Tag Archives: Getting to know me

Flashback Friday :: Texas Skydiving 2009

I found this thing that I had written in May of 2009 after taking a trip to Texas for my friend’s birthday.  Sometimes I forget… “Oh yeah!  I’ve jumped out of a plane once.”  Here’s the story of how that came about.

TAKING THE PLUNGE….10,500 ft.  San Antonio, TX.  May 2009
Let me start by saying that I am not an extreme sports type of gal.  I’m really not interested in engaging in activities that might leave me toothless, render me unconscious, or break my bones…but for some reason, jumping out of an airplane at 10,500 ft., potentially going splat and consequently ending my life seemed like a fine idea.
At the beginning of May I decided that I’d like to sky dive.  To me, it’s just one of those things that I’d love to experience, but would probably have some hefty hesitation if I were a mother….or just older and wiser.  So, I made the decision to jump out of an airplane, but I thought…hmmm, baby steps…bungie jump first!
The NEXT day…Niki called to ask me if I’d come visit her for her birthday Memorial Day weekend and would I consider skydiving.  All I did was shrug my shoulders, look quizzically up and around to the Universe and say “Yes. Yes to both.” Niki squeeled with delight (which is just what The Niki does) and I booked my flight to San Antonio.  The whole “bungie jump baby steps” idea flew out the window because it was just too perfect that she called the day after I had the idea.
A couple of weeks went by and then the day before I was leaving for Texas, I was watching a cartoon called Toot & Puddle with the kids that I Nanny.  Toot & Puddle (for those not in the know) are two best friend “roommate” male pigs who love to travel.  What were Toot & Puddle going to be doing on this episodes adventure???  You guessed it…SKYDIVING.  After seeing this cartoon, I thought “there’s no way I’ll die.  The Universe WANTS me to jump out of a plane!”
Toot & Puddle Image Source
Saturday was the big day.  Niki was so excited and bouncing off the walls.  There were several of us girls jumping, so she requested that we all wear pig-tails in honor of her birthday.  My hands had been shaking since I woke up that morning.
When we arrived at Skydive San Marcos, I was feeling so nauseous and my shaking hands had amplified from a 3 to an 8 on the Richter Scale.  Then, I heard a noise…I looked up and saw a group floating down on their parachutes and I instantly felt better.  Everything calmed down inside and I knew that it was going to be okay.  We went in to register and wait for our turn to suit up. 

The Universe may have said to me…”Sure. Do it…you’ll be fine, Kiddo.  It’ll be good for you!” BUT…Mother Nature had other thoughts.  She decided to torture us with major storms…just when it was our turn. Twice. 
Day 1: Got to register, but never made it back to suit up
Day 2:  Was able to get in my suit (where I looked liked freaking Christmas)
and then…NEVERMIND!  Another storm.
So…on Memorial Day at 8:30 a.m. (after the 300 miles we drove over the weekend to get to the jump site three days in a row) we suited up, went through our 30 second training (thorough, huh!), entered the plane and got ready to jump.

Day 3:  jumping girls

I should pause here to give thanks to Mother Nature.  Had she not stopped us the first two days, I might have been a total wreck, shaking and wanting to vomit.  Instead, because of the baby steps I took each day…going a little further in the steps of preparing to jump each time…I was completely calm and fine.  I had worked all my nerves out in the two day preparation and then in the disappointment each time we had to cancel.  So when it was time for me to exit the plane, I was cool as a cucumber.
I did have a brief “Oh fuck” moment as I squatted at the opened door, but then there was the “123! ” and no turning back.  My tandem jumper and I did a flip out of the plane then a free fall for 60+ seconds….and that was the BEST PART.  You know that gross feeling (when you’re riding a roller-coaster) that all your internal organs are flying up into your throat?  I had expected that during the free fall, but didn’t get it all.  It was such a cool feeling and being able to see the grid of Texas pastures filled with cows and horses below me was really fun.
The opening of the parachutes were a jolt to the nerves.  We did some spinning tricks and then I took over on the handles of the parachute while my instructor prepared us for landing (which, scared me).  But what really scared me were the suicidal thoughts I had for a split second.  What if I just let go?  Would it be that bad if I died?  Would I be missed?  This is probable;y worth investigating sometime :-/  
My landing was a total disaster and leaving me miraculously unscathed.  I didn’t run hard enough and tripped, which sent me tumbling to the ground with a very sizable man strapped to my back.  No bruises or broken bones.
Side note…I did go up in the plane with pig-tails, but landed with a very attractive knotted bird nest on the side of my head.

 

That evening, I headed back home to Florida in a plane I would not be jumping out of.  It was a very fun Memorial weekend filled with old and new friends, a truly spectacular diet of chips & queso, breakfast tacos, steak and countless margarita’s, and a very amazing skydive that was well worth the wait.  xoxo, Jenna.

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