Beauty, Boundaries, & Naps

Three years ago, I listed 20 life lessons I’d picked up since college, and you can read those here.

Here are a few more Life Lessons with Jackie Lea:

arrow lessons

1. If you can afford to hire movers, do it. Your family and friends will be so grateful, and your stuff will be protected and insured in the move.

2. It’s okay to appreciate beautiful things you don’t understand, like abstract art and experimental poetry. You don’t have to understand something to know if it is lovely or makes you feel something.

3. Makeup primer is not a joke. If your face is melting off by noon, try this. (I swear by Urban Decay primer potion and setting spray.)

4. Asking for help makes you strong, not weak.

5. If you have a strong intuitive nature, don’t suppress it. Bringing up my thoughts and suppositions in a gentle, appropriate way has led to some of the best conversations I’ve had in the past few years.

6. Self care is so important, and it starts with getting enough sleep.

7. If you want someone to open up, tell your story first. This gives him or her a safety net.

8. It is perfectly acceptable to say “I have plans tonight,” even if those plans are with yourself, your pajamas, and Netflix.

9. Train yourself to be a better listener. Especially if, like me, you tend to talk a lot, tell stories, appreciate the spotlight. I have to repeatedly tell myself, “Tonight is about listening,” on my way to meet with a friend. Even then, I still struggle sometimes. But I do believe this is trainable behavior.

10. Keep your goals visible and flexible.

11. Sometimes taking an incredible selfie is the first step toward loving your body. Stage your own photo shoot. No one has to know how many shots it took to get that one.

12. Stop using the word “fat” and replace it with “curvy.” This was perhaps the most important thing I did in the journey to regain my self confidence.

13. “Naps can be holy.” (Judith Hougen)


I am just so tired. No, that’s the wrong word. I am well rested. I guess I’m exhausted… emotionally, mentally.

Online dating is a really great way to feel like a piece of meat. I’ve heard from about 300 guys just since the start of the year, and it’s mostly made me sad.

Writing is such a beautiful thing, and it is usually life-giving to me, but lately, it’s been a battle just to open up my manuscript.

My friends are incredible… but going through some very hard things. I want to support them well, but that takes energy too. 

I have zero dollars. Please save me, tax return.

All in all, life is so good, so lovely and exciting and challenging. I’m just exhausted, that’s all. 

Psychiatrist on Monday morning. I need to see if any part of this is chemical. 

How are you, lovelies? What are your best suggestions for free/cheap self care?

cared for

My past roommate Becky said she has been reading my blog and is so happy to see that I’m doing better.  She told me, “When we were living together, you were really deep into it.”  It’s true.  The years that I lived with Becky and Tricia (or rather, Biz and Trix) were some of the darkest, most OCD-saturated years of my life.  I am so grateful that God gave those two to me to take care of me in those days when I could not take care of myself.

“Have you had supper?” Tricia would ask.

“Not yet,” I’d respond.  Then I’d begin to consider the whole enterprise.  It exhausted me to ponder opening a loaf of bread, untwisting the twist-tie, pulling out two slices of bread, locating a clean knife, finding a jar of peanut butter, and—it collapsed me—spreading the peanut butter over the bread.  That didn’t even take into account finding a paper plate to put the sandwich on, or cleaning up afterward.  I’d go sit on the couch, my heart racing, a heaviness in my chest.

“Want to make mac and cheese?” she’d ask, browsing through the cupboard’s offerings.

I breathed in and then exhaled deeply.  Macaroni and cheese was so involved—butter and a saucepan and boiling water, milk and cheese mix, and so many dirty dishes.

“Jav?”  (Their nickname for me.)

“I don’t think I’m gonna eat anything,” I peeped from the living room, hoping she would let it go.  I closed my eyes and willed myself to relax.  You’re not going to make anything, I told myself.  You don’t have to do anything.  Just rest. 

“Are you okay?” she asked, poking her head around the corner and seeing me collapsed on the couch.

“Yes,” I said in a voice that screamed, “Not at all.”

She walked over to where I was lying and stood, towering above me, with a frown on her face.  “What is wrong now?”

“Supper overwhelms me,” I said quietly.  “I’ll be okay.”

She rolled her eyes.  “Relax.  I’ll take care of supper.”

“I’ll be okay,” I repeated.

“You have to eat!”

This became something of a routine.  When Tricia and Becky had evening plans, I either didn’t eat, or I tore open a granola bar—something simple.  I lost about ten or fifteen pounds at this time, but I hardly noticed.  But it was an arduous time; I was very dependent and needy, but I was very well cared for.

Thank you, Bizzers and Trix.

me, bec, tricia