THE GARDENIA PROJECT
Our unique experiences are the source of our individual beauty. Sharing our
experiences strengthens us. We are stronger for understanding each other.
It has been my experience that being photographed is difficult for many women.
Regardless of profession, economic status or age, I often detect a sense of
emotional nakedness among my clients; that being photographed is a self-
indulgence that is somehow not deserved; that a woman feels she is not worthy
of being captured on film. That somehow, she is not…enough.
I designed The Gardenia Project to focus on the incredible beauty each woman
possesses. To share the truth that each of us has a story that is uniquely ours,
that has created the person we are today,
and that our stories – our experiences – are a bond that can offer each of us
strength. Let’s hold each other up through the realization that every story is an
amazing story, and deserves to be told.
If you are interested in being part of this project please feel follow the button below to The Gardenia Project Application. I would love to hear from you.
Thank you so much for listening and supporting this project! It’s a labor of love, and any contributions help to offset the cost of producing the podcast and the photo session.
We are excited to now offer advertising for your business on The Gardenia Project Podcast. If you would like me to tell the world about your fantastic unique business or offering please reach out. Your support will help fund the podcast and go out to hundreds of individual people who care about the same kinds of things you do. Win win!
Raves from Listeners
"A must listen! Jen Dean brings the storytelling magic typically reserved for her photography into the podcast realm...and the world is better for it. The women's stories are both unique and universal. A must listen." - Lizzie
"This is worth binge-listening. I downloaded all the episodes and before I knew it I had listened to all of them. These stories are engaging, educational and told with a spirit of hope, forgiveness, and a desire to help others. This show is amazing." - Jodi Flynn of Women Taking the Lead
"Usually we never hear the most intense, challenging, and remarkable parts of other women's lives. Listening to The Gardenia Project opens a special window into the extraordinary secret lives of some brave women. So often people appear to be fine on the outside while in reality they are dealing with some serious $h!t. Jen Dean has a wonderful way of drawing out these hidden stories and giving voice to the struggles and the triumphs her guests go through. This podcast is uplifting and a good shot of courage anytime we need to make our next bold move, to take on the world and/or battle our dragons." Jennifer Elizabeth Moore of Modern Medicine Lady
The theme of this podcast is, Belief. Right now in the United States we are a part of the #MeToo movement and just finished the Kavanaugh hearings. It is devastating for many many women to know that if they spoke up they would not be believed. While so many women have come forward to share their stories of sexual abuse and stand together there are still so many more that stay quiet. That live in fear lest they should be judged. Sarah was brave enough to speak up. I thank her for those of us that stay silent.
Sara was born in Calcutta, India and adopted at 6 weeks old by a family in Maine. That should have been the biggest change for her life, but it wasn't, by far. She faced alopecia as a child and then vitiligo too. Sara was super shy growing up and then found a way to deal with it. Recently she had a baby who also developed alopecia as well. All of these things taught Sara a lot. She shares her journey from India to America, sickness to health, and all sides of her personality with us along the way. Her story reminded me of that we all can learn from each other. Always.
Love this podcast? Want to buy me a cup of coffee...figuratively? You can support Stephanie (my producer) and I here on Patreon:
You can also advertise on the podcast now! Just head over here and send me a note!
Britt's story is truly unlike any I have told here before (or ever heard for that matter). It is one of an early teen life full of sadness that ends up with her being kidnapped. And then it spirals out from there. I won't say more, but this is an episode you won't want to miss. Because like all the rest of the woman who have shared their stories Britt's life now is a wonderful happy success story that she is proud of. Often though when we look back we are embarrassed or ashamed of our story. More often those emotions come from things that were outside our control, but we still blame ourselves. And that is one reason why I share these stories. So we know that we aren’t alone. That we all feel the same.
Suzanne tells the story of how early on she learned what she should look like. Teen magazine is not the place to get that advice, but when she was young and impressionable that is what she saw the world saying the standard should be. She then went on to deal with a lifetime of food addiction. Suzanne bravely shares a truth that most of her friends don't know the extent of. She realizes that she is tired of hiding the struggles that she has daily. We all benefit from the universal lesson to be learned in being more kind to ourselves.
his story from a dear friend of mine may be hard for any of you that have lost a child. As Kim shares the story of the loss of her baby Garrick, I want to make sure that you have that warning before listening since it is such a delicate subject matter for those of you that have experienced this loss. However, her story is one full of love and laughter. She talks about the things she learned from her son, Garrick. How he taught her to see all the beauty in life and be grateful for it every day. How the love from friends and family really does carry you through.
