beauty

Pressure to be Perfect and Redefining Beauty

Join me this Thursday, 2/11 for

Real Talk Salon - Redefining Beauty

RITUAL UPRISING.jpg
Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.
— Brené Brown

 

When I was younger I wanted to be 5’10” - just like Cindy Crawford.  I was a dancer, so I learned how to perfect the “cat eye” in 6th grade.  I even dreamed of becoming a Director of Corporate Philanthropy at L’Oreal.  And I remember being afraid to leave the house without makeup on as young as middle school.

 

The boys used the word “hot” to describe the girls they were into (and they still do), so that’s what I aspired to be.  I would come home from college and be complimented on “looking good” despite an ongoing inner battle.    

 

And eventually, I learned how to leverage my looks for professional success. 

 

I believed that looking pretty was the goal (besides getting straight A’s and never failing).  “Beauty" was just like my idea of “healthy" and "successful" -  PERFECTION.  I obsessed about looking perfect and maintaining the carefully curated image of a happiness and having it all together. 

 

{ do it all + have it all + look the part = successful woman } 

 

Every moment of every day had an underlying thread of stress that came from this pressure to be perfect, perform, keep up the image.  It meant not just success but survival.  

 

The obvious self-critical body image issues permeated my psyche, keeping me in cycles of comparison and keeping up - thinking I wasn’t enough.  My beauty (and femininity for that matter) was something external - something perceived, something outside of myself. 

 

I saw myself through the lens of "the other,” especially the male gaze. 

 

I didn’t OWN my beauty or my femininity.  It was sold to me by big media and big companies, in competition other women and then validated by the attention of boys and men.  

 

I objectified myself. 

 

I manipulated myself to look “hot,” to be liked, to "get ahead"… The lengths I went to were quite extraordinary - everything from makeup to diet pills, plastic surgery to laser hair removal, eyelash extensions to tanning beds and even trying Botox. 

The interesting thing is to note is how much of this was done in secret.  Why?  Because deep down I was ashamed.  And secrecy fuels shame. 

“Shame is the most powerful, master emotion. It’s the fear that we’re not good enough.”
— Brené Brown

Deep down, I felt like I wasn’t enough - pretty enough, smart enough, accomplished enough, wealthy enough, interesting enough, funny enough, playful enough, thin enough, tan enough… ughhh...  It was exhausting!  

 

I did everything in my power to push and prove myself, to project the image of perfect... to “make up” for what I felt I intrinsically lacked. 

“Shame, for women, is this web of unobtainable, conflicting, competing expectations about who we’re supposed to be. And it’s a straight-jacket.”
— Brene Brown

 

Operating from a place of lack influenced every decision, every relationship. 

 

I spent an incredible amount of effort seeking something outside of myself to give me a sense of security, self-worth and success. 

 

What about the affects of this subconscious belief that I wasn’t enough?   And the energy it took to keep up this image? 

 

This sense of dis-ease within my own being...

  • didn’t allow me to feel beautiful… or radiate my true beauty. 
  • made me feel separate from others… like an onlooker in my own life.
  • impacted my relationships with other women… comparing instead of connecting.
  • kept me chasing and distracted… stuck “playing the game."
  • killed my creativity... my power to create my life. 
  • prevented me from hearing my truth… and expressing it.
  • gave me a complex that made me question my ability to make a change and a positive impact. 

 

I know I’m not alone.  Maybe you’re feeling like this is where you are right now.  Maybe you've believed that you are not beautiful.  Or perhaps you've let your beauty be defined by others.

 

Ask yourself:

  • How do I define beauty? 
  • What is influencing my ideas and beliefs about beauty? 
  • How do I experience beauty? 
  • What makes me beautiful? 

 

And know that the times are changing.  Women are waking up. 

 

It’s been a long road to accept myself fully.  But I couldn’t accept others until I could accept myself.

And now I make it a point to feel my beauty everyday.  But couldn’t see the beauty in others - in life itself - until I saw it in myself.

 

The beauty in me is my fuel.  It is who I am.  It powerful, sensual and feminine.  

Your beauty is the unique expression of life that flows through you.
— Kiki Federico

 

And THIS is why I want to talk about beauty.

