July 26, 2013

In which I am humbled and touched beyond words


Originally, I didn't have a post slatted for this gloriously warm last Friday of July, but then something happened that moved me to my core and which I wanted needed to blog about immediately, and so I'm doing just that right now.

I've had the great pleasure of knowing Lorena - a very talented artist from Brisbane, Australia - through both of her engaging, beautiful blogs (Balea Raitz Art and In Vogue One Day) for quite some time now, and we've long enjoyed swapping comments on each others sites.

Lorena had indicated before to me that she was interested in drawing me, and I'd happily said I would be honoured to have that happen anytime, but I didn't know that she was hard at work on a sketch this month, nor that she posted it on Balea Raitz Art until today. Imagine my double take inducing surprise when I visited her blog a few minutes ago was greeted with an illustrated image of myself.




This is the first time I've ever had anyone draw me as an adult, and I truly cannot begin to express the mixture of joy, appreciation, and amazement I'm feeling at the moment over the awesome image of me that Lorena so thoughtfully created (which is based on a photograph from this outfit post taken in the spring of 2012).

As I've touched on at various times here over the years (such as in this post), I have struggled with some really hefty self-esteem, self-confidence, and body image related issues over the years (which are not helped one iota by my battle with severe chronic health problems). Though I have gotten somewhat better in this regard, it took me a very long time - almost all of my life - to not look in the mirror and think that I was horrendously, hideously unattractive.

I am exceedingly well aware of the fact that I'm not, in most peoples' eyes, what one might call conventionally beautiful, and between all of these points, I honestly never imagined that anyone would look at me and choose to see me as a source of inspiration for their artwork - let alone want to draw an image depicting me.

At the age of 29 years old, I am incredibly humbled learn that I was wrong. Dead wrong. Someone found inspiration in me and created art with that. My goodness, I can think of nothing more touching or uplifting for my soul, spirit, and self-esteem.

Lorena's incredible piece exudes a sort of radiant beauty that I have honestly never seen in myself when I looked at my reflection, but which, clearly she was able to wisely see and transform into art.

The words "thank you" fail to do justice for gift of this incredible illustration, as well as for what, in one lightning fast instant, it taught me to see in myself. However, I will say them with as much conviction and sincerity as anyone has ever held before all the same: thank you deeply, dearly, and forever, Lorena.


103 comments:

  1. Dear Jessica, I am also so touched and amazed by this post. The painting of you is stunning and a fitting tribute to your wonderful style and presence. But more importantly, I appreciate you being candid about your self-esteem issues and am so happy that this lovely drawing gives you a more realistic view of how beautiful and inspiring you are, and have always been, to us. Thank you for sharing this and thank you to Lorena for creating such a classic portrait and enhancing the life of a dear friend. x

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes! You're dead wrong! It might seem cliche and trite or rather IT IS but everyone is beautiful. :) And that is amazing art. Really nice :) Have a great day!

    ReplyDelete
  3. It's a lovely picture as u know I'm growing older and I'm more comfortable dressing up at 35 then I was at 25 or 30 I also have more income 4 vintage clothes and better taste. U r a lovely girl and never forget it
    Kate the old fashioned way

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is amazing! How very sweet of Lorena to create this! It's just beautiful, and she DID have beautiful inspiration for it, really. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a wondeful surprise Jessica - I can only imagine how excited and happy this must have made you !
    It's a beautiful drawing of you she is quite an artist.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wow! What gorgeous artwork, she has captured your likeness perfectly!

    ReplyDelete
  7. There must be someone cutting onions nearby! I'm tearing up! What a sweet, lovely thing to happen. & thank you for linking to Lorena's sites -- I'm always looking for something new/fun to browse through on a lazy Friday afternoon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was all I could do not to tear up instantly, too. However, Tony was right here on the bed beside me, and as I wanted this illustration to be a surprise to him, too (when he saw my post), I couldn't do so without arousing suspicion. In fact, I had to keep covertly turning my screen away from him so that he didn't catch a sneak peek before the post was live. As soon as it was and he'd seen it, I let out a few happiness tears right away.

