What’s in a Name

Posted on March 1, 2015 by songstresseva 

I am abidingly engaged in a deep and intimate love affair with words and language.  Although I have to admit that I’m not completely monogamous.  I have thrilling and joyous flirtations on the side with music and dance which often vie for first place, but are areas of expression in which I am a lot less fluent and which require years of training and practice to hone any natural talent;  where i feel a slightly more handicapped and frustrated than I do with words.  Words are the clear streams and rock pools in which my soul effortlessly floats and eddies,  slaking its thirst and cooling it’s fires.

The way I talk to God; the way God talks to me; and through me.

You may say:  Gosh, words and language to communicate? What a unique notion? I know.  Bit obvious. Far more profound, ingenious and romantically abstract to choreograph a dance or compose a piece of music to communicate with God and the world. And for once I may be at a loss for words, attempting to describe the spiritual experience I have when they are put together in the most honest way.  The clatter of consonants and the melody of vowels in a spell-binding sequence.  There, you see,  I just created a song and a dance using words!  The ‘clatter of consonants’ is the percussion, the ‘melody of vowels’ is the orchestra and singer, the ‘spell-binding sequence’ is the choreography.

I recently had a child-like inclination to change my name.  My given name has never had the music that made me want to dance with it.  I’ve never been called by my full first name, rather by the shortened version of it which sounds gutteral and flat – the opposite of me – Jacky.  Ja-ki.  At the age of 12, I followed the lead of my childhood neighbour’s glamorous mother and changed the spelling to Jacquie .  At least it looked nicer even if it sounded the same.

Then there was the meaning: Jacqueline:  supplanter, replacement.  Ouch.

I have always been embarrassed by my father’s whimsical choice of my second name in a last moment flash of brilliance at the registry office.  Hmmm, she needs a second name, let see how original we can be?  Ah yes Lynn, the same second name as her mother.  So Jacqueline Lynn it was.  Like a stutter.

Who were these parents that named me?  Did they see me at all?  And did they  perhaps concretise my fate by naming me so?

I will not go into the reams of stories I have to tell of  “almost being the One”.  How many men I’ve fallen in love with only to discover there is a wife or an ex or a best-beloved or an unrequited heartache for whom I am substituting. Second places, second prizes, not quite leading lady. Always the princess but never the queen. The filler-in. The runner-up.

Named at Birth.

Eva, I have always loved.  It is a derivative of my my maternal great-grandmother’s name Evelyn, and the name Eve, which had been on my mother’s shortlist for me, so surely I wouldn’t be being too unfaithful to my matriarch’s choice for me with this little change,  would I?

How does a 48 year old woman go to her family and friends and say I’ve changed my name, now please will you all comply? I shall no longer be responding to Jacquie.

It would be ridiculous.

More seriously, I have struggled to be in the world all my life.  I don’t know why.  Other than the name and its’ connotations, nobody has really ever done anything awful to me.  I just wasn’t a carefree child or teenager and my adult life has been fraught with challenges which, other than one enormous loss, have been mostly internal.  If I look back, there is regret.  At this typical age of mid-life and assessing the past, I feel I have not lived.  Stuck somewhere around sixteen, having an identity crisis and mid-life crisis all at once.

Eva means Life.

After many years of life-sapping relationships, not-quite-living, devastating grief and chronic illness; and now having washed my hands of love-and-sex, having considerably dealt with my grief and having pulled out the bitter root of the illness, I feel ready to embrace life.

A more appropriate name I could not choose than Eva.

However,  on further investigation at the time of seriously considering this name change I came across some new information:  A definition I had never come across before: Jacqueline:  Whom God Protects (if this isn’t a profound truth for me then nothing is) ; supplanter: the replacement who turns out to be a superior choice (now we’re talking); the understudy who is better than the star (i can live with that).  And my second-name-stutter, Lynn: clear pool (of course).

Perhaps my parents knew me better than I thought and I really am going to be okay with just being myself with my given name.

Perhaps, the thought goes, as I find myself at the beginning stages of what seems to be a late blossoming into individuation, the poor relationship I have had with my given name is simply a metaphor for a shaky relationship with myself and decades of vicarious living.

So Eva I choose to be my nom-de-plume as I dance with life, choreographing symphonies with words and finding my song for the lyrics which flow with such ease.

I’m Songstress Eva at WordPress.  Pleased to meet you.

Copyright belongs to Jacqueline Jorgensen 1 March 2015

Notes of a Happy Recluse

Posted on March 8, 2015 by songstresseva 

At the age of 48 I am utterly baffled by the ability in most of the people I know to remain in long-term relationships and marriages. For decades I have wondered what is wrong with me, sought professional insight, extensively googled myself, finding and allocating labels for this ‘disorder of relationship’ that seems to plague me despite my deepest desires and best intentions.

