How Fear Can Block You From Your Dreams And Badassery

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My fears are full of shit and yours are too. Why? Fear is something we concoct in our minds to stop us from doing what we want to do. We sabotage ourselves and give a million reasons why we can’t follow our dreams and badassery. But if we didn’t have fears, then how could we push through and get out of our comfort zones like the badasses we truly are?

I’m here to give a little insight on myself and to share with you what I have done to push through those barriers we so harshly place on ourselves – to be strong, independent women who have dreams and are working on making them a reality. I never thought I was a fearful person until I went on an emotional journey and wrote my feelings down on paper. I wrote down so many things that blocked me mentally and was surprised by how fearful I was, especially when it came to my dreams. There are things, even without realizing it, that I told myself that I COULD NOT DO. If I had not come to these conclusions, I would be stuck without progress and without feeling flipping awesome about myself.

Fear #1: Not Enough Knowledge

I thought I didn’t have enough knowledge to share with people. The truth is, I do! I have learned and experienced quite a bit and even when I may not have the answer to something, I can admit to it and learn from it. Honesty is a good quality to have, especially when it comes to being an entrepreneur. Believing in yourself is also important. Just by your energy, eye contact, and body language, your clients/customers will take note and form a positive opinion of you.

I thought I had to make huge strides in order to be successful, but the truth is that any step, no matter how small it is, is better than taking no step at all. Do not fear starting small or slow, we all have to start somewhere. Just start! Example: ask someone to write a blog post for their site or work on your own site for 15 minutes during the week. Any effort you put toward your dream is good progress!

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Fear #2: Don’t Know How To Ask For Help

So many people don’t know how to ask for help or find support. Just because you don’t know how to figure something out on your website, or how much to charge for your program, or even need to ask someone to look over your work, doesn’t make you a failure! It took me a while to grasp this concept. Asking for help will further your steps towards your dreams and push you to your next goal.

Fear #3: Comparison

Another huge fear-maker is comparing yourself to others. I myself have done this on multiple occasions. It served me no purpose and won’t serve you any purpose either! When you see that someone is where you want to be or they are “ahead” of you when it comes to their passion, remember that they were once where you are. They made it to their goal because even though they were afraid and doubted themselves, they didn’t give up. They pushed through those barriers like a bat out of hell. Why? Because they had dreams, and to fulfill those dreams, they did whatever it took!

Fear #4: Setbacks

Setbacks can be brutal. We all have things happen in our lives to make us get off track. Maybe a client can no longer do your program or you have to stop working on your site for some time. This can be discouraging and fear can grow from being discouraged. It’s very easy to get stuck in this fear mindset. What I try to do is breathe, seek support, and figure out another game plan. The longer you’re stuck in negative thoughts, the longer your fears will stay with you and grow.

Just because you have to backtrack, doesn’t mean you will never make progress. I had to stop saying, “I’m building my passion filled dream” (I use this phrase instead of “business”) because too much was going on in my head and I was skipping steps that were important. Some things are just good for us. There is no easy way out of building your passion. The fear here is “losing” what ideas you’ve had or what you’ve already accomplished. However, it’s hard to accomplish anything when you skip steps or goals to build and fulfill your dreams.

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A final important note: stop listening to other people! I get it. Some people share their opinions because they are looking out for our best interests and have experienced similar things in their lives. But we all experience situations differently and when you feel something is true to you, you just have to go for it. Other people’s opinions can cause you to second guess yourself and your fears can start to grow from it, which can stop you right in your tracks – especially when constantly surrounded by negativity.

Someone had told me, “Valerie, maybe you should get a desk job” or “work for a company,” but this isn’t me at all. Some have also said, “Valerie there is no money in coaching.” What? This prolongs the process because you begin to overthink things. When you overthink what someone says, this allows your brain to build up barriers. You also won’t be able to gain any experience if you don’t put your ideas or interests in motion. Figure it out and surround yourself with people who support your decision.

It’s the journey that makes you a badass and leads you to make your dreams come true. It’s pushing through the negative thoughts in your mind and the negative people around you. We’ve all lived through at least a couple of these fears, and I am sure you will push through and do whatever it takes to be an awesome, badass woman, rocking your dreams!

Images from: Yulia GorbachenkoSequoia Emmanuelle, Lucie Bremeault

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FIND VALERIE AT: WEBSITE | FACEBOOK

Thank you so much for your contribution to Hiya Tootsie!, Valerie!



Badass Broads You Should Know: Megan Hannan

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Name: Megan Hannan

Age: 34

Location: Aurora, CO

Career: Birth Doula and Yoga Teacher

Website: rootedbreath.com (professional) and meegs1982.com (personal)

Favorite quote or lyric:

Quote: “Not all who wander are lost.” -J. R. R. Tolkien

Lyrics: Oh man, I can’t just pick one! I love music and reach for it often when I’m happy, sad, frustrated, or scared. These are my favs right now:

“Breathe, breathe in the air, cherish this moment, cherish this breath. Tomorrow is a new day for everyone, brand new moon, brand new sun. When you feel life coming down on you, like a heavy weight, when you feel this crazy society adding to the strain, take a stroll to the nearest waters and remember your place. Many moons have risen and fallen long, long before you came. So which way is the wind blowing? What does your heart say?” -Follow the Sun, Xavier Rudd

“Oh, there’s a river that winds on forever, I’m gonna see where it leads. Oh, there’s a mountain that no man has mounted, I’m gonna stand on the peak. Out there’s a land that time don’t command. Wanna be the first to arrive. No time for ponderin’ why I’m a-wanderin’. Nowhere the buses lay […] What good is livin’ a life you’ve been given if all you do is stand in one place?” -Ends of the Earth, Lord Huron

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HYT: Make us fangirl. Who are you, what are you about, and what dream(s) are you chasing down?

MEGAN: Hi! My name is Megan, or Meegs to my friends, and I’m a certifying birth doula and Yoga Alliance certified yoga teacher (RYT200). I’m also the mother of a fun, energetic, sassy 6 year old daughter who loves all things Legos and superheros. She is both the light of my life and my biggest button pusher! Ha. I’m originally from Southeastern Pennsylvania where I was born and raised in the country, but have been living in Colorado for just over a year. My husband and I have been together for almost 16 years, and celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary next month! We were married on Friday the 13th because we’re a little creepy like that.

