Reclaiming Your Sexy
In this process, have there been formerly hidden or suppressed parts of yourself that are now revealed?
The greatest story that has been unearthed for me in doing this work for myself and with my clients has been the grief and shame I carried around after having an abortion in college. There was a major part of me that was still dead/disconnected/numbed out after that experience. And while every woman that goes through this experience doesn't obviously feel sad, tormented, grief that was definitely the experience for me. I spent years asking myself if I made the right decision, beating myself up because of the shame that I felt. That pain just kind of took over my life in so many ways. My perception of myself was warped.
This is the starting point for most women who come to the Reclaiming Your Sexy workshop. There is something in their life that has numbed them out to the point where they don't feel that vibrancy, joy and aliveness anymore. They want to wake their bodies up, see themselves from a new perspective and experience pleasure again consistently.
I think I had to get to a point in my teaching where I realized that I didn't have to have it all together in order to be a vessel for this message. It's sort of an unrealistic air that I see a lot of healers/self-help teachers/coaches etc take on that :
1) stifles you from learning and growing in your own life
2) puts you on a pedastal that is suffocating with your audience
3) really prevents you to getting to the depth of the work that you are doing because you're afraid to go into the valley to learn the lessons in your own life so therefore your work always stays on the surface with your clients.
What is that like to share such intimate parts of yourself online and on social media? Do you receive backlash from loved ones or strangers? If so, how do you deal with that?
I've learned or am learning a fine balance between giving all of myself and extracting the lessons from my experiences in order to help someone else. There are some stories that call for the messy details I think because letting the women in my community see that I have been through same or similar places and pulled through has been immensely valuable for folks finding the courage to throw themselves into this work.
This work is so valuable to me and I have deaded relationships that have interfered with me being able to do it without distraction. It has taken me quite some time to get to this point where I didn't let anyone pull me off course.
My mom hasn't always been comfortable with my work. I use to get upset because I didn't have that jumping up and down support from her but I realized that there is a bit of generational perspective difference and also this work of embodying your sexuality can be triggering as well. There's this fear that if you are outwardly sexual that you invite harm into your lived experienced. Once I realized that the disagreements were really stemming from a place of wanting to protect me and also paradigm differences I softened. I listen to her concerns, I try to explain some parts so it's less anxiety inducing and I just say "I understand" and let the rest go. I don't fight it anymore.
Have you always been so confident in your body or is that something you had to develop? What did that work look like for you?
I wouldn't say I've always been confident in my body. I would say that I've always had to not focus on the fact that my body was different in order to thrive as a young performer. It wasn't until my mid-twenties that I really started to have questions about the way that my body looked and felt. From this point I really sunk into my dance/movement practice as a way of shifting my perception of my body and bringing loving attention to it.
How do you define sexual empowerment?
Having a relationship to your sexuality that is solely about you, your pleasure and your desires and sharing that with someone out of your overflow.
What are some of your favorite pleasure rituals?
Body worship. Dressing my body in beautiful lingerie, slowly massaging myself with oil after a long day, taking photos of myself periodically sometimes to share sometimes just for me.
What makes you feel sexy?
mmmm.... space lots of space. water. traveling. hot weather. long baths. lavender. musk scented oils. long conversations with depth and soul. home cooked meals. so many things.
I was watching Russell Brand's stand up comedy the other day. He spoke about the power of female sexuality and how the patriarchy has put so much intention into suppressing this potent creative force and using it for its own gain, like to sell things to reinforce capitalism. Meanwhile most women don't even understand the power of our sexual/creative energy and how to use it for ourselves. What are your thoughts on the power of female sexuality and how we can take it back into our own hands?
Our sexuality is most definitely sold to us as an experience only intended for someone else's entertainment and pleasure. The firrst step that we can do in taking it back into our own hands is curating a relationship to our pleasure that purely for self. I always remind my clients that if you only ever have a realtionship to your body or your sexuality when someone else is partaking in the experience then whenver that relationship is rocky or it ends you will always always lose yourself. Why? Because the connection was cheap and not grounded. It didn't have roots. Our relationships with lovers are wonderful but we flourish when our pleasure is rooted within ourselves not a changable external circumstance.
