Hi tribe, my name is Jennifer. I'm 58 years old. It has been a long year of turmoil. I first saw Beautiful Disaster clothing when I got my hair done and fell in love with it. I've been a disaster since the day I was born. Not everything was terrible, but the bad things still haunt me today. I found a Beautiful Disaster friend after moving 2 1/2 hours away from my children due to divorce and money issues.

I identify with this brand because here is something I've read on every piece of clothing that resonates deeply with my life, especially the "You Don't Know My Story" collection. I don't have many close friends, and I don't share much with anyone.

My story started in kindergarten. Our bus driver teased me because our names rhymed, and the rest of the bus joined in. I was a happy kid. We grew up on a farm, which I mostly loved. My school was tiny, and we moved from one room to another for each class. Everyone knew each other; it was like a family. We did everything together. Then, the school closed, and we moved to a larger school with three classes for every grade. I was picked on and belittled for my choice of clothes. My self-esteem plummeted. We moved to Bemidji in the middle of 4th grade, and I was devastated. I did not want to go. Verona was the first to approach me, and we became fast friends. She was also very insecure. Every year, she would call to end our friendship, and I would always call back to make amends. We reconnected after school but eventually lost touch. I found out she committed suicide just before our ten-year school reunion. Many friends of mine have committed suicide. I've had thoughts about it but could never go through with it, knowing the hurt it would cause those I love. I was hospitalized twice for chronic depression and anxiety in the last eight years.

When we first moved to Bemidji, my mom invited a coworker to live with us. She acted like my mom was her mom, and she and my little sister fought for my mom's attention. I stayed in the background, never saying anything and never getting anything. My sister had everything she wanted because I didn't demand it loud enough.

The girl who lived with us was 21 and a nurse. She was stealing drugs at the hospital and constantly lied to me. At that age, I was learning to trust people and believe what they said. It devastated me. I felt I could never trust anyone again. There was an incident where she cut herself on purpose. I had to ride with her to the ER. She wanted my mom to go, but I did. It was snowing, and on the way back, she drove us into a ditch on purpose because she was mad. I was scared to death. Finally, they sent her back to Michigan, and I was relieved she was gone. I hoped everything would return to normal.

At the end of my 11th-grade year, I went to a prom in a different town but couldn't get a new dress. I had to wear my orchestra dress with 2 inches of lace, looking like something from "Little House on the Prairie." I didn't hang out with anyone in my class; I spent time with kids a couple of years younger or from a smaller town. When I was 19, I started going to bars because I had a friend who worked at one we frequented. I was raped. That was my first experience with sex. I never told anyone how I felt about it, thinking it was my fault because I was drunk. He held me for almost a whole day, violating me until I finally escaped.

Trusting people is hard. When I moved to Austin, I was so cynical that I couldn't believe anyone could love me, like me, or ask for my phone number. When they did ask, I would say, "You're not going to call anyway." I drank and slept with whoever for a few years until I met my ex-husband. All we did was argue before we got married. We broke up, but when a couple of friends got married and we were both in the wedding party, we got back together. We got married and started trying for a family. It was tough; we always thought it would be easier. We had to do IVF for both of our children. As hard as it was, I am grateful for my son, who is 24, and my daughter, who is 21. We got lucky, but the fighting continued, and I was depressed. I didn't get the help I needed. I worked for a doctor who tried to help me, but the meds didn't work. Another doctor helped a little, but it wasn't what I needed long-term. I felt bad for my daughter because I would crawl into bed after work and never did anything I should have done with her.

After the divorce, I moved out because I didn't want the house. I tried to live in an apartment in the same town to keep the same routine for the kids, but it was too expensive. I had to move back into the house and then to Bemidji, where my parents live. I'm now 2 1/2 hours away from my kids. My daughter was just entering puberty, which strained our relationship, but we continue to work on it. I am much closer to my son, but they both act like I am their child. They tell me what I can and can't do. It's hard but a work in progress.

Living in Bemidji as a single woman is hard, and dating is even harder. Nobody wants to be serious about anything. It's like I have to beg for love, and I'm too good for that. It takes time, but I finally know what I want and deserve.

I had gastric bypass surgery, ended up with heart failure and cardiomyopathy, and couldn't work much. I'm an LPN and on disability. I still go back to work, but my goals didn't align with the company. I came home and had surgery for arthritis on my right hand. Losing that job was devastating because I said goodbye to a patient I cared for from the end of February to April, 12 hours a day, sometimes five days a week. They said I was insubordinate and lied. I've been a nurse for 32 years and have always taken care of people. I need the benefits due to my illnesses. It has been a long road to getting healthy.

In the last year, I've done a lot of work on myself. After my last hospitalization, I did a year of DBT therapy, which gave me the perspective to help myself. I went back on a dating website and met a nice man, but his ex-wife, who he was supposedly trying to get back with, called me. We talked a lot and became good friends. She's like my soulmate. I can't believe that's how we met, but I wouldn't change it. She's been a rock for me through many tough times. I got her into the Beautiful Disaster brand because it fit her, too. I started buying it where I got my haircut and then saw it again on Facebook. I fell in love with the sweatshirts and T-shirts, especially the one that says "Beautiful Fucking Disaster." It fits me perfectly. Life has been more tolerable since meeting Terri. I've also reconnected with a classmate, Patti, and we've started getting together. I took a nursing travel job in Nevada, which I loved, but when I couldn't say goodbye to a patient because the company didn't allow it, I realized it wasn't the right fit for me. The family would've been very upset. I've experienced so much, and I missed out on some things, but I'm not sorry for my story. I can't even remember all the ones I've had. I'm single now, talking to a few guys but not dating, figuring myself out, and taking time off to plan my next move and get off disability. I'm proud of myself for making it through the stomach issues and working anyway. Many people don't believe in me, but I've proved them wrong.

The 3 things I've done to move closer to happiness are: 

  1. I broke up with the boyfriend I dated for two years who never introduced me to any friends or family.
  2. I have two very good friends who help me get through the bad days.
  3. I found the power of a tribe behind all the Beautiful Disasters. The sayings, the clothes, and everything about it is wonderful.

My favorite Beautiful Disaster collection is "You Don't Know My Story." Day by day, it changes, and I even had the last saying engraved on my Stanley drinking cup. It is so me because no one can say I didn't try because I do. The sayings are genuine, down-to-earth, and true. They help people who need to hear that they can do it. There are others out there experiencing trauma and pain, and we all grow and get better. Knowing there's a line of clothing that understands and supports this is comforting. We had a few people meet once in St. Cloud, Minnesota, and it was nice to talk to everyone and find out why they were there and what it meant. It would be nice to do it again. The brand and the people are always changing for the better.

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June 23, 2024