When I’m nervous or need to decompress, you can often find me in the kitchen. I love cooking and baking. It’s amazing to bring simple ingredients together to create something complex and delicious. And absolutely anytime possible, you’ll find my daughter and I hitting the road together, traveling, and exploring. Before her seventh birthday, my girl will have crossed 25 states off her list, driven across the country twice and 3/4 of the way across the country one more time, and have hit a national park/monument for every year of her life with one to grow on. She’ll also have spent more time camping than a lot of adults I know! It’s amazing to have such a willing and adorable travel buddy.

Besides yoga, birth, cooking, and travel, my passions are writing, reading, and hiking. I’m a tattoo enthusiast and have 12 in my collection so far. I also enjoy photography and am a crusader for the environment and LGBTQ rights. I want to lead a life that changes the damn world!

My dreams are to find success in my business, Rooted Breath, while maintaining a great balance with my family. I want to be able to walk my daughter to school in the morning, head out to teach a yoga class or see a few private yoga clients, then come home and cook an awesome family dinner that we all sit down to while hashing out our days. I want to help women get the births they desire, then come home and watch movies with my family. I want to travel, explore, eventually hit all 50 states (I’m up to 30), and many, many countries around the world (only 3 so far). I want a lovely sunlit studio room in my house by the woods where I can teach private clients and deepen my own practice. Most of all, I want to get to the point where word of mouth gets me all the clients I need!

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HYT: Give us some background. How’d you get started on your dream chasing journey and where are you in the chase present day?

MEGAN: I spent 11 years at a good job with amazing people that was slowly draining the life out of me. I had absolutely no passion for it, but felt stuck by all the typical things: time, money, responsibility to family. I found other ways to find passion in my life: writing, yoga, acting as a surrogate, volunteering for a monthly project at a local state park. While those helped, I knew that long term, it wasn’t enough. When we moved to Denver, it was an amazing opportunity to reinvent myself. I had already taken a good hard look at what inspired me and uplifted me, so I knew just what I wanted to do. My husband was amazingly supportive! By not working right away, it allowed me to purse the training I needed, as well as be there to help our daughter through the crazy transition of moving 1700 miles away from any family or friends!

Now a year has passed, my daughter is in full-day school (first grade!), all my trainings are done, and I’ve spent a ton of hours (days… weeks…) building my business. I’m finally at the point in my chase where all the hard work is starting to bear fruit. This is such an exciting part of the journey! I’m getting doula clients and teaching classes and am finally getting to do the things I’ve been working for and dreaming of. I’m also working to get my name out there. There is still a lot of grind to do, as I have to build up my client base so I can start to get those word of mouth referrals!

Best of all, I’m finally starting to feel like I’m coming into myself in a way I always knew I could. I’m doing things that make me feel fuller and more content, not drained. I have more confidence in myself than ever before and feel like I’m finally showing the real me to the world. Not to mention, I’m setting an example for my daughter that says it’s never too late to do what you love.

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HYT: Let us peek behind the curtain. What does a typical day look like for you?

MEGAN: The whole of my days vary greatly, which is pretty wonderful! Almost every weekday starts the same. I wake when my daughter does (7:15 a.m. give or take 10 minutes – she’s better than an alarm clock), and we get her ready for school. I make myself a green smoothie and get myself ready too. She plays and I check some email. We walk to her school, I wave her in, then its time to really get my day going!

Tuesdays and Thursdays I teach my two regular yoga classes. It’s a 45 minute drive each way, so that takes up the majority of my day. Its an amazing place though, run by a lovely, authentic woman who’s also killing it in the chasing down your dreams arena – totally worth the time for the drive! I use that time in the car to think of all the things I want to get done on the other days of my week (Siri, remind me to…) or pop in my ear piece and call my family and friends.

Mondays and Wednesdays are my days to meet with doula clients, take some yoga classes, write blog posts, and do business items. Fridays I try to make into my self-care days. I definitely still do errands and work on business items, but I give myself more freedom to dye my hair or watch a movie. I write blog posts or other items for pleasure. I might get lunch with my husband or tea with a girlfriend.

I pick up my daughter after school and we come home to eat a snack and do homework. Mondays and Wednesday we head to swim lessons, the other days she gets some down time to play and relax. Then its dinner as a family, a little more down time, then bedtime. My husband and I relax together, watch some shows, and I do a little more work. Weekends we try to sleep in a little and have some family outings. There are doula group meetings and client meetings for me, work events for my husband, and birthday parties or play dates for my daughter.

I’m also a sub for a few yoga classes, so there’s always a chance I’ll get called into a class. Plus when a client’s due date is near, I could get called into a birth at any time – day or night!

It’s a fun life and I love how different it is every day. Though I’m ready for things to settle down just a little! With so much unpredictability, life can seem a bit crazy sometimes. Especially after a summer full of travel and the subsequent months of hustle. That said, it’s amazing to say no more 8 hours at a desk working for someone else, now I’m up on my feet working for me!

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HYT: Real talk. What are you most afraid of as you work toward your dreams and what do you do to combat those fears?

MEGAN: There are a million fears in striking out on your own. Sometimes this whole dream thing feels, well, like a dream! I’m afraid I’m going to wake up and it’s all going to be gone – no more yoga, no more beautiful births. I worry that I’ll freeze up in the middle of teaching a class, or miss the call from a doula client. Heck, I worry that I’ll queef in the middle of demo-ing a pose! Ha!

Then there’s the balance that I’m working so hard to achieve. I had to say no to an opportunity the other day because it just wouldn’t work for my family. I knew it was the right decision and I didn’t hesitate with the “no,” but it’s still hard to turn down an offer when you are just getting started. I worry that I’ll say yes to the wrong opportunity or no to a right one.

Most of my deepest fears go back to one thing: disappointment. I’m always afraid of letting someone down: my client, my family, myself. It’s been one of my biggest stumbling blocks and has kept me from trying for things in the past – sometimes literally making me freeze. As I’ve pursued this dream, I’ve had to make the choice over and over to take the leap and push myself. Of course I’m not going to succeed every time, but you never succeed when you don’t try! I’m slowly learning that no one I love is going to be mad at me for trying and falling short of my goal, but I will be mad at myself if I never even give it a shot. I’ve gotten more comfortable with the choice to try, but it’s still damn scary every single time!

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HYT: Go ahead and name drop. Who are your biggest inspirations and why?

