Welcome to Real Women Wednesday.
This is a series that I started to empower and inspire women around the world. Every Wednesday I am featuring a Q&A with a remarkable woman who I’ve connected with and/or admire. The mission for this series is to ignite the fire within whoever is reading this while being introduced to women whose fire is burning bright.
It’s about growing our sisterhood and developing the understanding that all women are divine beings on different paths to create wonder and love in this world.
This Wednesday’s woman goes by the name Michelle Lavender Grace. I first connected with Michelle through a previous job and since have had the opportunity to work with her. Michelle is an incredible photographer and you may have spotted a few of her photographs sprinkled around my social media.
Not only is she a photographer, but she’s a mom, a business owner, a giver and someone I love speaking with. Whenever Michelle and I talk, a wave of power, inspiration and genuine kindness comes over me. I’ve been lucky to be able to have meaningful conversations with Michelle and dive deep into her fierce way of thinking and living.
It’s my pleasure to introduce Michelle.
Tell me 5 things I don’t know about you
For a long time, my aspiration was to be an international DJ with a Ph.D.; I always have a deep want to balance my intellect and creativity. I adore modeling. I am always looking for opportunities to express myself through all avenues of art. I was raised by Jewish South African parents and I attribute a lot of my passion for social justice and equality to this upbringing. My only phobia is live, small fish.
I’m specifically concerned about them somehow being swallowed and finding their way into my belly. Despite this fear, I have three University degrees: Undergraduate degrees in Philosophy and Applied Psychology, and a Masters degree in Counselling.
Where is home for you?
Home is where the heart is. My current primary mailbox is in Kelowna B.C. but I feel at home equally in Vancouver, B.C.
You’re in need of some alone time, where do you go?
The closest Buddhist temple.
What has been the happiest moment of your life?
The days I had each of my sons, Max and Charlie were the happiest days of my life. There’s nothing as refreshing as the new potential for life and birthing my children was the most joyful rush I have ever experienced.
Think back to your childhood… what memory came to mind?
My earliest memory is standing in front of a canvas, thinking that my work looked pretty good, and deciding at 4 years old that I was an artist.
Where do you feel the happiest?
I feel happiest in nature, hiking, swimming, just sitting in the sun or walking in bare feet.
What does being a woman mean to you?
What I consider feminine energy includes compassion, caring, healthy self-esteem, and giving within healthy boundaries.
How do you think we (as women) can help build friendships/relationships instead of competition between ourselves?
I think it’s really important to understand that each woman has her own unique energy, weaknesses, and strengths. There’s really no comparing when you understand that everyone has talents to bring to the table.
How do you work on yourself and improve your mental health?
I’m not shy about admitting that I have faced mental health challenges in response to some difficult experiences. Overall, I have a tendency to take out my emotions on myself. I have spent a lot of time recognizing and admitting the problem, and I am creative about treatment and self-awareness strategies.
Tell me about a woman that inspires you
My Mom inspires me. I think it’s important to recognize that becoming a woman means making peace with your Mother. My Mom is a strong, steadfast, caring individual who I have watched grow into such a vibrant and joyful being – she is really an inspiration to me.
What words of wisdom did someone important share with you?
A wise man once said, “love is the answer to most of the questions in my heart”. To me, this means that compassion is an excellent way to approach any situation, including jealousy. Holding on to the understanding that everyone has a story has helped me to respect other women increasingly.
I think one of the biggest challenges women face today is freeing themselves from expectations or letting themselves be defined by others. If you let others define you, you’ll never find yourself. There are so many ways to live and countless ways to be, and it makes me sad when I see women attacking each other’s choices.
If you could tell a teenage girl/young adult one thing, what would you say to them?
I would tell them that you can’t run or escape from yourself. It’s best to face your truths and learn to be authentic from a young age – this will build your self-esteem.
What is the wildest dream you have right now that you’re working to accomplish?
I have a wild dream of building a therapeutic photography practice where I integrate fine art and healing into a holistic practice offering people a healing vision of themselves. I have a strong pull toward therapeutic photography specifically toward guiding people in healing themselves through art.
Hello, me again. I just want to say the biggest thank you to Michelle for answering these questions and taking part in Real Women Wednesday. Reading her answers, I can feel her heart and soul in them. I hope you can too.
Since launching this series, I’ve received so much positive feedback and it fills my heart with an overwhelming amount of joy.
If you’d like to be featured on Real Women Wednesday, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out to me on social media. My handle is @thebookofmolly.
To read last week’s RWW, click here. I introduced you to Alyssa Walsh, an east coast chick who talks openly about mental health and living the best life possible on her blog.