Fine Lines

It rained all night, giving us this view from here this morning:


and this:


Note: The preceding photos may or may not be visual metaphors . . .


I got up, showered, washed my hair. Would’ve gone to walk except it continued to rain hard all day long. I stitched my way through the day, preparing five more Envoy packets to go out. (Thank y’all.) The up and down, back and forth of the needle soothes me, assures me.

I am not holed up in a small room with the blackout curtains pulled closed. I am not wallowing. I am not whining. On the outside, I look the same. If we talked, I would make you laugh, and I would laugh alongside you. “If my cat would knead my back and shoulders like he kneads my thighs and chest,” I posted on Facebook, “I would buy him the good food.” I am the same save for one important detail: I laid something down yesterday, and you held me. Your comments and your emails, they swaddled me in gentle support. I don’t know when I’ve felt so seen, so held. Thank you.


Renae used the word “sorrow,” and that resonated deeply with my bones. I may laugh, but I still carry this sorrow. There is such substance in sorrow, in this deep, long, unnamed sorrow.


Fine lines separate a pity party from authenticity, distinguish whining from honesty, keep sharing from becoming a stage. While my brain screams “You get over yourself and stop this right now, Missy,” my bones whisper “You’re okay, Sugar.”


Happy feels like an obligation, something manufactured, something I do for others, something I am obligated to do for others, to make them comfortable, to make and keep friends.

Glee feels natural, organic, spontaneous. I can’t stop glee, and I don’t want to. It’s not heavy, not one thing I have to drag round. Its not scratchy or tiresome.

Sorrow feels, well, comfortable in a way. Like I’ve landed right where I’m supposed to be. And sorrow doesn’t exclude other emotions or other situations or other people. It’s inclusive, though not in the misery-loves-company-kind-of-way because I’m not actually miserable. Sorrow doesn’t assign blame but invites reflection and pondering.


My brain is my aggregator, my protector, my assimilator. I need my brain for so many reasons, but somewhere along the way, it got the big head, my brain did. Thinks thinking is The Only Thing That Matters.

My heart is the home of my spirit. Childlike, playful, spontaneous. Heart is home to glee.

My bones are home to my soul. They connect me with my ancestors, with something ancient and unspoken. I am finally learning to trust them enough to let them speak. Bones are the voice of wisdom.


My body is a cache of Knowing.

And of memory. All these voices, all these proverbial fingers wagging at me, they are remembered real. I have read them, heard them, interpreted them before. I have been baptized in them. Some come from well-meaning sources concerned with my well-being and safety. Others come from sources who don’t know me but speak with great authority. All promise a life of shame if I perform in a way that is disruptive, inconsiderate, inconvenient for others. Sadful is at the top of The List of Inconsiderate Inconveniences.

This avoidance of shame has guided me for so many years. For too many years.


  1. Renae C

    Jeanne, this is an amazing piece of writing.  Memory, fingers wagging, that shaming voice of authority.  How could you not feel the sorrow in your bones?  How I wish I could have stood beside that rushing river, beside you, today.  The earth can hold the sorrow, already does, like no one else can.  Much love…

    • whollyjeanne

      Ah, but you were standing here beside me . . . in spirit for now, but One Day, we’ll physically stand beside each other, and oh my goodness, how I do look forward to That Day. You’re so very right: earth can – already does – hold the sorrow, the memories, and so much more. And the falls wash them all away, clearing the way for what’s next.

  2. Merry ME

    Just wanted to add my voice to the chorus “you’re okay, Sugar.”

    • whollyjeanne

      We’re both okay, aren’t we Sugar?

  3. angelakelsey

    Beautiful, true, wise writing, Jeanne. xo

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Hey, Sugar! I'm Jeanne Hewell-Chambers: writer ~ stitcher ~ storyteller ~ one-woman performer ~ creator & founder of The 70273 Project, and I'm mighty glad you're here. Make yourself at home, and if you have any questions, just holler.

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