"To not forget but remember the precious, fleeting stolen moments in time." 'funny girl'

Stolen Moments-2

From time to time you’ll see Stolen Moments show up on the blog. Words forgotten and misplaced, poetry, anticipatory memories, prose, joy and sorrow, pensive emotion, random and not so random thoughts scribbled in tattered notebooks. To not forget but remember the precious, fleeting stolen moments in time. I’m a writer trying recapture on paper how it feels to be alive.

funny girl

by Jacqueline Cioffa

Dec. 2006

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I would like to lead a dark, sophisticated life

I dream of a fancy lady in spiked heels, red nails and lips and such

She wears corsets to breakfast

and dines on champagne and caviar

Instead I run away from fame and all it’s trappings

I’m a messy sneaker wearing practical jeans girl

transparent to the touch

I know it’s crazy but I miss you everyday

more not less

I don’t need a prince charming just a soft whisper

A subtle nod, bittersweet embrace

Ask me to cross an ocean and I’d do it for you

Even for just five minutes

I don’t care I’m not proud though I am scared

I’m sophisticated just enough

I am somebody’s child, you know. Jacqueline Cioffa #mentalillness  

I never cared much about looking back when I was young.

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I could not wait to leave this house, this town get out and experience stuff. You know the obstinate dreamer looking for bold adventure. It worked. I ran. I ran fast and far, and kept running. That’s the funny thing about developing a serious illness, you are forced to re-prioritize. Becoming insane in the middle of Manhattan did not bode well for me or the strangers that crossed my path. The fancy friends eventually grew tired and gave up on listening to the paranoia, illusions of grandeur or understanding the enticement of pretty pink and shiny purple horses or the flickering lights of the carousel. Ones you can’t dismount or runaway from or dismiss, like the mania and depression you can’t out run. Round and round you go, in perpetuity. There are worse things than glaring evil stares when dancing alone in a Radio Shack in Harlem. There are even worse things than sitting on the floor in the middle of Rite Aid, Gatorade in hand, sobbing because you don’t know where you are, why the room is spinning or if you’re going to hurl from the strobe light storm happening inside your brain. There are even worse, more horrific things than why you’re all alone sitting on the cold, dirty floor. You are sure there are. You watch the news, bad shit happens. This bad to you, you’re not so sure.

Mortifying, that’s what mental illness is. Ruthless, ugly, hide your face in shame from the judgmental, fearful stares. The noise level in NYC is just too high. You can’t stand when passerbys brush against you, the subway screeches to a halt, or the taxis whizzing past. The bright yellow hurts your eyes. You can’t see. You can’t hear. You cannot process the incessant, relentless buzz, hums and whirring noise.

S.T.O.P.

I am somebody’s child, you know.

I am somebody’s child, same as you.

I used to love the Carousel screaming and running towards it, arms flailing like the happy carefree girl I once was.

What I can’t figure out is what the hell I’m supposed to do? Now. With this.

Some people are addicted to the mania jonesing for the next high, the visions, euphoria.

No, no, no.

Not me. I’ll take the black hole depression and blasé every single time. It’s quieter and peaceful alone in the dark. Except for being skinny, that part of the mania I’ll keep.

There’s only one thought to trust, one way to save yourself.

Maybe, maybe if you go back you might find your way.

Safe passage awaits.

Home.

Maybe I’ll breathe easier there.

Maybe the familiar, childhood home might save me.

Probably not. It’s my best shot.

You see, I don’t care if I live or if I die. I know that sounds harsh, exaggerated, self-indulgent but it’s not.

I only care how I live and where I’ll die.

I’ve been asking my mom about her mother as far back as I can remember, cataloging the information in a deep, pooling reservoir of serenity where I could reach in calling on the stories to be soothed.

I have tidal waves of memories, and ripple effects of love stored in my brain.

My grandmother, May, died in her sleep before we could meet. Fifty-three is too young to leave, she was barely getting started I bet.

I know some things about her. She liked to fish and the solitude of being on the water. We have that in common.

She drank a Manhattan every night after work. She was a baker’s daughter, my mom still makes her molasses cookie recipe at Christmastime. She loved her husband who’d get sick, (like me) and then better but never quite the same.

“Don’t bother your father,” the phrase handed down to her own daughter.

May worked in a plumbing shop with him, raising her children to be responsible, gentile and hardworking.

It was a simple, honest life.

She liked to dance, but didn’t go out often.

She loved gardening, planting roses and peony  bushes.

Did you know it takes peonies a full year to bloom? 

Maybe May knew while planting the seed, her heart full of family.

An invisible string from the heavens touching mine, her orb a sweet- scented blushing pink.

