Welcome to Real Women Wednesday
It’s Wednesday, so that means it’s your weekly dose of RWW! I created this series to empower, inspire and connect women. Every Wednesday, I share an interview with a woman who I’ve connected with or admire.
I want this series to showcase the empathic, soft and powerful sides that every woman has. I want us to push the comparison, jealousy and girl hate to the side and listen to these vulnerable words. As women, let’s lift each other up and help each other grow.
I met Sandra through Matthew on our second date. Matthew and Sandra have been friends for years and I have the true pleasure of calling Sandra a friend of mine as well.
Sandra is unlike any woman I’ve ever met. Even though as you’ll read she has a hard time being vulnerable with people, I feel her heart and soul as soon as I’m in her presence. The immediate calmness and sense of happiness I feel when I’m with Sandra tells me that she has a power in this world that needs to be shared.
When it comes to Sandra, I admire her clear sense of self-awareness and the constant self-growth that she makes time for. I admire her use of natural remedies and that her home is full of artwork, words, plants and animals. She is an amazing cook and an incredible host. I absolutely love visiting her home and spending time with her and her animals.
Sandra creates beautiful artwork, shares beautiful words and seems to always be working hard to make this world a more understanding, accepting and better place. I could gush about this woman forever as I’m so honoured to have had the opportunity to have met such a powerful, strong and giving woman. Getting to know Sandra has been one of my favourite opportunities from this past year.
Having Sandra take part in my Real Women Wednesday series was a must. I knew her written words would be as powerful as her conversations we have in person. I hope you can feel the power that her soul brings to the world as much as I feel it.
Meet the beautiful Alessandra.
What words would you use to describe yourself?
Resilient, Intuitive, Fierce, Contrary, Empathic
What kind of role do self-care and self-awareness play in your life. Why are these things important to you?
They play a pivotal role. I say this because I spent the first quarter century of my life completely negligent in understanding the necessity of, or realizing the injurious consequences of not having, an established routine of self care.
But establishing healthy intentions for self care can only come as a result of practicing methodical, often brutally honest self awareness. Not doing either of those resulted in a fairly serious mental health crisis, but more destructively, an identity crisis, because I had failed to nourish my own soul and had started to become a mere shadow of what others wanted me to be.
I took care of everyone else’s needs or desires before my own, because I didn’t know what my inner needs actually were. I embraced a faith system that did not match my core values, even though I believed it strongly, and acquiesced to social demands that were demeaning to my spirit, soul, and body. And I caused a lot of strain in relationships of every kind, because I didn’t fully understand who I was, what I truly desired, or what I needed to feel whole and thriving.
Now, I have several practices that I intentionally delve into to get in touch with what I’m feeling, why I’m feeling it, whether my actions are in line with my value system, where my internal landscape seems bleak, and what aspects are flourishing.
Visual journaling was the start of that self awareness journey, and creative practice remains a key self care ritual. Writing, creating, solitude, time in nature, and being in touch with all six senses have become well established rituals in my life.
Taking the time to explore my inner landscape, conquering shame, and taking pride in all my unique weirdness has led me to a place of not just peace, but wholeness without striving.
Tell me about someone who inspires you
I think every woman I’ve ever met has inspired me somehow, as cliche as that sounds. Every single woman has such a powerful story to be where she is, and I have yet to meet one who does not have a spark within her that could light up the world.
But at the end of the day, it’s the women who have struggled and overcome, who have fought the impossible battles and maybe even lost, but believed the cause til the end, who have been repressed but have risen anyway, who have gone against the status quo, who have perhaps not even been seen or acknowledged by society but have become their truest, best selves–those are the ones I look to for inspiration.
What’s one thing that has helped shape you into the woman you are today?
How does vulnerability show itself in your life?
Like a double edged sword.
It took a long time for me to understand vulnerability was a good thing. I think I was raised in a fairly conservative, private setting, and my personality is not one of openness or expressiveness. It was also deeply ingrained in me that vulnerability was dangerous, and literally life-threatening. For a long time I thought being vulnerable meant being weak, and therefore foolish.
This was not an easy mindset to overcome. Then I met the couple I would eventually claim as my “adopted parents.” They showed me that being vulnerable and authentic was the only way to achieve true connection, and that it is where our greatest strength lies.
It’s something I was forced to put into practice if I wanted to keep the relationships that were important to me, and I have sort of become better at it. I have friends who have allowed me to be vulnerable with my dark shadows, and they have supported me and loved me through it. From that platform I have been able to offer my vulnerability as a gift in certain situations, even when it is not safe or comfortable for me to do so.
Sometimes it is empowering and sometimes it brings loss, but through that I have learned that it never brings weakness. I still struggle with being vulnerable when I cannot control the outcome (which, in reality, is always).
But that is, by its very nature, what vulnerability is.
What makes you fall in love with someone? Romantically or platonically with friendships?
It’s the same romantically or in friendships (minus that “spark” of chemistry for just friends perhaps).
I fall in love with curious souls, passionate loyalty, broken birds, fiery spirits, underdogs, light-hearted laughers, rebels, kind eyes, seekers, animal lovers, wanderers, warriors, and poets. And basically every man who makes music.
What is your favourite non-physical attribute about yourself?
Being an empath, that safe space for so many to just be who they are, without judgement.
When you hear the word “woman”, what do you think about?
Sensual, powerful, creator of life, all encompassing, capable, awe inspiring force of spirit and soul and nature.
If you could make one change to the world, what would it be?
For every single person to love their “neighbour”, and be able to also receive love from their neighbour.
What’s your purpose and what’s your passion?
They are one and the same, and multi-dimensional. To be Who I AM in every moment.
To continue to fulfill the meaning of my name (Helper and Defender of humankind), using all the magic I was born with and all the training I’ve been given for that purpose.
To continue to be both the lightning rod and the lightning when confronting darkness and bringing change. To fully be the Empath I was meant to be. To continue being the safe space for people to accept who they really are and become authentically empowered in their destiny. To hold space for whatever pain people carry and help heal the wounds of this life or perhaps the previous.
If you have a life mantra, quote or passage you live by, share it below
Amor Vincit Omnia. Love conquers all.
Also: Potatoes are divine sustenance and should never be declined for any reason.
I love reading Sandra’s words. She really does have a remarkable soul, doesn’t she? I hope you learned as much as I did reading her deep and vulnerable thoughts.
I want to say thank you to Sandra for being a part of this series. Thank you for sharing your power and wisdom. I have such a high respect for you and the way you live life. I’m so lucky to get to call you a friend and I look forward to building this bond.
Are you wanting to read previous RWW posts? Catch up here.
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.