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?


Childfree or Childless?

jillian and baby aI do understand this is a simple manner of semantics to some people, but language is a big deal. Maybe this is why I’m a blogger, but words really do speak to me. That’s how you get into my heart and soul- really talk to me, know what you’re doing with your words.

I have mentioned before that I am making a big effort to be more positive. My aunt is a firm believer in the power of words and thoughts, and I’ve kind of pushed that aside for too long. I now believe that it’s true. If I think positive thoughts, it only puts me in a better frame of mind and helps me make more positive decisions. If I think negative thoughts, I am dwelling on things that are upsetting me and bringing myself down.

Part of my 35 Project is deciding whether or not I want to try to have a baby. I know that just making the decision to try won’t make it happen, but that doesn’t make the decision any easier. It’s not something that either of us went into marriage wanting, but now time is ticking and I just want a baby!! The baby I’m holding above is my sweet baby A- one of the loves of my life (I pretend he’s my nephew, but we’re not actually related) 🙂 He made a huge difference to me in wanting a baby. Watching him grow has been incredible. Everything is an amazing discovery for him, and the honesty and brilliance of his innocent is beautiful.

I want the experience of watching my child grow, learn, and become an adult. That part of me feels “childless”, as if there is something missing. However, I do worry about a multitude of things. Will I be the right kind of parent? Is everything that I am, enough? Can I stand not sleeping for, oh, I don’t know, the REST OF MY LIFE? Will our marriage be strong enough to deal with a baby? Will I be able to keep working? If I can’t keep working, will we go broke?

When I think of all of the worries, I feel like maybe I am actually “childfree”. Perhaps I am meant to enjoy my time with nieces and nephews, my husband, friends, our dogs. Maybe I should put money into helping others that are already here, instead of the hundreds of thousands that I would put into one more child on this planet.

Does anyone have any feedback for me? PLEASE help me, anything helps! If anyone wants to tell me something anonymously, please email me at howtobejillian at gmail dot com. I can either post it for you anonymously, or just keep it to myself. I would love honest opinions on if you have children and would do it again, if you wouldn’t do it again, if you regret not having children, if you love your childfree life…