of beaches and bars: day 5


i’m feeling too exposed to do a video tonight.
tired, overly vulnerable
from being seen.

i think about being transparent.

easily seen through.

today i think about how the prefix “trans” means across, over, beyond.

i think about how doing the videos
went over and beyond
writing a travelogue about
how mother and i spend our days.
about how much safer the travelogue would’ve been.

i think about beauty
– i mean all kinds of beauty –
and lack thereof
if there is such a thing.

i think some more about being seen.
i think about how tired i am of thinking.

my children think nothing of posting their photos and videos all over the vast landscape of the internet. but for me to do a video was, well, it sure feels like a big – i mean really big – risk.

do i embarrass my kids?
not the funny-these-are-the-times-you’ll-remember-one-day
but the soul-twisting, i-won’t-be-home-for-thanksgiving-for-the-next-27-years

i remind myself that it’s time i live
– that i do, in fact, live –
outside the opinions, perspectives, reactions, and comments of others.
i tell myself that other people are interested and intrigued
by their own interests
and how that has nothing to do with me,
but this is one of those days
when it all sounds like
blah blah blah blah blah.

i feel vulnerable.
more than a little exposed
and scared.
downright, flat-out scared.

i am not pretty.
my hair needs to be cut.
i am overweight.
will people still like me?
talk to me?
want to be around me?

i obviously have no studio
no 3-point lighting.
and omg: that breezy beach so-called backdrop.
will people label me as cheesy? an idiot?

i tell stories about my mother
tell them with a southern accent.
will people call me a hick
and dismiss me
as having no depth or intelligence?

i share humorous stories
or maybe not so humorous, depending.
will others think i’m being disrespectful to my mother?

i consider laughter my religion,
finding humor an entertaining and valuable way
to deliver worthwhile messages
and navigate tricky relationship terrain.
i would hike up and down the world
swim in and out of clouds
tromp across oceans
and skip across mountaintops
championing the value of humor
is there really anything i
can do or say
to convince people that there humor can
be both sizzle and steak?

and as much as i know the value of humor,
as much as i enjoy cajoling laughter from those around me,
will i be branded worthless
even when and if i write something with my serious ink?


  1. Lalizlatina

    This makes me want to cry & laugh & put my arms around you & kiss you hard on the cheek. I watched your videos today & I felt a connection to you. You are beautiful, intelligent, and your accent! Well, I just have a thing for southern accents. I just can’t help it. Thank you for being brave enough to have this blog, for the videos, and even braver for sharing your fears.

    • whollyjeanne

      a hug and a kiss on the cheek are exactly what i need. thank you.

  2. Julie Daley

    Dear Jeanne,
    Your beauty shines through every single word of this post. You have shared yourself with us, your friends, your readers, and we have loved it all.
    I can so totally empathize with what you are feeling. Completely. And, I can’t know what it is you are feeling. I can attempt to find a similar experience in my life, yet I can’t know. What I can do is love you, completely and unconditionally. I can celebrate you and everything you have shared and written here…and everything you have shared on your wonderful videos.

    You are baring your real self here. You’re discovering who that real self is. We are bearing witness to your unfolding, your removing layers that have kept you hidden. It is breath-taking for me to witness, even when it takes your breath away to reveal.

    With so much love…

    • whollyjeanne

      salve. that’s what you and your words are, my friend. salve. and a rope with strands of beauty and truth and kindness and unconditional acceptance and welcome. a rope not to be used as a noose, but as a lifeline to hold onto as i make my way. thank you. and love.

  3. Mrswhich

    I love you.

    • whollyjeanne

      and i, you.

  4. angela

    Jeanne, you are my hero(ine).

    • whollyjeanne

      and you are mine. your unwavering support and encouragement and presence is everything to me. everything.

  5. emma

    Your vulnerability is beautiful and you are priceless. Please, please, please never forget that. xoxo

    • whollyjeanne

      emma. my always friend. the kind of friend i don’t have to talk to every day to be able to count on. thank you for your reassuring words. xoxo

  6. Mrsmediocrity

    you. are. beautiful. i knew it the first time i talked to you, your beauty shines right through.
    i understand these questions, and i am the same in so many ways, i hate pictures of myself, i avoid the camera, and when i don’t i almost always say ugh. to the result. we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves.
    i didn’t think or feel any of those things about you, i love your humor, i have a mother, and kids, and i love you.

  7. Sally G.

    I actually thrilled to see you use the word Trans Parent – exactly as you did, like that. You even went so far as to define the prefix Trans: across, over, beyond. And then ~ our paths diverged – because I saw the definition, and your process, differently.

    Trans (over, beyond) Parent. You are healing hurts right now Jeanne ~ and you’re doing it from the place where your core powers exist: Compassion and Humour. You are defining your Self separate from your Mother, and doing so in a loving way that respects you both ~ and when you’re done, you’ll find your Self in this beautiful Oasis, sometimes known as Forgiveness.

    I once heard this on Oprah: “Just because they loved you as much as they were able, does not mean that you received the love you needed or deserved.” That changed a lot for me – and helped me to feel less disloyal and less of a betrayer as I worked through my own Mother/Daughter healing.

    We are a mature audience – and from what I can see, we all love you very much. And something else I learned from Oprah? Sometimes your true family is not the one you were born into – but the one you choose.

    Much love …

  8. kipp

    Well, I’m 2 weeks late. But for the record, you’ve never been an embarrassment.

    (Okay, scratch that. I *was* a teenager at one point. But weren’t we all?)

    I love you. I think you’re beautiful. And I wish I could find an adequate way to express how proud I am of you.

    Be good. 😉

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