We sat down with six women to discuss the stories and wisdom they've learnt thus far on their journey of self-love and self-exploration. Without knowing our whole selves, fears, and flaws, we cannot truly love ourselves. Self-love and self-knowledge are inextricably linked. Self-knowledge flows from self-exploration. Self-exploration is self-care. Meet the passionate and kind Rachael.
Q: What were two insecurities that you had when you were younger? How did you overcome them?

The first was the belief that I was ‘too emotional’. I have always been a very sensitive being. I feel emotion very deeply. Things would affect me in a much more intensely than it would others. I would get insecure about this. Was there something wrong with me? Why was it that I could so easily pick up on other people’s energy and emotions? Why was I so emotional? In a society that sees feeling as, almost a weakness, it was a deep source of shame for me.

It’s ironic. Because my ability to feel is one of my greatest assets. It’s what has allowed me to create. It has been the reason my work connects with so many. Undoing this shame and learning to love this facet of myself was a slow process. It was especially sparked after learning about the masculine and feminine energies that exist in all of us. For a long time, I sat predominantly in my masculine energy. I felt as though society almost required that of us. We need to be driven and work and constantly on the move. For years, I had neglected the feminine energy within me. The feminine energy is one of softness and feeling. My journey with anxiety forced me to explore myself. In doing so, I realised that my ability to feel intensely came from that beautiful feminine place within me; a side of myself that I had suppressed for too long.

The second was definitely in relation to my curves. I am youngest of three girls. My sisters are both beautiful, tall, very traditionally ‘African’ in their stature (i.e. thin with endlessly long legs). I was always the shorter, curvier sister. I think being so different to not only my peers, but also my sisters was confusing to me growing up. This insecurity never had a deep-seated impact on my life. It was just one of those thoughts that was in the back of my mind. Not being able to find clothes that would suit my body shape really didn’t help matters either. It’s peculiar that while curves are almost ‘heralded’ in mainstream culture as being the ‘feminine physique’, I found that clothing brands really didn’t design for that shape in mind. A large element to me accepting my curves came from the people around me. I worked in a clothing store for many years and so often, the women who came in would say, I could never wear that because I don’t have the curves to fill it out. They would so freely compliment me for my body shape and shame themselves for theirs… It’s transformative when you realise that everyone wants what they don’t have.Q: What are you like in the conflict?

It depends on whether I’ve caused harm, or if I’m hurt. As a general rule, I’m quite comfortable with having an open conversation and talking things out. If I’m in the wrong or have overstepped, I will be the first to own up and apologise. I don’t see any need to be ‘right’. I make mistakes all the time. I think the ability to apologise and to take responsibility and ownership for our actions is a beautiful, beautiful trait. We’re all human – we all make mistakes.

If I’ve been hurt by someone, I very much follow their lead. Ideally, I would love for them to apologise to me and take ownership for their actions – just like I would if the roles were reversed. If this occurs, I easily forgive. I don’t like to hold grudges. I love the saying, ‘being angry is like drinking poison and wanting someone else to die.’ It’s futile.

If, however, there is no acknowledgement or not accountability, I will happily let that friendship go. I didn’t use too… I used to hold on and fight for every friendship. That’s definitely changed. I believe people come in and out of your life at certain times. It’s bound to happen. We’re all growing at different rates; it’s almost immature to expect everyone to mature and grow in the same direction at the same pace. Holding on loosely has definitely saved me a lot of time and energy spent on people and things that no longer serve me.

Q: What makes you nervous?

Change. As much I know it’s going to happen, any change makes me feel unsettled. I get an anxious, nervous feeling in my gut. Being able to identify that the uncomfortable feeling has arisen solely from a change in routine or a change in energy does put my mind at ease.

Q: How would you describe yourself in three words? Please explain why you have chosen each word

Autonomous – I love being free and uninhibited. I am very much my own person. I don’t like to follow trends or do what I ‘should’ do. I’ve been told I buck stereotypes. That’s when people meet me, they presume I am one way, but then quickly learn I am something entirely different. I like that. I don’t think you can put me in a box. I attribute this to knowing myself, deeply. And from continuing to explore all facets of myself. I love the fact that I am soft and whimsical, wild and free-spirited, and yet highly ambitious, dedicated, and hard-working. I am socially conscious and creative, and yet commercially-driven and a realist. Sometimes I think I’m a walking contradiction.

