Mom, you are always right. 

My mom texted me. We text now.  My mom and I, semi regularly…and I love it.

I love texting. It’s one of my favourite things to do. My day gets filled up conversations with people I adore talking to. I love talking, always. And now with today’s technology, having conversations in my own introverted world is so much easier…but that is a topic for another day. 😊

So now I text my mom.  I adore her conversations.  I adore talking to my mom.  So we talk more often, and her texting etiquette is getting so much better. 

Last Friday we were texting. I was telling her about a new tunic I had bought for a date night with courtney. We were heading to the NAC for a comedy show. I was telling her it was burgundy, how it was flowed, the linen was delicate and embroidered.  It was my new hippy tunic.  She joked with me to make sure I rubbed lavender on as well, to seduce court with… ( the smell of lavender is not is his favourite…it’s a big joke in our family, since the kids and I smell of lavender often) 

I responded to her text saying something along the lines of…’haha, gosh right?! We all know how much he loves my hippy perfume…lol…we are so different!’ 

My mom wrote me later in the day saying: ‘opposites attract, you should really write a book about that’ 

Confused, I responded with: ‘a book about a wannabe hippy girl who marries jockish boy  and how they created three kids who are hilarious melds of their opposite personalities?

She responded with ‘yes, and even I would read that book, and we both know how much I live to read…lol’ 

I though about that for a while. Writing a book. A book about me. The idea seems so indulgent. 

Because really what do I have to say that hasn’t already been said more brillantly, more beautifully and more clearly?

I know my mom would read it.  She loves me. She reads what I write, just like I read Chloe and Charlotte’s stories like they are Pulitzer Prize winning pieces of art. She hears my words like I hear the songs Canton creates with wonder and beauty. She sees the art I create like any parent sees their children’s art, like it is most breathtaking thing they have ever seen. 

Of course my mom wants me to write a book. My mom thinks her daughters can do anything. But did I believe I could write anything worth reading?  Do I believe anyone wants to read the words I write, the stories I weave?  My writing has no comparison to the beautiful words and stories already created. 

And then I was reminded of this quote I had saved on my google drive for just the right moment:

The answer is YES. You should write. Even though everything’s already been said beautifully. Even though there’s nothing new under the sun. Even so. Because there may be nothing new to say, but if you haven’t spoken up yet – then there is a new VOICE to hear. That’s all we have – our voices. No two are the same. No one sees the world QUITE like you do, and no one else can tell us your story QUITE like you could. You are our only chance to know you. You’re it. If you yearn to use your voice and you don’t – we will all suffer for it. Be brave. Be audacious enough to consider that your story is worth telling and your voice is worth hearing. The secret it- it IS. Your story and your voice are worthy of occupying some space in this world. Take it, Sister. Take your space.
Glennon Doyle Melton 

  I thought to my self, that quite possibly nobody wanted to read my words and that was ok. Just like anything we do, we should do it for ourselves first and foremost. We are our number one supporters. We need to carry ourselves through this life with fulfillment and beauty, if not, no one else will. We do what we love, we create for the love of ourselves, for fulfilling a dream, a destiny a purpose. We do all this for ourselves, Not the validation of others. 

I have my voice. My stories. And I write, I share for me. 

So mom, once again you are right. 

I should write a book, because I have always wanted to. Simply put because it seems right to me. 

Because I have a voice. 

A woman who is a complicated sometimes loner, a bossy oldest 1st born child. A woman who loves talking but sometimes gets scared of social interaction. A girl who often doubts the things she has said while nervous. I have the voice and words of a woman who loves poetry, has hippy dreams  but struggles to figure out who she is.  A girl who gets angry often, who gets easily excited, who feels guilty, who believes in love and trusts it always wins.  My voice is filled with laughter lost days, and sometimes a darkness that looms over head. A woman much too complicated, but yet held together with simplicity. 