MEGAN: Oh man, this question is so hard for me! I get a little jolt of YES every time I see anyone who’s pursing their dreams, owning their uniqueness, and loving life. Anyone from Ruby Rose to Emma Watson, Steve Jobs and Simone Biles; it’s amazing to see people get far their own way.

Personally, my husband Travis is the hardest worker I know. He gives 110%, works a job he loves, and always supports me wholeheartedly. My parents and brother all have such huge hearts and have worked their whole lives to give back to those in need and cheerlead for those they love. Then there’s you, my best friend, Babs! I’ve absolutely loved watching you come into your own and run full force at your dreams! You set goals and hit them full force and you never doubt that your friends can do the same.

Lastly, there’s my daughter, Gwen. She embraces life wholeheartedly and attacks any activity she enjoys with a zeal that energizes all those around her. I want to be the best example to her that I can possibly be because I have no doubt that she can do whatever the hell she wants in life!

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HYT: Let’s talk goals. Where do you aim to be 5 years down the line?

MEGAN: Honest talk time: This question is hard for me. Not because I can’t think of where I want to be, but because I’ve been personally trying to move away from this line of thinking! Let me explain. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been a dreamer, a “what if”-er, a “when this, then that” talker. It’s absolutely wonderful to imagine what you want to do with your life and dream big, but it’s not so great when it starts to take away from the enjoyment of where you are right now.

During the time when I was working that desk job that I didn’t love, dreaming served both to make me hopeful for the future, but also made me feel a bit hopeless sometimes with where I was that fell so horribly short of the dream, that it was occasionally devastating. It started to get to the point that I was having trouble being happy with what I had and where I was, even in the parts of my life beyond my job. For years I walked around with a vague unhappiness that plagued me. I’d do something special with my family and it would be forgotten, but the second we got back to our regular routine, it would flood back in. It was unfair to my family, horrible for me, and to this day I’m having to conscientiously work to rid myself of that feeling. Because of all that, I’m still working on making the art of dreaming a positive one again!

That said, I can tell you what I’ve been trying to aim for (without getting obsessed with!). I want to be in a beautiful house with a big garden that my family can really settle into and grow in. I want to have a handful of regular, private yoga clients and a class or two that has steady enough attendance to have a real community feel. I want to write regularly. I want to attend 1 – 2 births a month, mostly in an on-call/schedule basis with the local midwifery center. I also want to have a private doula client ever other month or so, and have my reputation as a doula to have grown to the point that word of mouth and referrals get me all the clients I need. Hopefully I’ll be up to 40 states by then and 5 countries, and my daughter (who will be 11 by then!) will still want to travel with me as much as she does now. I hope that she counts me as one of her best friends and still wants to tell me everything. I hope that I’m still holding a work-life balance that leaves me satisfied with how much I’m doing for me, as well as how much I’m doing for we.

Most of all, I want to have re-found my ability to be content with life as is, where it is – no matter what it actually looks like.

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HYT: Give it to us straight. What’s your best piece of advice to other women that you’ve personally followed on your own dream chasing journey?

MEGAN: Don’t be afraid to ask for help! We all want to prove that we can do it ourselves, but don’t be too proud to reach out to those who’ve done this already. There is no use in reinventing the wheel for every little nitty-gritty detail. Expend that energy instead on all the beautiful things that make your dream unique.

Try not to let the chase consume you. Make sure you are practicing self-care and that even when it feels like everything has to get done right this second, you still take the time to give yourself a physical and mental break. Remember that making yourself sick or sick of will slow down your dream chasing way more than taking an hour off to soak in the tub and read a book.

It’s going to be scary sometimes, but if it feels right, take a deep breath, close your eyes, and jump.

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HYT: Megan, you are my forever ride or die. I’m so proud of you, I can barely stand it. I’ve been waiting for you to soar into this season of your life for years, watching the dreaming from a distance, praying it into existence, and now here it is. Here YOU are. You are walking in your power and choosing to be everything you were always designed to be. The journey has freaking SHAPED you, but holy hell, let’s rejoice to the hilts that it’s brought you to such a stunning destination. You are my forever original badass broad and I adore you for always, time after time. Now click my ear, press your nose, and tell me I’m sitting on my mint.

Tootsie crew, if you live in or around the Denver area or have friends and family who do, hook up with my girl. Megan has been my best friend since pre-school. She’s the closet thing to a sister this only child will ever know and she is a phenomenal human being. Her yoga teaching skills are on freaking point and she’s been a powerhouse around babies since we were little. Get in touch with her, meet her, fall in love with her. She’ll change your life. She changes mine every damn day.

Images from: Stevi McNeill (1), Megan Hannan (2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9), Kylie Fly (6), Heather Jabornik (8)



So You Think Dream Chasing And Girl Bossing Is Sexy

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I was going to call this post Candy Ass Behind the Scenes: The Unsexy Bullshit Edition but I thought better of it at the last minute. Here’s the thing, you guys. Dream chasing and girl bossing is hard as hell – and this is why there aren’t many of us who even step out to try, let alone stick around long enough to see if we can actually slay the game.

A couple months ago, I had a MAJOR shift in how I think about money and my earning potential. I realized I had some pretty unique gifts to offer the freelance world with writing and editing for personality and story, and I’ve put in the time to build LOTS of relationships online and share myself, my life, my loves, and my dreams openly.

I have good reasons to do all of this.

The first good reason is that living on $1265/mo in Huntington Beach, California is asinine when I have SO MUCH POTENTIAL to work smarter, harder, greater, and actually do things I love to earn money. The second good reason that eclipses the first by a lightyear is that I’ve got major savings goals between now and this time next year for next season of life events that include my man, his little girl, making it official, and making a house into a home for us.

If I thought I was busy before, new me is having a good chuckle at old me.

I currently have three ongoing freelance clients and three big one-time client projects I’m working on. I’m also in talks of taking on multiple others. To be fair, I’m not killing myself here. I don’t feel overwhelmed or burdened. But the time management game – one I’ve never excelled at – has stepped into my world in a big way and is ready to play whether I am or not.

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It’s been really easy for me to forget about working on my own dreams and business while I’m getting paid to make other women’s dreams and businesses sparkle. The trade off is that I have multiple dreams.

Candy Ass world domination is one. The other is my to-be fam and home. Right now, every client I take on knows that even though I am working for her and making her work excel, she is paying me so that my fam and home dreams can come true. It’s an understanding with every single one of them that this is an incredibly important and beautiful trade off and we all feel really freaking good about it.

