Let me tell you a little about myself...
My life's work is to be a beacon of light, inspiring others to shine their lights more brightly. I am called to this work because I have struggled so much, trying to keep my own light shining. The only way I know to help others is to share my personal story of recovery from abuse as I work on my own healing.
This is my story. It is ugly and it is beautiful.
At age 10 I was molested by a teenage foster child my parents had taken in. He didn't stop at just violating me, he also made me believe I was pregnant and went around town telling everyone that I was a great lay. I became a social pariah at school, and was tormented by hateful catcalls from bullies who had heard about my so-called "reputation". Thankfully, I grew up before the digital age. I was able to switch to a new school where my reputation had not preceded me, and the torment ended. But the scars from my sexual abuse were etched into my body and mind.
I struggled with low self worth, depression, and suicidal thoughts. I felt broken, dirty, ugly and ashamed. But I was really good at hiding all this, so on the outside, even those closest to me never knew just how dark my internal landscape was. For most of my life I was silenced. Silenced by shame and by my fear of my own anger. I felt that no one wanted to hear the ugly truth that was my childhood, and so I suffered alone on the inside while keeping up appearances on the outside.
When my first son was born, I thought I was saved from my darkness. I had found a sense of purpose in my life that had been lacking, and with that purpose a bit of the darkness subsided. For the first time in forever, that little voice inside my head that tormented me gave me a break. Even though motherhood was incredibly hard, I felt a beautiful new freedom from that "Not enough" mantra that had embedded itself in my psyche. But the reprieve turned out to be only temporary. Over time the voice came back, and when my second son was born I spiraled into a brutal post-partum depression. My history of childhood abuse was severely triggered and I could no longer deny the darkeness that lived inside me.
As I had always done, I turned to the arts to heal myself. I wrote and sang and painted. And I started building community. For so long I had felt alone in my darkness. I needed to find others like me, so that we could help heal each other. I needed a place to talk about all the things I had spent a lifetime hiding from. I needed to tell my story over and over, until it became just that. Just a story. Not a prison. My story is no longer solitary confinement, but a bridge between myself and all the other survivors out there.
I hope that I can help someone else heal by sharing my journey. I have learned that through the arts we can transform our ugliest darkness into a beautiful beacon of light. That transformation is the greatest kind of alchemy I know.
So I sing songs about finding self love. I write books about the challenge to accept ourselves in a world determined to fit us into boxes. I talk about the long term impacts childhood abuse has had on me. And at my events, women come together in community to discover that their ugly is beautiful, and that their stories matter.
I am Joyelle Brandt. I am a singer, artist, writer and speaker. I help women and girls learn to love their bodies and own their stories, so that they can live more joyfully inside their own skin.
Here are some of my current projects:
Love Your Body Summit
An inspiring day of speakers, joyful movement, music, art, and self reflection designed to empower girls and women to love their bodies! Coming Feb 6, 2016
Trigger Points Anthology
We are collecting personal essays about healing from abuse while parenting. These stories of survivors who are breaking the cycle of abuse are powerful and inspirational. Tentative release date: November 2015
My electronica band, recently re-united after a 10 year break. We are so excited to be playing the Diversity Music Festival on July 24th, and will be announcing more dates later this year.
Princess Monsters from A to Z
My children's book, released Sept 2014.
For any girl who has ever felt like she does not fit in, this collection of monsters and misfits delivers a message of self love and acceptance of our individuality in a world trying to make us all the same.
I use art and music to transform the ugly into the beautiful.
If you would like to have me speak or perform at your event, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 778-888-1395