A Girl Named Leney

THE JOURNAL

Posts in Iphone Snaps
A Winter Morning
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i reach the end of the shadows and that is when i feel the sun warming my back, reaching me finally, as it had crept higher than the trees.

i feel its heat through the worn wool grey sweater i often wear (admittedly one of the more unflattering pieces in my wardrobe and yet something i've held onto for eight years now. which is a thing i am always fighting—my attachment to material things).

the suns fingers slide down my body, starting at my hair, falling down my back, slipping down my calves and then being kicked off by my heels.

the shush-shush sound of my jeans, my Mothers jeans with various time-worn holes, is the closest sound to me.

next to it the stray rocks my feet kick as they walk, next to that the birds above my head, then the wind playing with the grass and trees, then the distant sound of a truck on an unmarked road and then, further still: a barking dog.

it is these sounds that i've learned to be attentive to, to hear and enjoy and recognize as enough, in lieu of music or words playing into my ears.

it's beautiful to listen to.

the waking-up of the world.

a witnessing of the slow graduation of night into day.

then--a shot of copper.

the fox was one smooth line, as it sped across the road from the cannon of the field. uninterrupted, linear, both in its physique and its destination.

seeing the sun shine on his back as he ran somehow brought more joy than feeling the sun warm my own.

on the left, always on the left, for what is routinely just shy of an hour.

i let my mind wander.

thoughts unrestricted. unkept. unruly.

(words that could also be assigned to my hair)

a sort of inward dialogue with myself.

it's calming, starting my days this way. letting the things my senses bring to my attention pour in and out of me without needing to measure or quantify or justify or dictate or document or list.

to let them.... be.

Level Ground
www.agirlnamedleney.com

i ran. 
and i ran and ran and ran. 
the driving feeling that manifested physically beat inside me repeatedly until i acted on it. 
i constantly wanted to run away. 
runrunrunrunrunrunrun.
the feeling i had, which i interpreted as a need, was constant. 
and yet even when i acted on it, even when i did run in some form or another, arriving never eased the command. 
it didn’t let up.
“you still need to run” something inside of me would say. 
“you have to escape”
“you don’t belong here”

wandering flushes a glory that fades with arrival.
and arrive i did. 
over and over. 
i sought, i found, i repeated. 
nothing was easing the restlessness and sadness inside of me.

until one day i couldn’t run anymore. 
i changed my avoidance tactics and found a new form of escape.
i checked out.

it was fall. 
i remember because the leaves on the ground around me were brown. prickly. scratching through my clothes to get to my skin. 
a sensation i probably recall mostly in retrospect as at the time i was determined to feel as little as possible— if nothing at all. 
nothingness was the goal.
“Leney…. Leney talk to me...”
they were always there during these episodes. 
they were the one person i felt safe enough to do this with. 
the only person i told the majority of what it was i was going through and as such, in my mind, they’d been deemed safe. 
but perhaps the reason for my catatonia episodes around them wasn’t simply because they were the one who knew the most. 
perhaps i was testing them. 
seeing if they could handle the darkness that was fighting to envelop me. 
seeing if they would try to save me. 
if they could save me. 
i wanted to be saved. 
but it wasn’t until they gave up trying that i realized no one could be my savior. 
no one except for the one who already was, is, and has been all along.

i haven’t had that feeling in almost three years now.
a realization that came to me only recently. 
it’s been so long since i ran -ran to runaway- that i’d almost forgotten i used to feel so.


i wrote the above in November.
it’s part of a story i’ve been wanting to share, wanting to tell more people about.
but i’ve held that desire with hesitation and caution. 
not sure if it was the right time. 
not sure if there would be negative feedback from sharing something that once was such a huge part of me.
once.
for it was several years ago now.
but now, i’ve been feeling the darkness of that time inching back towards the middle of me. 
no longer on the outskirts, no longer outside of the lines and realm of my person. 
it’s inching in, recoloring the lines and make-up of me.
but i am fighting it.

i crave intimacy and vulnerability from like-minded souls. 
from their art, voices, time spent and day-to-day lives: however that translates.
but i realized that i cannot ask of others what i am not willing to give myself.

when thinking back on that time i realize i didn’t feel close to people because i didn’t feel close to myself.
i was joyless because i had a misplaced sense of joy. 
i attempted to put it into things and people unable to hold it in the first place— ill equipped to carry, to nurture, to be the base and grounding of me.
but i recognize now that the ground that is able to hold me is the one that i came from. 
the one that was made by The Creator of all ground.
and that grounding, that saving that i so fervently sought, could only come from Him. 

i’m sharing this about myself, i’m sharing this story, not because i want you to perceive me as a troubled artist, a wild and wayward wanderess, a deep and introspective individual or a warrior who’s fought a hard battle, but because i believe i went through what i did for a reason. 
to deepen and strengthen my character and sense of self-sureness: yes
but also because i know there have been so many words voiced, experiences shared, confessions given, and admonishings made from others that have helped me get into-through-and-out of so many hard times in my life.  
and if mine can in any any any way do that for someone else, even on a small scale, than i want to honor myself, my experience and my one Holy God in that.
because i went through such darkness, despair, and inner struggle.
and if you’re there, if you’re in a dark place right now, so much so that you’re having a hard time seeing anything anymore at all, i want you to hang on because there’s still light. 
there’s still a little prick of it shining-glowing-beckoning from the end of the tunnel. 
and you have everything in you already that you need to start working your way towards it. 
you can’t do it alone. 
you need to be okay with asking for help.
but the start? 
the first few steps of making your way in that direction? 
that’s all you.
start walking.
there's level ground just ahead.

