JenB


Interview with JenB / JenandTonic.ca

Very rarely in life do you meet someone that you instantly know will be your friend. It’s only happened to me a couple of times during my adult life, so when I met JenB and got that tingle in my toes, I wanted to giggle and do a little jig. And here’s the thing about JenB: everyone feels that way when they meet her. She is genuine and authentic and sweet and full of love. She’s also strong and opinionated and not afraid to hold her ground or go after injustice on behalf of herself and her friends.

I realize that this is not my usual intro. I’m hardly mentioning that JenB lives in Canada and says words like oot and aboot. I’m barely adding that she’s married with kid and cats and is public about her struggle with mental illness and medication. I think that’s because JenB is so much more than any of that. Quite simply, she’s just herself. And also because I feel the chances of me doing her justice in this little two-paragraph intro is so very slight that I’d rather just tell you that I count her as a friend.

Blog Birthday:

August 22, 2002. A day before my wedding anniversary which is not relevant, but hey!

Why do you blog?

Because holding a shotgun in a bell tower doesn’t last for very long and I have a lot to say.

What do you talk about?

Me, mundane everyday life stuff, tv, my kid, annoying family stuff to a point, shoes, the occasional social issue which rankles my shackles.

What don’t you talk about? Why?

My marriage. Off limits for the sake of having said marriage.

Best experience regarding something you wrote in your blog or put out on the net?

The best has been connecting with other women and talking about struggles with anxiety, depression, body image issues, parenting, cooking, tv, and shoes.

Favorite/worst thing about living where you live?

SNOW! FUCKING SNOW and how long it lasts.

If you were president of the US:

Then they would have successfully passed a law that says non-American citizens can be president. I would want the job, but if forced, I would be a huge socialist red commie giving out healthcare and education until the cows came home.

What actor would play you in the movie of your life?

No idea – that guy who plays Hurley on LOST maybe…..

What do you do to stay sane and healthy?

Honestly, right now I am neither, but trying. But I have great support from my parents and husband and my friends here in town and the ones I know through blogging. Oh, and medication.

Would you mind telling people a little about your struggle with mental illness? Why are you public about it on your blog?

My blog is partially, (well a lot really) therapy for me. Getting feedback and support from others is incredible. I don’t know if I can adequately describe how fantastic sharing my struggles through the blog has become.

Any advice for the thousands of parents dealing with depression and medications?

See a psychiatrist, not just your general practitioner. I read about a lot of people getting new meds from their regular doctor and I cringe. It is like going to a plumber for your pap test. Sort of. Medication can help you. Don’t be afraid. You can always go off. Try it, its good for you. I really believe that going on my first antidepressant (reluctantly at 19), saved my life.

Favorite color:

Greens and blues. Soothing I think.

Favorite food:

Very changeable. Currently it is whole-wheat tortilla chips with cheesy chili con queso goo sold in jars.

When you were 10, what did you want to do when you grew up?

A teacher I think. I wasn’t very passionate about being anything until I was way older.

Do you parent the same way you were parented?

I think so. I think I practice a half-assed method of attachment parenting. My parents were very live and let live. They trusted me to entertain myself and didn’t ask a lot about my grades or social life. I read a lot.

What do you hate?

Hate. Cruelty to humans and animals. Food.

What do you love?

Family and friends. Kitties and babies. Good books, good television, good movies. Food.

What do you want to tell other bloggers, if anything?

Be nice, be gentle. To yourselves and others. Give the benefit of the doubt to other people, ALWAYS. Be the bigger person, apologize first. Write.

Astounding facts about you:

errrm. I can touch my nose with my tongue. I was once punched unconscious and had an awesome black eye. I love cemeteries.

Are you Windows or Mac? Why?

Windows. Unless having an iPod counts. I was actually religiously into Macs until I got a job that didn’t use them and married a guy who knew nothing about them. I believe I never would have been interested in technology had I not bought a Mac in 1987. A Mac SE30. If it were not for Macintosh computers I would have had a very different career, probably not met my husband or had a blog. Seriously.

How would your family describe you?

My mom would call me a “worrywart”, funny, creative, someone who struggles. I think my dad would say the same but add smart. I am not really sure. I have NO idea what my brother would say. None.

I’d love a parenting tip, please.

Take time for yourself and don’t be a fucking martyr – can I swear on here? (Ed note: Hells yes.) No one likes a “poor” me parent or spouse.

What is one of your favorite memories?

Hiding next to the bed as a kid waiting for my dad to get home and then jumping on him when he came in to take off his suit jacket. He would always pretend to be surprised. My brother and dad and I broke my parent’s bed more times than I can remember from such assaults.

Do you cook?

Yes, quite well if I do say so. I am a good maker upper as I go along. I don’t cook as much since having the kid (Charlotte, almost 3). I love to bake as well, like Christmas baking. Decadent stuff with lots of chocolate and butter.

What are you working on right now?

Keeping my shit together. I am not sure I have the presence of mind right now for a project. I have helped on BlogHer in the past and would love to be more involved. I need to be better organized and less crazy, like literally less crazy. I really enjoyed working with StyleHive.

Your own favorite post? And/or your favorite post of someone else?

I like this post and maybe this one? One of my favourite posts of others is this one of Alice’s. There are so many good writers out there I could spend a lot of time finding posts I love. When Heather (Dooce) was going through her depression after Leta was born I was right there with her. It was painful, for her, I am certain, but an amazing experience to share with someone.

What will you being doing next year?

Same old I suspect. I am happy being a 1950s housewife for the moment. Eventually I will have to figure out what else I should be doing when Charlotte goes to University or Pre-school, or whatever. I would love to be involved in something collaborative that helps other people. Online or off. How vague is that??

Tell me a secret?

I once had sex in a pickup truck in front of my old apartment (way before I knew my husband *kisses* dear) with a guy I met through a dating service. It goes without saying that I was really really drunk.

What do you wish I had asked you that I didn’t?

I dunno, but I often feel compelled to tell people my entire psychiatric diagnosis in case they don’t want to be friends with a crazy person and that I am fat. I guess people can read the blog and decide for themselves. You have been warned.

Thanks, Jen!

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