Little pea.

As a child, one of my most cherished memories is of my oldest sister crawling into my twin bed and reading stories of children in magical tree houses, and people exploring dystopian worlds. Biblical parables would be read and discussed and terrors from Revelations would be explained while I was dozing off sleepily trying to be attentive. There are certain stories that become lost files of our lives and others that resonate with us the second we hear them. 

I can still remember the pale blue reclining chair that sat in the middle of the room surrounded by machinery and other smaller chairs. My toes and fingertips were moist with sweat, as a breeze danced with the white gown that dangled just below my knees. I closed my eyes as the cold jelly squeezed out of the plastic tube onto my stomach as a device pressed into the space below my rib cage and naval. A little pea was swimming in black and white on the monitor as the room hummed in tune of a baby’s heartbeat.

Six shots to the cervix and a couple grueling hours later I’m back in the car, on my way home. I was already picturing myself in my floral pajamas and soft blue socks surrounded by pillows. Little did I know I was now a number in a sea of women, physiologically– even psychologically, and not by choice. (yikes) Processed with VSCO with au5 preset

The decision to have an abortion was terrifying, not only because of the obvious unknowns of the procedure itself but because I was already experiencing a personal transition. I had recently released myself from my family and the Mormon church that had provided a life boat in the ocean to grab onto at any time. Now, it felt like I was treading the ocean alone and rebuilding the community I wanted to be held in. Once I was liberated from the pressure of my family, I began to shed the Mormonism off of my skin along with the “good versus bad” mentality that was stapled into the folds of my brain.

Not only was I experiencing a personal transition the country was also experiencing one as well. It was November 2016 and the election was in full force, meaning everywhere I looked, everything I read, women’s reproductive rights were being discussed. Facebook was full of gruesome images and false information that was distorted by an individual three hundred thousand shares ago. Radio shows hosted debates while political figures spoke harshly of the women that chose to terminate their pregnancy as well as the people that support it. Everyone I knew had an opinion about abortion and I couldn’t find relief anywhere. I felt deserted and mostly angry that no one understood what it felt like to be exactly where I was. 

After I slept through the end of the year I decided to move to New York. I was still fuming and desperate to connect with anyone who could understand my experience. So I shared my story to everyone and began to normalize abortion and talk about the topic like I was talking about laundry. Suddenly, I formed a pact with women online and in person who understood why I was still grieving. 

I developed confidence in my decision and in my story and began to march in protest of the government and the silent rules that are still denying reproductive freedom, in hopes of change. On social media I shared my story in hopes that other young women feeling alone while going through this process could find some relief. 

As a child the only stories I was told were of Christ or searching for Waldo not, “What to do if you’re experiencing an unexpected pregnancy?”. I wasn’t informed of the normalcy of such events that exist in womanhood. How ordinary pregnancy tests are and the amount of women that are in the same predicament I was. If only my story was one I had heard, that first year of grueling pain and feeling sorry for myself could’ve been lifted.  

Understanding the significance of storytelling through my current state is one of the most important lessons of my early twenties and I haven’t been able to articulate that until now.

(y’know aside from eating regular meals and not spending all my money in a week)

 

Do ya, do ya wanna listen to this?

Another alt-country/folky music suggestion-

“Longwave” album by Bonny Doon

I’ve been listening to their March released album for weeks and weeks- there’s a simplistic head nodding ambiance to each turning song. This lil Detroit band retreated to the Michigan woods and recorded this hypnotic album. I love it when bands do this, much like Bon Iver escaping to the woods and writing his first album or Waxahatchee fleeing to Alabama to write “American Weekend” (my favorite album of hers). There’s an appeal to the idea of needing to be out of the world to write songs of it.

This album REEKS of sunshine.

I love listening to it through and through while cooking or biking or laying down in the sunshine. Bonny Doon has accomplished writing an album that feels like you’re sitting in a cushioned, yellow living room having long conversations throughout the hot summer night. The type of songs that leave your head bobbing without realizing it.

The sixth and longest track on the record “Saved” plays aloud and suddenly I’m 15 and sitting in a circle skipping school and watching my friends improvise and experiment with soft guitars and drum samples.

My personal favorite and shortest song on the album “Where Do you Go?” slowly fades into the  opening and only lyrics, a warm reflective voice echos “Where do you go at night, when you’re dreaming?”. These lyrics are repeated throughout this upbeat song with an unanswered question. Accompanied with a soft piano and sliding guitar, you’re suddenly mumbling through the lyrics and replaying the song because you wish it was longer.

 This album slows everything down and for a split second I can feel the sun beating on my eyelids and the end of summer resting on my shoulders, daydreaming. Bonny Doon manages to have a 40 minute introspective conversation with me, before fading with an instrumental goodbye closing with their final song “Walkdown”.

SO CHECK IT OUTTTTTTT!

