Here I am, sitting in a chair
A woman is putting color in my hair
just like Mema always did
I’m carrying on the tradition
ain’t no gray gonna give me away
I already had my coffee
dipped a cookie in the cup
listened this morning
to all the greats
those deep. rugged voices of the men she loved so much
Got me a little Conway, Tom T and Marty
“Elvira” by those Oak Ridge Boys
I’m going to do a little shopping
buy something bright and sparkly
I won’t know until I see it
and it calls me by my name
Then when I’m good and ready
all dolled up and looking pretty
I’m going to sit at a table
with others that knew and loved
her just as much as me
drink a frozen cmargarita
eat a bunch of sopapillas
covered in honey
tell a few good stories
flirt up a storm with the waiter
sweet talk to everyone
just exactly like my Mema
would want me to do
celebrating her birthday
just like she would do
carrying on traditions
like I was raised to do
12 04 p.m. 1-25-17
Happy Birthday, Mema
I love your bones!❤❤
“Our body is our soul’s best friend.”-Paulo Coelho.
When I read these words, I immediately drew a heart in the margins next to the words and jotted down my thoughts.
There is such profound truth held in these simple words and just yesterday, a friend and I shared some thoughts about this.
I had been invited to an event and instinctively, as I read about the event and what to do and bring, my stomach began to tighten and my stance changed. I felt my body instinctively go into a protective mode- ready to “flee or fight.”
I tried to talk myself into accepting the invitation, but then realized that my body was truly my best friend and the reaction I was feeling was my body whispering to me.
My body knows when and how to protect my soul and I have learned to pay attention, to listen and to honor my body and my soul.
While I knew the opportunity to network and mingle would boost my business, I also know that I’m much better at small, intimate gatherings than at large social functions.
My deafness is actually a gift in many ways because I tend to place myself only in situations and with people in which I know I’ll be able to have some measure of control and to understand, to connect, to feel my best and be the best version of myself.
Now that I have the AVA -Audio Visual Accessibility-app I don’t worry about not hearing things like I used to. AVA doesn’t just give me the words that people say. it also gives me insight into others and to the relationships I have.
Many of my friends keep AVA installed and ready to use…but I’ve also ran into people that have told me that AVA is “too much trouble” and those that have made it perfectly clear that they would rather I didn’t use AVA.
When I go someplace, i consider the lightening.the ambiance, and the acoustics…I think about how I’ll stand,where I’ll sit, and who I’ll seek out and I also make sure AVA will work wherever I’m at.
In many ways, being hearing impaired makes me more aware of my body and others. Since I can’t depend on what I hear, I depend on what I feel.
That’s the way I use my body to benefit my soul, to make sure I get the best chance and give the best I can to every situation.
That means listening to that small whisper from my body way before it becomes a moan of despair or scream of frustration and anger.
So I put aside this invitation and instead accepted better ones..an invitation to go out for a walk, to sit at a table for two with a bottle of wine, to listen to music and dance and go out on a treasure hunt.
Those are the invitations that my body craves and my soul responses to with an excited “YES!”
I also believe that when we touch someone’s body, we reach their soul and that’s why,as a massage therapist, my touch is so mindful, compassionate and intuitive.
I want to always touch the body with knowledge of how far I am reaching…into a person’s soul..through muscles that hold memories, through skin that covers wounds and shows scars. I know that it’s never “just” a massage, but it’s a gift of trust,a step of faith when someone gets on my table.
At least that’s how I see it and how I treat it.
I hold another quote close to my heart. This one is also simple and profound.
“Only those that love your naked soul,should touch your naked body.”
In a time where people dive in and out of physical relationships without giving a second thought to how the soul feels about it, there is a sacred intimacy in the relationship that honors the soul first and the body knows it.
That’s why I’m taking care of my body- by listening to the way it lets me know who can touch me and who can’t.
But I also listened to another clear message..the one telling me who I shouldn’t touch.
Recently I’ve came to understand that I can say “no” to touching some people, that if a person makes me feel uncomfortable, I do not have to allow them into my space, or on my table. I don’t have to accept everyone as a client just because they book a session with me.
This has not been easy, though. I had wrestled with the rationalization but the way I felt about approaching sessions was too strong to push aside.
I chose to do what my friend told me to do. I trusted my guts; embraced my strengths and worked around my weakness and felt my soul dance inside my body…you know, like best friends do when they are finally together, again.
👣💗 Inspired by Paulo Coelho: “It is easy to be a hater. Go for the difficult task: be a lover.”
