All the ways that we break

Posted by:Jeanette LeBlanc In: {blessed be} : 3 comments

all the ways that we break by Jeanette LeBlanc

Here I sit. In my coffee shop. The one with the rough brick walls and the shadowed light and the rooms that I weave through as if I was at home.

Here, I am at home.

 I am always and never at home. 

The rain is coming down outside. Hammering onto this parched desert soil with a force that makes windows turn waterfall and employees frantically try to block the flow of water rushing in under the double doors in front of me.

People walk in – drenched – plastic bags hastily pulled over heads. The scattered few who listened to the forecast and brought umbrellas look vaguely smug.

Us desert folks, we don’t prepare for downpours like this. We pride ourselves on the resilience it takes to grow roots in hard-packed soil. But the free flow of water? It’s a rare and wondrous thing.

It’s a long, long way to the ocean from where I sit.

I swallow the last long-since-cool dregs of my latte. A deep, long held sigh releases. My shoulders drop.

My wild heart, she is weary today.

I am swirling with thoughts of all the ways that we break. Feeling this in my bones. All hard bite and liquid surrender. How life does not give us a single blessed guarantee. How the foundation of all that we build is this wild and vast unknowing.in the end, all there is for us to do is choose where to stake our faith and our trust. Not because we are promised anything or can rely on external security. But simply because we want, and that want asks us to choose. Because want always demands choice.

How, in the end, all there is for us to do is choose where to stake our faith and our trust. Not because we are promised anything or can rely on external security. But simply because we want, and that want asks us to choose.

Because want always demands choice.

Choice. To place our feet upon a path. To walk through the unknowing with all the ferocity and grace we can muster in our weary and hopeful hearts.

For the moment, the rain has let up. Even a storm needs to rest. Seeks pause while it decides what it is that it will become and where it should become that thing that it is destined to be. 

There’s a wild sort of beauty in the sky now. It’s all potential and possibility and life and destruction and elemental force. Letting its own want push it in the direction of choice.

And here on the ground? All there is to do is to wait.

To move through the world and make our best guess of where safe ground lies. To decide how to best move ourselves in that direction. Or to choose exposure. The vulnerability of staying in place, walking out under that ominously low gray sky and knowing that there are times you have to risk in order to fully receive that which brings life.

And even in that, sometimes the forecasted storm never arrives. We batten down the hatches and brace ourselves – cover the windows and pound up makeshift walls. And then, without fanfare or drama, the storm decides that destiny calls it elsewhere, or to become something other than expected.

Sometimes the battle we brace for is actually surrender. Sometimes the security we seek isn’t at all what we need. Sometimes it’s the Sometimes the battle we brace for is actually surrender. Sometimes the security we seek isn’t at all what we need. Sometimes it’s the embrace of the unknowing that delivers us to grace – however wild and untamed and raw and real that grace may be.embrace of the unknowing that delivers us to grace – however wild and untamed and raw and real that grace may be.

And sometimes the storm comes. It hits hard. And when it does, we cannot find shelter. We are swept up in its force under cracked open heavens. And there is nothing to do but let the flood waters rise and yes – sometimes things break and sometimes we break and sometimes it seems that the damage is catastrophic and that nothing will ever be the same again.

And sometimes this is true. Nothing will be the same again. It can’t be – not in the wake of a storm like that. Things are uprooted that cannot be regrown. Things come apart, are ripped from their moorings, are carried along by forces beyond their control. And even when the waters recede we return to find the landscape changed. To find nothing as it was before.

 Sometimes nothing can ever be as it was before.

To live through this is to be acutely awake of all the ways that we break.

To live at all is to be acutely aware of all the ways that we break.

The light changes now. The deep of the storm mixes with the bright edge of what is next. It’s the kind of light that holds promises, the hard and true kind. The kind of light that stirs something deep. The kind of light that only comes after.

Me and my wild and weary heart? We walk outside under that hard promise of a sky. Where everything seems sharply defined. The edge and the center. The brutal and the soft. The broken and the healed and the whole.

We spin slow, right in time with the wind that tangles hair and the cadence of beat and the pulse of light. And we make a promise. To honor all the ways that we break and all the ways that we knit back together. And we bow in reverence to the storm and her teachings. To honor the way that even this far from the sea, the water can still wash everything clean.