 
//

And I will lead the blind
    in a way that they do not know,
in paths that they have not known
    I will guide them.
I will turn the darkness before them into light,
    the rough places into level ground.
These are the things I do,
    and I do not forsake them.

—Isaiah 42:16

Every valley shall be lifted up,
    and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,

    and the rough places a plain
—Isaiah 40:4

Teach me to do your will,
    for you are my God!
Let your good Spirit lead me
    on level ground!

 —Psalm 143:10

But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity;
    redeem me, and be gracious to me.
 My foot stands on level ground;
    in the great assembly I will bless the Lord.

 —Psalm 26:11-12

The Dirt of Our Hurt
www.agirlnamedleney.com

the dirt of our hurt.

it’s a phrase that’s been running across the mainframe of my brain on repeat ever since it came to me a week or so ago.
i’ve been sitting with it, knowing i have something i need to process and write involving the ideas around it, but i've been running away from doing so.
distracting myself. thinking of other things. or not thinking at all.

www.agirlnamedleney.com

but yesterday i woke up and realized i couldn’t continue on that path. 
as familiar and often comforting that path of distraction is.
because i’ve been hurting. 
and yesterday i made myself sit in it. 
which is hard for me. 
by which i mean stillness. 
even more so when discomfort is surrounding it. 
although i’m not one to shy away from growth, changes, newness or hard things. 
in fact i often run all-to-willingly towards them. 
sometimes put myself in and on their path unnecessarily because i have a hard time without
newness
struggle
change
let’s-try-this
does-this-work
.
which then causes unnecessary hurt more often then not.
i am trying to be better at just being
just sitting
just processing one-at-a-time
whether that’s as small as a new moment or as big as a new day. 
each as it comes. each in its appointed time. 
for someone who’s as addicted to newness and change as i am, it’s been a hard thing to wrestle with.
but i know it’s a wrestling worth putting my arms on the table and fists in the air for.

so today, this week, this month, however-long-i-need-to, i am embracing the dirt of my hurt.
deep.
muddled.
cold.
hard.
dark.
rock filled.
worm eaten.
it’s a place of mess that we often run away from.
left unattended, weeds grow, things become ferrel and wild in the not-good ways.
BUT
so much possibility is held in this dirt.
this very place of pain and overgrown vines and past entanglement. 
because once freshly dug into, tilled and stirred up, it is the perfect place for planting.

www.agirlnamedleney.com

i had posted this on instagram last week, but i wanted to share it here too.
because it's an idea that i think is really important and i honestly needed re-reminding of this week myself, because i've been feeling slumpy
(i am mostly blaming this insane weather we've been having. it's 77 one day, 25 the next, my body literally cannot handle it and i feel so off and unwell. i just want some consistency)

hurt.
i’ve somewhat been feeling so off and on for a while now, but have been pushing through it and fighting to feel not so.
i've received much needed words from loved ones in the language of: 

do not be so hard on yourself.
and
pain is not necessarily an indicator of something bad, rather an indicator of growth.
and
it is okay to be here.
and
feeling so much all the time is not a bad thing because feelings do have value. but we have to be careful because there is often a discrepancy between our feelings and reality.
and
out of the hard and dirty and painful and messy parts of our lives come the most beautiful pieces of us.

which i know to be true. because i’ve been there. multiple times. i’ve seen that story played out, been a character in it’s telling, written some of the words to it’s story and read the proceeding chapters.
i’ve been in and out and danced with that theme of redemption many a time.

in the dirt of our hurt, we are given a chance to re-plant, re-sow seeds, and start anew.
and there is so much promise and hope in that.
for without the dirt, there would be no flowers.

Folkling Update

some new pieces are coming to Folking over the weekend so be sure to check out the instagram for them! in the mean time, here are some iphone snaps of some favorites from this past month.

also be sure to get on the actual instagram app, not just the web version, and follow the folkling instagram stories! i post a lot of videos on there of pieces i haven't even posted on the grid, as well as extra details of posted pieces. most of the sales have been moving through that truth be told, so be sure to keep up with it!

and to those of you who have already purchased something in Folkling's first official month of being: thank you
from the bottom of my heart.
it means so much to see this new venture's idea of giving forgotten things new homes and making at least a small dent in the need to buy less by buying what's already out there, one-of-a-kind, quality and timeless, resonating with people.
xo

also, there's a Folkling Facebook page now too!

//

my sweet friend Erica Dreybus is truly one of my favorite people to photograph and i have to give her a special shout out for modeling for these.
you may recognize her from past posts here and here and here.

