The Rose That Grew From Concrete | Layers of Jenn

Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete? Proving nature’s laws wrong it learned to walk, without having feet. Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams it learned to breathe fresh air. Long live the rose that grew from concrete when no one else even cared!

Portrait of Jenn Hanft holding a rose; The Rose That Grew From Concrete

I stand before you, bare. Just for a moment. As the snow falls, it paints the world in its sugary, white blanket –  tricking our minds that all is pure, new, and fresh again. We all gaze in awe as each fluffy snowflake hits the ground and covers all of our scars, all of the worries of yesterday. We are new. Only for a split second. 

As this past year has come to a close, so has a chapter of life. I’ve heard many people talk about their pains of 2017 as well as their joys. I want to remind everyone that every situation, obstacle, and step we take shape us to who we are. Even if it was the shittiest year of history, or even if it was the best. It’s so easy to focus on the cracks in the concrete instead of the path before you.

I haven’t had a hard life, compared to many others, but I did have a hard time figuring out my place in the world. I’ve learned a lot in my 23 years of walking this earth (read here).  I’ve had my pitfalls, moments of despair, and a drowning sense of purposelessness. But as I’ve grown, I’ve also blossomed to new heights, won some battles, and found myself happiness. On this self-discovery, the journey has been rough but that’s life. Life isn’t easy, but that’s the beauty in it – isn’t it?

Portrait of Jenn Hanft holding a rose; The Rose That Grew From Concrete


I’ve adopted the analogy that life is comparable to a rose that grows from concrete. Through whatever obstacles we face, we will learn to persevere and do the impossible. With empowerment through self-love and the right mindset, nothing can stand in our way. We will grow, bloom, and push ourselves to exceed our potential. Even the most fragile things have strength. It may take time, but the journey and process will be so ever rewarding.

This past year has been a roller coaster ride for me, but I’m proud of how far I’ve come from 2016 to now. There have been some periods where I underwent high anxiety, swallowing depression, and several meltdowns. But then there have been plenty of moments where I’ve laughed to tears, accomplished new milestones and created memories that I’ll cherish forever.

Jenn Hanft holding a rose; The Rose That Grew From Concrete

Early January I took a hiatus to rediscover my purpose and drive for blogging, which is why I rebranded from Jennsemble to Jubilant Dose in February. I no longer wanted to put my focus into just fashion. Instead I wanted to encompass all things that I value most: 1) expressing myself through fashion, creative projects, and writing, 2) documenting my self-growth through self-love, and 3) to touch the hearts of others, share my insights, and empower others to grow in their own ways.

Sophrosyne (n) [suh-fros-uh-nee]: A healthy state of mind, characterized by self-control, moderation, and a deep awareness of one’s true self, and resulting in true happiness.

My journey to sophrosyne has become a core essential part of my being. I’ve grown to think more positively, to give things a chance, try new things, practice more reason, and find a balance in everything I do. Between meditating, becoming more open to other’s help and advice, and seeking strength within myself I think that I’m well off on my way.

Jenn Hanft holding a rose; The Rose That Grew From Concrete

2017 has brought me many joys and accomplishments:

  • I was able to surprise my mom with a trip to Hong Kong and Macau, which is one of the goals I’ve set out to do in my lifetime. My mom has always wanted to travel the world, but a) never had the opportunity and b) wouldn’t know how to go about it on her own. I’m so glad that I was able to provide an opportunity of travel to her and spend quality time together.
  • My family from Taiwan came to visit and it was pretty life-changing. The value of family increased 10-fold. I was able to learn more Chinese, to spend quality time with figures of the past, and create endless memories.
  • I set out to get my certification in HR and I passed on December 22.
  • I’ve met so many incredible individuals who have accepted me for who I am and who only aim to lift me higher. I’ve also met people that were not so great, but they contributed to my growth so I’m thankful.
  • More “me” time allowed me to give yoga another shot (and now I like it), as well as meditation. I can now channel energy into a more positive outlook through mind, body, and soul.
  • Being able to have the opportunity to work with a ton of brands is an incredible feat. But the biggest one of all is being able to establish my value/worth throughout these months.
  • & many, many more.

Reflecting on all of it makes me so happy. Even the bumps along the way, like quitting my Bullet Journal mid-year, the what ifs on shots I didn’t take, the struggles with my back pain, undergoing the pain of being separated from loved ones in a way through long distance, and so forth.

Rose lying on snow; The Rose That Grew From Concrete

To me, a memorable life is one that resembles a rose growing from concrete. Overcome all obstacles, push through boundaries, take every opportunity to grow, and just flourish. Push yourself to new limits, take risks, and develop strength to make it past that concrete. Take each thorn in your side as a victory to what you’ve gone through and what you had to overcome to get there. Also take each thorn as a lesson learned that allows you to be cautious in your decisions, to tread carefully, and shield yourself from danger. Consider each petal as your chapter in life, and as you grow, you will blossom. The people that are there for you through thick and thin will be able to watch you bloom. And above all, always embrace the significance in growth, because as you do, you will show the world your beauty and value; something the world will always admire and appreciate. For as delicate as a rose is, you are strong.

Happy New Year, my loves.
May 2018 be a great one filled with endless possibilities.

with love jenn hanft

Jubilant Dose
A Via Spiga jacket I stole from my mother’s closet (shh, don’t tell her I wear it better)
ColourPop Cosmetics Matte Lippie: Limbo
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  • Kyla
    January 2, 2018

    This is absolutely beautiful babe! I love the analogy of the rose growing out of the concrete! I had such a rough year in 2017 but hopefully I’m like the rose… and can blossom despite my obstacles! Happy 2018!

  • Kileen
    January 3, 2018

    This is such a beautiful post and I absolutely love that analogy and this coat looks so cozy!

    cute & little

  • Candace
    January 3, 2018

    Sounds like 2017 was good to you! How awesome is it that you got to take your mom out of town. I hope I’m able to do this one day. Congrats on your HR cert too 🙂

  • Federica Di Nardo
    January 8, 2018



  • Talina
    January 11, 2018

    I loved reading this post – your writing is so beautiful! It looks like you had such a great year and I hope 2018 brings you lots of great things too! xo

  • Jessica
    January 12, 2018

    A beautiful and honest post. Thank you sharing your journey.

  • Samantha Mariko
    January 22, 2018

    That’s great you accomplished so much last year, even surprising your mom with a trip to HK! I’m sure she loved that so much. And thanks to you, I learned a beautiful new word. I love saying “sophrosyne.” Anyways, cheers to an even better 2018!

Why Self-Love Matters | Sophrosyne
The Rose That Grew From Concrete | Layers of Jenn