Jess Hannah Rewrites The Narrative of Self

Jess Hannah Révész – fine jewelry designer & founder of J. Hannah – looks back on a year of self-growth, surprising joys & invaluable strengths gained while moving through a broken engagement.
Jess Hannah Rewrites The Narrative of Self

“I had been with my partner for nearly 9 years and engaged for two and a half when we broke up. His needs had changed and certain preferences came to light. In the moment there was a lot of shock — I walked through all the steps of grief. But when everything finally settled, I realized I wasn’t missing him or his love... rather I was mourning that the former, ‘safe’ narrative I was telling myself and others about my life had ended.” 

JESS IS WEARING THE BALC IN SALT

Jess is a jewelry designer and the founder of fine jewelry line J. Hannah and co-founder of Ceremony. Jess runs both her companies with confidence, creativity and a great sense of care – from the ethically sourced or recycled stones and metals she uses in each collection to the connections and strong relationships she fosters with her team and collaborators.

Last year, a separation from nearly a decade-long relationship prompted an abrupt realization for Jess: sometimes the relationships that seem the strongest can dissolve. And in those moments, there’s an invitation to question, evolve, and come back to yourself. 

“Despite the grief I was experiencing, I knew our relationship wasn’t a contract, but an agreement between two people in constant change. And while partnership is amazing when you are growing with another human, if one partner’s needs or desires change, the paths may diverge.”

JESS IS WEARING THE BALC IN SALT

“When I found myself solo after years of having my identity reinforced by someone else, growth for me required a process of re-learning who I was. This circle of questioning, letting go of old narratives, and coming out on the other side has been a year-long process and a notion I continue to hold close.” 

“At the time, the toll of the breakup took up the entirety of my emotional capacity – which sounds negative, but in retrospect allowed me to press pause on what I see now were unhealthy ways of addressing certain traumas in my life. 

“Once I moved through the breakup and found myself in a better space, I was able to reintroduce those triggers in a healthier way and with clearer boundaries. It was a moment to reset, to take myself out of years of emotional autopilot, and to come back with a more focused perspective on a part of my origin story that became a dysfunctional constant that I was normalizing.”

JESS IS WEARING THE BALC IN SALT

Marriage, for some, is the end goal. The most important day of your life, they say. While Jess navigated the sympathy of concerned friends, she began to realize that this was actually the most important opportunity she had ever been given: a chance to rebuild a relationship with herself, to reassess her boundaries and to grow the parts of herself that seemed fixed with a partner by her side. 

“My partner and I had both been very independent people, but— similar to going to a party with a friend—we always had each other to fall back on. A safety net. When you suddenly don’t have that anymore, you are forced to trust yourself, which is a learning process. After I had a huge part of my life taken away in an instant, I questioned everything I knew to be true. I began reintroducing myself to my life through a new lens of curiosity and critical thinking.”

“Sometimes It’s easier to anchor your ‘identity’ in your work, a hobby, or interests which act as a sort of social litmus test for the type of person you are based on the references you know, the clothes you wear, or the things you like – rather than looking inward.” 

JESS IS WEARING THE BALC IN SALT

“In the thick of it all, I found myself deeply questioning everything I thought I loved, wondering, ‘Did I ever actually like these things? Or was it just being reinforced to me that this is who I was?’ I craved being in a place where my interests belonged to me, regardless of others’ preconceived ideas. In hindsight, I understand this line of questioning and inability to focus on the things I loved was likely seen through a veil of depression.

“Although difficult, going through the process of getting to know myself on a deeper level turned out to be a gift. It also made me denounce some of the stories I was telling to myself, about myself. For example, for years I always characterized myself as being socially awkward, and my former partner validated that narrative. I often dissociated my physical form from my cognitive experience to avoid being in my body, which kept me from living in the present moment.” 

JESS IS WEARING THE BALC IN SALT

“This feeling took a while to shake but one thing that really helped me was getting back into dance. It’s something I did when I was younger but had given up because I thought I wasn’t perfect at it. When I dance, I get in touch with my physical self. I arrive at a state of being lost in the music; my body is moving, but my mind isn’t overanalyzing. Instead I’m focused on how it feels to move and not thinking about how my movement looks. In dance, I literally come back to myself. And while I still have my awkward moments, I realize... I’m now comfortable in my own skin.”

“When I look back at the last year through this specific lens, I continue to think about change. How there is no pre-set narrative for life, and that the confirmation biases and loops that we allow ourselves to slip into don’t have to be permanent. It’s never too late to rewrite the script.” 

Interview and Article by Molly Virostek. Photographed by Ira Chernova.

Tags: bodytalk , Womanhood

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