Miss Leah Jones has gone through so many inspiring reinventions, with her religion, career and personal life, but I’ll let her tell you about that.
What I am most drawn to, and admire about Leah, is her spirit, she’s so open — to new ideas, new ways of thinking and constant reinvention. There’s fearlessness in her approach to life, an awesome quality. She’s an open book, genuine, goodhearted and warm. To know her is to instantly adore her.
Please welcome Dame Leah Jones!
Tell me about you: Your name, pseudonym, where you’re from and what your read is about?
Name: Leah Jones
Pseudonym: Eh, I’m pretty much Leah Jones anywhere you go looking for me these days. Once upon a time I was simply known as LeahJ, but started going by Leah Jones a couple years ago. My blog is called Accidentally Jewish, which is as close to a pseudonym as I get. Hmmm…. I should work on this.
My read: I don’t actually have anything published aside from a short-story in an anthology about Resident Assistants published in the 90s. Most of my writing is on my blog, Accidentally Jewish, and is about my life. I’ve got a lot essays about converting to Judaism and the intersection of Judaism and the internet. Now I teach artists, writers and musicians how to use social media to do their own marketing at my new company Natiiv Arts & Media. Once that blog is up, my writing will center around creative arts and marketing.
What does being a woman mean to you?
A story. About four years ago, I got a short energy healing from an Argentine healer visiting Chicago. She was doing major work on other people and was just giving me a little chakra tune-up for hanging out all night. Crown chakra, fine. Third-eye, a-ok. Feminine energy, blocked. Completely blocked. The energy work stopped and we shifted gears into a little more akashic record and information from my guides. I was coming up on 28 or 29, an important year, and she suggested I march myself into therapy. This whole “blocked feminine energy” thing wasn’t working and wasn’t healthy.
For me, it manifested in weight to hide my figure, baggy clothes and unrequited love. The only feminine thing about me in my late 20s was my very regular, period and the occasional dress. So I took her advice and went to therapy and took tango lessons. I started to shed the walls around my heart that kept that energy locked up.
To me being a woman now means so many things. Some tactile like kneading bread, lighting Shabbat candles, and occasionally hosting a dinner. Sometimes it is making eye-contact with men on the street, flirting when it can’t go anywhere and trying my best to flirt when it can go somewhere. A constant state of flux and learning for me… first I had to get out of my shapeless overalls to learn to be feminine, now I’m learning that I’m still a woman if I’m in overalls.
Have you, are you, or will you reinvent yourself and, of course, what does reinventing yourself mean to you?
Yes, yes and I assume I will again. A few years ago I converted to Judaism, which is probably the biggest reinvention. Although, honestly, getting bangs was harder than becoming a Jew. When I converted, I was coming home. Joining a religion, tradition and people that “is who I was.” I was born Leah Marie and the Hebrew name I chose in my late 20’s is Leah Meira. Very little change and that was on purpose. It was more coming into my own than ripping myself from my old life.
Recently I left my job in corporate America and started my own company. Yes. In the middle of the worst economy since the Great Depression, I started my own company… with a mortgage. Crazy, but it was time to shift gears and reinvent. I went from working with large corporations doing digital PR, to working with artists, writers and musicians as a social media coach. I haven’t been happier in years.
I also in year two of a couple major undertakings. The first is doing Pilcrow Lit Fest with Amy Guth. Coming up in Chicago the week of May 17 to 23, we’ll be highlighting small press and indie literature events all around the city. The second is doing the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer 3-Day walk for the second time. While breast cancer doesn’t run in my family, it seems to be working its way through every friend’s family. So I’m walking for so many women and men and for a cure. This time my team is the Titterati, all women from Twitter.com, and we’ll be walking in early August.