Your mind can't be creative when it is in survival mode!!!



 In November 2021, I realized a lifelong dream by launching The House of DOTŁ’IZHI boutique in Iowa City. This venture had been a passion project since my early years. However, tragedy struck when my father succumbed to COVID on November 13, 2021. His passing left me with a profound legacy—the intricate art of beadwork and a deep connection to our cultural roots.

Amidst the sorrow, I found strength in utilizing my grief as a driving force. It became my mission to preserve traditions and breathe life into our cultural heritage. Even as the weight of loss lingered, I was determined not to let our customs fade away.

The challenges persisted, and on August 3, 2022, my world was further shattered when my brother fell victim to a brutal incident, enduring seven gunshot wounds to the chest and found dead in a car. The impact of this tragedy reverberated in ways I could never have imagined, testing my resilience and fortitude in ways I had never anticipated.

In October 2023, our family faced another devastating blow when my brother-in-law fell victim to a drunk driving accident and did not survive. The impact of this tragedy weighed heavily on my husband, resurfacing the emotions associated with the loss of my brother, creating a profound and painful echo of grief.

Over the past two years, I've found myself adrift, making regrettable decisions, placing trust in the wrong individuals, and often saying yes when I should have firmly said no. My creative spark, once vibrant, seemed to have extinguished, leaving me in a state of artistic inertia.

The question of how to bounce back from such profound loss and navigate the aftermath of personal and familial tragedies is undoubtedly complex. Finding the strength to create beautiful art amid the desire to escape the harsh reality is a formidable challenge. It's during these moments of despair that I hear my father's voice echoing in my head, reminding me of my identity as an Apache woman.

The guidance from my father's voice becomes a beacon, urging me to continue reconnect with my cultural roots, drawing strength from the resilience embedded in my heritage. Embracing my Apache identity becomes a source of inspiration, guiding me towards rediscovering my creativity and navigating a path toward healing. In the face of profound loss, it is often the echoes of our roots that help us find our way back to the essence of who we are and what we are capable of achieving.

In essence, your experiences, even the most painful ones, become integral to your narrative of strength, beauty, and worth. They shape the contours of your character and contribute to the unique tapestry of your life.

Beautiful Soul keep moving forward.

Alicia V.

1 comment

Sebastiana Freiburg

Your story is proof that your resilience is strong! Those you have lost during this time frame, your father, brother and brother in law, can make you feel numb and question why they are gone. Their passing is very hard at times, I know you would give anything to have them here, I feel that way too. Know that they are near you to guide you and give you that inspirational boost in your creativity when you need it the most, much like you said, hearing your father speak to you is definitely very spiritual and comforting. There are days I know you will question yourself on what you will design and make, you may even stumble or feel at a loss in that spark to create. Then like a lightning bolt striking, you get that positive energy flowing and your thoughts get clear and soon you are just going at your art at intense but meticulously and patiently pace to come to fruition! I hope that my words may help you as your designs are just absolutely beautiful, much like you and your family! They will always give you the strength to persevere when your not feeling up to par bcuz they LOVE YOU- ALWAYS!! Hugs to you and your family, losing loved ones is the hardest time in one’s life, I am truly sorry that this happened. You will always be blessed having a wonderful family there for you…

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