Maybe she knew, probably not.

She’d adored diamonds like me, wore an outrageous sparkling solitaire with facets that shimmer and catch the light on my finger. I only wear the precious heirloom on special occasions or when I’m morosely blue. It makes me feel pretty inside, close to her.

“You never told me I looked like her,” drilling my mother with yet another ten-thousandth question.

She nodded, “it makes me sad and happy at the same time.”

Home, a place one doesn’t fully outgrow and never truly leaves behind.

But home, this home however much I am the failure for needing to return is where I would like to live and how I would hope to die.

Not necessarily the physical dwelling, but the contentment feeling and serenity of a happy place inside.

Surrounded by love. Less alone.

Unencumbered by the weight of heavy living.

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“Legacy can feel heavy, sad or even sweet-smelling at times. I am the gatekeeper of this home, but not the original keeper of the key.”

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Jellybeans and Bed Sheets

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From: Jacqueline Cioffa <choff777@aol.com>
Subject: jelly beans and bed sheets
Date: April 10, 2007 7:39:59 AM EDT
To: Jacqueline Cioffa <choff777@aol.com>

I wrote Jellybeans and Bed Sheets some time ago.

Time didn’t pause for me but the memories I still own.

Jellybeans and Bed Sheets

by Jacqueline Cioffa

Miami, the beach sand sun moon and stars. There is something about being in a tropical place, how the wind blows just right sweeping and swooshing your problems away. They disappear drifting magically out to sea. None of us knew just how special that time and living in that house would be. The house was white stucco, cool to the touch but so very warm inside. There was a fish pond and orchids dripping from the front porch. Crickets lived outside your window lulling you to sleep. Sweet jasmine and magnolia buds filled your senses and eased your worries, heightening your dreams.

We’d meet each morning around the coffee table to chat about our ridiculous mishaps and adventures from the previous night. Me, my bestie and partner in crime and the hipster Madame of this fabulous house. Rehashing the evening’s antics and plain old gossip over cafe con leche. There was usually some man drama, we were single and living it.

Except for the guys sharing the space. They were the older and wiser, they despised our escapades craving for sleep. Especially M, the obstinate French fitness guru who demanded clean living and regimen. Rice and chicken, early to bed.  At 8:00 o’clock not 8:01 he’d start the bitch and moan mantra, “go to bed.”

Nagging relentlessly until we caved or snuck out. For my BFF and I our days were filled responsibly with modeling gigs, lists and appointments but the Miami nights were saved for raucous. We took full advantage. Moe’s our usual hangout served the sweetest margaritas with an outside patio and flickering white lights under the sway of palm trees. Shooting the shit sipping a frozen drink was 100 proof worry free. The rugged, hard-to-look at owner would place the sacred sombrero on the most deserving head. There was little rhyme or reason behind the crowning of the red velour tassel contraption. We had our fair share of drunken nights with a sombrero dancing on our heads. It was stupid fun.

We half-smile now; because life is so drastically different. Back then living was void of anything heavier than ten pounds. Today there are tweens (well one), rescue dogs, blind dogs, aches, illnesses, misplaced dreams, mortgages and the mundane. For a short time, a blip really there was only sun and beach and smoothies and peaceful co-existence in an inviting pretty white house by the beach.

We clumsily made our way back to that house in the wee hours of the night (early morning), the mystic dwelling that knew our names welcoming us back. We swung open the front door and bam. Busted. The door was rigged, it had an alarm that chimed every time it opened and closed. DING DING DING DING DING DING. We whipped off our heels and tippy toed to our room trying not to squeal and fell sloppily into bed.

This night, this one night was different. When we laid down there was immediate screaming and belly roars out of our mouths. No matter how hard we tried; we couldn’t contain it. We howled so loud waking the house. We didn’t care because it was fucking hysterical. It was unforgettable. There were jellybeans under the sheets.  Completely unexpected, it felt like lying on firm and squishy, sloppy drunken pebbles. It was jellybean sweet, familiar. The boys put jellybeans under the goddamn sheets. Payback is, beautiful.

When I’m down, having a particularly crap day I call my BFF to reminisce about the pure bliss moments, precious blips.

We moved out and on, time didn’t stop. M died. Cancer. Fucking cancer ravaged his glorious sun-kissed, twelve pack body and mind greedily snatching him up. Time didn’t stop, how cruel. We left that house and our Miami by the shore and the sand under the stars, sun and smiling moon.

Revisiting the past only briefly, I see his face and hear his gruff voice.

“Go to bed, connasse.” I learned many things.

In that house by the sea lives my heart happy memories and him. He’s there, healthy, happy, strong, regimented and bronzed getting the last laugh.

