I created the Reclaimed Hearts original art series in response to my letter, I Was a Promiscuous Teen: An Open Letter to All the Men from My Past, which has been clicked on in every country in the world, a total of over 210,000 times. I continue to hear from women all over the world who tell me I am telling their story and thank me for putting words to feelings that they have not been able to.
Each painting in Reclaimed Hearts are made of up torn paper hearts, reassembled back onto the canvas. Even though my heart has been broken, and lived in a broken state for many years, I still have the ability to put it back together and claim it for my own. It may have scars, but it is strong and beautiful.
The addition of whales, seagulls and pelicans represent the stages of my healing. Whales for the internal deep dive I had to do in order to face my past, my accountability and responsibility. Pelicans for the feeling of bliss that came with realizing that my heart could, indeed be mended as I grew and found freedom. Seagulls for the drifting that occurs after a period of growth and renewal, as we become comfortable in our skin, and await the next period of growth and uncomfortableness to arrive.
While A Lovely Mess was created as a stand alone series, I realized that it is really a sub-series of the Reclaimed Hearts. I created it to examine the change of perspective that occurred while diving deep into the emotional turmoil during and after the writing of my letter. I began to look for the light and beauty within and hidden by the darkness, which was a new concept for me.
This series explores the freedom that can be found in embracing and questioning our truth, rather than hiding from it, no matter how dark it may be. It focuses on the form of a heart, often tattered and torn, yet simultaneously creating beautiful patterns and atmospheres. None of us are free from heartache, but through adversity, we can learn, evolve and shine even brighter.
All of these paintings are a representation of the love, beauty and growth that can occur from understanding and accepting trauma and dark times of our lives. Every situation that has darkness and complications, also has beauty and light, and vice versa. They are two sides of the same coin.
This is a conversation between hope and pain that occurs when we are working our way through the dark, towards healing. The light is always there. It has always been there. Sometimes, we just may need the dark in order to see it.
Thank you for your emails, DMs and comments. You have all made me realize that I'm not alone and, sadly, that my story is not unique. Reclaimed Hearts, including the sub-series, A Lovely Mess, were originally a collection of seventy-two paintings each of which has paper hearts, ripped up and then reassembled onto the canvas to signify the power I've taken back and the self love that I have reclaimed.