Tag: churnings (Page 3 of 9)



they were productive,
these women.
and more.

and sometimes,
sometimes for days on end,
they cried.
they cried silently and
without attracting attention
because to explain
in words
what every teardrop held
seemed an insurmountable task.

~~ :: ~~

today’s altar (cloth): determination

More about 365 Altars

cutting through


I’d like to add his initial to my monogram
Tell me, where is the shepherd for this lost lamb?

There’s a somebody I’m longin’ to see
I hope that he, turns out to be
Someone who’ll watch over me.

i’ve been a feminist all my life, and yet . . . these lyrics to the george gershwin song always bring tears to my eyes.


do i strive for self-reliance because of feminism or is it borne of disappointment and enough experience to know the truth behind the old saying “if you want something done right, do it yourself”? does it matter? and even though most days i want to be a self-reliant woman, i am not ashamed to tell you that way down deep, i want to be taken care of.

at least sometimes.

“can a woman be self-reliant and still feel betrayal and abandonment at the hands of another?” i recently asked a friend of mine who enjoys these chewy conversations as much as i do. of course one question begets another then another, such as: is self-reliance really the goal, and if so, what does desirable/healthy self-reliance look like? and: how has the journey to self-reliance hurt women? helped women? and last (for now) but definitely not least: say we want to be held, to be seen, to be taken care of (at least on occasion). is that possible to go hand-in-hand with being self-reliant? which, of course, leads us to still more questions about asking for help, vulnerability, worthiness . . .

you get the gist.

join in if you want. share your thoughts, your questions, your stories. the more the merrier . . .

~~ ::: ~~

today’s altar is dedicated to cutting through it – whatever “it” is, staying with “it” as long as it takes.

More about 365 Altars



from In Real Life‘s post on facebook today,
an adorable photo
and this caption:
“Why are you trying so hard to fit in
when you were born to stand out?”

and this good question from sandi faviell amorim of deva coaching:
“Question, play, challenge, inspire, nudge, shine => that’s me.
How do you express your greatness?”

let’s just call this
all the encouragement
i need . . .

i am tired of
being told
to be a cookie cutter
by governments
and schools
and cultures
and religions.

i don’t flock
and i don’t herd.
not any more.

(don’t say i didn’t warn you.)

:: ~ ::

Today’s altar is this little altar cloth,
dedicated to the precious,
we all are.

More about 365 Altars



i am agog
with images,
and i want to stitch
most of them
but sometimes
(more often than not)
when i pick up cloth
and thread a needle,
i see blank.
it’s neither white
or black
just the color
of nothing.
and then i worry
if i ever really
saw any images
in the first place
or if this is a sign
that i’m not to stitch
the images.
maybe i’m just
going crazy,
my creative capability.

things swirl
and grow.

who do i think i am,
(there’s no question mark
because that is no question.)

i refuse to live
in nothingness,
so i turn my hands loose
to grapple.
to gather
and join
and to give
my hands
without interference,
i set my brain
aside in a playpen
and turn it loose.

or do i?

is that even possible?

i remember the delightful
conversation i had with my son’s
girlfriend this past
sunday morning.
she regaled me with
the overlay
of her undergraduate
humanities studies.
at the essential core
was identity
and from there,
each year was
spent reading about
and pondering
identity in
specific contexts.

i want a copy of her
(is this how you say
“more than one syllabus”?)
(i’m fluent only in
english and southern,
you know.)
when she can dig it
out of storage
so i can forge
down that same
will i find myself
there in the books
she read
so many years ago?
will i finally know
who i am
why i’m here
and what i am
supposed to do
on my stay?

do i make too much of this?
where “this” is
my self,
my life?

why can’t i just be satisfied
to be here,
to take one day
at a time,
living it
wherever it takes me?

am i too big for
my britches
in even considering
that i’m here for a
particular purpose?

is that too high falutin’?

who do i think i am?

is that the voice of
my big, bad

and as if that isn’t enough,
i’m on the verge
of a new identity,
one that has me
and pinging
and tumbling
in emotional
and existential

:: ~ ::


my mother loves irises,
and they are beginning to
fill her backyard
with color.
seen through my macro lens,
they appear as
an entryway.
perhaps not a yellow brick road,
but a road nevetheless.
a road leading into
the unknown.
into possibility.
into Mystery.
an altar
of the finest
most inviting
(if not the most unsettling)

More about 365 Altars

s.o.s. (read that any way you want to)


i am a mess.

maybe it’s being on the other side of another birthday, but i doubt it has anything to do with that one particular day of the year. it would seem that i’ve had enough birthdays by now to know who i am and what i’m about – don’t you think so?

