GIRL CRUSH Philadelphia

by , posted on October 15th, 2012 in Creativity

On Saturday morning I woke up early and drove to Philadelphia for an art workshop and tea party run by Danielle Krysa aka The Jealous Curator and hosted by Shauna Alterio aka one half Something’s Hiding in Here. Both women are in-cred-ible. Truth.

It was one of those experiences that I’m pretty sure has changed me forever. I mean, you can’t really spend a day with genuinely supportive, creative and honest folks and walk away without some major imprint on your soul, now can you?

When I sat down to do this wrap up, I figured I’d post a few cute pictures and a short little write up. But then I thought, you know what? I’m going to pay this honest thing forward.

This year has been a remarkable journey for me. I have grown in ways I never imagined and this scares the crap out of me. I’ve always flown under the radar. My comfort zone is in never being known too well. I mean, yeah sure, I ‘put myself out there’ but not really. In the past I’ve held back. A lot. You see, I love feeling comfortable with not being too visible and yet, it’s the very thing that has choked me.

This year, there’s been an earthquake-sized shift in that regard. I’ve gone out of my way to be seen (by being more open here, attending conferences, Girl Crush, teaching classes and even starting a creative blogger meet up here in Baltimore).

When something goes well for me, I’m flooded with fear. Like truly, that fight or flight response. I panic. I, no joke, feel an overwhelming need to run and hide in the woods. People, I can’t tell you how grossed out I am by ticks and how much I fear wildlife. Wild creatures are unpredictable. One minute you’re having a nice little picnic, the next, a bear eats you. Or something like that.

So given my preference for shacking up with snakes, ticks, spiders and other forest dwellers that give me nightmares (FUNGI! ACK!) over being seen, I think you can see how much success freaks me the [expletive] out.

And yet, this year, I’ve kept moving forward. Maybe because the fear of failure or not doing what I’m driven to do scares me even more. Or maybe I’m driven by a compulsion I don’t quite understand.

But when I meet another woman who feels trapped or creatively unfulfilled, I see who I was not so many years ago. I want to take her (me) by the hand and say, I promise, you will get through this. It will scare you, you’ll feel pain, there may even be times you feel shattered. Actually, there will be many times where you feel shattered, but if you start putting one foot in front of the other, your journey will lead somewhere fascinating.

Taking that first step was a giant leap for me. And honestly, I’m still unsure what I’m doing most days. But there is one thing I do know, I’m going to keep stepping forward.

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10 Responses to “GIRL CRUSH Philadelphia”

  1. Sandra Says:

    October 15th, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    Yup. yup and yup. If you put yourself out there, then THEY have something to hang their hat on, to judge and to criticize. Especially if what it is you are doing doesn’t work out.

    Flying under the radar is safe. And comfortable. And easy. But then you never REALLY have any genuine connections with others cause they don’t know who you are. Speaking from experience – too many years of hiding my light under a bushel so that everyone ELSE feels comfortable.

    I have enjoyed seeing more of “you” here. And I’m excited to see where you go next!!!


    Jennifer Cooper Reply:

    Well, you have a good deal to do with it. The creativity chats over on your site were an amazing exercise in being open, honest and definitely not safe. Thank you!


  2. Caroline Says:

    October 15th, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    I needed to read this today. Thank you, Jen. I needed to hear these words.

    p.s. I am SO glad you had a good time. I was checking here because I was hoping you would write about it in all its glory and you did!!

    I also love what Sandra said. She is also always so wise.

    I wish I could have been there with all of you! But, the next best thing is hearing all about it from you!
    I still have so much to learn…but I’m learning in life with all its ups and downs that it’s never the wrong choice to embrace what you do well with open arms. It’s never, ever a mistake to own what is yours. Fear IS really the thing that always screws it up, right? –that is so true!



    Jennifer Cooper Reply:

    I have to admit, that night I had a breakdown. I cried like that full on ugly ‘I can’t breathe cause my nose is so stuffed up’ cry.

    It took me until the next morning to realize why. My jealousy thing was being jealous of “people who know what their thing is.” I’m terrible at knowing what it is that I do… I mean I know what I “try to do” but sometimes I think it gets lost in translation.

    So the next morning I stopped feeling sad and allowed myself to remember what you said about me and what my strength was. So thank you Caroline! You’ve helped me more than you know.


    Caroline Reply:

    Well, it’s easy to not be entirely certain what your “thing” is when you’re good at SO many things!! It’s easier to narrow down a talent when you only have–say–1 thing you can do! I’d say having a TON of talent is a good problem!

    I’m always having a crying breakdown but it’s normally at home alone while folding laundry and burning the lasagna in the oven. It honestly makes my day to know anything I could say would help. I always feel like I say the wrong thing. And I’m normally (true to my Sagittarius roots) the person in the room spilling mustard on my shirt and putting my foot in my mouth. ;)


  3. tammie Says:

    October 15th, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    I love this post so much. what a great reminder. glad you had fun and glad you’re being brave!


  4. Leslie Says:

    October 15th, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    Jen, I am so happy to get to know you better. You are an amazing women who seems like she can get anything done she sets her mind to. I don’t know how the next year is going to play out, but I hope that I can be here for you and help you figure this stuff out. I’m convinced that you know what you are good at, but it just doesn’t fit into a traditional role that is already well defined. You are making your own path, and your own career, and the unknown can be scary. It’s hard to not have a name for what you are doing, but trust yourself, trust that there is room for you in this big wide world of the internet and trust that it will envolve into what it is supposed to be. I am right there with you.


    Jennifer Cooper Reply:

    I may be a bit teary right now. Thank you Leslie! xo


  5. Sandra Says:

    October 15th, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    You SO nailed it. Being jealous of those who know what their “thing” is. That is so me too – I have so many interests and also lots of skills but not necessarily in a “box” that says a particular job or indicates a certain path. It’d be SOOOO much easier.

    We’ll all get “there” and boy will it be an amazing place!


  6. Deborah Says:

    October 16th, 2012 at 12:30 am

    Beautiful Jen! Truly beautiful. And so true I think for a lot of women. I totally am still in the “fly under the radar” part with a lot of people I know. I’m great with strangers getting all kinds of “me”, but I still hesitate to even post on FB when it comes to my blogging. It so much easier to just guide them to Classic Play when I have an art post than to my little world of me. But I think the fact that you still push yourself forward, as uncomfortable as it may be is so inspiring.


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