Breaking Barriers: The Beauty Edition

Breaking Barriers: The Beauty Edition

Simply put, I want to tell you all how transitioning my hair to it’s most natural state helped me remove and break barriers that I had been trying to get a hold of for years but I just couldn’t make any headway. 


Let me start by explaining what transitioning really means in case this is a new term. A lot of women with curly, kinky hair go through a process of relaxation to get soft straight manageable hair. This is called a relaxer, or most comedically known as ‘Creamy Crack’. Less time doing your hair, no one makes fun of you in school, and now you fit the beauty standard set by society. But, what does this do to some people? Or more pointedly, what did it do to me?


I got to a point where if I didn’t have hair extensions or relaxers – I didn’t know what to do with myself. It became my costume. I even had ridiculous thoughts like if I didn’t look on point, everyone was going to talk about me and I was gonna be miserable as a result. You know why? As a kid some really close friends did exactly this. So at 14, I established a learned behavior about how I presented myself to the world. 


I took these behaviors with me in my professional carrier. Always hiding this big secret. One time I was told I looked like Beyoncé. I laughed so hard out loud because I thought it was the most ridiculous thing. Inside, I said “hells yes”. The world was sending confirmation that I looked like a package. Why did I need that validation from people that don’t know my heart? Or my story? I had no idea. I just knew for a long time that I wanted to be pretty. And pretty looked like everyone else, to me.


Fast forward to a new job. Where now my look was bringing me attention but not how I wanted it. You know, look beautiful but still be a wallflower. You don’t want anyone to say anything to you about it but just to see it is enough. That’s not how it was going. I had a male coworker who liked men so he didn’t give a damn about me in that sense, but he always made comments about my look. He gave his approval and disapproval whenever his mouth felt the urge. Next to him, was an older white woman who also felt the need to take this route.


By now, maybe even a little before them – I was starting to reject chemically processing my hair because I became a mother and didn’t want those chemicals in my body, let alone my child’s during an already high risk preganancy. I danced with the idea of what would happen if I stopped paying $$$$$$ (yes, a lot) for these things I’ve begun to associate with as improving my look?

I blew people’s minds when I walked in one morning with my natural hair. Some didn’t care,  some thought it was awesome and the two from above couldn’t not say anything:


“ I have a black friend, she has a hairstylist. Would you like their number?”

“Why’d you do that to your hair?”


Almost crushed at this point. But still standing. 


I went home and made a video saying I will not conform to someone else’s standards. 


Being on this journey, has built me up from the inside. I feel good about me. Finally, it’s not because I was trying to look like or be someone else. I started paying attention to myself. Discovering that my hair should be cared for with love, natural products and it will flourish. All of that has transitioned into the way I live life, the way I raise my child, how I support my husband and my family. 


I am thankful for being grounded in the best way that I know how and it being from a place of complete submission and authenticity to my truest self. This abundance I’ve been searching for could only have come from me finding my own way and not trying to blaze someone else’s trail. Going on a loc journey was everything I imagined and more. Even on my worst hair days, I still feel beautiful because there is so much more to me than I ever could have imagined. 


Be inspired to be your whole self.

Shedding Negativity with Spiritual Medicine

In an effort to do some spring cleaning, I went to a sweat lodge last weekend. A friend invited me unexpectedly and I went into the experience not knowing what to expect. The journey left me feeling at peace but also motivated by the spring energy or renewal and rebirth. I channeled my inner spiritual goddess, faced the physical challenges of visual depravation and pushing my physical body to its limits. I shed all the negativity that I had been carrying. I don’t know about you, but this was a hard winter for me, emotionally speaking so this experience was the most rewarding.

As someone who prefers to communicate visually, I leave these photos here for you to enjoy. I hope they peak your curiosity and you find your own way to clean out the proverbial closet because spring is here and it’s time to start anew!

Peace and love,
Isabel

V.3 She’s Got The Juice

Maker and Creative – heart, mind, and soul. Akilah Interviews her Co-Founding Bestie of Blooming Dreamers on her dreams and passions. Owner of Lebasi Photography, Isabel Gonzales shares her love for capturing photos through Environmental Portraiture and what she wants people to know about her relationship to her craft. Click the link below and follow us on SoundCloud.

V.3 She’s Got The Juice

Creating A Sacred Space

Creating A Sacred Space

Spring is finally here so to honor this beautiful change in seasons I decided to create an altar. In the past I always had an unofficial altar: my prized possessions, small treasures and jewelry purposefully placed atop my dresser with photos of loved ones arranged with intention. I enjoy maintaining that space, it’s something that I’ve always done naturally, but I never took the time to reflect on why I did it. Now that I’m older and have found my interests veering more toward unconventional spiritual or energetic practices, my altar has taken on a new vibe.

Currently, I have a special handmade bowl gifted to me that holds all of my smaller crystals I’ve collected over the years, crow feathers I collected on a spiritual journey years ago in San Francisco, a Ganesh statue from Thailand gifted to me by an old friend, my oracle and tarot card decks, smudging supplies like sage, palo santo, abalone and fresh camellias, attributed to living in the Camellia Capital of the World; Sacramento, CA. Not only do all of these items you see on my altar have a deep personal meaning, they are objects and supplies that I use when I want to center myself, clear my mind or sort through emotional challenges.