Passionate – my sun sign being Scorpio means that I am passionate. Extremely passionate. When I am happy, I am elated. When I am frustrated, you can read it all over my face. I like to get into the granular of things. I don’t operate on the surface. In my world, everything has depth. I used to think this made me ‘too much’. But now I love it. It is why I think the way in which I do. It is the source of my creativity. It is the driver that allows me to execute on whatever I set my mind to.

Ambitious – I think this is one that is probably the most surprising. I don’t think my ambitiousness is outwardly obvious. But it’s definitely there. A lot of it is attributable to my parents. They are the most hard-working people I know. Growing up in an environment where I saw that anything was possible made me believe that I truly could do anything. I love a challenge. I love the rush from achieving something you never thought you could. It’s thrilling. Chasing this thrill has led me to some interesting places – university in Shanghai, law school, studying both French and Chinese in year 12, even starting this company. However, left unchecked, my ambition can lead me to some dark, anxious places.Q: What is your relationship to sex?

It has definitely evolved. I feel really blessed to be surrounded by very sexually empowered women who have definitely opened my eyes to the power and sacredness of sex and sexual energy. Juliet Allen (a leading Australian sexologist) has also been transformative for me. I binge-listen to her podcast time and time again.

I think the modern world, with its overly sexualised advertisements and deeply-engrained male-gaze, has led a lot of us to see sex in a very unconscious manner. I believe this is such a disservice. We need to be more attuned to sex as a healing modality, how it can be utilized as a source of creative power (our sexual organs are linked to our fifth chakra which is the energy centre of creativity, money and power). It’s imperative that we consciously reflect on our relationship to sex and in turn, our relationship to pleasure. The simple act of considering this can do wonders for uncovering deep-rooted, internalised unconscious beliefs from the world that surrounds us.

Q: What are six things that make you really difficult to live with?

  1. I am a control freak – I like everything to remain exactly where I put it 
  2. I don’t like anyone touching my stuff. And will completely freak out if they do.
  3. My room and all the contents in it smells like an ashram 90% of the time… I burn a lot of incense!
  4. I have weird rituals… for example, I can’t study unless there is a caramel candle burning and smokey quartz crystal within arm’s length
  5. I am constantly bringing plants into the house
  6. I chant, often. It’s part of my meditation routine!
Q: What does your self-care practice look like? Do you have any rituals?

My self-care practice is constantly changing. From reiki to therapy to crystals and sound healing, I have and continue to explore many disciplines; forever adjusting my personal practice to whatever I need most at that time in my life.

My staples, though, are journaling, yoga and meditation. Journaling is incredibly therapeutic. Being able to put words to what I’m feeling internally as a daily practice helps me stay grounded and self-aware. I began practicing yoga 6 years ago and it has completely changed me. Again, it highlights my insecurities and unconscious thought patterns. I love using it as a way to connect to that deeper, softer part of myself. Meditation helps me create space in my mind. It is a reprieve for the business – to just stop, be still, and not do anything.

This past year I have found acupuncture to be my lifeline. It’s been imperative to my physical and emotional health, especially since there has been so much change and stress in the past 12 months. I see my acupuncturist fortnightly. Her name is Heather and she is a wizard in helping my body adjust to the demands I put it through.

A ritual that has also been instrumental in my life has been following the moon cycle. Two years ago, I decided to build a ritual around the New and Full Moon to better connect to the greater world around me. There is something so beautiful and unifying in looking towards the moon as signposts in my life. The moon is something that binds us all together – wherever you are in the world, you are viewing the same moon, feeling the same effects of the energy it brings. Every two weeks, I am forced to pause and take notice. I ask myself what I need to let go of. I set an intention for the energy I want to cultivate going forward. I write down what I want to manifest. I burn a candle or incense. This can take 2 minutes or 2 hours. I can be performing this ritual by myself or with friends.

If you have never taken notice of the moon and the way in which it impacts us here on Earth, I implore you to explore it. It’s important to acknowledge all the different forces at play when it comes to why we feel the way we do.

Rachael wears the YOGA TEE and the BLUE RELAXATION SCARF.