Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy--the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light (Brené Brown).
Moving through, and continuing after, my divorce, I found the work of a sociologist and researcher by the name of Brené Brown. She researches shame and vulnerability and how our society, and especially women, deal with these very real, but often taboo, issues. I was in my mid-thirties and for whatever reason I missed the 'learn about yourself and love who you are boat'. I understood, fundamentally, who I was, but I wasn't fully living my life from that perspective. I was trapped in a marriage I fully agreed to participate in, a life that I thought I wanted, and some personal and professional relationships that actually did more harm than good for my growth and development. I needed to walk away to be able to find what I didn't know I needed.
I started looking inside - not blaming or shaming myself for where my life was - but just looking at it with compassion and understanding. With the support of a beautiful therapist, amazing friends and family, a lot of really difficult soul searching, and a shit load of reading, I was able to walk through a very difficult time in my life with what I felt was as much grace and gratitude as I could find.
Throughout the process, I had a creative space that I feel can be a real and healing place to work through difficult feelings and experiences. A place to explore the hard emotions and to heal the hurt I had caused, as well as deal with the pain I was feeling. For many this may be painting, drawing, knitting, quilting, writing, playing an instrument, designing cards - but whatever it is - creativity is at its root. Songwriting and music were that outlet for me, and the songs on Spark came out of the emotions I was working with in finding out who I was inside and out. The catalyst for this growth was my divorce. I don't know if I would have been able to be so raw, honest and wholehearted had I not moved through this time in my life.
While writing these songs, I was able to heal parts of me I thought I had lost. I could feel myself feeling stronger about who I was and what I believed. I was able to let go of so many ghosts - simply putting them down in some cases, 'because they were heavy.' Much like other people's songs and lyrics had helped me throughout my life, I hope that this collection of songs might help other people find their voices. Through this creative process, I was empowered to ask questions like: Is love a verb or is love a word you say? Can I let this go - just because it's heavy? Can I see the world differently? With more hope? More gratitude? Can I forgive myself and my ex husband for what we didn't know we needed to know to know what we needed to know? (that's a lot of knows isn't it?) Can I love my body again? Why am I choosing this prison? What can keep me from going off the edge and can I seek the help I need?
Within the creative process of writing and performing this music I found the courage to be vulnerable, and as I sit here writing this short piece, as difficult as it is to share these feelings with the complete unknown, I know it is worth letting go of the fear I have in sharing. For perhaps one of you will read this and start your own creative process of healing. Perhaps you will share your gift with others to help them heal. Perhaps through this passage on our journeys we can find the courage to show up, to walk into joy, and to allow ourselves the freedom to simply belong because we are ourselves.
"Find Your Joy and Let it Show"- Jen Chapin