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Owning Your Beauty

Welcome to the fifth installment of our 8-week summer series, The Womanly Arts Unplugged, in honor of our upcoming course, Virtual Pleasure Boot Camp! This week, Mercedes, a Mastery and Boot Camp Grad from New York City, joins us to teach about the Womanly Art of Owning Your Beauty!

Mercedes, Age 38 – Actress, Dancer & Executive Assistant

linderpix-MercedesOwning Your Beauty is about really knowing and loving who you are, your soul, your body, your mind, and every part of you that makes you, YOU.

It’s about accepting your flaws, your imperfections, your inadequacies, and loving all those parts fully.

It’s about feeling your beauty, without relying on what anyone else thinks.

This art has allowed me to put myself first, to love and value myself in the fullest way possible.

Like almost every woman I know, I was never proud of my body. Society, and that nasty inner voice would tell me, “My legs are too big, small chest, my butt‘s not round enough.” I think we’re taught as women to be at war with our bodies, so this Art is really about overcoming all of that, rising above societal standards of “fake beauty,” and really seeing and loving exactly who we are.

This tool allows me to push all of those thoughts, worries, doubts out of my head, and it reminds me how truly divine I am, how special I am, that we are all divine and special, and that we all have something unique to offer. It’s made me accept and love the person I am. Every woman is beautiful.

No matter what size your breasts are, how tall you are, thin you are, old you are — you are beautiful. The Art of Owning Your Beauty is about reclaiming yourself, reclaiming your power, making peace with your body.

Because, when you’re at war with your body, who wins?!

What were your early messages and challenges around being beautiful?

Mercedes familyI grew up in a multi-latino family, so everyone in my family was a different shade. My grandmother was very light, my grandfather was very brownish, my mother was tan. Everyone was lighter than me. So growing up, color became an issue for me, I always thought that  because I was dark, I wasn’t pretty enough.

I’m not sure where I got the message that dark wasn’t beautiful. Thank goodness for my Uncle; I remember he told me I was the perfect color, and that everyone who poked fun at me was just jealous. I was probably around 9 years old at that time.

But growing up, especially in my adolescent years, I started comparing myself to my friends, trying to measure up to the “cool girls.” Thinking back, the insecurity I carried about my own beauty wasn’t coming from the boys — it was from other girls.

I had one cousin in particular who was so nasty to me. It was classic mean girls. And the more attention I got from the rest of our family, or boys, the nastier she was. Now, I can see she was jealous, but I remember my self-esteem really hinged on the way she treated me. I saw that the less attention I got, the nicer she would be to me. So I started to hide and play small. She was popular with the other kids, and I remember thinking “I don’t know why she hates me so much!” (By the way, we are now the best of friends — just had to get through that gnarly pre-teen tension!)

I think that’s one of the most tragic things about our society, and it’s something Mama Gena teaches about so brilliantly — women are pinned against each other, driven by their own low self-esteem, and all the limits that were handed down by the women before us, and all the images we see promoting one kind of beautiful.

Tell us how your story with The Womanly Arts began…

Before I came to the school, I was a struggling actress and I had just broken up with my boyfriend of three years. I was feeling suffocated, stifled and stagnant. I needed to spread my wings in a major way. I was in my early 30s and still living at home with an ailing mom; I was stuck in a corporate job that was sucking my creativity right out of me, and I was suffering from extreme low self-esteem. I was searching, trying to read all kinds of self-help books, going to therapy, trying to find the meaning of my life. Nothing seemed to be working.

I actually heard about Mama Gena’s for the first time from a close male friend of mine. He had told me about an event where he was surrounded by amazing, diverse, fun-loving, genuine women. He said their energies were out of this world and these women were all beautiful internally and externally. He told me they are called Goddesses and he felt how empowered they all were and how wonderful they made him feel. He told me that this place was right up my alley, and I should check out SWA online. A few days later another female friend of mine saw Mama Gena on TV and was so intrigued, she got us her book to check out together. I was so astounded that both of my really good friends (who didn’t even know each other at time) mentioned SWA, I knew it was a sign for me to check it out. So I went to an Intro, heard Mama Gena speak and knew I was home. I immediately signed up for class that Fall and the rest is history.

I remember when I first learned about the Art of Owning Your Beauty, I couldn’t wrap my head around loving me. I knew it was possible, I had seen other Sister Goddesses who had done it, women of all shapes and sizes and colors. But the idea of truly loving every part of me, truly knowing and owning my particular brand of beauty…seemed impossible.

