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Monday, June 28, 2010

Second Professional review!

This book reviewer focused more on the eighteen months of alcoholic rage that I lived through than the abuse, and got one major detail wrong: I was NOT in and out of hospitals for eight years, just part of 2003. And again it was mentioned that my editing needs some work :( I hope it's not that bad, I need to sit down and read it again. But, alas, here it is. I have also never heard the term "sodomise" used, I'm guessing that is another word for molest?

Just Listen is the memoir of a young girl, Jenna Young who lives with her father and his girlfriend, Shelly. Shelly has three children of her own and together, the four young children try to survive an extremely volatile atmosphere at home. Jenna’s father and his thirty eight year old partner are thoroughly inebriated most of the time. When Shelly gets into one of her alcoholic rages she wrecks havoc, destroying furniture and trying to physically harm Jenna’s father. Jenna then has no option but to dial 911 and seek shelter with the police. This only serves to further enrage her father and his partner. To make matters worse, Jenna’s father sodomises her on a regular basis. A terrified Jenna is too scared to say anything. She tries her colossal best to ward off her father during these night time rituals but he placates her with, “I made you. You are part of me.” Her cries for help go unheard. Is it any wonder then that this young girl’s life is so messed up! With no one to turn to, Jenna learns to cope the only way she can. She takes to slashing her wrists repeatedly in an effort to blanket one pain with another. Becoming anorexic is another result of the tumultuous conditions she lives in.

One day, Jenna tortured and confused, meets with a road accident and is taken to the Accident and Emergency room at a local hospital. There a nurse on duty sees the slashes on her arm. Jenna is admitted for psychiatric treatment and thus begins another journey. It is a slow and painful recovery process which takes her eight horrendous years in and out of the psychiatry wards but at last she begins to realise that she is the victim and not the perpetrator of all that has happened to her. She begins to deal with depression, a borderline personality disorder and her severe post traumatic stress disorder by writing her thoughts down. These take the form of journal entries or poems.

Just Listen is book about realization. It is not only the story of a young woman’s struggle with herself and her environment but also a cathartic process where the very act of putting down the words on paper appears to cleanse the soul of this young woman. The author takes her reader through corridors of sheer pain; sometimes there is light visible at the end of a light, but more often, it just dissolves into more pain and heartache; but in the end, this woman survives and comes out a winner. She reaches out to hundreds of other people who are going through similar pain and implores them to speak out. For the rest of us out there, she just wants us to listen.

This 248 page book is an interesting read. It requires some professional editing and proof reading which I think would vastly improve the quality and thereby the sales. The work is available as an ebook on Kindle through Amazon. I am happy to recommend this e book.

Product Details
Author : Jenna Young
Genre: Memoir
Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 255 KB
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Language: English

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Journal entries- January 2004

I look back on these often to see how far I have come. It also makes me grateful for how wonderful my life is now. These entires are also in my memoir, along with many, many others. ( Names have been changed.)

"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

How I hope that is true. This is killing me, and I caused it. I know there is no one to blame but myself. She won't even talk to me right now. She only went to work for a couple of hours and then when she came in she told me to clean out my car. When I went to get the key all of my keys were off the ring, including the ones to the house. I don't understand that at all. It's not like I am going to go out and make copies of them or anything. I guess that means I have to be out of the house even sooner than I thought. I found a couple of rooms to rent in the paper, but I don't really have any money right now because I spent it all on the car. The car that I never wanted, the car I always knew I wouldn't be able to drive.

At least tax return time is coming up, but I don't think I will be staying here that long. I really just wish right now I could pack up a couple of bags and jump on a bus or a plane back to Houston. Of course I could do that, except for the fact I don't have a place to go. I feel so incredibly LOST right now. So lost it is unbelievable.

My aunt gave me my scale back. Or, more accurately, threw it on the couch next to me. I almost think she would have thrown it at me if I hadn't been holding one of the cats.

I still can't believe they took my keys off my keychain. That is just mean. I wonder if I had them here in my room if they would have asked for them. I mean, that is so final, the ultimate "You don't live here anymore". What if somehow or another they kick me out completely? I really wish I had more money. I should have been more careful with my money and saved more. Well, there are a lot of things I wish I would have done. I could beat myself up for hours over that sort of thing, but I know that won't do me any good. I just really need to figure out what I am going to do, and soon, before I loose what is left of my mind.

This is so not how I hoped 2004 would turn out.


