I feel it’s important to share that I am deeply embarrassed by the blog name, Jenaissance. I am also embarrassed to be a .net. Additionally, I am aware that blogs with photos, or some attempt at decent layout and organization, are more successful and likely more enjoyable for everyone involved. I think/hope that one day I will change all of this about my blog, or whatever it turns into.
But this is what I know/knew when I started the Jenaissance: Sometime between 1997 and 2014 I turned into this really serious person. There were all of these things that I worried about, I was afraid of making mistakes and doing the wrong things, of messing up my kids, of being a bad wife, of not having enough money for something unknown that might happen or be needed in the future. There were all of these rules about what goes up on walls or doesn’t, what kinds of foods to eat or not, what kind of music we admit to liking, what percentage of body fat is ok.
Also – and I guess this is a crucial part of the story – I have spent a fair amount of time living in developing countries: India, the Philippines, Mexico, Guinea, Ghana where I was more than a tourist and got to see up close and personal how people in these countries live and how the choices people make in other places (eg, America) has a strong impact around the globe. Those experiences really impacted me and then I felt this RESPONSIBILITY that can feel pretty heavy to a girl. I don’t want those kids to be hungry, I don’t want those people to lose their homes, I don’t want that mountaintop removed. I have a responsibility to live my life in a way that fixes those problems.
That’s something of an unconscious mantra that’s been underneath so many choices since then. I want to help. I want to be good.
But I want happiness too. I want joy and silliness and lightness. I didn’t realize how much of the silliness and lightness had disappeared until I had the chance to spend some serious quality time with two very old friends (they aren’t THAT old, but I’ve known them since I was 17) who hadn’t seen me in a while and helped me to remember who I was before I ‘lost my innocence’. And the contrast between me at 20 and me in October was stark – where had I gone?
So, I came back from being with my friends and felt pretty blue. And then all of the sudden I had an idea for one blog post. That was all. So I wrote it. And the next day I wrote another. I wanted the posts to have somewhere to live so I decided to see how hard it was to set up a blog. I was driving in my car that morning and had the thought: I’m having a ‘Jenaissance’. Sort of a private inside joke. So when the webhosting service asked me to select a URL name, I just went for Jenaissance as a temporary place holder because there was no way I was going to share this thing publicly. But writing that one post, and the next, and putting up a blog felt so GOOD. It felt so much like ME that the energy just started to build and the next thing I knew I had recorded a song I wrote 20 years ago and posted it to YouTube. I had hemmed and hawed about doing that for a while, not sure how to do it, who could film me, where I would sit, could I still play the guitar. Then one day I just did it. I just frickin did it. All by myself. In my kitchen. With my kids in the next room. And I loved it. I am so so so happy I made that video. If I never make another one I’m glad that one exists in the world.
I guess what I’m saying is that all of this is part of me trying to bring that part of me back to life. The part that I’ve really been missing. And I suppose it is self-centered and I’m not sure what it is that makes me want to share it, but sharing it is also part of what I’ve been missing. I feel some inner turmoil about the fact that this blogging isn’t really helping solve anyone else’s problems, isn’t addressing some global imbalance, not righting any wrongs, not standing up for anything, not raising money for charity. It’s just me talking about myself. And sometimes it’s funny and sometimes it’s like this.
I’m just trying not to listen to my inner critic. I feel like this is what I need. Like this is good for me. And that the only way I’m going to make my best contribution to any of that other stuff is if I’m bringing the full me to the table. So right now, the Jenaissance is about being silly. And light. And also like this. Just genuine I guess.