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Freedom

She carried herself well

with the confidence of a woman

that knew she was

beautiful and brave

desirable and sensual

She laughed when asked

what she loved most

about being here

deep in the heart of Texas

in America

so far from her home

“Freedom! Freedom!”

This is why she carries herself so well

walking with confidence

of a woman that knows full well

how beautiful and desirable

strong and courageous

Freedom is.

Jeanna Mead    6-9-18   8 49 p.m

 

Friday afternoon, my client returned for a massage session and, as she walked towards me, i thought to myself, “She is such a beautful woman.”  As we stood there talking, she mentioned that she was leaving soon for Spain, to visit her family for two months.  I asked her how she liked living in the USA, especially in Texas and she smiled with absolute pure delight and said. “I love it here!”

Of course, I had to ask the very next thing that popped into my head, “Why, Sonia, why do you love living in Texas so much?”  

 Her answer, her simple, profound, honest-to-goodness answer was summed up in one powerful word – “Freedom!”

“Freedom?”

She laughed, tossing her head back and then looking me straight in the eyes, said,
“Freedom to be myself!”

“In Spain, I can not find anything to wear, I can not go into a shop and find a dress, a blouse, or pants.. nothing at all… because, there I am just FAT… and they do NOT like fat women in Spain.”

This woman is gorgeous, with a voluptuous body, and long, strong legs, graceful arms and hands of a pianist.

She has a charming accent, a vibrant smile and carries herself with such confidence.

That type of confidence comes from having the freedom to be your own kind of beautiful.

She explained that in Spain there’s a standard of beauty that is so limited,yet so accepted that it’s literally impossible for any woman that doesn’t fit the cookie cutter mold to feel beautiful or to find anything to wear that makes them feel beautiful.

“But here, in Texas,”she said, “I can go into any shop and find so many things- cute, sexy,beautiful things that fit me.”

Here I am,thinking that freedom was about having political and religious choices. about having the right to vote, to select healthcare,schools, jobs and all that but then, this woman reminds me what freedom really is.

Freedom is being yourself. Freedom is owning your body and your soul.It’s making peace with who you are and finding out who and what you want.

Freedom is seeing your own beauty…looking past others “standards” and your own scars and celebrating the body you have right now.

This woman breathed words into my own starving body and soul.  I’ve wrestled mightily and lost a few battles against the standards of beauty that I’ve imposed on myself.

I’ve said., “No” to invitations when I really wanted to say “YES!” I’ve second guessed my choices over and over,standing in front of the closet and the mirrors, questioning my size,my shape,my strength and my worth.

I’ve been a captive of the “Beauty standard” for as long as I can remember.  I’ve been pressured to dress a certain way or not to wear other things. I’ve been praised for my “exotic” looks then reminded that I should look “more”- more my age, more “professional”, more “Christian” or more trendy. 

I’ve worn too much makeup and then too little, grew my hair long and let the curls go wild then cut it all off. 

I’ve tried to look at the reflection in the mirror and see myself as others do. My own daughter looks exactly like me and I find her breathtakingly beautiful but I struggle to see the same things I admire in her in myself. I am taking away my daughter’s freedom because I am holding us both hostage as long as I allow myself to feel the need to conform, to fit in to a certain size. to be just so. 

I realize that I’m the one that holds the ball and chain, the prison key and the on-way ticket to freedom.

I’ve always felt that clients come into my studio because they are meant to be there and Sonia just reaffirmed this in so many ways.

In her petal pink pants and sheer black floral blouse, she was a stand out picture of beauty and confidence and she reminded me of how I feel when I choose to wear the clothes and the colors that I love.

She had told me that in Spain.if she did find anything to fit,  it made her feel so frumpy, and OLD ..and that’s certainly not how she sees herself or how others see her.

Here she has FREEDOM…the same exact thing I have long taken for granted but.because of her willingness to share her story with me, I’m seeing just how much freedom I really do have.

Freedom to wear what feels good to me and the freedom to put back anything that doesn’t. Freedom to dance to my own song. Freedom to love my body with the scars,curves,and muscles and to do the things my body loves.  Freedom to decide to buy only what I fall in love with and freedom to say, “No way, Jose” when someone suggests anything that doesn’t feel right.

I get it, Sonia, I get it.

Freedom is about being free in your body,mind and spirit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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PAUSE

​He asked me
why

I paused 

holding him

breathing a whisper

in his ear

to relax

I met his eyes

and said

“There is purpose

in the pause

meaning in the rest

a sacred space 

between this move

 and that”

He shut his eyes

and let out a breath

I felt him 

finally

give in and relax

We moved in unison

this man and I

a dance of our own

a pause in time

and we parted ways

far better than we came

all because we touched

and we paused.

Jeanna’ Mead

11-26-17.  11:23 a.m

http://www.jeannasoul.com

👣I read a post on DEEP MASSAGE written by David Lauterstein and the door was left open for my words to come in .

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THANKSGIVING WITH AVA

On November 20 of 2012, I wrote this because I’ve always been frustrated by gatherings because of my hearing loss.

AVA -The Audio Visual Accessibility app has changed this. I’ll be able to sit outside around the campfire and understand the stories. I’ll be able to participate in family board games without feeling like a burden. I’ll be part of life!

Do you even understand how grateful I am?
I’m sharing my journal posts again because sometime I need to remind myself..and others of what I’m thankful for
“I may not always understand every word you say, but I will always understand how you make me feel.  I may misunderstand your words sometimes, but I will never 

misunderstand your patience and  kindness.  I may need to stand closer than others do. but I do it so I can  understand you better… The way I look at you is on purpose.. so I can read your lips, see your expression and follow your body language -it is all part of the way I communicate.  Please, don’t insult me by saying ” never mind” if I ask you to repeat…and don’t give me the “readers digest” version of the story.   Please, let me turn the lights on, let me look at you.. choose a table where I can be part of things… or don’t ask me to come….  Look straight at me, get close, talk and I promise to listen with my full attention…  because that is what you deserve and what I do too.  .Just in time for Thanksgiving… this is for all those who make me feel valued.. and those that don’t..”

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Body and Soul

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. 

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Bites and Pieces

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October Dances

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.

Even me. 

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

Jeanna’ Mead

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Embrace

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Really,She Did

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Something Else

 New soles and new shoes

Jeans,  pants,and a few more shirts

A real good reason

A need and a want

Money well spent

But still

Could have been

Something else

A need and a want

Money well spent

A real good reason

But still

It was something else