If this is where you’re at, know that it IS possible, and it’s worth it. It is so rewarding once you own the essence and beauty of who you really are.

I remember one period when I really struggled with this Art was during a rough relationship. I had met this guy, and fell head over heels. He made me feel so much, so wonderful, so passionate — the beginning of our relationship was such a great high. As we continued to form our relationship, he became my everything. He was so attractive, women couldn’t stop staring at him, and he definitely had a wandering eye as well.

I wasn’t practicing this Art very well at the time, and so I started to internalize that I wasn’t enough. I started to feel ugly, and I couldn’t even remember what it was like to feel beautiful. I constantly compared myself to my boyfriend, who was so gorgeous, and all of the women who wanted him. I started doubting myself, gaining weight, and shutting down. I didn’t even want to look at myself in the mirror, and my self-worth was just really bottoming out.

Thank goodness for Sisterhood! A Sister Goddess called me out, invited me to a Mama Gena’s event, and helped plug me back into my power. Just being in that room with these women, who loved themselves inside and out, made me realize that I was doing myself a serious disservice, and it was time to turn it around.

I said to myself from here on out, I’m gonna love myself no matter what and stay plugged in and practice the tools. Rooting into the Art of Owning Your Beauty, when I felt anything but beautiful, was so essential to becoming the woman I was meant to be.

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges to practicing the Art of Owning Your Beauty, and how do you work through them?

Mercedes SGsIn a world where girls are taught that Barbie is the ideal beauty, it’s rare to grow up as a woman without a negative body image. Body image and the Art of Owning Your Beauty are so closely related.

I used to hide certain parts of my body, because I believed they were not beautiful. For me, I used to always wear long sleeved shirts because I wasn’t fond of my arms. Or my butt! Everyone else in my family is very well endowed in that department, and I always felt I was lacking. I’d wear long shirts to hide it.

I even would judge my toes for being the wrong shape. Practicing this Art helps me to love my sweet little hammer toes. : )

I used to think, “I’ll feel beautiful once I lose weight.” I lost and gained a lot of weight thanks to that false belief. Through practicing this Art, I realized that the weight would never come off until I loved myself wherever I was.

The thing is, no matter who you are and what you look like, you can find things to deem wrong about your appearance. Here’s a really sad example: I’ve been following Korean pop lately, and there is this trend where women are having plastic surgery to create eye lids & change their eye shape because they’ve been told that that’s beautiful. Everywhere around the world women are changing their looks based on what society deems “beautiful.” That is just so sad!

The good news is, you can turn it around — every woman has a unique beauty, and it’s just about learning how to shift the attention to what’s right.

What I love about practicing the Art of Owning Your Beauty in community, is that we see that beauty comes in absolute variety. And what’s gorgeous about a woman is her ownership and self-love that emanates from everywhere.

Especially with younger girls, it’s so important that we encourage them to love what they see and who they are, that being different and unique is a good thing.

I think another thing that gets in the way of Owning Your Beauty is that many of us are actually afraid of our own beauty, which is related to being afraid of our own power. In a culture where women are trained to be in competition with each other, and there is so much cattiness between women, it can be tempting to hide and shy away from attention, for fear of losing friends, or fear of the responsibility that comes with shining your light. Through practicing the Art of Owning Your Beauty, I’ve definitely learned that it doesn’t help anyone to dim my own light. If women judge, it’s just because they aren’t loving themselves fully, and the best thing I can do is stand in my own light and invite her into hers.

One thing I find is really helpful to bring me back into kindness and acceptance around my beauty is asking myself, “How would you treat a friend?” However you would take care of a friend or sister — the things you would say to her to soothe her — that’s how I treat myself. I wanna be my best friend and treat myself the best that I can — we all have limited time here, and I don’t want to waste it.

I desire a world where every woman stands for herself and each other in this way. Where we can look at one another, inspire that in each other without feeling less-than or jealous of what we think we lack. What if we were united in owning our beauty, embracing everything about us and loving it, taking ownership of our essence? Oh, how lovely it would be, and such a different world.

How do you practice this Art, as part of your daily routine?

Mercedes redIt really is a “Practice,” not a “Perfect”! I find I do need to keep reminding myself to connect with my own voice that knows my beauty, and to live from that place (while tuning out the constant negative messaging we receive from society and the media).

To do this, some of the biggest things are staying connected to the Sister Goddess community, surrounding myself with other women who are really in ownership of their divinity and gorgeousness, lifting other women up, and receiving their love.