It doesn’t come without its challenges though.

I’ve been in motion to overhaul and upgrade the look of Candy Ass for months now. Sourcing black bottles, choosing and sourcing caps, researching sticker companies who can do what I want them to do and not gouge me on the price both for my full-size bottles and minis, sourcing and deciding on bags to put the perfume rollers in when they ship through the mail, deciding on if I want to continue ordering the bubble mailers I can only get overseas, having multiple design phases with my designer, spending hours sitting on the floor putting sequence and rhinestones and lip confetti in tiny plastic ziplock bags that will be home to our mini samples, choosing all the right materials to put in the bags in the first place, working around shipping issues with my perfume maker/supplier who does business from a brick and mortar store across the country, choosing and registering a domain name for the website I don’t yet have the capital to build out, but still needing to get it together for newly designed business cards that needed a stable address, timing things with my designer and my developer (who still needs to be clued into the major upgrade and release of two new fragrances so she can update the website), the research and price checking that went into choosing a label maker to streamline the whole process for when orders really start rolling in so I can cut down on time and don’t have to hand address everything anymore, choosing the right integration company for shipping, making sure my hair is dyed and updated for when we’re finally ready to do brand photoshoots (my stylist is 4.5 hours away when I’m here at Keil’s), and also just sourcing ideas for product shots, gearing up to work on package design so I can begin pursuing wholesale clients in LA and all that comes with having the correct federal information for cosmetics, the design itself, and then sourcing a printing company, material, etc etc etc – you guys. It’s a lot. And it’s one long ass run-on sentence for a reason.

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I spent all day Tuesday choosing to say no to client work and instead poured into researching and resourcing materials for my own stuff simply so I can sample products I may or may not end up using. It’s part of the process. I feel AMAZING for having taken the time to finally work on my own stuff in order to keep forward momentum. The goal is to have everything ready in time for Black Friday because apparently that’s a good idea for business owners. Makes sense to me. I’m still brand new to all of this.

In the midst of all this happening, I got a text from one of my best friends (all three BFFs live in other states – PA, Indiana, and Colorado) – telling me that she misses me and doesn’t like that she finds out about what I’m doing through Facebook because I mostly use my Facebook for business and relationship building these days. So add maintaining and thriving personal important relationships to the whole mix. And then on top of that, continuing to build into and intentionally work on my relationship with Keil. Oh, and we just came off of having Sai here at his place for the whole summer, which was excellent, but such a learning curve considering I have no background in #momlife.

It. Is. A. Lot.

And it’s all really good. All of it. Every single strand. I have a therapy appointment set for this afternoon after having not gone for 7 months. I had no idea it had been that long. Reread all of the above to guess why.

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Another piece of all of this is self-care and personal work. Add it into the mix. I’m going to start training with a girl who’s a straight up body builder tomorrow, I’ve made an executive decision to intentionally add therapy into my life on a once a month basis for ongoing maintenance and health, and I’ll be starting a newb nutrition program soon.

I’d be willing to bet that other chicks who are out there taking names have very similar stories. Some of us thrive off of this stuff. I recently discovered that earning money is EXCEPTIONALLY motivating to me. I’ve never liked numbers, but this number game is FUN. I think it’s fun because it’s attached to possibility and dreams and is 100% measurable. I do feel like I’m thriving right now. I also feel like I’m being hit with a tidal wave of newness, but I like it. Every single piece of it has an end goal of relationship in mind and that is so in line with my heartbeat that when I really stop to think about it, I mostly can’t even about the whole thing.

The goal for now is to take on as many freelance clients and their badass projects as I comfortably can because I love helping other people succeed and I also love how in-my-power I feel to earn money to put toward dreams I’ve held close to my heart my whole life. I’m still living off my bare bones $1265/mo – recently mildly upgraded to $1395 to take into account personal well-being with therapy, training, and a nutrition program. Everything else that comes in gets saved. While all of this is taking place, I’ll continue building my own in-its-baby-stages empire with Candy Ass so that I can eventually ONLY work on my own biz and join Keil in a true team effort to build our family’s future together.

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The reason I share all of this is to show what it actually takes to chase down our dreams and to roll in this ever-illusive “sexy” girl boss crew. It’s hard work. Really hard work. But if you love it, is it really work at all? If you have such an incredible drive and stone-set gaze on the future and what’s possible, is it really anything but a privilege?

Know that you have what it takes no matter what. Even when you have no idea what you’re doing. Girlfriends, none of us do. That’s the grown ass woman, girl boss truth. We’re all winging it and making adjustments as we go. We’re all finding our sweet spots and hitting high and low points. Who cares about what you don’t know? Focus on what you do know and know that you can learn anything you don’t.

The sexiness of the dream chasing boss status is all in how you look at it. It’s exactly like body acceptance and positivity. It took me a long ass time to love my 32As and I still have wistful moments, but damn it, I am fine as hell. I believe that. I can work on myself – and I am with training and nutrition – but I have what it takes to look, feel, and act sexy and confident in myself. Dream chasing and bossing are the same. All day long. Remember that nobody gets a toned ass without putting in the work to squat like it’s their singular life focus. Look at the whole thing like you’re made to slay the game and you will.

That’s what I’m doing. So far, so good.

Images from: Amelia In Wonderland, Lucie Bremeault, Fonda LaShay, Hugo V Photography, Sharif Hamza via The Fashionography



RuPaul, Cher, and You: The Badass Gospel of Drag

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I spent a lot of time watching music channels as a kid and weirdly, VH1 was probably my favorite. Weirdly because VH1 was always sort of MTV’s uncool dad, or at best, slightly out of touch uncle. I liked VH1 because they played videos from Lilith Fair, Sarah McLachlan songs always made it onto their top twenty, and mostly because they played reruns of both the Sonny and Cher (good) and Cher (perfection) shows, and also hosted The RuPaul Show. These were weird things for a kid to like, but they made sense to me in a way a lot of things didn’t.

Both Cher and RuPaul were unspeakably glamorous, dripping rhinestones and sequins, donning long, spidery, fake lashes, tottering around on heels at what seemed impossible heights (I was shocked to find out Cher was only around 5’6″; I had always assumed she must be nearly six feet tall). They were also, though, in on the joke. “Isn’t all this ridiculous?” they seemed to say, at times literally flipping their shiny hair and flicking their thin wrists. “Isn’t this just the silliest thing you’ve ever seen?”

