I was 18 when I decided I wanted to get a tattoo – the words "I am" written on my right foot. I didn't know how to explain to my parents how important this tattoo was to me, or what it represented, through conversation. But I knew I had one shot to convince them. I felt the urge to start writing it down in essay-form. The words poured out of me – everything that I had been grappling with that summer – and when I was finished writing I titled the essay 'Joke Life.'
It would be a few more months before I began posting my writing online, and a few more years before that writing turned into a more serious passion. But that first essay was the starting point. It was the first time I understood how powerful writing is as a tool to convey your innermost thoughts. And it worked, my parents supported me getting the tattoo.
Today, Joke Life is an online journal. It is where I've pasted the many more essays that I've penned since that first one. It has lived through many forms and iterations. Recently, I looked back over the ten years of writing and realized that Joke Life evolves as I evolve. My 18 year-old-self is not the same self that is writing now, but it's all part of the story. Joke Life is now categorized into chapters – each one representing the age I was when I wrote the correlating stories.
These stories were inspired by the mundane and the amazing. The day-to-day pieces of life that all of the sudden become so powerful they knock you off your feet. These stories were inspired by the magical moments; the unexplainable synchronicities. These stories were inspired by those I love, and those that I have loved and lost. They were inspired by the other artists in the world unrelentingly chasing their dreams. These are stories that shine light on not just the good, funny, amazing pieces of life, but also on the hard things – the sad days, the lost loves, the tough times. These stories are small pieces of my real life.
Thank you for joining me on this journey,
Izzy Martens lives and writes in Washington, DC. She works as a facilitator and senior manager for a leadership consulting firm. She is currently writing a book about mindfulness in facilitation. Izzy is a 200 hour registered yoga teacher, teaching weekly yoga classes in the District. She also publishes a website devoted to the art and practice of yoga – Yoga Humans. Izzy studied Creative Nonfiction at Colorado State University, where she was the Managing Editor for the University's Literary Journal, The Greyrock Review. Izzy launched Joke Life in 2014. Izzy believes in the power of the written word, living mindfully, and the fundamental connection between all living things.