Jessica WheelerCreative Assistant - Darstar Carpentry
Jessica's Story :
When I was a kid, I loved climbing to the very top of trees and swaying in the wind. Swinging as high as possible on the tallest swings at school. Taking a baseball bat and hitting the ball as far as possible out into the field. Putting on headphones and getting lost in music for hours while painting or sketching abstract pieces. These were places where I felt free.
In the rest of my life, I felt constricted and unable to really move. I grew up in an unstable home with 2 younger siblings that I was often required to care for. The only positive attention that I felt mattered came from academic success. I was naturally gifted in what it took to do well in school, and I am fortunate that I can quickly learn any subject, but my love for learning became overshadowed by an unhealthy level of perfectionism. I truly believed on an unconscious level that I would not be loved just as me. I developed anxiety and depression and worked extremely hard to hide these struggles throughout my teens. I was desperately searching for love and acceptance outside of myself, which continued in my 20’s when I attended University and, subsequently, landed in and began climbing the ladder in a high-pressure career.
Happening parallel to this in my mid-to-late 20’s, I found love personally and married a free-spirited man, we renovated a house in the country, we started a custom Carpentry business, and we had our first son. The role of Mom was an especially difficult transition for me, but I knew that I did not want my son to see me constantly stressed and sad as he grew. So a month after I turned 30, I quit the stressful job and began on a journey of self-discovery where my goal is to fully accept and love myself. Quitting that job felt like jumping off a cliff, but it was the best thing I have ever done! I had zero direction so I started to work more with the home business, mostly in administrative roles in the early days, but my husband and I learned that we really enjoyed the days that I did go into the jobsites and work alongside him. After we had our second son, we decided that I would join him full-time as a Carpenter’s Apprentice. This has not been easy, working 24/7 with my spouse in a field that really does not come as easy to me as my previous life, but it has really shown me that I can really do ANYTHING. And that progress does NOT equal perfection, as I once believed. And that I am actually an entrepreneur with a lot of beautiful ideas!
When I fully accepted these lessons, the universe began to open up to me in such wonderful ways. I became connected to a house building project in Nepal, and my personal fundraising efforts raised
enough money for both my husband and I to go there in November, 2018. We were part of an incredible team that built a house for a single mother and her 2 children. Since then, I also found the courage to start a project I have dreamed about for years: Darstar Gives. We are giving back to our local community with our carpentry skills and compassion. Our business was recently nominated for a Customer Service Award through our local Chamber of Commerce, and we also received an Environmental Impact Award through the same Chamber for the effort we put in to divert as much as possible from the landfill in the course of our business activities. All of these are my personal passions, which have all found space in our family business alongside my husband’s passion for building, allowing us to become a stronger team. I am now on the path of my truth, where my home and work life feel balanced, and I feel that freedom from my childhood again.