Altar for Virgin de Guadalupe
Altar for Virgin de Guadalupe

Traditionally speaking altar making is a common practice among many cultures across the world. You may have seen altars dedicated to Asian or Indian deities in various restaurants or markets where incense is burning and gifts of sweets or fruit are placed on the altar at certain times of the year. Specifically in India, altars dedicated to Ganesh are commonly placed near the entryway of homes or businesses as he represents new beginnings and the removal of obstacles in one’s path.

In Mexico on the other hand, people build altars to honor the deceased. It is a beautiful tradition to build ornate altars in remembrance of those loved ones who have passed. This tradition is practiced during Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead.

In the Celtic and pagan traditions honoring Ostara (Easter) or Spring Equinox, people create altars laden with fresh flowers, seeds, aromatherapy oils and fruits to set the intention of looking forward towards growth and abundance.

There’s no one way to create an altar and your altar can change throughout the year. Make it personal and set your intentions for your altar this spring. Feel free to leave comments and questions below and please share your altars with us here or on social media by hashtagging #bloomingaltars

Navigating Impostor Syndrome

Navigating Impostor Syndrome

I initially saw this post representing some form of expertise, citing intellectual science papers and well known psychologist. However, I think we have all had enough of the over complication of this phenomenon. We hear the words a lot these days, even though the term was coined well over 40 years ago by mental health practitioners – it comes up almost everyday like it was introduced a short time ago. Impostor Syndrome has everything to do with self and what’s happening on the inside. Or is it really that simple?

Arguably, the conditions in which this particular syndrome develops in a human being is spread wide across the spectrum. Therefore, making it damn near impossible for someone to quickly identify the simple fact that they may have feelings around being undeserving of the success they experience.  These ideas lead me to share some personal feelings on what that looks like and how I navigate that uncomfortable space.

For such a long time I let people and circumstances decide what I was capable of doing. I’m not entirely sure how I molded my thinking, but I’m sure it started in the 4th grade. Being ranked against school mates, meaningless testing, introduction of puberty, the divide of the ‘who’s who’ on the playground that has now become a platform for observing differences; really I can go on. All of these things have to do with a lovely feeling  of confidence.

I was never short of extracurriculars on the schedule. Band, volleyball, cheerleading, art and dance we’re apart of my life for over a decade. I loved being a part of them but sometimes, it was a bit hard. I’m a firm believer that representation matters, when we don’t see a lot of people that look like us, or aren’t accepted by many people that meet those same qualifications – things sometimes feel a little bit lonely. Confidence in these instances, lacks a bit. Sometimes it’s over compensated with a false confidence leading people to believe you’re fine when really, you need the ear of someone who understands your challenges and who holds your hand through them.

This is where college got fun. All that life experience boosted me, my connections with people and new ideas were forming and I was really excited about them. I found what I loved most in this phase of my life – psychology, philanthropy, journalism and business. I honestly thought to myself – “This is impossible, no one likes all of these things.” I had a passion for them that conflicted with the model of 1 major, 1 minor or at most a double major. I convinced myself that my goals were unrealistic and therefore I was confused and lost. I gave up here.

I would love to write fast forward here, but there is too much juice so I’ll keep it short. A career choice I would learn later to be not at all in line with any of my loves, a marriage to my best friend, some devastating life events; all lead me back to face myself and inspired me to live wholly and outright. I started emerging myself in all my true loves again in the name of self-care; psychology, philanthropy, journalism and business. Reading books, discovering new ways to make myself happy, meeting new people, conversing and sharing common interest. I, in short was developing in all areas I held near and dear. The time came where Isabel and I were discussing what we wanted from life again and then came Blooming Dreamers. From there we developed relationships and aligned ourselves with peers and mentors who were in these same fields. Without saying it, we were molding our expertise.

Reality check; how in the world can I look at myself as someone suffering from impostor syndrome when I am doing all of the things it would take for me to become well versed in becoming an expert? Maybe it’s the social media culture we live in or the performance appraisal hysteria we face around this time of year. Either way we were raised to seek out validation. Some of us I might even reach to say, I heard the words impostor syndrome and made up an excuse as to why we just weren’t doing well in life. Let us not fall victim to the placebo effect, or read our ways out of following our dreams.

My goal is to always be constructive and productive. To read up on things that will educate me in all my endeavors. To reach out and embrace new experiences. To live like this is my shot and I’m going for it. In order for me or any of you to move through paralysis, we have to reframe our thought processes by finding new ways to approach challenges. Finding circles that support my dreams and goals has been absolutely crucial in showing me that anything is possible.

If you want more fascinating info in an extremely tasteful and informative perspective, check out Matt O’ Keefe’s take here:

https://www.comicsbeat.com/impostor-syndrome/amp/

With that, I wish us all the best success and I cannot wait to hear your stories of how you conquered your fears of success.