 

Beauty it’s been hijacked by industry and capitalism as something cosmetic, and it’s being used to keep us purchasing and PLAYING SMALL. 

 

When you think that there’s something wrong with you - you don’t say what you really mean, you don’t challenge the status quo, you don’t create new things…

You’re too busy trying to be who you think you should be, look how you should look - compensating for what you lack. 

So what if you weren’t lacking anything?  

 

What if you knew the real beauty that you are and fearlessly shared that with the world? 

 

Beauty is a natural feminine force.  It is powerful and influential but NOT manipulative.  Beauty is unto herself - sovereign, radiant and magnetic.  

Beauty makes you feel something - it lights up your soul.  Beauty moves you deeply.  

 

What if you knew how to light up other people’s souls with your beauty?  

 

And here is my moment to preach: 

 

Too many women are masking their true beauty - dimming their light - to try to fit into an image of what’s been sold as beautiful. 

I believe we must stop hiding our dissatisfaction - and thus our passion and power to make a difference - behind a mask of perfection.

We must stop following along and start becoming more of ourselves. 

 

It is time for us to redefine beauty, to own, embody and EXPRESS our true beauty for the benefit of all beings - especially our daughters.

 

You still with me? 

 

 

This is the force behind this week’s Real Talk Salon presented by Ritual Uprising. 

 

The topic is "Redefining Beauty,” and we will be talking about our cultural quest for beauty and how to adorn your body to express yourself and reflect your inner light.

 

The evening will be luminous girls night out at Love + Luxe, SF gallery + jewelry atelier, in celebration of our divine feminine radiance… 

 

You can expect a sensual and intentional evening full of sisterhood, sparkling jewelry, delicious elixirs, lite bites, ritual and an enlightening conversation.

 

I will be interviewing Rachael Webb, Spiritual Business Coach and Kristina Welzien, Founder of Wabi Sabi Beauty. 

 

Join us on Thursday, 2/11!   Only a few tickets are left! 

 

 

With wild grace and beauty, 

Kiki 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Fun, Funky) Fearless & Free Friday - What will you think of me?

Welcome back to Fearless & Free Friday!

Each Friday, I encourage us to come together in community on (Fun, Funky) Fearless & Free Fridays to share some form of CREATION with each other and imprint the Universe with our souls' EXPRESSIONS of art, movement, words, LOVE...

Share your art, poetry, song, dance, photos, altars or anything else that comes not from head but from your heart... here is a place to share your TRUTH!

Nothing is too small or silly... the more we share the beauty of who we are with the world, the more others feel INSPIRED, FEARLESS & FREE to do so. 

Surprise yourself with just how authentic and uninhibited you can be when you REVEL IN and CELEBRATE the messy, vulnerable, imperfect, gutsy, creative parts of YOU  (NOT just the "successful," "together," "perfect" parts of you that try to get it "right").  

And finally... LET US SEE IT!  SHARE IT with the COMMUNITY who is been WAITING TO EXPERIENCE the REAL YOU.

Join the Facebook group here

 

But What Will You Think of Me?

This week I was invited to a corporate, high-tech party.  Lots of cool gadgets, free food, open bar, massive rotating bean bag chairs, big-name DJ's..... and a SLOW MOTION VIDEO BOOTH! 

For those of you who know me, you can imagine my excitement when I saw this.  It was clearly my favorite part of the whole evening.  I convinced my boyfriend to join me, twice. ;)  

Then about an hour later I wanted to go back in and told him, "Yeah, I think I actually want to do one alone this time."  In fact, I actually had this blog in mind to make something to share with you all.  

8 SECONDS - that's all you get.  So I waited in line and thought of something FUN, SILLY and ME that I could do in 8 seconds that would also look interesting or captivating in slow motion.  I came up with a little bit choreography, flipped my hair, did a spin and brought it all back to CENTER in the end....

 

I watched the slow-mo video and the real-time version my friend so awesomely captured.  At the time, was super stoked!  I had so much FUN!  I thought it was all perfectly reflective of ME and made for an easy share come Friday.

But then Friday morning rolls around...  I look back at the video...

 

And that pesky little voice came roaring back in...

