Beautiful Sorrow is a true-life story memoir written by Jenn London, a talented singer/songwriter who I’ve know for many years as an upbeat go-getter. Yet reading her memoir showed me how well she’s overcome a multitude of sorrowful parts of her life, from overcoming childhood obesity to immense family tragedy. Her optimism, determination and drive helped her go on to pursue a career in music and active involvement in animal welfare.
In Beautiful Sorrow, Jenn shares the pain she endured on her inspiring journey to find peace and happiness yet her story has a humorous edge. Blessedly, Jenn found herself. I’m thrilled that she’s a self-love ambassaador for Self-Love Movement™. At the beginning of the book, Jenn says, “I am defined by me, and only me.” That’s a great lesson to take with you! Below are some excerpts from the book.
by Jenn London
To me, healthy living is empowering but it means more than just having a fit body. It means having a fit heart and soul. My memoir chronicles my early days of childhood obesity and physical abuse to later on, the loss of both parents by age 21 and my brother’s suicide. Along the way I used my creative outlets as a writer and musician to get me through the hard times. It was with perseverance that I was able to face my adversity and overcome it. My cousin said to me at one of my darkest hours that everything I was going to be was because I was going to make it happen. Those words have lived with me until this day and it’s a mantra I will keep with me always.
My book is named Beautiful Sorrow after a song I wrote in which the chorus sings “all things happen for a reason.” While not everything in this world makes sense, I do believe we create opportunities for ourselves. I would like to think that everything I went through can benefit others, that it wasn’t all for nothing. My brother’s story is a sad one and I tell it, not to reveal his demons, but to enlighten others and show that everyone goes through dark times. The difference is to keep the belief that you are worthy of a good life and that you will not always feel so empty and alone as you might in that very moment.
We all have something to give, and we all want to feel needed. I wish things had turned out differently but all I can do now is promote the story that I believe has the capacity to change lives. I learned about giving of yourself and doing charity work, including the work I have done as an “animal activist” and how I’ve changed my food habits as a result of it. I have seen people with greater problems than I so I don’t presume to know it all, but I know I’ve got something important to share.
It wasn’t until my mid-thirties that I finally gave myself a break. Making myself feel bad about what I haven’t done doesn’t change anything. Learning to have patience was one of the hardest parts. Sometimes things can’t be forced. I may not be as thin as I want to be or in a relationship that is both loving and passionate or a famous rock star-musician-poet yet. But I am who I am. It’s taken years to be comfortable with that. I don’t have everything but I’ve accomplished a lot. It’s amazing what you can do when you shut up your fear.
After all the trauma, one upset after another, I’m finally at peace. Feeling happy is no longer something I hope to feel someday—it’s what I feel now. I hope this feeling never ends but if it does, I’ll find something new to tackle.
When I Googled “manic depression triggers” I stumbled on a page outlining alternative medications for bipolar. It basically says to combine healthy eating, art therapy and rebalancing of forces within the body (which to me, translates to being active). These are things I had already been doing naturally. It was nice to know it can work for others.
I made sure to do something active at least three times a week while writing my book. It released my endorphins and kept me in good spirits. Some of my best ideas happened on the elliptical. As Dr. Bernard Hazelhof, the fictional claymation psychiatrist in Mary and Max said, “A healthy body equals a healthy mind.” ? ? In writing Beautiful Sorrow I wanted to honor my family; maybe just being me is enough. Despite my past, or because of it, I’ve turned out pretty well. I’ve grown and I’d love to think that my readers, have grown with me. Tears For Fears, one of my favorite bands, sings, “Faith can move mountains.” We better believe it.
When people ask me what my book is about I say, “It’s about overcoming adversity; creating beauty from sorrow, and using your own talents and strength to do it. Secondly, it’s about having goals and helping others, ultimately achieving happiness even after you feel you’ve lost everything.” We all deserve it and we all create our next opportunity. That’s the greatest gift, the present.
I survived my past and look forward to the future no matter what it may bring… I know I can handle it, I can handle anything! I am a survivor.
Check out Jenn London’s book, Beautiful Sorrow.
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