Girl Crush

Girl Crush Philly: Part Two by Leslie

On Tuesday I wrote Part One about Shauna's beautiful space and my girl crush on Danielle. Today I dive deeper into the exercises we did, specifically the jealousy map.

Girl Crush is more than girls crushing on each other. Before I went, I didn't really realise how in depth we were going to get about our goals and dreams. Yes, we had tea and cupcakes, but Danielle led us in three exercises adapted from The Artist's Way that were designed to get us comfortable sharing in the group, battle our inner critic, and recognise our greatest goals by identifying who we were jealous of.

Looking at who we are jealous of is an unconventional technique because we are taught that it is wrong to be jealous. We shouldn't envy our friends, or want to be something other than what we are, but the truth is that our brains do it ALL THE TIME. Instead of battling that feeling and letting our inner critic tell us we suck for being jealous, why not embrace that feeling, look at it honestly and figure out the WHY. Figuring out WHY we are jealous of someone can lead us to understand what we really should be focusing on in our lives.

Self-reflection is not easy and revealing who we are jealous of makes us feel vulnerable because we fear being judged. In the safety of the workshop it was still hard, but we all did it and supported each other with perspective, understanding and advice. First, we wrote down who we were jealous of, either a specific person, a type of person or a character trait. Then, we went back and tried to figure out WHY we were jealous of them. This is the part where the group discussion was very helpful because sometimes, the reasons we are jealous of someone are not obvious right away. Talking it out helped us to dig a little, find the truth and get to the heart of WHY. Once we figured out WHY, we thought of actionable steps that would help us fulfill that need or want or achieve our goal. Sounds easy right? It's kinda not.

I'm going to take deep breath and share who I am jealous of, to show you how this exercise worked for me. Don't judge, okay?

The one that I shared with the group was: I am jealous of in-crowds. Now, you might think it's because I want to be popular or to be seen, but you would be wrong. In-crowd might be the wrong term, but you know what I mean, right? It's a group of people who are already friends or have worked together before. I am jealous of them because of the support and opportunities that seem to come from being part of a group of people who are working together. It's hard to work alone, and to me, the in-crowd is this wonderful place to be, where you get hugs and jobs all day long. It's easy to look around and see cliques of people and want to be a part of one of those groups, but you can't apply to be a part of an in-crowd, they either include you, or they don't, and you have no control whatsoever about what other people do. So, here is what I have decided to do, I'm going to participate in and build my own community. I'm going to gather with those people around me who are doing what I do and I am going to hug them and support them and work with them. We all have our own communities if we just look around ourselves, like a local Mom's group, the local library or blogging friends who are attending the same events. Teaming up with the people who are already close to me is an excellent way to get support and opportunities.

After all three exercises I was totally exhausted and felt like I need to curl up and take a nap to process all the wonderful things that I heard, but we had one more task, art making! There were book covers, magazine clippings, stamps, pressed flowers, feathers and fantastic art supplies. We all got busy making art and tried to bring some of the insights we had during the day into our pieces. Sitting around the kitchen table, we had more discussions, and I wished that in the future I could conjure up this fantastic, creative table of women every time I needed them.

Thank you to everyone that attended Girl Crush Philly, especially Danielle and Shauna! You both did an amazing job inspiring us. Hope I can see you both again soon.

Check out Flickr to see the rest of my pictures from the day.

Girl Crush Philly: Part One by Leslie

Over the weekend, Jill and I drove down to Philly to attend Danielle Krysa's (The Jealous Curator) Girl Crush art workshop and tea party at Shauna Alterio's loft apartment/studio. Our friend Elizabeth, who we met at Camp Mighty last year, came with us and put us up in her guest room for two nights. (Her home and family are adorable.) We were also surprised to see Jennifer Cooper from Classic Play and Stevie Koerner of Tru.che (who we also met at Camp Mighty) there as well. Seven more incredible women rounded out the group and we spent the day getting to know each other, getting to know our inner critic (that devil that often whispers self-hate in our ear) and supporting each other through discussions about how to allow creativity into our lives as much as possible. 

Shauna and her husband Steve seem to live and breath creativity. Their blog Something's Hiding in Here and companies Forage Haberdashery and Seed House Stationaries represent the diverse range of things they like to make and every inch of their personal space is thoughtfully considered and decorated in a perfectly whimsical, modern and eclectic way. I felt like I was in an Anthropologie store before I even knew that Shauna had once worked for them designing displays and directing the visual language of all the stores. Everywhere I looked I was just in awe of beautiful objects, beautifully arranged. 

While the space was envy-worthy, what topped it was the people who filled the room. These women were incredible. Each one had an interesting background (videographer, chemical engineer, artist, curator, designer, writer) and really interesting ideas about where they wanted to take their lives. Shauna was the hostess and the center of much of the girl crushing, however I must admit that the reason that I was there was to crush on Danielle. There is something about her that I feel such a kinship towards. I'm sure half of it is that she is Canadian, but it's also her art school background, ad agency experience and her five year stay-at-home Mom stint before she realized if she didn't do something for herself again she might go crazy. All that is me too. I feel like I need to learn something from her. Yes, she was definitely my biggest crush of the day.

These gatherings of creative women are certainly something special. It's such a safe, nurturing environment and yet it's no cake walk. Vulnerabilities were revealed, feedback was given, we were all asking questions and trying to get at the root of blocks and issues that may be holding us back. It's hard work. It was exhausting. But it was amazing to witness and participate in. 

I have so much more to share about the insights that I had and the exercises we did to reveal them. Stay tuned for more soon. For now, you can check out the rest of my pictures on Flickr.

Update! Read PART TWO, in which I reveal who I am jealous of. (It might be you.)