Passo dopo Passo

Passo dopo Passo

A photo by Andrew Branch. unsplash.com/photos/Wlm53j4te78

 

I cut the grass. Big whoop dee do. To some this might seem trivial, like why the hell is grass between her toes so important? Grass between my toes, in my teeth is of the outmost importance because it means I cared enough to push myself, and get off my ass. Out of my comfort zone. Some would say shake it off, the depression, but you can’t shake off a sadness that sits inside you making it hard to pull on your sneaks, and simply walk outdoors. To push when you mostly want to hide, tricking yourself into believing you might be getting better. And, you just might. Maybe, with the right combination of meds which is tricky business. Just maybe it’s because those blades of grass inside your sneaks, clinging to your socks and tickling your toes feels like an accomplishment. You get out of your head, and look up at the clear, baby blue powder puff sky noticing the clematis and smelling the intoxicating aroma of peonies in full bloom, planted lovingly seasons past. Someone asked if I was bed ridden? Should’ve I have been? I could have, but I didn’t. I’m moving slower than usual, writing much slower than usual, thinking at a snail slow pace. How can I be the same me but so different? No matter how bad my muscles ache or my shoulders tense, I keep moving. I’m wondering too, how much time do others spend doing things they don’t want because it hurts, is trivial, or seems menial? Like when not just your muscles ache but your skull and heartbeat hurt heavy too. Fresh cut grass smells like clean, green living, cool and inviting, not sad. No, not sad at all. I’m not sad for a beat, and that beat means mulched grass will grow back stronger, healthier with each passo dopo passo. That freshly cut grass smells just like heaven. Maybe I’m growing stronger too, standing taller and more resolute. The joyful, satisfactory memory of a job well done and sunburst yellow sunshine’s warmth, buried deep inside the muscle. I plop down grass stains and all. I lie on my back and look up at the wide-open ceiling, cracking the slightest smile. Hope lives. Hope is alive and well, grasshopper.

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.

 

 

Washboard Abs

                                                   Washboard Abs   Jacqueline Cioffa13697256_1766800850265997_1962974636646376700_n

I want to dance alone in the dark. I want to hear the underlying music through the deafening mundane silence that is everyday life. I want to make snow angels in a Speedo. I want to smile again without feeling forced. I am going to free myself from the limitations wrapped tightly around my neck. I’m going to discard the heavy and not give it a second thought. I’m going to dance on paper and move mountains with thoughts clear in black and white.

The limbo of my life will become a discarded thing of the past. There will be happy, chocolate chip minutes and inviting, familiar scents wafting through stale air.
It will be comfortable.

There will be easy chores, taking out the garbage, doing the jumble, raking fall from the yard.
I will bask in delight. I want to live simple. I want orange and red leaves and high school football and small town life. I want to erase the days lived in the hollow and free my mind and body from the trickery of a fast life. I am throwing out the Gucci shoes and Prada bags and the heavy burden and the in crowd.

I will wash away big city, lonely isolation and surround myself with real life. I will turn my back on the superficial and freeze all my assets. I will gladly hand over my stuff and lose pounds in an instant.

I am violently thrashing about. Gently, I am closing a door and cracking open a window. – THE RED BENCH, Jacqueline Cioffa ‪

 

She and I were star stuff symbiotic… Jacqueline Cioffa

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She and I were star stuff symbiotic, dear, precious friends, old lovers who finished each other’s sentences. – Jacqueline Cioffa

“Her salt mine seas pacified the storms dwelling harmonious in one body. We’d spend a decade exploring, feeling the heat of the sun, flinching in the biting winter freeze, experiencing the mesmerizing, transitory alive moments in color and traversing the vast corners of the earth, boldly as one.

