HerStory: Sarah Jean.
Updated: Jul 25, 2020
Every woman has a story. Telling our story empowers us and inspires others. Taking time to hear another woman's story can introduce new ways of thinking, fresh ways of being, and oftentimes theses stories come to us as critical moments, right on time. I originally reached out to ask how this community can best support female musicians. Instead of replying with links for virtual tip jars and invitations to come hear her perform, she shared her story. Reading her words gave me a greater sense of the power of story and I realized how listening is often the best support we can offer one another in these times.
This is Sarah Jean's story.
Hi I'm Fiddlin Sarah Jean. I like turmeric and cream in my coffee. I enjoy poetry and thrifting. I collect depression era colored glass and my die hard pastime is soaking these bones in a natural hot springs.
Marcus Aurelius said, “Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” I tend to agree. He also said, “You shouldn’t give circumstances the power to rouse anger, for they don’t care at all.” In a world that presents itself increasingly difficult to thrive in, we endure a global pandemic, a racial revolution, and the explosion of the infamous cancel culture. While we buckle in for one hell of an election cycle, how can we support each other amidst what feels like eternal discord and chaos? I will tell you how. We take what we have learned and we move forward in love.
My Experience My name is Sarah Jean, my friends call me SJ. I am mother to a very zany two year old named Juniper. Born and raised in Spokane, Washington, I am the oldest of five, whom I had a large hand in raising. My parents were addicted to methamphetamine. If you don’t know, the drug basically renders you useless as a parent. I am happy to say that I have overcome obstacles my daughter will never have to face. In childhood, neglect, starvation, and even molestation made me highly aware of what it was to be a survivor. I now face a very different set of challenges, but with my toolbox, I am still surviving. Too often I find that my perspectives don’t fall in line with the popular ones. Perhaps this is because my personal experience has shaped me, and that personal experience is unique to me. If I’m not virtue signaling as hard as you are, it doesn’t mean there isn’t change happening. Internal progress is not always tangible. I was asked to shed light on how this community can support female musicians. As a woman who already feels valued, empowered, and supported by her community, I will share my perspective. This musical community saved me. It has made me who I unapologetically am today. I know we have a long way to go, and I want to help. This is my story. Sexualizing Females My high school counselor told me that, based on statistics, I would be addicted to meth and pregnant at 15. Sorry statistics, I had other plans. I left home when I was 16 and have been performing live ever since. You can find me on stage 3-4 nights a week with a number of different bands playing a variety of genres. When I look back at video footage of my first few shows, I can see that I was a far cry from the outgoing woman that I am today. I was shy and still grappling with survival mode, but being around musically minded individuals and feeling the love in a room full of people gave me confidence. It all but took away my childhood insecurities. In my previous life I was accustomed to feeling invisible, but when I stepped into the spotlight I finally felt seen. I loved it, I craved the attention. Until being seen reared its ugly head and left me feeling unheard.
Standing on a stage automatically puts you on the receiving end of many derogatory comments and judgements. You are out there and available for the public sphere to freely comment on. But for a female performer, it is infinitely more tedious than that. Your art will not only be criticized and critiqued, you will often be openly sexualized and objectified. Body shamed. Called a slut. You will have your ass grabbed. You will be brought drinks that are spiked. You will be stalked. You will be criticized for what you do, and you will be criticized for what you don’t do.
I embody a strong, passionate and motivated character. I have spent years crafting my skill, putting thought and creativity into my music and appearances. I do this to share my gif