“Love is that condition in the human spirit so profound that it allows me to survive, and better than that, to thrive with passion, compassion, and style.” —Maya Angelou
Hi, my name is Jen Brastad. I am a 44 year old woman living near Seattle Washington with my husband and our 6 year old son. I have been a graphic designer for most of my career years but after the birth of my son I took some time away from the creative agency world to dedicate my time to being a new mother. I wanted to make sure he would never know the kind of pain I had known growing up.
Luck was not on my side when I was born to my mother and father. My mother abandoned me when I was a little girl and my father physically, emotionally and sexually abused me until I was 17 years old. Although he was brought to justice and served years in jail I was left with a ravaged childhood and few skills to deal with the challenges of adulthood.
It’s been an arduous and painful journey on the path to healing but with the help of therapy, I am growing stronger. Little by little, I'm able to loosen the restraints of my past that bound me tightly for so many years.
The hardest part has been fostering love and compassion for myself. They say you can't love anybody until you love yourself so I have determined that I would grow self-love, but it’s hard to keep it top of mind when the daily tasks of life sweep you away.
Not too long ago, with this challenge in the back of my mind, I was pondering what to do with a blank wall next to my bathroom mirror. In the past, I put affirmations on Post-it notes on the mirror, reminders for self-improvement goals. Perhaps I could create a permanent affirmation to hang on the wall next to the mirror, one that I could see everyday? Of course, the type should be backwards so I can read it forward in the mirror. Just then, the best word of all came to my mind: Beautiful.
I know I am not alone in my quest for self-love. You are here reading my story for some reason of your own. It doesn’t matter if your story is more or less traumatic than mine—we are all struggling to some degree to be our radiant selves.
Please join me in Our Beautiful Project and make it your own journey. Imagine how amazing it would be to have that inner love for yourself and the ability to not only recognize it in other women but to celebrate it. How powerful could that be? What amazing things could be done? The only limit would be our imagination.
Take care and live your life beautifully!