We’d chase big dreams, and conquer cracked filled pavements. I was happy. I was almost always happy, and happier than I’d been before. I smiled tears of sadness, and cried tidal pool oceans of joy. I was a beautiful contained palate of emotion, no longer insane, paranoid, turned-out, hallucinating, running, or screaming mad. I was okay. I was fine. I was in love. I was more me with her, than without. I never, ever, ever wanted to say good-bye.

Like a jilted, jealous lover quietly, methodically, slowly over time and all at once, growing spiteful and angry, Lithium began poisoning my exploding cells destroying my insides. Belly swollen, eye sockets burning, jaws clenched, muscles pinched, bones ached, feverish and ill. I was tail spinning, spiraling and insane. Even the holy, pure sacred womanly parts ignited.

The element lithium burns vivid crimson red.

Lithium crimson red flames imploding, screaming and demanding the quickest exit strategy. How could she break my vulnerable, trembling shattered heart, and peace of mind?

Did she grow tired of me, or did I?” – Jacqueline Cioffa

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– #excerpt from   

Lithium, My Toxic Love Affair by Jacqueline Cioffa

Courtesy of Feminine Collective on Bleeding Ink with Jacqueline Cioffa

SUBLIME FRAMEABLE ARTWORK: By the Haiku Queen, Witticisms Master, and pensive, and poignant writer, Ms. Dori Owen aka Diary of an Arizona Girl with Feminine Collective

– @jacquelinecioffa on Instagram

***DISCLAIMER: I AM ABSOLUTELY NOT encouraging ANYONE to go off of their prescribed psychiatric medicine. This is my story, my journey and trust me it was hell. Please remember that while enjoying these creative words.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harnessing the Madness – Jacqueline Cioffa

Harnessing the Madness is Proudly Featured under ‘Poets’ under The Lithium Chronicles

 

Harnessing the Madness

By Jacqueline Cioffa

Don’t worry Hush, little mama

Dry your acrid, bittersweet, woeful tears

Don’t you cry, pretty mama

Your darling, happy, freckle-face baby is struggling, fevered, and

deliriously HOT

Oh, okay, go on then

Go ahead and cry, little mama

Cry those real, big-old-salty tears

Enough to fill an ocean

Squash the fire under mountains of regret, and molten lava erupting

Don’t worry, hush lullaby mama

Your baby girl is a strong, solid swimmer

You taught her that

You and her, submersed

Her JOY full love of water

Bouncy, giggly, freedom submerged while cemented together hand in

hand

She was fearless in your arms

Unafraid of stormy seas, tsunamis and heavenly floods

Little girl’s flapping her arms now, mama

Crazed, and kicking hard to swim to the top

Oh hush now, pretty mama,

don’t worry your fraught, exhausted mind or fret

Water trumps fire, and this girl

Your darling baby

She

Is

Harnessing the madness

Submersed, safe and sound in the Marianas Trench

Her screaming, gurgling lungs breathe better

In utero

Go on now, mama, gather your salty tear filled buckets and buckets and buckets

Pour them right over her head

Fire burns out, smoldering wet

The melody is haunting and heartbeat sweet, familiar

And sigh so lovely, lovely, lovely

Your baby feels all the feels, smells in color and vibrates clickety-clack

sounds underwater

Hush, now child, don’t you cry, too

Together in tandem

Your mama is there, she’s right there

Feet firmly rooted by rocks, wood and earth on solid ground

Smiling down

Harnessing the madness with her bleeding, thumping, overflowing

bursting heart

In two-time rhythm

Same heart, hers and yours

Keeping time together

She tosses a life jacket attached to an unbreakable umbilical cord, made

from solid oak, and knotty pine twine

The rope plays shadow games on the surface, as the water sways to

and fro

Under the prettiest, blinding white sunlight

Bubbles of air and H2O

Oxygen

Hush now, mama, keep pouring those frozen buckets of ice-cold-doubt

Over your girl’s scorching, sizzling brain on fire head

Hush mama, your little dolly is just a girl, and not a funny fish

She’s going to be A-OK, alright?

