Updated: Feb 24
I'm a hot mess. I know it. I see it when I look in the mirror and the reflection that stares back is one that I'm not pleased with. In a few months, I'll be 50. It's that milestone age that means a lot to so many. It's a scary number to me. It's a number that has me looking at all aspects of my life and how I don't like the way a lot of it is going.
Sitting in my pink office in my former upstairs bedroom, I'm wearing leggings and a sweatshirt. I'm 50 pounds overweight, married to a man who is now married again and living in Uganda, my bank account isn't looking very happy, there's no retirement fund, I'm rather lonely, I own no property, and most days I'm sort of freaking out beneath my skin that its all going to explode. Sitting on the front porch of 50, I'm scared out of my mind. I've no idea what's next because I've honestly not planned it all very well.
Part of why I'm sitting here typing out these words and making a pledge to change my life and all aspects of it has to do with I'm tired. I'm tired of having the same things in my life and feeling as if this is it. I'm tired of being okay with mediocrity. I don't say this in a mean or nasty way to hurt myself, but in all honesty. I've honestly spent way too much of my time not excelling because I don't push myself. I don't discipline myself enough to get all out of life that I want to have.
Growing up, I had a lot of discipline. It was beat into us in a way that was never effective. It was yelled into us for our slights and mistakes. Discipline was the end of a belt of standing in the corner humiliated for an hour or so.
When it came to my studies, I also lacked the discipline to sit and study. I could do it for short period of time and somehow I made it out of high school, somehow got into Ohio State because of a good test score, and managed to meander about for five years without a degree before deciding to move to Paris, France. There, I found a job, fell into a bit of a life for a few years, and then joined the U.S. Navy.
Here, in the Navy, I thought I'd find the resolve and discipline that I'd lacked my entire life. I thought it would be a cure all for all that ailed me and straighten me on a path of being an orderly and tidy soul with her shit together. I was hoping it would cure the bulimia that I had picked up, but it didn't. Yet, it did teach me how to iron and wake up on time.
Yet, fast forward a couple decades and I'm sitting in Westport, Connecticut. I sit on the edge of disaster most days. The home I live in, a rental situated at the back of a parking lot next to a strip mall has a view of cars, dumpsters, trees, and a power station. I share it with my 20-year-old daughter, two dogs, and a cat that is a hostile teen most of the time. Financial worry is one thing, but there's something else that's at the heart of my angst and belly button gazing. I have the realization that if I don't course correct now for the next 40 years of my life, I'll never get to a better place of happy.
I'm a photographer. It is part of who I am as well as what I do. I see the world with authentic eyes and attempt to capture all of its beauty because it will go away. I see this as a photographer, yet when it comes to seeing the value and beauty of my own life, I don't. But, I know so much. I am calling myself out. I am making a plan of action and I'm going to be bold with my plans of unfucking myself.
If you don't like the word, "Fuck," don't read anymore as I sprinkle it in my writing like sea salt. It doesn't register as a foul word to me just as the sight of a woman's breasts or a man's penis is just part of their anatomy.
I'm going to Unfuck Myself.
Unfucking myself will require effort, commitment, and discipline. The Unfucking of Jerri isn't going to happen overnight. I'm not even going to put that sort of pressure on myself. Instead, I'm going to break it down into the areas of where I'm Fucked and how to Unfuck Myself.
The word Fuck in my case means areas where I'm not happy. Arenas in my life where I feel as if I need to shift or I'm going to flounder forever. So, if you've ever felt as if you're sort of fucked in an area of your life, maybe you can relate. If not, consider yourself lucky to be among the unfucked. I want to find a place of happiness in these areas not for anyone else, but because I know that I'm not anywhere near where I want to be.
Areas that Need to Be Unfucked
Yes, those are basically all the areas of my life, but it's a start. I'm going to document this Unfucking of Jerri in writing, images, and videos. I often tell my clients how important it is to document their own lives while I hide behind my camera. Four months from tomorrow, I'll turn 50. These months will be the ones that will set the tone for the rest of my life.
I guess it's time for things to start.
Photos of myself are fun to look at. Remember who that person was and what she was thinking. Hopeful for the photos of the future.
In my early 30s in Taipei working at Ivy League Analytical English.