I wanted to start my blog again because I missed writing, I missed the nostalgic craft of just writing things down and sharing them with others. One of the requests I received for what to write about was more about me which I found so strange because I feel like I talk about me all the time but I guess not to the point where I REALLY talk about me, not just who I am but what I do.
Hello, my name is Arielle Estoria Leda Wilburn, I was born and raised in the Bay Area into a big beautiful family filled with even bigger hearts and passion. I am the oldest of five kids, I have four amazing siblings who are my world and living far from them has been one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made. Their names are Mikaela, Aaliyah, Faythe and Zion each of them are brilliantly gifted in so many different ways, they’re also hilarious and some of my favorite humans. I grew up with parents who were known as “urban missionaries” where they did work within our communities with underprivileged youth and the homeless community, both of them have some of the biggest, most giving hearts I’ve ever known. They also both are phenomenal cooks who some of my friends to this day ask if I can bring home thanksgiving leftovers just so they could taste my dad’s smoked turkey and drool worthy Mac and cheese and my mom’s ability to make everything feel like a five course delicacy meal. We didn’t grow up rich or poor, we grew up blessed, there was always someone looking out for us to some capacity, I remember my mom always saying, “we live a life of mana (food from heaven) not too much, not too little and exactly when we need it.”
I grew up pretty insecure and it wasn’t because I didn’t have parents who reminded me how wonderful I was because they absolutely did but it was because my environment just made it pretty hard to fully feel like I fit in. I didn’t feel physically beautiful like all the other girls, I felt massive and grotesque and from what I remember I wasn’t the girl who all the guys had a crush on. This caused me to hide so much in my own body and with my voice, believe it or not I was pretty quiet, stayed a professional wallflower and never really danced at dances. I learned to embrace my body though first by embracing my voice and that was through stepping into the shoes of other people and sharing their stories through the art of acting.
I then graduated from a small charter arts high school in Oakland, CA where I studied the art of Theater, our schedules were education from 8am-12pm and then we had our various art emphasis from 1-4:30pm. I wrote plays and monologues, performed in straight plays and musicals and a part of me just unraveled in a whole new way. I felt like I could be fully me and that my beauty came from how I told stories on stage, that my beauty came from my gifting and not my exterior. I have always been a creative, I was always meant to be creative. I remember the moments and being told of the moments during family dinners about a time when I would create a persona I affectionately called, “Erika Wallace” who wore plastic heels and carried a toy microphone ready for her debut at any moment. And yet, I still associated those moments and creative habits with being just hobbies or extra cirriculars until I graduated college.
I came to Los Angeles to attend Azusa Pacific University where I studied Theater and Psychology. I thought I would pursue working with children and integrating art therapy into my practice with them, little did I know I would eventually be doing “art therapy” for more than just gifted children. After my first year of college where I cried almost everyday, ate cookie dough and watched reruns of psych because it was what my mom and sisters used to do and I was lonely and homesick, I ventured into leadership opportunities and I found new parts of myself all over again. Just like I knew I was a creative, I also know I was a leader, my mom would speak that over me often, setting the example as an older sibling but then also trailblazing my way through student government positions and leadership oppritunites, oh yeah it was in my blood. I found my community in those leadership positions, I found the people I still attend dinners and weddings for to this day, I also found the love and embracing for my body that I hadn’t had before (more about that later).
I graduated college thinking that my plan was to be a resident director and then God had other plans. I now say that I am professional human tornado, whirling people into a beautiful frenzy of emotions and divine experiences and some days its amazing and other days it’s really freaking hard and I just want a job that pays every two weeks with benefits but I have learned that I am not made for the practical, none of us really are. We were crafted with so much potential and light inside of us that the practical just would not give the right opportunity to shine on that potential and light. I have learned the art of articulating emotions, life experiences and heart whispers that don’t belong to me and I know that is a gift.
I recently attended a camp/ conference where there was a workshop on owning your why, my why is this:
I create because I was made to because I was created by the creator and mastermind of this universe and therefore have the ability to create. I remind people that they are valuable and loved because they are and because I know how hard that can be to remember that, so I have made it my job (literally) to make sure they remember.
I love hard and deep because i’ve never known shallow way of existing, I have collected the stories of strangers for so long that they turned into poems and quotes and love notes on social media and scattered on stages. Life right now looks very different than I would have imagined it to be but I wouldn’t trade not one moment of it. In my next blog I’ll talk a little more about the “brand” version of who I am and what I do but until then, here are some more random or maybe not so random facts about me:
*I love Breakfast Burritos and ice cream at any point of the day, even though I am a very aware and yet choosing to ignore lactose intolerant.
*I believe that coffee dates are pretty much always a good idea.
*I am dating a very handsome and kind human who I love dearly who also appreciates my love of coffee on a whole new level.
*I am a fan of only two condiments: Chick fil a sauce and Ranch with no MSG.
*My hands are usually always dry.
*I give great hugs.
*I love the beach because it reminds me that my problems are not as big as I give them the power to be and allows me to tune back into my voice and my heart again.
*I could talk about the enneagram for hours.
*I love super hero and villain movies and I think Heath Ledger as the joker was legendary. Rest in Peace brilliance.
*I will choose “A Walk to Remember” over ANY Nicholas sparks movie any day
*I want to be friends with Adele
*I have an album on Spotify and iTunes, take a listen or two and download!
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