Sometimes you can go home again.

This weekend Victor had to work so Hailey and I drove to my parent’s house where my sister and her kids were visiting from California.  And it was lovely and funny and weird and exhausting and fabulous – all the things you want when you go home again.

My parents house was busting with eight people sleeping under one roof, but in a good sort of way where everywhere you turn you see people cooking or helping or playing or laughing, and every spare minute was filled with games and exploring caves or camping.  My sister Lisa and I had gently laughed at Hailey exclaiming how much better the air was in the country (as we reminded her that we were within smelling distance of a pig farm, a taxidermy studio, and a rendering plant) but at night we’d go out and look at the stars in a sky that is never as big or bright as it is outside the home we grew up in, and we breathed in and reluctantly agreed that there was a sweetness to the air that didn’t exist anywhere else.

Coming back to the home I grew up in is a luxury most people don’t get.  My parents are still alive.  The land and house has changed over the years but the people in it are still the same.  And at night when I stand on their porch and look up at the stars I feel a deep, physical healing.  I suspect it’s like other people feel when they go to a spa or take a vacation, but the raw feeling of being there is like having my heart wrapped up in new, tight bandages…pulling back together the parts that have started to fall away.

My family knows that my mental and physical issues cause chronic exhaustion so often I’d have to go to bed just when the night got exciting, but that’s just a part of being me and I’ve come to accept that if I push myself too hard I might end up in a pit too deep to come out of.  And it was fine.  Disappointing, of course, but fine.  Until Easter Sunday when I woke up and realized that I had no spoons left.  Hailey and I got dressed in our new Easter dresses and I helped my nieces get ready but already I could tell that I could either go to my uncle’s for Easter and visit with a giant house full of dozens of people I love, or I could safely stay awake for the hours I would be driving back home that day.  But not both.  So as I helped my family load up into their cars I told them I had to leave.  And they understood instantly and supported my decision as only people who truly love you can do.  And I felt so lucky.  And so unlucky.  And sad for Hailey whose Easter dress would go to waste and who was so sad but so instantly understanding when I explained that I just didn’t have it in me to do something that normal people could do without thinking.

My family drove to my uncle’s and Hailey and I drove the opposite way, starting our long drive home.  We stopped along the way so I could stay alert and awake.  We stopped at family graves. We picked flowers at a rest stop.  We ate Easter dinner at the Dairy Queen drive thru.  And we stopped at an ancient farm house I’ve seen a million times.  We always pass it on the way home and it’s been abandoned since before I was born.  I’ve always wondered of its history, imagining the ghosts that cling to it and wondering if I’d lived there in a former life because it was the only way I could ever explain my intense fascination with it.  It’s begun a steady decline in the past few years and now part of the roof has collapsed and the old windmill is teetering dangerously.

I realized that this might be the last time I see it so Hailey and I pulled over and stood silently in the shadow of the beautiful decay.

I was pleased to see that Hailey was just as drawn to the place, and although we couldn’t get too close (because it wasn’t stable enough to safely explore) we talked about how strange it was that a broken, ruined thing could be so beautiful.  That sometimes ruin beckons you more than magnificence, telling a story more interesting and important and provocative than you could imagine.  That sometimes broken can be lovely, and that the collapsed roof could be seen as ugly, but it also let the light in in such a fragile and brilliant way, allowing doves to build nests in the unexpected skylight.

I took a few pictures to capture it in case it’s gone the next time I pass it and I whispered a thanks to whoever had built it and to whoever still watches over it.  It’s still important and breathtaking, even if it’s come undone.  It’s just a shell, but with the right eyes it’s so much more.

I think we’re all that way sometimes.

We got back in the car and drove on, and I felt the familiar crack I always get in my chest when I’m driving away from my childhood town.  It always hurts.  It’s always the same.  But the pain – while almost unbearable for a second – is less than the healing I get from returning.  I wish I could do it backward…have the pain first and the healing after…but that’s not how life works, and I remind myself that I still leave with more than I came with.

I am broken.  I am healed.  I am ruined.  I am beautiful.  I am abandoned.  I am beloved.  I am a house that is no longer a house.  I am better and worse all at the same time.  I breathe deeply and smile at my daughter, who smiles back at me.  She tells me that this is a very strange Easter, but she likes it.

A dove flies out of the collapsed roof and catches the sunlight, unaware that its home is anything other than perfect.

272 replies. read them below or add one

  1. That was beautiful. And I predict that Hailey will remember it as one of the best holidays of her childhood.

    Liked by 8 people

    desertcurmudgeon recently posted An Easter Requiem For Squeaky Fromme.

  2. Beautiful pics.

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    Liz @ Yes/No Films recently posted Movie Review: The Fate of the Furious.

  3. This was beautiful. We bought our house 5 minutes from my parents and the house I grew up in. I can’t imagine being farther away from my family. Sending love your way. ❤

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    Quirky Chrissy recently posted 4 things that save my marriage every day.

  4. I think i needed this right now. And those photos are breathtaking!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. this post made me cry. i’ve never felt like i had a ‘home’ home. my mothers house was sold long ago, even when i did visit it felt more like a prison then a place to retreat to. the house i own now also feels like a prison, i need to sell this pos. ive been told many times that home is not a place but an idea you carry with you or in other people – i wish to find that peace some day.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Jenny, Thank you for sharing this story. It gives me a bit of courage.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Gorgeous. Thank you for this. xoxox

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  8. Beautiful, all around.

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  9. Wabi sabi. That sounds like the glorious idea you have been exploring. If not familiar, Google girl– go!

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  10. Your story gives us wings. Thanks, Jenny!

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    Burns the Fire recently posted Some of My Best Friends are Old Men.

  11. You’re killin’ me! That was so beautiful! Thank you so much….xoxo

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  12. Wow. I am on the verge of tears at how you have, once again, touched my heart and spirit. That we can be broken and beautiful is exactly right.

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  13. I borrowed against this week’s spoons for Easter and I only interacted with a small group. It was a knowing choice because I’m at the point where I don’t know how many future Easters I will have and knowing that some of the people I love will also not be there much longer. Life is a constant state of rebirth, decay, and becoming what is next. I appreciate sharing this journey with other struggling souls who can appreciate the unpredictable nature of this trip.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Oomph. You just took my breath away. Thank you – this was just what I needed to read at this very moment.

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  15. I love you.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. The black and white photos are stunning — remind me of some of Andrew Wyeth’s paintings. Glad you are taking care of yourself, and appreciating the beauty around you.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. This was the perfect thing for me to read today. I needed to hear these words, especially, “But the pain – while almost unbearable for a second – is less than the healing I get from returning. I wish I could do it backward…have the pain first and the healing after…but that’s not how life works, and I remind myself that I still leave with more than I came with.” Thank you.

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  18. I’m glad you’re here.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Lovely memories… I, too, am drawn to the beauty of abandoned and decaying places.

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  20. Beautifully written. It takes special people to see the beauty in the broken, and I’m glad we have all found each other.

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  21. 22
    Lisa Arbour

    ❤️

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  22. This is amazing. ❤

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  23. Just beautiful. As always, thank you.

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  24. Beautiful photos. The lighting is perfect.

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  25. Going home is always nice. My trip home at Christmas was the first one with both of my parents gone. It was different and sad but it was still nice to be there and to hang out with my brother and his family. I’m in need of one of those trips right now.

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  26. This is beautiful. Just what I needed. I think that my new wish for the world is that we would all be unaware that we were anything other than perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

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  27. I envy you your family.

