So very few times do you meet someone or have a jaw-dropping experience like when I met Sarah Munsey. I had just checked into Fashion Destination Groups Orange Count Extravaganza when a good friend grabbed my attention and led me to check out the different performers, vendors and the all around gorgeous grounds at the St. Regis Monarch Beach.
As we made our way through the short vendor hall my friend stopped me in the presence of a young woman and introduced her immediately as someone I “had to meet” as I had to “hear her story!” And thus I made the acquaintance of one Ms. Sarah Munsey, creator of wired intricacies in the form of bracelets, charming necklaces and assorted rings. She pushed a card in my face and then the jaw dropping commenced.
“I am Wired for Freedom, and this is my story” For 13 years I battled self injury.”
As I read those opening lines I could feel my bottom teeth floating around on the floor below me. The creator of such beauty, such a beautiful young woman herself, was wrapped up in a life of self-deprecation? A life of pain and feelings of worthlessness. How does that happen? I was instantly drawn to her and her story and had to know more. I had connected to her pain, and to her art now and I wanted to share it with others.
I ended up introducing as many people as I could to Sarah that day. I felt like, if she could just put herself out there…naked in a way…people should be paying attention.
Not paying attention to just her story, but to her incredible passion and talent for what she creates. I had to interview her about this.
I asked Sarah for the interview and she was gracious enough to bare her soul to me, and in turn allow me to share it with you.
First, check out her work…
Follow her @wiredforfreedom …I’ll warn you, she’s new to Twitter!
If you want to order something email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
And now, may I present, WIRED FOR FREEDOM! These are her words, and her story.
LCF: Tell us your story, not from the marketing perspective (like your cool little card), but the emotional story behind your label. As much as you want to share.
SM: Wired for Freedom is more than a business, it’s my life… my story. For 13 years I battled self injury. Labeled the “good Christian girl,” it made it even harder for me to come out about it. I was raised in a loving home, however it was very strict and I was spanked a lot. In no way do I condemn spanking, children need to be disciplined, but I felt mine went a little too far sometimes. The punishment for my actions, didn’t always match the crime and in my mind, I was a “bad girl.”
Self injury, in my case was used for punishment and control. After my parents spanked me, I would go in my room and beat myself up harder, so that in some sick way I would feel in control. Thoughts of self hatred, suicide, rejection, constantly flooded my mind. I hated myself and every day I deserved to be punished for the mistake I was. I was living a lie… actually I was believing a lie because I was trapped. I literally looked myself in the mirror and screamed, “you ugly, worthless, piece of sh*t, no one loves you, you are a mistake, go kill yourself because no one cares.”
My family was fully aware of my behavior and even witnessed it but they didn’t understand or know how to help. They thought I was being dramatic, feeling sorry for myself, and bringing shame to my family. So I kept quiet.
When I was 20 I started going to a church with a bunch of recovering addicts and slowly realized I too had a vice I turned to instead of God. With everyone being so open about their struggles, I found the courage to do the same. After months of being open, I became a youth leader. One night at camp, I shared my story with one of the girls and my life was forever changed. For the first time in my 20 years of life, I met someone with the same struggle. I remember thinking, “wow my story finally has purpose! “ I knew God brought her in my life for a reason and soon discovered there are millions of girls who battle self injury.
I chose to start telling my story on purpose. No longer would I let this dark secret have power over me and keep me quiet. God began to heal me and my relationship with my parents, empowering me to use my story for a greater purpose. The more I shared it, the more young girls God brought in my life. But this wasn’t enough to make me stop. Often times it would trigger me and I almost gave in.
Many people ask me how I stopped; I didn’t seek counseling or go to rehab… it was 100% by the grace of God. He literally rescued me from the deep pit I was in, and healed me. One day I asked God why these girls don’t see how beautiful, valued, amazing, and loved they are. Then he whispered back, look in the mirror Sarah, how come you don’t see it either. WOW, I didn’t expect that. While it was hard to swallow, it was the truth. From there I made a change in my life, these girls were my mirror. How could I expect them to overcome it, if I hadn’t yet? I fully believe once I made that commitment and decided to change, God was ready to bless me with this amazing, incredible gift, I could have never imagined.
