Goddesses are Humans, too.

July 17, 2014

“Let every breath be a sacred offering to the Goddess that you are.”

That came out of my mouth while teaching class today to a group of beautiful ladies, I had to stop and write it down.

Bold sentiments young Jedi.

Sometimes being a Goddess is a challenge.
I talk about it.
I teach about it.
I tell other women they are.
I have taught Goddess Empowerment workshops for girls aged 5-13.
We reflect on beauty, self-confidence, trusting our hearts and standing up to bullies.
I know that I am a Goddess.
But honestly, sometimes knowing I am is the hardest thing I have ever done.
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I’m not talking about the sugar and spice and all things nice.
I’m not talking about how we are all beautiful, perfect as we are.
Or that secretly we are all mermaids and princesses and always will be, forever and ever and happily ever after.

I’m talking about how some days even though we are, we have a collection of moments, experiences and insecurities that cause us to question it.

I’m Rachel.
My name comes from the name Rebecca already being taken by my cousin born a year before me.
I spent many formative childhood years as a happy, bubbly, kooky little sprout through health problems and long hospital stays.

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I’m thankful to come from a supportive, loving extended family who have believed in every step I have taken, even when it didn’t make sense to them.
I’m mixed race. I don’t even know if that’s how I say it properly because I don’t see race anymore and frankly, don’t care about it but some people do.

One year on Halloween, I dressed as The Little Mermaid. I was 5.
I wore a bright green mermaid tail. Oh man, I felt like a million bucks.
I said “Trick or Treat” with dramatic confidence, after all, I am Ariel.

One woman asked; “what I was dressed up as.”
“IM THE LITTLE MERMAID!”
‘what?’
“The Little Mermaid!”
‘No, Ariel is white.’
“why?”
She offered an awkward hint of a smile, tossed candy in my pillowcase and slowly closed her door.

Ariel is white?
It took me a long time and a lot of colouring with scented sparkle crayons to figure out what this whole ‘white’ thing was all about.
Apparently it’s a thing that my Dad is and so are snowmen, but my Mom is definitely not and neither am I.
The most mystifying of all this was though I am half of him and half of her that I am actually cappuccino or so say my crayons.

This whole black and white mystery carried me through to grade 3 where kids often called me the ’N’ word.
I didn’t really know what it meant but knew it made me feel bad and they only said it when they were being mean.
I asked my dad what it was one day, it was the most upset I have ever seen him.
“If you knew how much suffering your mom, your uncles, your grandparents, and so many people in the world have had because of that one word you would never, ever speak it again.”
And so I didn’t.

Teachers regularly used me as a reference point when touching on anything or anyone black, ever of all time.
“Lets talk about the colour black. I’ll give you an example to start – My shoes are black and so is Rachel. What else is black?”

This felt really, really embarrassing.
Every single time.
I wanted to scream “Im not black!” but instead I used my hands to hide my red face.

I can’t say I’m not black, because I’m not white either, so what am I?
I really just don’t want to be different.
I guess I’m a riddle.
At school, I am black, but my cheeks still get hot and red.
At home I am Rachel, And we never use colours as ways to describe people.

Then Michael Jackson’s Black or White came into my life.
Mystery solved.
Check and mate.
I danced my lanky little body around in my room, I tossed my curls in all directions and put my tape player on full blast.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white.”

No, it doesn’t matter!
Someone else finally understood my anguish, and that was enough for me.
From then on I proudly wore my Thriller nightie until it wouldn’t fit anymore and didn’t mind being a riddle.

I am me.
I am Human.
I am a Goddess.

Fast forward 10 years and I’m uncomfortable in my skin again.
I moved on from a very unhealthy relationship, antidepressants and losing myself in the mix but I had somehow found an extra 60 pounds along the way.

My friends and family didn’t seem to notice, but I couldn’t have been more insecure.