My entire life has just been torn apart. I really do not see any reason to go on. I would kill myself tonight except there is the chance that I would not succeed. Well, no, that is not entirely true. I don’t really want to die; I just don’t know how much longer I can go on.

Aunt Laura told me today why she hasn’t been speaking to me. Now, I don’t know why, she would not tell me, but for some reason she believes that I have been lying about everything. She accused me of lying about being sexually abused by my father. I cannot believe this. I would never lie about something like this. She is being so horrible towards me right now. She truly believes that I have been lying all this time. She said that I am just mad because my father actually made me work when I lived with him and that I have made up this story to get money. She actually said this to me! It is so incredibly horrible. I just can’t believe that she believes that. I don’t think everything has truly hit me yet, I feel like I am in a nightmare. She told me I have three days to move out.

Thank God Richard is helping me out with the money because I only have about five dollars to my name right now. I will have to figure something out or else I will be on the streets, and it is damn cold here. I feel so alone right now. I have no one. I am afraid to try to talk to anyone else in the family because they might believe the same thing that she does. I wish I knew what caused this to happen. I asked her and she said it was “none of my f-ing business.” I wish that I had never told anyone about the abuse. As hard as living in silence was, this is 100 times worse. I wish I had never come here in the first place. I wish that more than anything right now. I tried so hard to talk to her during all this but I could not get a single word in. She was screaming at me and cussing me out. I wanted to open the car door and throw myself out onto the highway, I really did. But if I had done that she would have probably just taken it as an admission of guilt, and I AM NOT LYING!!!!!! If I do kill myself that will be my suicide note. “I am not lying.” It will be as simple as that. Maybe then they would believe me.

But really, there is no use in killing myself. I am already dead inside.

I am still completely numb inside right now. I spent the entire day here in my room going through my stuff. I canceled my classes at the college, which was very disappointing after all the time, money and effort I spent to get in, but in comparison to my real problems, not being able to go to school is nothing. I mean, my worst nightmare has come true. I really don’t care about anything right now. I am going to call either Nicole or Sue tonight, I might as well use my phone while I still have it. I already paid for this month, but I’m sure they are going to take it. My stomach hurts so much right now, my chest is so tight. I feel so sick, my anxiety is through the roof. I have never been so uptight and lost and scared and mad and everything else. I am really mad, and really hurt that she turned on me. I mean, why? Because of something my lawyer said? Some random person that met me once? I will never, ever for the life of me understand this. It is a good thing I am not fully feeling the effects of this yet. If I was feeling everything right now, I would probably loose my mind. But I think that is already happening. If only I had some money, I would be out of here so fast.

God, please help me get through this. I cannot get through this alone. This is killing me. I just can’t stand this.

Help me please.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Reconnecting with those from my past

I will never have a relationship with my family. Never. This is something I have come to terms with, something I have made peace with. It saddens me that our future children will be missing a whole set of grandparents, great aunts and uncles, cousins, etc., but we will just have to make sure to give them enough love to make up for their absences. They will have us, and a part of my husband's family, and we will make sure that is enough somehow.

I have lost friends, lost friends who couldn't deal when things got bad. Friends who ran when they saw me falling apart, instead of being there to catch me when I fell. This, too, I have accepted, although it gets lonely sometimes.

There are others from my past I have been trying to reconnect with. Two are briefly mentioned in my memoir, "Bill" and "Ann". Bill was the first, and only, positive male role model I had growing up. While I was being abused by my father, I saw how he was with his daughters: he was exactly what a father should be. I lived with them for a period of time when I was 13, and I had always wished I was their daugther. They were kind, patient, understanding, loving, fun and yet still firm when they needed to be. At that point in time I had been abused for two years, and I got to see what my life should have been like.

Before publishing my book, I decided to contact them. I had no idea where they lived, but they have a unique last name and happen to be in a band, so just one google search and I found them. I sent them an email right away telling them who I was and that I would like to get back in touch with them. I received a reply a few hours later, from a very excited Ann and Bill who said they had always wondered what had happened to me (I more or less disappeared when I was 19, I am 28 now) and invited me to their house and to one of their shows. I was so excited to have this connection from my past! One of the few happy, positive parts of my life at that time. Then, the same day, they ask where my father is, how he is doing, what his phone number is.

Having had just reconnected with them, I wasn't going to go into the entire story of my life. I simply told them I did not know where he was, that I had not talked to him in several years. I asked them to please not tell him where I was, that it was very important he didn't find out. I explained that I wasn't in any kind of trouble or anything, that my father wasn't who they had thought he was.

