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Glow

If only I could see me

the way you see me

everything would be different
I keep the lights on

because the darkness

hides your lips

and I can’t, 

for the life of me,

 understand a word you say
But the same light 

that lets me see

to read

shows everything 

I wish I could keep

hidden in the dark
You see my imperfections

the scars on my body

the way time hasn’t

always been so kind
it’s a double edged sword

a battle that I fight

day in and night out

trying so damn hard

to see beauty in the ages

embrace the changes

to keep on dancing

with all the broken pieces

to glow in the light

and not hide in the dark
I look in the mirror

remembering so well

when the reflection

showed a different woman

a different time
if I could only see me

the way you see me

everything would be

so different
I would look beyond

the imperfections 

straight to the heart

of the matter
and I just might be able

to glow in the dark

from the light in your eyes
ūüíóJeanna’ Mead

6 25 a.m. 12-10-17

http://www.jeannasoul.com

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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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LISTEN

Please

Listen

Don’t just hear

Be in awe

Of the sounds

Laughter

A shout of glee 

The lyrics to a song 

Playing on the radio

A whisper

Thunderclaps

Rain coming down

The cry of an infant

A coyote’showl 

The ambulance

Police sirens

A cat’s meow

The dogs growl
Listen 

To the voices 

You recognize 

And the strangers

In the grocery line

To the friendly greeting 

From the sales clerk

And the deep sound

Of the preacher man

A choir singing

Gospel melodies

The teenage barista 

The weary nurse

Trying to her best

To sound hopeful

As the end draws near
Listen

To the birds chirping

Lawnmower running

Old man playing guitar

While his lady sings

The blues
Listen

To everything

That I can’t hear

And be filled

Overflowing

With gratitude 

For what you have
And I’ll listen 

My own way

With my eyes

And my heart

I’ll hear more

Than most of you

Ever will 

Because

I really do

Listen
Jeanna’ Mead

July 25 2016

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STAY

$TAY

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Take Me There

“Take me there.”

…most people just say “It was amazing!” or “I had a great time.” and ” It was really nice.”…etc

But , then, there are the ones that can literally take me wherever they are because they use words in such descriptive ways that I, too, can feel the pounding of their heart as they skied down the slope, crashing into the snow and catching the eye of their daughter……I can almost hear the stories shared around the fireplace as glasses.of wine are refilled again and again. I can feel the energy of.the day that eased into a night of simple pleasures.

I was taken to the front rows of an spectacular performance, where grace and strength, talent and skill kept the audience on the edge of their seats.  I sat on my chaise, miles away….. transfixed and almost able to taste the energy of the place. 

I was taken to the bar where soldiers sang karaoke, celebrating a milestone birthday…..and to the reservation where a man received a life changing massage which lead him to become a therapist, too. 

I have tasted delicious food in Austin……and have never been to the restaurant. I’ve sipped coffee at a French cafe….but I’ve never been overseas.

I felt the people walk past me, smelled the hot dogs on the corners and yet I’ve never been to Chicago.

I laid on the floor and watched a baby squeal and kick and play from hundreds of miles away.
It’s all in the way you use your words, in the pictures you create, in the things you choose to share.

“Take me there ” really means to let me be part of what you feel, let me know you and, then, maybe we’ll take each other there.

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Fire In Her Belly

Standing

In the room

Faded jeans

Cowboy boots

Hair gone wild

Lipstick shining

Fancy woman came

Looking down

Right past me

As if she knew

Who I was

What I do

All I gotta say

Bless your heart, lady

You don’t know

Diddly squat

Damn thing

I’m not “just” nothing

Clock puncher

Lotion rubber 

Pretty face

Easy mark 

Limited resource

Like you think

I’ve got fire in my belly

Passion in my soul

Knowledge and understanding

 Drive to succeed

A body that won’t quit

Iron will to do things my way

Fearlessly

While everyone else

Stands there 

Staring

Faded jeans

Cowboy boots

Business owner

Creative writer

Massage babe

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Clarity

image

Yesterday I was inspired to write this poem after two encounters reminded me of how I should love my body more.
As I flipped through the yoga pants at Ross, I noticed a woman in a wheelchair being pushed by her daughter. 
The woman only had her right leg and her daughter tucked a blanket around the amputated stump. 
I couldn’t help but wonder what had happened….diabetics, cancer,or some kind of accident,,but I saw the resignation in her eyes and I knew that she longed to have the ability to walk.

Ten minutes later, as I was driving down the highway, I saw a man on crutches with one leg stopping just above the knee.  I was too far to read the sign but I am certain it was asking for help,perhaps explaining a little about what happened to his leg.
I know one thing for sure,being without both legs makes life so much harder for him.

It was a reminder that I have a responsibility,a privilege,and a honor to take care of my body,to keep it strong and flexible so that it can be capable of doing everything I want to do and need to do.

I looked at my left knee,with a brace around it and made a solemn vow to return back to weight training,to dance,and to living my life ready and anticipating the next adventure,the next step,the,next leap of faith,the next chance to run,skip,waltz and hop. 

I saw with such clarity all the things I’ve taken for granted that my legs do.