And this girl married a sports loving boy, with a playful heart.  A man who loves to laugh. Who has complicated emotions.  Who easily makes mistakes and feels deep regret, very quickly. Who is harder on himself then anyone on the outside.  The youngest child mentality of carefree spontinatity. Who’s soul is so deep, sometimes it feels it takes an eternity for it to show its depth and for him to come up from the ravine. 

And these two created three lives.  A mash up of their unique beings.

The twin girls, who form a tapestry of eccentricity. Who souls wind into one other as fluid as water. Chloe with her  mothers anxious soul, her fathers competitive nature and her own deep artistic ways and Charlotte with her mother love of words, her own deep compassion and her father’s sense of humour. 

 A boy child , Canton, with his mothers fears and  ability to love hard, his father ‘s playful heart and his own way of seeing beauty in almost everything. 

These five are my story.  They are us. The voice I have been blessed with.  

With my voice I tell this story.  A story that only I get the privilege to share. Because like the beautiful Glennon Melton says, you voice and story are worthy of occupying space in this world. Take your space in this world. Take it sister! 

Much love, 

Jessica 

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Meant for you and I

We need each other you and me.

These words were meant for you to read. This lesson meant for us to learn, together.

You and I.

Each day we wake up. Lucky to have that first breath. Blessed to know that right now we own the moment. And we can choose how to live it. Each moment we choose. Each moment we breath in and out, we make choices on how to be, on what person we want to become. With each breath, we make choices on how to live.

Sometimes we rock it, we commit and live fully. Some moments we get lost. We disappear in our ego, in our downfalls, in our darkness. And we forget.  Forget to be there for each other, to be there for ourselves.

In moments like that we have lost our stepping. Forget about the golden road to wizard dreams. We lose the way and mistake disorientation with adulting. Darkness with maturity and selfishness with responsibility.

We lose wonder. We lose laughter. Belly aching, deep feeling giggles. We lose joy. We lose compassion. We lose our sparkle, amidst the desire to achieve. We lose our imperfect beauty, what makes us real by trying to mimic perfection.

but is always better?

When we strive so hard in a culture that rewards success in material passions, are we losing our soul connections while gaining momentum?

Are we floating ions with no connection?

We can travel along this path, this drifting solo cloud for so long that we forget. Forget what it is like to feel the hands of another wrapped in your own. Fingers intertwined and laced together.

With no warning at all, those moments arise and the knock the wind right out of you.  moments that pull us back down to the loving circle of the human race. Moments of shared compassion and love. That show us softness can be strong. And being open does not always mean we are vulnerable.

Our own realities can plague us. Trouble us with worry. Keeping us in the goldfish bowl of our lives.  But then, bam. We feel something. We are reminded.

Yesterday my beautful, soft, and hilarious friend Stephanie (https://mamaoutpost.com/)  knocked on my door. She held in her hands a gorgeous bouquet of  yellow and pink carnations. She told me they were for me. That earlier that week another spectacular human being, our friend Nina had came by stephanie’s house and gave her flowers for no reason at all, simply out of love. Stephanie decided to do the same. To bring someone flowers, simply because. They rocked it, Nina and Stephanie.

I was honored, blessed and overjoyed she stopped by. Stephanie’s year has been an insane roller coaster of events that no one would ever want to have to go through.  But in all of that Stephanie has stayed honest to herself and her family. She has handled everything with all the grace she was given and is a woman and mother I admire.

Her world is upside down but she smiles at me with her pure beauty and hands me the flowers. We joke, we hug and take 5 minutes to be just two women who love each other and support each other no matter what.

Stephanie’s act changed my outlook on that sunday afternoon.

She reminded me that we are here to anchor each other. No grand gestures needed. Simply love and compassion. While we stay holding hands, our own individual traits keep us whole. Our own special skills allow us to be the puzzle piece that our village needs.

The act of paying it forward (started by Nina and maintained by Stephanie) showed me that we are always here for one another. That is a simple ‘I thought of you’ can change your whole perspective. I realized that stephanie, that nina took that moment to make a choice that snowballed into so much love. They made a choice to reconnect to the circle, to hold hands and invite me back in.

