A woman daring to bare it all.
Jenny G. Perry is a Jersey girl at heart, having grown up in The Garden State and whose passion and enthusiasm for life bubble over effervescently. Her naked vulnerability and risk to really be seen is evident in her writing. She pens her Peace Love Joy and Sparkles Blog and in her YouTube videos that celebrate the life of a suburban mom, wife and, as you’ll read below (in my interview with her), a woman daring to bare it all, including her heart and soul.
You call yourself silly-sassy-spiritual-sexpot. How did “she” come to be born?
Hmm…yummy question. She, as in Jennylicious, is an evolution as we all are.
I really allowed myself to step outside my self-imposed box and explore who I could fully be about two years ago. I had defined myself as how others saw me. I had tried that “normal” route and it didn’t make me happy, so I carved another path. I created a new me. The essence of who I always was is still here, but now I’m just the juicier, lighter, spicier, richer, more delightful version.
I don’t know why we ever think we ever have to be just one thing anyway? Can you be silly and sexy? Of course. (Just ask my kids when I’m on the beach in a leopard bikini and acting like a goofball.) You can own that too. You can claim whatever you want for yourself. Can you be sassy and spiritual? Why not? I can meditate and then have a glass of wine and watch a ridiculously inappropriate comedy. These definitions from the past of what made us “good” women are complete BS. There is nothing more beautiful than authenticity. And an authentic woman, who allows herself to love and embrace herself fully is a happy chickie for sure. So I choose everyday to live out loud, believing myself to be the joyful rockstar that I am. No pretense. Just fully me.
I read your most recent blog entry on your website in which you speak about being a young mother and bride and now are celebrating your 16th anniversary. Many who find themselves in that situation become statistics. Instead, you and your husband Brian and your four children have become a a success story. Please tell us how that occurred.
I think in some ways it is just as hard to get married when you’re set in your ways, as if you’re young and don’t even know what you want in life yet. That’s what my Mom would always tell me. My husband Brian and I actually talked about that at our anniversary dinner together.
We’ve grown together and there have been bumps, of course, but nothing that would separate us.
In our twenties, it was a growing experience. There were times when we felt like we missed out on things, settling down so young. That I can tell you, passes. We always reconnected. The grass looks greener, but you have no idea what it’s really like on the other side. At times when things were hard, we could have blamed each other and taken it out on each other. We had our moments, but we always had hope that things would get better and focused on what was working. We focused on our love, the love we have for kids, and dreams for our future.
We are also blessed to have supportive parents that were there to help and to believe in us. My husband is a chef, which can be crazy hours, and my parents have been able to help me when I had to be two places at one time. I’m lucky they live in the same town as us. Actually for the first three years we were married, we lived with my parents. My oldest was three and I was pregnant with my second child, at 23, when we ventured out on our own.
What we learned is you can’t really plan how life is going to go sometimes, but you make the best of it and you really can flourish despite your struggles.
What are the ingredients for your delicious marriage?
Love, sex, humor, respect, honesty, and connection are our secrets. Intimacy is our foundation. Letting the other person really know you, what makes you tick, in every way is key for us. We are not afraid to tell each other anything. Whether it’s a dream we have for ourselves, something from the past, a mistake, an insight, a crazy theory, or what we want in the bedroom. We make time to connect with each other because racking up a number of years together, without there being a depth and joy to it, is not what we’re going for.
We plan on making it better every year, with a deeper connection and more fun times. So yes, have lots of sex and laugh a lot together. I mean, no big surprise, I do have four kids. If you are willing to explore in the bedroom, it can really open up your relationship too. My advice to other couples is to continue to fall in love with each other. If you feel disconnected, give your partner attention, affection, less criticism, and seduce them. If you are more fun to be around, they can be different, and you’ll be having fun anyway. Flirt with your partner. Send each other loving and sexy texts. Works for us.
How do you inspire other women to let their inner passion flow?