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Where did you come from?
I hated my body.
I told it so everyday.
I couldn’t stand what I saw in the mirror, let alone love it.
I never wore shorts or skirts above my calves, even when it hit 35 degrees outside.
A swimsuit hadn’t come near my body in who knows how long.
In fact the only thing that did was black clothing.
I had the shape the magazines told me was fat, and listened to their many “how-to” lessons on hiding this shape I have.

Back to black.
I don’t like black.
I am vibrant.
I was born a runner and I can’t even run around the block. 
Just thinking about running made me feel gross, but I really wanted to play rugby and be fast again.
Something about running made me feel free like that quirky little curly haired girl I once was who ironically enough got made fun of for being “too skinny” and called “bean pole” among other equally lovely acclamations.

Running was distressing.
Running in public was terrifying, someone might see me.
I avoided it at all costs.
I bought a new pair of cleats and ran laps in my grandmothers back field.

I ran.
I used my puffer.
Nanny brought me fruit punch.
I ran.
I wiped sweat from my face.
Gramp smiled from a plastic lawn chair, he knew what I was up to.
I ran.
I puked.
I cried
I rolled my ankles.
I duct taped them up.
I cried.
I got huge blisters.
I duct taped them too
I ran.
I jiggled.
I ran.
and jiggled.
I ran inside the house,
and put on a 2nd sports bra and kept on running.
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Then I tried yoga.
Holy shit.

Yoga.

whats. up. yoga!
How have I been running all this time and not breathing?
Everything changed.

I stopped wearing so much black.
I stopped eating food that didn’t make me feel good inside.
I started kickboxing.
I bought above the knee shorts.
I did more yoga.
I wore above the knee shorts outside, during the day, people definitely saw me and I didn’t care.
I ran more.
I ran further.
I ran faster.
I started running half marathons everyday.
I ran sprints before and after the most gruelling rugby practices of my life.
I ran loops around the bridges and when that wasn’t enough, I ran loops of the city limits.
I learned how to teach yoga.
I forgot about the mirror.
It didn’t matter what I looked like anymore.

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I am me and that’s enough.
I am Human.
I am a Goddess.

Now, I’m 26.
The age I thought as a teeny little Cappuccino latte that I would certainly have it all figured out.
And you know what, I don’t. Maybe I never will.
I am so ok with that.

I have come a long way from Ariel, and MJ and Quadruple sports bras, and thinking growing meant hiding who I really am.

I still run and wear above the knee shorts.
I also wear dresses and crop tops and sometimes no bra at all.
I wear all colours, black included.
I wear socks that don’t match.
I wear stripes with floral prints and styles that aren’t in season.
And you know what, In special circumstances I even wear no bra and no shirt when it is permitted because fuck it.

I am Human.
I am a woman.
I am a Goddess.
I have lovely, perky mid 20’s breasts and heaven forbid I know what its like for my girls to feel the sunlight.
If I don’t love them as they are now, when will I ever?

I hope you let your girls see the sunshine too. It doesn’t have to be for anyone else. Just for you is enough.

Yoga taught me how to love.
Myself, my body, my life, my full moon mood swings and my insatiable hunger for dark chocolate.
Yoga still teaches me everyday that just when I think I’ve got a good grasp
everything falls
through my fingers
like little grains of sand
and sometimes it impossible to find all the little pieces
But I’m ok with starting all over again.

I’ve finally learned to love my spine as it is with all of its oddities and fused vertebrae and curves.
Even if that means I might never physically get to do a pike handstand.
Or touch my toes on my head like a fierce and fiery little scorpion.
Or do a drop back without it being a drop flop.
Or ever enjoy pigeon pose.

So to the ex-boyfriend who once said:
“You are the least flexible yoga teacher I have ever seen.”
Thank you for your judgemental nit-picking and criticism.
You wouldn’t possibly know how to be with a Goddess anyway.

To the students who come to my classes in rain and sun and ice and snow:
You have taught me more than anything what it really means to be a Goddess.
and that I am human, too.

