Once upon a time... a journey of self-discovery with Jessica Brogan
Dear friends, I am still up to my knees in dust, plaster and paint as the Nest studio is taking shape!! We're almost done painting the walls, "white canvas" style for now... As promised, I am preparing a post to show you the progress of the project, but in the meantime, I have the great pleasure and honor of bringing you a new "Once upon a time" story... Those of you who are catching up and haven't read the first episode might be wondering what this is all about. Well, it started as an idea for a blog series/artist profile/art showcase project. But as I started receiving your beautiful art and words in my inbox, I soon realized it was much more than that. This project, this space, it is a place where we can share our stories, the ones that are so meaningful to us, that come from such a deep place within our hearts that we have let them flow through our fingers and turned them into art. Creative journeys that have helped us grow and that, hopefully, will inspire others to stretch their wings too...
Today you get to meet a beautiful soul, a passionate traveller and a dear friend of mine: Jessica Brogan. Her story is about coming home, a journey of self-discovery...
" Once upon a time, I stayed home with my baby boy Liam, attempting to be content as a stay-at-home mom. My marriage wasn't making me very happy, but I was trying to ignore it, focusing on the day-to-day needs of my little one. However, over those two years, I felt an ache growing inside of me, not all that different from the ache I felt to have a child. I felt something missing, and growing within me at the same time. One of the things that "no one tells you" is that sometimes, the most amazing addition to your life - the birth of a child - can force into the light any unhappinesses that you have so far been adept at ignoring. Indeed, this is what I experienced when I brought home my baby boy, Liam, although it did not happen right away. It took two years for this ache to grow into a roaring growl to rediscover my own identity.
Just before Liam turned two years old, my mom, Liam and I flew to the Hawaiian Island of Oahu. We traveled there with a specific intention: to bathe Liam in the ocean, at a specific beach, and say prayers to the spirits we believe in there. A baptism of sorts, echoing the ritual my mom had performed for me when I was that very age, while we lived on the island.
During the visit, I was flooded with memories of myself as a child there. I was also enchanted by the colors, scents and the abundance of inspiration. I realized that this was my home, in my soul, and that it was full of color and joy. Two things that I was missing gravely in my home life at home. And more importantly, I felt more like myself than I had in years. Full of recognition of my true self, desires and needs, all of which had been laying dormant for far too long.
When I got home from that trip, I wanted a way to hold on to the happiness I'd felt in Hawaii. I couldn't live there, so the next best thing would be to try and recreate the colors and images I'd absorbed. And so, I began to paint.
I say "paint," but now, looking back, I realize, I wasn't just painting, I was healing myself. I used colors that reminded me of joy. I chose things intuitively: scraps of calendars, vintage books and dried flowers picked from walks with Liam. The more I painted, the more of my own true self I uncovered, dusted off, and brought into the light.
And, correspondingly, my marriage deteriorated further. This may sound sad, but it's not. Painting gave me the window into my true self, and once I saw it, I could no longer ignore the things in my life that were making me unhappy. I called for an end to my marriage, and I continued to paint through every stressful moment, every brush stroke and color laid down encouraging and supporting my true self to come to life.
With this specific painting, I created intuitively, as usual but instead of being a random painting of color, it seemed to become a journal as I created it; almost a vision board of what made me, "me." I included a favorite photograph of myself, to honor the feeling that I recall having in that moment, in a small Spanish coastal town, feeling feminine and free, staring off into the blue Mediterranean.
I laid down all the colors that suggest warm, vibrant locales, which make me feel at home. There were nods to my love for travel sprinkled throughout, as well as scraps of text. One of my favorite exercises is to tear out text without looking at it, and then to find phrases once I've glued it down. The phrase I found in this piece was: "You are also yourself, wayfarer." I laughed outloud when I found it: of course! I am a mama, first and foremost, but I am also myself, a travel-loving, paint splattered woman on a journey, of spirit and in travel.