Yes in that home we are together, carefree and alive surrounded by orchids, easy breath and a chill breeze.

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Sometimes I paint the walls the same hue trying to recapture the warmth of that house, cool to the touch.

 

Grow Your Garden a love of self

FullSizeRenderLoving yourself takes time.

I didn’t know not exactly, not until this moment.

I never believed brushing aside the possibility of happy.

Tomorrow, tomorrow and tomorrow I’ll embrace the quirks and eccentrities.

Tomorrow.

Funny time wasted. Not funny.

This end of April Sunday close to May, I stand at the fault line.

Middle-aged.

The compost pile is toppling from all the shit dumped over the years.

I don’t know about you, maybe you were born over-confident.

A chest puffer.

Never had to overthink it, actually liked spending time in your own company.

Didn’t fret about how you looked in a full length mirror, crap you never even owned one.

Happy, no worries. Happy, never mind the worries. Happy, because it feels better.

And maybe you weren’t born with a twelve pack but a Buddha belly and when you laughed it was honest from the gut, and your smile was fuchsia electric.

I’ve known people like that, really I have.

Infuriating sorta.

Well one that I can think of.

I wonder if Angelina Jolie is a brooder like me?

Angelina was the first perfect human that came to mind.

Let’s see, Buddha belly person is happy for realz, never asking, wanting or needing much of anything.

Seriously, just the jubilee of living and giving are enough.

I can’t speak for Angie but I wonder if she wears Crocs, doesn’t bother to shower or sits in the grass simply because she likes the way it feels against her unshaven, hairy-for-days legs.

Grounding.

I wonder.

I do.

I can’t help but wonder, curiosity careens through the wrinkles I now possess,

and the dirt under my fingernails from digging the earth.

I like how my back aches, moss green hands throb and sweat trickles down my neck.

I like that Jeff Buckley is blasting haunting, melodic melodies directly into my brain.

I like that this moment I am absolutely present just him and me, in fifty degrees that is neither scorching nor too cold uncomfortable but smack dab in the middle.

I like to use clichés, that make me happy no matter how incorrect or passe.

I like the physical task of creating something, something real.

Something beautiful.

That is the closest I’ve come to happy.

To loving myself.

Today.

On this end of April Sunday close to May, I stand at the fault line.

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Grow your garden.

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Light of Orbs

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Do you believe in signs? I try. I want to. Some days they’re impossible to ignore.

I have a funny kind of feeling we’ve been here, lived this place before.

Maybe not in the same order, geography or circumstance. I don’t know, maybe not at all says the practical parts to me.

I’m pretty sure we won’t remember.

I’m quite certain the people I have loved deeply, who have loved me fiercely remain infinitely an existential part of my spirit.

One can hope.

Then again maybe I shouldn’t believe in this world, but a different one where pain tastes like cotton candy, death is celebrated with dance and joy, planes don’t crash into the side of mountains but glide on love. Heinous evil, racism, hatred, fear, greed, guilt are words no longer recognized or used in our vocabulary.

“We are made of star stuff.” Carl Sagan

I love that quote, it represents the fortuitous impossibility we are.

I look for them, the signs.

I do.

I can’t help but want them to be true.

Truth is universal, truth always wins.

The signs help make sense of the free-floating chaos swirling over, above, under and straight through us.

“Humans presume their orbs are unique, very different, when in fact they are not, they remain very much the same. The only variants are in shape, color and size.” – Jacqueline Cioffa

The quotes, imagination and creative worlds they live inside.

The orbs came yesterday in the form of magnificent, silver-light reflection shimmering atop the ripples of crisp blue waters.

I felt serene, almost happy.

I searched ‘orbs’ for a quote from “Georgia Pine” on my Kindle.

Funny, OTB came up instead.

Not funny at all, not to me.

My dad was a lover of the betting the horses and frequent OTB visitor. Like almost daily and I shared his great big, gambling fool heart.

The best of me lives in the orbs I have known and the signs, well…

The signs might not always be there, the sun will eventually die and burn out.

I am predestined to be star-dust set free.

Unknown

Carl Sagan 

GEORGIA PINE http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00T270L88

The Vast Landscape Cali Book Tour

The Vast Landscape 

Going Back To Cali  Book Tour 

“…go on a journey with the character, so much so that you reach a certain point and it’s almost impossible to set down…”

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Vino Volo Libro #TheVastLandscape #CaliBound  #BookTour #ZenLIfe
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DULLES #Ontheshelves #JOLIEvibe
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Cool chicks Happy Readers Airport cheer
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Holiday Travel Great Book

“Trust, doubt, love, and the rawness of life wrapped into one story that leaves you questioning your very core.”

