Guest post: Emily joined Kerri and I on our Breathless Kauai Retreat scouting trip. The following is her experience.
Why has that always been an unattainable adjective for me? Beautiful is a descriptor that has always been reserved for a different type woman. A woman who’s put together. Who is seen and not heard- not because she lives up to that old southern mantra, but because she has the type of beauty that will silence a room. She’s the embodiment of grace and elegance that is perfectly balanced with strength and confidence. She’s the type of woman I have always been told I should be and the kind of woman I could be, if I really tried. As a result, most of my life has been spent stuck in a vicious cycle of dieting and disappointment. I’ve been drowning in an endless supply of the latest and greatest beauty products, only coming up for air when someone would acknowledge my efforts. My quest has kept me constantly searching for approval from colleagues, friends, family members, and partners- eagerly waiting for someone to tell me that I’m beautiful, starving to hear someone use that adjective to describe me. Yet, those words never seem to come. I’m still nothing like the image of that beautiful woman I’ve always aspired to be. Instead I’ve had to settle with adjectives like “cute”, “pretty”, “hot”, “sexy”,“fuckable”…but never beautiful…. because it’s impossible for me to be beautiful.I’m just not that kind of woman. I’m more of a mess, with wild hair and coffee stains on my wrinkled shirt. I can silence a room, not with my looks, but because I usually enter a room like a hurricane, tripping over myself every step of the way. I’m the opposite of “put-together”. I’m all over the place. Some days I’m confident, but mostly I’m waiting for the next words of affirmation from someone else to reinforce my fake confidence. That’s not the description of a beautiful woman. Not even close. It is, however, the description of a woman who has mana. Mana that is visible in my photos. That’s why I immediately broke down into tears when I saw Jen’s photos of me- I could see it. I could remember it. I could feel it again. I could believe that it was there and it all finally made sense-I immediately knew why beautiful wasn’t my adjective, why it never will be. It can’t be.
Kauai is a special place. You can feel it as soon as you step off the plane. As a dear friend explained it - the island has a unique energy. Volcanic energy. It has its own power. That’s what mana is- a spiritual force and energy. I even wrote in my journal “the mana on this island is palatable” after he described it. Farther down the same page I also wrote:
"Each time I hear a rooster crow on this island it’s a reminder that I need…that this trip is a transition. I’m calling light into all of the places of darkness I’ve been holding onto. All of the hurt and the pain that’s been inflicted by me (i.e. to myself). All of the self- criticism. All of the things I’ve done…or not done. Said….or not said."
So, what did Kauai do for me? It closed some chapters in my story and opened some new ones. I accepted that I will never be that beautiful woman I imagined while I was there. I stopped berating myself for not becoming her. I accepted that I am a mess and always will be, because I’m not beautiful and I don’t want to be anymore.All it took was a wild island and a talented photographer to immortalize it in a way I that I could finally see it for myself…see that I’m a wild woman who is “the power of the elemental forces of nature embodied in an object or person”.
I’m not a beautiful woman, I’m a woman with mana.
To read more about our Kauai Adventure or to join us on our boudoir | yoga | meditation | adventure retreat in June 2017, CLICK HERE! There's still room!