In this installment of The Tragedy Academy, Jay welcomes long-time friend Jennifer Menendez. Jennifer wears her heart on her sleeve and lets us in on the journey of her mother's cancer diagnosis. She illustrates to us the incredible life lessons learned through the lens of a grieving daughter
In this installment of The Tragedy Academy, Jay welcomes long-time friend Jennifer Menendez. Jennifer wears her heart on her sleeve and lets us in on the journey of her mother's cancer diagnosis. She illustrates to us the incredible life lessons learned through the lens of a grieving daughter.
🎀 Breast cancer diagnosis
🚶🏾♀️ Stepping away from the victim mentality
👏🏼 Helping others
💐 The Yellow rose
📝 Writing as an escape
✊🏼 Survivor of abuse
🤝 Finding help
🧏🏽♂️ Advice for young women
[02:03] In January of 2010, Jennifer's mother was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer and not wanting to be a burden on anyone; she waited until the tumor was protruding from her chest to treat it. After the birth of Jennifer's twin babies, her mother went into remission.
[06:53] When Jen's mom's cancer returned, this time as a stage 4 diagnosis, Jennifer took it upon herself to research radiation and learned that it does not affect the brain. Jennifer described what a fighter her mom was, to the point that she taught until 2014, having over 20 tumors in her brain.
[10:57] Jennifer attempts to explain how to step away from the victim mentally, though she explains that it's not that easy. Jennifer and Jay make a point of taking care of yourself to take care of others. Unfortunately for mom, she was too worried about becoming a burden on anyone to seek help earlier.
[19:27] In the later stages of her mom's cancer, she constantly asked about the yellow rose. Later, while going through all of her old mementos, she found 11 years' worth of her mother's writing, and in it was the talk of a yellow rose that turned red. Now Jennifer's life's goal is to ghostwrite a book on behalf of her mom based on the yellow rose.
[26:16] Jennifer lets us in on the escapism through writing. She discloses sexual, emotional, and physical abuse, and although her mother put up with so much to protect her daughter, that pain was too much, so writing was used as a way to cope.
[28:23] Coming from an abusive household, Jennifer reveals that this led her to abusive relationships. She assumed that abuse is how people showed their love. When she gathered the courage to confide in a friend, the friend met her with disdain and suggested suicide as an escape, not knowing Jennifer had already attempted that.
[36:04] Jennifer reveals that her mother was the guiding light to finding professional help. But before that happened, they were each other's shoulder's on which to cry. Together, they recognized their toxic environment and sought to escape together. Shortly after, they both attended the same university, which led to a Disneyworld trip, and turned into Jennifer was accepted into the Disneyworld college program.
[41:48] Jennifer offers advice for women who are in an abusive setting. She expresses how it is nothing to be ashamed of, and there's nothing wrong with finding professional help. The only important thing is that you surround yourself with a positive environment and seek help.
[46:43] Connect with Jennifer
Connect with Jennifer
Podcast: Jennifer Menendez
The Tragedy Academy is a show created to bridge societal divides in a judgment-free zone using candor and humor.
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