The eagle has landed.
The eagle has landed.

The Chopra Center Self awareness, body, mind and spirit, meditation,  restoration. Reconnect.

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“Nothing is more important than reconnecting with your bliss. Nothing is as rich. Nothing is more real.”

Deepak Chopra

“The world of Harry is equally painful and beautiful and you can’t help but fall in love with her brashness and vulnerability.”

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Reading an Amazing book, hanging with Deepak – Omni La Costa Spa and Resort
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Follow your bliss ‪#‎TheVastLandscape‬ ‪#‎Ayurveda‬ ‪#‎Chopra‬ Massage and an awesome read at the same time…
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I am woman. Hear me ROAR. #embracethepretty #TheVastLandscape Read it. Own it. Love it…
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Rad. Righteous. Ride the Wave. ‪ #‎TheVastLandscape‬ ‪#‎Encinitas

“The world Cioffa created is realistic and easy to connect with. I laughed as much as I cried as the story whipped around me.”

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Never.Quit.Your.Dreams. #TheVastLandscape #Encinitas

Thread the Needle

lavender, peppermint healing

Authenticity. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the word, gargling, swishing it around in my mouth and spitting it out.

If I only show you the photoshopped, concealed, makeup pretty me you’ll never understand the underbelly. The crunchy grit, rawness hidden beneath. The really good stuff, the honest kind that matters. Most days I can only see how my illness defines me. Every single piece that’s been stolen, the immeasurable, inexplicable loss of self. The shame, self-hatred, feelings of worthlessness, doubt, insecurities, paranoia, fear, inappropriate remarks, irrational behavior and the myriad of negatives that live inside my broken, chaotic mind. Not to mention the physical excruciating pain, dizziness, anxiety, numbness, sweats, chills. Or the forty-ish pounds of added weight, the personal fuck you reminder of the crazy scales. Matters of life and death, I stopped counting the pounds. There are the ‘friends’ who conveniently vanished, stopped calling, texting. I admit, I’ve cried, hid my face in shame, lived with resentment and assumed the worst. It must be my fault.

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truth. same me.

That’s not what this day or this post is about. Today is about threading the needle and the incredible luck I’ve been dealt. Yes, luck.

Somewhere in-between psychosis, wanting to die and twelve years of psyche meds, twelve years of disappointment, fight, agony, fear, mania, depression and feeling sorry for myself, I forgot. The crucial element. Luck.

My therapist, whom I adore talks it out with me. She said something that kinda’ stuck, “you’re not the norm.” I didn’t quite get it. “Most of my patients (mentally ill) don’t have anyONE. You have more than one, you are not alone.” It’s so true, I am never alone while living with this solitary, suck-ass, fuck-off, bite-me disease. It’s authentic no doubt, there is no room for false illusion.

I am lucky. I’m lucky I have a home, a comfortable safe haven. I’m lucky to have a kindred spirit animal, Lupita lovely who comforts me when I am buried inside the madness, teaches me patience, moral responsibility and makes me smile more times than I can count.

I’m lucky no one asks too much of me, no conventional job, financial stress triggers. Don’t worry, I own that guilt. Guilt is a wasted emotion I excel at. I am lucky I still have the capacity to have a clear thought, battle the bad ones. I’m lucky I live with someone who does not let me wallow and knows when I am not wallowing at all. I’m lucky I have the one who puts her aches, pains and disappointments under her tongue and bites down hard dealing with the crazy that is her daughter. I am well aware even when I’m not gracious, nice, and pretty goddamn awful. I’m lucky there is more than one person checking in, wishing me well. I’m lucky for the ones I didn’t expect with the kindest hearts.

I’m lucky my heart is the bigger muscle and my mind the smaller one. I’m lucky I have a wicked imagination. I’m lucky I can still lose myself in the words, writing and dreaming on the page. I’m lucky god, buddha whoever sent me and gave me some gifts to share. There is something beautiful in the ethers, beyond our fixed expiration date. I’m lucky I believe in that. I’m lucky I’m sensitive enough, intuitive enough, aware enough and kind enough.

I’m lucky I have a stubborn, ugly mean streak too. It keeps me alive.

I could go on and on but that might seem manic, crazy, mad. Stirring up all the uncomfortable feelings, words and foreign adjectives that swirl inside your mind. Forget it, I didn’t write this for you.

I’m lucky if my experience helps the solitaire, lonely person  struggling like me feel less alone.

I’m lucky I choose authentic however scary it may be, I am the lucky in-between.

I’m learning luck is not a state of mind but one of heart.

Labels, I am lucky I’ve plain worn them out.

Walk it out
Walk it out
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End the Stigma      http://bringchange2mind.org