Meet Caitlin Brown
My “SHE & I” series is an exploration of the beautiful intertwinement of Mother Nature and Feminine Energy. To further develop this study, I invited my talented friends to give a voice to each pair of paintings.
Each woman has some connection to Michigan and/or the Great Lakes. They either practice a creative profession or pursue creative expression in their free time, something I respect and resonate with on a deeply personal level.
I’m proud to know each of them and I’m excited to share with you both their words and unique stories.
My hope is that this series openly invites fresh voices and perspectives different from my own, and perhaps different from yours. You may read more about this project here.
Now, without further ado… Meet Caitlin Brown.
“GARDENIAS FOR CAITLIN” 16X12 // “RISING TIDE” 16X12 (available May 16th at 10 am CST)
Most moments of that afternoon on the coast of Spain are blurry to me now, but I do remember how unfathomable it felt to me that I was standing in front of the Mediterranean. I didn't grow up in a family that traveled abroad, and I never expected to sink my toes in the sand of a country that felt so far from mine. I knew I couldn't leave that day without letting the Sea drench my skin, and so off I went; toes first, knees, then waist, until my shoulders were covered with glistening water and my hair was soaked with salt. When I sprang back up from dipping my head back, I turned to the shore to see my husband dipping his foot in, wincing as he inched his way through the water. “You can do it!” I said, calling out across the sea. “Keep going!” He came as far as his waist and then turned back, shaking his head at the cold. I know it sounds crazy, but this is the moment I knew.
I slowly spun around, setting my gaze back to the horizon, closing my eyes to bottle this moment that made me feel so alive, so conscious, so weightless—like I could lay there and float away from every crushing truth: the marriage that I couldn't sync with my heart, the house and overgrown weeds and cars and 9-5 jobs that made me feel far from myself and lonely in my how hard I found all of it to manage.
Two months later, my husband and I separated. I moved from our Baltimore bungalow to a friends couch in Chicago for a new job, just before renting a room I found on Craigslist. In those first few weeks, I woke up with the sun and walked to Lake Michigan nearly every morning. I'd watch the lake flowing in and out of shore against the city skyline and inhale the August air, feeling both heavy with grief and weightless with possibility, just like that day in the Mediterranean.
A few months after my divorce was finalized and more than a year after we initially separated, I spoke to my therapist about dating again.
“The thing is,” I started, “I'm not afraid of getting hurt.”
“I can see that about you.” she responded.
I think about this moment often now, even though it felt anything but significant at the time. I've been told often that I'm “brave” for letting go of a relationship that was with me since I was 14-years-old, for leaving my job and security to travel the world on my own and start new. But the truth is, being brave requires you to be afraid first. Most of my “brave” endeavors haven't been accompanied by fear, but rather, an overwhelming curiosity, desperate need, or blind optimism. I'm prone to heartbreak but, mostly, unafraid of it. I've made messes that I don't anticipate or plan for, and I've never quite learned how to dip my toe in the water without coming out salt soaked and drenched in discomfort. I'd rather feel the shock of the cold than nothing at all. I don't always like this about myself, but I also wouldn't change it. Because when I settle into the ebbs and flows of my heart, and of the tide, I find that it pulls me home.
Caitlin Brown is a freelance travel and lifestyle writer, and former social media manager of TheEverygirl.com. She's a theater nerd and Ariana Grande enthusiast, exceptional parallel parker, Christmas fanatic, and considers long walks her church. Currently you can find her in Chicago, packing her bags for New Zealand.
Stay in touch:
Make sure to sign up for her newsletter where she sends snippets of her writing straight to your inbox! And if you love traveling, she just released an amazing Travel Resource guide sharing all her pro-tips for living and traveling abroad!
She & I:
I first found Caitlin a couple years ago through her writing in one of my favorite online publications: The Everygirl I had the chance to meet Caitlin several times when we were still living in Chicago and just adore her spirit. She is a gem of a human and best friends with another writer from this series - Kelly Etz!
Caitlin’s writing is something you don’t want to miss. Her words are vulnerable, eloquent, laugh-out-loud funny, relatable and thoughtful… often all at the same time! How does she do it?! I keep waiting for her to announce that her inevitable novel is being published. I’m already planning on gifting it to everyone I know for Christmas.
Thank you, Caitlin for contributing to this project!