Vanity Rains Optimistic

Someone recently said to me, “you’re vain,” and I was shocked. I never, ever thought of myself in that way. When I wrote an essay, “You’re Skinny You Don’t Have Any Problems” with Feminine Collective which was taken out of context about how challenging and horrific my life would become, I was criticized and blasted for the title. Duh, did the troll read the piece?

I mulled it over in my head, and guess what I am vain, women need to be more vain. When I was younger I should’ve been proud and more confident with my skinny body and face instead of constantly apologizing for the way I looked. Just the other day, a woman (of course), made a snide comment when I joked about ‘getting older and fat.’ Fat was a poor choice of words, I work hard in the gym and always have. I eat healthy, don’t drink, and don’t smoke. I live clean and quiet.

So, fuck-off I’m done apologizing. And to my twenty-year-old self, I’m sorry I didn’t appreciate your privileged supermodel beauty and all the chaos to come. I wish I’d been happier and grateful with the woman I was trying to keep up with, a fantastical, unrealistic image I suppose.

Today, I’m shooting for vainglorious, and not apologizing for taking care of the fifty-year-old me, free from the critics, naysayers and judges. To be proud of sane mind and body.

The Rafters

I must not forget, never ever forgo this one shot at an honest life. A well-played beginning, the hold on tight middle, and a serene, admired, beloved end. I have been given this offset jewel of a life for a reason.
Loosening my grip on the serrated edge, I grab tight to the rafters overhead. 

Women Who Shape Us

Women Who Shape Us

She won’t hesitate to call out a bully, misanthrope or liar
She will stand tall, pull her shoulders back while sobbing, heaving hysterical for the plight of another
She’ll dance crazed and belt out a tune just to hear the stereo beat and guitar riffs and drum solo
She will love a man or a woman on a whim from a sweet smile and soft whispers
She’s unafraid to get broken
Her brokenness owned by the cracks she boldly dared step upon walking chin up towards the sun
Pride, she’ll swallow it every time for a cause
And a saving grace melody
She wears leather or lace
And loves to play dress up
She needs to look pretty not for others
Nah, man
For her glorious, unique, mysterious self
Because she is all woman, all day
And one of a kind
Clever, neat, messy and soulful
She’s not a feminist
She’s a humanist who happens to be a girl
In love even when it hurts with this one life – Jacqueline Cioffa

Mirror Mirror

Mirror Mirror

This body of mine carried me through days of sophisticated lies and ambition. This body of mine has been home to shame, trials and tribulations. This body of mine has known love and felt all woman. But, this body of mine cannot and does not coexist without the messy, chaotic, beautiful, strong mind pushing forward walking her through a new, more experienced chapter. Onward in these bizarre times, and an overtly strange millennium.

This body of mine carries the weight of an old soul whose mind and body are held high. – Jacqueline Cioffa

Gypsies and Pixie Dust

Gypsies and Pixie Dust

I exist therefore I am, mistakes and imperfections one and all. I don’t want to be considered an artist. I want to be thought of as a student of art. I want to ingest the human condition, live and breathe it. I want to eradicate all traces of ego and relate.

I want to roam the globe and hear the stories, while not missing out on the neighborhood tales right next door. I am a traveler and connoisseur of fortune and mishap. I am a believer in fate and love and a hopeless romantic at heart. I have fallen in love many times over; sometimes reciprocated while others not. I am a gypsy leaping joyously headfirst into the new and unknown forever anxious for a fresh start.

So much of our lives are spent in the world of what if, instead of the place that is right now. I am present, I am now and I am looking up towards the sky and watching as the pixie dust falls. For today I will repeat that statement over and over, every time my mind starts to wander to a different road. I am present, I am now and I am looking up to the sky. Watch for it, you might miss it if you’re not looking up towards the heavens as the pixie dust falls.

Looking Glass and The Windowpane

Sooner or later, I’m going to want to play the parts. I’ll be mother, daughter, sister, friend, lover, and feminist right on time. I’ll want to write the appropriate words that answer the meaningful questions. I’ll get the joke. I’ll laugh out loud without bringing my hands up to cover my face. I am timeless, ageless and the perfect temperature. I will not grimace at the sight of a beautiful young woman. I will nod and offer her a secret, knowing smile and familiar glance. I will put away the minis, the boots, and the crazy forms of self-expression and store them deep in the back of my closet. I’ll hold onto them for a younger version of myself. I’ll walk the walk with conviction. I’ll talk the talk and hear the discussion. I will listen, with a mind that is open. I will wait ten seconds to answer. I’ll have a well-thought out appropriate response. I’ll take an interest in the world around me. I’ll be empowered, insightful, bright and impulsive in an instant. I will mellow out and leave fear, jealousy and rage behind. I’ll do all the things that a grown up does. I will act like a curvy, sophisticated, well groomed woman. – Jacqueline Cioffa