"You can't share that. What will they think of you? They'll judge you and think you're showing off or being "sexual."  If you put it up, it'll backfire and all these women you want to connect with authentically will actually be turned off because of how you look in this video.  I mean, you start by flipping your hair!?!" 

And then I stopped myself... and I realized this was an opportunity to talk about a pattern in life that I struggle with. 

This is something that loooooves to show up when I'm feeling especially joyful, beautiful, sexy, having a ton of fun, and dancing...

It shows up in those moments when I feel my BEST! 

It feels like, "I shouldn't be having this much fun in front of everybody else.  I shouldn't be dancing like this because they'll judge me about how I move my body.  They'll get the wrong impression about me.   Am I too much? Maybe I should tone it down." 

 

Too much for whom?  Tone down what? 

 

I realized today that I was being revisited by some idea that I should be less joyful, less beautiful, less "in my body," less RADIANT, less ALIVE...

for YOU!  

So you would "like me more."  

 

I know I am not alone in this.  Many, many women feel that they cannot be their fullest, brightest, shiniest selves in public because it will draw NEGATIVE attention.  

How many of us are holding ourselves back from feeling like the joyful, beautiful, BODACIOUS, lively women that WE ARE so that OTHERS WON'T JUDGE US HARSHLY?!  

Well, in our natural state, before all the social expectations and fears and judgements... 

Women... we are JOY, we are BEAUTY, we are BODACIOUS, we are RADIANT, we are SEXUAL, we are FULL OF LIFE, we are LOVE.  

 

And if you have forgotten, allow me to help you REMEMBER. 

So I decided to share this video with you anyway, and hope that by doing so it accomplishes a couple things:

1. gives me permission to meet you with my fullest, most vibrant self as proof that WE DON'T NEED TO APOLOGIZE FOR OR TONE DOWN "all of this," amazingness that we are.

2. gives you permission to look, feel and be as absolutely RADIANT as you truly are.

3. by speaking vulnerably about our real experiences as women we not only give each other permission, but ENCOURAGE each other to smile, to  shine to our fullest, to move our bodies as we please, and by doing so we bless this world with our PRESENCE. 

 

Keep flippin' yo hair girl! 

 

Humbly & with wild, bodacious love, 

Kiki 

 

 

 

 

 

How to feel like a woman at work

OK, today I'm talking to all you ladies who show up to work, especially those of you who have found yourself in a male-dominated industry.  

You know who you are - you've been chasing "success" your whole life. 

I know because I've been there. I spent my entire working life 
trying to prove myself and be liked, especially by men who I considered influential, successful or powerful (which can feel like a requirement of the job if you work in any male-dominated industry like construction technology).

Which brings me to todays episode of KikiTV.
I'll be sharing a new video with you all at the beginning of each week, and today it's something that I've been talking about with friends for a while now...

"that day I realized I'm a woman!"  
Yep! And the craziest part is that it took me 27 whole years! 


So many of us learned as girls this idea of a way of life that will bring us love, success and respect.  But when we get there, we can FEEL it that something is missing.  We are stressed, tired, overweight, lonely, confused, under pressure... trying to keep up with the pace of life we think we "should" or "need" to in order to provide a good life for ourselves.  (Oh, I've been there too.) 

Well the Truth is that the established ways of living and working to "be the best we can be" and "reach our highest potential" were not designed with women in mind. 

 

In today's episode I share my own experience and also give you 

3 simple ideas to feel more like a woman at work.  

(Hint: it's up to you!)

See through the eyes of beauty. Beauty is a gateway to the divine.

Allow yourself to see beauty and through the eyes of beauty. 

beau·ty

ˈbyo͞odē/

noun

a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight.

 

There are obvious moments of beauty, such as when you're standing on the beaches of Tulum straight up under an end-to-end double freakin' rainbow.  (What?! I know...)  This is the kind of beauty that makes everyone pause and reflect.  

For a moment we get out of our heads, our drama and stress. We remember the greatness of life on Earth.  

We feel something.   

 

What exactly is that feeling we get when we experience beauty?  

Why do we crave it and pay so much for it?