      ♥ Jessica

      Delete
  8. Beautiful drawing of a beautiful (inside and out) lady!

    ReplyDelete
  9. You are conventionally beautiful on the outside and incredibly beautiful on the inside!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so immensely much, my precious friend. So are you!

      ♥ Jessica

      Delete
    2. Those are exactly the words i was thinking, but... in greek and couldn't translate it better than Kathleen Lisson did!
      You are a lovely person Jessica, inside and outside, don't ever forget that!... And we all are inspired by you!

      Hugs from a faraway friend!

      Delete
  10. Gorgeous!

    ~ Kymberlee

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, my dear friend.

      ♥ Jessica

      Delete
  11. How beautiful! Lorena did a brilliant job, and you make a wonderful subject.

    ReplyDelete
  12. That is seriously the raddist thing ever. It looks exactly like you! Beautiful, creative and colorful. Total perfection.

    Thanks doll,
    The Glamorous Housewife

    ReplyDelete
  13. Wow, how amazing! I can only imagine how deeply wonderful you must feel seeing your own beauty without any of the self doubt included. Good for you and Lorena, what beautiful work!

    ReplyDelete
  14. That looks soo great! I wish I had such talent in drawing !

    ReplyDelete
  15. So sweet, what a lovely illustration. I still think we need "Jessica" paper dolls:)

    ReplyDelete
  16. what a beautiful picture! And you are beautiful :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. That is such a outstandingly beautiful drawing! I love it-it needs to be hung in your house. I love it-reminds me of 1940's sketches. She is so talented!!! What a special treat and I agree with Joanna here-Jessica paper dolls would be neat too! I want some! hehee xox

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, my dear Bunny. That's a great idea, I agree with you completely, I really need to hang this in my house. Until last year, I couldn't bring myself to have photos of myself displayed, but Tony took a lovely close-up portrait of me that he wanted to hang in his (home) office and I gave in to his requests to enlarge, frame and hang it. I think that seeing it day in and day out has helped me with some of the issues I discussed here, and am certain that hanging Lorena's beautiful illustration will do the exact same thing.

      I would super love to have a line of paper dolls - that would be be so fun! Who knows, maybe one day! (It would be so cool to have a big book or series with lots of us vintage bloggers!)

      ♥ Jessica

      Delete
  18. So beautiful! It is not surprising that you are an inspiration to us all. I'm returning to blogging life again and I will contact you tomorrow. Kisses, dear muse ...

    ReplyDelete
  19. What an incredible honour! The picture is absolutely gorgeous, and so are you, darling lady!

    ReplyDelete
  20. A gorgeous picture of a gorgeous woman!
    Such a wonderful and accurate depiction of you.
    xo

    ReplyDelete
  21. I knew it was you the moment I saw it. That IS what you look like to all of us! You are a beautiful woman with a wonderful retro vibe. You are unique and that is what is beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Oh my goodness what an absolutely stunning portrait! This picture captures your beauty so perfectly, just the way the artist has captured your gorgeous eyes is amazing :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thank you for sharing this lovely story, as lovely as you are!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you deeply, Terea, that really means a lot to me.

      ♥ Jessica

      *PS* I utterly and completely adore your shop. I've been swooning over many of your wonderful offerings for ages!

      Delete
  24. Dear Jessica,

    I am very happy that you like the illustration. Your blog post is wonderful and so unexpected. Your words are kind and touched me. I love to do custom illustrations and bringing Vintage Fashion on paper is what I love to do.

    I wish you a happy weekend! :)

    ReplyDelete
  25. Awesome! The picture is as beautiful as you are.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Jessica you will always be beautiful as you are beautiful on the inside. Even people who have never met you and only know you via your blog can tell that you are a genuinely gorgeous human being. How can somebody like you can ever be anything but stunningly beautiful?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, honey - I am honestly whisking away tears here. That is one of the most incredibly kind, beautiful things anyone has ever said to me.