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  28. 29
    Unmoved Kitten

    This one really got me. My grandparents house was always the home for my heart. We moved some growing up and I’ve moved a LOT as an adult and that house was a family member for me. My grandfather passed and a couple years later my gran sold the house and I grieved all over. I miss the house like it was a person. But when I’m feeling shattered and rootless I close my eyes and walk through the rooms in my mind. I visit all my secret corners, in my mind the sunlight always comes filtered through the curtains in the front window – those memories are vital to me. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Beautiful. I am so glad you decided to stop and take the photos. I, too, was fascinated by an abandoned and dilapidated house I passed every day going to and from work. One Saturday, I went and took pictures. Within a year, they tore it down. Even if you don’t know why, sometimes, you just need to do something.

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  30. I love the “looking over the shoulder” shot. It’s very ‘Cristina’s World’.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. For some reason I really needed this right now. I’m crying. Thank you for taking pictures of that beautiful run down house, and thank you for sharing them with us.

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  32. 33
    Janet Smith

    How beautiful. Hailey is a wonderful soul – as are you.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. You are so beautiful. Spiritually and physically beautiful. Although I do not have the anxiety or depression issues (much), I have an adult child who does and your posts are extremely helpful with understanding him.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. We need to rest as sensitives. To pace ourselves. Thank you, and Godspeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Now, that’s a beautiful Easter message. Do you know the song, “This Old House?” Bette Middler recorded it, and Rosemary Clooney before her. I’m thinking of it right now. Blessings and peace to you.

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  36. It calls to me as well.

    Perhaps it is a fairy mansion. They wouldn’t mind the holes because they make for easier take offs and landings. The ruined look keeps others away from their magical paradise.

    Liked by 1 person

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  37. 38
    Angie Ellis

    My childhood home is my mental ‘safe place’ when the real world is too much. I close my eyes and am transported back. The farm was sold off and the house demolished and I haven’t returned to my birth state in a million years, but I 1000% understand the healing power. Thank you for sharing.

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  38. Thank you, Jenny. This made me feel in places I’d forgotten I have.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Wow – this hit me with all the feels! Just finished helping mom clear out my childhood home. It has been a slow but steady process since dad passed away 3 1/2 years ago. She bought a beautiful condo which feels pretty much like home already, but I’ll be sad to see the house for the last time. I wished for a fast sale for her sake, because all of this has been stressful for her, but I didn’t think it would happen in six days. So happy and yet so sad….

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  40. I love the beauty in decay. Check out https://www.facebook.com/chadcochranphotography/ He is by far my favorite photo artist.

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  41. 42
    Julie Enyeart

    I am so lost right now. This was so beautiful. Thank you for your unswerving honesty. ❤️❤️

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  42. What a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing…life can be so poignant…childhood memories are so powerful, and when we are able to touch them years later, it can be both healing and painful at the same time.

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  43. Beautiful. All the way around. Your writing always feel so familiar — you have mwhole heart in this one. Thank you.

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  44. This made me cry

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  45. This one got me right in the feels Jenny. Totally unexpected but my eyes filled with tears at the end.

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  46. ” It’s still important and breathtaking, even if it’s come undone. It’s just a shell, but with the right eyes it’s so much more.I think we’re all that way sometimes.”

    Thank you. This is–perfection.

    Liked by 2 people

  47. I love this so much, for so many reasons. Among them, that it reminded me of an old Sesame Street gem, which I just gotta share—from one broken and beautiful one to another. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5v9fodgaT_I

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  48. This is one of your best posts. I love the heartfelt descriptions and dramatic photos. It should go right into your next book.

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  49. Haven’t got out of bed in three weeks and considering ECT. I’m sure I don’t need to explain why I’m so grateful for this post. Thanks, Jenny. I owe you another one.

    Liked by 1 person

  50. Awww, Jenny. It’s not that I’m waiting anxiously for each one of your posts, never mind, yes I am. As I begin to read your latest I realize that’s exactly what I was doing. Thank you for sharing your Easter story, in part about life being everything all at once. That notion runs through my mind on a constant loop these days and I find it both comforting and disconcerting, all at once. Thank you for the example you set in your fierce self-advocacy spurred on by your amazing self-awareness, you are a beacon and lighthouse for all those about to hit the same rocks that you have. And above all, thank you for all the funny. Not from this post per se, but from overarching theme in the fabric of your content. I soak it up like a sponge and use it to help keep from getting wrung out. So happy you were feeling well enough to travel at all. Hooray!

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  51. I also had a strange and wonderful Easter. Spent most of the weekend with my amazing, funny and sweet daughter. I then had to hand her over to her father and I made the drive back to another world. I am awash in sadness today for all that is lost but I still cling to the hope of another brighter day. I am also broken but not beaten. Struggling but not quitting. Thank you for letting me know that I am not alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  52. A poignant account. I get it.

    Like

  53. My home is 23 hours away from where I live now. I miss it at times, but more the ritual of familiarity that comes with being there. Even my own home doesn’t have that same feel. Glad you made it back safely!

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  54. That was a lovely post. Wabi Sabi indeed!
    Celeste- I understand how you feel. I think that finding peace isn’t so much about where you live but how you live within yourself. I searched for peace for many years and even though I haven’t found it completely, I’m starting to understand that it’s something that comes from within myself regardless of what is happening around me. Perhaps it’s more like finding the true state of one’s soul and embracing that.

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  55. Brought back an all too familiar ache. Beautifully written, poignant photos. ♥

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  56. You write so beautifully. I recently got diagnosed with MS and I can relate so well with the feelings of, “Sorry, I just can’t.” Most people do not understand the spoons theory, and no matter how badly you would like to do something, you KNOW it’s not going to happen. I don’t even make plans anymore. Some days it makes me feel like such a bad mom, wife, person, but it is my reality now. I love your books and your blog, and I get so excited when you post, but today really got me.

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  57. What a nice relapse back into longer, very thoughtful, descriptive and moving prose. I know a lot of yours recently have been from-the-road updates and, in my short-lived experience, a lot of posts are whacky and more full of ridiculous pictures.

    It’s nice to take a break and right something on the more somber side. The photos of the house are lovely and a little haunting, maybe like that bittersweet feeling of leaving your childhood home. I’ve had to do that too often recently.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

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  58. I just got back from my trip to my childhood home. And this is exactly how I feel every time I leave there – it hurts to leave – to leave my parents, my sister, my nieces, and the biggest lake in the world – Lake Superior. I miss it to my core.

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  59. That was so beautiful – both the pictures and the words. I needed to be reminded of this right now. Thank you as always for sharing yourself in such a raw manner. I sure do appreciate your vision and honesty. And Happy Easter to you and your family. It is a celebration of new life and re-birth, after all!

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  60. Beautiful, words and pictures alike. Thank you for sharing.

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  61. A bittersweet story. My favorite kind. I have enjoyed seeing your photos of the cave and the interesting and beautiful place where you grew up. Holidays are always weird for me for a few reasons. It’s usually just my Husband and I. We decided to celebrate the day by going on the river in our canoe. It ended up being great and I realized that sometimes in order to enjoy times that would otherwise be stressful, you have to give yourself permission to celebrate in your own way within your own comfort level and on your own terms. Once I did that, I stopped feeling sorry for myself that I wasn’t having a big get together like other people. I enjoyed the day and appreciated spending time out in nature with my Husband.

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  62. Yes. Just…yes.

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  63. Perfect for what so many of us seem to be experiencing today-you are magical!

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  64. Beautiful!

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  65. What a wonderful, beautiful time you all had. I wish my family had those kinds of memories to cling on to. PS: Ruin porn is the “technical” term for abandoned and crumbling architecture of all kinds. You can google that term and you will come up with some of the most glorious images!

    Liked by 1 person

  66. I can’t help envying your feelings about your childhood home. I am sure you know that not all of us have those positive memories. For some, it is “the scene of the crime.” I both feel sorry for and am in awe of Hailey. My hubs is just like that. When I say we need to leave, even a party in our honor, we leave. Your readers understand all too well…

    Liked by 1 person

  67. One person’s dilapidated farmhouse is another person’s (or bird’s) beloved, lofty love nest.

    Liked by 1 person

  68. Beautiful photos to go with some beautiful thoughts. Remember, please, that “broken” is just our word for that in-between stage, when a thing passes from its former state but hasn’t yet achieved its new form. Just because we’re not seeing the usefulness (with our eyes accustomed to and seeking the old form and function) doesn’t mean it’s not there.