The way the water will always wash everything clean.

I return inside and sit with the blank page in front of me. Right now I am called to only two things. The words ready to live on the page and the memory of her hand on my lower back this morning as we walked again into the unknowing.

And I am reminded, once again – that to live at all is to break and to break is to make space for becoming. And in that becoming, all of the rest is made purposeful and good and true.And I am reminded, once again – that to live at all is to break and to break is to make space for becoming. And in that becoming, all of the rest is made purposeful and good and true.

In the weary and grace and the storm and the raw and promises and the redemption and the light that illuminates this wild and vast unknowing. Without fail. Every single time.

Blessed be.

 

 

 

These are small things and large things and really, they are everything.

Posted by:Jeanette LeBlanc In: {blessed be} : 3 comments

"these are small things and large things and really they are everything" jeanette leblancFingers stained with ink from a fountain pen that leaks but that cannot be replaced because the ink stains are part of the magic.

Candles on stones carried from the sea on both coasts.  The one rock found on the beach that day, all twenty pounds of it. Hugged across the chest and carried on the long walk home, until arms and shoulders ached. Even though they said it couldn’t be taken on the plane, that this was silly. And how it was clear that this flat stone would be one of the ways the ocean could be made real in the desert, and that it would hold space for the fire of ritual again and again.

Words scrawled on a page that was blank just moments ago.

Starting with the unknowing.

The way the wax felt when it spilled all over your hand, and it burned and then became solid and then was rubbed into skin until you smelled like the flame itself.

The way a year carries us, whether we want it to or not, from one life into the next.

The way that it is an undeniable fact that a sleeping dog nestled against you on the couch can make all things feel just that much more right.

The ways of love far away, and love up close and love in absence and presence and silence and groundwater and freely shared and never again. Just the ways of love, in it’s holy fire and gentle touch and brutal tear down.  And how when you lay your head on her chest at night and let sleep take you, it feels like life – in her wild and crazy ways – blurs mystery and purpose into something you’ll never be able to define and really, would never want to – even if you could.

The way the wine tastes, when you’ve not had it for a while, like when you kiss someone after many months or years and your mouth still remembers exactly how they taste, as if no time at all had passed.

The way you can still remember how they taste, as if no time at all has passed.

The way candle light makes the room close in and get small and how that same darkness makes everything infinite.

The turning of the seasons, the completion of a cycle. The blessing of the year that is coming to close and the looking forward into the one that will begin.

The hard won autonomy of self, and how the real and true apologies – the ones that are necessary and deserved and must be said – begin to come easier and more freely and from deep within the moment you refuse to ever again apologize for the truth of yourself or your body or your wild and untamable spirit.   The way that agency, claimed and uncompromising, leaves space to be wrong and to be humble and to open wide to whatever may come.

Chocolate, and all that it heals.

Texts from children. Filled with silly emoji and misspellings and goodnight kisses and requests to pleasepleaseplease try on Halloween costumes this weekend. How they are close even when they are not.

The music. The way it allows you to honor what has been. How it weaves the spaces between grief and gratitude into something new and beautiful. How the melody becomes it’s own language and holds the lineage of a lifetime of stories in a way that words cannot. The way that some songs then, become hymn and bring reverence, regardless of the time that has passed.

The solitude. The blessed, blessed solitude. How even when you fight against it, the moment of surrender to the sweet alone is the truest exhale. And the way it leaves space for the missing, and for the knowledge of how important that missing is.

The shower that waits. The heat of it and the way it will wash away the day. The way the steam and the flickering flame will turn everything to softness and heat.

Beginnings and endings and the sweetest of in-betweens.

The things you know to be true. They are few, and even more significant for their rarity.

The knowing, the one that you have learned to trust, even when there is nothing to be done. Just the knowing itself and how it is important, without anything more to be said or done.

How we take all the moments and shape them into our lives.  How there is nothing to do, in the end, but bless all that brings us here, to this right now.  To the candles and the melody and the words and the love and the loss and the solitude and the sweetness and the truth.

How it is that these small things – the endless, seemingly insignificant infinities -all roll up into each other to become the big things, the true things, the every things.


What are the moments that make up your day and night? Where has this year carried you? What is at the center of your knowing?  Do you find comfort and truth in the unknowing?  Does music hold the lineage of your stories as it does mine?

