If you follow me even a little on social media, you know that I'm in the process of writing a book …
Even Strong Girls Cry 'An Inside Peek into what Resilience Really Looks Like '
I'd love for you to read my 'dedication' and 'prologue' sections (see below after this post's ramblings and my pic that my Dani took when I didn't even know) and for those who truly support me, I welcome your honest, authentic feedback. And, actually for those who may not be, I welcome your feedback even more, because I would love to know where, along the journey of our connection, I lost you. I'm always looking to evolve myself and your candid feedback is critical to that.
As context, so many of my friends (some of whom I had considered my best ones) disappeared in the most critical moments of my life journey (and not just in the past couple of years). I try to hold no negative judgment, as I understand that human nature is so complex. And, it's quite possible I fed into this dynamic.
Many of those that I thought were in my corner, but I have sadly realized they are not, won‘t even be seeing this, as they seem to have already made their decision about my journey and me long ago. The majority haven't even subscribed to this blog...a place where I let out my innermost feelings and oftentimes, my personal vulnerabilities. If they stuck with me, they might realize that many of my posts candidly capture elements of my life that I have been less than proud of (see my post “I want to hold your hand - The Beatles“ for one such example). On the surface level, some might think that my posts are akin to social media bragging of a somewhat unconventional life. But if you truly know me, you know that’s not at all who I am, and that would never be my intention.
On the flip side, my journey has revealed to me those connections (both old and new)—that are squarely in my corner. I am SO grateful for each and every one of you (you know who you are <3).
For those who are willing, I would love feedback on the first two sections of my book that is moving way too slowly. I have many other sections, but I want feedback as I go along :).
I appreciate the positive as well as the constructive. And, as always, I thank you to all of my supporters. I love you all! Y'all keep me going.
Here's the first peek into the very, very, very beginning of my book. But, it sets up the framework and hopefully captures the essence of the rest (much of it has been written, but I keep editing and editing and editing!). And, if anyone wants to be my personal memoir editor, please let me know! <3<3<3
Even Strong Girls Cry
An Inside Peek into what Resilience Really Looks Like
A personal memoir of sorts
By Jen Belcastro
I would like to thank all the people throughout my life that have helped lift me up, but also those that have tried to tear me down. I wouldn’t have emerged the Strong Girl I am today, had it not been for all of you. But the biggest THANK YOU goes to my emerging Strong Girl, Daniella, my amazing daughter and my number one fan. I am grateful beyond words.
“I will not take ‘no’ for an answer when ‘no’ is not a reasonable answer” – Jen Belcastro (me!)
I was born a fighter, I guess. Almost every birthday, I’m told the story of how, a few days after I was born on February 18th, 1975, I was baptized in the middle of the night because in the NICU my prognosis with a premature birth and underdeveloped lungs wasn’t good. My poor Mom (one of the strongest women I’ve ever encountered, by the way) was told by the doctors that I was not likely to survive the night. So, by Roman Catholic practices, I was baptized before I died so I could make it to Heaven.
However, about 9ish days post-baptism, I went home! Defying all medical odds, I made it. That’s why I say that I was born a fighter and that fighting is an inherent part of who I am. Now granted, I clearly had what I would consider a Divine Intervention and so I do believe that God has a purpose and plan for me and my life—a purpose that I am eternally grateful for, but one I am honestly still in search of.
What I have come to learn is that my strength, resilience, and fighting nature have been among my most attributable characteristics—mostly attributable by others that have been a part of my life, not necessarily always by me. Despite hearing it most of my adult life, I would say that these characteristics were still somewhat unbeknownst to me (and I’ll explain why in this book) until the unprecedented year of 2020. While I suspect that 2020 and COVID-19 tested just about everyone in the world, it had tested me to what I felt like were my absolute limits. Across that 2020 journey, I have come to realize that what other people have always seen in me is 100 percent spot on.
However, what I don’t think a lot of people realize, and hence the title of this book “Even Strong Girls Cry”, is that being a strong, resilient, fighter looks one way on the outside, yet often feels a totally different way on the inside. It is extremely hard, exhausting, frustrating, overwhelming, lonely, and all-encompassing, to say the least. There are lots of private and sometimes public tears shed, lots of screaming and yelling, lots of punching inanimate objects, and lots and lots of days where you want to throw in the towel. So yes, STRONG GIRLS DO CRY.
Very often, a Strong Girl doesn’t even realize that she’s being strong, because crying, yelling, and punching inanimate objects are not exactly the acts of a superhero! However, at the end of the day, and regardless of how this appears to the outside world, there is one characteristic that binds strong girls together—We refuse to take ‘no’ for an answer when ‘no’ is not a reasonable answer.
Had it not been for these characteristics, I might not be here to tell you my story. The single most important thing I have learned in my life is that YOU have to be YOUR OWN biggest advocate in YOUR life. You cannot rely on anyone else to fight on your behalf, as much as you might want to believe differently. Sure, you will have people in your corner (maybe lots of them), but the sole responsibility for the outcome of your life lies solely within YOU. And as experience has taught me, you have way more way control over your life than you might believe. I promise.
I give gratitude every day that I know and live by this Universal Truth.