The Art of Alison | The Art of Her Project
Welcome the art of Alison Beck, a woman whose story echoes the ups and downs that life throws our way. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Alison's journey is truly a show of courage and enduring. From her early days in a small-town Jewish community to the challenges of young motherhood and her evolution into a savvy financial advisor, her life is a testament to the power of perseverance and self-belief. She's not just about numbers and finance; she's about real-life lessons and empowering others with the knowledge she's gained along the way.
She is tenacious, empathetic and determined.
This is the Art of Alison.
This is the Art of Her.
Jessica: Tell us about you, The woman.
Alison: I'm from Cleveland, OH. Born and raised in a small town, upper class Jewish community. I went to Penn State for a semester and then I eloped. I had my first daughter 36 weeks later, I was 19. Now I am a financial advisor and I focus on teaching people how to make money, save money and get out of debt.
Jessica: Tells us about Your Story.
Alison: I was raised by a mom who really, truly wanted to be a good mom. She was a narcissist, but she fought against it. She was addicted to self improvement and I was mostly on my own. My dad was a travelling sales man and was gone 5 days a week. My mom didn't have patience for my younger brother and I so she would scream and rage at us. I was groomed from age 3 to take care of him and everyone else. I learned early to bring friends home from school so that my mom would behave. My brother Jonny and I were 70's kids so we were mostly left to do our own thing. I never felt worthy of love, or good enough. I always felt less then my entire life. My brother was bullied and he was always really lonely. At age 35, he committed suicide. He was my person. The stable adult male in my kid's life and losing him was the worst thing that has ever happened to me. It's been 12 years and I still pick up the phone to call him. I was known as a slut in high school. I was sleeping around, because I had this huge ache in my chest all the time and I was desperate to fill it. I got pregnant at 15 and my parents told me that I couldn't stay there if I had a baby. I knew nothing of the real world, and didn't know how to support myself. I finally caved and got an abortion. I still grieve that baby.
Jessica: Tell me about a specific experience as it surrounds your story of what you had to endure or work through as you pushed to rise?
Alison: I married three men who all abused me, mostly verbally. They all drank a lot and some of them used drugs., Over and over I picked men who treated me the way that my mother treated me. The last one, I was married to for 16 years and he was the worst. He was always accusing me of cheating on him. I would be studying for an exam and he would scream at me that I was a horrible mother for not paying attention to my kids. He even called me a horrible mother for letting him around my kids. He traumatized my girls, screamed at them, was belligerent and all around made our life a living hell. He wasn't a good provider and I was struggling with a business. He threw fits, telling me to go get a job at Circle K. We got in deep debt and I would have been homeless if I didn't humble myself to ask my mom for a loan. I was ashamed and felt like a fraud and a failure and if it wasn't for my kids, I would have killed myself. By the grace of God, I met a man in Sam's Club who said that he wanted to hire me to work at his financial firm. I was so ashamed that my finances were such a mess, that I lied and told him that I was financially independent. He gave me his info and I promptly threw it away. Six months later, I was desperate to get out of that marriage and I began trying to find that guy. It took me two weeks but I found him. I went in for an interview and he said to me that if I was a good person, and a good student that he could teach me the rest. And he did.
Jessica: What surprised you about yourself in the moments surrounding the event?
Alison: I was so scared. I had no backup plan. But I kicked him out anyways and for the first time ever, trusted myself to take care of me and my kids.
Jessica: What surprised you about others?
Alison: Other people were sad that we broke up. My stepson told me that I was selfish and that I ruined the family. Other's said that I made my bed and should have stayed.
But my girls, my girls were happy and free and they danced and celebrated when he left.
Jessica: Do you feel being a woman had any significant bearing on this event?
Alison: Yes. I was expected to submit to my husband and at the same time, protect my children.
Jessica: What would you say you learned about yourself through this?
Alison: I learned that I am strong. I am worthy. I am powerful. I am capable. I am enough. I deserve to be loved for who I am, not how I look.
Jessica: How did this change you?
Alison: Before I was subservient. I was always in a trauma cycle and constantly protecting my kids.
Jessica: Have your values changed since the event?
Alison: I no longer need a man to feel whole. I am whole all on my own. My goal is to model being a strong, independent woman for my girls so that we can break the cycle.
Jessica: What is the one piece of advice you would give your younger self?
Alison: When you see a red flag, believe it. Don't excuse it. Don't ignore it.
Jessica: What would you say has helped you along your healing journey?
Alison: Learning how to love myself. Forgiving myself for forgetting that I was doing the best that I could with what tools I had.
Jessica: What is your story of now?
Alison: Today I am in control of my life. I don't walk on eggshells. I channel my co-dependency in a healthy way by fixing people's finances. I am human and I have setbacks but I am self aware and when that does happen, I am able to stop.
Jessica: How would you like people to describe you?
Alison: I would like people to see me as strong, capable, worthy, healthy and joyful. I never want to be a punching bag for anyone's emotions again.
Jessica: When in your life, so far, have you felt the most confident?
Alison: I feel confident when I'm working with clients. It's because I do what is right 100% of the time and it feels so good to help people.
Jessica: Describe when you have felt most attractive.
Alison: That is harder, I gained weight and I struggle with my body image. I felt the most attractive when I left my husband but I was 60lbs lighter.
Jessica: Have your perceptions of what being 'attractive' means changed over time?
Alison: When I was growing up, I was curvy and always ashamed of my body. The women who were considered attractive were stick thin. I used to hide my body in baggy clothes. Now, someone's personality makes them so much more attractive to me then their body.
Jessica: What is an ongoing challenge you face?
Alison: I struggle with my body image. I just ended another relationship with an addict. Although he was better then my last and didn't yell and scream, my kids called him version 2.0. I am still a people pleaser and I have a hard time saying no. I don't trust myself to date anymore until I heal whatever is making me repeat this cycle.
Jessica: It would be really interesting to hear about any ambitions you have for the future?
Alison: I want to build a community of tiny houses where homeless people can go and get back on their feet. I want gardens, and services like counseling both career and mental. I also want to fund free restaurants nationwide so that everyone can eat with dignity. I am also working on paying off school lunch debt in Tucson since in some districts, kids can't eat if they owe money and I don't think that eating should be a luxury.
I set my girls up so that they will never be dependent on a man. They are all chasing their passions.
Jessica: How do you think you being a woman is perceived by men?
Alison: In my industry I'm expected to act like a "man". Be logical not emotional. I know that my exes all felt like I was beneath them.
Jessica: What do you wish other women or young girls knew about themselves?
Alison: I wish that all women and girls would stop comparing themselves to other women and girls and start appreciating the individual beauty that we all possess.
Jessica: If you could talk to advertisers right now about advertising to women, what advice would you give them?
Alison: Have realistic looking women in the ads.
Photography by Jessica Korff Studios
Makeup by: Renee Lanz | Radiate with ReneeJ
Dress Draping: Dresses draped and created by: Jessica Korff