I never heard back from them. I sent several messages after, one even offering to send them a copy of my book to explain.

I know they don't know anything, because Jenna Young is my pen name. I doubt they had talked to him and he told them some crazy story since they didn't know where he was, but it is possible they found him.

I don't know what to do with this. I'm confused as to what had happened. They were SO excited to hear from me, now nothing. I just don't understand.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

First professional book review!

‘I made you, you have to let me. I can do what I want.’

Jenna Young’s Just Listen – A Memoir is a persuasive account of one survivor of sexual abuse, depression and self injury including eating disorders.

Just Listen available as a Kindle download and paperback work from Lulu is a work comprising 14 chapters. I will detail Chapter 1 more heavily because it sets the tone, pace and understanding for the chapters following.

At age 21 Jenna Young found herself in a psychiatric hospital following ten depression years during which time Jenna had been bulimic was becoming anorexic and had resorted to self mutilation to help alleviate the pain she had carried for years after learning at an early age to hide her feelings.

The book opens just after Christmas as Jenna is recovering from a car crash which left her wearing a cast and walking on crutches, she had a job she enjoyed, friends and a life which seemed to be on track.

During a shopping trip another car crash taking place in front of her triggered
emotions she was unable to stifle and ultimately led Jenna to a hospital ER where the nurse quickly noted the scars on her wrist, began to question and a volunteer stay at South Pines Psychiatric Hospital, psychological evaluation and the question, ‘Have you ever been sexually abused.’

Able to at last face the awfulness of the ordeal, to begin talking about the experience, and receive the help and needed reassurance that all victims must have; Jenna began the long road to recovery. Eight days after she signed herself into the Hospital Jenna was released to first face the Confrontation she had to have with her abuser. She sent him an email. His response did not address the abuse, rather he told Jenna he had had a bad childhood. Jenna’s predictable reaction to having no release to her own pain was more cutting,and a second go round at South Pines Psychiatric Hospital.

Jenna’s recovery was a long hard walk filled with stress, learning to deal with
the relentless of the past, able to face the stress, and talking two steps forward
and one back as is experienced by most who have undergone repeated, ongoing anguish.

For a time during the six months Jenna experienced beginning with the first
hospitalization episode, facing the abuse, dealing with stress, flashbacks and
nighmares, more cutting episodes, suicide attempts and desperation plus more
times spent in the hospital were the norm in Jenna’s life, at last Jenna hit what
she realized was ROCK BOTTOM and the long road to recovery could actually begin.

Interspersed within the sequence of events are narratives from Jenna’s journals
written during that period in her life as well as, poems, and letters and emails
from her grandmother. Friendships made and lost, relatives who at first believe
and then deny that the abuse took place are all a too familiar part of most survivor stories.

The last four chapter titles Starting Over Once Again. Falling Fast to the Ground, Picking Up the Pieces and at last A Whole New World sum up and round out the work.

‘I was abused, but that abuse will no longer define me, it is not who I am.’

Jenna Young has written a compelling narrative filled with the denial of abuse,
despair that accompanies such denial and the long road to recovery. Jenna’s story is one that counselor’s, teachers and others can recognize and understand. Familial denial makes recovery even harder, however it is no way negates the impact of the tale.

Today Jenna Young has continued her recovery to the point that she is now at a healthy weight, no longer finds solace in self mutilation, accepts that abuse, the friendships or relationships lost cannot dictate her future and has in fact found happiness in marriage and can plan a future filled with happiness, hope and children with a spouse who is understanding, patient and loving.

Happy to recommend Jenna Young’s Just Listen – A Memoir especially for those who may themselves have been abused as children, for counselors, high school library and home book shelves.

A few typos noted.

