Today we’d like to introduce you to Wendy Adamson.
Wendy, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
Growing up in affluent Santa Monica, we might have looked good on the outside, but behind closed doors, my family was riddled with secrets and lies. By the time I was seven years old my mother, a schizophrenic, had committed suicide while my father was drinking himself to death.
As an unhappy teenager, I started getting high and running away. I cycled through juvenile halls and foster homes until I aged out at eighteen.
In my twenties, my best thinking told me, in order to heal the deep-seated wounds of my childhood I needed to create my own family. So, I got married and had two beautiful boys. Sadly, my substance abuse continued until the early nineties when I broke up with my husband and ended up in the county jail. When I got released, I found myself homeless with nowhere to go. With my oldest son in juvenile hall, I took Rikki, the youngest to go live in a woman and children center on the westside.
Finally, sober, I was struck with a newfound clarity and started asking myself questions like; how could I change the trajectory of my family’s lineage from one of mental illness and addiction to one of healing and recovery?
Initially, I started to find my voice and purpose by going into some of the same juvenile halls that I had been in as a kid. As I talked to those girls, it felt almost like I was reaching back through a portal in time to recover the lost, scared little girl I had abandoned in myself years ago. As I stood there, telling my life story, I was flooded with emotions as memories were brought into the light. Afterward, I had a deep and profound realization that nothing, absolutely nothing in my life had to be wasted if I could use my experience as a tool to help someone else who is suffering.
After that, I took my story into prisons, jails until I found myself actually telling them from a stage. As I began to write short stories, I got them published and just recently I finished a book where I go into much greater detail of how a cheating husband, a loaded gun led to me getting arrested and the delicate reassembly it would require for a broken woman to be put back together again.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I used to think I had wasted a big chunk of my life, so, in an attempt to tip the cosmic scales back in my favor, I tried to pack in as much value to my life as I could. Luckily, I have a lot of energy so not only do I get up at four A.M to meditate, I write every single day. But what gives me a deep and profound satisfaction is working with my son’s nonprofit, Hav A Sole.
The seed for Hav A Sole was planted back when Rikki and I were living in that women and children’s shelter I told you about. I was on welfare and could barely make ends meet. I’ll never forget when this woman, Becky, who had gone through the shelter herself offered to buy Rikki new shoes because he had huge holes in the bottoms of the soles. At the time, I was not someone who would normally accept a handout but, leveled by circumstances, and the fact it was my son’s needs we were talking about, I relinquished my pride and said “yes.”
Becky ended up buying Rikki, two brand new pairs of shoes that same day. I will never forget her kindness and, as it turned out, neither did my son. But it would take another thirty years for that one act of kindness to ripple out and inspire Hav A Sole, an organization that in just four years, with the help of Nike, Finish Line Youth Foundation and Herbert Simon Youth Foundation we have given out more than 13,000 pairs of shoes to those in need.
The sterotype of a starving artist scares away many potentially talented artists from pursuing art – any advice or thoughts about how to deal with the financial concerns an aspiring artist might be concerned about?
It’s never too late to follow your dreams. Don’t believe that voice that tells you; you have nothing to stay. Your story matters and can touch somebody else’s life in the most profound way.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
Many of my articles have been published in the Huff Post, The Fix.com but what I’m really excited about is I just found a publisher for my memoir, Mother Load. So, be sure to watch for that because it could be out as early as May, if not before. To see what Hav A Sole is up to follow us on Instagram, Facebook or check out our website, havasole.com or if you’re so inclined, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Address: Wendy Adamson
- Website: Havasole.com
- Phone: 310-266-2524
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @havasole
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HavaSole/
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