You may notice a whole section below this which starts with “The spell of words…”. That section began my blog many moons ago and since I have an attachment to the quote and to where my heart was at the time, and since that section still reflects a good portion of where my heart is now, it’s down there for you to explore should you be up for this whole tapestry of text.
Meanwhile, what “about” J. Ruth Kelly?
Well, I’m in my 50s, but I don’t like to think that defines me. And yet, I know in many ways I am the accumulation of events occurring on the timeline that is my life.
I don’t believe we can afford to divorce the political from the personal because the personal is deeply impacted by the political and vice versa. So, I’m what some may call a progressive or what others might call a liberal. However, neither of those terms really explain what concerns me. For example, I don’t think universal healthcare will solve all of our problems and I realize it may introduce a few new ones, but I’m eager to see it implemented here in the US. I’m disabled by MECFS, so there’s that. Call me progressive, but I’m dismayed with the current tendency to demonize those who aren’t in agreement with mainstream Democratic opinion. And yet, if you voted for TFG, I won’t likely enjoy conversation with you since it suggests a whole host of values or moral insanity I find triggering. ‘Though, we could perhaps wax poetic together about the beauty of…chocolate cake.
Since my history is such that I can genuinely say I have a past life within my current life, I can also say that personhood matters massively, what shapes and makes us who we are and where genetics leaves off and nurture picks up and how precious is agency, how vital is the capacity to truly change or transform into the authentic self…these issues consume me.
Although I’m not interested in being exclusively known as a mom, motherhood saved me more than Jesus ever did (though I can never not appreciate the most authentic work of the life of Jesus). I have birthed and mostly completely launched the three beautiful children who birthed me. My pronouns are she/her and I’m delighted to say that one of my children is gay and one is non-binary. It’s safe to say that my children are not vanilla-basic, all-American creatures. I’m very proud of that fact. These aspects of my experiences as a mom are important to me because they, each one, speak to how our world is growing and experiencing the birth pangs of more and more awareness and hopefully more support for the marginalized. And any such support is going to ultimately be about growth, love, and yes, personhood.
Life has afforded me many opportunities to grow and change and evolve away from the fundamentalist upbringing that brought me into adulthood. It brings me tremendous joy to participate in the work of inclusion and celebration of the diversity that is being human. And the work is particularly meaningful since it involves my ongoing transformation away from the insanity that is fundamentalism.
Suffice to say, I have a lot to say about oppression, misogyny, patriarchy and ignorance as well as fundamentalism and religious devotion. I’m currently working on a memoir that speaks to those issues from the perspective of someone (me!) who survived fundamentalism and has insight into how some of us might shape meaning for our lives in spite of the madness that wounded us. I’m also writing a book of poetry. I’m also working on a chronic illness guide (and other opportunities) that I’d have appreciated having early on as someone with MECFS. I’m sad to say that for years I gaslit myself about my illness in the hopes that it would just go away. It didn’t. So, MECFS has informed my sense of the preciousness of life, of simply being. It, by robbing me of many things, clarifies the beauty of life, of being human, and heightens the truth of love and how our lives are spent so often in earshot of what Bertrand Russell has called “the gospel of work.” Suffice to say, both Russell and Buckminster Fuller‘s insights on work and on living resonate profoundly for me.
One final thing, that I have a blog/website and that it has an about page and that it has a closer look page reveals a growth away from the ancient fundie lie that screams “Jesus first, yourself last, and others in-between.” (J.O.Y. cough). For me, while growing up, if you were a woman who presented herself with the intent to be seen, then you likely had a “spirit of pre-eminence” or a “spirit of Jezebel” and so, you needed a deeper Jesus fix. To want to be seen and heard while also being female was not okay. And while my then tribe sought to change that and evolve, the truth showed itself clearly in the actions and reactions to women being vocal and real. To this day, I’m the demon who influences all the women around me who are apparently brainless. (Not my view, but the view of my parents and others in my past life.) So, the work of articulation here serves to further oust the oppressive program of my past and reminds me I am one with the whole of humanity.
And for that unity, I am grateful.
Beyond that, the old but still relevant words that follow explain my presence online and especially here at jruthkelly.com.
“The spell of words is by no means an enchantment to which only the intellectual is disposed. The most simpleminded people are as easily its prey… excessive verbal communication is really the characteristic disease of the West. We are simply unable to stop it, for when we are not talking to others we are compulsively thinking, that is, talking subvocally to ourselves. Communication has become a nervous habit, and cultures strike us as mysterious and baffling which do not at once tell all, or, worse, expect us to understand certain things without being told. I shall never forget Japanese artist Hasegawa yelling in exasperation at the endless request for explanations from his Western students, “What’s the matter with you! Can’t you feel?” Alan Watts – Nature, Man and Woman
It might be considered strange to quote words seemingly in opposition to the use of them. But the point here is that this blog seeks to speak distinctively from a feltness as well as from intelligence. It is my hope to evoke meaningful silence as well as heartfelt responses. Feedback is encouraged, welcomed, invited, urged, beseeched (okay, that’s a stretch but you get the picture, eh?).
The intent here is one of making the most of the disease of the West, communicating a desire to revolutionize the corners of despair and confuson in every area of life while instilling the silence of the feltness that quiets my own mind in love’s work of acceptance. If you’d like to get in touch via email, you may do so at the following address: yellowdressproductions(at)yahoo.com. I can also be found via my public Facebook profile: J. Ruth Kelly.
My focus here will vary but the bottom line is humanity in love, as love, for love of all expression. I go after texts on spirituality, sexuality, religion, self-development, psychotherapeutic approach, philosophy. My consuming passion simmers perpetually in a quest for unearthing wisdom within and beyond me, wisdom that will oust fear’s oppression in my own soul and in those whose paths I’ve had the privilege of crossing. And, in some cases, joining.
We’ll see what unfolds. . .