Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Yesterday I received a very special gift in the mail. After seeing a necklace that Suzie made, I asked her if I could commission a piece of my own. Let me just say that the power she infused this necklace with takes my breath away. It is not an ordinary piece of jewelery, but is an absolute gift of magic.

Something really powerful happened to me after defending my thesis this past Friday. I experienced a shift. You know that feeling you get on a molecular level that causes your whole world to forever be altered? I was on highway 94 when it happened. I had both hands loosely on the steering wheel; it was raining, and I was leaning slightly forward with a smile on my face completely and utterly turned on by the world and everything around me. Never mind that the sky was grey and threatening to turn into snow. Never mind a lot of things. I was happy and completely present--and for the first time in my life I felt like a woman. Not a girl, but a woman.

Granted, I'm 33 years old and maybe I should have started feeling like a woman a long time ago. But, you see, I've been a daughter, a student, an employee, an underdog for so long that I had never really experienced the full power of my woman-ness.

In my teens and early 20's I was so completely ME. I didn't care what other people thought. I was independent. I was fearless. I was also relatively young. Somewhere along the line, to an extent, I lost the best parts of myself. As a student, adult daughter, and employee I started seeking all the same things: approval, respect, praise, admiration. And I now see how, in the process, I lost little pieces of myself, bit by bit. I allowed my confidence to get rubbed down. I gave away my fire and grace. I replaced some of my favorite qualities with a lowered sense of self-worth. But in these past several months I've started to understand something about the ways that waiting for approval can hold a person back in some seriously disabling ways.

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about the ways that I've limited myself. I've been trying to understand what happens inside of me when I feel less than capable or less than beautiful or less then anything. What, exactly, happens in the moment that I quit trusting my true self? What is the sensation? What is the trigger?

The day before defending my thesis I met up with my dad for a quick hello. He neglected to wish me good luck or really even acknowledge my accomplishments in any way. In the moment of lamely saying goodbye I felt heart broken and invisible, yet again. But you know what? As I walked away I realized something important: it no longer needs to matter. I can't change him. I can't make him care. And if he does, I can't make him show it. Most importantly, I realized that it is a waste of energy to try and prove myself to him or anyone. Because I've wasted a lot of energy doing that for too many people. I'll still have a relationship with my dad, but from here on out it is going to be on different terms. I'm no longer going to vie for his praise or approval. I'm no longer going to do that for anyone.

After leaving the defense I went out for lunch with one of my professors and she said: "You know, Jessie, you've changed. You're not the same person that you were before." And the funny thing is that I feel like a different person. I feel it from the inside out, and the outside in.

My point is this: I am no longer the same person that I was. I cannot explain it. I cannot describe it. But all I know is that something very important has shifted somewhere deep inside of me. For the first time in my adult life I feel like I am completely and absolutely me.

These days, my life feels like it has caught on fire. I feel empowered and strong. I feel fearless and am hungry for adventure in a way that I have not been in a very long time. Something has shifted and now there is no going back. I am learning and growing and am still scared as hell on a regular basis. But I also feel more capable, willing, daring. Suzie made this necklace with the intention of bringing fire, vitality and joy into my life. I put it around my neck knowing this and feel grateful for the power radiating from her creation. Should I forget any of the lessons I've learned, this necklace is surely a beautiful reminder.

This past week my aunt has been staying with my husband and I while she receives outpatient treatments for Luekemia. She's been in the hospital for the past 4 months and will return for another 3 months beginning next week. I have spent the past several days making sure she is ok and feeling comfortable. I have been sitting in a hospital watching dozens of cancer patients (some just babies and children) and their families doing whatever they need to do just to get through it. My aunt amazes me to extremes. This morning, while sitting on couch, she received the phone call that her own mom died last night--also from cancer. Yesterday, while sitting in the hospital, I received a call that Clara, my adopted grandma, passed away. I keep thinking about Patry Francis and the way she is open to life--it's beauties and pains--with such intensity and love. It is humbling and empowering all at once.

Today I am grateful for the magnificently fierce women in my life. They teach me not to be afraid of transformation. These brilliant butterflies--I am grateful for all of them, including you--my beautiful, strong friends.

