Jamie Lee Finch
Jamie and I have been in and around the same circles of people for as long as I’ve been in Nashville, but not until shooting her for the project did I really come to know her. What I found in Jamie I can sum up in saying “relief”.
We can walk around the world doing our very best to make it better and to make it and ourselves more aware with each tiny step. We can hold our heads high and smile even when its hard to find much to smile about. Sometimes that just gets to you after a while. You don’t want to give up necessarily, but you’re tired. You feel alone. You feel like saying “Fuck It!”
Just as the universe knew you needed it, it sends something or someone your way. Jamie. I said relief because that’s what I felt upon meeting and getting to know her. My heart and soul taking an immense exhale. The kind where your shoulders fall and you can’t tell if you want to smile or cry or both. It’s peace and adrenaline all together.
Sometimes you meet people and you just know that there’s a greater than usual potential within them. Potential that can actually make one hell of a dent and cause others to perhaps revisit their own truths. Jamie is one of these people.
Like we all do, she has a past and a story. What she has lived and learned you can now see her applying to life and not only for the good of herself but for the good of others and especially women.
In a conversation with her you may flow through things such as the destructiveness of the bulk of the Christian church. The positivity of sexuality and breaking down those taboos around it, body acceptance and positivity as well as the connectivity we have to nature.
There are absolutely days when I think to myself, "Fuck... I don't know if I can do this for a whole year." This project is exhausting and it has weight in every decision that I have to make in life right now. When I started to add up the time it, makes sense as to why that is. However... the moment that I start feeling like that I end up having the opportunity to make a connection and have the honor of hearing and holding the story of such amazingly astounding humans like Jamie. I know in those moments that I'm onto something. Even if it connects with no one else in the world, (and I would find that hard to believe with such spectacular humans) it shows me that it's all worth it. Not just this project, but life. LIFE is all worth it. Whatever hardships we have and hold, whatever happens in the world that makes us feel hopeless, small and insignificant, there are people out there that really and truly get it! That's worth it!
This project has been such an honor, and through it I have discovered that I'm much less a story-teller and much more a listener. People are truly unique and magnificent! All we have to do to realize so is take an honest moment to listen.
Jamie, holy shit! You keep going, woman! What a force you are for people and a voice you are for women everywhere!
Please scroll below to see what Jamie had to say to the P104 questions. They're answers that you don't want to miss!
Love Aimlessly, My Friends
What gets you out of bed every day?
It’s curiosity. In a lot of ways it’s the curiosity of “I wonder who I’m gong to be today?!” I remember writing something about this time last year around the idea that you’re under no obligation to be who anyone perceives you to be from he day before. This includes our thoughts on ourselves.
It’s something that I used to get really frustrated with myself about and perceived as lack of consistency. Now, at least at this point in my process, am moving through a place where I’m choosing to have more compassion with myself and see it as self-curiosity.
That’s part of it, but I also feel that, on some level, approaching myself in that way, it’s a message that I want to carry with me to let others know that they have permission to approach themselves that way to.
So, what gets me out of bed is this wonder at who I’ll be. A wonder of what’s gong to catch my attention and what people I’ll get to meet, and through the experience of any given day the wonder of how I’ll be able to communicate this to those around me that might be listening. To be able to show them the permission that they have to be whoever they perceive themselves to be as well.
That’s the most concrete thing. What gets me out of bed other than that can change every day. I could wake up and say to myself “I want to be a sexuality coach!” “That’s what I’m on this planet for!” and then other morning I wake up and wonder why I didn’t continue to be a musician. It just changes every single day.
Being able to inhabit that and carry this message that we have the freedom and permission to just wonder at ourselves. It doesn’t have to be more tangible than that.
To date, what is the greatest lesson that you’ve learned?
I think so far it’s the phrase and idea of “You’re not waiting on permission.”
As a woman… woo! I’m gonna get emotional… As a woman I can’t believe that it took me this long to be allowed to know myself and to be allowed to know my own inner wisdom. I can’t believe that it took me this long to know my own body. I can’t believe that it took me this long to actually know what Her voice sounds like. But I can believe it, because every message that I’ve ever received, from the religion that I was raised in, or the culture that I’m automatically a part of… I wasn’t given a choice to be born into those things or this body, but navigating this body through those narratives… I can believe that it took me this long. I’m actually, in some ways surprised that I’ve found it this early. For some women it happens much later.
That idea that “you’re not waiting for permission from anyone to know yourself completely”… to hear your own wisdom and trust your own guidance… That doesn’t have to go through some filter.
There’s a phrase that I love; “No one is allowed to not allow you.” Women’s wisdom is so often untrusted unless it goes through an accepted filter, which is usually like a male religious leader or their husband or something of the like. I spent so much of my life sitting around waiting on someone to give me the permission that I didn’t know I didn’t have to wait for. Now what that looks like is this strange pioneering in impropriety.
I’m fully fucking aware that I’m not waiting for permission and what I want now is for every woman to know that she’s not either. That, to date is my greatest lesson. It’s beautiful that no one taught me that and sometimes doesn’t feel like a lesson because we’re trained to receiving our lessons from other people but this just came from my own intuition. My own inner wisdom.
I’m not so much trying to teach it to other women but I do want to create space for them to teach it to themselves.
What is love?
This answer almost feels like cheating because it’s not exactly mine, but I’ve yet to find any better definition. Love is saying “yes” to what is. I stole that from Richard Rohr, because he’s brilliant!
In that experience of saying ‘yes’ to what is, the implication there is that love is holding space. Holding space for whatever is to be what it is. Love and control are diametrically opposed to one another, so when you hold that space and you say ‘yes’ to what’s in front of you you’re not trying to control it or turn it into your perception of what it should be but allowing it to occupy gentle space with that person or experience.
I think that that has to start with ourselves. I don’t know if people are really capable of loving in that sense, of occupying a space without controlling it, if they don’t first learn to do that with themselves.
That’s been a really difficult journey that I’ve been on myself. With my own body and with my own mind. Just learning how to occupy space with Her and not try to control or change Her or shift Her into submission of my perception of what I think She should be. Or a culture’s perception for that matter.
So much of the work that I’ve done personally and do with other people is being a body-therapist and mediator. Learning to love yourself is occupying gentle space with yourself. That’s really fucking hard for women to do. It’s still hard for me to do all the time. I think that self-compassion and self-care has everything to do with that, but that’s not a message that we often receive. Men or women. A lot of times the messages that we receive about love come from movies and books and then we feed them to ourselves.
In loving another person, we’ve fed ourselves this idea that they must become a perfect opposite of us. That’s us engaging our brains in the expectation that they need to become something different at all rather than we just need to hold space and say ‘yes’ to who they are.
That’s what I think love is.
I also think that I have no idea what love is at all and that’s really exciting! I don’t think anyone really knows. I think thats kind of the point of poetry. To let the heavy and the light try to occupy space together and not try to change one another. The heavy and the light are saying ‘yes’ to what is about one another, and poetry is the language beyond language that sets that down in front of you and resinates somewhere deeper within, bypassing your conscious mind. I think that’s why we have so much poetry and art about the idea of love. We’re all still trying to figure out what the fuck it is in the first place.
About Jamie : Jamie is a writer, voice for human and women's permission and rights, student, and passionate purveyor of body positivity and sexuality.
Lives in Nashville, TN
From St. Louis, Missouri