The creative aspect of Wired for Freedom started with learning how to crochet. I would sell my creations and use the money to get my youth girls to camp, but after the winter season was over I needed more. Soon after I ended up at another camp as a counselor for abused children, and there I discovered wire. I was hooked on it. I spent the whole week creating rings for all the little girls and my nick name became the “ring girl.” When I returned home I was determined to keep pursuing this wire art I created.
Naturally, I used myself as a model for my creations, and people began to ask about them. I felt valued that people wanted my art. But, I am a perfectionist, and many times I wanted to give up. It feels like yesterday I sat on the floor in Michaels crying, looking at the beautiful wire jewelry created in these books. I would never be this good. But after much encouragement from God and the people surrounding me I pushed through it. Every time I wanted to stop, an order would come in. I was then reminded of my freshman year at church camp. The pastor called me out of the back row, made me stand up, and told me one day I would be a wealthy entrepreneur. Of course I laughed and thought the man was crazy. But now, it seemed that God did keep his promise, even though it didn’t come into fruition till 7 years later. So I went for it, I knew that if God was on my side, it would be unstoppable.
My uncle and I came up with the name, Wired for Freedom and I began to tag all my creations with “wf”. The adventure continues today. I finally found my niche, my outlet to express myself. I create jewelry, share my story every day, and get to change the world just by being me. Through this, the once scared girl who wouldn’t dare tell her story to anyone, now shares it nearly every day. And more and more I meet people sharing the same struggle.
Wired for Freedom allows me to use my hands to create instead of destroy. No one wants to be trapped behind their struggle, but many are. I stand here today and tell you that we ALL are wired for freedom, and I hope you too find yours.
It has been an amazing journey and God has opened doors I didn’t think were possible. He’s turned my messy past, into a beautiful masterpiece… still in the making.
So I challenge you, whatever your secret is, that’s left you feeling ashamed, worthless, and trapped… stand up and walk into the light. Be free! Don’t allow yourself to be a prisoner to your own past any longer. Throw those chains off that have held you captive, because YOU, my friend, are WIRED FOR FREEDOM!
How does your creative process work? How do you start and finish projects?
My creative process always starts with prayer. Wire is very harsh on my hands so each morning I pray God would strengthen and protect them. I ask God to show me how to create each piece. Sometimes I don’t think I can pull them off, but I won’t give up.
Then I turn on worship music. Creating is an act of worship for me, and I use it to glorify God. After all, I wouldn’t be here if he hadn’t fought for my life. I start sketching on paper (which usually looks horrible, I can’t draw for anything). I draw different options and once I’m satisfied with the design on paper, I bring it to life using practice wire. This is where trial and error takes place, and also where God taught me a HUGE lesson. Being a perfectionist, messing up used to cripple me. But God showed me how to turn mess ups into a new collection, Beautiful Mess. Just like in life, our mistakes can turn into something beautiful later. So during that period I put all mess ups in a jar. Once I like the design, I begin the final piece.
Now, when I am creating a new piece that I imagined up it’s different. First of all, how I get the ideas, I have no other explanation, except God. I’ll be driving, sleeping, or watching TV and out of nowhere random pictures will pop in my mind! When I go to bring it to life, I somehow know what it’s going to look like and don’t really practice. Strange I know, and often times I get it the first time! I finish by snapping a photo, packaging, then shipping it out. And that’s how it all goes down in my creative space.
LCF: What can you offer that other designers can’t?
SM: I had to think about this question for awhile! Because other people could probably imitate what I do and every designer has their own story… but it’s not mine. I offer a part of me, Sarah, no one else can offer that.