I think passion for life is so sexy. Smart women, funny women, talented women, women that are living their life to the fullest exude that certain something. They inspire me and I hope I can inspire others. Being myself, in all my wildness, shows other women that they can too. I love to dress sexy and embrace my sensuality, beauty and femininity. That is a sure fire way to get your fire burning. If it’s not your thing, wear what you feel good in.
I am always cheering on women to love themselves. I feel like I say, write, and post that all the time. It’s my mission. When you love yourself, anything is possible in your life. I believe it really is a mind-body-spirit connection. It’s about balance within yourself. Feed love to all the parts of your being and you will live a passion filled life.
For me, I have this insane yearning for freedom, where creating, expressing and experience allows me to bloom into more of who I am. It allows me to really, truly embody and channel love. When we are creating freely, we are fully connected to the Divine. Passion plus growth equals happiness.
Naked vulnerability seems to be a hallmark of your writing. How do you live it in your day to day life?
I am just being me. My best friend, Shannon, was talking about my youngest child wearing his heart on his sleeve, just like I always have. I have always been someone who was willing to share their own struggles if it would help others, on a one-on-one type situation. I’ve expanded my audience since then and let many in on my journey. Starting a blog was scary as hell in the way that I could be judged and people would really know me. But there is so much freedom in being authentic. It’s so worth it. I think it’s actually brave and refreshing. I never pretend to be a perfect person and my kids will tell you that if I mess up, I always apologize. I don’t hold grudges, I forgive, and I try to live from a place of love. High vibes are always my intention. I try to practice what I preach every day.
I am also working on a self-love book that I will be very candid about my struggles. I learned that you will always be an insecure person, until you can make yourself feel secure. That your past has no real power over you, if you live without fear. Sharing my lessons and what I’ve learned is just part of who I am. I think we are all meant to learn from each other. We are always learning and teaching. I love when someone that I don’t even think reads what I post will come up to me at the grocery store and say that they love what I am doing. I’m not afraid to be out there. One of my inner knowings in the past couple years is that I am meant to teach and help others heal. Writing is my medium for that right now.
Body image is such a close- to- home issue for many women. How do you face it?
Body images issues…wowser…yes, know that topic well. My own body-image issues date back to being called “Porker from Porkertown” in fifth grade, to being bulimic at 15, and almost ten years ago I was overweight (almost 60 pounds more than I am now). I was teased starting around 10, even though I was a normal weight. When someone labels you and you decide to take that on as part of your identity, you lose your power.
My mom tried to give me self-esteem, but it is something I had to build over time. Even as an adult, I thought it had to be attached to my looks, smarts, how nice people thought I was, accomplishments, and not from within. When your idea of who you are is wrapped up in your body image, you better always be thin and perfect. That was my thinking.
After my fourth child, who is turning three, I decided to love my body no matter what. I allowed myself to say that I was beautiful and not play small for anyone. Last year, I decided to get more fit and get really strong. I wanted to feel completely comfortable in my own skin. Feeling strong is the most empowering thing to me, it’s not about being thin. I know from my eating disorder how easy it can be to fall into the trap of not being good enough, thin enough, exercising enough—and I love me too much for that.
I exercise for me. I am in shape for me. It makes me feel good. And regardless of society’s standards, you get to set your own. Real women can have cellulite and stretch marks. Who cares? I focus on how my stomach housed four beautiful beings and how my body continues to be a gift and miracle to me every day. With that perspective of my body, my whole body image changed.
If you could recommend a self love bath, what symbolic items would you include?
Oh I love baths. Real baths. They’re so pampering, indulgent and sensual. Water has that magic to it that soothes the soul. I did a cleansing bath recently with epsom salt, essential oils and candles for all my senses. Epsom salt is really good for clearing your energy too. I also got some amazing bath salts from sagegodess.com. I highly recommend creating a spa-like experience for yourself. And depending on the lady, a waterproof vibrator (if you are so inclined). Sexuality is part of who we are and when its repressed or unbalanced, it can cause problems. Not a taboo, it’s a beautiful force and when you are no longer afraid of it, you can really unleash your creative powers too.
