Tag: self

quests and questions

Who am I now?

What do I want next?

These are questions asked by Sally G. at her altar today, questions I ask myself regularly – questions I have asked myself for a long, long time. These are the questions at the top of the list of questions that enkindled 365 Altars.

What do I know, not What degrees do I have, but What do I know?

Who am I now – not who have I been, but who am I now?

What can I contribute, and not just in terms of money?

How does this longing look dressed in words?

Where do I go from here?

What does the culmination of all the things I’ve done look like?

and the ever popular: What is the purpose/Why am I here, anyway?

I look for clues in my childhood – what did I like that got shoved aside in the mad rush to adulthood? What did I want to do with my life when my life was the only thing that mattered, the only thing I was responsible for?

Inspired by Sally G, I place on my altar today a recording of the first record I purchased with my own money. I moved into the basement apartment that my daddy’s daddy declined to inhabit, and I took the record player that was replaced by a fancy new console entertainment center. On any given day, I’d put this 45 rpm record on the turntable, lower the diamond stylus onto the vinyl, and skate around and around and around the unfinished basement just outside my door, feeling completely free, completely in charge of my own destiny, completely sated. Anything was possible. I was capable, on the ready, and darn near invincible. It was enough just to be me.

It’s how I feel now only in the dark thirty hours on the occasional day.

It’s how I long to feel again on any given moment of any given day (minus the roller skating part, mind you).

As I skated, I knew with my entire being that this song was written for and about me. It’s still necessary to escape occasionally to go downtown and get lost in the crowd, to see brightly lit organized spaces filled with colorful goods that promise to make my life perfect (whatever that is). But I no longer want to leave home to dance. It’s no longer comforting, reassuring, or convincing, this notion that I can crawl through some escape hatch and leave all my troubles and worries behind. I am tired of being encouraged to live for the future.

I don’t want to have to leave myself to be myself.

So maybe I’m a wee bit further along on my quest to self definition, to self determination. And while the lyrics don’t hold what they once did for me, the music still beckons me to get up and dance right here, right now. (Which is good ’cause I’ve vowed to move more this year – preferring the word “move” eversomuchmore than “exercise.”)

And with lingering questions that outnumber answers, I leave you with Petula Clark singing the first record I bought with my own money: Downtown . . .


365 Altars: honoring our deepest sumptuous selves. 4/365

the nighttime visitor


it is late. dark. i am driving his truck, a vehicle that wraps itself up around me, making me feel small, making it hard for me to see where i am going. i start up the hill, and there is something right in front of me on the driveway. not a limb blown down during today’s rain, but an owl.

the owl is not threatened by the truck, has no pressing obligations.

the owl slowly turns to face me and remains standing there for several minutes, long enough to make sure i see it clearly. then it makes another quarter turn, stretches out its wings and flies its massive body into the woods to my right.

i am immediately calmed, confident, sure that seeing this substantial, gorgeous animal at this particular time, in the midst of several distressing situations, is no accident.

i hear the familiar voices. voices that are ever-ready to assure me that seeing this owl is not by design, but merely a random act of nature. “you read way too much into everything,” they tell me again.

then i ask Her: “what say you?” and without a moment’s hesitation She answers “you know why the owl was there.”

that’s all she says. she doesn’t scoff or scold. she answers swiftly and succinctly, her voice clear and confident. i’ve called on her several times over the past few weeks, and she never hesitates, never needs to think about how to answer. it’s as though she’s been there all along, ready. waiting.

but you can call me “Her Highest Petticoat Potentate”


or (and you might want to take a deep breath first) “ArchSupremest Of The Very Supreme And Sovereign pFemale Pharaoh Till The Cows Fly Home” for short.* the “Arch” is a nod to religion. the “Supremest” and “Supreme” – well, what’s a good title without accessories? and “Pharaoh” because everybody knows that’s a ruler with a bite. (among other things.)

i might make it “ArchSupremest Of The Supreme And Sovereign pFemale Pharaoh, TTCFH”. i haven’t decided yet. i mean, it’d make sense from a power position because it looks like a degree that was painful and took forever to obtain.**

this started out to be a post on something really important, but damned if i can remember what it was now. whatever it was, though, it was important, i know that much. something i felt i felt so strongly about i knew i needed a little title to give me credibility and power and to get some seriously serious attention. so i started poking around google, and, well, here we are.

i asked for suggestions on facebook***, and i got “queen” and “beloved leader”, and while i know you’re not supposed to torpedo ideas right out of the gate* x4, honestly, i don’t think i could make the “beloved” part stick after people heard what i was planning on proposing. (and still will once i remember it) (i’ll probably remember once i get this little title thing worked out).