The “this” and the “thing” seemed to be the very thing that gave them their glamor: a supersaturated, hyper-real version of femininity. Femininity to the tenth power. Femininity plus. They were both funny and sarcastic and whip-smart, and you could easily imagine both Ru and Cher finishing filming, slathering themselves in cold cream, stripping off wigs, cursing at the little cuts and indentations from their skin tight, razor-sharp rhinestone dresses, and sitting down on their cream colored couch in some sort of whisper-soft, shapeless caftan to read The New York Times.

They were women who recognized the power of glitter and beauty and illusion, but never lost sight of the fact that it was just that: illusion. They were bigger, badder, sparklier versions of themselves when they needed to be, but they kept an essential slice of themselves secret and safe. They were wry friends and though I was on a first name basis with them, I didn’t know anything about them at all.

I’ve been working as a grown up toward turning my art into a tiny baby biz. It’s a very uncomfortable feeling, like running as fast as you can while cupping a tiny egg in your hands: you trip, it’s ruined, you stop, the momentum of putting on the brakes causes the thing to go flying away from your grasp.

There’s so much talk in this space, this entrepreneurial space, this entrepreneurial woman space, about being authentic. It’s hard to imagine anyone commenting on Steve Jobs’ “authentic” presence, or how “genuine” Elon Musk is. We assume that men who are doing things their own way will do whatever they need to in order to succeed and that they will do it on their own terms. Women, on the other hand, are expected to be themselves, but only in a way that’s marketable. They must be “authentic” while choosing the right shirt and being photographed in the right, airy, light-filled space.

Even at the most humble level, the advice for women is not just to create something, but to BE something. It’s not enough for the audience to like what you make or do, they have to like YOU. You have to be approachable and funny and glamorous and different – you have to give everything.

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And that’s part of why Cher and Ru have always stuck with me: if you’ve gotta give them something, give them you on steroids. Give them you plus 35 pounds of Swarovski crystals and inch-long falsies. They want a piece of you? Fine, give them a wall, a whole ten foot tall wall one-hundred miles wide and built from nothing but acrylic nails and shoulder pads.

For a woman to present herself with bombast feels less like a performance and more an act of overt rebellion. So much of our lives, even our attempts to have public lives, are centered on maintaining a sort of subtle decorum. Subtlety is equated with refinement, dignity, and class. “Summer’s subtle sheers” murmurs the ad for blouses, “Natural is in” confirms the makeup tutorial. Artifice is accepted, as long as it’s artifice constructed so painstakingly it can pass, believably, for reality.

“Oh this, it’s nothing” we, we women, feel we have to say in the face of any and every compliment. When it’s not nothing. It’s something – something hard that we worked for and sweat over and lost sleep in the pursuit of. To allow ourselves the freedom of being loud, garish even, is an act of bravery. It is also a suit of armor: you’re not being the you they want you to pretend to be, you’re being the you you want to pretend to be. You’re inviting the twin from your mirror to take the reins for a while. You’re also allowing her to field a few of the blows.

“As you can see, I did receive my Academy booklet on how to dress like a serious actress.”

One of my favorite anecdotes about Cher was her story behind her (in)famous 1986 Bob Mackie Oscars dress. You know, the one with the insane feather headdress that seemed to hover two feet above her head like some fabulous combination of mohawk and goth tiara. The one with the midriff. The one with the beads. She said she’d been denied voting rights and membership in the Academy and had been sent many less-than-subtle hints from the powers that be that she needed to tone down her look or else she could never pass muster as a “serious actress.”

Her response: that dress. A dress so big it made the person inside it physically larger. A dress that broke one of the unspoken, cardinal rules of women’s fashion: clothing must nip, it must tuck, it must take away from, make smaller, minimize, it must not get in the way, it should never inconvenience (at least, not those outside the outfit, this doesn’t take into account all the painful contraptions required to do all that nipping and tucking). Can you imagine the people in the row behind Cher? They wouldn’t have been able to see a damn thing! This was reprehensible: a woman who disrupted just by her presence, a woman who dared to be larger than herself. Two years later, Cher won her Oscar.

It’s striking that one of the things you’ll hear over and over, said by friends of both Cher and Ru, is how quiet they are, even shy. These days, Ru only appears in drag when he’s being paid, a lesson a lot of us could stand to learn from: sure, I’d love to share myself with you! How much are you paying?

And still, RuPaul’s private life is notoriously just that: private. When the filming is done, the dresses come off, the wigs get put away, and Ru goes home, to be the Ru that only the people he wants to share him with get to know. The same is true of Cher: it’s shocking so see her, on the rare, brief occasions she allows such intimacy, sans wig. It feels vaguely perverse, or even voyeuristic: that’s not Cher, that’s just a pretty lady who likes turquoise jewelry and scented candles. That lady is none of my business.

And yet, both of these she-roes have made themselves into the heart of their business, first-names only. Or anyway, the bronzed, shimmering versions of themselves that they’ve so carefully built and projected. But there’s never a lie in this. They wink and nod (Ru swaps genders) and twinkle from a stage, personalities so big and broad it’s obvious they are, to some extent, characters. But you also get the sense that these are beloved characters, the women they wished they were: braver, funnier, more beautiful, more fully sequined.

That there’s such a distinct line between their public personas and their private ones is a deeply brave and rebellious act. In a world where women are expected to make themselves available to all, to nurture relationships (even business relationships) at the cost of their own wishes and even health, they’ve made the courageous decision to draw a line in the sand: this part is for you, but this part is for me.

“You can call me he. You can call me she. You can call me Regis and Kathie Lee; I don’t care! Just as long as you call me.”

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I don’t mind sharing bits of myself in the pursuit of building an audience, but I like the practice of separating my business self from my personal self. My business self is funny and brave and not afraid to take credit for her accomplishments, she wears bright lipstick and dresses and has good posture. My personal self is shy and quiet, she needs an inhaler and never wears makeup, she likes boxer shorts and old t-shirts and would rather read than go out.

They’re not two different people exactly, but one of them is stronger and more courageous. One of them is more capable of going out on a limb and of repelling criticism like so many little beads of water. It’s the difference between the home me and the me of the outside world: one of them has cured longer, one of them is a little harder. I like the practice of getting dressed to go somewhere. I like the process of giving control to a version of myself that’s big and bold and supersaturated and full of color and not afraid to show it.

