I found Annie Herzig on instagram earlier this year when she was doing a 100 day project sharing sketches of what vulnerability is. Things like "Vulnerability is admitting you really need a hug" or "Vulnerability is Camping alone" or even better "Vulnerability is parallel parking in front of someone". I had a stroke of brilliance one night home alone with Kaleigh out at sea when I was deep in a puddle of tears that YES I am a badass, but YES it's okay to need people, to lean on friends, to hold your pets close, and even have a stuffed animal as a grown up. So we created the print Braver together that we are selling as a 5x7 postcard for this Women Led Wednesday.
1. What does vulnerability mean to you/What did you learn during your vulnerability project?
Annie: The project opened my eyes to just how much of our experience as humans is shared. I knew some people would connect with various examples, but I was overwhelmed by the response, and just how much people yearned to relate and connect. Stating that a simple thing such as being the odd one out in a group, for example, is entirely relatable and universal. Who hasn’t been there? I learned that we are all desperate for connection, and that vulnerability is the key to finding it.
2. What/who is/are your teddy bears?
Annie: My childhood teddy bears were two blankets I called Fred & Ed. I took them everywhere as a kid, and sadly left them behind as I moved into the too-cool teen years. I still have them at my parents’ house though and sleep with them when I’m there. My adult “teddy bears” would have to be my family. They are my comforts. My solace. And also a pillow that was my mom’s which I now sleep with clutched to my chest.
Gretchen: I carried around a blanket for way too long. I lost the second (smaller) iteration of it at a hotel in San Francisco at 13. But I vividly remember running my fingers along the stitch seams around the outside over and over again. Now I do the same thing with my pup Ella's ears and I constantly play with my wife's ears and I call my best friend my teddy bear. It's an army of things that keeps me grounded and striving for the next great adventure.
3. What do you want other women to take away from this?
Annie: My hope is that others will see this image and feel both inspired to embrace adventure, whether it’s in the outdoors or just life’s challenges, and also reassurance that while they are strong and empowered, they are not alone in needing comfort and connection. Life is so damn hard. In recent years I realized that the nature of our time here on earth involves facing grief after grief, again and again… It is how we move through it that will determine who we are. When we embrace vulnerability, connect with others and be kind to ourselves, we will not only survive, but we will thrive.
Gretchen: I almost need more constant support as an adult with anxiety and depression than I did as a kid and while it makes me vulnerable to share this I think it's important to know you are not alone and it's perfectly fine to need a hand to hold every once in a while. Or all the time. That's okay too. : )
We hope you want to share this print with all of your badass lady friends and designed a 5x7 postcard that is perfect for framing or sharing. Happy Women Led Wednesday from both of us!! XO G & A