who filled that void. Whose compliments lifted me up and made me whole. My parents, my girlfriends, my co-workers and classmates. Years before the cultural phenomenon of the Facebook “like,” we traded support like currency, banking a gorgeous here and a brilliant there, knowing that when we needed it, a whole slew of love-isms would come back to us in spades.

-excerpt from “Karma Gone Bad” by Jenny Feldon

Jenny’s words resonated with me, deep down. I had struggled to explain to my husband how I needed positive reinforcement. It always ended up coming out like I was begging for compliments. Compliments that felt awkward to him, and often undeserved to me. When it comes down to it, it was the way I wanted him to see me. Not as I always am in the moment, but as I am as a whole person. The person that should matter most.

This is a danger in relationships, I think. When you have something that you really need, really want to express, but don’t know how. Then you have to find a therapist, book, friend, pet… Et cetera to help you find it.

The plot of my obsession over this thickens. One day I thought, I should blog about that! So I took a chance and I contacted Jenny to see if it would be okay to use the passage. I told her how much I loved it and waited… Not really thinking she would get back to me. THEN SHE DID!! Oh my gosh, I was totally star struck 🙂 Part of her email is below. She was so nice, and I was happy that I let her know I loved her book. How cool is this?!

… THANK YOU for reading and for your incredibly kind and thoughtful words about the passage. It means the world to me that my words resonated with you, and especially the words in that passage, as it was both one of hardest to write, and the most meaningful to me in the entire book… Of course you can quote or photograph the excerpt… Thank you so very much for reading the book and for taking the time to write this email. It touched me deeply and I’m grateful.

All my best,


I feel so honored that she wrote me back. It’s wonderful that I was able to touch her! It was a little hard for me to reach out to her (but not as much as it would have been in the past). I was worried she would think I was crazy, and definitely thought she wouldn’t have time to answer. I’m so glad that I was brave, because I feel so much more confident now.

I know that I deserve someone who gets me, but I truly think it is more about me. Getting myself, loving myself, and knowing how to express what I need. That is how I can feel beautiful 🙂

Tell me what you think- and if you have any reading recommendations for me?


Thoughts on Subtext and Feeling Old

chekhovJ BearI received a gift in the mail from my friend Bunniey, who sometimes keeps the *most random* stuff. She has been going through a lot of it (future minimalist? probably a stretch, but maybe!), and she included a few silly memories from when we were in college together. One was the playbill from my senior project- I directed and acted in a play (I did have help with the direction- directing yourself is not so awesome).

I took one look at it and thought OMG I can’t believe they didn’t flunk me. It isn’t completely captured here, but it is nuts how much technology and expectations have changed since 2002. It was seriously a white piece of copy paper, printed on both sides. It wasn’t even in color, no cool graphics, just a fuzzy picture from Microsoft clip art. At the time, I thought it looked pretty good. Oh, and also, I couldn’t even put the clip art in behind the text myself, a boyfriend did it for me. Now I have a blog, and a real job where I make things look prettier than that just for notes to myself that I throw in the recycling later…

The part about this that is really interesting to me though- I still feel this way about Chekhov. I didn’t remember writing this, hadn’t thought about that moment or play in years. However, it all came flooding back; the beauty of the words and the subtext. There is so much there that influenced me. The art of being mysterious, of saying it all while actually saying nothing, is my favorite part about acting. This probably overflows a bit too much into my daily life, but I think we all do it constantly without even realizing it. I am often accused of being too expressive, and I think this is where I get it. Do you think it’s fair to blame acting? Probably not 🙂


Free Book! Only 10 hours left to enter :)

the Street LawyerIn case anyone else wants to enter my free book giveaway from this post, I just wanted to post a reminder that there are 10 hours left in the contest.

You can get entries by leaving a comment, tweeting, or following me on twitter. Use my Rafflecopter link below to register your entries (note- I added those who left comments below but didn’t claim them as entries on Rafflecopter)! A winner will be chosen using the random winner choosing option tonight!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

update: Lisa is the winner! Go over and congratulate her at lifeaslisaknowsit.com.


Book Review and Giveaway- the Street Lawyer

the Street LawyerI won a free copy of The Street Lawyer by John Grisham in a giveaway from The Dysfunctional Writer. Thanks, Brandy! I was super excited to win a free book, and even happier when it arrived. In the spirit of free books and minimalism (passing on what I no longer need), I am going to send this book to one lucky reader (details at the end, see how I try to make you keep reading my babble?). It’s going to be like the sisterhood of the traveling book!

I read this book in two days. I’m a fast reader anyway, but I couldn’t put this down. I love John Grisham! I haven’t gotten to read much with the puppy and work, and it was so nice to get caught up in a book. Everyone needs to do this! I hadn’t read a paper book in months.

Anyway, on to my review. This is going to be short, because I don’t want to give any spoilers. Sometimes it takes me a chapter to get into a book, but I was so drawn into this by the second page. I didn’t read the book jacket, so I had no idea what was coming. This book is a bit of a heart breaker because it deals a lot with homelessness and people that are doing their best to help others. It’s a quick read, but it really stuck with me. It made me want to do more to make a difference, which was not at all what I was expecting from a John Grisham book. This one is a little different, but I think it’s my favorite one yet. It is definitely worth buying, or at least checking out at the library.

What about y’all, do you like to read suspense novels? I’m using Rafflecopter to do this giveaway, since I’ve never done one before. You can get entries by leaving a comment, tweeting, or following me on twitter. Let me know if you like the Rafflecopter method or think it is dumb 🙂 You should also know, this book doesn’t look brand new. A child in Brandy’s life blessed it with some artwork, so it has a little bit of soul!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

update: Lisa is the winner! Go over and congratulate her at lifeaslisaknowsit.com.