Lines on healing the healer.

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Linas Bam on Unsplash

This body is becoming less strange
In my pause before showers
Reacquainting with myself
When I can manage

Hello
I see you
I know you
Are you the me that others see?

I missed the boat to delight in youthful perfection
As most of us do
So now I see through scars I allowed the world to carve in me
Down through the bookmarks of time

And I don’t have to pull flesh anymore to see the me that was
I don’t want to
I see the me that survived
In all her sterilized post-maiden pre-crone glory

Mother without the magic of creation
This limbo of libido-focused energy
Timeline in a woman’s moons
I am a little bit of all the…


Has COVID changed their entire future?

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Photo by Rene Bernal on Unsplash

We’re a music festival mentality family, and part of that means high touch socialization. Our plan for the future revolved around not only supporting our local scene, but entwining its success with ours and doing our part to strengthen it.

But what happens to our circle of music, laughter, sweat equity and tactile gatherings in a global pandemic? What happens to the fragile world of Ohio music festivals when we can’t pull the patchwork income that keeps families invested and involved?

What keeps me awake is the uncertainty of it ever coming back.

Amazon ‘saved items’ quietly recall what would have been.

My online shopping receipts from March 5th belong to another person. A few books, new shoes for the kids, and a Stop Shroom tub drain thingee. Tools for adventure (some awesome nature guides), stuff to adventure in (badass hiking shoes), and items to deal with post-adventure (the ability to have a soak and deal with our hairy selves’ drain havoc). …


COVID mindset has me parenting like I’m dying.

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Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

The country song that inspired my subtitle has been intermittently stuck in my head since 2004. Not a huge fan, but it’s the broccoli of my brain’s teeth. It’s been on random repeat since last month though, and I’m finally not too annoyed by it.

I’ve spent a lot of time around elders, both through end of life care and hanging out in different capacities. One memory I can’t shake lately since COVID-19 rocked our world is the many times they’d recall their ‘last good day’, before the fall or illness, or before their loved ones passed on. …


Lean on others without drowning them.

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Photo by Akshar Dave on Unsplash

I haven’t really reached out to my circle through COVID-19. All my thoughts seem toxic right now and I don’t want to spread them, never knowing what level of anxiety they’re grappling with at the moment.

I’m used to being the sounding board, a fanatical advocate for feeling the feels without fear. I’ve been told I make others feel able to accept themselves and their situations, that they need a regular dose of my company even. Hey, I’ll take it.

But now? Who am I now, when my whole world has shrunk to the size of my husband’s shadow as he gets in the carpool every day? I am a shadow chasing his, trying to pull it back to safety with me. …


The cost of keeping my family healthy tripled during COVID-19, and we’re not alone.

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Photo by Nicolas Ukrman on Unsplash

With advisories to stay home not only if you’re symptomatic, but to slow community spread of the virus, anybody that can order groceries online is punching that button.

So what’s the cost of social responsibility? According to my numbers, about 400 bucks.

But that sensible safety protocol comes at a price much higher than the average grocery budget. In my home, I shop almost exclusively at ALDI with an average $90 cost to feed my family of five for two weeks. …


Because aren’t we all beginning to fragment?

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Photo by Tom Roberts on Unsplash
Audio with a gunshot background heartbeat is fun times.

When the world goes back to normal
And back again it must
Will you return to lock-step
Trade your life for public trust?

Cuz I can see a pattern here
Beneath the masks we wore
Our sanity is fraying
Locked behind apartment doors

But was it ever really sane?
This eager beaver drive
To beat the benchmarks in our head
We drive, we work
Reset, rewind

Seems an overdose of the common cure
For modern maladies.
A long form injection of self care isolation
Gimme freedom, I got the shakes.

If the way out is through
And the devil’s in the details
Then maybe running circles sitting still
Was the only way modern madness could derail.

Cold turkey social detox
Heavy mainline dosage screen face
Freeways empty going no place
Pile up on isle nine.

For more of my now-published COVID logjam I hesitated to release:


I’m no longer a writer, but a woman counting down the COVID-19 clock.

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Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash
Because a rough, honest audio swing-telling keeps it real.

I’ve tried to write responsibly about the COVID-19 pandemic. A wee profile check shows not one published bit of the maelstrom pounding my thoughts for the past few weeks, though.

I thought fear of contributing to panic held me back, so I began a draft about responsible journalism. Nice piece, that. Has a good flow, a real reason for even existing (have you seen the zombie flick fonts they’re using on some news outlets?) and I’m proud of it. …


Dropping internalized societal expectations for a happier life.

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Annie Spratt on Unsplash

For months, I’ve been feeling like a failure because of our financial situation even though I knew better. Through a slew of unexpected fluke events, I’ve watched the credit score I spent a decade intently building fall through the floor.

Then I realized that credit score wasn’t the ultimate goal. The one I already achieved was, our century farmhouse. I hadn’t failed, I’d simply used the tool I’d worked so hard to build for its exact purpose and more. …


Public piety can turn a good deed into empty grandstanding.

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Joshua Rawson-Harris on Unsplash

I recently had someone offer to give me $1,000 to catch up on bills. During a phone call, they had sussed out we were experiencing financial difficulty. I listened in silence as they went on about various aspects of godliness and responsibility, how I deserved to be helped and needed to put aside pride.

Despite my protests, and after I refused to give them my bank information for a transfer, they insisted a check would be in the mail the next morning. I cried in shame and gratitude. Even though that would fix every financial trouble, I didn’t want the money. …


Lines on breathing anyway.

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Francesca Zama on Unsplash

Some days it’s not okay

It’s just breathing

Again

And out.

And that repetitive function

Becomes far more than autonomous

It’s a rebellion against ribs wanting to rest.

Nights where you wonder if the system will reset if you just stop drawing in.

Gasp

Again

And again

And still nothing.

Just belligerent bellows mulish in their resistance to jump start.

Every breath is a battle

Every moment reluctant victory.

Gasp

Pauses between aren’t where panic lives, either.

That feels like rest.

It’s the dread of drawing more breath

Past the last

Again

And again.

Gasp.

About

Jessica Ball

City mouse in a country house, training the trauma out of the family tree. Sharing 20 years of intentional observation with my kids and the eternally curious.

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