TEDx: Making a living out of a life

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Happy Friday. It’s a beautiful fall day in Western North Dakota, the perfect weather for a Homecoming Celebration in my home town.

I spent this morning giving a talk to the 8th grade students. My focus was on my career path, ultimately hoping to convince them to follow the gut feeling they have about who they are and what they love at this point in their lives because it could likely guide them in their future career endeavors.

I’m not sure how they processed it. They were a little wiggly dressed in our school’s maroon and white gear, anxious to take on the rest of the day’s fun events, like coronation, the parade the homecoming football game.

But I always jump on the opportunity to share my story with the kids in the hope that it might give a kid like me a little nudge and inspiration.

As I headed towards the door after my presentation,  I was cut off by the marching band playing the school song in the hallway and I couldn’t help but feel glad to be there, suddenly struck by the memory of the feeling I had when I was a teenager dressed in my boyfriend’s jersey feeling sorta free and sorta nervous and sorta awkward and sorta invincible in my youth, not realizing the way the years fly like the yellow leaves  blowing from tree branches today.

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I don’t know if I would have thought I would be back here if you would have asked me then, married to that boy, having his second baby.

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In the time capsule letter I wrote to myself when I was a senior, and dug up at my ten year reunion, I confessed that I hoped I’d be doing something creative as the adult version of me. I hoped I was with someone I loved. I mentioned a family.

I didn’t quite know what I really wanted though, or how it might all play out. But I was willing to just jump into things that seemed like an opportunity or an adventure. Things that sorta scared me enough to put a little wrench in my gut until I found I was comfortable in it. I figured I’d eventually be comfortable in it all.

But I was wrong. Turns out being an adult means you feel that little gut wrench so much of the time, that being an adult does not, in fact, equal having it all together and figured out.

And thank goodness for that really. I’m not ready to give up the gut wrench. Hence, perhaps, the impending second baby. That one’s giving me a hellofa wrenching these days (not to mention indigestion, heartburn, back ache and insomnia).

Speaking of indigestion, heartburn, and insomnia, a few months back I was asked to take part in Bismarck’s TEDx conference as a speaker. I was honored to be considered, but hesitant to participate, knowing how tediously planned and executed these events and talks needed to be and knowing I would have to wrangle my off the cuff performance style.

And I wasn’t sure I had an idea worth sharing really. I would have to think on that one, really reflect. But I said yes anyway, because, you know, my guts.

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Anyway, I’m glad I did. I had a lovely experience and it helped me push myself to really think about what it is that I’m doing here.

They sent me the link to the video today. In true Jessie fashion I’m not going to watch it right now, because I will criticize my accent, my stumbles and the way I carry my pregnancy in my cheeks. Because when I left the stage I felt good about it and so I want to continue feeling good about it.

And I hope it provides you a little insight, a little inspiration and makes you think differently about how and why and where we choose to live our story.

Happy Homecoming Watford City and happy weekend friends. May it find you in your happiest places.

Peace, love and guts,

Jessie

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12 thoughts on “TEDx: Making a living out of a life

  1. Jessie –
    I loved your story and your song. I actually cried listening to you because everything you said brings back memories. Thank you for sharing your dreams – and your realities.
    Tami

  2. Great talk, haunting song. Always stay true to who you really are. I’ve lost count of the number of times your pictures, words or songs have made me laugh or cry. I know you touch more people than you realize.
    Huggage,
    Cheryl

  3. Jess I havent listened to the latest but have been listening and hearing you for a very long time. Your message is sweet and real. To always be in the space of the youthful, afraid, yet bold is a special place we should all be able to access. And you did it. And do it. Tough, but so well done.
    On another note the last photo on stage is stunning. And a phot of two. Carry on you do it so well! Your friend, Holly

  4. Hi Enjoyed your song and story. You might enjoy reading about Rosalie Sorrels.Also a storyteller along with her songs.
    Ms. Sorrels developed a storytelling approach, surrounding her songs with tales of her childhood, her parents and grandparents, and the early settlers of the West. The effect could be incantatory.

    “It’s usually a big dark room, and there’s this woman onstage with this beautiful, rich, velvety voice who’s telling you this story or singing you a song, and then she stops and she tells a little story, and then the song continues, and she stops,” the singer Christine Lavin told NPR in 2003. “It’s like you’re sitting around a campfire and there’s this great wise shaman. And it completely transports you out of yourself.”

  5. It’s hard to live in a body that has a heart longing for HOME. Your words capture that missing piece. Love the pics of those wonderful buttes, sky and prairies. Love the stories that explain why NoDak pulls us back.

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