Aren’t you glad I didn’t write about the intricacies of my relationships instead. Listen to this album and be happy.

(I don’t own the rights to any of these images thank you)

What do you dream of?

Daydreaming to me isn’t resting my head against my finger tips sighing loudly and looking at a bright blue sky appearing cloudless (and most likely at a moderate temperature). It’s not the cliché version that is in sit-coms and cartoons. Most of the time it’s when I’m walking to my apartment, it’s in waiting for the next customer, or the seconds between crossing a street or when I’m restless in bed. Daydreaming has always been something I’ve done actively since I was a child. From terrifying nightmares to realistic futures to the childlike prayers.


Lately the streets have been filled with skirts and colorful jumpers, cut off pants, striped dresses and black leather sandals. The trees are suddenly three feet taller and full of green leaves and pink blossoms. Cafes, book stores and consignment shops have their windows and doors open and if you touch the pavement with your finger tips they just may burn. On occasion the sky is filled with grey and black clouds and the sun filled days release their hold and little droplets are kissing your forehead and shins as the water races into your socks. Dogs begin to bark and run their owners to shelter and, the cafes hurriedly close their doors. Sometimes while looking up you’ll notice a window on a fourth floor apartment winding open and green leaves leaking out it, soaking in the Tears of God or whatever you were told as a kid.

(In a less romantic way it’s fuckin’ summer in NYC so we’re getting day drunk and eating snacks on our unfurnished roofs.)

I’ve been dreaming of home and thats kinda always what I day dream of. The overbearing green trees, the kind old ladies I grew up with, knowing my neighbors across the street, the bench I use to warm at softball games (lol). I dream of a place where I was almost completely free. My summer morning runs, floating in my empty pool naked and listening to all the birds at 8 AM, really long drives, sometimes in silence and others in a packed car filled with tunes.

A quick backstory: My senior year of High school I lived in my empty childhood home. Well, partly empty, the only furnished room was my room and the couches in the living room. My father also stayed with me but, on weekends he was often gone for business (lots of parties) and everyday he was working until 5 or 6 PM. Growing up with 4 siblings and all of their friends in and out of the house THIS was a very different experience than theirs and,not what I expected for myself. It was quiet and in the small town I lived in, it felt quiet. Therefore, I had a lot of slow minutes, a lot of rebellion and a lot of solitude. In this time my relationship with my dad grew and I really began to understand him separately and not just as my dad. It was the first time my heart ever hurt because of someone else, it was the first time my dad saw me cry because I was sad and not because of some scrape on my knee. This year holds so much importance to me and because of that I often reflect on it.

With all of that being said, in times where the streets are overcrowded and when someone else’s sweat touches my arm or I can’t escape the sound of cars honking their horns, my ears close and I remember when I could feel my heart in my chest while running through the trails of North Carolina. I hear the crunch of the leaves under my sneakers as the seasons began to change, I can hear birds chirping to one another at 7:30 in the morning. The honking fades and suddenly I’m eating dinner with my dad trying to figure out where I was going to college or if I was even going to. The walkman appears across the street and I remember driving to my Nanny’s house peeking in the windows and eating watermelon on her vacant porch- trying to remember her voice.

Daydreaming for me is where I go when it becomes too loud, its where I go when I need to breathe air thats been recycled through trees and not exhaust pipes, when I need to remember my roots. Its the most important place to me and a place I don’t belong to right now but, often escape to.

What do you dream of?

The new look is envy


If I wear some light wash jeans and some black platforms people will think I’m cool enough, y’know? Strap on my expensive uncomfortable platforms (90s style), stuff my “New Yorker” tote with my $26 dollar strawberry lip balm and the poetry and prose novella I never finished. (even though I never read the fuckin’ New Yorker). Waking up at 9 AM with enough time for the morning routine of my dreams. Before leaving my stylish east side apartment I’ll be sure to cover my arms in a velvet overcoat that passes my knees but, is slim around my hips. I’ll have that artistlook. That sleek look. The “my parents saved enough money for me to live the next 30 years comfortably look.” I protest and protect the lives of minorities in America instead of sitting in silence, allowing them to have their voices heard, FOR ONCE!!!! The hip freelancing professional that finds art in reoccurring trash but swears it’s NEW it’s HIP.

A day job? What? Never heard that, never felt that, never experienced that…

Color me green with envy but, one of the reasons I love living in New York is also one of the reasons why I find it so dull. The artist aesthetic.

You all look the same to me
You all look the same to me
You all look insane to me.


While riding the subway to work I’ve been listening to a mix of Mazzy Star, “Happyness”, Will Smith and my new weekly favorite Smiths song. I’ll post all my playlists and their vulgar titles eventually. 

Two Minutes Please!