 

"It's not that we see beauty. We feel beauty. Beauty is a felt sense. Beauty is a feeling that wakes up the divinity coming alive within us... The beauty that we see is simply a reflection of the beauty that we are."

- Elayne Kalila Doughty

 

These  breathtaking scenes captivate anyone with eyes. 

For a moment we are suspended in beauty, until the realization that this is the perfect Facebook photo op. 

Photo courtesy of Art Gimbel, Fest300

Photo courtesy of Art Gimbel, Fest300

But, then the rainbow fades, the vacation is over, we fly home, jostling bus rides, city sirens, we get back on our computers, read endless emails, commutes, parking tickets, hustle for meetings, burn the toast... And soon we forget how beautiful it was.  How beautiful it is.  How beautiful we are. 

How can you practice making the mundane acts of "doing" in this material world an experience of beauty?  

Furthermore, why even bother to "presence" beauty around you?

 

Because beauty is a gateway to the divine. 

Because we forget, and beauty helps us remember.

 

Remember what exactly? 

The presence of beauty anchors us in the moment and conjures up a feeling of expansiveness and awe.  It just feels good!  Beauty opens and awakens something within us at a spirit level. In this way, it is a reminder of the "more to life" that we all crave and pay so much for when we go on vacation.  Why not bring this into our daily lives?  In a world of post Industrial Revolution "productivity" and "efficiency" we weren't taught about the true value of beauty. 

Beauty helps us to "take a moment" and remember our own divinity within this human experience.  

 

"When you choose to see through the eyes of beauty, you will unlock the keys to how life becomes sacred through every moment.

Making sacred means to recognize the interaction of our mundane lives and our spiritual being, and to have them meet, touch, greet and embrace one another... the path of being human and divine at the same time."

- Elayne Kalila Doughty

When we forget our true, divine nature, when we live only in the mundane, human, busy, to-do lists, should's and have-to's, we forget the other side.  And then we try to make up for the lack of beauty in our lives with an expensive vacation that only lasts so long. 

 

What if we felt the overwhelming presence of beauty everyday? 

 

"Sacred practice and ritual is what does that because we all forget." 

- Elayne Kalila Doughty

Beauty can exist consistently in our lives. Make time for it. Surround yourself with it. See it. Bring it into your interactions and environment... Invite beauty and presence into everyday moments to awaken it within you.  

Keep it simple. 
Light a candle flame as a symbol of the light within you. 
Place a flower on your desk. 
Play music that moves you while you're cooking.  Take a dance break.  Sing out loud.  
Walk outside and observe with the trees, tilt your head up to the sky or gaze at the undulating water. 

 

We might not think of these moments as "sacred practices" or rituals but they are if we intend them to be. 

"What makes something a ritual is the intention that you put behind it."

- Elayne Kalila Doughty

When we view our actions as rituals, the way in which we do things changes.  This is working with intention.  

I like to view intention as a "sacred desire."   And so this intention does not come from the place of the mind or the ego to "get what it wants."  Intention comes from the heart.  What do you really want to cultivate in your life?  What will bring you strength, peace, or creativity? 

So when you light that candle, don't just "light the damn candle" like you're trying to get it out of the way.  Light it as a symbol of the flame in your heart or the spark of life within you.  Allow it to become a sacred ritual of beauty that continues to flicker on your desk as you work.  Allow it to to calm you and please your senses, but also serve a reminder - of your spirit and the spirit of your awakening sisters.

 

And then everything shifts...

 

If we surround ourselves with beauty as a ritual and make time to infuse beautiful self-expression rituals into our lives, we naturally become more present and fall into grace - whether it's rearranging our desk, writing an email or doing the laundry.  We no longer feel like we are pushing so hard, rushing, stressing, disconnected from our beautiful, sensual essence as women. 

I invite you to create just one beauty ritual in your day to help your mundane, human life and your spirit dance with each other every day. 

We can infuse our everyday activities with sacred practice and rituals of beauty to help us remember - we are more than just this human form.  

We are divine.  

The feeling of our divine presence is just a moment of beauty away. 

 


This post is inspired by the beautiful and wise Elayne Kalila Doughty and her interview from Woman Unleashed with Amber Kuleimailani Brown