Tag: self-reliance

Like I Tell The Kids: If You Don’t Tell ‘Em What You’re Doing, They’ll Think You’re Doing Nothing


Don’t take up too much space.

It’s not nice to talk/think/write/focus so much on yourself.

Who do you think you are?

(which was really more of a statement than a question).

These are some of the messages that came at me from all directions during my formative years, and let me tell you what: they burrowed in deep and took a tight hold. Despite my Big Birthday, I still need reminding every now ‘n then (like yesterday, for example), and I thank my son Kipp for splashing a little of his wisdom on me and wrapping it around my finger as a constant reminder that it’s not only okay, it’s imperative that I speak up and tell people what I want and need instead of wishing, hoping, thinking, and maybe even praying that they’ll get it on their own. It’s okay, for example, to tell the hair stylist that I need a towel under my neck at the wash basin. And it’s okay to open my mouth and tell my friend that I’d like her to occasionally ask me how my writing is going. And to tell another friend that I’d sure appreciate it if she’d give me credit when using my words. That it’s okay if I look my mother right in the eye and tell her that I need and want more than anything for her to see me as the creative, funny, trustworthy, honest, reliable, responsible, talented, caring woman I am. Cause you know what? I just can’t waste another nanosecond sitting around waiting to be discovered.


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While I stitch, I ponder self-reliance, and as I re-read Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Essay II: Self-Reliance, these words capture me:

What pretty oracles nature yields us on this text, in the face and behaviour of children, babes, and even brutes! That divided and rebel mind, that distrust of a sentiment because our arithmetic has computed the strength and means opposed to our purpose, these have not. Their mind being whole, their eye is as yet unconquered, and when we look in their faces, we are disconcerted. Infancy conforms to nobody: all conform to it, so that one babe commonly makes four or five out of the adults who prattle and play to it. So God has armed youth and puberty and manhood no less with its own piquancy and charm, and made it enviable and gracious and its claims not to be put by, if it will stand by itself. Do not think the youth has no force, because he cannot speak to you and me. Hark! in the next room his voice is sufficiently clear and emphatic. It seems he knows how to speak to his contemporaries. Bashful or bold, then, he will know how to make us seniors very unnecessary.

” . . . mind being whole, their eye is as yet unconquered, and when we look in their faces, we are disconcerted.” Those words especially demand my attention and make me think of Nancy.

I think of so many people who have the faculties and ability to be self-reliant but steadfastly refuse, insisting instead on living their life as a victim, as perpetually put-upon, as one who is entitled. They prefer dependency, finding self-reliance too hard, too heavy, unfair. Then I think of Nancy who is self-reliant only in the realm of physiologically involuntary reflexes, and I ponder and wonder some more.



She is my developmentally disabled sister-in-law, Nancy,
and I am Jeanne, the woman who flat-out loves her.
Go here to start at the beginning.

a month with my mother: day 6


today i am thinking that sometimes receiving is itself a gift.

and i wonder why feeling needy
every once in a while
is such a vile thing.

answers are hatching, but
more incubation time is needed.

so many things are
washing up on the beach
during this month with my mother.

some i bring in and ponder.
other things i toss back into the ocean.

to those who took the time to reassure me, thank you.
you are salve to my soul.

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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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