If I could do anything. If I could be anyone. If I could do anything this very moment with my life-what would I do?

I would redefine the word “overwhelm”. In a positive sense, in the most beautifully positive and impactful way possible.  Because if I could find a way to put it into words and describe it, it might just describe the way I feel this very moment. I wonder if the way I feel could ever fit into one word-but I’ll try.

I am overwhelmed. If that’s the word that could describe it-at the massive amount of people who have reached out to me to tell me that they support me, they love me-that they want me to carry on.

I am overwhelmed in many ways-and I’m uncertain of how to express or what to ask for. But I think I need your help, your patience and your understanding as I figure that out.

Due to the size and undertaking of this trip and the recent impact it has had not only on the breast cancer community-but for victims of sexual assault-I am beyond overwhelmed. So I have to ask- please forgive me if I don’t know what to say. Forgive me if I don’t know how to act. In a time where so much has happened to me- I’m just trying to absorb all the good and I don’t know how that is manifesting, or looks, or is different than what it looked like before.

When I see a familiar face or someone that loves me-I don’t want what happened to me be to be the thing I see in their eyes or feel in their arms when they hold me.

Tomorrow I’m getting in my boat.  And when I get into the sleeping cabin to chart my course I could choose to remember the horrific thing that happened to me.  I could make that choice. Or, I could choose to remember the beautiful nights I’ve looked up at a massive amount of stars that I ever knew existed. In silence, in beauty, alone, safe and humbled.  I could choose to remember the nights I fell asleep after meeting survivors and supporters from all over the country-who met me, fed me, hugged me, loved me-before I stepped into Liv to rest my mind and body each night. Each beautiful night, for weeks on end.

I could focus on the overwhelming outpour of support that has come my way since I was in this boat. Since black chalk lined the cabin and doors to take finger prints from someone who took away a moment of my life I never want to re-live.

I could focus on those few terrible moments. I could let those few minutes take away more seconds, more minutes, more days and weeks and years of my life. But I won’t. Why? Because I have a choice.

And I choose to get in that boat with a smile on my face tomorrow morning. I choose to row-proudly for something I believe in. To keep moving. To get back to Chicago and celebrate the lives we’ve changed, will change-and continue to inspire others by finishing what I started.

Thank you for overwhelming me. I could not be more hopeful and excited about all that’s ahead.

I’ve said it once, I’ve said it twice-and I’ll say it again with more confidence beaming from every syllable than ever before…



20 comments on “Overwhelmed

  1. no words on your part needed you just row the eyes of the world are routing you on, your are special strong and dedicated to what you believe in it is the rest of us that owe you you have this in the bag a feat that no one else had done but you did it amen

  2. Jenn,

    I am so proud of the woman that you have become.

    I have been sharing your journey with my son (Mickey 9) …letting him know about the good and bad of the world. He has decided that he will collect donations for ROW in lieu of his birthday presents this year. Thank you for being a role model for him. You are teaching children through your selfless service and your determination ! Go ROW !

    And go my sweet dear girl. Please know that my thoughts will be wrapped around you bringing faith, strength, and joy.

    Mrs. Mik

  3. Great post, Jenn. Love the pic in front of the bridge too. Love you and miss you! Can’t wait to see you on land again.

  4. Remain overwhelmed. It keeps you balanced. But choose… to dominate this. It is your choice, and your choice is retribution for ours. Keep rowing, because you row for us. The ones that weren’t so able to fight him off. Hug Liv, clean her up, and embrace her. Understand that YOU are the one in control now. Yell it out at the top of your lungs. Do whatever it takes, but harness that power, and GO HARD. GO VERY HARD. Make NO apologies and JUST DO IT.

    Jenn, we have your back. Thousands of us. Trust us. He’s one. We are thousands. We believe in you. DO THIS.

  5. Your journey is an inspiration to so many. Kepp that positive focus. The world needs alot more of it. “You got this!”

  6. Thanks for sharing your goals, your heart and your life with us all-I believe in the power of prayer and am sending lots your way. Sweet dreams,I pray the Lord of the universe overwhelms you with His love.

  7. Don’t worry about figuring out how to express yourself or how to act. None of us who are out here supporting you are expecting anything from you except what you are already giving. We will continue to support you, and hopefully that will help you carry on. And as Dory (Nemo) said “Just Keep Swimming”

  8. From just the little bit I’ve read about you and your endeavour – You are an amazing woman on an amazing journey. Pushing through adversity the way you have is a testement to your person. Very admirable. Safe travels….

  9. As you speak up truthfully about your sexual assault you are giving permission to many to do the same. Keeping it put away and off to the side will not make it not happen, it already did. Speaking of it airs it out. Wounds heal better in the open.

    I believe that the answer to sexual abuse is to talk about it. Giving your feelings a voice. It is helpful to us as you share, the feelings you have returning to your cabin and how it now has a hurtful memory there…along with many more fabulous ones. Being honest and open about how you feel, is again, allowing others to see the impact abuse has on even objects, let alone your psyche.

    As the abuse came into your journey IT impacted how the rest of the journey would go. With more awareness and caution you now proceed.

    You thought you were only rowing for Cancer, but now you are rowing for sexual assault victims as well. We are watching and cheering you on.

    Don’t fight how abuse is changing you. Think about how it is changing you for the better. It takes courage and bravery to face it head on and you are.

    Thanks for being open and for allowing us to see a great example of how to deal with sexual assault. It is something that happened to you. It is now an experience you know, but it isn’t you. The You is how you lived after. I am cheering you on.

    Row forward being you!

  10. I learned about ROW and your amazing journey through a former ROW member’s blog and am inspired, amazed and in awe of all that you are! You are expressing yourself honestly, beautifully, and with all of the optimism that everyone who knows you has written about. As someone who learned to row a few years ago to conquer my own fears and anxiety, I know first hand the power of what you have created and am so thankful you are in the world. Wishing you continued joy and healing as you finish what you started, along with smooth water : ) GO ROW!

  11. Knowing peace that others are rowing with you and holding your hand in this great endeavor will carry you on in the rowing and life. Row on from some who is beginning!

  12. You are a great inspiration to thousands perhaps tens of thousands of people around our country. I am ready to contribute to a reward to the coward who attacked you and also will make a contribution to your Recovery on Water endeavor.
    With best wishes for a safe journey home.
    Very respectfully,
    Dr Pitts

  13. I just read about you, tonight, please speak out for all of us who are not as brave as you. My rape happened this past April in my home and unlike you, I didn’t have the courage to report it, something I’m very ashamed of now. I don’t know you, but I’m so proud of you and what you have accomplished. I know I had no control and I’m still trying to come to grips with that, my prayers are with you.