Category Archives: Getting to Know Me

ThankYouMorePlease

There’s this movie that I saw a few months ago called HAPPYTHANKYOUMOREPLEASE and in it is a scene where one of the female characters tells a story about something an Indian taxi driver told her in the rear view mirror….I’ll paraphrase.

He said, “Bliss.”  “Bliss is your birthright.  You have great potential for happiness in this life, but your problem is gratitude.  You do not give enough thanks.”  She asks him how and he says, “Simple!  Say ‘thank you’.  Say ‘thank you’ all the time and then follow that with ‘more please’.  With gratitude, the Universe is eternally abundant.”

I liked this…it was a good reminder.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who forgets to stop and be grateful from time to time.

Months go by and I occasionally remembered to say “more please” after feeling particularly grateful about something and about two weeks ago, I watched the movie again, this time with my friend Angela.

Last week as I was busily making jewelry and other pretty things, getting ready for this years Grandma Party Bazaar, I got hammered with the flu….my Friday consisted of high fevers, chills and coughing so hard that blood vessels burst around my eyes.  Fun stuff.  I was starting to think that I would have to abandon my vendor spot, but by Saturday night, I was no longer feverish and was able to do the photofinish preparations for the next day.  With the help of my wonderful husband, Mother and over-the-counter drugs, I was able to get through the day….feeling only a little bit awful.  I put on a smile, tried to be as cheerful as could be whenever someone stopped by my tent….hiding my sick as a dog, tired eyes behind sunglasses.

The most amazing thing happened that day…

Grandma Party 2012

Grandma Party 2012

Grandma Party 2012

A woman casually stopped at my tent late in the morning, looked around at what I had to offer and complimented my work.  She had a very quiet but focused energy and said that she she had visited all the vendors and my tent was her favorite.  Of course, I thanked her.  What a compliment!  She bought a scarf and a necklace and after I handed her the bag and thanked her again for her purchase, she handed me a sealed envelope and walked away.

Now….I use to wait tables and have been given A LOT of religious pamphlets as tips in the past.  Honestly, I was expecting to see the face of Jesus when I opened the envelope, but instead I saw Benjamin Franklin.  I stood there completely puzzled.  My foggy medicated brain that had a hard time earlier in the day doing simple math, was slow to process what I held in my hands.  I looked up at my husband and mother with my mouth open and furrowed brow and said “there’s money in here.”  I thumbed through the pristine bills and counted $1,000.  My voice got all choked as I told them how much was in there and my eyes teared up.

My guess is that I stood there for a full three minutes holding the envelope not knowing what to do with myself.  When I got it together, I looked for the lady, but she was long gone.  I wanted so badly to say “Thank you!”

I am so grateful for her generosity and for the vote of confidence.  I know that I like the things I make, but to hear that they are good and worthy by someone other than the people that know and love me, gave me an unexpected boost in my sense of purpose.  Occasionally, I’ve felt silly that I gave up my “normal” day job or conventional career to focus more on developing my brand and making art and admittedly felt foolish when someone would imply that it might be irresponsible or not very grown up to be a 32 year old college graduate working part-time at a cafe.  I’ve let them plant that seed of doubt in me, but then I wake up the next day with more ideas floating around in my head and an almost constant desire to be make something with my hands and I know that I’m doing the right thing.  My mystery heroine helped to crush that seed of doubt with her anonymous investment and for that, I cannot adequately thank her.

When Angela stopped by later that day and I told her about the envelope, she looked at me with huge eyes, laughed and said “THANKYOUMOREPLEASE!”

Yes.  Thank you.  More Please.

Breaking Plates: Uniting Survivors

Dear Featherhead Friends,

I think I may be ready to finally share with you the details of the Breaking Plates show that I wrote/produced with three other wonderful women.  It was such an intensely personal labor of love that when it was done (last month), I was done.  This really should have been written soon after the event, but sometimes you just need a little space, you know?  Anyway, allow me to tell you what Breaking Plates actually was and how it got started…
Earlier this year, Beth called for a girlfriends get-together.  She’d had an extraordinarily awful start to the year and just wanted to break some shit.  We went to her house with the sole intention of writing out our troubles, negativity and sorrows on old plates and smash them.  We also burned some writings and photographs.  It was merely meant to be a way to get things off of our chests and kill those monkeys that cling to your back, but this night evolved into so much more.  
I should probably mention now that all of us have experienced sexual abuse in our lives, we aren’t friends because of that fact, it’s something that showed itself after we’d already known each other.  That in itself goes to show you how many people experience abuse…in a handful of my friendships, I’ve found several survivors and that’s not even all of them.  I personally know 25 (and likely more) people who have experienced sexual abuse.  25.  And that is just in my circle.  How many survivors do you know?  I’d bet at least one and I’d also bet that you know others that just haven’t shared that part of themselves with you yet.  This is a huge global club that my girlfriends and I belong to.  It’s a club that often hides itself in silence, but that silence just creates more silence and we were sick of being silent.
This was the plate night…we had a lot to break.

After we had run out of plates, we sat around admiring our work and drinking wine.  I remarked on how awesome all of the shards looked with the broken writing and said that we should try making some art with them.  Nicolle added that we could see if we’d be able to display our art pieces in the gallery at our favorite local hangout and everyone jumped on board with the idea.  After we got the okay from the gallery, the beauty of evolution took place, our night of breaking and then art making turned into us each writing a monologue to be performed on the stage of opening night of the art exhibit.  Then we decided to try to raise some money from the night and donate it to the women and children of Harbor House.  This one spontaneous night of breaking plates had all of the sudden turned into a huge production.  We became sponsored by The Women Playwrights Initiative.  We held auditions and found wonderful actors to donate their craft to the night.  We had posters made and hung them up all over town.  We had a plexi-glass box built so that our guests could break a plate for a donation to Harbor House.

