Wild Women: Rachel O

Meet Rachel. A beautiful writer, a loving mama and a powerful woman. I love the way she writes and the vibes she gives off are that of understanding, non-judgement and love. The perfect interview to start back with after a brief break!

Read her blog here: www.amuseofmine.com

Who or what inspires you?
All the people I connect with, every single day. I am an easily inspired person, just by nature of my character. I am a dreamer!

I have been honing my ability to see something positive, something inspiring even, in my interactions with people I come across on a day-to-day basis. I am an (over)thinker, and I often catch myself imagining just what another person’s world looks like.

You run a blog at www.amuseofmine.com (I’m going to link this in the actual post, if that’s okay?), what made you start it? What do you hope comes from it?
I started my blog only recently, after toying with the idea for far too long. I have always enjoyed writing, and have always written- just not publicly. While it is a pleasure, it is also often cathartic. Further, if I am struggling with challenging decisions, obstacles, even overwhelming emotions, I can write it all down and always find the answer. So in short, blogging is mainly a ‘for me’ activity, and it has been a pleasure so far!

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What’s your biggest hope for your kids?
Oh my, this one keeps me up at night. Motherhood has brought an entire new array of meanings to life. It brings  the deepest commitment and a protection that is so fierce. The love I have for my daughter is so entirely consuming that sometimes, it physically hurts.

I have so many dreams for my daughter, and watching her become so many amazing things makes my heart incredibly happy. Let’s be real, there are many moments where it’s all daunting and even a tad ugly, but they all meld together into a wonderful, chaotic little picture called life.

I hope that my daughter builds a strong self awareness. I hope she realizes her fears, and in that context that she embraces vulnerability. I hope she can see the people around her as human, and that her lens is always tinted with optimism and grace. And along with that, I hope that she is unstoppable, exuberant and in awe of life.

I have two other children in my life that are especially dear to me. While I am not their mother, I hold the same hopes for them.

You’re a working mama, what do you do? What got you into it? What’s the best part about it? The hardest?
I am indeed a working-away-from-home mama. I work 6 days weekly, at two separate jobs. I work roughly 25 hours weekly at a General Motors Dealership (Scougall Motors) in E-Commerce. While it is not a job that is in my field of study at all, it has been a complete joy. The work is straightforward, I complete all duties independently. I can make my own hours, and can do certain parts of the job from home. This has allowed me to take on a second job with ease. I am also employed at our Parent Link Centre in Fort Macleod (Kids First Family Centre) where I act as Parent/Family Support. This position has been one of great value, as it has allowed me to develop great experience and to further my professional development. I am also enrolled in the Labour Doula Certification program through Doula Training Canada. This has been an ongoing study journey for nearly a year, and is an endeavor I am currently pursuing mostly because it is fascinating and of great personal interest to me. At this point, I do not have intentions of practicing full time as a Doula.

My career journey is far from over, however. I aspire to resume my academic journey in the not so distant future.

The hardest part is that I need to spend 8+ hours per day away from my daughter. It’s not only that, it’s the reality that I have to entrust her to someone else’s care. I have to trust that she will be nurtured in a way that is positive to her growth and development. And that’s really freaking tough. Sometimes, I also struggle with the judgement that I receive from others: believe me, working mama’s somehow receive a whole load of negative flack. It is also physically and emotionally exhausting being the breadwinner and parent. There are too few moments of calm.

I read on your blog you’re involved in some committees and organizations. What are you  involved with right now?
I am currently assisting in the planning of the 5th annual Fort Macleod Justice Film Festival, and I am so excited about this event! The event is hosted in our very own hometown historic theatre, and this year’s film line up is fantastic. In particular, I am looking forward to the viewing of a film called ‘A Better Man’. The film is so powerful and important: it documents a woman and her abusive ex-partner as they reunite, on her request, years after the abuse. It offers a view of the damage of the violence inflicted, and the recovery process that occurs when the abuser assumes responsibility for his actions. In my opinion this documentary is raw, potentially triggering, and yet so crucial. I have been searching for informed speakers to join us for this event, where we will host a facilitated discussion following each film.

I am also assisting on the Accreditation Committee for our community Approved Family Dayhomes. We are so fortunate to have dayhomes with incredible standards, and a team that ensures that our children are receiving quality care. It is important to me to be involved in these endeavors.

I volunteer in events in the community year round, it’s another great part of small town life!

