Dear Doreen,

Dear Doreen,

 The Letter & The Background

The Letter

Dear Doreen, 

You have no idea how much your words moved me the other weekend. I haven’t stopped thinking about them, and I still get a little emotional when I do.

I’m not used to hearing people say they’re proud of me for surviving. I’m not really used to hearing people say they’re proud of me at all. 

So watching your eyes fill with tears as you said you’re proud of me and you’ve been following my journey from the very beginning literally made my heart flutter. The gratitude and love I felt when you said that is something I’m not used to, but I’m still smiling from it, and it’s not something I’m going to forget any time soon.

To know that you’ve been following me for more than ten years, supporting me, encouraging me, and cheering me on in your own way… I don’t even know how to put it into words how much hearing that meant to me. 

I’ve struggled a lot this year with what I want my brand to be and what I want it to represent. The shame and harassment I get from other makers, peers, and complete strangers for sharing my story and not keeping things “strictly business” makes me second guess sharing “why” behind my art with the world. 

But your words the other day reminded me that there are people who are in my corner, and that there are people out there who can relate to my story - That I’m an example of someone who has survived some pretty tough shit, and that it is possible to live with c-PTSD - even when the bad days outnumber the good. 

I don’t share what I’ve gone through to generate pity or get attention. I share it because I know how incredibly terrifying and lonely it can be when you’ve been put through what I have - and I think about how different things could have been for me if I knew I had someone else out there who also went through it and survived. Because some days, survival seems like a punishment for the things I’ve had zero control over that have left a permanent impression on my soul. 

You reminded me that I do have a platform and a voice. A privilege that I shouldn’t take for granted, and one that I should use for good. 

And if my shenanigans, story or whatever else I post/write about makes things easier for even one other person who’s on the same path as me - then I need to keep to sharing my story through my art. I need to keep learning how to set boundaries and advocate for myself - so that I can advocate for others. 

I know I’m not the best version of myself yet, and I know I’ve got a lot of work to do still. 

But Doreen, your kindness and your words make me want to keep working towards that. 

So thank you so so so so much for taking some time out of your day to get my attention and say those things to me. 

They’re exactly what I needed to hear, and I’m so grateful for the courage you’ve given me. 

I hope to see you again soon, and I hope I can continue to make you proud. 

  • Rachael 


 The Background

A little more background: I was at a market the other weekend and was taking photos of items in my booth when a woman approached me and asked if she could borrow a minute of my time. 

She told me she wanted me to know that she’s proud of me for pushing through everything I’ve talked about on this page. 

That she was following me before I even started making jewelry and she’s loved watching me evolve and grow. That she’s felt for me during the tough and near impossible times. That she was proud of me and what I’ve built for myself. 

The part that got me was the fact that this complete stranger, to me, was getting tears of joy in their eyes when talking about me. I had no idea who this woman was, but she knew me. And she was proud of me. 

In a world where I feel so incredibly alone (hello mental illness, how nice of you to join the party), rejected, misunderstood and broken, that interaction was the breakthrough of sun in a storm-filled sky. The forgiving breeze in a hot humid day. A small, but impactful reminder that just because I do not get it from the “typical” sources, it doesn’t mean that I am not surrounded by love. 


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