Tell me, please, of your small things and large things and everythings.  I am listening.


 

Even The Deepest Silence Carries Its Own Sweet Wisdom

Posted by:Jeanette LeBlanc In: {heart to heart} : 8 comments

"Even the deepest silence carries its own sweet wisdom" Jeanette LeBlancIn any life there is a time to speak – clear and strong and true. Hours and minutes when your voice will be the only thing that can deliver you through to what comes next. When coming clean is the grace that serves and saves. When you must unleash your truest story and stand tall and true in the aftermath.

But in any life there is also a time to keep quiet, spaces for words that have not yet found their fullness, or where the speaking of them would bring hurt that would serve no purpose.

There are times when truth telling will lead you down a path toward a door you know is best left closed, regardless of the sweet temptation of the opening. There are backwards glances filled with the bittersweet melancholy of regret, and the words trapped in throat that have passed the time the universe gave for their expression. There are interactions where the energy required to set things straight would cost more than the setting straight is worth.

There will always be questions that must remain unasked, and things known but left unsaid. There are spaces where silence must carry the day, because language is powerful and yet entirely and frustratingly inadequate – and nothing could say what needs to be said, and so to say nothing at all is the only sensible thing that remains.

And these times too, hold power and deserve reverence.

 Listen closely love, even the deepest silence carries its own sweet wisdom.

Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.

Wendell Barry

~~~~

Sometimes, at the end or the beginning or deep in the middle – those silent spaces demand a reckoning all heir own, and they itch to find voice, and a safe space to surface.  A place, in their own quiet way, to become.

An incomplete lifetime of things I have not said aloud.

I really, really, really hope you don’t fall in love with me. This would be a spectacularly bad idea. Especially right now. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I want nothing more than a small cottage. A weeping willow hiding a front yard hammock. Streaming light and hours upon hours to write. I do not want any of this with you.

There is a plea trapped in my throat. It is one word. Stuck on repeat. You. Youyouyou.

You are cute. Like really. And funny and smart and wow. I think I want to kiss you. Please don’t tell my girlfriend.

My greatest salvations have been right at the center of my deepest sins. I cannot apologize anymore for the ways I have hurt you. They have been the saving grace of my own survival.

You make me feel giddy. Like my butterflies have butterflies. Jesus, I hope you say yes.

When she one day has your baby, it just might kill me.

In the center of my empty, it is teeth on bone I remember, and I am filled with longing.

I am sorry. I am sorry. I am sorry. Until the end of my days, I am sorry.

In what world of male entitlement do you exist that makes it okay for you to touch a stranger like that? I am not property, nor do I need to qualify my no. The patriarchy has not served you well, you chauvinistic asshole.  Fuck. The Hell. Off.

I want to kiss your tattoos. All of them. You have a lot of tattoos, in so many delicious places. I hope you don’t have plans later. This could take a while.

When I see a penny on the ground, before I make the inevitable wish, it will be to you that my mind travels, and I will remember.

All the you’s in this poem are not the same. All the me’s in this life are not the same. Walt Whitman said he contained multitudes. I am my own multitudes. And if you are all also multitudes it makes tremendous sense why we can’t quite get ourselves lined up to finally get together. I lie awake at night wishing we could get back together. We will never get back together.

I sometimes dream about the rasp of your five o’clock shadow against my cheek. I look for substitutes just to feel this again. None of them will ever be you.

I will never tell you where I hide the chocolate.

To me, you – and what we shared – will always be the definition of holy.

Will you ever go home so I can just be alone?   I am far more enamored with my own company than I will ever be with yours.

I want to twist that curl of hair that falls over your eyes around my finger. I’m obsessed with it. I’m scared you’ll think this is strange.

In some parallel universe, one existing outside of time, I believe we are what we could have been.

More than anything, I’m afraid I’ll never reach beyond the confines of this small life and step into all that I know I could be. More than anything, I’m afraid you don’t want me to. More than anything, I am afraid it will take me years longer to find out for sure.

Oh. We’re talking about you again? Gee wiz, how fun. Let me settle in here. Get comfy. History tells me that this is going to take a while.

I want. I want. I want. Please.

I will always think I am too much. Or not enough. Or both at once. I wonder if anyone will ever see through that and know that I am neither and both, and that it’s okay – either way.

Are you sure you’re not gay? Goddammit.

Where’d you learn to be such a goddamn asshole? Seriously. You. Fucking. Suck.

Come home. Comehomecomehomecomehome. Please.

You are a better writer than I will ever be.

I see you sometimes, barely contained in your own skin. I see you pushing against the walls, feeling for a crack or a sliver or an escape hatch. One day you’re going to blast out of that safe little life you’ve built for yourself. I want, quite badly, to be there when you do. Please, say that you one day will. Perhaps, if you do – I will be waiting.

It all the ways that truly matter, it will always be you.

