Welcome to my newest series, This Is Me! To read other posts in this series, click here. If you want to be involved, please email me for more details! Today, learn more about Kira Rudjen, someone I connected with on Instagram who has helped inspire my creativity!
My friend Sarah had talked about Kira before, so I started following her on Instagram several months ago. She’s an artist who talks a lot about creativity and how to conquer creative blocks through self-care and patience. She always inspires me with her Instagram posts, and she also makes beautiful art, jewelry and more that you should definitely check out! Visit her website, Facebook group for healing around creativity, Facebook group for general connection and healing and kindness, Instagram, creativity coaching Facebook page or crystals and stones business Facebook page, and let her know you saw her post here!
This Is Me: Kira Rudjen
Share a little about yourself, your background and what you’re doing now.
Hey there! I’m Kira Rudjen and I live in NYC with my sister-cat (she’s 20! I’m 30!) and my husband. I help anxious and embarrassed millennials who used to feel creative unload their insecurities and kick down their walls so that they can CREATE (write/paint/draw etc) work that feels like who they are now rather than who they feel obligated to be. Instead of trying to force and push the expression, I help them work towards understanding and identifying the unprocessed trauma that’s showing up as creative constipation in order to really step into their full Self, free of the poop they forget they’re holding.
How did you discover your purpose, and what keeps you focused on and dedicated to it?
I graduated from university with a degree in painting and art history, but due to some shit I was completely unable to create. I couldn’t paint! And it was terrible! I felt so alone and so isolated, and it felt like no one around me really got it. Through research and therapy and tons of support what I found was that I was holding on to some shit that I’d forgotten about, and it was robbing me of freedom of expression – basically, I was allowing events in my past to stop me from living my life in the present. After coming to that realization I started making notes of what worked for me to gently move forward creatively. Instead of forcing myself to try and paint and then having panic attacks, I started researching different artists I liked and writing about why I liked them. Instead of beating myself up constantly because I was buying all the art supplies without painting a single thing, I started approaching painting sideways and with different ideas than I’d been shown in school. It was a really unique process and one that I’m proud to share with my members in my membership program, The Intentionally Creative Collective. I ended up starting a different business first (kirastinystudio) that allowed me the freedom to really explore creativity in a way I hadn’t previously, and it really shifted things for me.
One of the biggest issues I have with the creativity discussion is the idea that ‘creative people’ should just paint their feelings/write their feelings/write their trauma. It’s actually a fairly harmful idea, because what I discovered was that unbeknownst to me at the time I had a form of PTSD, and that by trying to force myself to exist in this space was causing me to really spiral into some bad habits. I couldn’t understand why my body would go in to fight or flight mode in front of a blank canvas, and the more I talked about it the more people who didn’t get it told me to try and paint my feelings – which furthered the cycle of self hate x100. Here’s the thing. I felt so alone, and I felt stupid.
But the moment I decided to stand up for myself and my journey and create a space for people who MUST have been out there feeling the same way – people came. People started speaking up. People who really understood REALLY understood. See, that’s what happens. We are told not to talk too much about stuff that’s bothering us so we forget that we aren’t alone, and that there are people out there who are going through the same things and they deserve community and love and kindness and a healing space.
So for me, my membership program is a dream come true. I can’t believe I get to help people with their unprocessed trauma and watch them get inspired and take action in their creativity. It’s pretty great.
Thinking about your life now, especially with the combination of intuition and art that you do, is it what you always imagined you’d be doing? Why or why not, and what have you learned because of that?
To be honest, due to the circumstances I’ve endured, I never really allowed myself to set goals, to dream, to think things like a dream job were even in the realm of possibility. So no, I never would have thought even 10 years ago that this would be what I’d get to work on every day. I never thought I’d get over the full body fear of painting and creating work, and now I paint too, so it’s quite the evolution.
I’ve learned that it’s okay to set goals and to have ideas, that even if you don’t make your goal or dream that having something to work towards isn’t an unsafe practice, and feeling disappointment doesn’t mean you did anything wrong. I think sensitive peeps can really shy away from disappointment, from themselves and from others, so moving past that and consciously trying to release that fear is something I’m so grateful I’m aware of now. I hope that makes sense, ha!
What’s something you desperately want other people to know or realize that may help them in their lives?
That no matter what they decide to do each day, that no matter what they feel like they’re supposed to do and they’re unable to, they do in fact deserve to be here. You were born, and that means you’ve earned the right to exist just as you are, no expectations and no obligations. You’ve already been given permission to exist.
When we encounter challenges in our lives, we can choose to run from them or to them. What have you learned from either of those ways of thinking in your own life?
