Vikki is an Intuitive Artist, Writer and Speaker in Brighton who expertly weaves her personal experiences, creativity and natural spiritual gifts into a narrative of mental health advocacy, through the reimagining of the dissociated and fragmented self.
Owning her story, her journey & her arts process. Leading by example.
As the founder of Soul Sofa & Doodle Cafe and the curator of the Brighton Creativity & Wellbeing Week, Vikki is committed to the community & workplace wellbeing by providing opportunities to engage in and witness the arts, in order to help people nurture their relationship with themselves and the world they inhabit.
Encouraging you to explore & illustrate your own inner universe
As the Artist in the Audience, at conscious, self-development workshops and events, Vikki captures the transformative energy in the room and shares her intuitive wisdom to deepen the moment for participants.
Capturing magical, creative, moments in time.
Every strand of her work aims to plant the seed of proactive self-enquiry, building resilience through creativity and harnessing the possibility of self-acceptance and wellbeing through self-love.
‘The art is a sacred space between us where we may both step back and observe the fire and protect ourselves from the burn. When we sit with ourselves in the art we allow our inner landscapes to be revealed. The shapes, sounds, movements, images and voices that populate our private worlds are illustrated and brought to life. The intensity of their message is held safely and validated by the art.’
After decades of teaching holistically in schools using the power of theatre, Vikki is now emerging into the business space, openly and unashamedly claiming the identity of artist and wisdom gatherer.
The metaphor is the medicine.
Art Yourself Alive x
Small insights into grace and wisdom – finding the gold in the shadows.
Setting the Blueprint
As a truth whisperer it is always my intention to share the details of family dynamics within a context of love, compassion and understanding. I believe there is always love beneath the pathology of dysfunction, and though it may not have felt like that, and though it may have left a legacy on my body and mind that needed some delicate untangling, I have come to understand that the time for vengeance has passed and the time for acceptance and moving on has arrived.
A blueprint of fear, manipulation, pathological control, enforced loyalty, emotional blackmail, narcissistic personality disorder, suicide attempts and my role as a parent to my parents, taught me a lot about the fight/flight/freeze response. It primed my nervous system to expect danger, lies, betrayal and punishment. As a child I felt completely alone in an illusion of a perfect family. Love was conditional and my developmental potential for healthy relationships was damaged. The roots of Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Anxiety, Depression & Co-dependency were planted.
My potential for evolving my skills for maintaining a mask in the world was embraced and I learned that acting, dancing, singing, writing & drawing were all skills I excelled at. They made the family look good. I hid in the silences playing a role. Ironically, the creative roles saved my psyche from fully splitting. The roots of perfectionism, superficial connections & a need to be seen and heard were planted.
Throughout all of this I was well fed, clothed, schooled and had access to loads of after school activities. It’s a confusing place to be, knowing you are fully protected from the outside world, but not the inside one. It was half a picture.
The fragmented, dissociated self was born as a survival strategy. I learned to be safe out of body. I stored my memories in separate parts of myself. I learned it was not safe to be me.
Manifesting the Lessons
An early career as a model introduced my first life lesson about dependence on the external for some kind of validation. It was an empty experience, though I travelled a lot and loved that opportunity to view a world outside of my own. After several years I ran hungrily to a degree in Psychology. The inner work began.
A short career in acting served to illustrate my dependency on the approval of others and my addiction to situations where I would be rejected.
16 years as a teacher in schools feeling restricted, bullied & undervalued by the system (never the kids) was a perfect way of mirroring an internalised rebellion to authority. I stayed, it seemed, until I learned the lesson about needing to rebel. I created art and theatre within a structure that controlled me. It was a glimpse into a life pattern of disappearing into a creative bubble to survive the suffering. Law of attraction right there. As within, so without. I did not know how to live without being in opposition to external rules.
Relationship choices mirrored my family dynamic: Emotionally dysfunctional, The time for radical self-responsibility came when I walked out of education, in pieces, suffering with panic attacks & heart palpitations. I had nothing left to give. The mask had fallen.
Nurturing Skills of Self-Love
But let’s not assume I wasn’t doing all I thought I could to feel better. I’m sure you are doing what you can, with what you have, right now. Everything I did midwifed me to the point where I was able to take the next step and be willing to go very deep. Inner work is painful and you want to run away. I trained in Integrative Arts Psychotherapy at IATE, did yoga, made positive personal choices, learned about boundary setting, let go of toxic people and situations, went No Contact with family, allowed creativity, looked after my health, trained in reflexology and reiki and educated myself about trauma recovery and the nervous system.
Taking the Power Back
For the last 3 years I have been in active recovery from codependency and trauma. What do I mean by that? I mean I consciously chose to make my healing my first priority, above all situations, circumstances and other people. I’ve lived simply, chosen solitude, let go of friends, asked for help and held on tight to my curiosity about what might come next. My gratitude for living in a time where healing modalities can actually help is boundless. The work of Melanie Tonia Evans has been pivotal in my journey.
‘Without safety, all energy goes to defense‘ Torey L. Hayden
I learned that no amount of intellectualising, hoping, dreaming or great intentions would result in the consistent action needed to build a life for myself if I didn’t lovingly attend to my nervous system. If you’re scared of the world around you, if your freeze response is in control and if you have limited skills in relating to people (despite appearances) then how can you thrive? Never mind offer any kind of service to others. Being in business is an ongoing masterclass in self-development, it’s a good idea to get some missing foundations in place first. Melanie’s work has helped me do that.
In the last 2 years I’ve written a one-woman show about my fragmented personality, called ‘Voice’ and performed it in Brighton Fringe! I’ve spoken at Inspiring Talks Brighton twice & BelongCon, about the role of the arts in wellbeing, won funding for my business and a place on Entrepreneurial Sparks business mentoring scheme. I’ve tested out my precious Soul Sofa offering. I also made the conscious decision to live after exploring my own deeply personal relationship with suicide. I’ve shed the theatre persona. I’ve embraced the identity of Artist and my inner child is dancing in yellow wellies!
Sharing the Wisdom
And now I’m 50! Having chosen not to be a mother I didn’t know if I could walk the path of wise crone, but hell she’s here anyway. And she’s not afraid. Something beautiful about age. A shedding of expectations, a softening and a portal into inner wisdom. I feel I am a seed-planter. I feel fully connected to owning the parts of myself that have been held in darkness, in order to survive. I am embracing all of that shadow aspect of self. My Shadow Love Series of drawings is my commitment to full self-acceptance. I am filling my well and getting my pure message of hope clear. Finally I can walk my talk with an integrity I accept.
“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
A little girl with dreams, a will-o-the-wisp, who observes quietly from the corner of the room, until one day she believes in herself enough to make it safe for her real self to come out
If my journey resonates with you or my artwork allows you to see parts of your own journey then you are warmly invited to browse my shop for keepsakes to mark that moment of personal growth.
Through sharing our stories, we nurture each other out of the shadows
If you are ready to invite creativity into your life to support your own wellbeing then you are warmly invited to consider attending a Soul Sofa event or Doodle Cafe , or take advantage of the amazing practitioners taking part in Brighton Creativity & Wellbeing Week (June every year)
Sign up HERE to get all the event details as they’re released