What I think the essential component is though, the component that both Cher and RuPaul demonstrated, is honesty. It’s fine to have an aspect of performance in your persona, what becomes oppressive is the insistence on promoting that carefully curated self as being also your most authentic and vulnerable self.

There’s a certain deviousness to the market for “natural” and “authentic” women. So much of the emphasis seems to be less on sharing who you are and more on proving who you’re not: you’re not sloppy, or loud, or scared, you’re not overly concerned with what others think of you, you don’t require too much maintenance, you’re not desperate. The effect is that women see these images and think, “What’s wrong with me?” They think, “I don’t look that good when I wake up” or “It takes me two hours to get ready!” or “My house is a total mess, how is their space so perfect?” or “I’m exhausted from working on this thing, how can they put something so gorgeous into the world without any stress?”

I, on the other hand, am firmly a disciple of the church of Cher and Ru: be flamboyant, be loud, be over-the-top, whatever that may mean to you, whether it’s hair extensions and platforms or combat boots and a buzz cut. Show up and show them that you work hard, not just on your appearance, but on what you do and make and love. Don’t perpetuate the myth of “effortlessness.”

Nothing worth doing is without effort, and no beautifully lit photo of an airy white room happens without a whole lot of planning and plotting and sweat. You are worth this. You deserve to be seen, and you also deserve the space to retreat. You are going into battle and you damn well better believe you’ll need the armor.

After all: “We’re born naked, and the rest is drag.”

Images from: Mathu Anderson, Chad Michaels as CherPreston Burford Photography

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Thank you so much for your contribution to Hiya Tootsie!, Sabrina!



Badass Broads You Should Know: Shante’ Morgan Anderson

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Name: Shante’ Morgan Anderson

Age: 28

Location: Idaho Falls, ID

Career: Transformation Coach & Business Mentor/Yoga Teacher/Writer

Website: theConfashional.com & WanderlustWife.com

Favorite quote or lyric: Lyric: “There is beauty in the breakdown”

Quote: “Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect.” -Luna Lovegood

HYT: Make us fangirl. Who are you, what are you about, and what dream(s) are you chasing down?

SHANTE’: Oh hey… I’m Shante’. Married to my twin flame, Nic. Mama to 9 year old pitbull, Thena, and our first human, a baby boy nicknamed TinyDino due 9/10/16. We recently moved back to our hometown in Southeast Idaho after living out of suitcases full-time for the last year and a half.

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The thing I am most adamantly about is unrelenting self love – this journey of deciding who you want to be and compassionately pulling yourself through the process. First and foremost, I’m a wife. I’m hyper independent and am very good at both being by myself and living life on my own terms.

My relationship with my husband forces the most personal growth and it’s where I feel the most myself. While I’m sure my opinion on that is about to change with impending motherhood, it’s still the relationship I am committed to holding as the highest priority because it’s through that space my son is going to learn what love, healthy relationships, and worthiness look like.

As for what dream I’m chasing down, I’ve honestly cried about answering these questions more than a few times. I’m currently 37 weeks pregnant so hormones are highly to blame, but I have no idea what my life is going to look or feel like in a month – just that it will change entirely. This is such an intense transitional space, it’s hard to feel solid in anything.

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When I started this journey I never expected to be at what I considered the “ultimate goal” so quickly. Part of me is just marinating in this space of contentment before life is tossed into a blender with a new baby, and it’s overwhelming to reflect because I feel like there can’t possibly be more than this. #crazypregnantlady

Big picture – we want a Netflix series directed by Jenji Kohan telling our clusterf*ck love story; it’s the kind of narrative that changes lives. I wrote a book last year about my own journey to self love, but have yet to do any editing to make it into something sellable and tangible. One day it will be a New York Times Best Seller.

I’ve been a Wellness Coach for nearly three years, pursuing it full-time for over two, and currently, making significant changes there is my main focus. I’m working to integrate my work as a Yoga Teacher more fully into my services and feel called to share it in a really profound way. Each day I wake up excited to share my story and show people what’s possible when they choose to live courageously. I offer a road map of support and accountability for others on the journey of self love through online challenges I host and one-on-one Coaching.

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The thing that keeps me awake at night is getting to mentor others is discovering what they’re passionate about and cultivating that into a sustainable career so they can share it with the world. I’m here to help other people share their own stories and flood the world with more vulnerability. I believe if we can all just feel worthy and like we matter, real compassion is possible and then we’ll find some peace on the planet. Once the baby gets here I am committing the first year of his life to completing the Course In Miracles and beginning the journey to expanding myself to a teacher in the Course.

I also have two blogs, neither of which have been getting the attention they deserve, always being pushed aside for something more “important” or for immediate income-creating actions. This “assignment” was actually a turning point for that since my goal as a Coach was always to reach a point where blogging/writing was my full-time career. I’m giving myself permission to place energy in that direction, so look out for some new stuff!

The Confashional is a fashion blog where I share my more intense memoir and personal mental health related journey. WanderLustWife is the highlight reel where I’m making my dreams of becoming one of those hated Pinterest moms come true. It’s all about design, creative projects, food, yogic hippie living, health/fitness, and travel. I’m going to grow these two into a virtual empire.

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HYT: Give us some background. How’d you get started on your dream chasing journey and where are you in the chase present day?

SHANTE’: This question is largely the reason I’ve cried so many times when trying to write this piece. One of the first things I do each day is look at TimeHop to see how far I’ve come and this weekend three years ago was my rock bottom. I was at a music festival with my boyfriend, he’d asked me to have a baby and offered up some very convincing arguments on it being a great idea. We were deeply in love, planned on getting married, and had talked long-term since basically the day we met.

I had a graduated with my Bachelor’s in Communication/Film Studies a few month prior and landed a corporate marketing job with a great starting salary, benefits, the whole package. On paper I had every reason to say yes, but just couldn’t. I looked around and realized this life I was living wasn’t anything I had really wanted. More importantly, that I had no idea what I wanted. I hated my job and felt like my soul was being suffocated.

I woke up hungover at least three days a week and our relationship was a rollercoaster exactly like the alcoholic household I’d grown up in. I’d been a signed model/actress for years – that motivated diet pill abuse and dangerous crash dieting. I’d quit both habits, but my wrecked metabolism had me weighing over 210lbs. We were living paycheck to paycheck in a little apartment with holes in the carpet and black mold in the shower, stressed about filling both my gas tank and fridge each week. I was angry, anxious, and apathetic. I hated who I saw in the mirror and was terrified about the idea of being someone’s mother.