      ♥ Jessica

      Delete
  27. Your friend did a truly excellent job. Gorgeous pic of you :-) I am quite surprised to read that you have issues in self-esteem cus you always appear brilliant and beautiful to me. Honest.

    Have a fabulous weekend! You ought to frame the pic in a vintage frame, please :-)

    ReplyDelete
  28. This is truly an awe inspiring moment! Not only just seeing such a beautiful painting, but also knowing the story behind it, cheers to two wonderful gals!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Replies
    1. Thank you very much, sweet gal! I love it with all my heart, too. I'm still in awe a day later of this incredible gift.

      ♥ Jessica

      Delete
  30. you are beautiful and don't you forget it! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you deeply, Sara. I know that this endlessly touching illustration will go a long way in helping me remember it from here on out.

      ♥ Jessica

      Delete
  31. Such a lovely and personal tribute, I can understand why you are so touched. Just gorgeous, like you. Hopefully it will help you remember the beauty we all see so easily xx

    ReplyDelete
  32. WOW! What a fantastic drawing, I can understand why you were so moved. What a treat.
    It is interesting how we perceive ourselves. You have struggled with image related issues, and yet to me, you are the epitome of stunning sophistication. I echo what others have said, I think you are an incredibly beautiful person, inside and out.

    ReplyDelete
  33. This so sweet. And what a beautiful illustration!

    ReplyDelete
  34. But dearest, you are beautiful! That is (also) why I love to read your blog, not only because of all your lovely and clever writing. I love to see you in photos and get inspired by you. You have this petite and perfect body and such a fine and feminine face, and you don't look like so many other vintage girls with bleeched hair and too many tattoos. And the art could finally show it to yourself. Please frame it and hang it where you will see it every day. You are beautiful both inside and on the outside - I mean it. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your sweet comment, and you're welcome. Remember that I truly meant it, I'm not just polite, dear. I will look forward to the photo of the Elvis shop. Have a lovely day.

      Delete
  35. What a stunning picture - captures your style and essence perfectly :)

    www.mancunianvintage.com

    ReplyDelete
  36. Oh Jessica, you really don't understand how beautiful you are. I know I haven't been active in reading any blogs or commenting on Facebook (due to being ill again) but I'm just starting to try and catch up now. I glad this was one of the first blogs that came up on my bloglovin so I could see this lovely picture.
    I can empathise with your lack of confidence in yourself, I too have had my fair share of woes regarding my looks.
    I'm so pleased that this wonderful picture of you has helped you to see yourself for what you truly are.
    Lisa x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sweet Lisa, I'm deeply sorry to hear that you've been having an extra rough go on the health front lately. Goodness do I know what that's like. Please know that I'm always here if you need anyone to talk to - or just vent to about anything.

      Thank you deeply, that really means a lot to me. Isn't it nuts how some of us are so tremendously, unjustifiably hard on ourselves and our appearances? I honestly believe that we are each beautiful in so many different ways, and wish that more people (myself very much included) would have an easier time seeing the beauty that we possess.

      ♥ Jessica

      Delete
  37. This is a lovely illustration! I can see where she got the inspiration from, you have a such a cool 'vintage' look. This is a perfect representation of that! I'm not even going to get into the whole 'beautiful' debate because I would be here for hours. And frankly, I really want to play candy crush. Just know you are beautiful.

    Have a wonderful weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Hi Jessica,
    First, I want to say how much I miss regular blogging (my own and everyone else's) and the beautiful blogging relationships that blossomed out of that. I really miss reading your blog.

    I love love love the drawing. It is a very accurate representation of you, and it expresses your beauty, uniqueness and the expression of deep thoughtfulness that comes through in your blog work.
    I'm so happy for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so tremendously much, dear Lisa, that truly means a lot to me. I am trying hard to learn to love my appearance more (a huge part of why I started posting outfit snaps of myself here last year, nearly three years after launching this site, was to help myself become more accepting of my appearance and its many flaws) and to embrace my uniqueness. Some days I'd love to have "cookie cutter" kind of beauty, but ultimately perhaps not helps me stand out all the more. If the Mona Lisa looked like your dime a dozen thin, super made--up Playboy blonde type of woman (which, granted, isn't how most women of her day looked in the slightest), would she still stand out in our minds so much hundreds of years after she was painted?