I do fall in love, I am committed, I do give my all when I’m in it, I do love and value the connection and intimacy of having a partner and lover, but time and time again I tap out, unable to endure an aspect of the relationship that causes me pain and eventually becomes intolerable. What is it? What is it? What is it? ……….A mantra with a question mark in the recesses of my soul requiring an answer, a diagnosis, a solution.

A repetoire of other mantras playing in background mode “you’re too deep, you’re too intense, you’re too sensitive, you’re too insecure, you expect too much, you need too much space, you need too much connection/love/affection” …… and at the same time “you’re not tenacious enough, you’re not tolerant enough, you’re not young/pretty/hot enough anymore, you’re not interesting/intellectually stimulating/social/fun enough, you’re not chatty enough, you’re not interested enough, you’re not engaging enough”.

Too much this. Not enough that.

Many of my old school friends have just had their 25th year wedding anniversary. I would have too if I had stayed married. On Facebook they all look blissfully happy and still-in-love as their children leave school, or even graduate from university. My younger friends have busy, happy lives, all up to wonderful adventures with their partners as their families grow up and bear fruit. All this makes me look at my life even more questioningly and wonder why.

At the end of 2014 Facebook offered a little slideshow to music “What a great year, thank you for being part of it” (or something) which they collated from all one’s pictures going back to the first Facebook year. The one they put together for me was beautiful, so many amazing memories, and it made my heart smile, but I realised I didn’t want to publish it. Embarrassed. Too many relationships. A seven year chunk of my life flashing before my eyes in 60 seconds is most revealing and I am struck by how I have comparmentalised my chapters to make them more palatable. Gulp….now that I look at it this way…

But I also realised how much I had loved and appreciated each one of those relationships, until the time came that I just didn’t anymore, or couldn’t anymore.

One of my exes, a particularly big love which lasted seven years hasn’t talked to me at all since I walked four years ago. He was gutted by the apparent sudden and brutal cut. Of course, it wasn’t sudden at all. It died by degrees as thousands of attempts at communication failed, as it so often does when one or both partners refuse to truthfully engage in relationship work. So then one day, yes, it was suddenly over for me. I see him often, sitting in a neighbouring pub, at the bar with the locals or with his current lady. I look at him and my heart still swells with love for him. My appreciation is still there: “mmmmm, still so damn hot, quite yummy actually”. A flood of good memories goes through me. I feel happy that he is happy. Mostly, a lovely guy. And the immediate thought as these feelings register is “I could not bear to be part of your daily life again – with all the friends visiting or requiring visits, social engagements, the tv blaringly filling every space in the house, drowning out the stillness my soul requires to function healthily, your need to be together all the time, though completely absent to my presence and to our relationship, making me so alone. And simultaneously having to compromise my truth, my life by being part of yours”. No thanks.

I am deeply content to rather go and sit in the small window booth with myself, my margarita and my notebook. I don’t want to sit at the bar and talk to the locals either. About what? I realise that chit-chat is out of my area of expertise. I am so embarrassingly shocking at chit-chat that I just end up making everyone including myself feel awkward, in Bridgette Jones kind of way. So I greet all the locals by name, sure to make eye contact, but then move along quickly to a space on my own, happy in my bubble of solitude. This… or a one-on-one catchup with a friend in a quiet environment, is my idea of being socially satisfied. Again it hits home, surprising me each time as if it’s a brand new realisation. I am a recluse. And a happy one.

The only way for me to function normally in society is to be slightly drunk. Then I can work a group or a party or a noisy pub. It’s not ideal. It has definite risks. It certainly is not sustainable. Slightly drunk can so easily slip into very drunk, which is counter-intuitive to being socially lovely. Having to be social on a regular basis, for me would mean having to be slightly drunk most-of-the-time, which if one has the discipline to keep it so, is commonly accepted to be alcoholism. If I imagine myself as a society wife like my beautiful, wonderful and sensitive New York cousin I confess I would have to carry around a vodka drip in my Prada handbag surreptitiously feeding happiness into a vein so as not to breathe out fumes and risk being ostracised.

