Our mission:

Read about A Voice of One's Own, where it came from, where it's going, and how you can join its chorus of love here!!

Also, feel free to contact us at voiceofonesown@gmail.com. Guest posting and new writers are not only welcomed, but encouraged, so please feel invited to send us a little taste of your voice :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

new location.

Hi, lovelies!

So I decided to move on over to tumblr. Mainly because I think it is much, much prettier (and easier for my computer-illiterate self to use). That being said, I will be posting much more often--both new and old posts--to get it going. I apologize for repeats, but then again, returning to them is doing me a lot of good:) Come give it a peek: http://voiceofonesown.tumblr.com/ !


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Who are you?

Sometimes I can get so caught up in the illusion of everything that I forget who I am. I made this list on retreat a few months ago and thought I'd share it with you.

I love bananas and parker pens
I love driving around Baltimore and blasting music
I love Moleskine journals and acoustic guitars
I love argyle prints and earth tones
I love Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Dreamweaver
I love campfire but more importantly I love fire.
I love kayaks and kayaking and the color yellow
I drink too much black coffee and I love staying up late.
I love sunsets and sunrises
I like being outdoors and the smell of nature minus the allergies
I love wearing glasses and I love that people think I'm a nerd.
I love the sounds at a beach: waves crashing, kids crying and seagulls flying
I love cooking and feeding my friends
I love a great micro-brewed beer
I love graphic design, color theory and typography
I love politics, international relations and the Constitution of the U.S.A.
I love my name, JADS.
I love my voice, because it is my own.


Sunday, July 17, 2011


What if I stopped choosing and started listening?

So I have this obsession with concepts that can be summed up neatly and nicely in one word. You might have gathered this... Love. Compassion. Liberation. Hope. You get the picture. Well, thanks to J.K. Rowling and the Harry Potter series, choice has been one of these obsessions for me for a while now. The idea that we all, as humans, have light and dark inside of us and that we can't choose that fact, but we can choose how to respond, which to express, which to allow to motivate us in our actions each and every day. I think that it is these choices that, over time, begin to define our character. Great. Super. Except, maybe I have it all wrong...

So last night I had a four hour conversation with a dear, dear friend about El Salvador. (Can someone explain to me why I'm not there right now? 'Cause I'd really like to be. I digress...) This friend has been a witness over the years to my struggles with my faith and spirituality and was very aware of the way I was talking about god openly and naturally... in a way I hadn't in just about three years. I've been so particular about the language I use to describe my faith because I was so afraid of being associated with something I'm not. Well, I don't know who or what the hell god is, but I do know there's something that has lived inside of me for my entire life, something that lights up my eyes, something that pulls me enthusiastically out of bed in the morning, something that drives me when I don't think I can go anymore, something that takes me over and flows through me, something that allows me to love in ways I didn't know I was capable of, something that brings me peace in the midst of surrender and break downs, something that transforms my dark into light, something that gives me both hope and hunger for more, something that draws me forth into the woman I was made to be, something that breaks my heart, something that drags me into the discomfort of really difficult questions, something that holds me tenderly while I'm there, something that has laid out the journey which has brought me to the place I am right now.

What the hell does this have to do with choice, you ask? Lately, I don't want to make choices anymore. Lately, I want to surrender to this something inside of me. I don't know what that means all the time, I don't know how it will look, or feel, or turn out. I don't know for sure how to do this. But I do know that I trust it and that I want it. I don't want to choose the light. I want to be a vessel of it, I want to surrender to it, I want to allow it to flow through me--no matter what that means.

I had a spiritual director who taught me a little bit about listening to other people, about what it means to be present to people, about what it means to practically love someone, about understanding, and about compassion. Until now I never thought of how badly I want to listen to my insides, to my spirit, to the divine presence I want so badly to be constantly aware of, to my body, to my being, to the miracle that is my unique life. So... hey, I know you're listening. I'm surrendering to you. I know it's not that easy and that sometimes I'll wanna take control right back into my own little hands, so I'm asking for the strength to give myself to you. That's the only choice I want to make, and I want to make it over and over... every moment of every day. I want so badly to be yours, to be authentic, to be the woman I was purposefully made to be, to be a vessel, to be one with you. When you call, I want to be listening so that I can answer.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Are you afraid of difference?


I was mobbed by spiders though they didn’t know,
they didn’t know because spiders don’t think
“Hey there’s lots of us,
maybe we can take on this giant beastly thing.”
They didn’t know because all they thought about
was how I was an enemy to them,
bigger than them

What’s the saying?
I could squash them like bugs?

