Stephanie asked each of us to write a blurb about what the topic of this auction meant to us specifically for our Auction Introduction and I have to say I felt a big resistance in sharing personally and deeply. In fact, writing this piece felt harder than any pieces I did for the auction. I didn't want to expose myself on social media. Anyway after much soul searching about the way I would share... I finally found my words and got to share them in a way that I felt safe doing so. I know all of us have deep and beautiful triumphant stories and many of us have survived really tough moments in our lives. I know I've been so touched by some of the stories shared. I hope a little glimpse of some of my own triumphs will connect with you too. Look forward to seeing you all at the auction next week. Officially opening on the 12th October.
The Triumphant Woman is something very close to my heart. As a mom to two teenager girls, raising them to be this during this time of their lives is something I care very deeply about...
After almost 40 years of being a 'good girl', I suffered burnout and a bit of depression. Seriously lacking identity, there was a slight victim mentality to the way I was living my life. I felt I wasn't living a life of choice but rather circumstance. I had spent a lifetime holding my tongue and giving my choices away to people who didn't quite deserve it or require it, inadvertently sacrificing life and purpose. It felt like the whole universe was holding it's breath and waiting for me to finally show up with enough courage to choose it. Forty years is a long time to hold your breath. I was miserable and had no hope of a future.
I remember a friend saying to me during this time, "choose life everyday". Although how do you make choices when you have no idea who you are or even what you like. Living your life one dimensionally makes making choices tough. Just before my 40th birthday I went to a seminar at my daughters' school about girls that bully. I understand this is a universal problem. I remember leaving cold in the realization and understanding that myself and my daughters were being bullied in an environment that had sharp edges. It was so passive yet at the same time so aggressive that at times it felt violent. We were constantly left feeling unravelled by the harshness, but couldn't really understand why. There is one thing allowing yourself to take the blows, but when they start to hit your girls... it's rather sobering. I was painfully aware that I had left myself and my girls unprotected and that almost killed me.
How do you raise girls to be kind, sensitive, gentle and loving and at the same time beautifully triumphant in a culture that, at times, isn't? I have spent the last five years actively pursuing this and I do believe it's completely possible.
It was a defining moment in my life and it was the catalyst of change that I believe has brought me to the place I am now. Choosing to be triumphant daily and choosing life daily has been the single most incredible gift I have given my girls and, in return, myself. I learned to embrace my introvertness and stop pushing against it. I chose to spend a few years withdrawing from the noise and toxic relationships, making daily choice to be quiet. Being selective and careful with my life has been imperative. Most of all, I spent time doing the work. Nothing is for nothing. Showing up for my own life was hard work but oh so worth it.
One of the other decisions I made during this time was to paint everyday and choose creativity daily. I've been doing that for the last five years now and I can say it has completely changed my life. I love painting soulful woman and The Triumphant woman often comes through on my canvases and I just love that. I honestly believe that we can survive the hardships life throws at us. We can come through Triumphant.
Much Love, Jeanne-Marie