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Jules2018-08-02T11:36:10+00:00

Project Description

About Jules

I am a first generation, queer, Latinx artist and designer currently living in Portland, Oregon. I grew up in Austin, Texas and I’ve been making art since I can remember. I am passionate about connecting and learning about people. One of my favorite vehicles to do this is through art. I believe it can be very cathartic and create a beautiful space to inspire and bring people together.

I feel infinitely grateful for my community who are all beautiful, talented and passionate individuals. This includes my friends, family, partner and mentors. I never stop learning from them and they always support me in my journey of becoming my most authentic self.

My Story

When I was fifteen my highschool boyfriend physically and emotionally abused and raped me. He was and still is a drug addict and alcoholic with an extremely addictive behavior. Filled with self hatred he used whatever he could to escape from himself. This included substance abuse, sleeping sometimes fifteen hours a day, projecting his insecurities into me, trying to control and escape into me. It started after he got sober because he couldn’t pop pills, drink or smoke the pain away. Addict behavior is to do anything for a fix, to escape from themselves, so he escaped into me.

He manipulated me, gaslit me and alienated me from my loved ones. When I didn’t obey him he would threaten to commit suicide and said it was because of me. He even sent me to the hospital with a bruised rib because he had thrown me across the room. I lied to my parents about it because I was so emotionally unwell and under his control.

I didn’t realize I had been raped until a year after our relationship ended because I was SO young and uneducated about sex and consent. In the end I almost got a restraining order against him. For years afterwards I dreamt that he had relapsed and broke into my house to kill me and hurt me.

My Healing Journey

The biggest gift I gave myself in my healing journey was leaving Texas and promising myself I never had to go back. When I got to Portland I felt such a sense of relief knowing he could never find me here. Next, I decided to stop blaming myself and practice boundary setting. Which is NOT an easy thing to do and I’m still working on it. Everytime I catch myself, self-blaming for what happened I close my eyes and imagine fifteen year old me standing front me. Face to face, I would never blame that child for what happened. I hug her and tell her everything will be okay and that you are so much stronger than you know.

Self love and self care has been the biggest healing tool for me. My mom taught me about it. I don’t mean buying a bathbomb #selfcare, that’s companies trying to make money off of my healing journey. I mean doing something harder than a quick trip to the store. When I get overwhelmed or someone asks something of me that I’m not excited to give, I pause and ask myself: “would you ask this of someone?”, “are you taking care of yourself?”, “is this relationship a one way, or two way street?” and most importantly “what do you need right now?”. By doing this it helps me surround myself only with people who support, love me and respect my boundaries.

I read a lot of books about dissecting gender, class and white supremacy. These were all factors weaved into my experience. My abuser was white, male, older than me and incredibly wealthy. Power dynamics are always present and I try to be aware of them at all times. It’s easy to be blind to how people use different types of power to control others.
I also created an ongoing interactive art experiment shortly after realizing the abuse that I had experienced. I screen printed tee shirts that said “Not Sorry”, wore them and gave them to friends of mine. The goal was to keep myself from saying sorry so much. Abusers make us feel like we shouldn’t exist, that we should be sorry.

As a queer, survivor and woman of color I found it uncomfortable to take up space, physically, emotionally or even allow my words or ideas to take space. While the men around me found it easy to take up space. It all boils down to us all respecting one another, having patience with ourselves and other and us all taking up an equal amount of space. That being said it was an interesting experience to apologize for taking up space in a grocery store while wearing a shirt that said “Not Sorry”. It definitely broke my habit of apologizing all the time.

Finally, I’ve accepted that this experience has shaped me, motivated me to try and help others, it has strengthened me and by healing from it I’ve learned so much about myself. The best advice someone gave me was “It doesn’t get easier, you just get stronger”. It’s so true. I have a close relationship with myself and it’s not always smooth sailing but I know I’ll always have my back. I know now how to surround myself with kind and loving people. Now, I have an amazing, loving and balanced relationship with my partner whom I live with.

“You’re such a bright light and you make everyone feel so loved. You deserve love too. So don’t stop trying.

To My Younger Self

My love,

Look at you, kicking ass and taking names. You’re killing it, don’t let anyone make you think you’re doing anything less. That’s just them projecting their insecurities onto you. Let yourself feel the anger, take up space and don’t be afraid to speak up. You’re going to make it through high school, you’re going to get out of Texas and you never going to have to look back. You’re nobody’s manic pixie dream girl, you’re a real person with real feelings and real emotions. You’re not a vessel in need of filling.

Wow, you’re smart as hell too. You’re completely capable of making good decisions. In time, you’ll meet a cute boy who is actually a real life man. He’s going to become your best friend and you’re going to learn that sex is about connection and an expression of love. The two of you are going to grow together and he’s going to teach you a lot.

You’re such a bright light and you make everyone feel so loved. You deserve love too. So don’t stop trying, I don’t blame you for what happened, keep making art, always be grateful, keep the good ones close and keep learning. One day, we’ll slash his tires.

I love you so much, you always got me QT pie.

Jules

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