but i don’t. don’t know what i’m all about, i mean.

i am going to die without feeling like i have any substance, any particular usefulness.
and that kills me.

i have stories – stories gone deep. stories of abuse lived through. stories of childbirth by cesarean without anesthesia. stories of being mugged and raped and loved. i’ve lived stories that ended with awards and accolades, stories that can always be counted on to conjure laughter, stories that can be counted on to conjure tears.

but do my stories point the way?


i am a good storyteller.
and i bear witness pretty good, too.
i am a good teacher.
i am a good student.
i know my way around the stage and love being there.
i am an introvert by nature.
cloth is in my blood.
laughter (along with southern) is my native tongue.
i am a champion of women, loving nothing better than encouraging, applauding, cheering, and holding space as they claim, reclaim, and proclaim their gorgeous genius and genuine glory. every woman out there has it, no doubt about that.
lately i’ve shifted into a quieter way of being in the world, preferring less and less words and more and more silence.
i’m more about the visual now, preferring to step aside and let photography, cloth pieces, and altars speak to and for me.
i love to perform.
i love to be alone.
despite my several degrees, i know that lived experience is the best teacher and a valid form of evidence and research. nobody will ever convince me otherwise.
i am anti-flocking through and through, preferring to commit, hear, and cheer original, independent thoughts – or better still, theelings which combine thought with feelings.
i have authority issues, and i’m not afraid to own them.
my post-graduate life falls under the heading of “body as cache of knowing.” and it is, you know. our bodies are most definitely caches of knowing.
i never read fewer than 4 books at a time, mostly non-fiction because the sentences in fictional books tend to be too damn short.
i have been an end-of-life doula on several occasions, and despite my partner quitting after the first session of my only acting class ever because i couldn’t die to suit her, i seem to be quite good at helping other people die well.
i have these flash images that beg me to create them, and so i do. eventually. (just wait’ll you see what i’m doing with the party frock, the wedding veil, and the sheers i took out of my great aunt’s house last month.)
i recently decided to memorize bits of poetry and recite them as a way of marking the hours of the days. (i don’t know why i put that in here. it just seemed like a good idea at the time.)
if you ever want a room cleared, call me and i’ll sing. i don’t do it well, but oh my goodness, how i do love to sing. and twirl. i love to twirl.

who am i?
what am i about?


people leave on facebook status updates and blog posts, and i think “okay, that must be It because they are responding to it.” but then i wonder if that’s really true and if i’m falling back into the old familiar pattern of contorting myself to please, so i step aside and into something else.

will the real jeanne please stand up?

i do vision boards and collages,
i brain dance,
i story board these things,
trying to find where they intersect,
searching for the one word – the One Single Word –
that houses them all.

eclectic? can we say eclectic?

over on instagram and pinterest, i say “I’m just a red dirt girl, fluent in English & Southern, Charming & Cranky, I write, i stitch, i perform. Cloth is my bones, stories are my blood, laughter is my oxygen, & photos my floss.” and that’s true – but what’s the main word here? the main theme? how do these things tie together and is that about being or doing? and as if that’s not enough, how do those things make the world a better place?

when people ask me the dreaded “what do you do?” i want to be able to tell them in one word: i _______.
but you should see my business cards.
all of them.
i have enough to shingle the house, you know.

i get hung up on thinking about what would people pay me to do. that one always trips me up, and for the life of me, i don’t know why i continue to consider money the best indicator of worth.

i want to kick patriarchy in the balls and be done with it. i was a feminist before there was such a thing, refusing – even as a wee girl with a big sweet tooth – to ingesting or gifting any of those candy hearts saying “be mine.”

do i flit around too much?
do i not give things enough time?
my 2012 words are “stay” and “surprise.” intimately linked, i’m finding out.

the 365 altars project was a spur-of-the-moment idea that continues to hold great appeal to me . . . even if i’m afraid to create an altar. and it sure seems big enough to wrap itself around all the things i mentioned here and a few i did not. for me, altars represent so much – pauses to stop and say hey to the sacredness of my life; visual expression that needs no words; an old-fashioned ear-wringing to organized religion as a reminder that they don’t hold the monopoly on worship and prayer and sanctuary and sacredness. oh, i have a slew of reasons, but you get the gist. an altar is more than a collection of things, an altar is a way of being in the world, and goodness me, how i do long to be an altar.

i am so confused.
and weary of being confused.

i know (read: italicized sarcasm) i’m supposed to know what i’m supposed to do – supposed to know that all by and of myself, but i don’t and not knowing adds a layer of less than to the mix.

