Curvy, curly, conscious and why it is necessary to embrace it: Shelah Marie discusses the importance of getting your mind right
We are women and as such we tend to put everyone's needs before our own. Yoga, meditation, time for yourself.... that doesn't sound like an ordinary day for most of us. If your like me your first thought is I cannot afford it and I do not have time for it. Right? Or are we just looking at excuses to not get to the root of the issue.... to ignore our inner truths... to face what is really wrong and why we really think the way we think? Can we really make the time? How much time do we need? & where can we learn to do yoga?Sometimes to understand something in depth you need to ask someone who is doing what it is you think your not capable of doing. You can't know the answers if you've never been down the path. I haven't but this beautiful soul has. In this interview we chatted with Shelah Marie, founder of Curvy, Curly, Conscious and the Soul Search academy answers yoga, meditation, and the understanding of self. Check out her advice below:
- Where did the idea for the Curvy, Curly, Conscious (CCC) movement stem from? The idea found me, I didn’t find the idea. Everything that I do comes from personal experience. It came from a personal experience and using the #curvyncurly hashtag on my Instagram post. It came from me expressing my anxiety and struggles and a lot of women were able to connect with me and my experiences. Once I realized there were so many connections out there I wanted to create an environment were all those connections could meet in person and help each other heal.
- CCC is about self-love, self-healing, personal development, etc. and as women we tend to focus on everything and everyone before us…. Yet we’re also labeled as angry. What is your stance on this open dilemma? Black women historically haven’t been able to be a full human being. We haven’t been given the agency to have a range of emotions. We have been categorized of being angry and strong. This tells you subconsciously that you can take pain and should be receptive to it. It makes us think that if we can’t handle pain something is wrong with us. This creates an internal dilemma because we assume that if we cant cope we are broke. However, this is not true. Sometimes you can get new emotions, sometimes you do need help, or therapy, or a prescription. We are allowed to not be okay all the time without us being broken. We are taught to take everyone care except us and that is not okay. This is equivalent to driving a car, the family car without taking care of it. You use it to take the kids to school, sports, your spouse to work, etc, etc. without ever getting a tune up, oil change, or any maintenance. Eventually. due to lack of care it will break down and no one will get anywhere.
- What are the benefits of meditation and how frequently do you meditate? Meditation has a range of benefits such as helping you link into who you are and what exactly makes you who you are. It makes you pause... sometimes we run like a computer that is programmed. If we continued on this programming we eventually don’t know if the emotions, choices, or opinions, are actually ours. Meditation allows you to check in with your star player and get aligned with who you are rather than who you were programmed to be.
- Any tips on how to create an environment to meditate? We are 3-D humans so we need to have both a good physical and mental environment. Start out small and think about the way the items you place around you make you feel. Think about your five senses in terms of what you like to hear, what you like to see, and what you like to smell. For example, I like the smell of incenses and I also like watching them burn. I like sunlight so whenever I go meditate I sit next to it. It doesn’t have to be carved out like a Buddhist temple, just make it your space. Let your children know that for those five to ten minutes you are not available so you can get your spiritual time.
- You also are active in yoga; does it go hand and hand with meditation? Any resources where women can watch or learn about yoga? Yoga definitely goes hand in hand with meditation. Yoga gets you out of your mind and into your body. Russell Simmons does yoga smiling sometimes because he believes that if you can sit thru a difficult pose with a smile you can transfer that into your life. Codyapp.com is a great place to start for yoga. You can find people that teach yoga and meditation on there. When you purchase with them you own the videos forever and can always use them on the computer. I love Yoga Racheal as well because she is a representation of diversity of woman doing yoga..
- What inspired you to pursue an acting career? Is it a hard a field to get into? It is a very hard field to get into because there is no real big indicator for success in acting. Like a lot of the arts, there are not any indicators that let you know you’re being successful. For actors, you can have a huge movie role and then be homeless. It’s a huge roller coaster, there is constant rejection and competition. You always had to prove that you are good enough and then your always looking around to judge your progression in comparison to peers. With all that in mind, my tip would be to make sure you are mentally strong because it is a lot of pressure.
- How do you feel about Hip hop and the stigma it attaches to monogamous relationships? I feel it is bullshit! I feel that it is detrimental to a lot of young people that listen to hip hop. The boys will listen to hip hop and in the back of their mind they want a monogamous relationship but since they hear it’s not cool they will indulge in behavior that isn’t true to who they are. Black women suffer the most because we do all the fixing, care taking, “oh that’s okay”, and we are forced to accept it or find a way to make it better. A lot of men in hip hop, such as Ace, are starting to show that you don’t have to be with a lot of women to be "cool". What ends up happening is that you have children with women you don’t want, you are vulnerable to all types of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and you have strained relationships with kids. There is nothing "cool" about that. Hip hop men are starting to speak on this, go past that, and be true to themselves instead of what the culture deems. They are starting to show young men that there are other options aside from having multiple women.
- How do you deal with the backlash of dating a celebrity? Sometimes I deal with it good and sometimes I don’t. It was hard in the beginning because I wasn’t used to so many people commenting on my life. I had strangers inputting themselves in my relationship and it was overwhelming but now I accept that it is apart of the life I chose. I’m starting to create my own influence, so I have to understand that negativity comes with building a larger platform. Maya Angelou once said to Tupac, "people will love you, people will hate you, don’t pick it up... it says more about them than you".
- How was it like working globally with the United Nations? I loved the experience, it was such an eye opener to the world and needs of people out there. I went to Haiti and Jamaica, trying to find a way to bring my tools and resources I learned about healing to other lower income communities. It was difficult yet rewarding because I was able to introduce what I learned to others who were never exposed to it.
- How was the transition from being a single woman to being a step mom like for you? Any advice to women debating on taking on that responsibility? I will say that being a step mom is probably one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. I’ve worked as a nanny and/or a teacher since I was 13 years old. I am a nurturer by nature. My whole life I’ve showed other people’s children’s how to be great. It is something that has always been consistent in my life. What is asked of you as a step mother is to embrace and let go at the same time. Accept them as your own, nurturer them, co raise them, but let go when it comes to anything big such as legal or power situations. You have to find balance between nurturing and letting go by understanding you’re not the mom. My advice is to understand your role, you are an add-on. For example, when you go to Amazon prime, they have items that you can only get as an add-on after you purchase the main item. That is you. You are an add-on to a system that was already there before you. Your role is to support the structure and the system that is already there. You have to understand that your role is to never replace the primary parent. What’s best for the children is to support their parents, even if it is not what is best for YOU.
- What tips would you give to other women on establishing a healthy bond between themselves and the "baby mommas"? Have empathy, understand what it’s like to be in their position. This is even more important to understand if you don’t have children. You don’t know everything that she’s been thru because you weren’t there. You have to respect that and be sympathetic towards her position as well.