Growing Pains

Growing pains are real. Doing this blog has led me to answering some very big questions about myself and my life, which is exactly what I was asking for when I started it, but of course things can’t conveniently stop there.  I’ve always been a creative person. A writer, specifically, though I’ve given many creative forms a shot (usually when I’m down on myself about my writing). There has always been this intuitive need to share my stuff with others, despite being kind of a loner when I allow myself to be my truest. Zines, self-published mini-magazines, were my outlet for about a decade. Then DJing became my thing for about five years, along with overuse of drugs and alcohol, so that wasn’t sustainable.

What I didn’t count on with building my writing practice and this blog was how much it would hurt. There has been so much joy and catharsis. So many Eureka! moments and feelings of being truly seen. What I wasn’t ready for was the singeing vulnerability that ebbs at every edge. How it’s this constant shedding of skin. How many weird, inconvenient, ugly feelings it brings up and creates in me. Sometimes, it feels like a kind of birth, but what do I know about birth? The more I put myself out there, the more attention I get, the more the bar gets raised and it seems I’ve taken that bar and started beating myself to death with it. I’m shutting down. I’m behind on updates. Hell, I’ve hardly been hiking, which is absolutely self-sabotage. I’m hoping that by sharing these feelings so publicly it will take the motherfucking air out of it all.

There are other reasons why it’s been hard to be vulnerable. Very real reasons that aren’t completely about monsters in my head. In the short time since I’ve been doing this blog, I’ve seen my shit stolen multiple times. Please, someone tell me this gets easier. Please? Can someone point me to a TED talk or something about this? I fully understand that in this day and age with the internet, we are subconsciously gleaning other peoples words all of the time and it’s usually harmless. Then there are the times when it’s not. Like when specific things I’ve said, in my own personal words, end up in other peoples work without an iota of credit to me. I’m trying to put my psychic teflon on about this and accept that putting my stuff on the internet means that it will be stolen, point blank. Oh, but it is destroying me right now and I’m rumbling with needless, embarrassing guilt about the feelings it brings up. I’m trying to believe there is some cosmic work in this being revealed to me. Like, if I figure out the secret to being able to stay above the psychic undertow, I will be unstoppable. I’ve been terribly thin-skinned and when I’m thin-skinned, I make up stories. And everything hurts a little more than it should.

(An aside: if someone hurts your feelings, tell them. Sometimes, it isn’t even their intention, weirdly, or maybe it is, but only a little. Sometimes, their intention is to work out aggression that’s not even about you, but they should understand the consequences. Scarcity is often the culprit and it makes us fucking insane. It makes us think and do really weird shit. So much of our culture is built on this terrible scarcity.)

I often act like I’m confused about what’s next for the blog. This is my avoidance dressed up in discount sheep’s clothing, of course. I know the “next” I keep asking the Universe and the community oracle (Facebook) for is my writing. I know that I need to write more and keep developing my practice. I have to trust in my voice. I know there is power there. I have to let it out. It’s in posting my actual writing that I keep finding all of the wonderful people and opportunities that have come my way since starting this project. I’m astounded and grateful that people visit this site every day. Thank you. Y’all know I’m a person of many words, but I just don’t know how to adequately express this.

You know what? I’m already feeling better. Thank you for listening.

It’s also just such a depressing time, in general. I know a lot of people are feeling it. My two senior cats have All Of The Problems and the upcoming presidential election has me shaken to the marrow. And Portland! My heart-home for thirteen years, is changing wildly before my very eyes. There are parts of town I no longer recognize and the cost of living is becoming near impossible. I know this place is special, so of course everyone wants to move here, but it’s squeezing the magic right out of it. I’m trying to be gentle with myself through all of these negative forces. There is so much knowledge and creativity to be gained from our struggles if we can tap into it and own it.