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  69. Jenny: this lovely post made me cry, in a good way. I love that your family understands and supports you. That’s not something that my family has been able to do, but somehow reading about yours gave me comfort. And I love your ability to find beauty in the darkest places. I aspire to do the same.

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  70. beautiful, old places are fascinating, you can escape the ‘real world’ and make a whole new one with any story you want.

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  71. Just perfect. I am from no where and everywhere. Most of my childhood places no longer exist. And all of the people gone with them. I can’t ever go home. I’m very glad that you can.

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  72. OK.
    Wow.
    Thanks.
    How come you are the only one who gets the exhaustion part?
    I mean, besides Tribespeeps…

    Liked by 1 person

  73. I lost my father 16 years ago and my mother just a year ago. She died at the age of 90 in the house that she and my father built the year I was born. She always said that it was her dream house and more than she ever thought she would have. For nearly 60 years it was the center of our extended family–aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings. My brother and sister and I made the painful and difficult decision to sell it a few months ago. None of us live nearby or plan to move there again, so it was the only decision that made sense. We feel so lucky that a young family with small children bought the house and will create new memories there, hopefully as happy as ours. I’m so glad you still have your family home. Cherish it.

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  74. That really was incredibly profound, Jenny. To recognize in other things what we may not see in ourselves and then find the beauty in it… well, that’s a gift. Thx for sharing it, too.

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  75. Thank you so much for this…today I am just a mess and I needed to see this…<3

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  76. Beautiful. The pictures, the words, everything. Beautiful.

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  77. I took The Viking to see the house I grew up in, in a small oil town in central Alberta. I was really depressed when I saw it. The paint is peeling, the nice flower garden is now an over-grown weed patch, the fence is sagging. It’s like it lost its will to live. And, for a brief moment, I was very angry with the people who are living there now. On the other hand, The Viking and I live in a little old house that we’ve slowly been fixing up – like we’re giving it a new lease on life. WAIT!! I’ve just had a thought! What if my childhood house is like The Picture of Dorian Gray?! What if everything we do to fix up this house is being done at the expense of my childhood home? I need to think about this now.

    Liked by 1 person

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  78. Thank you for the millionth time for sharing. You make me feel less like a broken zombie of doom, and more like the person I deserve to feel like. I wish we could be friends in person, and I could make you cups of weird blends of teas, and you can be pleasantly surprised by some and pretend to enjoy the others for the split second it takes you to remember that you can tell me how awful it is, if awful, indeed, it is.
    I also wish I could just give you a hug, and infuse you with a spoon when I have one to share. That would be nice, I think.

    Liked by 1 person

  79. Oh, Jenny. I didn’t even realize I needed this post (and the comments) until they were there. Thank you! I went to the Easter party. I ate a few things I knew would make me sick later, because they were too tempting to resist. And I felt bad when I had no spoons the next two days. Thank you for reminding me that we do what we can (or must), and fellow spoonies understand. YANA.

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  80. Thank you for lending a voice to the fear and craziness that I feel on a daily basis. I don’t even know how to express it most of the time. You are amazing and brace, and this is beautifully written.

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  81. Perfect! What a great story.

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  82. It is a wonderful memory, and I’m humbled to have had the privilege to read it. Thank you. Also, that dress rocks and with those surroundings it comes down to art. H wouldn’t’ve gotten to be art at a dinnertable. (Then again, in your family, anything is possible! :)) It’s weird… But this sort of story makes me long for the childhood I never actually had. I couldn’t enjoy mine while I was a kid, was too much of a freak back then already. Ah well… Vicarious living ‘ll do me fine. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

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  83. 84
    rivetergirl

    Thank you for being the voice for all of who recognize our fragility and celebrate it as part of who we are. Always love to you and your beautiful family.

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  84. 85
    fallconskat

    I came home again 8 years ago, and within 3 years my parents (father) started talking of moving to Georgia. I’d not lived near mama on literally decades. My grandmother’s house is GONE, torn down to build a comfortable place that has no drafts, and heating/air conditioning.

    I’m due to dog-sit again as they take the tractor to HA and start clearing the land they bought. This is, indeed, an act of love towards my mother. I’m terribly unhappy about this proposed move, but…I will do what I can. Spoons and love and hopefully stars at night,

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  85. I too went “home” on Easter, to visit some of my Daddy’s people, along country roads I hadn’t traveled for two decades. Felt like going 20 years back in time too. Talk about benevolently haunted places. #Appalachia

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  86. I needed to read that today. Have been feeling broken for days and your description of how broken can still be beautiful has brought me hope and a sense of peace. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  87. The most beautiful and true thing I have read in a long time. Resonates deep within me. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  88. What a poignant post! I could relate to all of it. You are a beautiful writer.

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  89. You have such a knack for turning ordinary moments into beautiful and meaningful memories.

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  90. 91
    cherylnoble

    Hey princess If Queen Gaga and Prince Harry can admit to seeking help for mental health then you are in good company

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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  91. Lovely. Wonderfully written. And I am in love with your beautiful daughter.

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  92. 93
    Jean Uhrich

    Beautiful, heart hurting post. Thank you for telling of your tender journey.

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  93. That is…beautiful.

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  94. Lovely. Simply lovely. And a great metaphor. Thanks for sharing this.

    Many creatives are introverts, and we need to recharge by going off by ourselves. Being around more than one person at a time can be draining. It’s the way we’re wired. For a fascinating explanation of why we are the way we are and how we can navigate a noisy world, I recommend the book: The Introvert Advantage: How Quiet People Can Thrive in an Extrovert World. by Marti Olsen Laney.

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  95. While it’s never quite the same, you CAN go home again. Those pictures are breathtaking and are a great visual expression of how broken things (like a lot of us) can be beautiful. Thanks for continually bolstering us with posts like this.

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  96. You are an amazing person and have such a beautiful perspective on everything.
    I don’t have the privilege of going home as my Mother passed on over 20 years ago and I don’t know my father. But it’s okay because I have built a beautiful family with my husband of 27 years and two perfect grown young men.
    I love abandoned buildings and also wonder what they were like when the were inhabited and full of life.
    You are beautiful in so many ways and such an inspiration.

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  97. Thank you.

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  98. This hits me in the deepest spot of my heart today. A day when I pushed myself so that my son had my tush in the seat next to him at a school play, knowing that my spoons will be empty later. I have that memory though, holding his hand, watching his eyes open wide.

    Thank you. Thank you for sharing as always. Thank you for making me feel not so alone, when it is what I feel in general.

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  99. 101
    Niki Cooper

    If you’re a fan of Lady Gaga, ‘Born this way’ is your song! Put your paws up baby!

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  100. I love this story. Thanks for sharing it.

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  101. One more thing… You know what, Jenny? It feels like I have a friend in you. One I can handle: You’re not going to show up unannounced for coffee or anything else I can’t actually handle. (I don’t usually open the door anyway, I hide behind the perpetually closed blinds like a proper crazy catlady). You don’t ask anything in return for your understanding, you make no demands whatsoever: the perfect friend, for me, anyway… It’s all a little one-sided, I get all the perks and you never get coffee off of me, but just so you know, it’s appreciated. To know I’m not alone. I function far less than you do, people are just too hard… But this almost feels like an actual friendship I can keep up with. Today the tote bag came in and I have a purpose for it… At my next diabetes, rheumatism, Sjögren’s-and-all-the-other-shit check-up it’ll contain the folder with my files and questions. It’ll be a comforting place to keep them in. Because “You Are Here” is practically the same as “You Are Not Alone”. Thank you, thank you, thank you. And thank Flatiron for being a kick-ass publisher with perks they do ship internationally. 😉

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  102. 104
    IceBearNinja

    Thank you, Jenny. Your prose is spot on and the photos, especially the B & W ones, are gorgeous. My Easter was weird, too, as I adjust to my new reality and move forward without my BabyBoyDog trailing behind me. I got outside and planted and weeded and mulched, grounding my love and my grief in the earth. I sat on the patio with my other dog, something we couldn’t do when Luke was alive, and we watched the birds at the feeders. I went out to dinner with my husband and we shared stories about Doofy Dawg-“Remember when he-?” “He was always so-!” I feel like my life is changing; so many “constants” are falling away. Once, I would have been paralyzed with fear, now I am at peace; and you, with your metal chickens, avuncular goats, and acceptance of the “non-normative”, as my husband would say, have actually helped me come to terms with myself.