      ♥ Jessica

      Delete
  39. She captured your essence beautifully! This is a gorgeous portrait that reflect a gorgeous individual inside and out.

    ReplyDelete
  40. This is such a delicate thing to do, this drawing is amazing and gorgeous and I can easily understand why you're so touch by it...it's a beautiful gesture, really.
    And you look great! Very good resemblance! :-)
    Hope you are having a lovely weekend dear Jessica!
    Love
    Melodie
    http://sevenlivesandmore.blogspot.fr/

    ReplyDelete
  41. Oh how wonderfully lovely! It must be so touching! And what an exemplary job she did too. It captures the very essence of you; which is kind, thoughtful, compassionate and entirely beautiful.

    Have a wonderful day, Jessica!

    Abbi

    ReplyDelete
  42. Wow look at you. I knew this was you Jessica as soon as I saw the artwork. Gosh that is really something :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much, my dear friend. It truly is something, I agree. Well over a day after I first saw it, I'm humbled and moved to the bottom of my heart everytime I see it.

      ♥ Jessica

      Delete
  43. wooow that drawing of you is sooo brilliant! absolutely beautiful like you;)
    wish you a great weekend!
    kiss,mary

    ReplyDelete
  44. wow! it's a very good drawing!! and it looks just like you are BEAUTIFUL!!! not many pople has a drawing/painting from theirselves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excellent point, dear Lizzy, that hadn't occurred to me yesterday, but you're very right. I wish everyone could though - especially if they struggle with self-esteem/body image issues, too. Few are the times in my life when I felt so happy and at peace with my body as I did yesterday when I first saw Lorena's awesome illustration.

      ♥ Jessica

      Delete
  45. This is absolutely beautiful!! :D
    I am sad to hear that you do not think that you are 'conventionally pretty', you are absolutely beautiful!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you deeply, sweet Ash. I didn't mean to make you (or anyone else) sad. So many times over the years I've debated to talking about this subject (more than I have to date), but have refrained because I like to be positive as often as possible and publicly declaring that you think you're a million miles away from (physically) attractive certainly doesn't fall under that heading. I can promise you though that Lorena's incredible illustration and the outpouring of wonderfully thoughtful, beautiful comments that have followed have helped me feel more at peace with my perception of my appearance, and that is something worth feeling really happy about!

      ♥ Jessica

      Delete
    2. I'm glad that you are feeling better about yourself! :D You seriously are such a lovely and beautiful person, both on the inside and on the outside!

      Delete
  46. You are gorgeous and amazing!

    I realized long ago that I wasn't conventionally pretty, and I definitely wasn't normal (whatever "normal" is, anyway). I could either devote all of my efforts into trying to fit in, or just be myself and live my own life on my own terms. So, I spent my money on university tuition instead of a nose job and designer handbags.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excellently, wisely said, dear Kim. As much as I find fault with certain elements of my appearance and struggle with how I look, aside from fixing my teeth (they're really crooked and crowded) one day, if I have the means, I would most likely never have elective plastic surgery. I see the merit and would never judge someone else for doing so, but when all is said and done, I'd much rather just work on trying to make more peace with how I look and to save my money for other important areas of my life. I truly admire your outlook on this topic and am certain you are beautiful - be in conventionally or not - as well, dear lady.

      Many heartfelt thanks,
      ♥ Jessica

      Delete
  47. What a beautiful picture - of a beautiful lady, inside and out.

    x

    ReplyDelete
  48. Jessica, Jessica.... I can honestly say from the the first time I laid eyes on your blog and saw your pictures I thought right away you are an attractive woman, and as time goes on and I get to know you more through your blog and our comments to eachother- I have learned you are not just attractive but intelligent and beautiful inside and out. I never would have imagined you feeling so harshly about your appearance because it never crossed my mind to think you should, but having the same self image growing up and continual health problems myself... I understand all too well how we can hide those feelings from other people. I love her drawing of you, it's absolutely gorgeous! Very happy for you:)

    ReplyDelete
  49. Beautiful, beautiful work of such a beautiful, beautiful lady.