So with visions of yellow carnations in my mind, I am making a choice to be filled with love. And I am sending compassion out to you. Because we all need to hear that we are loved.

You are special. Everything about you makes you perfect in beautiful imperfection.

Remember that.  Today of all days. Remember how amazing you are.

 

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Yellow carnation, 

rays through the kitchen window

shine out the darkness

 

Much love,

Jessica

The running cow

Have you seen a cow run?

Like really running. Gangling body flailing, legs moving fast. A body not meant to move with the wind. A black and white blur through the field. Pushing its self hard towards its goal destination.  A cow on a mission.

If you haven’t, you are missing out. It is a spectacular sight to be seen.

This week on my way to Carleton Place, music blaring to drown out the chaos in my head. I was feeling a little anxious, a little off kilter as I do most mornings after getting my kids off to school. The rush can really pull me down into a pit of anxious mom despair.  A place where I doubt my general ability to adult, let alone raise humans.

I had just dropped the kids off and was driving to CP to accomplish one of my many tasks on my to do list. Driving down the highway, the sun streaming directly in my windshield, I was feeling fast. Moving fast and setting the trend for the day.

Just as I took a deep breath in, trying to slow my spirit down, I happened to look out into the field to my right and saw it.  A Holstein running along the fence.

To some of you this may not be very exciting. To the farmers who read this, you may think I am crazy for finding so much joy in a running cow. But my friends, I did. I found an enormous amount of joy.

I smiled. A big goofy smile. as I watched that awkward cow run its sweet little heart out. I smiled huge. Thinking that for whatever reason, that spotted farm animal decided to prance its way along, and I got to see it.

I got to witness it. See the joy in something so awkwardly simple and potentially normal. I got to see the beauty in that bovine. Its oafish dash along the beautiful lanark county farm field.

I loved it. I felt honored to have shared that moment. It made me smile. And it made me think. It made me reevaluate my perception of myself and my own bumbling trot through life.

No matter how awkward, no mater how oafish and clumsy, I want to be like that sweet little cow. Prancing with no holds bars. Running in my gawky form and apologize to no one for loving every minute of it.

I will chose to be a running cow, wild and free and awkward beyond belief.

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Much love,

Jessica

 

 

To all my beautiful messes…

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Life can be f***ing cruel sometimes (sorry mom, I know…I owe you a dollar).

The world’s unfairness can knock the wind out of you. Falling hard and pressing its weight heavy on your chest. Adrenaline pumping as you gasp for air. Wanting desperately to fill your lungs but being unable to grasp it, unable to grab your breath and inhale the oxygen. The moments feeling like a lifetime.  Once you catch your breath, around the corner another blow hits. Right now in the solar plexus, you hear more news that burns holes in your soul and lets the pain flood in again.

The guilt follows that pain. Like a skeleton twin, closely behind but estranged from the pain. Presenting its pompous and pretentious demenour to the pain. Making sure we know that guilt holds the cards. Guilt that makes no sense. Guilt that tells you how to act, how to feel. Guilt that manipulates your logic. Guilt that masks its self in karmic intentions. The feeling of undeserving joy because pain is happening all around you. It connects your feelings, your choices, your words to the outcomes surrounding your pain. wrapping its self around you like a tightly wound coil. Burning slowly and breaking you down.

We know no more then what our reality is, and yet we drown in the pain around us. We feel the weight of it all on us.Wanting more then anything to fix the messes that we have noticed. That we have seen created around us. Spreading our energies out, thinly and conservatively, stomaching the blows.

We pay attention to the world. We see the beauty in the sunlight,  the treasure in the dark. But we feel the pain breaking our hearts. Because we pay attention.

The cheery face we wear, hoping to allow it to mask the pain that we feel. Hoping the smile hides the loneliness that we feel for the people we miss. Praying our laughter will help us to forget how each day can be a struggle because we pay attention.

Losing our grip in a second, crumbling below the straws that broke or humped backs. Anger, frustration, sadness into the wrong directions. Spewing out like a broken hose.