I’ve learned that any decision you make when confronting a challenge has to come from a serious understanding of the Self first. You’re always going to be more powerful as a self aware and emotionally intelligent being than you would be if you didn’t constantly try to learn more about yourself. Regardless of the size of the challenge, if you can understand what your learning style is, what your comprehension style is, what your strengths are, what your community can fill in for you, how you feel about the things, all of that is just massively helpful and you’re pretty much able to walk through anything. I’d had a rough go at things early on, and I’ve never run from a conflict or a challenge. That being said, I wish I’d known more about what my strengths were and what my community could do for me in some instances. If I had asked for help earlier or if I had known maybe I wasn’t as skilled at something as I thought I was, maybe a few events would have ended differently, but I don’t have any regrets. No action of knowing the self will ever be useless. Get. To. Know. Your. Self. Always.
What do belonging and connection mean to you, and how do you incorporate that into your life and/or business?
Belonging and connection are what you make of it. As I’ve mentioned, I had a rough go as a young person, and so belonging was something I always sought and couldn’t find. That meant that I looked for connection literally anywhere – and hoarded it, even if it wasn’t the best kind. So now that I know that I have that tendency, I really try to be aware of how I truly feel about a situation, instead of just how my adrenaline makes me think I’m feeling. I can get pretty caught up in the energy of something, so I try to always ask myself those types of questions.
Belonging though, now that I’m an adult with a career, a business, a stable relationship, etc, it’s different and manyfold. The most precious gift you can give yourself is the trust that you belong here, on this planet, at this exact moment in time. It’s that confidence in your purpose (without obligation or expectation) that can really solidify your Being in time, especially if you struggle with anxiety/depression. So I think that’s quite important.
I find that what’s going on now in the millennial/gen x social media sphere is this massive burst of describing ourselves in widely understood ways, things like the Enneagram, zodiac, Human Design, etc – and my hunch is that all of this is coming forward now because we all struggle with feeling like we belong here, and if we do belong here, what our purpose is, and what if we DON’T have a purpose yet, and what if that means we don’t belong here? So we start oversharing our signs/meyersbriggstypes/etc to find out community and find out who we’re supposed to be/feel like/do. It’s an interesting phenomenon, and I’m watching it grow and shift. We assert our connection by defining and redefining ourselves in these tropes, while also maintaining that it must mean we belong to something. Again, it’s super interesting.
One of the things I’ve done to cultivate what I wanted out of the internet space was to create several facebook groups that speak to past-Kira’s feelings of isolation and aloneness. I wanted to create a space of community and healing and happy things (and understanding, and kindness, and connection) while also giving people space to distance themselves from what’s typically on social media, so the two free FB groups I have right now serve that purpose beautifully. I have one for just general healing and kindness, and then one more catered to those who struggle with creativity. I never want anyone to feel alone, and these spaces have helped people make lifelong friends and connections and I’m just honored AF to have played a small part in that.
How have self-care and self-love played a part in your journey so far?
Oh self care and self love, how important these things are. Let me just say this. It’s 2019, and we need to talk about the importance of masturbation and having a sexual connection with your Self.
Allowing yourself the autonomy to know what you like and how you like it is hugely empowering, and it can help alleviate so much anxiety-based thought processes around day to day things. If you’re constantly feeling like you have to perform a certain way in a work situation in order to get seen/noticed, etc. that can really put a damper on your Self-ness, and the more you stand firm in your Self identity, the less those situations can throw you. I know it seems like a leap but if everyone just had that self confidence to really know themselves and to give themselves the permission to KEEP getting to know themselves, we’d really stop living for others comfort and find solace and blooms in our own lives. Self love though, its a constant choice. And I think that’s what people struggle with. They journal once or twice and wonder why things don’t feel different, why things aren’t going the way they thought.
It takes practice, to constantly choose yourself over the comfort of others – but like any good skill – the more you practice the better you’ll get at it, and when you’re frustrated about how things are going you’ll have the self awareness to know how to get through it.
As far as self care goes though, it’s never going to be one size fits all. It just isn’t. I’m a fairly headstrong pile of emotional squish that has severe auditory comprehension issues and a lot of pent up rage. So the phrase ‘good vibes only’ isn’t going to work for me. What does work for me is crystals in my house, having something tangible I can hold in my hand when my inside thoughts are louder than I’d like. It’s not helpful for me to light candles and take a bath, but it is helpful for me to watch youtube videos of musicians living their best lives and playing music they’re passionate about (it always cheers me up). So I think it’s an important thing, again, to get to know what really does work for you and allow yourself the permission to say ‘actually, this doesn’t work for me, and that’s okay’.
So basically, everything gets better the more you get to know yourself, in all the different ways that you can.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I just want people to know that even if what they’re carrying seems like the heaviest thing in the world, they’re not alone, their struggles are heavy and important and seen. And that it does get better. They’ve gone through some seriously awful things, but they’ve survived and that means that they’re indestructible. There is so much power in knowing your Self, and it’s a lovely thing to be able to help people do that.
Photo courtesy of Kira Rudjen