We packed the house.  (but sadly there was no photo taken of our spectacular crowd)  Aside from a few hard to hear moments for the guests in the back, everything went so well.
Angela (our fabulous director) and Doug (my love and wonderful narrator in between monologues)
1. Your Honor  2. What it Feels Like for a Girl  3. The Apple Tree
4. The Shelf   5. Call To Action 
Beth selling plates
Following the Call To Action, our guests followed us out to put their donations to use and break some plates.  They were given Sharpies and wrote on them just as we did.  Some of them wrote the names of their loved ones that they were dedicating their plate to.  Some may have written a bit of their story or just their name and others wrote ours in support of what we did.
The box just couldn’t handle all of the love & support  🙂
Doug, myself & Kristen (she read my poem The Shelf in the performance)

THE ART (IN ORDER OF PERFORMANCE)

Your Honor by Elizabeth Klunk
What it Feels Like for a Girl by Angela McDonald
The Shelf  by Me

The Apple Tree by Nicolle Avery Masters
Bustier by Kelledy Francis
I made this wall piece…it’s hard to tell, but our figures (while breaking plates or standing in victory) are popped out in 3D fashion as is the frame.  It turned out pretty cool.
We wrote/broke more plates w/ some color for the art wall as well.
Close up of Break the Silence
This is how we decorated the tables in the performance room
Us!
Beth, Angela, Me & Nicolle

This was a crazy ride.  Stressful with nerves galore…a little bit of drama…but all in all, soworth it.  We were all very proud of our accomplishment and bravery….telling your story in such a public way is not for the meek, that’s for sure.  I know it’s a night that we will never forget.  A night of demanding “No more!”  A night of breaking plates and breaking the silence.  xoxo, Jenna.

How To Be Alone…

Are you one of those people that can comfortably go out to eat at a restaurant by yourself or go to the movie theatre in happy solitude?  I’ve met many who simply cannot.  The thought of being seen dining alone or being surrounded by empty chairs at the movies seems so vulnerable, or boring, or pathetic to them, but I absolutely love it.  Don’t get me wrong, I have a wonderful and funny husband, a lovely family and beautiful friends whose company I enjoy immensely, but I am so okay with just hanging out with myself as well.  In fact, sometimes I just need it.  I, for some reason, start to crave quiet moments to myself or little solitary adventures to either do nothing at all, make some art or go explore and try something new.  Whether you are a seasoned loner or the complete opposite, I want to share with you one of my very favorite YouTube discoveries, How To Be Alone by (film maker) Andrea Dorfman and (singer/songwriter/poet) Tanya Davis.   First of all, I love that someone put this out into the world.  Secondly, it’s just really wonderful and well worth the 4 minutes and 35 seconds.

Now that my husband and I are both working from home, that alone time is hard to come by.  I need to adjust my mental atmosphere in this new work environment of ours.  Before, he would be 30 minutes away at his office and I would be home in my studio….making art, blasting music, singing at the top of my lungs and taking mini dance breaks.  I work better when I’m alone.  I need to adapt and I also need some alone time, so I’ve been contemplating a solo adventure.  We have a credit with Southwest Airlines…enough for one person to go on such an adventure and I am so lucky to have the full support and love from my marvelous man.  I’ve never actually traveled somewhere far for a vacation all by myself before and I am so very excited and (I must admit) a bit nervous.

p.s. [and this is no lie…] As I was gushing to you how wonderful my husband is, he came walking through the door with roses.  I forgot that today is the 21st and every month on this day he brings me flowers to celebrate our wedding day.  See what I mean?  Great guy who brings me flowers and encourages me to go on a mini holiday without him.  Aaaaaaaand you can stop vomiting now.  I’m done.

Do you have any tips for me as I start planning this adventure of mine?  I hear New Mexico calling my name.  🙂
Xoxo, Jenna

Dear Diary???

I’ve never been able to keep a diary or journal active for more than a few entries and I have a several ideas why.

  1. I’m pretty sure my Mom broke into my diary when I was in Elementary school.  How’d she get in?!  I mean, it was one of those top security puffy diaries with the tiny lock on it.  Was she Houdini?  Or, perhaps did I leave the key lying right next to it?  Likely.  It was all out of concern of course, but still, that would stop most kids from pursuing a “secret” diary.
  2. As I’ve gotten older I’ve found a “secret” diary to be kind of pointless and unhelpful.  I mean, I can only mull things over in my head for so long before they either (A.) completely resolve and dissolve within myself  (B.) have to be shared and discussed with my counselor, friends or husband because I need help sorting through it  (C.) get swallowed, ignored and saved for a later date when I’m more prepared to deal.
  3. From what I remember, my attempts were always trying to hash out the hard things in life, but frankly, when that’s all you’re writing about it becomes tiresome and so un-fun.

My goal for this blog to NOT make it like my typical diaries of yesteryear.  I like that it’s public.  I like feedback…I find it helpful.  I will most likely avoid a lot of the personal “hard stuff” on this blog because I want this to be a place of fun, art, love and delicious things.  I look forward to sharing lots of beautiful crafty goodness with you and hope you share with me.

XO – Jenna