This Face

Image Jacqueline Cioffa © Chris Fanning Photography

This Face

If I only show you the photoshopped, concealed, makeup pretty me

You’d never understand the underbelly

The crunchy grit, rawness hidden beneath

The really good stuff, the honest kind that matters

This face is not the who, how, or where

This face is not the who, how, where, or when

This face is not the who, how, where, when or why parts of me

It’s cellular skin alive, hazel eyes, pointy nose, scarred forehead, potty mouth lips and cheeky cheekbones

This face cannot carry the weight of a life nor mask the beauty

It’s just a face like all others

It’s mine though

This face

Authentic, snotty nose

From the off-key tears I have cried

This face is at the highway, halfway mark
Raw and unfiltered

Scribbling notes between the lines

It gives a fuck less about herself

And more about the Bluegrass roots beauty

The lyrical tones

Of other faces poetically similar and ugly foreign at times

Jacqueline Cioffa

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” ―Ansel Adams

Spin Cycle

 

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I am forced to sit in the unpleasant, unfamiliar silence and hear myself calling. “Lady, so pleased to meet you. Take a load off. You’ve been running so long. Have the patience and fortitude to be still and walk away from an outdated life. Have the courage to know better. It has been such a long while since you’ve been home.

Fashion is Fickle

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FASHION IS FICKLE

When did we become a society of images scrolling past on someone’s smartphone? It’s nonsensical, comical and yet. Modeling was my life for two decades. I never felt entitled, prettier, skinnier or better than the next girl. In fact, I always felt a little less than. Maybe if I was thinner, smarter, or a skilled marketer I’d be a smarter brand, book better caliber jobs even though at the height of my career I was working for Vogue. I never let myself enjoy modeling. I took the lifestyles of the rich and famous for granted. Wait, before you crucify or criticize me. I understood the privileges, perks, and dollars being thrown my way. I understand how truly lucky I was.

I come from everyday middle class parents, nothing more than average but oh so much more beautiful than any pretty face I’ve known. Love, honor and respect mean more than some fucking photograph that would eventually crinkle and fade. My BFF who was a model too, said to me the other day, “I wish we had made more money.” Yeah, me too sometimes. Although money won’t solve any of my problems today. It’s all such a cliché. Small town girl leaves for the big city and makes it big. Well, you tell me what the fuck is big? How about doing something that requires brains, or better yet compassion? You’re not supposed to regret the past, or even look back, but I have a trunk full of old images staring back at me. I was a child who had no idea how lucky she was, traveling the globe, working one day a week making the same money it took others months and months to earn. A young girl who got caught up in the fickle that is fashion. It’s funny, I never thought it would end, and like most things that end abruptly and ruthlessly, I would find myself job-less and less, going through my savings in lightning speed. When you live in New York, and have to pay hefty rent money goes fast and furious. I always find it sad and a bit curious, when I post a modeling picture from a hundred years ago and they get way more likes than my serious writing pieces.

Maybe the world wants and needs to be entertained by unavoidable celebrities and Reality TV, to see pretty things because it is in fact, so brutally unfair and fucked up. Maybe. I loved modeling for a couple reasons, despite the plastic ones. My BFFs are the same beautiful women and ex-models I met when I was 19. They are, like me, normal and no longer immersed in the world of fashion. I got to visit, and actually live in cities I only dreamed of seeing, or watched on The Travel Channel. That was cool; to immerse yourself in a culture that was completely different than anything you’d ever known or called home. To eat cuisines you could barely pronounce. To try and decipher languages that sounded like gobbly gook. I discovered something along the way; people are pretty much the same. There are cool cats, interesting characters and funny humans across the globe. There are also beautiful assholes all over the world. Maybe I was an asshole sometimes too, entitled for sure. Not these days, no not anymore. I sort of cringe when I post an old picture from my modeling years, and then watch in wonder as the likes come flooding in. Not exactly flooding, more like a slow dribble. Fashion is fleeting, one must adapt to the superficial world we live in and move on. It’s high tide time to embrace the past, and hope the insides match the perceived beauty on the outside.

 

 

Rocking the End-Cap with Anne Lamott – Downtown Books and Coffee

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Guess whose books are hanging with the fabulously, talented and sublime author, Anne Lamott (squeek), at her favorite ‪#‎indiebookstore‬! (moi). 🙂

Thank you, Downtown Books and Coffee, and the community for the love.

Shop ‪‎Indie‬, and support local bookstores kind readers.

I purchased ‪Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by ‪Anne Lamott

“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”

Pick up a book at DowntownBooks and Coffee and a ticket for the upcoming lecture, book signing and Q & A. I did both. 