Did you know I’m scared of spiders?
How pathetic am I to panic at the site of
those creatures?
Those little tiny creatures that would never hurt me,
or so says my friend Bob the arachnologist (arachnophile if you ask me),
“They are just misunderstood”
Right Bob...

Murder next door, and I’m afraid of spiders.
The flies took her life, and I’m afraid of spiders.
Spider genocide in the streets, and I’m afraid of spiders.

The mob dispersed and as one lone spider walked towards me
my defenses rose and my heart started to race.
Suddenly in a foreign accent he asked
“where is the toilet?”
I smiled and started to laugh.
No matter what language you speak,
You know how to ask for the bathroom.

Today I saw a spider eat a fly.
Today I saw a spider clinging for life
as the storm came.
I picked it up and brought it inside.
Made it dinner, had a chat, learned its story
Brought it back to life.

He told me, no one listens to us spiders,
we have no voice.
I told him, he had a beautiful voice,
it’s people who are too afraid to listen.

Guess they didn't think I was an enemy.
Guess all they wanted was a friend.


So while I was leaving Pisa packing up my things at my hostel, I realized that I lost my tickets that I ordered months before to go to Nice. Luckily, the train was running late so I had time to buy another ticket. However, once I got on the train I realized that it was not at all great that the train was delayed because I had a connecting train to catch, and there was only a 10-15 minute layover. Once we got to the connecting station, Ventimiglia, I saw that I had missed my train. It was the last train to Nice for the night, so I had to stay the night. But the interesting thing was that the second I got off the train there were swarms of people, cops, and news crews. It was crazy. There were over 200 people staying in the station with me waiting to get on the next train to France. I had no idea what was going on. To be honest I was a little scared for my life, my passport, and my identity. I mean the police were everywhere, and they were packing some serious firepower. And all the people around me were speaking a language I could not recognize.

About an hour into being stuck there, I learned from another student who was traveling that all the people were refugees from Tunisia. After hearing that I freaked. I didn’t want to be stuck with a bunch of refugees. What if they want to hurt me, take my passport, kidnap me for ransom? There were so many thoughts going into my head. Then suddenly someone walked up to me and asked if I had a cigarette. I said no. I sat there after that and thought to myself, well that went fine. Then I looked around and thought no one is trying to kill me or anything like that. I felt foolish. The looks on their faces said it all. All they wanted to do was get somewhere safe. They ran away from home and were as much a foreigner as I was. They were just as scared as I was. Scared they may not get into France, scared they may have to go back to the country they left to find a better life, and scared that they may never see their families again (there were only men). It was such an experience for me. I often regret not going up to one of them and asking them what they were doing. I don’t know if any of them spoke English, but I should have tried. I should have learned their story. Because after reflecting I now see that they are more than just refugees, they are people, with husbands, wife, mothers, father, jobs, and lives that go far beyond the refugee part. But even without talking to them it was an amazing experience that I will never forget.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Last Thursday, I did something I haven't done in quite some time. I cried during class. Just right there with a bunch of random people I don't even know, I cried. I cried over a film about suicide and the war in Iraq. I cried over the way in which we value (or don't value) human lives... and the way in which public policies reflect these values. I cried over dehumanization and structural violence.

In most cases of my life I would find this to be terribly embarrassing, but lately I have been valuing my humanity so much, I just took a deep breath and embraced my tender-heartedness. I thought: time to practice what you preach, little one; those tears are a physical expression of your compassion, and your words, a refusal to accept the world as it is. So just let the tears fall and calmly explain why they are falling.

They were falling because it hurts my heart every time I am hit with the reality that each human life is not given the same value in our world. Who matters and who doesn't? Who gets to decide who matters and who doesn't? How do they decide? Why? And, more importantly, can this ever change?

Then I read Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter and now I'm just pissed. (If you haven't read it, I suggest reading it, or even a summary of it just for the purpose of the thought experiment it evokes.) We, societally, judge people so easily, but, even worse, we allow those judgments to stick, to mark a person, to identify human character in a way in which, realistically, doesn't happen, doesn't line up, doesn't make any freaking sense. Maybe it's easier to categorize people in this way. Maybe it's safer not to take risks. Maybe it's less scary to shut out entire segments of the human population. I don't even know!