Happy International Women's Day 2018 my friends!! I am celebrating the amazing women in the world today by releasing another podcast telling the story of a strong woman!
Today's story is one of sudden trauma, how your life can change in a split second, and how the inner voice in your head can decide a lot about the way we heal. Your entire life is hugely effected and somewhat decided, I think, by your attitude. Sometimes we forget what a huge role that voice can play. This story is a reminder of how powerful it is to keep our inner voice a positive one!
We all learn different lessons in life and they come to us in numerous ways. Jesseca shares a lesson that she never dreamed that she would have to learn. It has taught her about love and acceptance of those that she loves in a whole new way. I respect her so much for the way she handled herself in the middle of watching her life fall apart. I also respect what she let that time in her life teach her about the world, accepting others, telling the truth, true love and kindness to ourselves. There are so many things that life will teach us if we choose to learn them.
Stefa's story shows that all of us have the capacity to endure things that we don't think we can live through. Not only that, but we can come out the other side of these repeated difficulties, that seem unbearable, to be a kinder more compassionate person. She is a beautiful example of just that.
Learning to cope with the anxiety our brain creates and how we can take back control is the subject of the this podcast. Bambi suffered from panic disorder and debilitating anxiety and learned how to control the panic before it escalated to a full blown attack. She is now a brain coach and helps people learn how to control their brain and anxiety.
As this story shows a lot of how things play out it life may depend on your heart. And your actions. And on the way you treat and respect others.
Listen to Michelle's story for proof of just that. I love a story with a happy ending. And I am so excited to share this uplifting story as the start to our second season of storytelling!
Nora's story is heart breaking and powerful. She suffered a huge loss as a teen and spiraled into darkness that wouldn't lift. It lead her to rock bottom. More than once. She hid her feelings and pretended she was fine for many years. She learned the hard way how hiding and stuffing sadness down doesn't work for her and what she needed to do to change the course of her life. She learned to live. It was a long hard road.
Kathy is just like you and me. Someone you might see in the line at the grocery store or meet in your networking group. She is married and has two kids and a runs a successful business. That's the stuff we all know about each other. The things that we share with people. What we let people see of us. Then there are the things that we don't share. Kathy decided that she wanted to get brave and share her story about dealing with depression and anxiety. She has dealt with both of those things her whole life.
One of the things that can strike at anytime is disease or illness. It can sneak up when you think everything is just fine. I am guilty of being afraid of this for my daughter for sure. So what happens when your child gets diagnosed with an illness that currently isn't curable? How do you deal with that pain, and then learn to cope with it every single day? That is Maura's story.
When I first heard Elizabeth's story my mouth hung open. Then I immediately teared up and cried as she kept talking. I remembered all the times I didn't stand up for myself. The times I can look back on when I knew I wanted to say something, but just didn't for all the reasons that we don't. And the ways that not speaking up didn't serve me or totally changed me.
Part of my goal for The Gardenia Project is to not only help women feel empowered by sharing their stories, but to shine a light on the realities of our lives that we are often too afraid or embarrassed to talk about publicly. I want to change the dialog. I think that by sharing our stories (however dark they may seem to us) they will loose their power over us. Things that are hidden remain big and scary. Things that are shared remind us of the ways we can connect to each other, that we are not alone.
I am always amazed by people who are so positive even after having really awful experiences. It would be so easy to take something that was so bad, for so long, and really let it turn you into a negative person. Always expecting the worst from life and people. Anna has clearly decided that will never be the case for her.
This morning I am supposed to be finishing up a presentation for my networking group. A group of people that I have known for over a year now. They aren't my closest friends, but a wonderful group of people that I know pretty well. And they all know me. They are kind and open, and I have presented my photography to them in the past several times. I realize I am terrified to present my new project to them. The one that I am so excited to be creating.