I’m not going to sit here and try to compare myself to other designers, because I’ve compared myself to other people my whole life and it’s always left me feeling empty, confused and broken. If I started doing that, then I would come up with all the reasons I’m never going to be as good as them and the list goes on.
But seriously, Wired for Freedom is not just a business, it’s not just jewelry. It’s me, my story, my outlet of self expression. God put me in this world for a reason and at this time, not centuries ago, but now…to fulfill a role only I was chosen for. I like to think we are all tools in his huge tool box, and he hand-picks all of us for a special task. Wired for Freedom is mine.
LCF: What are some of your goals for Wired for Freedom?
SM: My goals for Wired for Freedom are just simply to keep growing and getting my story out there. I want to continue to inspire people to be free from their past and to speak up, so they too can help others.
In terms of actual business goals, I would like to start having jewelry parties in people’s homes. I did one over the holidays and it was a great experience. I shared my story, sold my jewelry and got to connect with others and hear their stories as well. I would want the host to pick a non-profit for a portion of the proceeds to go to.
A clothing line is also one of my goals. I designed tanks last summer, that had a collection of positive words I feel girls struggle embracing. They were called “Own It” tanks and were actually a big hit!
Another goal for Wired for Freedom is to grow my Etsy shop. Right now I’ve mainly sold through Facebook, stores, and even via email. A lot of people want me to open a store, but I think a virtual store is good enough!
Once I get too busy to handle orders on my own, I would like to hire young girls. I don’t ever want to mass produce because it takes away the uniqueness from it. The reason I would hire young girls, is because so many of them struggle with identity and I can help them find an outlet for expression by giving them something meaningful to do. Hopefully inspiring them to discover their own gifts and find freedom too!
LCF: If you could see a piece you designed on someone famous, what would it be and who would it be on?
SM: When I began this journey, the thought of a celebrity wearing my jewelry never crossed my mind. While it would be an amazing opportunity I wouldn’t turn down, it isn’t my ultimate goal. I would never “sell my soul” to become a big name designer, that’s not important to me. What’s more important is connecting with people through my story.
For me it’s not about getting my jewelry on a celeb, but more giving a piece to someone I feel I relate to. With that said, I would love to give Demi Lovato a key necklace with the word “free” or “strength”. She’s an amazing, beautiful, and strong young woman whose story has affected so many lives. While I was terrified to come out about my struggle to my own little world, she had the strength and courage to come out to the entire world. I guarantee that was one of the biggest risks she ever had to take and I have the utmost respect for her.
If God eventually blesses me with this opportunity, it wouldn’t be for her to flash around to fans, in hopes of my name getting out there. It would be something personal for her to have, like her tattoo, “Stay Strong,” and would be another constant reminder of the freedom she chose to step into.
LFC: This time next year where do you want to be?
SM: If someone were to tell me 2 years ago that this is what I would be doing, I would have thought they might be sippin’ a little too much on grandpa’s ol’ cough medicine! Well, actually someone did tell me 7 years ago, and I thought they were cray cray!
Seriously though, I never really knew what I should do or the direction I wanted for my life. But now that I’m here and know this is my calling, I trust God has it in his hands. He will take it wherever it’s destined to go; he’s already opened doors I never even imagined would open. I do however hope that by next year I’ll be financially stable enough to move out haha!
But for real. I want to accomplish financial goals in order to meet my personal needs, needs of my family, run a stable successful business, with enough financial increase to help others through donations. By next year, I see myself traveling domestically, selling my jewelry at events and speaking to teen girls about their worth, value, and individual significance. I want to inspire them to be released into a place of “freedom” to express who they are, through positive outlets.
It may sound cliché, but I want to be changing the world… one heart at a time.
Featured image courtesy of Sarah Munsey. Again, if you want to order something or share something with Sarah, email her at email@example.com. All I can say is thank you Sarah for allowing me to share your story and for allowing us to benefit from your creative gifts.