so hey, if you see a connection here, if it is brilliantly clear to you what i do and how i can earn my keep for the rest of my time on earth, i sure do wish you’d let me know. send me a smoke signal from the edge of the forest cause i’m in the middle where it’s dark and all i can see is bark and briars.

remembered lightness


there are things i want to write,
but i distract myself
with the to do lists,
with productivity,
with letting worthiness
be defined by accomplishment.
i do that rather than
come here and write
because i don’t have
an outline,
no rough draft
i don’t know the ending.
i can’t write a neat, tidy
essay that would net me an A+.

i no longer want to be the
girl who is defined
by how she theels
others see and interpret
her –
i don’t.

is that possible?


when i ask that she not put
certain things on facebook,
is that protecting her?
in a way.
and yet when i soften my eyes
on the word “protection”
the “yes” doesn’t come
as quickly
and as surely.

people will respond
to our words
as they will respond to
our words,
be they on facebook,
on a blog,
in a book,
or over a cup of
hot chocolate.

they will respond
through a filter
of their experience.
they will respond
via a mirror
of what they are
dealing with
in their own
at the moment.

does that diminish me?
does that define me?


if i own my own life,
and if i allow you to own yours,
isn’t that a gift
to both of us?


i look at the pictures of
kipp’s girlfriend.
i look at the pictures i snapped
that day in july
of the two of them
trekking up the falls
i look at the pictures
and my body
what it was feeling
as i snapped those photos,
the question remains:
can i rip off the bolts
and kick the slats out of the
can i release my heart
to romp freely in the lightness as it once did?
can i simply love her
without concern for
if i’ll ever see her again
if she’ll remain in kipp’s future
if she’ll love me in return?
can i just love her
i instantly love her?

she has a beautiful smile,
a long, beautiful neck
that scarves
fight over.
she is generous
and quick
with her laugh
and her smile.
she’s intelligent
in so many
important ways
that don’t have
anything at all to do
with her master’s degree.

can i love her without
crafting words
to explain
and justify?


when i defend myself,
is that protection-with-a-capital-p?
or am i not
once again
more concerned with
how another
will see me
more than i’m
with owning my own life?
doesn’t defending myself
make (and keep) me small?
and when i make (and keep) myself small,
doesn’t that make (and keep)
everybody else
and the world in general

from fallow to feisty


if you’ve visited in the past week, you know i’ve been in a bit of a fallow. and before i go one syllable further, i’d like to say to those of you who offered me pills and to those who offered me jesus: i know you offered from a place of caring, and i thank you for that.

my fallow is not depression. it is part of my creative process. the word fallow, as you know, refers to land that is left unseeded for a season in order to replenish the nutrients and minerals that nature restores during the resting season. during my fallow i wasn’t wallowing or wasting time. i was resting. replenishing, reflecting. i was taking care of myself. and though i never know how long a fallow will last (it isn’t about calendar or clock time), i woke up yesterday morning feeling refreshed and, well, feisty. plentiful, too as the words just keep squirting out of every nook and cranny of my being.

they’re not just words but clear realizations that i’m now ruminating on. and in that magical way that we can’t (and don’t need to) explain, yesterday was sprinkled with random (in the sense that none were scheduled ahead of time) phone and digital conversations with women enjoying the same quickenings, awakenings, shifts, signs of confirmation from the sweet spirit of surprise.

i have to go spiffy up the house in anticipation of the arrival of friends, but i’ll be writing more about this over the next few days – the big picture and the specifics. perhaps you’d like to join me . . .

acedia, my old friend


i am tired. tired to the cellular level. maybe it’s understandable, given the whirlwind life i’ve lived the past 4-5 weeks, maybe it is allergy-related, maybe the cold weather is bringing out the hibernator in me. i don’t know the reason, and honestly, i’m much too tired to spend energy on the why of it all, though i sure would like to know.

it started thursday afternoon when i got back home. i made the two trips to unload the car, dropping the bags just inside the door then collapsing on the sofa. i can’t even add the number of hours i’ve slept since them, i tell my friend, angela who urges me to just fall into it.

this morning i mustered the energy to shower and wash my hair. and while i was moving, i stripped the beds and got the laundry going thinking productivity might spur me on to energy. you know, the ole’ energy begets energy theory.

but i don’t know.

i am loathe to mention this publicly for fear women will look over their glasses, cluck their tongues, and urge me to get a prescription to rid me of the obvious depression.

which i don’t think it is.

my throat is a wee bit scratchy, so i use the excuse that if i don’t rest, i’ll get sick. i sleep while my husband is at work, and i feel so darn guilty sleeping during the day while he’s up and out early, going to a job he doesn’t exactly adore. he has to be tired, too, i think, so what makes me so special that i can flop and nap at will?