For someone who is trying to find their way back to sexy, what advice would you give?
Be gentle with yourself and define what sexy means for you on your own terms and then step into that. Recognize that healing is a lifetime commitment not a destination. You don't have to/ and you won't have it all together in three months. Allow yourself to just make a commitment to healing (aka finding your sexy) day by day. Wake up willing to do something everyday that will allow you to embody that experience for you.
Do you identify as a witch? If so, what does it mean for you to be a witch?
I feel very witchy at times but being untrained and uninitiated I definitely don't feel right claiming the title of being a witch. However, I feel my most witchy when I powerfully watch my words. My Dad told me before he passed "you are really powerful with your words, they are prayers so watch what you say". And it caught me off guard because my Dad and I were never in each other's lives consistently enough for him to have heard me speak things into existence or out of existence or whatever. So I really took that moment as a true Spriit moment that I was being given a warning. So I've done my best to be very intentional about my words because I do see how they materialize quickly. Outside of that I am just in awe of women that I do recognize as powerful witches, healers and prophets for their dedication and devotion to mastering their craft and their own path of healing.
Who are some magical black femmes who inspire you?
My best friends Zarinah Ali & Chanel Glover (They are also forces behind both of my films and they wouldn't have been possible without them)
What’s next for you?! What are you dreaming about and conjuring?
More time in person with the women in my community.
More spacious time to write.
More courage to tackle even bigger mountains personally and professionally.
What motivated you to start this journey?
I've been doing this work since 2009 after my second study abroad to Salvador De Bahia, Brazil. It was in Brazil that I really had a turn around experience with my relationship to my body and also my connection between sexuality & spriituality. I've been dancing pretty much all of my life training in Ballet, Jazz, Modern and Liturgical and my body has always been larger than most of the other girls in my training programs. There were times where even as a young dancer I had to really mentally fight to keep going because of the side comments I would get from teachers. Because of my weight they viewed me as not serious, lacking talent, too big for certain pieces. Most notably I remember leaving one dance school in Chicago after having my Ballet teacher blatantly tell me in front of my mother that I was "too fat for pointe". I remember being hurt but also remember my mother not being here for the shits and transferring me to another school where I ended up flourishing in pointe and other styles almost immediately. Being voluptuous at a young age came with it's challenges most definitely so when I got to Brazil I decided I wanted to wear a Bikini for the first time in my short life and it was life changing. I saw women in Brazil that looked like me, whose bodies were shaped like mine unashamedly walking down the beach in bikinis smaller than mine. Seeing women feeling beautiful in their bodies and not hiding definitely shifted the way that I lived in my own skin. I spent the rest of that trip wearing clothes that made me feel sexy and brought that energy back home to Chicago with me. I also had the opportunity to witness a Candomble service while in Brazil. During the service we watched the Priest during the mounting process (where the Orisha literally embodies the priest/priestess as they move) and one of the things that captivated me was just seeing how we were in a sacred space and their movements were still very sensual. I didn't feel like the experience was secular but visceral. I still very much felt a spirit of reverence and devotion but unlike my experience of praise dance in the Black church at the time it just felt more connected than the way movement had evolved within dance ministries. So my mind started churning about how to one create a safe space for women to see their bodies as beautiful right now and also create a space for us to embody our sexuality in a way that felt sacred, holy and reverent without shame. After my study abroad I came home and started teaching a small class at UIC and truly the rest is history. I've been chasing and researching and obbsessing over how to create this space and curriculum ever since.
Rashida KhanBey, Women's Sensuality Coach, Speaker, Writer & Filmmaker.
Rashida is the creator of micro films "Sex Is A God Thing" & "Let Go & Let God".
She is currently in production with OpenTV for Season 1 of the Sex Is A God Thing webseries and touring her body confidence & sensuality workshop "Reclaiming Your Sexy" throughout 2017/2018. You can learn more about her work and upcoming classes at www.rashidak.com
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