WILD WMN SPOTLIGHT: NICOLE HENNESSY
In this WILD WMN spotlight we delve into Nicole Hennessy's authenticity, discussing the future, motherhood and what it means to be different. Nicole and I met via email, live on different sides of the country but connect over experimenting with form, hustling as mamas and empowering women. Read Nicole's beautiful work here or here and look out for exciting pieces in the future!
" Sometimes it feels like accepting a gift. I’ve heard the theory that there is art drifting all around and we are just grabbing what we can and getting it onto paper (or whatever medium). I remember reading a poem on this theme – about Michelangelo taking a hunk of marble and removing everything that wasn’t The David. "
Tell us about you (but the real you)? From a very young age, I’ve always known I was different. It was never a painful experience, but it’s always kind of been there. I remember feeling very aware of myself as a person when I was a child; and knowing that awareness wasn’t necessarily something a lot of kids my age experienced. I’m usually more comfortable around older people. I consider myself a good person and a loyal friend, but I am also more comfortable being a little more abrasive and embracing my rough edges than most. I’m also very hard to read, so I’m more likely to connect with people one-on-one rather than in large groups.
What is being a WILD WMN? I feel like being a WILD WMN is being honest with yourself and about who you are to the point where you risk public ridicule. To be as stripped down as possible. To make yourself do all the scary things; and then stand up stronger, using what could easily be weaknesses as strengths.
What are your favorite ways to explore your creative gifts? I love coming up with community groups, publications, characters, comedic skits – anything really – and then seeing where it goes. I don’t know if I could just write. Of course, that’s what has and will continue to save my life and what will probably be the largest part of my career, but I really am an ideas person.
What does writing feel like? Sometimes it feels like accepting a gift. I’ve heard the theory that there is art drifting all around and we are just grabbing what we can and getting it onto paper (or whatever medium). I remember reading a poem on this theme – about Michelangelo taking a hunk of marble and removing everything that wasn’t The David. I like the idea that art already exists; we just have to create it. Because sometimes, when a piece is really good and it comes out of nowhere, it can feel kind of scary if you think about it for very long. It’s also really beautiful.
What has being a mother taught you? I think it’s definitely made me more fearless. At the end of the day, all that really matters is family. So why bother doing things that don’t make you happy? I don’t want to be someone who pretends everyone has this luxury, but I really want to try my best to be someone my son is proud of. Through the baby years, I really couldn’t multitask. I kind of hibernated from life and just immersed myself fully in being a mother – something I could do because I worked from home. It brought me to absolute desperation at times, but really has been so powerful. I love him so much.
What are your greatest hopes for the future? This is hard to answer. I honestly trust my path, maybe to a point where I haven’t planned when I should have in the past. I hope to get to a place where I feel free and in control of every aspect of my work. For the past few years I’ve been saying that I have a lot of faith in the younger generation. We’re seeing that now politically, which is inspiring, but also concerning because of the fact that a bunch of adults are looking to these incredible children and young people to change the world. I just hope we remember to support and guide them. And I hope that we can finally all remember the importance of community, openness and taking care of one another, so we can create a better world.
Why are women so important and what message would you like to give women? We all carry so much pain with us, yet we’re so strong and able to handle way too much. A message? Probably just stop counting others’ successes as your failures. Cheer each other on more, even if you’re faking it. Hopefully it’ll be contagious.
What are your daily rituals or tools for empowerment? A lot of my self-empowerment comes from the knowledge of how much I have been through to get where I am. I don’t know if NPR and coffee is a ritual, but it is a comforting way to ease into these incredibly busy days.
How do you fuel your body and spirit? I really need a lot of aimless thinking time. My family makes fun of me because I constantly lock myself out of the house and stuff, but I really am in my head that much. Whether I am coming up with projects, editing something I’m working on or piecing together a poem, it’s rare that I’m not thinking –or worrying about typical life stuff, like all women. So I try to steal some alone time and wander a thrift store or just sit and do nothing as much as I can.
What are you letting go of in 2018? Asking for permission.
Where can we find you? Online/ in the real world etc ... I’m @nicohenness on Instagram. If you need me, I’ll be in Cleveland, romanticizing street poets, legends and old stories still wandering abandoned buildings and alleys in neighborhoods that’ll tell you secrets if you just listen.