    You say you don't consider yourself a conventional beauty (to which I personally say beauty is in the eye of the beholder), but your such a beautiful person, inside, that it radiates outward. You could be nothing but beautiful in my eyes.

    ReplyDelete
  50. What a beautiful and touching portrait. The artist did an amazing job capturing your beauty and thoughtfulness. I always thought you were drop dead gorgeous, honey! :)

    ReplyDelete
  51. What an amazing gift! I can't put it into better words than you already posted. I'm very happy to read this touching story.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Jess, my dear, you are a stunningly, beautiful young woman, both inside and out, and this painting captures that beauty magnificently! Love it!!

    ReplyDelete
  53. WOW, what an amazing sketch - she has captured you perfectly. I bet your utterly thrilled with the picture.

    xox

    ReplyDelete
  54. Stunning! Both you and the talent of this lovely artist. What an honor!

    ReplyDelete
  55. What a wonderful honour. The picture is beautiful. There must be a disconnect between how we see ourselves and how others see us, as I have always thought you to be very pretty (with particularly lovely eyes and skin) and also have an enviable figure. I have often admired your photos, thinking "I wish I could wear something like that"! Good for you for absorbing the compliment and I hope you have many more!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That means a great deal to me, dear Philippa, thank you deeply. I really agree, I think that there is often a huge disconnect between how we see ourselves as how others view us (I don't, humbly, doubt the beauty of my outfits - it's my physical appearance that has troubled me my whole life). Many a time I've seen fellow bloggers express similar sentiments about their appearance, I feel like shaking them by the shoulders and saying "how can you not see how flippin' gorgeous you?!!!", but I would be a hypocrite if I did that, because I've struggled so much to see my own (external) attractiveness throughout my whole life, too.

      Thank you again from the bottom of my heart,
      ♥ Jessica

      Delete
  56. What a lovely lovely artwork!!! This is beautiful! As are you! :D

    ReplyDelete
  57. Absolutely stunning! A beautiful piece of art inspired by a beautiful woman. I absolutely love reading your blog and am greatly inspired by your honesty and beauty. It is refreshing to hear you recognize self esteem issues (don't we all have some) and how you are working to overcome them. I personally see beauty in all of your posts. Keep up the beautiful work!
    -Rebekka

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so very much, dear Rebekka, that means a great deal to me.

      ♥ Jessica

      Delete
  58. Absolutely stunning. Beautiful art inspired by a beautiful woman. Thank you for your honesty in all of your posts. Your internal beauty shines through your posts and your external beauty is captured in photos. You are always inspirational.
    -Rebekka

    ReplyDelete
  59. This post spoke so much to me. It's a great sketch and you are a beautiful person inside and out. As someone who struggles with chronic pain and disabilities, it's quite difficult to feel pretty when you don't feel well and totally don't look like anyone else. On the other hand, I know when I'm cleaned up and have nice clothes on, it makes me feel better. It must be at least a little bit related. It makes me think of the WWII women who dressed up so they and others felt better. So many of us think you are glamorous and beautiful, which is why we follow your blog.

    Best Wishes,
    Amanda

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so immensely much, dear Amanda. I think you really hit on something here that rings so true for me as well. Dressing up (ideally in vintage) makes me feel so much more pleased with how I look and imbues me with a certain kind of confidence that I usually lack if I'm not. There is so much to say for the important role that clothing (and make-up, a hairstyle you like, etc) has on one's self-esteem, confidence and even how they interact with other people when out and about. I'm going to reflect more on this topic, and may devote a post just to it one day, honey, thank you.

      ♥ Jessica

      Delete
  60. That looks lovely. She is really talented. You are beautiful and I can see why she wanted to draw a picture of you. xO

    ReplyDelete
  61. Absolutely beautiful--you, and your portrait. My mom used to say, "Pretty is as pretty does!" I think you qualify on that account as well!