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I’d been presented with this opportunity to become a Coach affiliated with TeamBeachbody several times and pushed it off as a gross pyramid scheme that wasn’t a “real job” and I’d worked too hard on my career to sell shakes on the internet. No thanks. In June, I’d done a free clean-eating group on Facebook with a friend from high school to try to figure out how in the hell to eat like a healthy person, and despite “support groups full of inspirational women” being as far from my kinda thing as you could get, I loved it.

Getting back home after that weekend and realizing how much I wanted to say yes to a baby opened me up to new perspective on options out there. As many negative beliefs as I had about what being a Coach meant, my friend from high school was living the kind of life I wanted… building a killer career, working at home with her 6 month old baby, making herself healthy, happy, and getting to help people.

I felt so hopeless and meaningless because I wasn’t doing anything that mattered; scheduling soap shipments at work, watching reality tv or getting drunk at night, rinse, repeat. I said to hell with it and decided to jump in because what I was doing obviously wasn’t working and this seemed like the furthest thing from my normal. More than anything, by putting myself out there as someone for people to follow, I’d be held accountable to fixing my own shit and I had to make a change. When I say I’m going to do something, failure is not an option.

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My goal when I started was just to be happy at a very baseline level – have a stable home life not repeating the high-functioning alcoholic cycle I grew up in, like myself, be excited to go to work everyday, and put my bills on auto pay. I had no idea where to start, so I just decided to focus on the weight and unhealthy lifestyle and then go from there.

On September 28th, 2013, I committed to one year of doing this crazy thing, no excuses, and if it didn’t “work” then I could quit. In that year, my BF and I got engaged, moved into a new 3 bedroom house, I quit my corporate job, and made up my full-time salary within six months of starting my business.

I lost 70lbs, quit drinking, and rid my life of toxic friends. I helped someone lose 120lbs and play soccer with their kids for the first time ever. I started traveling solo and gained confidence in my vulnerability in a way I didn’t know was possible.

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In the process, my relationship was also imploding and I woke up to realize that at some point it’d spiraled into a narcissist/empath abusive relationship dynamic. The most difficult and proudest moment of my life is the day I called off my wedding. I shared a video on YouTube sharing that I’d ended it, holding myself accountable to the decision because I knew otherwise I’d go back.

Within only a few days, I received messages from 7 different women who called their own weddings off because I’d shared my story and shown that it was okay to walk away when you knew it wasn’t right. The day after my “wedding that wasn’t,” was my one year anniversary of starting my journey. Poetic right?

I relate deeply to Heather’s own story here because as a coping mechanism to my pain, I poured everything I had into helping people and working. Only now, the people I was attracting were deeply broken, depressed, and in the same dark circumstances I was. I could elaborate here but the ultimate result was burnout and compassion fatigue beyond belief.

In the following year, I reconnected with an ex from high school, we eloped less than 6 months after I ended the other engagement, and I moved my life into a set of suitcases to travel with him full-time. I took a break from working and only maintained my business a few hours a week. I wrote nonstop while adventuring uninhibited and spent a month living in a beach house retreat to become a yoga teacher.

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Looking back at it now, it was everything I needed; it’s just that the journey is nothing like I wanted it to be. At the time, it all just hurt and was hard. I never used my marriage or magical circumstances as an excuse not to cope, but instead as motivation to work through my mess – still to get to that place where I was always working toward, and being someone I could be proud of as a mom.

This September will be my three year anniversary of starting my business and self discovery journey. I have wanted to quit so many times but the reality is that I don’t have any other option but to do this. I would be miserable anywhere else. I don’t know how to have a boss anymore and nothing will ever fulfill me the way being a part in someone taking accountability and control of their own happiness does.

As for where I’m at now on my dream chasing journey, in a lot of ways, I’m back where I started. I have the big dream which is the magical marriage, baby on the way, and living in a our dream house, but there is still so much left undone.

In March, I burned my business to the ground in order to start entirely over from the bottom up. We quit my husband’s job to move home so that I had the stability I needed in order to really focus on my career and goals for this to become our full-time gig. It was a huge lifestyle change and came with major financial setbacks but we are making it work while this dream is growing.

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I do all this so that one day sooner than later, I’ll crawl out of bed on a Wednesday morning after sleeping in to find my husband on the couch in his underwear eating cereal and singing disney songs with our kids. We’ll own the dream house we live in instead of renting and be back to traveling freely. We’ll have a nanny to handle our dishes and laundry so all our time is spent doing things we love like writing together and teaching our little ones to believe in magic.

This last month, I’ve been working hard on a new challenge to offer a way for people to get involved with the yoga lifestyle free from intimidation and overwhelm. It’s all hosted virtually, with 30 minutes of yoga practice each day at home, and throughout the month I’ll be sharing basics on mediation, mindfulness, and general happy hippie living with tools like cards, crystals, and consciousness. It’s an entirely new Coaching experience for me and feels more authentic than anything I’ve done before. I’m building my blogs to go along with it and am writing content like crazy.

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HYT: Let us peek behind the curtain. What does a typical day look like for you?

SHANTE’: I am loving getting to answer this now and take a snapshot of such a fleeting moment with becoming a new mother. Right now, much of my life revolves around peeing 743 times a day. What time I get up depends on how well I slept and sleeping in is something I am savoring shamelessly. I lay in bed for at least an hour playing with my belly because, well… I can. He’s going to be a separate human soon and I’ll miss feeling like I swallowed an angry seal.

I make my superfood java chip Shakeology for breakfast, sit outside to brain dump, and blog post write. Then I break for some chores around the house while listening to personal development before sitting down to my desk and doing a couple hours of Coaching work. I answer messages and check into my groups. Around about 1 most days, I take a nap because growing a people is exhausting.

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In the afternoon is mentorship calls and running shopping to prepare for baby or head to the pool for a workout. I take space throughout it all to play with my dog, nest like a neurotic little bird on creative projects, and am constantly distracted by my kicking bump. I do Facebook live video everyday and am also trying to stay committed to self-shooting my fashion stuff each day. Some days I’m also camped out watching Netflix, calling friends all day, or reading nonstop. Being pretty chill with my solitude, this time is so limited!