    Like

  103. I skipped the big family Easter dinner with my late “husband’s” inlaws as well. I had family visiting all weekend and 2 airport drop offs on Sunday. I still could have made it but it would have meant another 90 minutes driving, etc. I opted for some much needed “me time” instead. I felt a little bad because I really do enjoy being with this large extended family but I made the right decision!

    Like

  104. 106
    Carrie Babcock

    This touches me deeply. I have no childhood home to return to, they both have new owners, but I visit my childhood town often. There are parts of it in ruins and parts that are being tended to. I order the same food in the same resteraunts as I did as a kid and there’s no better pizza or subs anywhere, period. My Aunts home is still there and exactly the same, the creek beds I now get to go sloshing through with my 9 year old. We are indeed run-down and beautiful too. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  105. 107
    Doug in Oakland

    Her dress did not go to waste. Those pictures are beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  106. Is it Easter, spring, the cycles of the moon? My spoon count has been dangerously low also, I keep trying to push onward – this season has soo much and folks expect you to be there, be happy, be full, be ready, and I’m just not any of those things. Thank you for writing this post (even writing for me is too much right now) – the reminder of how beautiful broken and in need of healing can be was something I deeply needed♡

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  107. What s beautiful, heartfelt post. The photos are stunning. I think you perfectly captured the beauty that exists within the brokenness of each of us…and truly it’s what makes all of us individually unique.

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  108. 110
    hellohahanarf

    love to you.
    and hailey’s easter dress is lovely, regardless of how many saw it. although i suppose the entire internet saw it so boom, not wasted!

    Like

  109. you are so fortunate to have a family & family home that are healing for you. so many of us have ones that are abrasive & painful & rip open all the wounds. with all the other shit you have to deal with, I’m glad this part of your life is so good & loving & supportive. hugs.

    Like

  110. You are broken, but you are one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever known, and not just where we can see the sun shining. Hailey is lucky to have you for a mom. She is going to grow up not only with a deep moral core but with wide eyed wonder and appreciation for the everyday beauty that most people aren’t privileged enough to see.
    Btw, I had never explained the spoon theory to my husband before, but one day he asked what was wrong and all I could say was that I was out of spoons. That man, I swear, he disappeared into the kitchen and came back with every spoon we own.

    Like

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  111. I absolutely love this, Jenny. Praying you feel better. ♡

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  112. 114
    Paula DeFrog

    “It’s still important and breathtaking, even if it’s come undone.” That s so many of us, isn’t it? This story is beautiful and powerful, in so many ways. Thank you, Jenny. Thank you for everything you are.

    Like

  113. Extraordinary post: lovely, lyrical, truthful. Beautiful. Your heart is so big, your “eyes”
    so discerning, and your writing exceptional.

    Like

  114. I don’t even know where to start. This is beautifully written and totally encapsulates that feeling of being so exhausted yet drawn to something old. Something so strange yet so intriguing, hope you gain some spoons.

    Like

  115. That was wonderful!! But you know that and so does H in her beautiful dress. Quite a juxtaposition with that beautiful (in a different way) house and how awesome she understands you. thank you for that. GOOD MOMMY!!

    Like

  116. wonderful words and beautiful pictures ❤ wishing you extra spoons.

    Like

  117. Jenny – you are truly a gifted artist in so many ways – words, drawing, and your eye for capturing just the right moment in photography. Love the black & white photos and like someone else mentioned – I immediately thought of Andrew Wyeth’s style of looking at the world, sometimes called Magic Realism. Find the magic in each day – it’s there!

    Like

  118. First picture of Haley looking at the house is beautiful. For a good cry listen to ‘Coming up Close’ by ‘Til Tuesday.

    Like

  119. Phenomenal, Jenny.

    Like

  120. “I just didn’t have it in me to do something that normal people could do without thinking.” This, a million times, this.

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  121. What an amazing story! You evoke so many feelings with your writing. I am in awe. Thank you.

    Like

  122. There is an antique store in Portland that use the term Sabi: beauty that appears with age and imperfection. In Pennsylvania, where my parents live, if you hike in the woods, you sometimes find fences or old houses from old farm holdings. I always wonder about the farmers who lived there, and will take a break to sit on an old fence and breathe in the woods and the smell of leaves. Even with few spoons, you were able to find wonder. (The antique store in Portland is Sabi and Friends).

    Like

  123. “It’s just a shell, but with the right eyes it’s so much more.
    I think we’re all that way sometimes.”
    Beautifully written about a thing or things or a places or places or …

    Like

  124. See, other people would have to plan a photo session wearing a pretty new Easter dress at farmhouse ruins. You just make it happen.

    Like

  125. Beautiful. Broken to me means opportunity to grow, heal, share and help others. Breathe it in.

    Like

  126. I made a photo album of my childhood home, because I can’t go back again. All the people I loved, who made it home, have passed away. But the pictures, memories, and stories I have written for the next generations will survive for me to ‘go to’ any time I need to return.

    Like

  127. I love seeing the Texas storm cloud sky. I’ve missed it. There is so much beauty in old wind swept places. Thank you, Jenny, for continuing to contribute to the larger world.

    Like

  128. 131
    Kelly Stoker

    Hailey’s dress is beautiful and is exactly a dress that my daughter would choose. I’m glad that you had a good Easter weekend. Cheers! Kelly

    Like

  129. Beautiful photos accompany your beautiful words. I feel like I was right there with you as I read, like I could see the clouds swirling in the sky, feel the wind through my hair. You were exactly where you were meant to be–thank you for bringing me along.

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  130. So beautifully stated. My parents are both gone now, and my childhood home sold and far away, but I cling to my husband’s family farm and farmhouse where we plan to retire. Like the line from the John Denver song – “coming home to a place he’d never been before” – sometime there are places within us with connections we know nothing about. I hope you find more spoons soon. Sending love and peace your way.

    Like

  131. Gorgeously eloquent post and beautifully haunting pictures. Spoons to you:-)

    Like

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  132. My parents used to pass an abandoned farm in Wisconsin on their way between home and my grandmother’s. They took a photo of it and my mother did a painting of it. She always referred to it as ‘Somebody’s Dream’.

    Like

  133. So lovely. Maybe you did live in that farmhouse in a former life. Get goosebumps when I think of that. We never know why we’re drawn to places or people.

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  134. Jenny, they are beautiful photographs of that old place and the way you have rendered them adds so much more depth and emotion.

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  135. You put the proverbial nail right smack in the 2X4. You are not alone in your point of view, by any means! From your first paragraph to the last sentence, you brought me (the reader) into your world. Great talent and perfect stories. I am so thankful you are in my email feeds each day.

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  136. So beautifully put. The pictures are just breathtaking!

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  137. Crying now. One of your most beautiful posts. Thanks for sharing your Easter with us.

    Like

  138. 141
    TheOriginalPhoenix

    Beautiful pics and connection to humanity. We’re broken and beautiful.

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  139. Beautiful. Thank you.