    ReplyDelete
  62. The drawings is so lovely & it totally looks like you too! :)

    ReplyDelete
  63. How wonderful and so touching. And her piece is gorgeous! Not only does it really capture you, it's just so skillfully done. I love the colors. Congrats on such a flattering homage!

    ReplyDelete
  64. This is just so cool! I can't imagine having someone draw me and it is such a wonderful drawing too!! Stylized perfectly and you must have been just thrilled to stumble across it!
    -Jamie
    ChatterBlossom

    ReplyDelete
  65. Soooo beautiful Jessica! What a wonderful surprise! You must have been absolutely thrilled - and I agree with the other comments that this totally needs to be framed and hung up somewhere in your home!

    ReplyDelete
  66. Thank you so much for replying on my blog, this means a lot to me.

    I only just found you a week ago, but I am already in love with your fashion sense (not all vintage gals can pull that off nearly as well as you!) and deeply inspired by it.

    You deserve that drawing. Oh, and you got a reader in me.
    I also have to thank you for introducing me to Vintage & Cool knitting. I live in Germany, but I also hail from brazil (from the Amazon to be exact) and it is lovely to see such a talented brazilian in the vintage clothing scene. When I have money to buy clothes again around begin or mid-september (I am on a self imposed ban for now after my recent spendings), I certainly will get a twin set from her. I can't wait for that to happen.

    I hope you are having a lovely day,

    Uila

    ReplyDelete
  67. This is remarkable! She is a fantastic artist and what a truly lovely thing for her to do. Oh, I'm so happy for you!

    ReplyDelete
  68. Oh, I LOVE it! What a gorgeous, perfect, spot-on rendering of you. Gosh, Jessica, that's so amazing—what a lovely work!

    ReplyDelete
  69. What a fabulous image! It must be a real honour to be painted like this. I wish you a fabulous day dear Jessica!

    ReplyDelete
  70. This is so incredible! Seriously though, you are a muse to many people, for you are a beautiful person, inside & out! It thrills me to see such a smashing ode to your loveliness.

    xo Sara

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Sara honey, that is such an incredibly meaningful thing to be told. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You've put a smile on my face that I doubt will fade all week long.

      ♥ Jessica

      Delete
  71. Awesome. Love at first sight. The desire of being in a long romance, is all one needs. I am a writer and visualize writing as a body of Art. Something to be moulded into a beautiful form. The same can be said about this blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much. I read a quote recently that said anything that makes you happy is beautiful, which I completely agree with and also feel is true in reverse - beauty has such a knack at making one happy.

      ♥ Jessica

      Delete
  72. She captured you to a 'T' - all of your quiet beauty.

    What an amazing gift to be able to see yourself through someone else's eyes and have such a deep and wonderful moment of self realization. It's a stunning portrait. :)

    Lisa.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you deeply, dear Lisa. I really agree, she did a terrific job of capturing my likeness. I've long wondered what I might look like in illustrated form - and would I like what I saw if I did? A resounding yes is the answer in this case.

      ♥ Jessica

      Delete
  73. Such a beautiful portrait Jessica, she captures you so well. I can understand why she was drawn to paint you, too, you have a unique loveliness. I'm glad this portrait has helped you to see this in yourself.

    ReplyDelete
  74. What a fantastic surprise. Must have given you quite a shock - in a very good way! It is a marvellous drawing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It truly did! I think that often one tends to get hit with a higher percentage of undesirable surprises (the brakes are shot! emergency dental surgery! a tree fell on the roof! those kinds of things, for example) in life and when a wholly positive one like this comes along, it impacts you all the more because it delivers only good feelings.

      ♥ Jessica

      Delete
  75. How very true! I think you deserved it after your basement flooding, that defiantly counted as an undesirable surprise!

    ReplyDelete
  76. You radiate beauty from the inside and out. The drawing is stunning! <3

    ReplyDelete
  77. That's so very wonderful :3 I think the artist has definitely drawn you very well ^^

    ReplyDelete