Discovering your Why?

Why do you start something?  When was the moment you stopped thinking about what you wanted to do and simply began doing it?

When I chose to start Girl Noticed, my “why” was very strong and I was very emotionally connected to it. It was so powerful for me that it was the very first thing I posted on the website. I thought if you, the viewer, could understand my why, then everything else would make sense. You’d get it.

Starting the new year many of us are attempting to start new things. Whether your project is an external one or an internal one, maybe about change, personal growth, authenticity, ask yourself your why. Know the message you want to send, the impact you want to have, what drives you to do what you do, why it matters.

Its been 3 years since I discovered my “why”. In those 3 years I have had days where I thought maybe I had taken Girl Noticed as far as I could take it. I’ve been discouraged in moments when I had 4 walls confirmed in 4 different states, and one by one they each fell through. I’ve gotten my hopes up when people of influence wanted to help, shared in my enthusiasm and passion, and we could just never seem to jump that last hurdle and make things happen.

My vision has grown and evolved over the past 3 years. I have new goals and new ideas.

When I loose my focus, when I get overwhelmed, when I have a bad day, I return to my why. It keeps me grounded. It reminds me that Girl Noticed although it was born from my experience, isn’t about me, its about the lives I touch, and what I leave behind.

As I begin 2018 I couldn’t be more excited about Girl Noticed and the possibilities of growth. I hope you’ll join me as we make this the most change provoking year yet, and if you see me get off track, just remind me of my why.

Have you figured out yours?


The Why

This is me, age 7. Fearless, jump from the highest step, climb the biggest tree, scraped knees, no one messes with me, 7 year old me.

I’m not exactly sure when it happened, but looking back I can understand why. Why this wide eyed hopeful, full of spirit and guts kid all of a sudden was afraid of everything. I suppose it was because the steps I used to jump from also led to the house where I never quite felt good enough. My accomplishments seemed insignificant and my dreams were dismissed. It happened when suddenly my changing body brought attention that was neither asked for nor wanted and left me feeling ashamed and small.

I was a lucky one, because although these things had held me back, making me doubt myself, finding myself in situations where I was influenced too easily in an attempt to find the acceptance I was so desperately seeking, my spirit never completely died. I was a lucky one because a handful of special people in my life recognized my thoughts and dreams and validated my ideas, and believed in me, so my hope stayed alive.

Not all girls are so lucky. Some will have their spirit and hope ripped from them at an early age, never to realize their full potential. Others it will happen later in life, maybe when they’ve reached an age where their bodies begin to change again and their value and self worth is dismissed now by a society and its demands on being young and perfect. A society that demands you look and act a specific way all at an attempt to fit into an impossible mold. They may never have the people in their life that took the time to notice, or they may not have the spirit and hope left to celebrate their 7 year old self.

I notice. I notice it in the eyes of every woman and girl I meet. I notice it in the lines that have formed around their mouths, or how high they hold their head. This is what I wish to express in my portraits. The strength, courage and tenacity in every girl and woman.

Why now? 

Because everyday a girl or woman is left unnoticed, is a day too long. 

Stop being so fixated on comfort.

Let’s face it, nothing about being a woman is comfortable. From puberty to menopause and all the pms in between. Uncomfortable.

Bras, heels, stockings… Uncomfortable
Honestly for most of us being in our own skin… Uncomfortable.

It’s no wonder we seek comfort in our lives and daily routines. But does that daily routine make you happy, or do you go through the motions everyday just accepting that’s the way it is?

Let’s talk about a different kind of comfort, the one we call our “comfort zone”. The one we hold on to with all our might and then proceed to complain how we don’t have what we want in our lives. The comfort zone that keeps us in dead end jobs and relationships. Keeps us in our proverbial rut.

Well, sorry to say but if you want things to be different for yourself then you’re going to have to get intentional about growth. Your going to have to leave that comfort zone behind.

We may have to deal with pms and menapouse as a fact of life, but so much more in our lives is up to us.

Is there something you’ve always wanted to try, always wanted to accomplish? Those “wish I could” moments are usually the result of us staying “comfortable and not exploring what’s outside that comfort zone.

Until 3 years ago, the idea of painting in front of people was terrifying to me. Alone in my studio, my comfort zone, that was just fine, but you couldn’t even sit in there with me while I paint, no less me set up an easel to entertain you so you could watch, or climb a wall to do a mural so you could see me possibly fail miserably. I could actually hear your voices in my head saying, “She doesn’t know what she’s doing”, “She’s really not that talented”. And why in the world at the age of 45 would I start doing things differently when it came to my art? I had been accepted as an artist and was doing well showing in galleries and around town. Why would I risk “looking bad”, when I was finally doing “it”. Being an artist.

Because I wanted more, because I had dreamed since I was a little kid about setting up an easel outside while music pulsed my veins and creating something, anything. I dreamt since I was a teenager of making a difference and sharing my work.

So, I did it. I accepted an invitation to paint with three other artists, live. Yes, in front of people. I was a nervous wreck and I was convinced my painting would be horrible and everyone would see me as a fraud. Instead I had fun, and created a piece I was actually proud of. What I took from that experience wasn’t that I had made a nice painting but that I did something that terrified me and I was ok. There was no reason for me not to be ok. Even if my painting wasn’t good. I showed up, and I did it. I would decide if I was ok, not the opinions of the people watching.

Isn’t that what typically holds us back? What we think other people will think? I’m starting to realize I’m not all that important to other people. They may have a fleeting opinion about me, but those who judge are too busy looking for the next person to judge to be worried about me and what I’m doing. Those that care about me will admire I took a chance and encourage me. I choose those people. Yes, I get to. I get to choose to surround myself with those people. And I get to make the decisions in my life that point me towards growth and acceptance. Acceptance of myself. Maybe then that skin I was talking about earlier will feel a little more comfortable.

Now I look for opportunities to paint live in front of people all the time, and it’s shaped my career as an artist. It’s one of the most fulfilling, spiritual things I do in my life. To think I may have never discovered that had I not been willing to get out of my own way.
What in your comfort zone holds you back? Who do you surround yourself with, critics or cheerleaders?

Take off your bra and let yourself get uncomfortable in the ways that matter.
Happy Monday.