Friday, January 21, 2011

A Portrait of Self

I want to remember this day. I want to remember this bedhead in bright red with dark roots and makeupless face and wearing all of my spring clothes in the middle of this Michigan winter. Putting on her amazing springtide earrings, and a favorite necklace given to me by my mama years ago by Mati Rose. I put it on when I most need it. I need it today. Bright colors on one side and on the other it says "There is nothing wrong with you." If I can't hear anyone actually say it to me, I need to wear it close to my heart.
I have painted myself with color the brightest I have. Red shoes, green pants, blue shirt bright green kids still make comments even after almost two years of it.  I come from literally years of wearing all black...a throwback from working at Eileen Fisher and living in a Seattle suburb years ago. I guess I thought it was easier and more "chic". It was. I desperately wanted to be chic. But that was then. I'm not worried about "chic" anymore. Now I paint myself in layers of color whenever I can. I don't much care anymore even if it really "matches". It lifts me. It was my 40th year resolution and I've kept it going. Quite possibly the only resolution I've ever kept.
Yes, I want to remember this day. The sounds of my little boy playing in the other room. Patty Griffin station playing on Pandora. Jewelry waiting to be finished on the table.
Hope in my heart.
And the feeling that there is really nothing wrong with me. Sometimes I allow others to make me feel terribly terribly flawed. I'll be 42 soon. I like myself. I heard about this revelation when I was 30. How when you turn 40 things change. They have. I've let go of some stuff...some clutter in my heart. I like the light in my eyes and the new big wrinkle in the corner of my left eye that I discovered the other day. (I don't spend much time in the mirror, so it is always a surprise when I really look!) I do, however have issues with my chin. Still trying to make peace with that......
uh-um but anyway, what do you do when you need to be lifted?
Aside from wearing lots of color, I love a big  cup of double-spice Chai tea and take maybe take in the scent and sight of lemons. (I keep lemon oil on my table and sniff it...sometimes even putting a dab under my nose and inhale deeply) I prefer lemons to fresh flowers (they're cheaper too.) Sometimes I keep one or two on my table to feel and scratch and sniff until they loose their lemony-ness.
and I read this poem called The Journey by Mary Oliver that I want to share with you:

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.


  1. There is nothing wrong with you sweet sister. Even without make up you look beautiful with your deep brown eyes( and your chin is fine):)
    When I need to be lifted, I take a shower, apply makeup, clean the house(I feel like a loser when the house gets messy), wear a pair of my dangly sacred cake earrings, and make art. Even when I'm down in the dumps a little pencil and paint always sets me right.
    I'm wishing you a happy weekend Jennifer!
    Much Love,

    ps: I'm so happy that you love your painting♥

  2. I like your color and your poem. I love this writing and your picture. They are all beautiful.

  3. I love it!
    I gave up caring about lots of things- like my flaws, my inability to be more like my over-achieving family, my life-wasting need for 9hrs per night of sleep.
    when i want to feel better i get on the internet to connect w/all my friends and look at pretties. oh and chocolate, of course.
    Started feeling jealous of 'her' til I saw the picture and breathed a big sigh of relief.

  4. Love the photo - you look gorgeous! And that poem is beautiful!

  5. There is nothing wrong with you, but we all feel like that sometimes. I listen to my fav music - Tori Amos mostly and sing at the top of my lungs. And a cuddle from my son ALWAYS makes be feel loved. Thank you for sharing day. :-)

  6. There is nothing wrong with you!!! You are so young and beautiful and painting yourself in color agrees with you so. I love your smile and your brown eyes are so so sincere. Your poem seems to fit the day, cold, very cold day that keeps you in and thinking too much about everything! When I'm down I blog and it seems to uplift my spirits when I check back and you have left me one of your beautiful uplifting love notes!
    Love you too!!

  7. i like your color resolution,pile it one..
    lemons are aromatherapy the scent is said to up uplifting..i find that to be true..there's nothing so wonderful as a fresh lemon.

  8. Oh my friend!! The eternal "YES!" reverberates from this post! And I add my 'YES" as well-- YOU are beautiful (and I still hear your voice and its echo of sweetness :) ) Paint your days in color and creativity and may they sing around you like poetry!
    xxoo s.

  9. Of course there is nothing wrong with you - God doesn't create junk! :) You are beautiful inside and out, Jennifer. When I turned 40 I realized I didn't have to try and be someone else's idea of perfect; and anyway, perfect would be so boring, wouldn't it? I've earned every wrinkle and gray hair. Every little flaw is fine with me because it is mine! But on those days when for some reason I feel blue, a cup of chai tea, a good book, and wearing your jewelry are just what the "doctor" ordered! Thanks for the beauty you bring to all of us with your jewelry and your words. xoxoxo, Karen

  10. You all are so so precious to me...I can hardly believe the kindness of your words...
    Love and light to you all.

  11. Dearest Jennifer ~ What a beautifully honest heartfelt post. You are so precious! I am always inspired by your lovely shining spirit and your wit, wisdom and amazing talent!

    You ARE beautiful! And SWEET and KIND and GIVING and are such a blessing to us!

    I LOVE the fact that you dress up in colorful clothes to lift your spirits! I get "sparkly" on such occasions...donning my tiara, fancy vintage "ear bobs" & lots of pearls!

    It has made me think about how women "our age" have such limited options as far as FUN & FABULOUS clothing goes. I have been inspired to start creating some "altered" clothing for myself ~ lots of "fu fu" ~ gorgeous vintage fabrics, tulle & lace.

    Life is dessert first!

    Peace & Blessings,

  12. You are beautiful and an inspiration! I love that you're working bright jolts of color all the time. Living in Paris - like my years in New York - means a lot of black, grey, navy - nothing "indiscreet." One of the things I'm looking forward to about living in Holland is the Dutch tolerance for people as they are; no set uniform or hoops to jump through. It will be a relief! I am a big fan of lemons, but not at the expense of flowers. They cheer me up, no matter what's happening around me or how inadequate I sometimes feel (don't we all?) The Journey is one of my all-time favourite poems. Mary Oliver's work is powerful. (And thank you so much for your lovely compliment about my photography). x

  13. THANK YOU for sharing The Journey with us! What an Inspiring poem...wish I had the Courage and the Resolve that those words project! Maybe if I read it often enough...A creative outlet helps me when I am down...painting or poetry. (Unfortunately usually dark...reflecting my mood.)Also, just really "taking in" the very MIRACLE of my children.


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