In recent years I met someone I thought would be perfect for me. So similar to me in his need to hermit and cocoon that  I was sure to get the space I needed to breathe in this relationship. I fell deeply in love with this beautiful soul. Other than the fact that he met an unsurpassed set of physical criteria (not that I have particular criteria, but what a welcome bonus!), he had a gob-smackingly interesting mind, a vocabulary of words, ideas and insights that took sexy to a level I did not know existed and…… he left me alone. On the couple of occasions a week that we chose to meet, we had lots to talk about, we had beautiful chemistry, and, as it turned out we shared a faith. We even went out and had a whole lot of fun together. To my surprise, the resounding feedback from his friends and family after his lifetime of bachelorhood was: “finally, The One”. I have to admit to being tickled by this. A sense of belonging, I suppose, that satisfies a faint, melancholic longing in the soul of a recluse. Just One Other. Our connection was old-worldish, other-worldish, romantic, eccentric, intellectually stimulating, interesting, fun. Sexy. It was quietly intimate in such simple pleasures as taking turns to make morning coffee after the couple of  nights a week we chose to spend together. Listening to classics on Fine Music Radio and chatting about our lives, sharing stories or touching on the subjects of philosophy, psychology, theology as the morning rays filtered through the ancient cork oaks onto our bed. Feet touching. Nose rubs for kisses. I could imagine me old with him.

We both really tried to be faithful to this surprising new idea of love-for-lone-rangers without being unfaithful to our individual truths and paths. He amazed me. He would let me go on my trips for weeks, even months without asking when are you coming back. But beneath the surface of two adults trying to be mature and allow each other to be individuals in a relationship, simmered and stirred the complexities and insecurities that seem to surface when two human beings love each other.

Oh humanity! We want more. More time together, deeper connection, stronger commitment, quicker answers to sms’s. We want to see progress, to be included in each others families and circles. We do, but we don’t. We hope for, then come to expect physical and moral support in time of need. We try, but we can’t. Not cut out for it. Complexes and defences reveal themselves, gently at first, then more aggressively. Despite all the freedom, we still find ourselves squirming in the straight-jacket of coupledom, simultaneously desiring it and wanting to run for the hills to be alone with ourselves. Conjoined twins graciously trying to pretend that this is comfortable as the dance goes from free…. to stuck…. and nobody wants to name it. Needless to say, another big love that didn’t, couldn’t, last.

My pre-school report age 5 years and 3 months:  “Jacqueline does not engage with the group, she observes from the periphery, playing on her own and is more concerned with interacting individually with the adults (teachers)” Perhaps born this way, created for a life of quiet contemplation or perhaps shrouding my ability to deal with my humanity in reclusivity,  a coping mechanism, alone is where I am at my happiest, most fully myself.

As the deep pain of the ending of this big love hit me, I wrote:  I am always surprised at how my most insufferable losses and heartaches have broken down the inner doors that have kept me shut up and barely living in just one small room of a mansion, only to reveal ballrooms, playrooms, treasure rooms….. and then discover the mansion is mine…..and that even if i weep a little as I am dancing and playing, the pain of the loss becomes the key to the treasure room of feeling, focus and deep creativity. As much as I would dearly love a playmate, until now it seems that I have only been able to access this beauty-full space on my own.

Copyright belongs to Jacqueline Jorgensen 8 March 2015 


Posted on March 19, 2015 by songstresseva 

In the early hours of this morning as I ponder the transition which is current in my life, a lone-trek though a fiery forest, I am so easily sucked into a vortex of fear as my body appears to be failing me, when indeed it is not.

I am merely in the midst of a healing crisis and experiencing the two opposing voices of fear, which wants to label,control and urges me to suppress my symptoms, and the Holy Spirit, the true and rightful owner-occupant of this temple; that is perfect love; which reassures me. ’This is good…..i am sweeping out the darkness from every organ, tissue, bone and cell. Leave this to me. Let go and let God. Let there be light”
As I relax to the soothing voice of truth, I am able to see my life as a whole, all the parts working together, instead of where fear wants to keep me – focused on the storm with no way of humanly navigating it – my mind goes to an aspect of Grace that has supported me in a quiet, unassuming way.
The strong, loving presence and soul-brotherhood of my housemate Stephen.
My attention goes to my appreciation of Stephen today because this is our last day as housemates after seven months of sharing the Beach House.
As he leaves for adventures oceanic, a highly qualified skipper, I embark on a journey of healing where I can allow myself to be held by an experienced doctor with decades of success in facilitating the healing of the chronically ill.
I find myself dealing with a dangerously toxic body as a result of leaking breast implants which went undetected for more than a decade. Now removed and following a strict detox protocol, my body is presenting confounding symptoms. I am putting myself in the hands of Dr Dimitri Karalis, in the sanctity of his home based clinic in Hermanus for a month, and embarking on a long supervised water fast to allow my body to heal itself. But this is a subject for another blog.
Today’s writing is a tribute to the soul of a man who shone into my orbit seven months ago and who has uncontrivedly held a powerful, safe space for me over a time I have been ill.
I will start at the end.
Two nights ago, just a few nights before we are set to say our farewells, I am in a dark space, a place I certainly go to on a daily basis, In between the moments of enlightenment where I seem to understand what is really going on in my body. An angry, hot,  itchy blister rash creeps around my body, a foreign entity, an invader, doing whatever it likes with my territory. Like the wildfires of two weeks ago. I have no control. Just when I think it is subsiding, it flares up somewhere new. I panic most when my face and eyes swell.
As I open the back door, our entrance to home, I am hit by the most glorious of scents. To me it is frankinsence. The thought that registers at the same moment as the fragrance is : ‘Something holy is happening here, and my spirit feels an instant levity.
Stephen is burning sage incense, all six-foot-two of him purposefully striding though the rooms of our home, and he is singing.
He is singing an improvised song; and the song is a prayer for me.
He knows I am a Christian, so his song is care-fully, respect-fully, in acknowledgment of the God of my faith
This beautiful man brings a smile to my heart as he unabashedly moves through the house, his deep tenor voice toning ad-lib:

“Come, Come, O God Almighty,

come into this space;
fill it with your glorious Presence,
fill it with your Grace”

He has sensed my despair of the past week and has brought his quiet concern into loving action. Both powerless over this, prayer becomes the most obvious channel.
Once he has cleared then filled all the rooms, he brings his delicious burning bouquet to me and douses me with cleansing smoke as he shamelessly prays aloud :

“Heal this body.
We need this woman on this earth.
We need her gifts. We need her energy.
We need her music.We need our sister strong”.

This loving act of Steve’s shifts my momentary darkness and I settle in for an evening of soul time with my housie, a bottle of bubbly to break the stringent detox and relax the psyche; a meaningful conversation followed by music; me on guitar; he on his beloved ukulele, and ending the evening with a far-from-perfect, hilarious rendition of Dolly Parton Kenny Rodgers duet “Islands in the Stream’
We retire our private spaces relaxed and chuckling with joy. And I am reminded of tribe. Music, dance, storytelling around the fire. The rightful ending for every day in healthy communities. This is the place we hold each other, purge and celebrate, to move peacefully into a night of rest.
 Steve has brought an energy to my orbit that has shown me what a truly powerful man is. He is clear, honest, no-frills, present, deeply integrous, authentic. He does what he says he is going to do, he is helpful (just last night he killed all the mozzies in my room), he is wise and although a wonderful actor, he is no-drama.
He allows his creativity to flow in balance with a strong work ethic. He knows who he is, the direction in which he is moving and is true to that.

Monogamous at his core, he is deeply appreciative of, but unswayed by pretty girls and all that such temptations seem to offer. He is more interested in substance than outer beauty.
He is tribal on the inside. He drums and sings his prayers daily. He writes his poetry and performs it for me on the spot. He has a passion for percussion, drum, orbophone, triangle and works them daily, improvising, deepening his relationships with his instruments.
There is no shame in him.
He is never verbose. When he chooses to share at length, each word rings true. I have never heard him criticise or judge anyone in the seven months I have known him. Stephen is all about the love – and not in some flaky new-age guy kinda way; not in a way that has become a cliched covering-up of deep psychological wounding; not the running-away-from-reality or desperate need to belong to a ‘love and light’ clan out of a sense of lost-ness way or the mode-of-seduction way adopted by the new-age gigolo’s that abound nowadays.
No Stephen belongs to himself and lives his love out loud.
I have felt him standing in my corner when other’s have wanted to speculate or criticise. A true friend.
I may be single and reclusive, but I have not been alone, I have felt his protection.
I realise that this is the first time I have met such a man and contemplate, as my souls journey progresses, what this means to me at this stage of my own development.
Mr Jung, of whom I am a great fan, would certainly say a reflection of the positive Animus. The Good Father, the Strong Brother, the King archetypes that exist in a womans own psyche, representing her well-developed male side, and which becomes present in her as she transitions into healthy maturity and individuation. As she stops looking to love or relationships or externals for identity and support, but rather inward.  Yes, Stephen has provided a perfect mirror of the positive Animus for me, an anchor for my psyche to take on my journey.
Other than this deeper view of how our lives are reflected in the world and people around us, I have had a life-changing experience in the positive impact that this soul has had on my being. I have a brother and a friend for life and in twenty years time, I just know that Steve and I will be making even better music on his deck, in our mutual, favorite-place-under-the-sun, Seal Point.
I take all the good you have shared with me on my next leg. I send mine with you.
Till we meet again, Stevovo.
Full Power Animus.

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