The Process of Reclaiming Myself

Avatar photo
Written by Jennifer Harbaugh

Are you trying to unplug from the life you have consumed yourself into? Join guest author Jennifer Harbaugh as she shares “The Process of Reclaiming Myself.

Written by Jennifer Harbaugh

Are you giving a lot of yourself to others, but end up losing who you are in the process? Are you trying to figure out to unplug from the life you have consumed yourself into, but don’t know how? I’m the same way and I finally found something recently that allows me to reclaim myself.

I recently went to my massage therapist few weeks ago, and what she told me was shocking. I have stress knots in my back and arms, and there should be no reason for me to have them at my age. I’ll be 26 years old in a couple of weeks, a scary thought struck me, “What if I never get a chance to get to know who I am and stay lost my entire life?” That just killed me. I may as well dig a burial plot somewhere and bury myself if I keep going at the rate I am going. I’m a substitute teacher, a tutor, volunteer secretary for a social justice organization, full time graduate student, and someone who is trying to survive the harsh world. Where am I in the long run-on sentence of what I am?

The process of reclaiming myselfOne day, a friend invited me to go to a Maple Syrup Festival in Cunningham Falls State Park, where there are a lot of hiking trails. After the festival, we took a long hike and arrived to a beautiful waterfall. I stared at the waterfall for a long time, and I felt there was something different about me at that moment. I realized I was smiling from one ear to another. Granted, my heart was still beating so fast from the hike, but I could feel my heart smiling as well, and that has never happened before.

I knew a part of myself has been discovered after being hidden in the darkness for a long time. The more I connect with the nature that the Earth has provided us, I reclaim pieces of myself that I have lost.

I am going through the process of reclaiming myself, so this is a learning process for me as I am making suggestions from what I have done so far.


  • Hiking on a low terrain trail on a beautiful day near your home. There are many hiking trails in the state parks all over the country you can use as a hiking ground. For those of you who live in hot weather during all year around, try to hike early in the morning, so you can stay cool as possible.
  • This is for the bike owners, or anyone who is interested in getting a bike. Take advantage of the 10 minutes break you may have during the day and ride your bike outside and get that breeze of fresh air you need.
  • For those places where we get snow and cold weather, use that advantage to make snow angels or putting your tongue out and taste the snow. Sledding or tubing. Yes, at any age, you can do that, it does your heart good to be a kid sometimes. That helps you reclaim a part of yourself, allowing yourself to be free.
  • If you have a backyard, don’t hesitate to connect with the nature that way, from planting the roses, so you can smell your hard earned work to gardening, so you eat the food you grew yourself. For those of you, who doesn’t have a backyard, that is okay! You can get a beautiful pot you saw another day in the store and get soil and seeds of your favorite flowers and plant it right on your kitchen table.
  • Nurture your flowers/plants as much you want yourself to be nurtured. Think about that with everything you do, “I want me back, how do I do that?” How do the flowers grow? They get the nutrition of the water, sun, and soil. We need that ourselves, but replace water, sun, soil with love, laughter, and most importantly attention to yourself.

Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life — Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.TM Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.

What have you accepted in your life that took time, physically or mentally?
It took me a while to finally accept that I’m different from everyone else and I should not adapt myself to the society norms. So what if I am not thin? As long I am living a healthy lifestyle. So what if I don’t want to wear a dress and heels? As long I have clothes to wear everyday. I should be living the life I want, not the life the people want me to live.

What do you appreciate about yourself and within your life?
I appreciate the fact I am still alive and being given a second chance to reclaim myself. Not many people are lucky like me and I am grateful for that.

What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What goals do you still have?
My most rewarding achievement is that I exceeded everyone’s expectations of what a Deaf person can do. I have many goals, still…but, if I have to pick one goal and that is educating the world about the most important things in life.

What is your not-so-perfect way? What imperfections and quirks create your Identity?
Do I really have to tell? Okay, procrastination is my “not-so-perfect” way, probably the reason why it took me long enough to finally realize I need to start reclaiming myself at age 26. My imperfections are: biting my nails and being a worry wart.

How would you complete the phrase “I Love My…?”
I love my mind, I cannot believe that I came up with this article. So eternally grateful for that creativity part of my brain doing the hard work for me.

002 (2)Jennifer Harbaugh is living in Frederick, Maryland where she attended Maryland School for the Deaf and graduated in 2005. She got her BA in English from Pennsylvania State University in 2008, and now is seeking a MFA degree in Dramatic Writing from Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont. She’s working on getting her teaching certification in the state of Maryland, so she can teach and share her passion of literature and writing.

About the author

Avatar photo

Jennifer Harbaugh

Jennifer Harbaugh's passion of reading and writing started when she was a junior at Maryland School for the Deaf. She got her BA in English from Pennsylvania State University in 2008, and a MFA in Dramatic Writing from Goddard College in 2014. She just returned to graduate school, McDaniel College, for the second time to get a MS in Deaf Education after falling in love with teaching.


Leave a Comment