    Like

  140. Jenny, your words are precious. Your phrase “like having my heart wrapped up in new, tight bandages…pulling back together the parts that have started to fall away” especially spoke to me. And Hailey is an amazing and supportive person – I’m sure you know how special she is. Big hugs and wishing you all the best.

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  141. You are a beautiful and kind soul, Jenny Lawson. Your story is rich with imagery and emotion, and as I read each word I couldn’t help but think of my family home. It is occupied by my father, who, while fighting for his own life, is watching and helping his wife of 20 years fight for hers – cancer was not invited, but it moved in with them anyway. Your post reminded me that I need to hold on to every precious moment, and not take a single second for granted. Someday, those 4 walls may hold nothing more than memories, and I want to make sure my mind is filled with them as well. I don’t live there now, but it will always be my home. Thank you, Jenny. For you. And for this deeply moving post. You are a gift.

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  142. This was beautiful; than you for posting it.

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  143. This was really beautiful. I too love old decrepit buildings and wonder what history they hold. I don’t know what the spoon reference is but I have a suspicion. I’ve run out of spoons today too.

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  144. Simply beautiful. Thank you.

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  145. Stunning, profound, & beautiful. Thank you for sharing. Namaste.

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  146. I smell a chapter. Maybe even a whole new book. All the blessings of the season to you and yours, Jenny dear.

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  147. Jenny – just beautiful and evocative. Much love –

    Like

  148. 152
    Bluebonnet

    We lived in TX for 9 years. My sons were born there and we left pieces of our hearts when we left. Your photos brought back wonderful memories. I remember those April skies.

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  149. I love that you decided on a whim to stop. But I think it’s super cool that you mentioned caving! Do you cave?

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  150. My goodness. This post captured so many of my feels, about going home and having and hating to leave, about old abandoned houses… thank you

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  151. Beautiful!!! If you weren’t broken hailey would never have these exceptional memories. I think you broken may just be perfect. I know you may not feel that way but I think your perfect just the way you are.

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  152. This really hit me where I live Jenny. You see, I am out of spoons today. I recently had a lumpectomy, and tomorrow I’ll see the oncologist so we can figure out my treatment plan. Will it be chemo and radiation, or just radiation? Meanwhile, the antibiotics are wreaking havoc on my gut, and I feel awful. And I haven’t even started my treatments! All this means I won’t get up to my hometown for my annual spring visit. It makes me very sad, because that place draws me in and soothes my soul. I need its healing powers, but my visit will be delayed this year. Hometowns are like that, they wait for us till we need them. Carry on my dear, that’s what I’m planning to do.

    Like

  153. 157
    Karen Cunningham

    Beautiful…I totally relate to the 2nd last paragraph. I ordered your book for a good friend ..she got it today and this was her text to me: “This is like way better than crack or whatever good feeling shit people get so excited about that makes them want to go steal stuff to pay for it…this is awesome!”

    Like

  154. This is absolutely beautiful–thank you for sharing.

    Like

  155. Jenny, first, I’ve fallen in love with you (in a perfectly platonic and not-at-all-creepy way, of course). Your writing is beautiful and always makes me feel…something…sometimes kind of sad, sometimes I laugh so hard I can’t breathe. But there’s a depth to your writing that underlies even the most hysterical passages. Thank you.

    The home I grew up in was never all that fun (and my family was in no way as interesting as yours!). My parents divorced when I was 19, but should have done it long before…the house never felt warm or welcoming, and it was always a mess, because my mother gave up housekeeping sometime when I was in elementary school. Completely, because she was tired of never having any help. And later, after my sister and I had both moved out and my father was there alone, the house just kind of filled up with stuff: old newpapers, old shoes, old photographs of people I didn’t recognize, beer cans he apparently intended to recycle. Check stubs from 1947, which he had to have moved into the house because that didn’t happen until 1957. After he died and after we had clean it out the best we could (the nicotine was never going to come off the walls or ceiling, and we won’t even mention the bathroom) and had put it up for sale, I met my sister and her family there to talk to a realtor, who was talking with a family that was going to gut the inside anyway to make it wheelchair accessible. While talking, he casually asked when my dad had died, and then asked where he was buried. “Oh, he isn’t yet,” my sister said, and the realtor’s expression turned to one people make when they’re afraid they’re going to find a corpse in the attic, so we had to explain that he’d been cremated but the urn with his ashes hadn’t yet been interred as he wished.

    We always went somewhere else for Christmas and Thanksgiving, either my grandmother’s house (which I still have dreams set in), or my aunt’s, just around the block from us. But both are no longer a place I can visit, and now the people who made them special are long gone as well, except in my memory.

    Continuing this terribly long comment: my husband and I have just moved halfway across the country, from Washington DC to San Antonio, and the apartment we’ve moved into while we hunt for a house is lovely. DH is finally getting a chance to turn the space into something special, and enjoying it immensely. This is definitely home now, for now, for however long we live here.

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  156. Jenny, I have now listened to your books so often and heard you live that when I am reading your posts they are actually in your voice in my head. So even as I cried a little reading this post it made me happy because I could hear your voice.

    Like

  157. Your Easter may not have been conventional, but it was beautiful just the same. She shared the day with her mother, learning to appreciate the imperfectness of the world.

    Like

  158. That was beautiful. I’ve been having a hard couple of days and I really thank you for that.

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  159. 163
    cheech1000

    Beautiful pictures. And the last 2 paragraphs made me tear up! What beautiful words you put together.

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  160. Beautiful. My childhood home has been sold, a father lost, and a mother remains. Nothing can replace the comfort and belonging I felt there, and will never feel again. Your ability to share yourself with others is such a gift. I, among thousands, appreciate and accept that gift gratefully.

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  161. Don’t feel sorry for Hailey. She has an extraordinary mother who is teaching her to see beauty in something that is flawed. We should all be so lucky.

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  162. 166
    Donna Waldron

    Its really weird but I get the same feeling when I travel back to North Carolina. My family took us north to Cleveland when I was just 2 but something pulls me back to Boone. It is a sense of longing for a childhood I never had, a desire to be part of a simpler lifestyle. There are times I envy my cousins who have grown up there and never left. Then I am exposed to the bigotry, the narrow-mindedness, the inequalities that still exist in the south and I am glad I grew up in Cleveland. I know that I have a greater understanding about the value of diversity than they do. I know that I have had a better education and more opportunities professionally than they have had. And yet there is something about standing at the edge of a creek listening to the water as it splashes over the rocks and smelling the fresh grass, hearing the birds sing, and a bull bellow somewhere in a distant pasture that still calls me back.

    Like

  163. My great grandparents built my house in 1890. My grandmother lived in it, then my parents and four children (one of which is me) . With the exception of a few years ( college and a short marriage), I have lived in the same house for about 60 years(I’m almost 72). So, this is “home” when my siblings and cousins come to visit. Parents both died many years ago. I had a wonderful childhood with grandmother one block away andtwo sets of aunts and uncles and cousins 2 blocks away. Soooo, I understand the feeling of connection and nostalgia. It surrounds me and comforts me constantly.
    Jenny, your pictures and words are inspirational and beautiful!

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  164. So beautiful. I was moved to tears.

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  165. 169
    mckennadeanromance

    Gracious. These photos are like a lovely Andrew Wyeth painting. And I love the images you shared of your family–I could picture everything so clearly. But bravo for you to recognize what would have been too much and to leave when the time was right.

    You have an amazing family.

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  166. Pure poetry. I do not have a family home, but I’ve lived in my current home over 30 years so that my children and their children WILL have one.

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  167. 171
    Blissed Out

    Utterly enchanting.

