Karen Ibarra is the fashion illustrator and blogger behind Stripes and Flowers. She loves traveling, doodling and making collages of her favorite runway looks. We asked Karen some questions about heartbreak and she shared how a breakup helped her find herself through creativity.
If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?
"Life goes on, it truly does. I remembered I was like 18 and thinking that I could never get through it. I just didn't want to feel pain anymore. Now as I look back, I’m very thankful for that experience because it led me to the search of my creative self. I started to find the answers that I was looking for outside within me, and once you learn that, you start a new relationship with yourself and you find the courage to move on."
What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?
"That I could create the person I wanted to become. Heartbreak for me meant a white canvas. It meant freedom to discover myself and through that I discovered my passion for illustration and art."
What are your rituals during a breakup? What things/practices/people helped you mend?
"For me it was writing and drawing; art truly helped me heal. I felt better knowing that through my pain I could create something new."
Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?
"Yes, that´s tough especially now that social media is a big part of our lives. But I decided to be selfish and only focus on myself for a while. I stopped following everyone on Facebook. I didn't eliminate them - just unfollowed them - that way I could create a safe space for myself and only focus on things that make me happy, like drawing, fashion, watching series, dancing, etc."
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?
"As I grow older, I see that love has a lot to do with your own relationship with yourself, with how much you love yourself first so that you can love someone else."
Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?
"I do stay friends with my exes on social media, but I don't follow them. I think that at least at the beginning it's healthy to keep some distance so that you can go on with your life."
What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?
"I think that once you experience real love, you know it's worth it, in spite of the pain and heartbreak. True love exists and that's the reason to keep your heart open. You never know what could happen."
What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?
"I love La La Land because it's realistic - you can love someone, but the timing is not right. But it's ok. It's like they taught you about love and you can move on and find the person you are supposed to be with."
What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?
"I have some cool collaborations with some brands coming that I’m excited about and I want to keep going with my blog and expand it to illustration tutorials videos on YouTube."