A Word of Caution

Don’t read this if you’re being fragile, overly sensitive, or full of despair. 

Don’t read this if you need something soothing and comforting.  You won’t find soothing and comforting here.  You’re going to find facts, as well as some fire and brimstone.

I know it’s Mercury in Retrograde, and I’m aware that the economy is down and people have health issues and emotional issues and relationship issues and career issues and all of the above at the same time.

But I am also aware that most of us, even with our health and career and relationship issues, aren’t, well, in China.

Or Mayanmar.

Or Dafur.

I don’t mean to make light of our personal struggles, but I do have a problem when we stare so closely at bruises that we forget to count the blessings, we forget to see those in our life that love us and try to support us.  I have a problem when people use their disappointment or pain to lash out at others.  I have a problem when we won’t suck it up when shit happens–because shit does happen and will always happen–and we allow ourselves to mope and pity ourselves and just wallow in misery.

I once played victim.  I once was Classic Jane in Pain.  I wrote dark confessional poetry.  I’d sit up half the night, my mind wild with the colors and pain and texture of depression and self-loathing.  I have been to very dark dangerous places in my mind and I thought that was how the world was for me, and how the world was supposed to be for me, and I figured, I just deserved it, or got it, or had to live with it.

But I didn’t.  I don’t.  I’ve learned to get help when things get rocky beneath me, or within me.  I’ve learned to watch the danger signs when I’m too sad, or starting to get lonely or overwhelmed.  And what I learned as I grew was that I don’t like feeling bad, and most importantly, the only way I can stop feeling bad is to start feeling better, and that’s by feeling–aka thinking–better thoughts.  Good thoughts.  Good hopes.  Good attitude.  Good focus.  Good objectives.  Outward objectives.  Outward view, outward, not inward.

I am not making light of depression or the blues.  I’ve been there and fully appreciate the pain and loneliness and the feeling of helplessness.  I am asking you, begging you, get help if you need help.  And part of that help, is helping yourself.

Part of that help is attitude, too.  Attitude, and perspective. 

Maybe it’s Pollyanna-ish, but we can look at the glass as half-empty or half-full, and we can obsess about what we don’t have versus what we do.  We can eye others bodies, others wealth, others marriages, others careers.  We can ache with emptiness for never being satisfied.  Or we can acknowledge that we want more, and then we can work to discover what it is that constitutes more, and then work again to fill that definition and need.

Action.  Take action.  Don’t be a victim.  Don’t spend your life wishing you had a different life.  Don’t spend another moment of your day dwelling on painful emotions, or bruised feelings, or unmet needs–not without taking action.  We all have hurts and unmet needs.  We will continue to have them.  But there is more out there for you.  There are good things in the world for you, there is hope and courage and change.

Change.  For better things, for happier endings, we have to be willing to change.  Break the bad habits.  Let go of the petty emotions.  Work on being a little more altruistic and a hell of a lot more compassionate and loving.  Particularly with ourselves.

Truly bad things do happen in our world.  Truly tragic things happen.  In the last month two friends have been diagnosed with cancer.  In the last month a friend has told me that she just lost a friend to cancer.  In the last month a friend lost her teenage son. 

So here’s the blunt part, the part that might not sound loving but is:  if you’re not dead or dying, I beg you to live.

And live like you mean it.


  1. Jane,

    What a great entry!! I think you worded it so accurately! People complain about things that are just not that important. Don’t get me wrong, we all have our moments but seriously, we should be grateful for what we have and keep working for those things we want to have and don’t yet.

    Can’t wait to see you when you come to Jersey next month!!

  2. I read this not expecting anything soothing or comforting. What I got was a good kick in the butt–really made me stop and think. So I thank you for that. And…have a GOOD day! 🙂

    Love ya!

  3. Well said, Jane. I always say, that life is just way too short and you should live your life to the fullest. Let go of all the negativity that surrounds you and look for the good in people. I know it’s not always easy, but it’s possible.


  4. Thanks for this, Jane! I really needed this today and I felt like you were talking to me personally!!!

    Just what I needed!

    Many hugs.

  5. Jane, I remind myself of this every day when I’m driving in and out of the city and see the homeless people camped out under the overpasses or wandering aimlessly and without hope around the city. Each and every time I see something that nearly brings tears to my eyes for whatever reason, I thank God for all the blessings in my life and give thanks FOR my life. It’s not always easy to not let daily obstacles feel like they are going to throw our world off rotation, but keeping that positive attitude and remembering what’s most important in this world is so very critical. Your words were very well expressed. 🙂

  6. Fabulous column, Jane. A good reminder to us all. I’ve written some “dark confessional poetry” Back in the Day, and it still lives on–only in a drawer!

    Happy spring to all,

    Hope Tarr

  7. I’ve learned it doesn’t matter what you have or where you’ve been, what you’ve gained or what was lost, or how others see you… what matters is who you are, allowing yourself to feel your own heart, your pain, your joy… and the positive result of sharing it with others… and being patient enough to see the world through someone else’s eyes.

    You are right Jane, a thankful heart, no matter what the situation, is the key!


    a new fan

  8. This was my introduction to you Jane … and I’m glad I read it. I will investigate some more!Thank you.

  9. Well said! It’s so easy to get caught up in self-pity, to feel like no one has suffered the way we have, when the reality is usually from such beliefs. This was a great wake-up call for those falling into that trap (as we all do on occasion, I think).

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  11. You speak straight to my heart. I have been dealing with so many body issues lately-killing me. It is a true demon that I have to slay. It is a ridiculous dragon that I let keep me down and from fully enjoying my life which is very blessed.

    I have realized that when I get exhausted, I can’t fight it and give in. The answer for me is to rest and practice gratitude daily.

  12. Love your blogs just what Im thinking at times with this world around us and so many negative people I see daily at work alot latley
    you remind me of so much of me I love reading yuor work
    keep up the great job
    Have a wonderful day sweetie

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