I stand for hours at a time giving massages to others. I climb up on my table and use my feet and legs to massage,too.
Every day,I bend,twist,shake and boogie with my 3 year old granddaughter and my 17 month old grandson. I lift them up and run after them,I squat down to draw on the concrete,to tie shoes,to apply band-aids to imaginary boo-boo’s and I’ve always taken it for granted that I could.

But seeing these are two people gave me a much needed glimpse into the harsh reality that not everyone is has lucky as I am.
I’ve neglected my body far too often- putting off workouts and training,making excuses, and forgetting that it’s my responsibility to take care of it all of my days.

While my body does belong to me, as I write this, I think about how my body-my legs and feet- give love to others and,in a very real sense,my body belongs to others,too.

I’m able to stand and embrace with both hands, and I can walk over to open the door for someone.
I’ve jumped out of my car to help push a stalled vehicle out of the road.
I’ve taught children to ride bikes,to roller skate,to hop scotch, and to dance.
I’ve spent hours kneeling¬† on a Thai mat,offering healing for others.
These legs have held sleeping babies, puppies and kittens.
I’ve spent countless times stroking the heads that have laid on my lap.
I’ve danced on stage,on gravel,in honky tonks and ballrooms.¬†¬† I’ve wrapped my legs around horses, around beach toys, and around the waist of whoever had to carry me!
These legs have climbed trees, kicked balls, swam in oceans,rivers,lakes and pools with friends and family.

While dancing in the kitchen, I’ve baked cookies and cakes,made meals and culinary mistakes¬† and taught the importance of adding “just a little sugar to make everything taste better.”

I’ve given love and received love through my body,with my heart and my mind focused on what I’m doing.
With every touch, every step, every breath I have the opportunity to honor this incredible gift from my Creator and use it well.

So I’m looking at my legs again…seeing the scars through teary eyes….because it’s almost as if I can read the words on my body,barely visible,reminding me with such clarity of all the absolutely wonderful, fascinating, incredible things that I do with my body every single day.

And I make a solemn vow to each of you,to myself and to my Creator that I will never again take it for granted.

I truly hope you’ll see your body through my eyes and make your own vow to love your body well,too. It’s the most beautiful vessel that holds your soul…..be filled with gratitude for the gift you have.

Experience massage with clarity-
http://Rockwallbodyandsoulmassage.com

Feel with both hands, Jeanna’

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Read Between The Lines

She drew an imaginary line
Dividing who she was
And who she’s becoming
She used to be satisfied
Crumbs instead of feasts
A peck on the cheek
Pat on the back
A few kind words
Once in awhile
A little bit of loving
Was just enough

Then bit by bit
And day by day
She began to see
It wasn’t  too much
It was just more
Than she had ever expected before
Though it seemed like
It was perfectly clear
Maybe you should have
Read between the lines
Listened to her heart

She wants something
To hold on to
When you’re not there
A hand written letter
Handcrafted card
A token from
Where ever you were
To show she came to mind

A glass of wine on the patio
A cup of coffee
For no reason at all
A slow dance
A little romance
She wants to be known

She wants to pull on
Memories
Layer on love
Wrap herself in the warmth
Of a lasting relationship

She wants to look
And see
That there is love
Engraved
In more than
Just her heart
She wants more

She wants pieces of you
To have and to hold

Feel with both hands, Jeanna’

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Choose To Be Love

image

When I saw this beautiful quote on a Facebook page that  I often look at, I had to capture it and save it,knowing full well that I had not always chosen to be love.

Too many times, I’ve seen families torn apart and friendships ruined because of choices that were anything but love.  People have chosen to build¬† walls,to hold life-long grudges, to constantly hold on to the past as if it were a treasured heirloom.

I’ve done it,too,although I’ve tried to sweep it under the rug and to make it seem like it was something different,the hard truth is that I’ve let friendships fall apart and I’ve built up walls that held out people that wanted to love me.

 Maybe the intention was to protect ourselves from further hurt,but the truth is those choices actually cause more pain.
The anguish of loneliness,
the bitterness of unforgiveness,the stench of regrets wreck havoc on the soul and breaks down the body.

“Choose to be love.”

I let those words soak into me. I sat outside on my patio,pondering those words over and over, and I wrote poetry.
My own words started to mock me,to call me out,to push me from my comfort zone of keeping my words to myself and just a few close friends.
I knew the power of words-I claimed words of courage,of inspiration,of hope,and love. I printed and framed quotes and sent cards with favorite quotes tucked in but I was also cautious-selecting those that I shared my poetry with,giving only glimpses to others,relying heavily on a few kindred spirits that I felt “got me”.

So,I started to do some real soul searching-digging deep into what it means to “choose to be love.”

It hit me clearly,upside the head,the other day, that to chose  love means taking action with my words.
It means that I can’t just write beautiful words,I must also LIVE those words. It’s not enough to speak them,to read and frame them, to write them and keep them tucked away in my journals.
If I really consider my words to be a God-given gift then I absolutely must do more
with my words and my life.

“Choose to be love.”