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What are your passions?
Personal growth and development is truly one of the most important things.
Being the most influential person I can be, in order to create and model healthy relationships too.
Travelling, music and writing, spending time outdoors- camping, skiing, mindful and respectful parenting,

What’s something in life you’ve struggled with? What have you learned from it?
There are several specific obstacles that I have faced that have been particularly influential to who I am and where I stand right now. From a young age, I struggled with disordered eating and prescription drug addiction. These two were intertwined, and waxed and waned in a rather interesting cycle. The recovery process has been something other than what I would have ever assumed it would be, and its led me on an incredible journey in all aspects. Without reiterating specifics, living with an Eating Disorder and concurrent addiction has fostered a much more tolerant, non judgemental, and ultimately- an empathetic view on just who we are as people. It has made me all the amazing things that I am today.

I refer to it in my mind as my ‘becoming’. Every single great thing that I am today would never have fallen into place if I had not struggled with the hard things. All the hard things that are destined to come across my path from today and forward will undoubtedly be instrumental for growth. They will be exactly what I reminisce fondly about a decade or two later.

What’s something you need to do less of?
React. I have a lot of fears. Consequently, I can react with anger, defensiveness, even negative judgement. I am working hard at realizing and developing more mindful approaches to things that seem scary.

What does the world need more of?
Tolerance, acceptance, dance parties and snorkeling beaches.

Is there something you’re looking forward to?
Yes! I am looking forward to life, on all levels. I am so excited for the journey of parenting, the growth of my most important relationships. I am looking forward to marriage, to building a life with my partner and our girls. I am eager to travel the new places, and to allow my daughter to experience new places and spaces. I cannot wait to take her to the ocean. I am a dreamer, so this list can go on forever!

Also, I am looking forward to longer, warmer days. Come on, summertime.

If someone asked you for a book recommendation, what would you suggest?
The Prince of Tides (Pat Conroy) is my all time favorite read. Recent books I have read and thoroughly enjoyed include: Daring Greatly (Brene Brown), In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts (Gabor Mate),The Lonely Hearts Hotel (Heather O’Neill).

What do you wish people knew about you?
Over anything else, I want people to know that I am a ‘safe’ person. I will accept you for who you are, where you’re at, and I will not judge you (full disclosure: I am human; we all judge people inadvertently at times. I make it my most mindful intention to be non judgmental). There are also times where I want people to know that I am more or an introvert than they would think.

I need safety, I need alone time. Sometimes, I struggle to share what I truly think or feel; I am afraid of being disliked or degraded. Its ingrained pretty deeply, and even though I am aware of it, I am still a very sensitive soul.

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What’s one thing you would change about the world if you could?
I would be so thrilled to see the decriminalization of use of illicit substances, and a harm reduction approach to addicts. Further, I would establish Restorative Justice in place of our current legal system. Equal pay for woman, with onsite, outdoor daycare spaces. Funding for alternative medicine, mindfulness practices in workplaces, access to alternative therapies- (music therapy, play therapy, animal therapy). I would love to see our education system focused on student driven learning, with trauma informed practices integrated in all school, again with outdoor schooling as a norm.

That’s one thing, right?

What was your biggest accomplishment last year? What do you hope to accomplish this year?
Over the past year (several years if I am honest), I have learned above anything else, that hate is never the best answer. Hate breeds anger, defensiveness, judgement and shame. Hate always narrows perceptions, closes doors, and hurts people.

Further, there is a difference between hate and boundaries. And that is my goal for this year: to define. I want to be intentional and mindful of the relationships I have. I am hoping to grow in my ability to be assertive, and to be proactive (setting appropriate and respectful boundaries) rather than reactive (fearful or defensive responses to ineffective boundaries).

Are you a feminist? What does feminism mean to you?
Although I don’t often identify specifically as a feminist, I absolutely am. In my perspective the word Feminist often (maybe especially so in my demographic) has a stigma attached, and a sometimes ‘prickly’ reaction. Isn’t it that way with many important topics though? I am keen on advocating for respectful and equal treatment of women and mothers in the workplace. Even more important to me is the establishing of healthy relationships, and recognition and support for all types of abuse in domestic situations.

I love to see woman celebrated and respected for their integral place in society; in relationships, in families, in the workplace and in politics.

If a teenage girl came to you for life advice, what would you tell her?
“If you have questions, find the answers. If you’re gut is telling you something, listen. Find safe people who support you for who you are and exactly where you’re at. It is okay to be scared, it is okay to be scared- it is not better to hide your emotions. Always look for support, for people who see your worth. Know your worth, never let it go. And take the trip. Always take the trip.”

 

What is your ultimate goal, personally and professionally?
I hope that I am remembered as what I aspire to be. A mother who loved her hardest, a partner who always built on strengths, a friend who never judged. I hope I am remembered as a supporter, an ally, and an adventurer. I want to be remembered as unstoppable in life, love and growth.

How do you hope you’re remembered?
I would like to express my appreciation for being able to participate in your Wild Women series. It’s been a joy to ‘work’ together with an incredible woman, Paige.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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