    This is what Cheryl Strayed means when she says “Write like a motherf*cker”

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  168. The home I grew up in still exists, but the land and town around it have changed so much that I don’t feel that healing when I go back there. However, I’m lucky in that I get that healing feeling when I get away from urban sprawl. Yesterday I visited the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, and when I stepped out of the cultivated gardens into the fields of tulips, I felt that feeling. That moment when the noise of everything that is life in the city just drops away, and you feel peace again. I’m sorry you ran out of spoons at the worst possible time, but I’m so glad that you and Hailey found some beauty on the drive home. ❤

    Like

  169. Many years ago we went to visit my childhood house, the first one I remember, and the one I spent the most time living in. It was derelict and someone had clearly been squatting in the basement, and everything seemed so much smaller. It was both healing and heartbreaking to go visit it, and now it is gone. The property was bought to expand the landfill that started behind it when I was still a kid (part of the reason we moved away). It feels strange revisiting something so long after you’ve left.

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  170. Your last line reminded me of Leonard Cohen’s poem, “The Dove”

    I saw the dove come down, the dove with the
    green twig, the childish dove out of the storm and
    flood. It came towards me in the style of the Holy Spirit
    descending. I had been sitting in a cafe for twenty-five
    years waiting for this vision. It hovered over the great
    quarrel. I surrendered to the iron laws of the moral universe which
    make a boredom out of everything desired. Do not surrender,
    said the dove. I have come to make a nest in your shoe.
    I want your step to be light.

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  171. I’m not crying; I was cutting shallots. Yeah, that’s it. Shallots.

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  172. That was lovely. Beautifully constructed. I love the way you tell a story. Thank you for this.

    Like

  173. That was lovely, Jenny. And that picture I guess Hailey took is very reminiscent of the famous Andrew Wyeth painting of Christine in the meadow. Also a broken person reaching out to a home.

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  174. Bloggess fans, you are all so strong… not just beautifully broken, but brave (especially if you read her posts in a public place and end up laughing hysterically or crying into your coffee in a cafe). Thanks Jenny.
    I also feel an affinity for broken down farmhouses and windmills. My first love was a brilliant one on my Aunty’s farm. Tall partly present stain-glass window doors, swinging in the breeze. Beehives in the corners. Swallows nests in the eaves, the residents flitting in and out. Dusty wooden floors and even an abandoned rocking chair. As a child, I found a little vase in there, probably a hundred years old. I remember my Aunty taking me by the hand and we put it back where I found it, carefully. I think it was a sacred space for her, too. I mainly remember it in a stormy evening light. Dark purple skies, but that amber evening sunlight that lit up the gumtrees around it. Thanks for reminding me.

    Like

  175. Thank-you.

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  176. I think this is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen you write. I admire you so much for accepting your limitations and knowing they are what make you wonderful, not what hold you back. A form without structure, without limits, is nothing but a glop. It takes definition to have shape.

    Like

  177. I absolutely thought that too re Christine in the meadow – you can’t miss that.
    You’re a pretty good writer – and not just the funny stuff, either :-).

    Like

  178. 182
    Pamela Norman

    That was absolutely lovely. Thank you.

    Like

  179. 183
    Marjorie J. Birch

    DAMN, that’s beautiful… sorry you had to bug out of Easter early, but glad you’re related to people who understand. Wuvs.

    Like

  180. I had to stop reading this and come back several times because the tears were flowing so fast, I couldn’t seem to get my breath. It’s so important to connect to things in our lives, to feel a sense of belonging. I have never truly fit in anywhere, and it has always hurt me so deeply. Your words, your articulation of your journey through the good and the bad, the joyous and the painful, have helped me understand acceptance, belonging, and fitting in come in many different forms, and though I may not be able to verbalized it yet, I’m starting to find my place, and learn how to operate within it.

    In the dark times, I hope some remote part of you remembers how important your words have been in helping others to understand their own journey. Always wishing you love, light, And peace.

    Like

  181. I LOVE THIS. I love the idea of accepting that you are broken and healed all at the same time. Thank you for sharing. I needed to hear it. And I love that you trusted your body when it told you to pick one. Plus the photos of Hailey and beautiful and chilling all at the same time.

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  182. 💖

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  183. This is beautiful, thank you. I just got You Are Here for my birthday and I read it when I can’t sleep which is often and it always helps me, thank you so much.

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  184. Absolutely beautiful. Thank you.

    Like

  185. Aw, don’t feel bad about missing out on a family-fueled holiday. Sometimes we just need a break from people to recharge and calm ourselves down. Besides, I bet Hailey will remember this forever. Moments like this are memories we will always treasure.

    Like

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  186. 190
    Julie Deroo DVM

    That was one of the most beautiful posts I have read anywhere. My heart was hurting and your post helped. Like you, my fucked up brain causes me to miss family gatherings because they’re just too overwhelming and I only have so much to give. It took me a longer time to figure that out and your books helped me get there. You are a very special person. By the way, I’m a veterinarian, so if I can ever answer a question you might have at least I’d be giving you something back.
    Julie

    Like

  187. 191
    Sarah Eunice

    Oh Jenny! Your statement about going home is so true. The healing of being in my parents home is so soul deep and leaving breaks my heart every time. You so perfectly captured it.

    Like

  188. 192
    Verna Wilder

    Oh my god! That b/w photo of Hailey looking back at the house is stunning! I enjoyed reading this very much. Thank you for reaching out of your personal darkness and light to connect with the darkness and light of others.

    Like

  189. This piece of writing reminds me why you are my favorite author. It is so great. Thank you,

    Like

  190. How beautiful. Thank you.

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  191. I love abandoned houses, I think about all the people who lived there and wonder about the joy and excitement they felt when they moved in. The hopes and dreams they had starting their new adventure. I see the beauty in them not the decay. I have most my parents and the what family I have have scattered, reading this made me feel warm fuzzy, thank you.

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  192. Thank you. That was simply beautiful. Just what I needed.

    Like

  193. As the last of my family left alive it is comforting to remember that home doesn’t necessarily need to be a physical, tangible thing. It can be a wonderful memory or a sudden, pang of sorrow. At the risk of sounding like a cliche, home really is where the heart is. Jenny, I’m glad we’re sharing the same life time. You make it much more interesting.

    Like

  194. How wonderful it must be, to be able to go back “home” not only a physical space but with people that get and love you.
    “I am broken. I am healed. I am ruined. I am beautiful. I am abandoned. I am beloved. I am a house that is no longer a house. I am better and worse all at the same time” this is such an eloquent and beautiful statement.
    Thank you for sharing.

    Like

  195. Among the other countless reasons that you are luckier than most people with a mental illness, you’re lucky that your family understands and supports you. I am glad.

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  196. Love. Thank you.

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  197. Love, just love. I will repeat myself – you should SO do a book of photographs. You have a superb eye for it. Wishing I could give you all the spoons you need, I can only send you imaginary hugs.

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  198. That was beautiful. So are the photos and Hailey. There was a spot we drove past every time we went home on Oahu that I called “The Stairway to Nowhere,” it was just 8 steps rising from the driveway to where there was once a house. It was covered and surrounded by vines and flowers and trees, and I thought it was lovely. I always intended to paint it–maybe I will someday. I used to wonder about what happened to the house, why the stairs were still there, why it was left that way for so many years. It was broken, but perfect; I am broken, too–don’t know if I can say I’m perfect, but I’m working on it. I’m always working on it. I love the things you say. I know I’m not alone anymore.

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  199. Happy belated Easter. It sounds to me like you spent a wonderful Easter day with your daughter.

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  200. You have such a wonderful way with words. And your pictures are beautiful.

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  201. 205
    Bookgirl021

    Those are great pictures. I know what you mean about a place that you’re drawn to. I, also, know what it’s like when you think it won’t be there much longer. It’s an amazing thing and I’m glad your daughter shares this with you.

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  202. 206
    Talwinder Kaur

    Amazing. This was just absolutely amazing and these pictures are hauntingly beautiful. I’ve come to enjoy broken things and place myself as well ever since I’d learned how broken I’d become. But I love being broken because it makes me feel unique and it’s far better than being normal haha.

