Jodi Hills

So this is who I am – a writer that paints, a painter that writes…

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Shoulder pads.

While searching for our voices in the 80’s, we began at shoulder level. As Krystle and Alexis fought for their Dynasty, we too, built up our shoulders to face the future.

It didn’t come as a complete surprise. I had been hearing about my shoulders since I started grade school. At the breakfast table, my mom would smooth out my hair, check my outfit, and tell me, each and every morning, “put your shoulders back,” strengthening me long before I knew how much I would need it.

We embraced the shoulder pads. Stood even taller, claiming the space our hearts and minds so desired. Maybe it was just the boost we needed. It wasn’t wrong to find it wherever you could, my mother explained. And so we did. In lipstick. Positive thinking. Poetry. Music. Collective laughter. And yes, even the shoulder pad.

By the time the trend faded, we were strong in our strides. Building our own dynasty.

Grief can be powerful. The weight pulling you down. I’ll admit to times when I have grabbed my knees in battle.

In full gravity of missing her, I opened the drawer. Took out my mother’s blouse. Pulled it over my head. And I felt it. Them. Tiny little shoulder pads, hand sewn. I smiled. She always found a way. And so will I.

Even at its hardest moments, this life is so very beautiful. I stand proudly, tall, shoulders back, ever strong in my dynasty.