I used to be very timid in my writing, I was careful and deliberate and thought more about the reader than about what I wanted to say. Grammar has always been my strong point and I would get caught up in form and punctuation and ultimately, lose the feelings I wanted to convey. Often the feelings I needed to share were too real and raw so I would censor them and give everything a touch of “sunshine and roses.”
A therapist I saw after we lost Hadley told me to journal. I tried not to roll my eyes at her suggestion, I had been writing for years and scribbling my raw feelings into a notebook was not going to help me heal. At some point between the eye-rolling me and the over-sharing me, I poured myself a glass of wine, revisited an extremely painful time in my life and carved out every detail. When I finished, I was emotionally exhausted and afraid to hit the “publish” button.
I went to bed that night and could not sleep. I was as nervous as I was energized by the thought of putting it all out there and had no idea if people would think I was just working through my feelings or mildly in need of heavy medication.
The healing that took place after that first piece is unexplainable. Delving deep into my grief, into memories I had pushed away, was some of the hardest mental work I have done. Having them handled with care by so many who responded with love and support was life-changing.
I will always remember taking the risk and feeling my heart beat in my fingers as I clicked to publish that post. But the reward is something that will stay with my writing forever.
It is for this very reason that I am so honored to be working along side Angela Amman and Angela Youngblood to bring Listen To Your Mother to the Metro Detroit area. The show is more than just women reading their words, it is bravery walking. It is women carrying their story through the door and setting it free in a place where their words will be taken care of, their journey valued.
If there is one thing blogging has taught me it is that everyone has a story to tell. I am so honored to help bring those stories to stage. I can’t wait to hear them all and I promise to take care of them just as carefully as you all have handled my own.
You can visit the Listen to Your Mother YouTube channel to learn more about what this amazing show is all about. There will be many updates to come on the first Metro Detroit show!
That first piece I took a chance on, We Still Could, was syndicated by Blogher and ultimately accepted into a literary magazine. I will forever be grateful to friends who helped me take my first leap and look forward to encouraging the many, many talented women of the Metro Detroit area to do the same.
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Jessica, you write with so much truth, honesty, and emotion…I haven’t commented in a while but I have been reading and you always seem to find a way to bring light to things that sometimes as mothers we do not know how to express. I’m so glad that you will be part of the LTYM group – you are more than deserving!
So glad that Michigan is bringing LTYM. It is such an amazing experience, a true labor of love. I spent the first month grinning like a cheshire cat. I was so elated. You’ve got a fantastic team for the metro Detroit area. So excited to watch your team put your first show together!
I can’t tell you how profoundly moved I have been while reading your posts. There is so much more to this blogging platform than simply reading words and commenting when we like a piece. There is a strong desire to connect, to communicate, to help lesson the pain of someone else’s grief… I am so glad that you decided not to internalize your thoughts all these years and that you have courageously shared them with us all.
I can only hope that each published post brings you closer to some semblance of peace, Jessica.
Thank you so much for your writing and this new project sounds amazing. Wish I lived closer! I put you on the list for the Sunshine award. I am sure you all have been nominated several times but I just wanted you to know that you have definitely brightened many of my days. xo
I wish you lived closer too, some day we will get to sit and chat over coffee or wine. xo
Kathy at kissing the frog says
This is wonderful news. You are such a sweet and supportive person online; I can only imagine how lucky those writer mamas are going to be having your support in person. I can’t wait to hear more about this. Congratulations my friend!
julie gardner says
I love that.
And I’m thrilled not only for you, but for the people who will read in Detroit, for the audience and family members. For everyone.
Thank you Julie, I’m so excited. I wish you lived a thousand miles closer.
Kate Hopper says
Oh yay!! I’m so glad you’re doing this! It’s going to be an amazing show, as it always is. And I’m so glad you DID dive into your grief, wrote that truth and sent it into the world. We are all lucky for that.
Swinging by to say welcome to all the new LTYM climbing on board. It’s an amazing ride, once that will leave you grinning, and you can’t help but be changed by the stories you’ll hear and the women you’re about to meat. LTYM is everything people say it is, and more than words can tell you. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!
Thank you, I’m so excited to be joining such an amazing team. I can’t wait to see what Michigan can do.
There is something so visceral when clicking the publish button on a deeply raw, emotional post. It takes guts and sets you free.
I am so excited that you, Angela, and Angela will be bringing Listen to Your Mother to our area! Congratulations!
Thanks Erin, I hope we will see you soon as auditions begin :).
Nicolette Springer says
Congrats! Your writing is a blessing to so many and to have your voice heard in other forums is such an honor and well deserved. There are no shows in my area but I look forward to seeing them when they go online.
I can’t wait, and I am so happy that the three of us are working together in this amazing project!