Here to break the chains
Hello dear friend,
My name is Karin and I am the maker and designer of, briar de wolfe.
When I started this brand, it was to create a new, squeaky clean slate, in whatever aspect of my life that it could. I felt that if I could create a grand partition from my traumatic experiences, the new reality would stuff down all the darkness I have struggled against for many years. The fact is, this couldn't be further from the truth in how to move forward. You see, just like Newton's third law, to every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction. Some recent events has caused an undoing and unfurling in me. It gave me a deep understanding that these painful experiences that have caused my mother, sister and me so much turmoil, must be brought to the surface.
-the hard facts-
I am a survivor of domestic violence, as a Canadian-born Korean. If you understand asian culture, you’ll also understand why starting this blog is incredibly difficult to do. Speaking about domestic violence and mental health issues are extremely taboo. But what good is saving face for your family when it compromises your quality of life?
I have lived through and carried with me, a lot of direct and secondary trauma from physical and emotional abuse since childhood. I have an immense amount of secondary trauma from narcissistic abuse by "my father", through my mother. I am not completely out of the woods just yet. My mother, who is paralyzed by fear of the unknown, has chosen to stay in a toxic living circumstance. I am very close to my mother.
I have physically and emotionally moved away and around several times in the last 7 years. It has been extremely difficult to understand how to be there for her while navigating how to progress as an adult, as well as keeping a safe distance.
At the most impossible time where I considered taking my own life, I packed whatever I could and moved away. This developed a fight or flight response that would enable me to cut ties with friends at any given moment, as well as keep an inordinate amount of distance to avoid the development of meaningful bonds that might lead to future friendships. I moved away, moved back nearby, away again, nearby again, back in the house, and finally back out. It was an exhausting and confusing stretch of time.
Through a failing relationship from tragedy that I was wanting to salvage, I ended up flying back to Toronto in the spring of 2017 with very little money. The relationship failed regardless of my efforts, and it ended 2 days before my flight. I was basically kicked out, told I was unwelcome and to stop using my family issues as a crutch --More on this on a later entry-- . I was displaced and disoriented. I temporarily couch surfed and lived out of my suitcase with the only friend I knew I felt safe with and started over.
Rather than falling down yet another possible pit of despair and turmoil, I hustled. I was at the lowest place I had ever experienced and couldn't even afford another moment of grief over this. So, I had decided to have a brawl with life. I spent time keeping my head down, serving at a local hidden izakaya, ushering at a music performance hall and invigilated exams whenever possible. I felt that I was at the mercy of everyone if I didn't start providing a safe haven for myself. I walked everywhere, to save money where I could. I gave it everything I could, to get back up and start over..again.
-- Details bridging between 2017-2018 to be filled in another entry---
From the summer of 2018 up until 2019, I had been granted different opportunities to create custom rings and showcase old work that was never seen. Some of these clients and new friends might never come to know this, but these were a drip feed of merciful miracles. After leaving art school in 2013, I was so creatively stuck and lost from despair. I had sworn off creating jewelry and was inactive on instagram. I was considering pursuing sculpture during this time of hustle and had no desires to ever look back. Through these commissions and opportunities, I was slowly guided back to creating jewelry full swing.
Fast forward a couple of years to a world of COVID-19. I am nowhere close to where I imagined I would be. I now consider my life to be relatively stable and joyful, on many fronts, despite these uncertain times. Today, I am blessed to have this online business which is growing steady and strong. I am blessed to be surrounded by pillars of amazing individuals. The right people who are loving, generous and steadfast. I consider them my family and are precious to me. My focus at this time of my life is to thrive in my business endeavors, alongside my path to deep emotional healing. They are both just in beginning stages. The outcomes are endless and I am hopeful for the greatest ones possible.
-so now what-
This brand was a platform to only create jewelry and art that would be androgynous, edgy and different, with a fun spin on old conventions. I wanted to create things that can be enjoyed by the world as much as I have enjoyed creating them. As life would have it, God had other plans. I feel that with this seed of courage that has been planted in me, I have a responsibility to nurture it by sharing some difficult experiences and stories. Not just for me but also on behalf of my mother who has no idea there is a large percentage of other victims out there, just as paralyzed by their fear and unable to rise.
My sincerest hope is that it will give other victims some solidarity, comfort and hope for the future. I pray that not only will it give children of abuse some light into a brighter future but that it will also provide some insight to parents who are also lost within the fray. These violences strain precious relationships between people who should be fighting on the same side. I hope some parents and guardians can read this and understand what their children or loved ones could be going through. If you are reading this and you know anyone that might be able to relate to this, please forward this blog with them and let them know that they are not alone.
For victims like my mother, sister and me, please know there is so much more to be gained in life, outside of the toxic and heartbreaking cycle of living in abuse. Victims like us must be made aware that there is camaraderie that can be gained from being courageous enough to seek help. I hope that my mother can find this one day and understand that on the other side of this debilitating fear, we will find eachother and we will build each other up, to get the help we need, towards a peaceful and loving future.
Additional message: **During this time of COVID-19, there has been a significant rise in domestic violence and abuse. Where isolation is an effective strategy for everyone's safety, it is not the case for several victims. Please call 9-1-1 if you are feeling unsafe and please find a local shelter by any means necessary. It is important to look after your health and well being. I encourage all victims to be gentle and tender with yourselves in everything that you do, during this incredibly difficult time. You are more precious and worth far greater than you've been treated otherwise.
For your safety, please clear your browser.