~~~~

In the spaces inside the silence, in the depth and breadth and weight of these spaces, it is sometimes true that entire lives are lived.   Inside of the silence we love and we lose. We hurt and bleed and rejoice and become strong. We fight, and we lay down arms and either surrender or walk away.

Inside the silence we find truth. We wither and we bloom. We grow into and out of people and relationships and ways of being and entire lives, both lived and unlived. We learn the boundaries and edges of ourselves. Inside the silence we discover the wisdom of choice. Of choosing, again and again, what we offer to the world and what we keep close and just for us. We learn that there are seeds that will only germinate in quiet.  We come to know the voice that speaks without words or sounds.

We get comfortable with the tenor and timbre and cadence of the voice with which we will one day speak aloud.  We discover her  resonance and we do battle to honor her and save her and bring her to life, again and again. We come to call her our knowing, our intuition, our gut. We honor the wisdom of all that can never be said.

Inside of the silence, we come home.

~~~~

Tell me, of the spaces inside your own silence. How have you learned to trust in those spaces? Do words live there, or music or colors or just shadows and light? Share, if you wish, in the way that feels safest to you. Leave your name behind. Take a new one if it feels right.   Post it here. Write it in your journal. Close your eyes and name the silent truth within your own body.   Send me an email and know I will keep your truths as close to my heart as my own.

Above all, honor the wisdom of your own silence. Know that it is true and strong and whole and good.  Know that it needs no explanation or justification. Know that it is what it is, and nothing more or and nothing less. Know that it is everything. Just like you.

holding up your heart under the wide open moon.

Posted by:Jeanette LeBlanc In: {heart to heart} : 3 comments

Liminal-Spaces-and-the-graceless-inbetween-peacelovefree-3

 

“When my heart feels so much, I need you to help it. You are the one who knows hearts.

“I don’t know that I know hearts. I just believe in them.

We are on the freeway, spinning toward home under a wide-open moon.   A plane is coming in, fast and low. This night the strain between us takes more room in the cab of the truck than our bodies do. The plane passes over; so close I swear that if I reached up in just the right way the frame of the truck would dissolve into nothing and it would be just my hands, holding up the plane under that wide-open moon.

Who on that plane is waiting for magic, I wonder? Who on that plane left magic behind? Is it to home and sanctuary and rest they are heading, or to the pounding and hopeful heart of possibility? Who will be met and encircled and who will walk out alone and make their own peace with the guardian moon? And who among those nameless strangers has given up ever being met, and just holds on to the moment, devoid of hope.

The plane is out of sight, and still we roll down the freeway. The tension of unwanted silence stretches and expands the space between us. It amazing how impossibly large a small space can feel when we have closed something of ourselves to the one we are with.

We are all, I think in that moment, somewhere between leaving and arriving. Arriving and leaving. Often we don’t know which till long after it’s done.

We all slip-slide through the liminal spaces. The suspended animation between here and there.  That’s all there is really. I sometimes wonder if grace is just a word for the times that we manage to live in full trust of the graceless in-between.

“How do you know the difference between valid doubts and a damaged heart putting up walls where they don’t belong?”

“You don’t know. You can’t. You can grasp tight a deep-rooted knowing with all the certainty of the world, and have it be just the optimistic projection of a hopeful heart.   Or you may have all the doubts and uncertainties and wake up years later to find you’ve grown into your own happiness without even knowing that you did. And that same person you once doubted will still be there by your side, loving you well.“

“We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are.”
Anais Nin

Exactly as we are. Scared and hopeful. Damaged and whole. Searching for love and terrified it will find us. Because if it finds us – and we answer it’s call – we will have to lay it all on the line. Again.

“Take a deep breath love. We weren’t made to be abandoned. It just feels that way sometimes.”

It feels that way sometimes. It feels that way enough that we’re quick to run at the slightest possibility. We read the present with the wounds of the past rising right to the surface. Casting a murky doubt in spaces that beg for trust. Better to push, to predict the inevitable end and escape before you become casualty of another goodbye.