Hush mama, her head’s on fire, and lungs are all wet

But, she’s paddling hard and fast towards the surface

Flailing and searching for your firm grip, and steady resolve

Inside her shaky, trembling fingers

Oh, sweet heartbeat

The birds chip, and an indigo blue, clear sky, sunshine lights up the dark,

murky, clouded depths

Blue is the loveliest color

Pretty, strong, and powerful

Little mama is calling her name

Right there, oh, there she is

Mama’s shadow, bounce-back light and love reflection

Makes circle formations, bubble distress calls, and H2O air

Oxygen

Right above the surface,

Mama stands tall, barefoot on the green grass

Beside her baby girl, all along

Mama, your dolphin lung baby is gasping for air underwater, squashing the flames, and surrendering

Floating freely, buoyant, as the salt tides push her to the surface, and the scorching sun’s beautiful, intoxicating light feels warm and inviting

She sees her mama’s pretty face for the first time, smiling and kind

Aged

Bound forever by love, and heaven on earth

Little girl remembers, hope floats

Her one and only, mama’s fierce motherly love waits, prays and watches

Her all-grown-up girl

The gyspy, free-flying, Mustang wild spirit, good, mad woman

Grow roots, and quiet her wings

Thank you, dear mama

Yours, and only yours

L.o.V.e.

Anchors the soul

 

 

 

Happy International Women’s Day~ Here’s to strong women and girl power

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Happy International Women’s Day!!!

All day today, across my social platform, I’m going to share and celebrate #girlpower and #women.

Women who inspire me on a daily.

Of course, I can’t share them ALL…but here’s to true beauties living #authentic and #real.

Who inspires you?

 

#HappyInternationalWomensDay

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She believed she could, so she did. – R.S. Grey, Scoring Wilder

 

 

 

The Body Beautiful

The Body Beautiful

By Jacqueline Cioffa

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As a former model and makeup artist who worked with Ashley Graham I can assure you she is not ‘fat,’ she is perfectly portioned. The average dress size for a woman in U.S. is 12 – 14. The modeling industry, fashion, and celebrity promote unhealthy and unrealistic skinny body standards for all women. This disturbs me on so many levels having witnessed firsthand the detriment to low self-esteem, eating disorders and unattainable weight issues has on young models that starved themselves to fit into a size zero.

Please don’t ever body shame anyone. I blame our culture hungry for gossip, entertainment television, the media, and fashion magazines for feeding the beast and creating a world where negativity and bullying of every kind are acceptable behavior. Social media bombards unrealistic images of skinny models, actresses and actors because Hollywood glam sells magazines and fuels the vicious, negative news cycle for girls, and boys who grow up with unrealistic and unhealthy body ideals.

As for Ms. Cheryl Tiegs I’m certain she is a victim of the media spins, twisting her comments into negative comments for a profit. Her words misconstrued, chewed up and spit out to make a dollar.

Don’t believe everything you read in a magazine or see on the tube I promise you the pictures have been trimmed, tucked and photoshopped.

Let’s celebrate and lift women up, be positive role models for young persons of every size.

Size should be measured by moral character, self-confidence, support, authenticity and kindness.

They are beautiful traits in women. Malala is beautiful, Ashley Graham is beautiful, Cheryl Tiegs is beautiful.

So is every non-famous, nameless woman who wakes at 5:00 AM, applies gloss, hops on a bus, goes to work, fights for a cause with a smile, and returns home to fix dinner. The every woman who tucks her kids if she chooses to have them, or perhaps decides to run for President.

To the woman who stands tall and puts her best, prettiest, healthiest face forward every day and wakes up to do it all over again, for me she is most beautiful.

I’m older and wiser today with a few more pounds on my frame, life experience and measure my weight by a new and more accurate scale.

I’m human. I’m a girl. I’m healthy, and I’m doing my best to fit in the skin I live in.

Same as you, and same as me.