10 WITH A 10: JILL MARTIN

10 with a 10.
A series dedicated to Toronto women who are honest, encouraging fighters willing to let us into their story. Willing to let me ask 10 vulnerable questions so that we can all take notes week after week from different women who are simply killin' it.

This week, everybody give it up for Jill Martin.
Oh, the sweet air that surrounds this woman.
You just have to experience it.
Go be around her.
She's like a rose on legs. 
Her sweet nature pours over her answers, into her surroundings, into the world. And it's an honour to have her here, so read on...

1. What do you do and what does it give to people?

I do art therapy with human beings, usually the tiny kind (kids). These people almost always come to me with a history of physical and/or sexual abuse. My hope is that creating art gives them freedom, safety, and a voice, maybe even some fun. I've spent days making forts to sit within, towers to smash, masks to wear, and play-doh dinner parties.

2. What's a piece of advice you consistently find yourself giving out but find hard to take yourself?

"Be gentle with yourself, get into community, yada yada"

I do believe these things are essential to health as a human. I mean, I always want people to be gentle with themselves, feel they are Loved, allow themselves to feel Grace when they screw up big time, but I'm very, very hard on myself and find these things hard to do. 

But the thing is, when I actually can get out of my head and out of my bed to face into the day with these two things - gentleness and community - life is abundant.

3. How do you rely on others to make you better?

Honesty. 
When people look me in the eyes or speak straight in my ear and tell me the Truth, it makes me better. It probably makes me cry (most things make me cry), but it does make me better. For these reasons I now know that person better, I now know myself better and we now share connection.
We recognize each other. 

So, that, and humour. Both make me better.

4. Someone gives you 50 mill. What's the FIRST way your life changes?

Tanzania, Uganda, Calcutta, Berlin; these are where best friends live.

5. What has compelled you forward more than anything else?

Hmm... that's a hard one. I guess 'brokenness' is my answer. Other people's and my own. Does that make sense? That's what compels me forward into compassionate action.
I think I want to just feel it all.

Cry with someone when they need it and share in the humanness of pain and springs and messy things.
And try to gently live out the secretly incredible Grace. 

6. Do you like when people ask you, "Where do you want to be in 5 years?"

No, I don't. I get panicked. I just try to keep going, keep showing up and keep hope alive for the next one. I try to remind myself that being present to who is in my story, knowing who I am and Whose I am will keep me planted in the right places.

7. If someone was handed a script of your inner dialogue this week, what would it say?

The colour of the sky right now makes that tree branch look like its glowing.
That lady looks lonely. I hope she has a good friend.
Books are wonderful.
The world makes me sad.
I want to be inside of a giant sweater right now.
I'd love a coffee.
Jory (my almost-husband) is the best Story to have ever intertwined with
mine, why did this happen? I don't feel like I deserve it.
Jill, you gotta catch this streetcar, get moving.
I wonder what that person's story is...
I'd love a coffee.
I wonder if people in heaven can see me when I'm in the shower? That seems rude! 
My mom is a superhero.
I'd love a coffee.
Paint makes everything alive.
I want to pray for that person.
I wish I wasn't born with curly hair.
I think I'm the worst person in this room. 
Folding paper is so satisfying. 

I just want everyone to be okay."

8. Are you spontaneous?

No, but I don't really plan either. I think the wind carries me around. I let things happen to me. Is that too passive? I'm a middle child of a row of siblings.

9. Are you failing differently each time?

I wish I was. I feel like the right answer if you're a healthy, good person is supposed to be "yes". But, I'm not really. The worst case scenario is that I let the failure define me. The best case scenario is that I'm reminded I'm human and feel a part of the rhythm of us all.
I sway towards the former, but I'm always trying to work on it. 

10. Paul Newman or Robert Redford?

Paul Newman.
He and Joanne Woodward? Best friends make for the best lovers.