There are certain occasions in our lives that feel like they’re moving in slow motion.
The last second in any sports event.
Thrillers, with their twists and turns.
Whenever I break someones mug/glass.
Hard conversations with people we love.
Procedures we’re awake for.

Basically, just events where the time is moving painfully slower than normal. When you’re physically watching the second-hand wiggle slowly to the next second. Becoming more and more anxious, more and more excited, more and more hopeful. Theres a specific result most women have found themselves waiting for that can lead to the agonizing two minutes of fear and a lot of self-reflection.

Pregnancy tests.
(que shrill scream)

I’m taking the time now to say that yes, I do acknowledge that for some women this is a beautiful experience that they’re happy and anxious to be a part of. But, in my experience and those I have interviewed it’s terror and a lot of pacing back and forth waiting for the second-hand to wiggle to the next second.

The other day I found myself in a foreign bathroom with headphones buzzing in my ears, I ripped open the pink package, bit the plastic off that surrounds the device and, threw the instructions into the trash. I looked at myself in the mirror waiting for the rush to be gone but, I quickly realized any solid seconds of clarity or stillness I had hoped for, passed me and weren’t coming back. From here until the end it was just chaos. Thoughts quickly overwhelmed my heart and brain while my knees shook and tears painted my cheeks. In a brief moment everything that was currently my present was put into question and, a film of the next 9 months was played in two minutes as my elbows rested on my knees waiting for results.My mind turned to him first, my parents second and me last.


Would our relationship even be able to survive an abortion/adoption or another human? Would he resent me? Where would we live? The arguments. How would it work? Would the thought of abortion crush him? What about his future? What about his career? Scarier thoughts followed. What if it worked? What if this is what he wants? What if our lives intertwined into this beautiful, picturesque, cinematic montage. With lots of hazy sunsets and slippery yellow slides. Wild grocery runs and funny dinners before falling asleep in our king size bed in our Brooklyn BROWNSTONE!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m telling you, full 2 1/2 hour movies of my life played with almost every possibility as a reality. My thoughts slithered through the rough conversations of me telling my parents,

“Here I am your inappropriate, unwed daughter giving you a grandchild. Also can you spare some change for a crib?”

Or the secret pregnancy that gave another family a child, or the secret $400 procedure that they’ll never know about. The secret the SECRETS!


My thoughts quickly returned home and I began to think about where I wanted to be. What do I want to be? Abortion is so physically difficult and mentally decapitating. Do I even have $400 dollars? What about my life of modeling, acting and writing? What about school? Would I even love this child? Could I be a good mother? Would this child be vegan? (lol) Would. I. be. happy? I can’t do it. I can’t do it. I can’t have a child and, I can’t bear to give it away, abortion hurts.

What do I do? Thoughts of running away occurred, not actually but, mostly just getting out of that fucking bathroom.My skin was red and my body was sweating. The music abruptly faded out and the alarm sounded off in my ears. Two minutes.

I reached my arm up to the sink to flip the test over to see the results. I clumsily knocked it into the bowl and had to stand up to retrieve it. Standing in front of the mirror I looked down and saw the results resting by the sink drain. That moment of stillness I was waiting for occurred and every thought that I panicked over was forgotten.

Every false reality that was created was left in that two minutes, half-naked, with my elbows resting on my knees. The arguments with my lover, my family with him as a father, my mother crying, my father silent, my career disappearing, the needle going into my cervix, spaghetti covered dresses and boozy late nights, running away to Paris forgetting it all, nothing changing. Hm, nothing changing. I flushed the toilet, threw the test away, pulled my pants over my knees and left the tiled bathroom just as it was.

*sighs*


These agonizing tests and terror filled seconds overwhelmed me and overwhelm many women that have to take the test in times of uncertainty and confusion. Hopefully, this little bit paints an image of the ladies that are sitting in the bathrooms waiting. In the conversations and interviews I held with women to receive more insight, we all realized that we all have a story like this. Whether the end result is jumping up and down with the news of motherhood quickly approaching, leaving the foreign bathroom just as it was, contacting planned parenthood, or looking at pictures of couples and families. This little pact of womanhood, our little secret operation, of operating or non-operating reproductive systems that we all share is such an interesting whirlwind of experiences and emotions that I’m happy and lucky to be a part of.

Reaching out and being honest with others about things I am going through has really allowed me to receive such comforting and encouraging feedback. (and many warm hugs) Also, I just wanna say that most of the time these women (your friends, mom, sister etc) have gone through similar if not the same things. It’s fine to acknowledge that you’re afraid but also acknowledge that talking to someone you love and trust can make the situation seem less chaotic.

xx,
Jacqs

YO! MY SAINT

yo-my-saint-2.jpgLAST night I was walking up the stairs of the underground subway into the dark, frigid, windy hell that was Brooklyn. I got off at a stop that was further from my house but, closer to my favorite neon bar (priorities). I was planning on enjoying a brisk walk to ‘Beccas to join my friend on her tinder date before going home. The night had been, well, it was actually terrible. I was looking forward to a cozy glass of cheap wine and then walking to my loving home (that still doesn’t house a kitchen table). I was fumbling on Spotify the entire train ride trying to load music so I could listen to it while commuting. My thumbs were tip tapping on my phone, reloading and reloading, then I found a newish song by Karen O.
(ugh my heart I’ve loved her since High School and she never fails to impress).