 

Ten Years

i visited one of my favorite places last weekend the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
this place has been witness to so many moments in my life.
both with others and alone.
it's a place that feels like home to me.
(feel free to search the VMFA in the search box at the bottom of the site to see some of my other visits there from over the years)

i specifically went to see the new exhibit of Jasper Johns and Edvard Munch's work and was surprised by how much i loved it and was inspired by their artistry. 
previously only familiar with Munch's The Scream, i was truly enrapt with the diversity and beauty of both of these artist's work.

i read a plaque on one piece (often the words on the plaque beside a piece of art end up meaning more to me than the work itself. i'll frequently snap photos of them or write them down in a notebook. words immerse me.) that stated that Jasper Johns worked on his cross hatching technique for ten years.
ten years.
that's about a third of my lifetime.
i've heard it said that to truly have mastered the art of something and to do it well is to have stuck with it for a decade. 
an idea, in this have-it-right-now society of ours, that's so foreign.
we are used to instant gratification.
what is it to work at and stick with something consistently for ten years?
perhaps that strikes you as discouraging, but i find it the opposite. 
because it's a reminder that success, in all of it's various forms, is not instant. that the achievements truly worth having in life are worth working hard for. as, once obtained, they will taste all the sweeter for we truly know what it was to earn them with our blood, sweat and tears.

my business is reaching it's sixth birthday this spring, and while it's changed and varied in it's execution, i'm proud to say that i've stayed true to who i am as an artist and how that's translated in different ways over the years. it feels good to look back at something and, while the look of it doesn't appeal to me now, or my tastes have changed since, i'm still proud of it. because i know at the time of it's execution, that was who i was, and i embraced that and lived it out fully and gave it my all.

so here's to the next four years, to reach that ten year mark.
i hope i look back when i get there and am able to still be proud of what i've created and what i've worked for. 

p.s. another realization and thought brought about by the exhibit was on the resiliency that joy brings amidst despair, which can be read here.
p.p.s. this exhibition prompted me to get back into painting more than ever (something i shared a few weeks ago)! you can see a photo of that here.

Farm Days | Beltayne Farm

Being able to visit Beltayne Farm was a result of a connection I made through someone seeing this Instagram post of mine and kindly recommending me to their friend Sunshine’s shearing day that she and her family were hosting. 

After exchanging some Facebook messages, and grabbing my friend Meagan to come along, I headed out on one rainy Spring day to see some sheep. 

We had the best time and instantly connected and loved Sunshine and her family who could not have been more generous or welcoming (sending us home with a dozen eggs from their chickens, as well as a promise of some wool upon our next visit).

The Summer has gotten away with me and kept me quite busy but I hope to return to this little homestead sometime soon to revisit the new friends I made there.

The day involved me holding my very first little lamb (named Pip… whose sibling is named Squeak) which obviously could not have made my day any more than it did.

I'm grateful for the generosity and kindness of strangers that’s extended and shared even before common interests and passions are established.

Hope you enjoy a few iPhone snaps from the day! 

iPhone Snaps | Fig Picking

It's no secret that I have quite a deep and over sentimental love for figs.
Seen here, here, here and here... 

Shortly after coming home from a long trip recently, I spent an hour or two of an afternoon fig picking, fig peeling and fig mashing for fig jam with two lovely ladies.
It was the perfect first thing to do after being on the road for a week.
A welcoming back.
A slowing down.
A this-is-home.

iPhone Snaps | A Slow Lived Saturday

I think I've decided that I want to post more iPhone snaps here on the blog.
Because...
1. I rarely take my camera with me throughout my day to day wanderings anymore, unless it's film (but considering the fact that I have 17 undeveloped rolls in a drawer here, the current chances of seeing those anytime soon/before the year 2026 is maybe a 0).

2. I take so so many photos with my iPhone. It's a hard-to-come-across day that I don't take at least some sort of photo with my phone to be honest. I exclusively use my Instagram for my iPhone snap sharing, but I so often have so many more photos from a time or event that I love and want to share but never get around to. I don't really utilize my Facebook in that way, or like the format of that type of sharing either. So that pretty much just leaves the journal here on the site.

The thousands and thousands of photos I have from my phone that never see the light of day and are just pushed from my phone, to dropbox, to my external hard drive, is truly tragic.
So hopefully this new idea will remedy some of that!

Without further ado, a few words on a lovely afternoon spent with a lovely friend of mine.

////

There is a certain kind of friend that is hard to come by in this fast-paced, screen-focused way of life these days. 

The come-on-over-the-doors-opened kind of friend.
The borrow-these-books-because-we-think-alike kind of friend.
The let's-eat-whatever's-in-the-fridge-because-whats-mine-is-yours kind of friend.
The let's-sit-around-and-do-nothing-together-and-just-be kind of friend.
The let's-eat-cake-for-dinner kind of friend.
The list-writing-travel-dreaming-song-writing kind of friend. 
This always denim clad soul is all of these kinds of friends in one and I feel pretty lucky to know her. 

We had such a perfect slow living sort of afternoon together, a theme of ours it seems whenever we spontaneously hang out, and I'm glad she's of such a similar mind because these are my favorite kind of afternoons.