then a commercial comes on (i keep the television on to help me tell time) that sparks me to wonder if it’s easier/less tiring to just follow than to structure and live into your own life? is the path of least resistance the easiest? is it easier to have a label so you and everybody else knows what you do? is it easier to have a schedule to follow instead of having to assign and fill your own time? is it easier to have an office outside the home and structure of an office outside the home than to arrange your own life pieces?

i like the front end of projects – i know that about myself – so yesterday morning i gathered flower petals and wrapped and stuck, and it was fun . . . but tiring. i persevered, though, sticking to the the ole’ familiar behave-as-though script, but honestly, that’s wearing mighty thin about now, too.

i am who i am.

and that’s all i want to be.

but i declare it takes a lot of energy just to figure out who that is.

especially when i’m interested in so many things that may or may not intersect and overlap. i love cloth and writing, improv and laughter. i love telling stories – in fact, i have a brand new prop and two stories in the ready-to-tell stage . . . but i’m too tired to muster.

i like dancing and reading, but both seem to require a near insurmountable level of energy right now.

and i can’t really find anything that interests me.

okay, that’s not true. but i want to interest me. i want to be doing something that interests me instead of reading about what other women are doing that interests me. truth? i want both.

maybe the floundering is wearing me out.

maybe i’m just simply exhausted and feeding that exhaustion by falling into the pressure i put on myself to justify, to logically explain what is simply exhaustion.

maybe i just need to take angela’s advice (which is, coincidentally, the same advice i offer other women but am loathe to offer myself) and listen to my body’s wisdom, remembering that wisdom doesn’t need explanation. wisdom doesn’t speak the language of logic or tit-for-tat. i want – i desperately want – to be one of the women who leads us back into the realm of wisdom and embodiment, so why don’t i start right now by taking a nap without further scrutiny, apology, or question mark.

and this is true, too


“and this,” she perked,
pointing to the closed-door office
to her right,
“is the business office.”
“and this,” she perked
pointing to the closed-door office
to her left,
“is the financial aid office.”

“above us,” she continued,
“is the
President’s Office
saying the last two words
with a distinct tone of
“you don’t want to get sent

maybe it’s because we’re nearing the end of
the second week of back-to-back
college tours.
maybe it’s because it’s hot.
maybe it’s because i need chocolate.
maybe it’s because i’m just plain cranky to the core . . .

“but you can,” i countered
looking my nephew straight in the eyes,
“go there any time of your own initiative.”
then i told them about how when i was a student there,
and discovered that
the tape player had been stolen from my car,
i marched straightaway to the
president’s office
(said without a hint of reverence)
and announced “my tape player was stolen.”
to which the president looked across his massive desk
and said,
“well, i’m SURE it wasn’t a student.”
“can you believe a
college president
led with something
so stupid?”
i asked my nephew.

“i said don’t get SENT there,”
she perked
directly at my nephew.

i thought
cause i’m not
anywhere near the
sweet zen woman
i (sometimes) long to be.

when we reached the student union,
the mailboxes
more specifically,
i mentioned how
when i was a student there,
the mailboxes were in a different building
and i was assigned a mailbox on the top row,
so high i couldn’t get the key in the lockv
without the assistance of a stool.
she listened, then reached up
and tapped the top mailbox
with a key she held.

i thought
well, you know.

“and the most fun thing of all,” she said,
her perkiness ratcheted up
three full notches,
“is when you get a yellow
sheet of paper
saying that you have a
when you get one of those,
you come to this window
and pick up your package.
did you ever get
any yellow papers?”
she asked me.

“yes, i got yellow notices,
but it could sometimes
take up to two weeks
for me to actually
lay hands on my package
because the people
employed to staff the window
didn’t actually
open the window
unless they had absolutely
nothing else to do.
but the good news is: it was
most always worth the wait.”

with that, she whipped her head around
and asked
“did anything good ever happen
when you were here?”

to which i said
“there were moments.”

and then i kept my stories
to myself
and as we walked
and she talked
i wondered
why i told the
particular stories
i told.
what compelled me?

with the possible
exception of the
president’s office story,
which was pretty obviously
a thumbing my nose
at authority,
(though it was also
about not being afraid
to go to the top,
if that seems the right
thing to do at the time)
my stories
to theme around
of providing a counter
to the sparkling
being presented.
is it a good school, this one?
oh yes,
it’s a good school.
do bad things happen there?
absolutely, undeniably
and i’m just too cranky
to let that reality
and the ensuing opportunities for lessons of
and assertiveness
and resourcefulness

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