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face." ~Eleanore Roosevelt

Read more about Suzie's pendant on her blog. Her story makes me love my new necklace even more!



Annie said...

Lovely post :-). I felt so badly when I read the part about your father. I can relate, but I wanted to add that a lot of people are asleep and he probably did not mean to be unfeeling. I don't know, but I feel sure he cares.
So great that you are woman ;-).
Sorry about your loss. OX

megg said...

Hey you!

I am SO grateful for you! Just knowing you inspires me to get more things GOING!!

I am also really sorry to hear of your loss. Take good care of you right now!

As for the rest of your post -

I got goosebumps reading it! - you are SO brave and fierce and strong and you have gone through a real metamorphosis - and things are only going to get BETTER from here - now that you have reclaimed the parts of you that were missing you can't HELP but live a bigger life. I am SO excited for you!!!!


Sacred Suzie said...

It was my honour to make this amulet for you Jessie and am so moved I could be a part of this awakening. It feels so powerful. You ARE so powerful!

Leah said...

wow, i got all teary reading this, jessie. this is where i've been for moments although i'm not sure i've quite crossed over to that feeling of "woman" yet. thanks so much for sharing your path. xoxox

Olivia said...

I am so happy for you, Jessie. What a gift to come into your own in this way at such a young age! You have launched POWERFULLY and I can't wait to see where you'll go!

Great blessings to you, and to your aunt as well, Love, O

Deirdre said...

I remember the exact day I felt like a woman for the first time. It was my 41st birthday - and well worth the wait.

How wonderful that your aunt has you to help her through this illness. It takes a lot of courage to walk through that.

Sacred Suzie said...

Hi Jessie! I wrote about the story of making your pendant and thought you would like to see the different pictures and hear even more of the back store. You can read it here.

I'm still doing a little dance for you!

Sharon said...

What a lovely post! You express it so well...the growing and changing...

I'm 65 yrs. old, and still seem to need approval...

Amber said...

" But in these past several months I've started to understand something about the ways that waiting for approval can hold a person back in some seriously disabling ways."--- YES YES YES!!!

YOU are one of those ON FIRE women, you know. YOU have come into my mind SO often lately, always when I am thinking about my own goals and dreams and things I keep "meaning" to do and finish. I fucking LOVE this post. I love it.



Anu said...

Reading this post just reaffirms for me my lack of belief in coincidence and just writing things off as that. Many of the sentiments you expressed here resonated deeply with me. In fact I think I will write a post about this on my blog: Thank you for writing so openly about your journey. I'm reminded of a line from that Nelson Mandela quote that Marianne Williamson made famous. "And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other
people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

Christine said...

Wow - its been a while since I posted a comment and I want to congratulate you on your small feat indeed. You must be so proud.

Michelle said...

Hello - I am a friend of Suzie's and had to read your story after her post. It is marvelous. Thank you for putting it out into the the world to share. Strangely enough, I completely understand your shift. It happened to me to also exactly at 33 years of age. One minute I was at a new years eve party with my husband and best friend and the next the world completely shifted and everything changed. My perspective changed. I changed. And I awoke. Let this fire burn bright in you. Let it be creative and empowering and beautiful. I am three years into a new life because I didn't ignore my world shifting. And I LOVE every moment of it.

Hugs to you - the necklace looks absolutely stunning on you. :)

Loralee Choate said...

I love this post, Jessie. It is very similar to the conversation we had at lunch. (Which I think about a lot). I want to be more like this. Freer, stronger, more together.


Connie said...

I just recently posted an old poem by the poet Mary Oliver on my is called "The Journey" and after reading this post of yours, I feel it was written for you!!! Peace & Love.

Colorsonmymind said...

how many times have you moved me to tears my dear friend-soultraveler-ahhh how I wish I could find a name that fit for how I feel about our connection. The stength of it so intense that somehow the breathes in between-the quiet that lingers seems almost necessary for the depth of it to amalgamate and manifest in my life.

It just blows me away. Rocks and shakes my soul. Makes me cry tears of gratitude.

I truly know no one else whose experience effects me this deeply. That feels like it fits me like a glove.....your bravery, your journey, your transformation completes me.