All I do know is that I might actually believe each and every human being is worth the risk of knowing, of accepting, of learning about, of open-mindedness and understanding. That, and I might spend the rest of my life questioning taking the easy way, especially when it involves human beings.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Trying to live a dog's life

So my girlfriend has this thing about calling me a puppy or dog and joking that she feeds me treats. I always thought of it like wtf…why do you keep calling me that…but after listening to the radio I kind admire the nickname. I was listening to WPOC Baltimore’s Country Music Station (obviously) and the person who was hosting the show said something that caught my ear. She said that if people greeted each other every day just like dogs greet people, everyone would just get along much better and be so much more loving toward each other. I thought that was simply amazing. I mean when I go over to my sister’s house and see her little Boston terrier he runs wild. And yeah it may be some natural uncontrollable instinct for a dog to go wild when someone walks in the door, but doesn’t that just sound amazing. Like I had this uncontrollable instinct to run over to my mom when she came home. I had this uncontrollable instinct to tackle my friend to the ground out of love. I had this uncontrollable instinct to squeeze my partner when I got home from work because I miss him or her so much. I had this uncontrollable urge to show my love to a complete stranger yesterday because I just simply wanted to. I had this uncontrollable urge to greet the person working at Starbucks like they had been my friend for my entire life, even though I never met them in my before.

What a world that would be. If everyone greeted each other like their dogs greeted them. More ecstatic to see a human face and be touched by human hands than all the dog food in the world.

That’s something special.

That’s something to think about.

That’s something simply amazing.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

redefining faith.

I find my faith and hope both in immense joy and in the acknowledgement of pain; together, they show me the power and resiliency of the human spirit, and honestly, what is more beautiful? That power, that resiliency, that strength is divine. It reminds me that the spirit never leaves me. I am constantly in the presence of the divine. It is the "love of god working in the lives of men," as (my man) MLK said. I want to be aware of it constantly. I want to bear witness to it constantly. I want to live inside of it constantly.

I want to walk and to live in full awareness of my own humanity and, for that matter, of others' humanity, too. There is something healing, something hopeful, something restorative in humanity. I feel human lately--beautifully, peacefully, imperfectly human. I am so grateful to be in this space.

Thank you, spirit of love, for moving through me. In all my spastic ways, in all my anxiety, in all my emotion, in my need for healing, in my ever-dreaming eyes, in my timidness and in my courage, in my fear and in my loving heart, in both my giving and my receiving, in my struggles and in my freedom, thank you for moving through me always. Fill me. Without you, I am incomplete. Without you, that light in my eyes is gone. Without you, I lose that bit that makes me my most fiery self. I want to surrender to you with every breath, every step, every moment. Give me strength that I might best serve the world as a vessel of your ever-flowing grace. I am yours.

Oh, and, spirit, thank you for the skies.

Saturday, July 2, 2011


I have a (somewhat) newfound love for the color green because it reminds me that all around me is LIFE. There is something sacred, something hopeful, a breath of fresh air, something rejuvenating and refreshing present in my ability to peep out my window and see: GREEN. It causes my eyes open a little wider and my breathing to slow as I remind myself that I, too, am a part of nature, a part of this brilliant life.

I am well aware that my head is in the clouds, but I pray that my feet never leave the ground and that my hands never stop reaching out to those around me. By that same token, I hope my feet and my hands never hold me down and that my heart can keep soaring, my mind can keep dreaming and my spirit can keep hoping for more.

There is a fire inside me that will drive me to do whatever I am called to do. Problem is... I haven't been called yet. So I suppose I should spend my time preparing to send forth my best self whenever that time comes.

The most brilliant light comes forth from darkness.

I love human beings because we are all walking contradictions. We, both individually and communally, hold within us so many contradictions. I am both weak and strong. I am both loving and fearful. I am both hopeful and despairing. I love my ability to be both (as scary as it is, as vulnerable as it makes me). I embrace humanity in its both-ness, in its completeness, in its wholeness, in its vast, diverse beauty.

Some days, I want to run away. I often envision a rustic cave or an empty room with windows letting in an overwhelming amount of sunlight. I would bring tons of books, an endless supply of blank paper and writing utensils (preferably pencils), paint, brushes, fruit, cheese, green tea, candles (and therefore my inhaler), my yoga mat, my water bottle, something with which to play music, only excessively comfortable clothing to wear over panties that make me feel gorgeous, and I would invite the people who nourish me the most to join whenever they needed refuge. Then, on other days, I realize I am fully capable of creating both physical and metaphysical spaces just like this. If you ever need refuge, know my arms (and heart) are wide open.

I love you.