Also, I practice the tools and return to the exercises (many of which I learned for the first time in Boot Camp)!

There is one exercise in particular, where I really take time to look at myself in the mirror when I’m getting ready in the morning, and admire what I see. This feels strange at first, especially when you’re used to avoiding your own reflection, or picking out flaws whenever you do look in the mirror. Trust me — it changes everything.

The minute I notice myself getting insecure or I start to recoil from feeling my best, I know it’s time love myself up. I immediately start to say Womantras I’ve created like: I am beautiful, I am lovable, and I am perfectly imperfect.

So, really, the Art of Owning Your Beauty is truly an inner game — how you’re talking to yourself, how you’re looking at yourself. That said, I also practice this Art in external ways, adorning my body to enhance and reflect my unique beauty.

I nourish my body with movement and food. Whenever I eat healthy I feel healthy, and when I dance or move my body, I get out of my head and tap into a deeper place.

I practice radical self-care as a way to truly own my beauty. Self-care and the Art of Owning Your Beauty are so closely related as well. I pamper myself, get my nails and hair done, and treat myself to massages. I make sure to do a little self-pleasuring, too!

I also gift myself things that make me feel beautiful, like my favorite perfume, a sexy hot dress & shoes, wonderful eye-popping accessory, lip gloss, and those kind of things.

Especially on those tough days, I really amp up my practice in this Art. On the days when I least feel like it, that’s when I pull out the really sexy underwear, and put on that red dress. Adorning myself how I desire to feel, enhancing my beauty, helps me to see it and feel it when I need it most. When I push my edge with amazing outfits, it makes me feel juicy and in my power — and when you feel that way, it just keeps growing.

Okay, now I’d love to hear from YOU! What are your practices in Owning Your Beauty? How do you express your beauty internally, and how you adorn yourself externally? If you struggle with this art, I’d love to hear where you’re at, and one thing you’d like to experiment with to move towards love and acceptance.

And by the way, I’m so psyched about doing Boot Camp again this year! It’s a great support to stay immersed in the tools, and watching other women open up to their pleasure always takes me higher in mine. It never gets old, getting to see a woman when she comes into the School of Womanly Arts, and seeing her at the end of a course, like a brand new person. That’s such a gift. We all have a special light and we’re all in this world to shine that. Such a gift to see that happening, one woman at a time. I hope you’ll join me in Boot Camp this year!

— SG Mercedes

In case you missed it, check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 of The Womanly Arts Unplugged. And stay tuned for Part 6 next week. (Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter for updates!)

This summer series is our way of pre-partying for Virtual Pleasure Boot Camp, which is currently open for enrollment! Boot Camp is a distance-learning program that takes a woman deep inside each of the Womanly Arts. It includes live teleclasses with Mama Gena, carefully crafted weekly exercises, and a thriving online community. Click here for all the details!

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  • Patty August 20, 2014, 10:14 am

    Goddess. Truthfully, whenever I look at you, you are surrounded by so much light. Radiant. I think I am seeing straight into your gorgeous, loving heart. I am so grateful for you, through VPBC, in Miami, and my whole journey in the SWA. You made me feel loved. Love you! Xoxoxo
    SG Patty

  • Katharine August 19, 2014, 8:29 am

    Thank you for this blog. It’s just what I needed to read this morning before I head out to work. I am going to focus on feelings today; feelings in my body, feelings from my heart. I use my head alot and I notice when I live by my head alone negative thoughts can dominate. I am beginning to love my intuition more. Thanks again for your words of wisdom.

  • SG Delicious Dimples, Marlyn August 12, 2014, 12:38 pm

    My Darling Big Sister Caliente,
    You worked to push me to limits I didn’t know I had and I am eternally grateful to you for it!
    Reading your blog on your upbringing and the trials & tribulations endured in your relationships continue to inspire me to go even further -as you grow WE ALL GROW!!

    Thank you for posting & thank you for always being your most BEAUTIFUL self with us.

    Much Love Goddess!!

    • Caliente Creatrix Mercedes August 13, 2014, 3:51 pm

      Thank you Marilyn,You inspire me too! Thank you for showing me your brilliance & beauty. I love sharing and growing with this community.
      Love you.