There’s a trick
she’s still learning
the hard way
But years ago, she wrote
a simple prayer in a poem
” Let my heart be broken
torn into pieces
bring me to my knees
Let my heart be open”
And now she sees
that she wouldn’t do it
any other way
she’ll still choose to love
when it’ll be easier to turn away
she’ll still treat others
as if she’ll be treated the same
she’ll still hold open
the doors and the invitation
although it’s been closed on her
many times before
She’ll still choose
to let her heart be broken
than to regret the chance
She’ll still go forward
though others hold back
It’s a trick
the hard way
But she can’t be any different
since she had asked.after all.
to let her heart be broken
torn into pieces
and filled up
etched and engraved
11 01. 10/31/17
As September collapses into October each and every year, I find myself at that familiar ragged edge once again.
This is the month I began saying “goodbye” to the woman that raised me, loved me,claimed me and shaped me. It’s a month full of “last” and of too many “first” and I dance along the edges between the need for solitude,the desire for company. It’s a time when I long to be asked to dance and when I want to dance all by myself.
My Mema, Lord, have mercy, was the most charming, creative, headstrong, fearless, loving woman that ever danced this earth.
And I say “dance” instead of “walked” because that’s exactly hl what she did.
Our garage door was left wide open and Marty Robbins, Tammy Wynette, George Jones, Dolly Parton would keep us company while we worked in the garden, planting onions, beans,tomatoes and peppers or just sitting out in the driveway talking.
At any moment, she might catch my eye, wipe the dirt off her hands and grab my hand while saying , “Come on, let’s dance.” We would do a little two stepping in the grass and she would be singing the words so I could read her lips.
Her blue eyes would twinkle and she would say, ” Oh, I just love this man’s voice….he could put his boots under my bed anyday”
That was just a figure of speech for her. Truth be told, the only man who ever left his boots under her bed was the man she loved till the day she died.
Daddy and Mema could cut a rug better than Fred and Ginger. I remember being star struck watching them on the dance floor when I was 5 years old. Mema in a long, flowing chiffon gown and Daddy in his trademark black suit were the only couple on the floor and they swirled and turned and moved as if they were one and the ballroom was a stage.
As the song ended, people burst into applause and Daddy took Mema back to her seat, and smiled at me. I felt as if I was the luckiest little girl in the world- I was the daughter of people that could dance like that!
Mema used to tell me stories about how her momma- a stricter God-fearing woman- didn’t approve of dancing so Mema and her sister would sneak off into town and watch the couples dancing then come home and practice in front of the mirror with each other until they got the moves down pat.
That disapproval didn’t make much difference to her and maybe that’s what fueled her passion so much. There was this strong streak inside her that just didn’t “give a hoot” what anyone else thought.
There were times when I was a teenager trying to fit in and be “normal” when Mema grabbing my hand and dancing in the aisle of Minyards just embarrassed me to pieces. I would pull back and whisper, “Mema, people are WATCHING!” and, those eyes would twinkle again and she would laugh and say, “Well, then come on, Jeanna’, let’s give them something to watch!”
“Something to watch” was exactly what she was. She could shake and shimmy, turn and twirl, keeping perfect rhythm to the beat all the while carrying on the exact emotional gestures that best suited the song.
This was true no matter what she was wearing or where she was, and our home was her favorite dance hall.
There were 3 switches on the light plate by the front door of the house we lived in. The first switch was the porch light,the second turned on the foyer light but the third switch was magic.
When that third switch was lifted up. down would come one of the many LP’s stacked high on the stereo and, by the time, you’ve taken a few steps. the rich voice of Freddy Fender,Nat King Cole, Kenny Rogers, Ray Price or Barbara Mandrell would fill the house, loud and clear.
Sometime it would be gospel, or Big Band or holiday music but most of the time, it was country-western.
And there she would be, barefoot and in a gown, standing in the kitchen, putting a pot of stew on for dinner while frying bacon for breakfast as the biscuits baked and she’ll be singing along -because she knew all the words by heart-tapping her spatula and dancing as she went as if it was the most natural thing in the world.
Maybe that’s why it’s only natural for me to find myself dancing up to meet a client, or twirling around during a session unbeknownst to the person laying facedown on my table.
.Maybe that’s one reason that I don’t feel like I truly know someone until I’ve danced with them.
Maybe that’s why I dance in the aisles with my little Riven and watch her shake and shimmy as her eyes twinkle with that same mischievous delight.
Maybe that’s why October is the most bittersweet months of all and why I find myself hiding away, seeking some peace and quiet so that I can hear my Mema’s words again.
“Don’t give a hoot.”
“Let them watch.”
“I just love this.”
“Come on and dance.”
Maybe that’s what life is all about….not giving a hoot about what anyone else thinks, letting others watch as you do whatever you love to do and. saying ‘I love this’ every chance you get.
After all, someday you will be way up yonder in glory and Mema just might grab you by the hand,with a twinkle in her eyes and say, “I just love this song..come on….let’s dance!”
For you, my beloved Mema..
i love you with both hands and I’ll dance…..every single chance I get.
4 37 p.m. 10-9-17