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“The tone of the new year is set not by how you end the previous year, but how you spend the first day of the year.”

My friend said this to justify our wanting to go to bed before midnight on New Year’s eve. It was our last night camping in the Sahara in Southeast Algeria and a part of me didn’t want to miss the ongoing festivities. Someone had connected their phone to the speakers in one of the trucks and Pharrel’s Happy blared out. Later we switched to the music of our Tuareg guides. …


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A friend of mine recently experienced a violent trauma, which would be enough to shake anyone’s trust in the world. Except she’s experienced violence so many times in her life that she’s been struggling not to give up. She’s finding limited comfort in nature and in trees losing their leaves and regaining them, but she’s lost faith in her higher power and anything better coming.

As she spoke to me, all I wanted was to make the hurt go away. But while I believe she will move through this darkness, I also can’t tell her she’s wrong. The world is a violent place. As much as I also believe it is a beautiful place, who am I to tell her that? …


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Image by msandersmusic from Pixabay

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed. This insight into the mystery of life, coupled though it be with fear, has also given rise to religion. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms — this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of true religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I belong in the ranks of devoutly religious men.


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Photo by Malvestida Magazine on Unsplash

“You did what?”

“Pelvic floor physical therapy. They push on trigger points inside your vagina to relax your muscles. It completely resolved my back pain.”

The idea made me squirm. In response, my friend assured me that “it’s not sexual.”

In talking about my reaction with several friends, I explored why the idea of it made me uncomfortable. It’s a medical professional, after all, and why would I respond any differently than to a gynecologist who pokes and swabs around in there. One friend responded, “it’s your vagina. Of course, you think of sex when it comes up.”

I’ve been looking for the holy grail of solutions to my low back pain and radiating nerve issues for close to ten years so my friend’s experience had my attention. I believed that my back problems stemmed from two herniated discs located just above my sacrum and a compressed nerve running through my glute. …


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“Dammit!” I poured water down the sink drain and it leaked out the pipes into the cabinet below, again.

Four hours into my repair of what I thought was going to be an easy fix, I felt deflated. I had to stop or be late to pick up my niece and nephew from school.

The day had started out optimistically enough writing a blog post. Maybe I was becoming too cocky about the life peace I’d been experiencing though. Ever since writing Freaking Out! Again.


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Photo by Pexels on Pixabay

A friend of mine posted on facebook recently, “I really adore Lizzo and wish I had half her self-confidence. Never, though.”

Her wording suggested such confidence was a choice and she’d made a decision she couldn’t ever be that person. No doubt I’d done the same. So I asked her — “why never? What do you think you’d look like with her confidence? What a cool thing to imagine. I’m going to try it.”

In that moment, I imagined myself writing and standing on stage talking about love. When I see people like Lizzo or anyone that I admire, I tend to believe that they knew something or had passion for an idea that I don’t. But I’ve read enough interviews and memoirs to know that more often these people didn’t believe that what they wrote, said, sang, or painted would be anything people cared about. They just knew that they had to do it and they didn’t let their fears and sacred cows about who they were “supposed” to be or how they were “supposed” to act hold them back. …


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Glancing around the crowded room, I felt every nerve flip on high alert. Adults and kids from two to eighteen years old in superhero, princess, and animal costumes had stuffed themselves like sausage into this local police station to experience their haunted house. The heat and constant movement in the packed room stifled and overwhelmed me as I waited with my seven-year-old nephew, four-year old niece, and their uncle, for our turn.

The people in charge divided us into two lines of small kids and big kids, but the chaos of so many bodies in a tight space, made it hard to distinguish which line was which and who was in front or behind. All I wanted was to get us through and out, so I fastidiously kept one eye out to protect our spot to ensure no one would cut in front of us. My other eye flicked between my nephew climbing on the stair railing next to us and my niece often going in search of something more interesting than standing in a queue to make sure they didn’t lose me or bother other people. …


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Image by Bianca Mentil from Pixabay

“Hey Dad. I need to talk to you about something.” I hesitantly said over the phone.

I’ve had a heaviness lately with all the familiar fear thoughts playing in a loop in my head like a record with a skip. I think talking to Dad about it might help.

The heaviness started a few weeks ago while drafting a story for an event in Virginia that had the theme of lying. I thought of a funny anecdote about a time I lied to Dad in high school.

Normally when I went out, I would tell Dad, “I’m going out, see you later” or “see you in the morning” and he’d respond, “have fun.” …


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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

“I think I’d make a good parent because I’d be able to accept my child as she or he is.” I heard the words come from my young friend’s mouth, but I knew I’d said them about myself. Did she really know what she was saying? I always thought being accepting meant the big things — the ones movies are written about. I wouldn’t reject a child for being gay or transgender, for example. Or holding different religious beliefs. Isn’t that what acceptance of a child is about?

Except just this past weekend, I found myself decidedly not accepting my nephew as he was. It wasn’t the first time. At seven, he’s interested in Bey Blades, videogames, and wants to roughhouse, not hike in the woods or read. …


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Photo by Alexander Mils on Unsplash

I love money!

As I’ve attempted to wrap my head around my complicated relationship with money, I came across this affirmation. Jen Sincero suggests it in her book, You’re a Badass at Making Money, followed by “because . . .” to get past our limiting beliefs around money. When I try saying it, though, I am compelled to explain my “love” with a caveat that I’m not attached to it or that I only love it insofar as it is meeting my needs without wanting more. In other words, I want the world, i.e., …

About

No Saint Jennifer

Chronicling her journey to loving herself in day-to-day life. Follow her on nosaintjennifer.com, and as @nosaintjennifer on facebook, instagram, and twitter.

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