“queen” comes with way too much baggage, and besides i checked, and out of all my pocketbooks, i don’t have a single one that looks all that queenly. no patent leathers. don’t have one without a shoulder strap, for that matter, and i ask you: how queenly would it look for a short gal like me to be dragging her pocketbook around on the ground behind her. (yes, i thought about kicking it out in front of me as i go but that’s not all that becoming to an all-powerful monarch either.) (and honestly, i haven’t been doing yoga nearly long enough to trust myself standing on one foot while the other one moves.)

pfunny that nobody suggested “president”. not that i’d even audition that one, anyway.

i played phoebe reece in the “farndale avenue housing estate’s townswomen’s guild’s dramatic society’s production of a christmas carol” not once but twice, and let me tell you, there’s a woman with p.o.w.e.r. but i plan to cower over more than the 7 people who saw me on stage, so how would everybody (besides those 7* x 5, of course) know to quake appropriately? it could be embarrassing and quite honestly, deadly.

then there’s my dog, named phoebe because the kids gave her to us as a christmas present during my first farndale gig.* x 6 and while it’s true that pfour-legged phoebe has the power-like-none-other to pull me out of the coveted writing zone to go fetch her and the tagalong cats a treat, i’m still just not convinced “phoebe” would be instantly recognizable as power to the untrained eye.

not too long ago, i was called to the amphitheater stage on the night “oliver!” closed on account of the cast wanted to give me The Most Beautiful Roses Ever. and when nancy admitted she didn’t know what to call me, fagin chirped in with “goddess” which i have to admit has a pretty nice ring to it, especially over the loud speakers and in front of all those people. but it sounds like i’d have to behave and look on the beautiful side of things, so maybe not.

now “mama” is a title that can pack a punch, but football just represents one segment of my intended subjects.

i want a kickass title. something that’ll size me up at a Woman To Be Reckoned With And Listened To Right Off The Bat. a title that’ll have people standing in line hours months ahead to purchase one of the pens i’ll use to sign my orders into, well, orders.* x 7 (and yes, i know the trick about using a different pen for each letter. i’m all over that cause “ka ching, ka ching” is sure to be one of my silent mottos.)

the blogess has already taken “czar” (i’d give her credit, but i don’t know how to reference a tweet* x 8 & 9) (even a funny one). and speaking of the bloggess, do y’all think she’d mind very much if i just copied her post and pasted it in over here at my place? i think i can photoshop out her face from under that cat (which i’m thinking would make a flattering informal crown when i’m out working in the royal yard or bagging up the royal trash or walking to the royal mailbox) and insert mine easy enough. i’ll keep her shoulders and the towel, of course. only seems fair.

plus i’d like to prove that i can be benevolent.

on occasion.

well, loyal subjects-in-the-making, since i’m not yet fully staffed, i am not only writing this little ole’ post all by my little ole’ self (Sovereign though i may be), i must go tend to some Very Important And Sometimes Onerous Things That Petticoat Potentates Must Do Whether They Want To Or Not.

so carry on.

and write if you get work.

* you know i’m such a sucker (a sovereign one, it goes without saying) for alliteration, i almost put a “p” in front of every word, but then i figured all those people who got hooked on phonics would sue me in hopes of paying for their rehab.

** the way i figure it, once i’m launched, at least one institute of higher learning (probably more) is gonna’ bestow some honorary letters after my name free of charge. might even throw me a little party with free food and open bar afterwards, too.

*** for now, i’m “injeanneious” there. or “jeanne hewell-chambers”. just in case you’re interested.

* x 4 even though i can, you know.

* x 5 okay, make that 6 because i forgot to mention the stay awake requirement when i paid my mother to come.

* x 6 don’t get used to so much personal information cause i’m gonna’ have to start keeping the monarchey lid on things for the protection of my peeps. not that my edicts and decrees will be unpopular, mind you, it’s just that i’ll be so wildly, fantastically popular, everybody will want a piece of me.

* x 7 for those of you who like to plan ahead, kissing up is not only allowed, it’s downright encouraged.

* x 8 & 9 which reminds me: one of the first things i’ll have to do it give myself more twitterwidth because my title alone eats up more than 140 characters and what with retweets and all. note to Sovereign Supremest Of The Supreme Self: slap a crown on that fail whale (but first: it’s not a killer whale, is it?). and the little birdies, too, while you’re at it. and for all you inquiring minds out there, @whollyjeanne is my twitter name. for now, anyway.

p.s. and for the record, no, i have not had a royaltini.


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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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