Because we feel like failures for not making it better, messes for not cleaning it up. But we are not. We feel to much, hurt to much and notice to much. We are Spirited, told to dial down the passion. Told to push back the tears, carry the weight, hold our tongue. Because WE are too much.

We are not a messes, I promise you. We simply notice. We simply See.

Don’t tell me to smile.

Smile. 

Stop being so negative. 

Don’t be mad. 

Snap out of it. 

It can’t be that bad. 

Look at how lucky you are? 

 

When the anxiety of life is weighing on you. When you you struggle to keep yourself below an 8 at all times. This is not what you want to hear. It really is advice that tears apart your soul, scratching at it like sandpaper on metal.

It really can be that bad, because right now it is. Right now my reality does not meet your perception. My reality is making everything feel like vinegar. And with every new interaction, it feels like baking soda is being dumped in the acidic nectar. Over flowing in volcanic bubbles, leaving a big mess to clean up.

I want to feel mad and can’t just simply snap out of it. Some times the glitter you want to see, does not exist. It may have existed before but the gale force wind that is my anger has blown it and taken all the pretty things with it.  And like most acts of mother nature, my anger is unpredictable.

and you want me to smile. That I may be able to pull off, but the smile that you see is not wrapped in the truth. It is wrapped in what you want to see. You want to see brightness. You want to see societies version of a presentable woman and mother. But right now I have plastered on a mask to pretend to be that person,  to make you feel better. To make you feel less uncomfortable being around me.

Because that is the sad truth about anxiety. About the looming passenger that has taken over….Being and  loving a person who suffers from it can be torturous at times.

It can be uncomfortable to be around it.

Regardless of if we hid it or if we speak out,

anxiety…sadness….anger…..depression….

it makes us all little squeamish.

It makes us all ask why?  or when? or how did this happen? I makes us want to say ….’come on..its not that bad’

But anxiety comes with the super power of  being able to not bow down to the questions. Questions that were meant to help, questions that were meant to create understanding.

That passenger actually seems to gain head way with these questions and advice such as the above. It seems to act as gasoline to the fire. There are no real answers to the questions and this scares us. It makes you believe even more so that your ability to be normal is impossible..and there we spiral further down the dark adventure with an unwanted passenger.

So if you see the signs that the person you love is  about to take a trip with a terrible companion, don’t ask them why. Don’t tell them to cheer up or to smile. Don’t belittle their anger. Just be there. Make them a blanket fort, read to them, hug them, make them tacos, bring them coffee, find out what they love and make it happen. Let them know you love them. Because I promise they will find the road back to you and solid ground.

And if you happen to be the one taking the awful road trip…remember to accept the love. Take the hug, drink the coffee, eat the tacos, sit in the fort, close your eyes while they read. Even if you don’t say a word, take in all the love. It will become useful when your feet fall back on earth and you will need it for strength. You will tap its energy to help you stand back up, over and over. Be patient. Always stand up one more time then you fallen over, no matter… what you will be OK. Just keep trying. Each time you do, your bravery shines through.

Cannot take her beauty

My hand wrapped in hers. I curled up beside her, in the fetal position my body pressed as close to hers as I can get without disturbing the calm. My head resting on her rolled up housecoat. The sun reflects off the water, streaming into the room. The temperature rising in the tiny white space, my neck sticky with sweat. My hair damp with perspiration but she still has five blankets on her tiny frail body.

She is dying. Cancer. And my heart breaks.

My grandma, the woman who taught me the love of creating. The woman who patiently sat with me and tried to pass on her craft, her creativity. With much fail, I never really seemed to grasp drawing, painting, knitting, sewing, quilting, or any of the other marvelous skills she tried to teach me. All those lesson, all those Saturday mornings spent at her kitchen table are painted in my subconscious. They are there to stay, because I was taught something greater then how to hold my pencil, or how to see the lines, or how to hold the brush.  I learned more from her then she ever knew. She showed me that the world needs beauty. That the world is full of art that needs to be created. That it is never to late to be, to do, and to create what you love.