So we stay up all night, turning our back to potential and curling into a hard ball on the sofa. Letting tears fall to the whirring of the ceiling fan and the quiet noises a home only really makes when it believes its occupants given over to dreams.   We fight the hardest battle not with another, but with ourselves. With the parts that want to run far and fast and hard, and every pulse of heart and spirit and soul that begs to stay and trust and believe.

But all planes land eventually. And some on those planes will be met, and some will not.   And for all of those people, there are beginnings and endings and middles and sunsets and wide open moons that fill the cabs of red pickup trucks with a light that just happens to be the color of hope. Light that drowns out the silence and replaces it with the sound of the clumsiest and most beautiful sort of grace.

Because I do believe in hearts. Even the ones who will live always, tucked away at the root of my pain. I believe that those hearts knew – just like mine has always known – what it was that they needed.   Without understanding or knowing. Leaving room for mistakes and regrets. I still believe in hearts.

Because all we can ever do is invite someone into our experience. We cannot control whether they enter, or if and when they choose to leave. Or even if or when we will.

You can invite them in, and you can walk through the open doors. One step at a time. Clumsy and uncertain and still full of the brilliant grace of the in between. Believing, in spite of all the odds.

Holding up your heart under the wide open moon.


{for J. and for N.  and for A.  for late night texts full of wisdom and for holding my heart under countless wide open moons}

Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.

Posted by:Jeanette LeBlanc In: {heart to heart} : No comments - leave a comment?

You, lover, are so very beautiful.beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself

I know you don’t think so.

I know you stand each morning, lift your face to the mirror and wage silent war on the skin and bones that hold you in this life.

I know you do because I do too.

But you are beautiful.

You are beautiful because of your unrelenting insistence on being utterly, uncompromisingly, completely you. Even when it hurts.

Even when it’s the hardest thing.

You are beautiful because you’re still here. Loving and laughing and bleeding and fighting and falling soft at the end of the day, into whatever space or place or body is your chosen refuge.

Your beauty is mixed with the wind and the way it tangles your hair and reddens your cheeks. It shines from the sun, and your delicate shoulders and the smattering of freckles across the bridge of your nose. It’s your happily ever after daydreams and way your inner badass takes over when she’s needed, even though you’re a good girl at heart.

Your beauty lies in the way you keep on being you. Regardless of how often you’ve been told to be something else.  Regardless of messages given by culture or family or the ghosts of lovers past who have no damn right taking up any space in your heart.

But you? You take in those voices and messages and images and directives. The magazine covers and the headlines that beg you to consider all the ways you could improve if you just squelched that irrepressible spirit for a little bit. The past love who told you in a hundred small and silent ways that you were both too much and not near enough. The rules and regulations that govern just how much you’re permitted to shine before it’s labeled narcissism. You take them all to the ocean and toss them into the current and watch them swirl out to sea.

In a world that requires assimilation, you remaining you is one hell of a wild ride. It’s the craziest thing. It’s the riskiest thing.   It’s the most impossible thing. It’s the most necessary thing.

It’s the most beautiful thing.

It is, in the end, the only thing.

And baby, you are doing one hell of a job.

So on the days when you doubt, on the days when even the moon seems to shine too bright and you long for the safety of shadows. Turn yourself to the light and let it reflect your beauty until you remember to trust in it, if even just for a moment.

And then you go out into this one wild world of ours, and you do whatever you were born to do. Whatever your wild soul leads you to do.  The thing that will make you move into yourself and fill up the space and breathe out the universe.in the end you only have your heart

Make your art. Tell the truth. Take that selfie. Step into yourself. Wear that dress. You know the one I’m talking about. The one that feels like heat and sex and swirls around your legs like the sweet seduction of freedom.

Paint your lips red and your nails black.  Cut off your hair. Take a lover. Leave your lover. Pile everything that matters in the car and just drive high into the mountains until the only sound you hear is your own voice mingled with the calls of the wild things.

Damn the consequences. Even the worst of what you can imagine will figure itself out eventually. And there you will be at the end – standing tall in the midst of it all.