Even if you don’t get to do an actual bubble bath, you can bathe yourself in good vibes everyday. Symbolically bath yourself in Divine white light and unconditional love from God-Source-Universe. Go out in nature and bask in the beauty. If I pop down to the beach for just a few minutes, it transforms me. Fill up your self-love cup in any way you can. Smile at yourself in the mirror, wear your favorite colors and jewelry, listen to your favorite songs, and dance. They say your body is a temple, I say mine is more like a celebration. Everyday there’s a party or holiday somewhere, right?
Picking your mom-wife-sexpot brain….how can we do it all and remain sane?
I think the idea that we have to do it all will drive us crazy. I have let so many things go that were really not important, were just for show. Every family is unique and functions its own way. There is no Donna Reed/June Cleaver, even if you are a stay-at-home mom, you’re barely home ’cause you’re running your kids around or doing errands. I say make people in your house help you. Give kids and husbands chores. My hubby does so much around our house because his parents both worked and gave him chores to do growing up. I’ve also learned that clothes will sit in a basket and wait for me to fold it for as long as I want. They are very patient. I don’t try even to be the perfect wife or mother. I think that is pointless.
Never compare yourself to any other woman ever. You have no idea what is going on with them or in their life. Just be present with the people in your life. Love them. Be real. Be you with your partner and your kids. Don’t be some idea of a wife or mother. Let them know you. I try to make life fun everyday, teaching my children to create happy and loving moments everyday. Don’t just live a to-do list, have fun everyday in the process. During the boring stuff, like picking up my daughter at dance in the some evenings, I will jam out to loud music in my minivan and enjoy the ride. I think of music as vitamins for my soul. Pressure is off ladies, you’re free to be.
Let’s talk about your novel, The Jennifers. What prompted you to write this literary romp?
I never thought I’d be a writer. I wasn’t brave enough to put myself out there years ago, but I did write stories for my friends and their crushes when I was younger. I read plenty of trashy novels to inspire me as a teen. I came up with the idea seven years ago for a story and I wrote it in notebooks and never followed through with it. That will be my second novel. But over four years ago, I had that soul nudge-heart whisper thing where you just know you have to follow that path and see where it will lead. Being a Jennifer and knowing so many, I thought of how funny it would be to write about six of them and their lives. Of course one of them took the lead and it became her story. I loved writing it. I love falling in love with characters, creating them, naming them, seeing what they’ll do next. I love when they move me and make me think. It’s such an interesting journey you take with them. It’s like creating imaginary friends. Sounds crazy, but it is so rich and enlivening that you don’t want that process to stop. You want people to see your work and peek into your little world that you created, but at the same time it’s like your secret lover that’s all yours and no one can spoil it or have a piece of it. Can you tell I like writing?
Autobiographical? Is Pink a semi-fictional version of you?
Definitely not autobiographical. Pink, the lead character, is not me. But I love her and will always be a part of me. I can relate to her wanting to all the right things and not living her life for her. She was in her self-imposed cage and freed herself. That is me too. Okay…probably all of the Jennifers are an aspect of me or were at some time. A writer always lets parts of their being seep through into their story. I’m convinced of it.
What message would you like people to receive from reading your words whether in your blog or your book?
I want people to see my book and think that they can follow their dreams too. Not that it will be easy, but just going through the motions in life is way more painful. I want them to think that anything is possible. That you can change your life, reinvent yourself, and have a whole new perspective on yourself, life and the world. Everyone is a deliciously beautiful, fabulous evolution that can take them to amazing places within themselves if they are willing to open to the possibility of it. Love yourself. Be boldly you. Have fun every single day. Spirituality and life is something that you choose what works for you. Live from your highest place. No worry, stress, regret. Just be delicious.
Learn more about Jenny at www.jennygperry.com.
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Ed: Lynn Hasselberger
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