She made me want to create art, even with my limited skill set. Everyday. To show the beautiful existence of our short life.

I watched her fill her life with art, I grew up watching this beautiful woman become her true self. Becoming exactly who she wanted to be, exactly who she was meant to be. She spoke her mind, she did what she wanted and she made no apologies for who she was. And if I become an ounce  as incredible and strong willed as her, I will feel truly blessed to have inherited her beauty.

And now cancer is ravishing her body, but she maintains her beauty. Because I cannot be taken. There is too much there.

So with a lump in my throat I hold back tears, as I know she will scold me for crying. Because she told me not be be sad. Because she told me she wants to see ‘daddy’ and that he waits for her.

I curl up beside her and hold her hand. I imagine we are back in her home (the home I now live in), with her flower wallpapered  bedroom that smells like ‘Oscar de la renta’ perfume. I pretend I am curled up beside her, as we listen to grandpa shuffling around in his room. I pretend I am 10 and we getting to spend the day together.  I feel child-like again, in the wonder of my beautiful grandma. I close my eyes and fall asleep beside her, synchronizing my breath to hers. I am doing right by her, and finding some beauty in the darkness of this time.

Losing our stories: how today’s storytelling is breaking us down.

Storytelling has been a part of our cultural, our society for centuries. Humans have used storytelling platforms to pass on their history, to entertain, to share and to connect. From the very beginning  we have used our skills to tell stories to better ourselves as a race, this incredible human race. The act of weaving, creating, building and dictating stories is built into our core. It is in our bones, made up in our blood and is an important part of who we are.

Graceless beauty

Instinctively we desire stories. No matter how much we change and grow as a society, we crave the connection that a good story brings. We want to share ours, hear others, watch new ones and read deep ones. We simply crave the existence of well developed characters, amplified dialogue and fulfilling plot. Just think of how amazing you feel after a good book or at the end of an incredible movie? We still need our stories. It simply creates the people we become.

Our primal connection to ‘the stories’ has lessened as we have ‘grown’ as a society.  Our world is expanding and we are becoming more technology based. Science has taken us so far. It has developed our world into something almost unbelievable.  But with technology, come less attachment to one another, and nothing can replace that. Human connection, a key ingredient the fulfillment of storytelling. We have moved so away from shared fire pits while communities circle together sharing stories and learning from one another. We have lost that primal need to be near each other creating and learning.

We have become a world that simply swallows our stories whole. We eat them up, without sharing. We are creating story indigestion. Pain travels up and we gulp it all down.  We sit solo on our computers and read article after article telling us what we should think, who we should be and how we should live. We circle around giant screens and watch dramatic depictions of the terrible depths the human race has gone. We watch, hear and read about the hatred, anger and persecution that surrounds us. We take it all in, without realizing where, what, who and why it has been sent here. We lose the connection to the purpose, to what it was meant to teach us.

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We crave storytelling so strongly that we still create our own stories. But since we are so over stimulated by obtrude and over processed tales, we are slowly losing our ability to creatively weave stories that better us and our lovely roommates on this beautiful earth. So instead we degrade each other. Create dramatic stories that belittle one another. We gossip. We judge, point fingers and blame. We displace our own confusion and dysfunctional emotions on to our fellow humans. We are so disconnected that instead of weaving tales of love, growth and emotional acceptance of who we are we break each other apart.

We tearing each other down hoping to find the missing piece that is lost in our own soul. But my friends, we will not find that gem in the rubble of our broken spirits. The answer lies in us. In our stories. Our ability to creatively weave them into channels of knowledge and growth.  We listen, we love, we create. We build each other up and learn from one another. This journey is shared one. We need each other.

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Today’s problems would disappear if we talked TO each other instead of ABOUT each other.

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See the sun light today my friends. Feel the warmth. Grow your branches out and lift each other while you do so. Live tall, love strong and lift each other up.