Instagram friendships are real, y’all--or they can be. Rashida is a woman I’ve befriended through the interwebs, and I’ve admired her work since I first saw her work pop up on my feed. I asked her to write about courage in relation to her coaching and life. These are her words about taking up the space she deserves.
Bianca Iliev Photography truly took my breath away with these images. I’m so grateful to have a multitude of opportunities to document this newlywed journey with my love. When I was growing up I didn’t have many images to turn to of queer people getting married, thriving in life or navigating building a legacy with a partner. I didn’t see people being able to proudly embody and celebrate the love of their life in the same ways that cis-hetero couples have been afforded. I know this to be caused by intense and inhumane levels of isolation, shame and trauma that LGBTQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex) people have had to endure in order to maintain jobs, maintain access and for some, maintain a sense of family and connectedness for sanity.
At different points in our lives we’ve [Rashida and Miller--her spouse] stayed in places or conditions too long that did not honor us or value the weight that we bring to the table. I remember within our first few dates discussing work/life balance because, at the time, neither of us could take the death grip off these damn phones. I was running and also teaching my 16-city workshop tour without admin support. Miller working nonstop in corporate retail and we’re not even talking about high volume or super busy season. We come from families of hustlers, go-getters, barrier breakers and disruptors of status quo. So it is naturally ingrained in us to be on the move. We saw over time, as we supported each other through experiences of Illness, high stress, compounding shame and trauma from blatant racism, gender and gender identity discrimination, and slut shaming that the old way would not work anymore.
I looked at Miller and said we cannot die or allow ourselves to die anywhere as a result of harm and mistreatment. We definitely won’t be chained to spaces that want to feed on our brilliance, discard of us when no longer of use or keep us around to be tolerated. Life is too good to be in spaces where we are just surviving for the sake of surviving or clinging to status/access/communities/people when they don’t actually feed our spirits. And that has been our call to action in every instance of a trial or obstacle: DO NOT DIE. LIVE!
We are going to thrive out loud. We are going to take up space in this world. We are not going to apologize for our intersections, our identities, our work, our love or how we lead life. We are going to continue to document so we can stand with others and illuminate the path in letting our youth know that it *actually* does get better.
The way we choose to love ourselves, our partners, our children, our family, our friends and all of our extended networks creates a ripple effect of change in the world. We have to act courageously to open ourselves to loving energy again and again. It’s so easy to give up. To allow our spirits to get consumed in defeat. To allow our bodies to become rigid. To allow our passion in our relationships to die. It’s easy to walk away from doing the work. What’s not easy is standing in the discomfort and confusion at times and finding ways to open our hearts again so we can live with audacity and vibrancy. It’s this work that brings us back to life.
Ready to release the tension from your mind, body and spirit? Join me for my moving meditation for stress relief practice, The Temptress.
Rashida KhanBey Miller is a somatic movement researcher, speaker, writer and creator of The Reclaiming Your Sexy Method designed to help women reconnect to their sensuality so we can have less stress, more confidence and way better sex!
Check out her Reclaiming Your Sexy Mastermind or Reclaiming Your Sexy Intro Course which start June 1st to move into a proactive vs. reactive self-care relationship.