    Like

  203. What a gorgeous, beautifully written essay-with-photos. Your writing always delights and amazes me, but the last four paragraphs you’ve crafted here are a truly masterful, and moving, conclusion.

    Like

  204. Gorgeously written. I relate to this post for so many reasons… I completely understand the aches and joys you feel when you go home. I also have those feelings and in addition I worry about my mom because she lives alone. I’m glad I live close by (unlike what you have to endure), but I cry sometimes on the way home from seeing her. I wish I could give her the world because she has done so much for me. Really I should be kinder to myself, which leads me to a poignant healthy footnote you made. You wonderfully demonstrated self love in that you knew your limits and you went home. You went home when you knew it would be too much. You are a great example to your daughter and to so many others Jenny! Knowing and honoring my limits is challenging for me personally and I admire that you honor yours!

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  205. Thank you. I needed this.

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  206. I love this. There is a ruined, stone shell of a house by where I grew up, too. I’ve stopped once or twice and just sat with its quiet peace.

    And you are beloved. By so many.

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  207. 211
    g2-abd4f8635c0fbe6a4e9175f7e0474a1e

    snf That was a wonderful story and photos and memories for the two of you to share.

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  208. What a beautiful story. It made my heart hurt with missing my childhood home. I haven’t been there in almost a year (was only back for 3 days for my uncles funeral) and am unsure when I will get to go back again. I completely understand the feeling of being “home” and how its such a a comfort. Are your photographs available to purchase? this building is so amazing, I would love to have a print! Thank you for being you Jenny.

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  209. I’m completely out of spoons, and need to not leave my house, in order to recharge, to regain spoons. But my babies are in NICU after being born 10 weeks early, and asking for a day not leaving the house means a day not seeing them. And my husband and his family dont understand how i could even,think about not seeing the twins. I’m just afraid i will be beyond drained, mentally, when,they finally come home.

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  210. Looks like Hailey wore her pretty Easter dress for the ride home! Glad you made it back safely.

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  211. Poetic. Thank you for posting this. I often feel alone and like a stranger in this world but feel a sense of kinship when you open the door to yours.

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  212. Thank you for this post. I love reading your stuff but found this one filled with very familiar feelings and bursting with encouragement and hope.

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  213. Beautiful story. Beautiful pics. I love this.

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  214. I think you put into words something inside of myself that I knew but never understood. Why those abandoned buildings hold such thrall in my mind. They once were new, created for a person or group of people. Used, valued, young. Then they were left. Then they became broken. Now other things are happening to them that, initially to me, seems unbearable or sad or unpleasant. But that is part of what creates the deeper beauty. They don’t belong to people the same way they did, but they may provide people and animals shelter from something when they most need it.
    Broken, damaged, warped, wired wrong, falling apart, ugly. But beyond the first uncomfortable and often downright painful stuff comes the beautiful bits that fill in the gaps and shift the whole picture into something completely different.

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  215. I just had to take a big sigh after reading that. Beautifully broken… all of us. ❤

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  216. 221
    Amber Lafrance

    I needed this, I really, really did. Dealing with my own disability and the mental toll that takes is so hard, but then on top of that, we moved to my husband’s side of the country, leaving my home way behind. I grew up on my Grandparent’s farm, and they are both still alive and still plugging away at it. It is half way up a mountain and was an original homestead. i grew up walking past a cellar that is over 100 years old, and a steam house that still works. They use the original barn, its been updated, but still the same. It sounds a lot like your parent’s place, everything unique and bizarre and wonderful there. It is the home of my heart, where my soul sings. And I wish I could be there right now, and be healed by the wind through the trees and my Poppa’s laughter while my Gran bakes bread. I would give anything, because the broken I am right now, is so bad. But this, it made it better. Thank you, you are so amazing, and greatly loved

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  217. Perfect, Jenny…

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  218. Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing.

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  219. The poetry of this fills my heart.

    Like

  220. […] This weekend Victor had to work so Hailey and I drove to my parent’s house where my sister and her kids were visiting from California.  And it was lovely and funny and weird and exhausting and fabulous – all the … Continue reading → […]

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  221. Goddamn, that barn is gorgeous. I love the clash in concept between Hailey’s bright, beautiful Easter dress and an abandoned crumbling structure. Definitely appeals to the creepy little goth kid in me.

    I’m glad you were able to get out of the house for a little while, even if you did have to head home early. I know it sucks to have to prioritize your spoon allocation over doing the fun shit everyone else gets to do, but you got some Mom/Daughter time and some fly as fuck pictures.

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  222. Yes to all of this, I got tears in my eyes and all the feelings I feel when I go home. It is a peace and an understanding of those that love you and understand without any words needing to be said, no explanations, no apologies. As the years pass, the pain I feel when I leave is getting deeper, the tears a bit heavier and falling a bit longer, but, like you, what we get when we are there is worth so much. XO

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  223. Now I have an explanation for the love I have of abandoned houses and the pain when I see them gone. Thank You Jenny!
    Line 78 – MRS. COMPLETELY – that is the most beautiful comment. I cannot stop thinking about it. Dorian Grey houses…wow. Mind almost blown.

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  224. 229
    Mandie Hines

    This was a truly beautiful post. I know what you mean about going home and feeling healed. I experience the same thing. No one knows us quite as well as our family, and nothing makes us feel quite as whole reminding us of who we are when we feel lost.
    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story.

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  225. This is a beautiful post. Thank you, Jenny.

    I myself cannot “go home” again. Sadly, my parents sold the house I grew up in (from the age of 3 to 18) and moved to Arizona. But I now live with them, though my Dad passed away in 2014. Still, though, this is very much my parents house. The furniture is still mostly the same, and always familiar, with that homey feeling like it was in my childhood home. So that’s nice, this little bit of continuity.

    And I was grateful to spend my father’s final years and day with him (I moved here in 2012), and I’m grateful that my mother is still here, happy and healthy. (She is of great help to me, as I am not able to fully take care of myself and my surroundings due to my depression and anxieties.)

    Anyway, thank you for sharing such a beautiful story, and with truly lovely pictures, too! 🙂

    Like

  226. What a wonderful post. I too, love those old, country, falling-in buildings. Just their appearance conjures up so many “what happened there?” stories. Thanks for this!

    Like

    Matt Roberts recently posted YouTube Tuesday – Super Robot Idiot.

  227. Thank you for the beautiful post. I thought I was the only one who loved old houses. I always thought you could hear their stories, if only you listened. Thank you for helping me feel not so alone right now. I need to go to my home now to my awesome kids but to a sulking husband who is giving me the silent treatment for standing up for myself. Can’t wait.

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  228. 233
    Blake Young

    Beautiful, Jenny. And thank you for sharing about the chronic exhaustion. I know my family tries to understand. But it helps ME when I see others making it known that I’m not alone.

    Like

  229. I recently moved back to my hometown after college. The abandoned farm near my house is being torn down to make way for townhomes and shopping centers. I’m scared that when I leave again, I won’t even recognize the place anymore when I find time to come back.

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  230. Hi Jenny, a good one. There’s a lot to say about this one. I think Hailey will indeed remember that day and the house w/you. I was about 8 or 9 and explored an old house w/my dad when we were fishing once, and I still remember it. It was scary as heck to me, lol and I almost died when a bird flew out of a hole in the wall but my dad was with me 🙂 like always. And I used too many spoons for Easter, & am paying for it. Damn spoons I had forgotten about them until I read this post. For me my home place is my grandmas little house. It got torn down but I still have all my days there w/ my dad and her. This was a tough post to read after having a fitful couple hours sleep haunted by stuff I used to be able to do and how I used to feel good. But it was still good. Thank you Jenny you help all of us who can’t quite be what we want bc our minds and bodies don’t let us all the time anymore.

