Our journeys have been different in many ways, but felt so familiar at the same time. We grew up together in a family of five, with our little brother, mom and dad. We always had a few of the same interests, like field hockey, playing mermaid in the pool and climbing trees. We had a lot of fun growing up and shared a lot.
After going to the same primary school, we went to different middle schools and grew in our own ways in that process. Flo had some difficulty in finding her way within herself. She found herself mostly drawing, talking or just not paying attention in class. Over the years, it became more and more difficult to be herself and felt more depressed while getting older.
After middle school, Jules started her studies in Aviation. She went to live in Amsterdam with some friends and found her way there. Flo did art therapy for a few months, where she mostly just focused on the painting part of the study. The end of 2017, Flo decided to stop the study. Physically, she was not feeling very well and found out in March of 2018 that she had cancer.
This diagnosis did not only turn Flo’s, but the entire family’s life upside down. We were brought together more closely and started communicating more about what was really going on. For Flo, this diagnosis also helped her to see how stuck she had been in feeling depressed. Through our mom, we were introduced to a whole other way of processing such challenges: to grow and change through, amongst others, meditation. Flo dove head-first into these tools and started this journey, letting go of the ideas she had about herself.
The whole family joined in this journey, each in their own way. We all saw how much of our mental and emotional well-being influenced our physical state. This was becoming very clear for mostly Flo after getting less and less affected by the side effects of therapies in the hospital. All of us faced many of the same fears in different ways and got challenges that caused us to grow a lot in a short time.
After 1,5 years of having cancer, in September of 2019, Flo heard she got healed. The same day, Jules heard she had Lyme’s disease. For her, this was a way of her body telling her how she had been giving so much of her energy to other people, especially in the process of Flo being sick. In the year that followed, Jules went into a similar process Flo went through. She learned to work together with her body, listening to it instead of fighting it.
Both of us found out how we loved expressing ourselves through art. Jules started writing to process the challenges she faced while being sick. Flo grew a lot in the way she was making, and relating to, art.
In November 2019, Flo gave Jules a notebook for her 21st birthday with a self-painted cover. The name of the notebook was ‘Dancing words’ and was the start of the book that we now call ‘Rocky roads’.
Read more about the book here.