For me, I choose to make  a decision  to step forward and to forgive,to let go of the past and to start over,to open my arms wide,even while tears ran  down my face,and my heart was broken.
I choose to look for the glimpses of light in the darkness,to see the  significance in a lightening bug on rainy night, to wait out the storm until the dawn broke through with clarity,and to take chances.

“Choose to be love.”

As I write this,tucked in my covers,leaning against the pillows on my bed, my heart speaks quietly,reassuring me that the timing is good and that it’s time to begin living the words that I claim to be beautiful, to be true,to be inspirational,and to be love.

I will make the choice each day,each moment to respond with love. I will take my words and create things with them, and I will be first-to forgive,to embrace,to nurture,to come around, to give gifts, to open the door,and to tear down the walls.

I will choose to be love and maybe, just maybe,my choices will come back to me a hundred fold, and others will live the words that they receive and they,too,will choose to be love.

Feel with both hands, Jeanna’

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Bogey Bears and Fairy Tales

Once upon a time, I believed in fairy tales and bogey bears. .
I was a rambunctious.free spirited child and.at the end of the day, I would climb into bed and talk about everything I could possibly come up with so I wouldn’t have to go to sleep.
My Mema had to come up with something to settle me down and so she would lay beside me, sneak her hand beneath the pillow and tap my headboard.
Tap, tap,tap.
“You better be quiet and still,Jeanna’,…you better go to sleep..the bogey bear is  coming….hush,hush,hush”

I would giggle and squirm because I knew it was her,but there was a part of me that believed if I was very,very quiet and still,the bogey bear would never find me.

“Quiet and still” was almost impossible for me back then,and,to this day.it’s hard for me to sit still and be quiet when I want to get up and dance,or walk away,to speak my mind or write my words.

But, I’ve grown up-just enough-to realize that being “quiet and still” is sometimes the very best thing we can do.

You see, the bogey bear is real.  He comes sneaking in to steal our joy,to fill us with doubts and fear, and he plays on our insecurities,making us feel inferior. He wears many different disguises,and sometimes we don’t even realize it’s a bogey bear until we feel the tight grip crushing our spirit.

The bogey bear uses words like powerful weapons; “You’re too much!”
“You’re not enough!”
“You can’t do this!”
“You don’t matter!”
“You don’t belong!”

Those words are uttered by classmates, by so-called friends,by family members and co-workers …..but the real sting is when we say those words to ourselves,becoming our own worst enemy,our personal bogey bear.

That’s when we need to become quiet and still, to take the time to reflect on who we really are and what matters to us.

I discovered Paulo Coelho’s book “The Alchemist” during a critical time in my life when my heart was breaking and my body didn’t feel like it belonged to me anymore. 
His well written words were a balm for my spirit,giving me courage and strength to begin banishing the bogey bears in my life.
I began making changes-cutting off my long hair,hiring a personal trainer and taking care of my body.
Then,as I read and reflected,I realized that I needed to use my hearing loss to my best advantage, becoming very selective about who I listened to and who I shared my words with. 
I had to step away from some relationships and cultivate others that really “got me”.

The last year that I stayed in the place that wasn’t meant for me, I would guard my heart closely, staying only when needed, staring out the windows while working,knowing that I wouldn’t feel free until I was on my own.
I shared my dream with just a few people and those people became my fairy tale heroes.

“You can do this!”
“You have what it takes!”
“You are the best!”
“I believe in you!”

Those words begin to sink in,to fill me up and to give me back my power,my faith,and my resolve to be exactly the woman that I’ve always knew God intended me to be.

I’m not meant to fit in, or be like anyone else. I am blessed with a hearing impairment which means I can only understand those that come close enough so that I can read their lips.
That means they are also close enough for me to reach out and touch,which is what I’ve always been called to do.
I’m the “touchy feely” person-I hug too tight, plant kisses on cheeks,and curl up next to people and,you know what?
I’ve finally realized that’s okay, and if anyone isn’t comfortable with my touch,they can always step away.
I’m “too much”. I really am…I love too much,forgive too much,wear too much red lipstick, and too high heels.
I say exactly what I feel and I dance whenever the mood strikes my fancy and sometimes that’s “too much” for others, but that’s okay,too.

I’m “not enough”,too .  I’m not weak enough to be pushed aside and I don’t get scared enough,I don’t over analyze enough,or figure out every single detail before I make decisions. I don’t always have enough money to cushion my falls, but I always have “just enough”to get through.
I don’t care enough about social media,or peer pressure,or what others think about me anymore.

I know that some people will disagree but I think God gives us exactly who and what we need when we need it.  That’s why I’ve learned that sometimes what we think is a bogey bear can turn out to be a blessing,what we might first see as a trap,may actually be a springboard, and the words that may have been meant to destroy you,actually restored you instead.

I guess,truth be told, I still believe in bogey bears and fairy tales because I’m living proof that both exist right now- filled with “too much”and “not enough” and “just right” -it’s absolutely imperfectly perfect and it’s just the way I love things to be- unexpected,blissful-messy,chaotic,colorful,beautiful,fulfilling….maybe for someone else,it’s not enough,but for me-

Too much is just right!

Feel with both hands, Jeanna’