** Expert haver-of-fun and professional wedding crasher, Abigail is mostly known for always being on the dance floor and her stunning ability to pretend she knows about wine. When not totally consumed with selecting gorgeous lingerie pieces for the next Willow Layne collection, she's usually goofing off in some unpredictable manner or learning how to live like an Italian. Her dream is to live a slow, simple life. It's a work in progress. When not living and breathing lingerie she is also a life coach for entrepreneurs and is a dog mama to the adorable pup Fitzgerald Grant. She lives in Rome and loves every second of it. And every lick of gelato. Abigail is the Founder & Chief Extravagance Officer (CEO) of Willow Layne Lingerie.
I am not an artist.
I am not a dancer, a writer, a designer, or a pianist.
However, when I look back over some of the most transformational, healing moments in my life, they almost always involved one of these artistic passions.
Many people would, however, call me a dancer, and there was once a time when I did as well. I lived and breathed dance, and ended up dancing professionally for a short time before my body became overcome by injuries and burnout from pursuing one obsession so ruthlessly.
However, I do not view myself as a dancer… or as any other label related to the arts.
Back when I viewed myself as a “dancer,” my obsession with this label was all-consuming. Not so much that other people would recognize me as a dancer, but for the sole purpose of proving to myself that I was a dancer, an artist. I could only view my life in terms of me being that one thing, and I simply could not picture my life without me having that label of “dancer.” It was not just something I loved and found meaning through, it was who I was. And I was consumed by it. I am an artist.
Naturally, when I was injured, my world shattered. I lost not only a passion, but my “label,” my title that defined who I was. I was lost, and I had to do some serious soul-searching in order to dig deep and figure out who I really was, sans dancing.
I’ll spare you the details, and fast-forward to my life now. Not as an artist, but as a human who views art as something so much more sacred and necessary than merely a job description or a profession. One that you choose and then it causes you to abandon all other joys because you so relentlessly dedicate your life to this one thing.
Because art so deeply touches the soul, it can easily become all-consuming once it becomes a “label” or “career title,” instead of simply a passion and a lens through which you view the world. So now, I find joy in andthroughthe arts. Not exclusively in the labels I have associated with them.
I dance when I hear really good music that makes me happy. I dance when I hear a sad song that my soul just gets. I dance when there’s no music at all and all I have is the rhythm of my breath. I dance when I have my headphones in on the metro platform because I have ADHD and I hate standing still.
Sometimes, I sit down at the piano and play some songs from my childhood when I’m feeling nostalgic, or when I’m bored and I feel like doing some improv. When I want to just sit down and forget the world around me for a bit, and get lost in the music.
I write poetry when I’m sad, hurting, mad, angry, happy, bitter, joyful, in love, or just nonchalantly people watching on a park bench. Writing helped me cope with the pain I felt after being raped, and I think that my notebook saved me in ways that psychotropic medications never could. No, I’m not a writer… but I write to find myself a little more each and every day. The “self” that has been buried under piles of labels, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, multiple eating disorders, societal norms, messages from mass media, and all the years I told myself I wasn’t good enough.
Sometimes, when life just gets to be “too much” and I feel overwhelmed by stress and depressive symptoms from a hormone disorder, I lay on the floor and turn up the music as loud as it will go to feel the vibrations pulsing through my body. To remind myself that I can still feel, I am still alive. No matter what is happening in life, you have music that connects you with whatever you may be feeling. And you can feel that music pulsing through your veins. 1…2…3…4…1…2…3…4…
So now, I write. I dance. I take pictures. I design graphics for my company. I play piano. I dabble in painting (and by painting… I mean throwing paint on a huge canvas because it’s just so damn fun). I even build furniture sometimes when I can’t find a piece that’s quite what I’m looking for.
I’m also in the process of designing a line of sustainable lingerie for my company, Willow Layne Lingerie, and it’s absolutely terrifying because I have no experience in fashion design whatsoever. But I’m fine with that. I just piece fabrics together, find styles I like, and then add/combine them… stitching things up using my basic sewing skills and then I send it off to a pattern maker.
So, no, I’m definitely not a designer. But sure, I design. I create things. I have a vision in my head of how I want a piece to look, and then I go make it happen. But I will never be a “designer.” Because, to me, art is sacred. It is something I find healing, and emotional release in. I will never again let labeling and obsession overtake the joy I have found through my artistic passions.
I have found life through art, but I am not an artist.
Check out the wonderful Willow Layne Lingerie Boutique here! Also make sure to check out the Willow Layne Blog, Mentionables (like the opposite of unmentionables...get it?)! I had the honor of writing about shame and the shame games we play for Mentionables a few months ago!