You.  Beautiful, beautiful you.

You take my breath away.
xo

Jeanette

 

embers of grace and grit {a love letter for driftwood hearts}

Posted by:Jeanette LeBlanc In: {blessed be} : 10 comments

Dear you.just for you from peacelovefree

I know you.

I know you wear your heart on your sleeve.  I know that heart is pieced together from soft driftwood and tattered suitcases and old skeleton keys and the shards of pottery you’ve tucked in your pockets from all the things you’ve seen break along your journey.

I know your soul glitters with the fragments of love affairs and fiery passion and endless nights of candlelight and whispers against bare skin.  I know you hear the echoes of long gone trains and feel the pulse of memory reminding you of things you’ve not encountered in this lifetime. I know that sometimes, the way sunlight filters through trees can bring you to your knees in breathless gratitude.

I know the path has taken you to unexpected worlds and that you’ve seen beauty beyond measure and experienced the sort of kindness that cracks you wide open.  I know it has also been hard and your edges have been made rough and sharp and then worn down, again and again.  I know that you’ve been told that you feel too much and that you can’t quite shake the fear that you’ll never truly be enough.

And I know you are tired, love. I know the ache lodged in your bones. I know it has been a long road and you yearn for rest and comfort and home. But I’ve also seen you twirling, barefoot in the grass by moonlight. And that moon? She is dancing with the sun and this wild spinning earth, coaxing the ocean to crash on the shore, over and over again, just for you. And I know there are stars traveling unfathomable distances and burning to dust when they enter our atmosphere so that you can breathe a little bit of light into your soul when you need it the most.

And then there is you. Throwing open the doors, ushering the spirit inside and keeping your rebel heart pulsing strong. You. Keeper of wonder. The child of every revolution this world has ever seen. What power you hold. What tremendous mystery and magic live in your center. How blessed this world is to know the mystical, untamable brilliance that is you.

Look around you by peacelovefree (2)Just look around you. At the beauty and the bliss. At the terror and the teardown. At the utter certainty and every last unknown. It is all a part of your story. Part of how you were made. Embers of grace and grit. Ashes of breakdown and breakthrough.   Born of fire.  Made of light.  Badass with a side of sacred wisdom.  Exploding like fireworks across the night sky.

You. Thank you for sharing this earth with me.

Blessed be.

Jeanette

{there is nothing quite like sitting with people you love, listening to music that feeds your soul and fuels your fire.   Won’t you listen with me? follow the  || blessed be ||  and  || girl on fire || playlists on spotify and listen along with me.}

Unlock it, Poet {our stories are where the revolution begins}

Posted by:Jeanette LeBlanc In: {poetry,unleased {the writers heart}} : 1 comment

Look at you,our stories are where the revolution begins
beauty
Sitting so quietly
I see you there
The way the light hits your face
The way the wind filters through your hair
How the curve of your neck is the definition of grace
How your story lingers just beneath the surface.

I know you have things to say.
Things you must say

Didn’t anyone ever tell you,
That we have to speak our truths

Our stories are where the revolution begins.

So, unlock it, poet
Let loose the words
Unconstrain your endless restraint
Seduce your muse
Release your wild
Welcome this rebellion
Usher it inside
Sit it down by the fire
And dance into the night.

You are warm blood,
hot skin, tight words
You are history
and future
and magic and make believe
You are deep and raw and real

You are an uprising
A revolution onto yourself
The scarcity is over
The rationing has ended
and there are words enough
for all of us

So go mad now, poet
let the power of the story
take you over
take you under
carry you home.

Don’t dare tell me
You are not a writer
Because I’ve heard words slip
Honeyed from your lips
I’ve seen the sonnets form behind
Your graceful eyes
I’ve felt novels spin from the spiral
Of your goddess hips

Don’t you dare
Make this other
This is in you
This is why you are here

This is your story
Your vital spark
Your ache and your tears and your breakdown
Your joy and your revelry and your bliss
Your desire, your fierce longing, your unceasing want
Your utterly unguilty pleasure.

This is the root of your commitment
The space of your deepest promise
That eternal vow
To live out loud
To speak freedom
To own the deep
Of your existence
To know it is true
And good
And worthy and whole.

So unlock it ocean poet
Release it windmill dancer
Splash it on canvas watercolor darling
Play the strings, you maker of music
Breathe it in yogi, and then breath it out.

Unleash it, you goddess of words, and melody and paint and dance and sweat.
There are a million ways to tell your story