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  231. 236
    Lisa Costello

    Jenny Lawson – I thought you would enjoy the following link to some photos of “Hillbilly Weddings.” There is a priceless pic of a camo wedding cake topped with bride and groom taxidermied squirrels! Hot diggety!

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  232. “how strange it was that a broken, ruined thing could be so beautiful. That sometimes ruin beckons you more than magnificence, telling a story more interesting and important and provocative than you could imagine. That sometimes broken can be lovely, and that the collapsed roof could be seen as ugly, but it also let the light in in such a fragile and brilliant way, allowing doves to build nests in the unexpected skylight.”

    This is probably the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard. And I’ve never related to anything so hard… ❤

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    introaverted recently posted I Survived! (Also Chris Evans Won’t Return My Calls?).

  233. Amen.

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  234. I’ve never had a home. It sounds marvelous.

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  235. I love the spoons. I use that analogy now. And I, too, had not enough spoons for Easter.
    Here’s to healing!

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  236. What a beautiful telling of yet another very personal moment in time. You are so generous in your sharing.

    The pictures were beautiful and quite different from those I am used to on your blog (no crazy taxidermy!).

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  237. I too and broken in many ways, and sometimes people can’t get to close to me for fear that I will collapse. I love this post in so many ways. I’m sorry you had to miss Easter dinner with your family, but happy for you that you know your limitations and your people support you in this. I’m also happy that you and your daughter had such a sweet experience on the drive home.

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  238. I really loved reading this, and now I very much want to go home for a visit.

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  239. I am glad you were able to explore the property. I had a similar experience with a home I drove past for 20 years. A few months after I finally took the time to slow down and explore it – some transients accidentally burnt it to the ground. While I was broken hearted, I was thankful that I had taken the time to get to know the house in all it’s crumbling glory- instead of just admiring it from afar. Sometimes life gives us what we need.
    I believe that’s why so many of us have you.

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  240. 247
    Momentary Lapse

    I can’t decide if Hailey is the luckier one to have you or vice versa. And how did you manage to get so many people in one place on the internet who do not leave rude messages? You will henceforth be known as Mahatma Jenny. Or Martin Luther Lawson.

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  241. I so often feel like you did. I wish I could do things normal people did without thinking. I wonder how many times I will have to tell my son that mommy just can’t do somethings and how often I will have to disappoint him. I only hope my son grows up to be half as amazing and understanding as your girl. You have raised an one incredible young adult.

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  242. Hi Jenny, I totally hear you. I get where you are coming from 100% and I feel the same, most days. I wrote this post today on my blog. Its new, ive just started to blog, in the hopes it will make me feel better and cope better with my life. Please tell me what you think. Thank you Jenny. From Nikki, allll the way in Cape Town, South Africa.

    Like

    Strawberry Cats recently posted Ill be there, oh wait no I wont...

  243. Commenting for the first time, been reading for about a year (and am 3/4 through Furiously Happy because I’m savoring it). Thank you for this post and for publicly articulating the truths that people like me can relate to, but can’t always find the courage or the audience or whatever it is to express. I’m 39 years old and have had chronic clinical depression for more than half my life. I read about the spoon theory years ago when it was first being used to help healthy people understand what life is like for those with chronic illness, but I literally only recently (realized? accepted?) that this concept applies to me because severe clinical depression IS my chronic illness. I had a weird sense of guilt in using the theory openly to describe myself/my choices/limitations, etc, because I don’t have Fibroymyalgia or similar autoimmune disease and it felt like I was being melodramatic, or like the illness equivalent of cultural appropriation. It was just a blind spot for me, and it felt so revelatory to realize that I’m exhausted so easily and require careful energy portioning because of the chronic depression. I’ve actually been able to cut myself some slack, instead of defaulting to feeling guilty for not having normal energy levels, etc. So, that’s my early-morning over share. I appreciate you and your openness more than I can express.

    Like

  244. 251
    kellybeanmckinney

    This is so beautiful, both your powerful words and the gorgeous photography. Please tell Hailey that we all loved her dress, so perfect.

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  245. Your relationship with Hailey makes my heart swell.

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  246. 253
    Sillymagpie

    What a lovely building. I sometimes think buildings reveal their character the most when they begin to fall apart.

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  247. I understand that pain of leaving your childhood home again. I can’t go back to my actual house. My mother eventually had to sell it. The upkeep and property taxes became too much. Mom is gone now too. My father has been gone for decades. But I still have 2 siblings in that area and visit them. It hurts like hell to leave.

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  248. you center me, bring my breath to a steady slow, shine a soft golden light

    Like

  249. […] beautiful post from the hilarious Bloggess about chronic illness and going home again.  If you don’t already follow her blog, do yourself a favor and follow her.  Also go buy […]

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  250. I have been unable to go “home” since our family move when I was 13. But I’m currently “home” w Daddy, who needs me. Serendipity?

    Like

    emelle28 recently posted Traveling is FUN!.

  251. I cannot begin to tell you how much I needed this tonight, when I feel nothing but broken, ruined, and alone. Thank you so much

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  252. Glad that you can see your spoons or lack thereof and take good care of yourself.

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  253. Once again, you remind that I am not alone, although I am, but not. 🙂

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  254. This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing. I’m deep in depression at the moment and checking in here and actually commenting feels helpful.

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  255. I love this post. So beautiful. (Actually, I love both your books, your coloring book, and you blog in general. I’ve just never posted before.) You said something in this post that got me thinking. For me, the onset of anxiety and OCD was at age 21. Since I had moved out by then, this is something I have never discussed with my family (and I only finally sought help from a psychologist and psychiatrist a year ago, at the age of 28). Anyway, when you talked about sometimes having to go to bed just as things are getting fun, so as to not end up a total mess later … well, I 100% get that!! But when I have times like that, my family never understands, as you noted yours does — because I’ve never talked to them about my own struggles with anxiety/OCD. I’ve been thinking it would be good to talk to them about it for a number of reasons, and you just added one more to the list…

    Anyway, this is a long and rambling post. My point is twofold:
    (1) I really enjoyed this post, and it gave me something to think about.
    (2) I love your writing in general. Thanks for helping me feel less alone.

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  256. I grew up on a lake in Michigan and I’m told that my whole demeanor changes the minute I put my feet in the water. It’s like I soak up the innocence of my childhood with my feet in the sand. Such a happy time in a life that hasn’t always been so.

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  257. This brought me to tears, in a good way. You are a hero to me, Jenny.

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  258. I felt this deep in my heart. Thank you.

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  259. I’m not crying. You’re crying. Embrace this. I will likely never go home again as I have gone no contact with my mom in the past year. Getting on that plane last summer to fly 3000 miles home and knowing you will likely never return to your childhood home in the same way was pretty heavy, and I cried as the plane took off. It was devastating and healing and there was some sort of horrible magic about it. But I am so glad I got to say goodbye and really know it was goodbye.

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  260. I’m a week late reading this, but somehow I really needed it today. Thank you Jenny.

    Like

  261. Tender and beautiful… and from a woman who seeks out decay, your photos really resonated with me!

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  262. “I am broken. I am healed. I am ruined. I am beautiful. I am abandoned. I am beloved. I am a house that is no longer a house. I am better and worse all at the same time.” Thank you for this. I’m crying now, but I will change.

    Like

  263. 271
    Anonymous

    Haunting, elegant, tender, moving prose. I have been following your blog ever since I picked up “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened” at a quirky used book store in Kitchener, Ontario nearly four years ago. My husband had recently passed away and I was heading to Naples, Florida to spend some time with friends and begin the attempt to heal the hole in my heart. I started to read it on the flight south, and had many laugh out loud moments, as well as quiet, pensive moments from your writing. You give a voice to all of us who consider ourselves “a bit outside the norm” and I thank you for it.

    Like

  264. How incredibly profound and beautifully written. What an awesome gift you have. Truly, so talented. As always, your authenticity is a balm to my soul. I am not alone. Thank you

    Like

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