Labeling A Woman

Posted: February 7, 2015 in Chronic illness, Writing
Tags: , , , , ,

In my tween years and beyond, I was ridiculed and shamed, called names, pointed and laughed at by my peers. All because of my weight. This subsequently caused me to jump from diet to diet for almost twenty years. I wrote about it.

In my teenage years I was full of depression and anxiety. I was a worrywart. A goth chick. A loner. A crappy poet. Eventually, a cutter. Still, I wrote.

In my 20s I went straight from being a daughter and sister living at home to being a wife a daughter-in-law. Still consumed by underlying depression.
In my work life, I was always some kind of Secretary or administrative assistant, then a registrar at a local high school. Though during this time, I felt my creativity had left me, I still wrote. Granted some days, it was just lists (over and over thanks to a generous touch of OCD) or scant paragraphs of scenes or a scribbled description of a dream.

In 2007, my life changed. It seemed on top of other chronic health issues, my spine had begun its descent into deterioration. I sustained a back injury that required surgery the same year my family lost our matriarch member, our cornerstone – my grandmother.

Little did I know at the beginning of that summer my life would never be the same.
All the time that elapsed and events that unfolded between the time of my injury, the surgery and the subsequent second surgery (that’s a whole other story – maybe another time) I developed something called sacroiliac joint dysfunction. That was the final nail on the medical coffin which would entrap me as officially disabled.


I can’t begin to tell you what anguish, frustration and depths of darkness engulfed me. I was too young. There was too much I still wanted to accomplish. I hadn’t found my best fitting label yet.
But I had so many I’d gained throughout the first three decades of life. From others and self-imposed. Good, bad, and terrible.

Fatty. Weirdo. Lard-ass. Freak. Daughter. Wife. Sister. Caregiver. Cousin. Niece. Bitch. Angry. Frustrated. Depressed. Worthless. Hopeless. Broken.

I didn’t write.

About three years ago something changed. I can’t define the exact moment I decided to take charge of my life again. Maybe for the first time. I was done taking care of everyone else; it was time to take care of me.

First off, it was time to quit dieting. I have learned one of my medical conditions was making it very hard for me to lose weight so I decided to stop focusing so much on it.

Second, my marriage. We had been living for years like roommates and friends but not much else. We both deserved better. We divorced and I faced my fear of being alone head-on. I actually discovered I quite like it.
I took up writing again, joined a critique group, met some new friends.


Now, I’m a co-founding partner in an up-and-coming publishing company with a family of authors who all support and promote each other.

And you know what? I still have those labels. I just have better ones now.

I am a businesswoman. I’m a publisher, a friend, an advocate, a survivor.
And most of all, through it all, I am a writer.



  1. Sorchia D says:

    Woohooo! You go, Jess.

  2. Jan Morrill says:

    This is beautiful, Jess. Here’s another label for you. Unmasked. Thank you for letting us know you. I pray that now you’re on a positive path, taking care of yourself, your health might begin to improve. ❤

  3. Reblogged this on Alice White Author and commented:
    My friend and fellow author, Jessica Nelson’s new blog page. I think a few of us can relate to at least some aspect of this post. Well done Jessica, you nailed it 😉

  4. […] friend and fellow author, Jessica Nelson’s new blog page. I think a few of us can relate to at least some aspect of this post. Well done […]

  5. Loved this, Jess! Welcome to the blogging world.

  6. Reblogged this on Velda Brotherton and commented:
    Everyone who feels bad about themselves in any way should read this blog

  7. Very powerful, Jess! I hope to hear more from you.

  8. Jessica, I say you throw out: Fatty. Weirdo. Lard-ass. Freak. Bitch (unless you like this one–I’m partial to my “Bitch” label, myself). Angry. Frustrated. Depressed. Worthless. Hopeless. Broken. Those labels are not you. They do not accurately represent who YOU ARE as a person, a woman, or a writer. All they will do is bring you down. Throw out what does not serve your highest good, and keep close to you all that does. You are a phenomenal writer, a beautiful woman, and a talented creative.

    Aside from my comment on the label thing–I love this post. I resonate with so much of what you’ve shared. I, too, suffered from bullying as a kid as well as mental, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse throughout my childhood. All led me to depression, anxiety, and a multitude of other disorders. Eventually I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder. No surprise there, since my traumas had created a foundation of self-disgust and self-hatred. I’ve been working for the last several years at turning all of that around, and creating a healthy life for myself on all fronts. I’m going through a divorce, now, and am facing my fears–one of which is being alone. It seems as though we have quite a bit in common. I’m so grateful for August bringing you to my attention. I look forward to reading more of your work!

    • Jess says:

      Kate, I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am that I scrambled into August’s BlogFest. Comments like yours make me feel like Super Woman. I’d say we do have quite a bit in common, right down to the autoimmune disease.
      Don’t worry, I’ve thrown out all the negative labels – well, I do still keep the “bitch” sometimes – and am more focused on all the good and rewarding ones.
      Thank you so much for your feedback. And know as you go through what you’re dealing with, you are not alone. You’ve got this, girl!

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