The evening is all about family time. I’m currently on a mad meal prep to fill my freezer with 2 months worth of food. We watch a lot of movies/tv doing uninterrupted while we still can. Nic goes to bed around 10, but I stay up late since it’s when I’m the most creative. This is when I’m working on my blog sites, creating content, or building trainings. I have a 2am cut off to be in bed and then read until I fall asleep. Sometimes I shower, though admittedly, usually I don’t.

I rarely put on pants and the majority of my social interaction occurs through a screen. My husband says I’m a highly introverted socialite. Now ask me this question in a month when my life is wrecked…

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HYT: Real talk. What are you most afraid of as you work toward your dreams and what do you do to combat those fears?

SHANTE’: Having PTSD, this is the hardest for me to answer because phsyiologically, my body reactively is viserally afraid of some basic life stuff. My last panic attack was after a training call with one of my mentors where she talked about vision; it triggered connection to my abusive relationship and how the stronger-in-myself I’d become, the more my ex had oppressed me. The literal creation of my vision resulted in being punished for my growth. I realized I was survival-mode-level afraid of wanting anything bigger because of it.

It’s interesting because my own journey of discovery and creation is my job and I refuse to live scared. When I’m afraid of something, that’s exactly the direction I go. To conquer the feeling is a lot of yoga breath work and getting present. I take my shoes off, get my feet on the ground, write, do something active, and anything I can to laugh. I process with Nic and usually share about the struggle immediately to shine light on the experience.

From a business stand point, I’m afraid I won’t have the tools or insight to help the people who seek me out. Sometimes, I don’t. I’ve had to learn that it’s not my job to fix anyone and ultimately, that responsibility is on them. I can only do the best I can with what I have and trust the right people end up in the right place.

Recently I had someone really close to me suggest I change the way I share my life on social media because “people were laughing at me and everyone thought I was just a big joke.” Until that moment, being unliked or judged was a big fear, but having it thrown in my face in such a hurtful and aggressive way was proof that judgement is only a projection of someone else’s own insecurities. I reached out to others whom I trusted to be honest and asked for their opinion only to receive support. It didn’t make it hurt any less, but I was able to view the attack through an objective and compassionate perspective.

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HYT: Go ahead and name drop. Who are your biggest inspirations and why?

SHANTE’: #1 is my dad. He’s an entrepenuer and I’ve had the privilege of watching him build something immense out of absolutely nothing. Like most of my generation, I was told “you can be anything if you work hard enough,” but I was lucky enough for someone to actually live it. I remember sitting in our single wide trailer and him telling me how one day he was going to build a hotel. At the time, he worked as a Fireman full-time while putting decks on houses in his off hours.

Last week was the groundbreaking for his new development that includes three hotels. The day previous was a luncheon for Building Hope Today, a nonprofit my parents founded to help those affected by childhood sexual abuse through policy change and awareness. The hotel is pretty damn cool, but it’s watching him stand up to tell his own story of overcoming abuse and impossible odds that makes me proud of my inherited warrior spirit.

My mom, who’s stood up as the backbone of our family through more than anyone should be asked to take on, and done so with grace, humility, and impressive patience. Because of her I know, without a doubt, I too will be an amazing mother.

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My husband, Nic. When he came back into my life 10 years after we originally dated, it was only 3 months after I’d called off my wedding and I was a total train wreck. When I told him I couldn’t have anything to do with him because I needed to handle myself and not be distracted, he responded by saying, “I am not going to fix you. I am not going to even help you fix you. But I will hold your hand and I will get you water when you get thirsty.”

He has held me crying over my ex-fiance, given me space to be alone for literally weeks at a time, and carried me when my auto immune disease had me so I couldn’t walk. I am blown away by him on a daily basis. He has taught me a level of self love and awareness I didn’t know was achievable. I can’t even say he’s overcome things in his life as much as he’s accepted and integrated them into who he decided to be and everything he is. I’m inspired by his commitment to growth and comfortability with total unknown. He’s vulnerable and honest and deeply compassionate. He’s the calm center to my constantly swirling storm.

Also, Oprah, Gabrielle Bernstein, Brené Brown, Shanti Zimmerman, Heather (yeah you, girl), Amy Silverman, and Shaun T.

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HYT: Let’s talk goals. Where do you aim to be 5 years down the line?

SHANTE’: In production for our Netflix series, whether at the beginning stages or seasons in, time will tell. We’re a full-time family and Nic gets to work alongside me everyday building our creative endeavor empire. Since we’re manifesting our perfect world here, four kids total. First boy, a girl, then twins to save time and get it done.

Both our memoirs are in the process of publishing and our traveling nanny makes it simple for our children to travel with us. DreamCatcher Dynasty, my team, is a 15 star Diamond, a leadership rank based on my sponsoring Coaches success in helping others, and each year I host them on a service/yoga retreat to visit the Homes of Hope orphanage in India. I’m publicly speaking, a teacher in the Course of Miracles, and have earned my first million dollars.

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HYT: Give it to us straight. What’s your best piece of advice to other women that you’ve personally followed on your own dream chasing journey?

SHANTE’: Don’t be afraid to be considered a bitch. So often I work with women who are afraid to put their own needs first because they feel selfish; our society teaches us that being opinionated, strong willed, and ambitious as a female means you’re difficult, while men are rewarded for the same.

Speak your mind. Stand up for yourself. Stand up for those who can’t speak up for themselves. Be loud. State what you want and go for it shamelessly.

People will be uncomfortable and you will inevitably receive backlash; to me those are signs we’re doing something right and creating the kind of change needed so our daughters can grow up in a world where they are actually equal to their brothers.

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HYT: Shante’, you badass mother !?$%er, I ADORE you. Thank you for sharing so openly, vulnerably, and bravely. Your life, story, life’s work, and relationship with yourself and with Nic inspire me to no end. Thank you for who you are, who you are becoming, and how deeply you intend to help others. You are truly a rare diamond in the rough and I am HONORED to call you my friend. I love you, woman. 

Tootsie crew, go follow this woman. She is one of my VERY favorite people I’ve connected with online and she constantly has remarkable things to teach and share. You will fall in love with her even more than you already have through this interview and I promise you, she will enhance your life in ways you never knew you needed!

Images from: Amy Martin Photography (maternity shoot), True Atelier Photography (yoga shoot), Nic Anderson Photography & Shante’ Morgan Anderson





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