empowerment and healing for women and girlsI’ve never told you this before…
 
The Self Esteem Through Art program started way before it formally “started”—a couple of decades before, actually. I brought a lot of old shit into my marriage—old ways of thinking, learned ways of moving through disagreements, patterns of hurting and being hurt—and one day during an argument, my husband looked at me and said “I don’t know how to be around you when you are like this. I don’t fight like you do and I don’t want to learn how.” Holy shit, that hurt. A lot. I was unknowingly wounding the person I loved most in the world and I knew I had to change my behavior.
 
The problem was, I didn’t really know how. How to fight different. How to resolve and move forward instead of taking all the old shit with me. How to show up for others lovingly, even in the midst of conflict. No one in my life had ever really modeled effective change or empowerment or self-care or boundaries or active listening or even empathy for me before, so I had to go it alone. In my family, differences of opinions = BAD! 
 
I started writing and turning to art and art journaling and scrapbooking as a way to move through all of the really painful shit that had accumulated in my head and in my heart. It was a slow and steady process and I made slow and steady progress. I learned a lot about myself and the world around me during this time. But, one of the most powerful things I learned was that art and writing helped to heal me, break old patterns, raise awareness, and transform my way of thinking, being, and reacting BECAUSE THERE WAS NO JUDGMENT! It was just me and the page and I was free to say and think whatever the fuck I wanted. I could finally honor ME and me alone! So simple, so difficult, and so profound.
 
Through all of this writing and connecting with myself I realized that, historically, when I spoke my truth, shared my feelings, expressed uncomfortable emotions, gave voice to my needs and dreams, or set boundaries, it was met with judgment, shame, or people twisting my own words around to fit their specific agenda. I constantly felt silenced, unheard, and largely unloved. That is why writing and artful introspection has always worked best for me. I don’t have to justify, quantify, and rationalize…I can just BE with whatever IS at the time. And, I never have to sugar-coat for fragile egos and ears.
 
Self Esteem Through Art was born, in part, from my process. And from my desire to help other people be the best version of themselves possible, no matter what life might throw in their path. Because my process works!! Because I know how valuable it can be to have a SAFE, JUDGMENT FREE SPACE to show up and do your work. You could choose to do the work alone—but you don’t have to. Programs like this didn’t exist when I started my journey, so I am creating what I most needed and never had.

. Healing, growth, and building resilience are so much more effective when you have a guide and a mirror. I didn’t have that, but I have learned so much in 20 years of doing the work, putting in the time, letting artful introspection be my guide, seeking out help in the form of classes and trainings, and shepherding others along in their journeys. I know the way to the other side, I will never be done growing and learning, and I can tell you from experience the view is amazing from here. My husband doesn’t shy away from disagreeing with me any more. I am modeling this behavior for my daughters, which will be hugely beneficial as they walk through life (how lucky are they to have access to tools and knowledge that eluded me until adulthood?). Why take 20 years unguided when a guide can get you there in a fraction of the time?

 
I am breaking old patterns that got passed down the line in my family. I don’t show up in the world the way I did 20 years ago, 10 years ago, 5 years ago, or even ONE year ago…and that is a really GOOD thing. My marriage is healthier than its ever been, my relationship with my daughters is solid and built on trust and respect, my relationship with myself is built on a stronger foundation, my business is thriving, I have found an ever-growing tribe of like-minded souls who want me to be the best I can be. I owe it all to my process and my practice and I share everything I know with my students, clients, and groups. Powerful medicine, this. <3
 
Good news: I’m going to be taking some programs online this fall. I know there are many of you who haven’t been able to participate due to demographics or schedule…and I am going to remove that roadblock for you. Stay tuned.
With love,
Jenn
#selfesteemthroughart #motivationalmondays #seeyouinthestudio #takingthisshowontheroad