And somedays I feel insecure.
And Sometimes I don’t have it all together
And somedays my hair is a complete mess.
and I wonder if you noticed my chipped toenail polish.
But most of all
I am me and that’s enough.
and knowing I am enough is yoga too.
I am here.
I am Human.
I am a Goddess.
I am still going to be on my mat everyday breathing with you and whatever “it” is that needs breath today.

“Let every breath be a sacred offering to the Goddess that you are.”

I inhale, In beautiful Guatemala.
I have now been living out of a backpack in Central America for over a month.
I haven’t worn makeup in even longer.
I have a really big dread lock forming in the back of my hair.
I have a little travel pillow formerly known as my abs.
I haven’t slept much in weeks because the roosters, dogs and I don’t speak the same language.
I have bug bites and furry legs.
I have stretch marks and some cellulite and no I haven’t had a baby, this is all me.
And its all real and its a pretty damn good reminder that I am real too.

And I love my body. Especially because it’s not perfect, but its mine. And its changing all the time.

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No thank you, I will not buy your cream to fix it.
And no, I wouldn’t change it for anything.
I wouldn’t change me for anything, or anyone.
and I wouldn’t change you either.

Hug yourself, Hug your mom, your grandmother, your sisters, your friends, your daughters.

Tell her she is beautiful.
Tell her she is a Goddess.
Tell her there’s a whole wide world out there that’s going to do everything to try and change her.
but you will always love her for who she is.

Remind her of this.

I promise every reminder will be remembered and appreciated.
Tell her that all the stuff that she tries to hide underneath the sugar and spice and all things nice, is exactly the same stuff that makes her beautiful and perfect as she is.
Tell her she is a mermaid princess Goddess queen, forever and ever and happily ever. after.

xo

R

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12 Comments

  • Reply Kris C[M]ole July 17, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    So lovely, Rach! FYI, I’ve always thought you were beautiful.

    • Rachel
      Reply Rachel September 2, 2014 at 4:50 pm

      Thank you sunshine!

  • Reply Mallory July 17, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    Love every single word and love you! Xo

    • Rachel
      Reply Rachel September 2, 2014 at 4:50 pm

      Love You, thank you for reading!

  • Reply Jessica Pyper July 18, 2014 at 11:34 am

    I LOVE THIS! thank you!!! also, we’re the same age… that is neat! Can’t wait to meet one day!

    • Rachel
      Reply Rachel September 2, 2014 at 4:49 pm

      I think we are soul sisters for sure! Love to you!!!

  • Reply Shar July 19, 2014 at 10:23 am

    You are such an inspirational Goddess. I logged in to check out the Belize session(which sounds amazing, but is sadly not going to happen this summer) and then became lost in your blog. Until we cross paths again, my friend x

    • Rachel
      Reply Rachel September 2, 2014 at 4:51 pm

      Im certain we will cross paths again. Thank you so much for all the Light you shine. xo

  • Reply Sherry July 19, 2014 at 11:04 am

    Hey Rachel. I’m in awe with your honesty and really happy for you that you’ve found yourself some peace and fulfillment. The topic of discrimination is an intimate one, and you’re very courageous for being so transparent with your journey. I have also suffered racial discrimination, though it is rarely a topic of discussion between myself and those around me. I think with where we live, it’s often overlooked by our peers. What you’ve done with this post will help open the eyes of those around us, and perhaps help them to understand what has been a part of shaping our strength and our resilience. The best to you and those you love. Please keep doing your thing!

    • Rachel
      Reply Rachel September 2, 2014 at 4:51 pm

      Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to respond in a way so thoughtful and eloquent. Much love your way!

  • Reply Nicole July 29, 2014 at 11:45 am

    This is so beautiful, so honest… I want every woman in the world to read your blog posts. You are incredible! Thank you for sharing.

    • Rachel
      Reply Rachel September 2, 2014 at 4:49 pm

      Thank you so much for your words, very sweet!

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