Chapter titles include:
Chapter One: The Breakdown
Chapter Two: The Confrontation
Chapter Three: South Pines, Part Two
Chapter Four: The Silent Treatment
Chapter Five: South Pines, Part Three
Chapter Six: Deeper into Darkness
Chapter Seven: South Pines, Part Four
Chapter Eight: Falling Apart
Chapter Nine: A New Beginning
Chapter Ten: Wherever You Go, There You are
Chapter Eleven: Starting Over Once Again
Chapter Twelve: Falling Fast to the Ground
Chapter Thirteen: Picking Up the Pieces
Chapter Fourteen: A Whole New World

During her road to recovery Jenna Young learned:
50% of woman who were sexually abused later develop some form of an eating
disorder; as an anorexic 5’6” 107 pound woman Jenna felt herself fat.
Reviewed by Molly’s Reviews
molly martin
Product Details and Shipping Information from Amazon
TITLE Just Listen - A Memoir
AUTHOR Jenna Young http://jennayoung-justlisten.webstarts.com/
GENRE Memoir
Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 255 KB
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Language: English

Friday, June 18, 2010


Just a month ago, I published my memoir. It took me years to finally finish it, and I was very apprehensive about putting my story out there for the world to see. Given the way my family reacted to me when I broke my silence, I was afraid everyone else would do the same.

But, instead, the complete opposite has happened.

I have had dozens of people write me, telling me their stories. Telling me that I am an inspiration to survivors everywhere. Telling me how strong I am. THAT is exactly why I wrote my memoir, created the websites, started this blog. I want others to know they are not alone, that they are worthy, beautiful, whole.... despite what they may have been told in the past.

I never have seen myself as someone who is strong. In all honesty, I had always viewed myself as very weak. For allowing the abuse to continue for as long as it did, for keeping silent for so long, for turning against my body, slowly destroying myself with each cut, by engaging in destructive and dangerous eating disorders.

But, I have learned, I am strong. I survived it. I moved past it. I found a way to get the pain out and turn in into a strength that I can share with the world.

It pains me more than words to say to know just how many people have gone through what I have been through. I wish I could reach out to all of you and take away your pain, but I can't. But what I can do is hold your hand and let you know that you are not alone, and that things will get better. You have to believe that, IT WILL GET BETTER!!!

Seven years ago, in 2003, I was 21 and thought I couldn't go on any longer. I wanted to die and damn near managed to accomplish that. Dear God, if only had I known then, if only I had listened to everyone that told me that I would pull through, that things would be better, I would have never done the things I did. My life is so different now, it's like the me I am now and the me I was then are two separate people. Yet I still carry her memories, I still have her scars. I still have her fears and insecurities, but I have so much more than that as well. I have a wonderful husband, a man who loves me for all that I am, unconditionally. I have lost many friends, but the ones I do still have are friends in the greatest sense of the word. I have met many people because of this book, who I will always hold near and dear to my heart.

It's been an emotional journey, and I'm only a month in. I alter from feelings of great pride and accomplishment to utter terror and fear of rejection. Not everyone who I know in real life even know I have written a book yet, know a past.nything about my past. Some do, and haven't given any response to it at all, which makes me think they don't agree with me putting my story out there.

But I am so glad I did it.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

If I can only change one life......

If I can only change one life, all the pain will have been worth it.

If I can only change one life, I can say that I finally found my purpose.

If I can only change one life, I can know that I did the right thing by putting my life out there for the world to see.

It hasn't been easy. I have only expressed the excitement about publishing my memoir, but it's not like it is about a book about making ice cream. It's a true account of the years of suffering I endured, and it wasn't easy to write. It has brought many things to the surface once again, but now I am strong enough to properly process them, and let them go. To be grateful for my life, after having coming so close to loosing it. To be grateful to have found love, when I had thought I was too damaged to ever deserve it. To be grateful for the friends I have made, even though I lost so many.

I just hope that I can change someone's life, even in the slightest way. Just to let someone, somewhere, know that they are not alone.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Waiting for my copies to arrive

I am anxiously awaiting for the arrival of my first set of books. The copy I ordered for myself and my husband should be here in a couple of days, and my first set that I have already sold or am going to be giving out should be here this week as well. I'm really hoping everything looks good, as the author, editor, formater and publisher it was a pretty big job.

I went to PostSecret.com yesterday morning as I always do, and was very saddened by a postcard written by someone who was planning on killing themself. That card stayed in my mind throughout the day, and later I went back to see if there had been any responses to it. I was surprised to find a facebook link, leading to a group titled "Please Don't Jump." About 10,000 people had already joined even though it had only been up for part of a day, and there were just as many comments telling the poster how valuable his/her life is, how much they are loved and wanted in this world. There have been times in my life where I have found myself loosing faith with humanity, but this here is an example of how beautiful the world truly is. Yes, there is violence and hate in this world, but the love can, and will, overpower that. As of now there are well over 20,000 people in that group. I hope and pray to God that the poster sees it and realizes that his/her life is worth living.