OKAY, SO I HAVE SOME NEWS! Updates may be sparse to non-existent over the next few weeks. This is because I’ve got some big adventures coming up. I’m going to Atlanta, GA for a week to visit one of my best-friend-soulmates, Casey, and then I’m going to MOTHERFUCKING HAWAI’I!!!! [partytime-emojis-very-much-implied] I’m Going To Hawai’i! I’m… going… to… Hawai’i… The Big Island. How is this even my life? I am beside myself. Outside of the road trips my parents took me on as a kid, I’ve never really had an actual vacation, but in the last six months I’ve been gifted two tropical vacations! Mexico last January, thanks to my dear friend, Kaki, and now HAWAI’I thanks to my mom. I never have the money for pretty much anything outside of my camping trips and plane fare to visit my family in San Diego, but my mom is straight-up giving not just me but also my girlfriend, Brie, a trip to Hawai’i. I’m trying so hard to not think about how she is affording this. She’s a bit of a drinker, so I made sure to check in again the day after she had this YOLO moment. Her exact words on the subject were, “I’m ready to enjoy this dopey life we’re dealt with. I am not dealing with the little crap. I love my girls, ALL OF MY GIRLS.” Meaning, Brie, too.

I hope to rediscover my voice and rededicate myself to this blog while I’m gone. I look forward to sharing what that yields with all of you. In the meantime, if you want to keep up with my adventures as they happen, you can do so on Instagram, on my personal account (@jennybruso), as well as on the new community account I created, Unlikely Hikers. Facebook is a good place, too.


  1. Jenny!
    I was choked up reading this. I so appreciate your vulnerability. I know how hard it is to put yourself out there, it’s terrifying. And when the trolls and haters engage you–you know you’re doing something right. Still, it hurts and makes you question shit and the self-doubt kicks in, etc. Been there. It can be a vicious cycle. But we have to keep going because the world needs people like us, desperately. You are such a gem and I am so glad you started this blog. Even if you’re behind or not sure about it, keep going.

    I also really related to you about Portland and the election. I feel like I am LOSING MY SHIT lately. I’ve been here for 15 years and I just don’t know what to do anymore. My housing is stable and affordable and am fortunate to have amazing, long-term landlords, but still. I’m from Vegas and that hell hole was never a home to me. When I moved here in 2001, it was the first time I really understand what having a home meant. I fit in, I felt wild and free and so fucking alive. We were all transplants but it was the “right”people with similar ideal who came. For so long too. When this started happening a couple years ago, I swore it was just something that would pass. Then it kept getting worse and worse and I started to have bad feelings about my beloved Portland. My home. My heart.

    I seriously have feelings of rage and hate sometimes. I feel like I have to do a lot of check-ins with myself to check myself. Positive self-talk on the reg. I’m not in love anymore and I thought this would be my forever home. It’s such a mind fuck. And sure, I can move. But where? I don’t want to start all over again, but I don’t want to feel this way. As Portland gets more crowded, I get more pissed so I can’t imagine the feelings subsiding nor can I imagine living here and just accepting the new Portland. It’s rough.

    And the election. What a fucking joke. The people in this country are fucked. I don’t know even know what I will do if he gets elected. I have anxiety about it every day. Let’s hope for a different outcome.

    So happy about your upcoming trips too. And glad Brie gets to join you in Hawai’i!! I look forward to following your adventures, as always. Much love.


    1. Nateesh, I should’ve responded to this sooner. I was SO depressed when I wrote it and, though I’m feeling a lot better, it’s definitely not like my feelings about this election or my beloved Portland have changed. I heard this morning that the know is being forced to move so an artisanal salt shop can move in. I have so much hate in my heart for this truth. I am watching the magic just drain right out more and more everyday. I am so angry with the fact that this has all been allowed to happen. It should all be ILLEGAL. I don’t want to move because this happens everywhere. This is the way it is in this culture. Money is more important than people. It’s a rat race and most of us will be chasing our tails for life. I have nothing hopeful or positive to say.

      My only advice is to get out of town as much as possible. Keep talking to your friends, don’t support businesses that make you feel all fucked up inside and if you can, keep as aware as possible of this housing crisis and get involved with some of the activism happening around it.


  2. Thank you for this thoughtful, heart-felt post. Sometimes Ive wished I werent so thin-skinned either- it does hurt- but I am glad I can feel so fully as well, so embrace being able to be soft-kind-and-vulnerable sometimes for the advantages it has.

    Hope you are able to get out there into nature, and find balance between writing and hiking. Lately ive been letting the writing slide in favor of more time outside- so tempting to ne outside this time of year instead of in front of a computer.

    Happy Travels- Sounds like fun!

    Liked by 1 person

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