Scraps1

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?

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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.
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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.
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lately i’ve shifted into a quieter way of being in the world, preferring less and less words and more and more silence.
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i’m more about the visual now, preferring to step aside and let photography, cloth pieces, and altars speak to and for me.
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i love to perform.
i love to be alone.
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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.
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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.
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i have authority issues, and i’m not afraid to own them.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.)
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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.)
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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.

but
who am i?
what am i about?

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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.