I had been working on a completely different piece for my blog but the research was very depressing.  Therefore, I made an executive decision.  I took a break and decided to concentrate on something else.

         I recently had the pleasure, and it truly was one, of spending a weekend with my friend Kim in Los Angeles.  Amongst the myriad of fabulous conversations that we enjoyed there was a brightly colored ribbon of thought that ran through them.  Again and again the “Jelly Donut Factor” came up.  I’m not sure if I had the idea and she embellished it or if Kim came up with it and I began embroidering.  It could have easily  been either way.  We are both equally prone to fanciful ideas and embellishments! 

          The two of us observed that people have their day-to-day exterior.  We’ve all seen it, the face we put on for the world in general.  This face tends to be consistent with certain societal norms and customs.  Most people’s exteriors are fairly safe, pleasant to be around and don’t exhibit too many surprises.  In terms of our donut comparison this would be the light, flaky, deep-fried exterior of the jelly donut.  The really nice, fun people even have glaze on the outside of theirs.

         Clearly, there is nothing wrong with this exterior.  I mean, how can you go wrong with glaze and deep-fried dough? Yum.  However, there are those moments with people when something that they truly enjoy or are passionate about comes along and they light up.  It’s when they’re flying their freak flag in the best possible way.  (Come on, everyone has one, some of us have a veritable cornucopia of them.)  In fact, often these are the moments when one person can light up a room and never even know they’re doing it.  Those are the times when you find yourself reflecting, “This person is fantastic.”  Sure, the normal face is fine but there’s nothing so attractive or inspiring as pure joy.

        These moments are the “jelly” of the Jelly Donut Factor.  They are the sweet stuff in life.  The jelly is concentrated happiness, absolute delight.  Call it the essence of the best, whimsical, passionate or joyful pieces inside all of us.  It is the adult equivalent to a baby’s belly laugh.  There’s something magical about it. 

         Please do not misunderstand me, I mentioned passions but the jelly does not have to be something grand or serious.  Sometimes the jelly is all about little things, even goofy things.  Kim lights up at any occasion involving tea: high tea, breakfast with a friend, whatever. Tea equals good.  I have a friend who has penchant for truly nice lingerie, really pretty lacy little things.  You’d think looking at her that she’d always buy the practical stuff.  Blah, where’s the fun in that?  Going shopping with her is a kick.  My friend Lisa becomes a different person the minute you get her anywhere near an ocean.  She becomes so happy.  I swear she sparkles.  I have another friend, Karen, who is a complete sucker for a really good beer-battered onion ring.  She’ll break any diet for those buggers and the pleasure that she takes in them is contagious.  For my husband it’s debating, well, that and fishing.  Nothing makes the man as happy as a good argument, especially if he’s winning.  I guess perfection would be Eric fishing and winning an argument while he was reeling in a twenty-inch trout.

        On the other hand, the more serious stuff can be jelly, too.  My friend Loree on Facebook has a passion for bettering the treatment of animals.  I had no idea until she began posting on the subject.  Her emotions came through with every word and were so heartfelt and sincere, total jelly, my friends.  I liked her even more after that.  My friend Miriam is at her best when she is helping people.  It can be anyone, anywhere: volunteering at school, taking a friend to lunch who’s having a rough day, hugging a child who’s skinned their knee.  Miriam glows when she is needed.  My neighbor, Manuel, always a sweet man, is ridiculously adorable when his two-year-old grandson is nearby.  Their relationship is so jelly I could cry.  It’s a pleasure to be with them.

        My point?  Not sure that I have one.  That is so un-me.  I always have a point.  This is sort of freeing.  No, I do have a point.  I like jelly!  I plan as I take my metaphorical bites out of life to enjoy the jelly, even wallow in it.  

         In case you are wondering, do I have any jelly in my donut? Gosh, I sure hope so.  If I had to guess I say would I am at my best with heavy metal music, running and certain people in my life, but honestly, I don’t know.  It’s hard to spot your own jelly.  It’s like laughing at your own jokes, really only someone else can say for sure when they’re good.

        P.S. Beware of the reverse of the Jelly Donut Factor, the Curdled Cream Effect.  These are people who have certain things that bring out the worst of themselves.  These would be the times when bullying, bigotry and road rage come out.  If you accidentally trigger the Curdled Cream Effect in someone stay calm, walk away and for goodness sakes find some jelly- STAT!

 

Kim informs me that she first heard of the Jelly Donut theory in one of the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich, but she thinks we definitely expanded on it.  In her words, “Life is better when you let the world see your jelly, even if you don’t know what the reaction of others will be.  If people don’t love you better for your weirdness, they aren’t worth being around. ”  Amen.

 

May you have much jelly, my friends.

 

 

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