I’m ready for every last one.

Try me

 

The Truth Of A Woman Like Me

Posted by:Jeanette LeBlanc In: {Claim it} : 22 comments

It’s the truth that sets you free, right?  Coming clean, that’s what I preach.Phoenix Urban Photography by www.iamchanelle.com

I don’t always tell you everything.  Did you think I did?

You want the truth of me right now?  Tonight? Should I tell you that right now there is no compassionate mother in me.  I am snarling and impatient and snappy. They pull me from this. And this is what compels me.  I don’t want to mother.    Not right now.

I’m not supposed to say that.  It doesn’t fit within the selfless narrative I am called to embody.

Right now I want a shack by the beach and I want to create and I want to be fed green grapes and bittersweet chocolate by pretty girls with nothing better to do.  And I want to toss back shots of whiskey at an old bar with men whose skin has been worn to leather from a life on the sea.  I want to weave my way steady to the bow of a boat and let the spray encrust me with grit and the waves fill me with the sound of home.  And then I want to return, to my weathered wood cottage, and turn the music up loud and light incense and candles and cigarettes and lap dance for the muse until she puts the fuck out for me every single time I ask.  Because it’s hot, what I’m making, and even she – fickle as she can be – doesn’t want to miss a second of this flame.

I’m probably not supposed to say that either.

I want a bike with a basket big enough to get the food I need, and the chocolate and the whiskey and the wine and cigarettes.  I want endless miles of coastline to ride along, until my legs ache from honest exertion.  I want to let go of the handles and remember just how good my balance can be when I trust it.

I want a bonfire right outside my front door.   Where the lovely girls and pretty man-boys cavort and dance and strip off all their clothing to tumble into the sea where the kisses always taste like salt.  I want this every single night.  Until even my skin is permeated with the burn-down-rise-up scent of wood smoke and sand and sea.  I want to be singed with the heat of it.  I want it, saturated, in my pores until my breath feels gritty and real again. Until the skin on skin gives off the heat of flame.  Until even the words burn as they are birthed.

I know I’m not supposed to say all of that.

I’m not supposed to like this about myself.  This selfish that lives inside.  Supposed to keep it hidden.  Soften it for you.  Take the rough off my edges.  Round out my sharp corners.   I am told they are wrong.   The wants.   The excessive need for solitude.  For life on my own terms.   Not ladylike.  Not generous.  Not mother.  That I’m not who you knew.  Not who you know, even.

I don’t like it.  But then I do.   My wants speak to my needs which translate the terms of my survival.  The compulsions of art that will drive me and put me at war and seduce me into the crucible at the center of pure creation.   There’s alchemy in owning it all.  Unabashed.  Unapologetic.  Without shame.

Oh, I know I’m not supposed to be shameless.  This world, it’s got all kinds of words for women like me.

But there’s more to this than just me.

Because I have daughters.   Because living on my own terms comes down to more than just my own survival.

My girls, they will know me as human.  As creatrix as much as mother.  As ugly and dirty and real as much as calm and patient and loving.  See my struggle as well as my bliss.  My unmet longing as counter to my grace.  My deep rooted insecurity and my narcissism.  My hard fall of tears as much the sweetness of my laugh.   The way we all can storm and cry and flail and then fall into my big marshmallow bed, a tangle of limbs and heart and tears, and fall asleep intertwined, secure and at peace.

And they will know what it is for a woman like me to live in fullness with herself.   To fight for it.   To know she is within choice at each moment.    To make contracts with self as the path to wholeness, even when this comes at great cost.  To find the integrity within that space, even if that looks different than what the world would call true.   To understand that even fullness can sometimes feel dark and bleak and empty.  That even regret and unmet hopes bring untold richness to what will be born. That it can be a raw and primal thing, this unceasing drive to make something from within one’s self.   That great art is birthed of both great pain and great joy and sometimes directly as we navigate the tenuous space between the two. That we birth our art as we birth ourselves.   Both, often, in the midst of struggle.

I think I’m probably not supposed to say that either.  I’m supposed to make it gentle.  Pretty it up a little for everyone.