I am in awe, and inspired.

P.S. Best- Selling author, Anne Lamott is coming to Auburn, April 8th! Get your tickets through Auburn Public Theater, “An Evening with Anne Lamott.” 

Let’s celebrate women, the arts and lift each other up!

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AUBURN PUBLIC THEATER:

‘Sponsored by: The New York State Council on the Arts, M&T Bank, The Citizen, The Holiday Inn, The Allyn Foundation, Senator John A. DeFransisco

*If you are visiting from out of town, The Holiday Inn is offering a special room rate for Anne Lamott attendees. Use the block code ALE before March 11th, 2016 to reserve your room. Call 1-800-957-4654 or visit their website.*

This event will be ASL interpreted. Please contact the box office for seating in an advantageous vieweing location. info@auburnpublictheater.org

BUY TICKETS
Friday 4/8 at 7pm – Auburn High School

Anne Lamott
Best-selling Author of Bird by Bird, Operating Instructions, and Plan B

“Reading Lamott is like having a chat with one of the angels, a smarter, wittier one.” – The Denver Post

***The evening will include book signing, lecture, and Q & A at Auburn Public High School***

Anne Lamott writes and speaks about subjects that begin with capital letters: Alcoholism, Motherhood, Jesus. But armed with self-effacing humor – she is laugh-out-loud funny – and ruthless honesty, Lamott converts her subjects into enchantment. Actually, she writes about what most of us don’t like to think about. She wrote her first novel for her father, the writer Kenneth Lamott, when he was diagnosed with brain cancer. She has said that the book was “a present to someone I loved who was going to die.” In all her novels, Anne Lamott writes about loss – loss of loved ones and loss of personal control. She doesn’t try to sugar-coat the sadness, frustration and disappointment, but tells her stories with honesty, compassion and a pureness of voice. She says, “I have a lot of hope and a lot of faith and I struggle to communicate that.” Anne Lamott does communicate her faith; in her books and in person, she lifts, comforts, and inspires, all the while keeping us laughing.

Anne Lamott is the author of seven novels including, Hard Laughter, Rosie, Joe Jones, Blue Shoe, All New People, Crooked Little Heart, and Imperfect Birds. She has also written several bestselling books of nonfiction, including, Operating Instructions, an account of life as a single mother during her son’s first year followed by Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son, and a writing guide; Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. She has also authored three collections of autobiographical essays on faith; Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith, and Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith. In her latest book of non-fiction, Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers, Ms. Lamott gives us three prayers to assist us in trying times. Her most recent book is entitled Stitches; A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair, an honest, funny book about how to make sense of life’s chaos (Oct 2013). She is currently working on a new book of essays to be called Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace (November 2014).
Lamott has been honored with a Guggenheim Fellowship, and has taught at UC Davis, as well as at writing conferences across the country. Lamott’s biweekly Salon Magazine “online diary,” Word by Word, was voted The Best of the Web by TIME magazine. Academy Award –winning filmmaker Freida Mock has made a documentary on Lamott, entitled “Bird by Bird with Annie” (1999). Anne Lamott has also been inducted into the California Hall of Fame.
*If you are visiting from out of town, The Holiday Inn is offering a special room rate for Anne Lamott attendees. Use the block code ALE before March 11th, 2016 to reserve your room. Call 1-800-957-4654 or visit their website.*
This event will be ASL interpreted. Please contact the box office for seating in an advantageous vieweing location. info@auburnpublictheater.org
Tickets: $50 – Event will take place at Auburn Public High School.’

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AUTHOR BIO

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JACQUELINE CIOFFA was an international model for 17 years and celebrity makeup artist. She is a dog lover, crystal collector and Stone Crab enthusiast. Her work has been featured in the anthologies Brainstorms, Feminine Collective’s Raw and Unfiltered, Vol. 1, Stigma Fighters Anthology, Vol. 2, and numerous literary magazines. She writes the Bleeding Ink column at Feminine Collective.

Living with manic depression, Jacqueline is an advocate for mental health awareness. She’s a storyteller, observer, essayist, potty mouth and film lover who’s traveled the world.

Her poignant, literary fiction debut, THE VAST LANDSCAPE, gives new meaning to intense, raw and heartfelt.

Fans of the emotional, soul stirring first novel will not be able to put down the exciting sequel, GEORGIA PINE.

The essence continues because you do. Harrison leaves the door open a crack. I seize the opportunity to revisit my whole, healthy self a bit longer, live in the mystic beach home I adore, dream eyes open. Hope is our greatest asset. To choose hope against the worst possible odds is the true measure of life. ~ GEORGIA PINE by Jacqueline Cioffa

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000037_00021]Georgia Pine