Unfortunately, I got lost and was tracing and retracing my steps in the streets of industrial Brooklyn. Trying to find a street or building that I had seen before. My hair was freezing by the second and my hands could no longer hold onto my phone to look at the map. As I was wandering around the empty streets, the newish song finally loaded and “YO! MY SAINT” shushed the gusts of wind in my ears.

I haven’t stopped listening to it since I heard the first breaths in the first few seconds.

It makes me feel like I’m in love. Its romantic, melodramatic and takes you to unexpected places and spaces. While listening I felt my pace quicken, my eyebrows furl, suddenly I’m determined to do something- go somewhere. Yet, there remains a sense of yearning thats overwhelming.

Halfway through the song everything ceases and Karen takes over, ending the last 2 minutes of the song with soft instruments playing alongside her. It becomes repetitive and dreamy as she repeats the same words over and over again- making them more significant by the verse.

I later read that this single was released as part of a film being produced by the French fashion house Kenzo for a promotional campaign. In doing this Karen combined the worlds of fashion, music and film. Below I’ve provided the links for the short film and the song by Karen O, just love this with me.

“Don’t you know my eyes, my eyes
They’ll see you blue
In blue
My one and only”

YO! MY SAINT- Karen O (film version)
YO! MY SAINT -a film 

Maybe, it’s not.

A still from the film “Jules et Jim”

Heres the thing, I have tried numerous times to write about the regular things in life that I find interesting. Such as, bizarre Uber experiences, loneliness in New York, the cool bars I enjoy, meeting men (etc, etc). Pretty much my liberating yet confined adventures here as a young lady in one of the most heavily populated cities in the world.

I CAN’T

Right now, not too much is making sense. Maybe its because I’m naive with not too much experience but, also maybe it’s not.

When I was younger my friend and I constantly gawked at any sign of affection from any potential lover. We loved each other instead. We were having a blast, staying out really late without any responsibilities, laughing really loud, wearing dirty clothes and running around our shitty North Carolina town. It just made sense to keep the idea of any relationship status changing very far from the present. So of course any sign of genuine interest from the other party was something that we stuck our tongues out to and laughed whilst running into the sunset.

Recently I’ve found myself tripping into heartbreaks over and over again. Weekly I’ve called my mother either crying in a puddle of my own mistakes or, elated for my future with the “love of my life.” So with all of this babbling on a topic that makes me so happy yet so perplexed here are some lessons I’ve learned that have either shattered or built me.


ADMIT YOUR INSECURITIES:
UGH this is the hardest thing for me. Admitting my insecurities to myself and not projecting them onto my partner is so important. Growing up I always had this idea that jealousy was a healthy reaction from your partner and necessary for relationships. “Its how you know they care”. NOOOOO!

Jealousy is not an opportunity to ambush your partner with unexpected, harsh feelings that are usually very temporary. Take a breath and really look at your situation before speaking on it. This was something I learned from a very patient, loving person and it made me adjust the way I communicated the uncomfortable feelings I inevitably do/will have.

CRY (LOL)
Several subway rides have had my tears on the trains floor, several floral pillows are marked with mascara stains but, once I have a grip on my emotions its easier to begin self-soothing.

Things like taking baths, cleaning my apartment, exploring the city, getting a drink with my girls.
Just admit “okay, this is where I am now and I’ll get over this soon enough.”

YOU ARE YOUR OWN PERSON NO ONE ELSES:
Do NOT stop doing the things you love!!!!! Have “me” days. Yes, it’s nice to spend time with someone I am so fond of but, making sure that I still have my alone time is so important, for myself and the other person. Maintaining my daily routine, going to the gym, enjoying the company of people that aren’t in the same friend group, dancing at my favorite bar, expressing myself creatively, maintaining my views and opinions but, with an open mind to theirs. Yes, of course spend time with someone you want to spend time with but, allow them to cater to their own needs and wants while also focusing on yours. Its really hard to find the sweet spot but, when it happens it’s such a happy place. It’s so important to hold onto the things that make you happy aside from that person.

LISTEN TO YOUR HEART BABY:
This is going to be short and sweet, if it doesn’t feel right- don’t stay.

I am aware that I am not some love guru with all the answers and y’know, my heart will probably be broken again but, thats okay. I’m not afraid of it. I want to have these experiences, and I want to continue loving in my passionate, unfiltered, freeing way.