But I want them to know well the selfish and the selfless that lives within each of us, and the delicate dance between the two. To experience the wilderness of reclamation and the surrender of relinquishment that is a part of every negotiation we will walk as women who burn and ask and risk.   Who refuse to follow the rules given us by culture and upbringing and expectation.  I want them to know it’s okay to exist from the center of absolute unknowing.  To live the ugly and the confused and the sad and the broken,  honest and out loud.  That it’s equally okay to dive into the bliss.  I want, by the very root of my life, to show them a narrative that diverges from the one this world would have them live.

A narrative that is bloody and powerful and full of heat and sweat and sex and a sweet, holy joy that is owned and chosen.  And a grief and teardown that is owned just as fully.  And an autonomy of self that rushes from within their goddess center, and a voice that rings true and tells the stories that will be key to their survival.  Stories that can be lived and written and told by no other voice but their own.

I cannot teach this from within a container of acceptable and predictable.

Because if they feel trapped or small or lost at 20 or 30 or 40, I hope they shall take the freedom to run for the sea and to heed her wild call.  To hear the whisper through mountain top pines speaking ancient truth and knowing deep in their bones that the forest will hold their scared vows.    I want them to burn sage and creosote and speak ancient incantation and call forth the goddess.  I want them to splash paint on canvas under full pink moon while the coyote howl and the fire rages and to not fear the wild power that wells up from within on such a night.  I want them to own their sex as holy.  To know their desire as a divinity.   To place a ring on their own ring finger and make promises that they will never speak to another.   Unless they want to, and then I want them to do exactly that. To know it’s all in them, as it has been in all of us, all along.

And me.  Their mother?

I am never more than a sliver of space from the center of the paradox.  From the glorious reality of complete contradiction.  Not unbalanced, no.  The {im}perfect center. Point and counterpoint.  I seek it others.  And when I look deeply enough, I find it in myself.

I don’t want to be where I am, but I cannot be where I belong.  I am always searching for home, always seeking the next idea, the next embodiment of what may be.  I am broken, and I am whole.   And yes, there is an unrest there, an ceaseless searching.  A wolf who comes calling, whispering, howling.  She leads me to hunt and prowl and burn.  And she guides me to that delicate sliver of space, right at the core, that is pure peace.

I am opened finally, to a relentless sort of hope.  For that forever love that the movies try to prove to me is real.   And I believe.  God damn, after all this time and all this ache, I actually believe. But I also want to be pressed hard against a rough wall by someone who has the right not to give a fuck who I am or was or ever will be.  I want a family of kids and grandkids and chosen souls and a 40-year partner in crime to surround me until the end of my days.  And I want to be left the hell alone – to get old and grow gray and soft with the company of books and seagulls and worn wooden floors and chipped pottery that holds my morning tea.  To take lovers when I want and discard them when I don’t.

I’m probably not supposed to speak that, am I? Not supposed to honor the way they swirl together, am I?  That contradiction between the safe and the wild that lives in all of us.  We are to choose one or the other and not look back.  If we feel a pull to that which we’ve left behind or that which we have not yet found, we are to ignore and suppress and forget.  There are truths that are easier for others to bear if we commit to never speaking them aloud.  Once upon a time I silently agreed to do just that.

I cannot.  Not any longer.

quote by jeanette leblancTonight I feel the glow of the candles on my face and the cool of air on my back and the peace of the rain that falls and falls and falls outside.  It quenches the packed, dry earth of desert and something in me as well.  Taking what was hard and making it soft.  Liquid.  Inevitable.  The way water flows.  Just like it was the last time my body met another body and current met current and it all flowed into mystery. The way I move when I stop fighting my nature.

Until it’s all liquid alchemy.  Wet heat.  The way home.

I don’t care anymore what I’m supposed to say.  This is my story.  You can listen if you want.  You can join me if you will.

Because these words and this life are my own.   Even when I contradict itself.   Even when I make every sense and no sense at all.  Even when it changes from minute to minute.  Whether they ring true or untrue.  These things are nobody’s but mine.

And I’ve got a story to tell.  And so I begin and begin and begin.  Again.

 {image by iamchanelle photography}

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photographer, artist, daydreamer, inspiration catcher, mama, writer. human and brave, bold and learning. i'm just me, and i am enough...

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