Like many people, I was nearing my 30's and looking back on my life realizing that I had passed by so many opportunities because of fear, lack of self-esteem, and terrible body image. I couldn’t see my worth and was looking toward the future with hopelessness and sadness, not sure of the point of it all.
Reaching this dark place led me to a discovery; I thought about what I was truly afraid of and what the absolute worst that could happen was if I started to say yes. I knew I probably couldn’t feel much worse than I already did, and this somehow began to diminish my fears. I took a chance and started to say YES. Yes to myself. Yes to my value. Yes to new experiences and love and delight and wonder.
I started back to school (I had failed out of college). I started to dress in a way that made me feel beautiful (I am fat and tall and not traditionally beautiful). I started to sing in public (after being bullied relentlessly about my voice in middle school). I started dancing (I had never danced before).
I remade my life into something extraordinary. And I knew that I wanted to help lead others onto remarkable transformations of their own.
By saying yes to myself I:
Opened the only dance studio in Hampton Roads, Virginia specializing in belly dance and burlesque.
Manage The Feral Showgirls, a performing arts group of 25 members with a strong focus on representation and being inclusive to showcase people of ALL types doing all sorts of wonderful things, from musicians, to burlesque dancers, to pole dancers, comedians, belly dancers, and more.
Work as a professional emcee, burlesque dancer, and belly dancer.
Became the lead singer of Rachel and the JellyCats, a 6 piece band that brings all the soul and swagger from the past into the rocking future.
Graduated with a master's degree in clinical mental health counseling and I am working toward my second master's degree in addiction counseling.
Run workshops on body kindness for people of all ages.
Write a monthly column for Curvicality Magazine about the art of taking chances.
Am an award-winning model and cosplay artist.
All of this has happened because I decided to choose ME and I want to help others to make this choice, too. I know we can live our best lives together through support, kindness to ourselves and others, and by leaving some sparkle everywhere we go. Join me, won’t you?