  • SG Jacqueline August 11, 2014, 6:57 pm

    Your story inspires me to keep checking in the Mirror and blowing myself a Kiss, remembering to stay Sexy and put me first..!
    Sometimes I get up, walk the dog, then check emails etc and still have No Make-up, shorts and t-shirt still on and it’s mid afternoon…! No Lunch and wonder why I am feeling slow..!
    Need to wear my Perfume, sexy undies, and a big Smile to the Dog Park even if I am in shorts. Thanks for the reminder. Can’t wait until Bootcamp starts and I have already booked my Hotel Room for Miami in November.
    SG Jacqueline xxx

    • Caliente Creatrix Mercedes August 13, 2014, 3:46 pm

      Congrats on joining Bootcamp. Can’t wait to see you there!!! Love that this resonated with you and that you blow kisses at yourself. Isn’t it fun!!!
      Would love to hear more about your trips to the dog park after you’ve put on your sexy undies, perfume and big smile!


  • SG Jill is MAGIC August 10, 2014, 11:31 am


    Thanks for sharing your story. I always love seeing your beautiful smile and dancing eyes when I come to school. Thank you for the reminder to KEEP PRACTICING this very important tool and I am so happy to hear how much you are loving your Divine Self!!
    Self care and owning our beauty is so entwined – Yes!!!


    • Caliente Creatrix Mercedes August 13, 2014, 3:42 pm

      My Pleasure! Thank you for reflecting your beauty back to me!

  • SG Our Lady of Fierce Boundaries - formerly Alexandra Pearl August 9, 2014, 3:54 pm

    Thank you for sharing your journey to owning your own beauty with us. It is so beautiful, as are you. In Mastery 2013 I thought I had gotten so much better at this art, but recently realized that I really still needed to keep working in this area. One of the ways I do this is that if I need some down time, I will cancel plans so I can stay in and take a bath with rose oil, and try on my S Factor or vintage outfits. Even on a Friday night! This makes me feel very relaxed and more ready to play with the rest of the world. Having that unscheduled time to just be with myself is the most important way I can relax into this Art. It’s a work in progress. Thank you, beautiful!! xxoo

    • Caliente Creatrix Mercedes August 13, 2014, 3:41 pm

      O Thank you SG Our Lady of Fierce Boundaries, what a great way of owning your beauty. I love it and i think it is genius. So many of us need down time and to be able to be at our juiciest and find ways to feel good and relaxed…AH, it so divine! I too like to have some “me” time so i can rejuvenate & regenerate so that i am in a much better place to play with the world. You are brilliant! Thanks for sharing!

  • Sherrie Huckelberry August 8, 2014, 2:26 am

    Much gratitude to all you lovely Goddess’s for sharing your thoughts, practice and spiritual insights about owning your own beauty. Its been to long since I have allowed myself the privilege of this practise to shine. I have been floundering from lack of self esteem for so long I feel adrift in an ocean of self doubt. And my world is reflects this reality…its time for me to get back up on the horse and lead my parade of beauty and wonderful imaging to undiscovered territory. Please give me a big shout out to jump start this desired journey.

    • Caliente Creatrix Mercedes August 13, 2014, 3:37 pm

      YES! Sherrie! I am so proud of you, Beautiful, for taking that stand toward owning your power. Lead us on the parade of beauty, we are all marching behind you with our head held high basking in our bliss, radiance & love. Your journey to excellence has begun!
      You rock!!!

  • SG Purring Delight August 7, 2014, 4:57 pm

    Love to be reminded to wear that red dress when I least feel like it.

    Thanks for sharing your journey to the beautiful you.

    You are one hot gorgeous woman !

    • Caliente Creatrix Mercedes August 13, 2014, 3:33 pm

      Thank you so much Purring Delight (love the name). It’s true!!!


  • Yael August 7, 2014, 8:27 am

    Mercedes, you are divine! Thank you for this brilliant reminder of how self love is the cure for all. xo

    • Caliente Creatrix Mercedes August 13, 2014, 3:32 pm

      Thank you Darling Yael!

  • Stacey August 7, 2014, 7:02 am

    “When I push my edge with amazing outfits, it makes me feel juicy and in my power” This morning I woke up as tired and achy as I’ve felt all week and all I wanted to wear to work was jeans and a boring t-shirt, plain sneakers, hair in a knot, forget the makeup. Then I remembered what you said about amping things up when you feel icky. I’m still wearing jeans, as I rarely wear anything else. But I put on a button down shirt and cute flats, put my hair in a pretty clip, and added a chunky/funky necklace I “made” (I pinned a vintage brooch to an old necklace) and put on a bright lip color. I’m still tired and a little achy but I feel a lot better. Thank you, Mercedes. I’m planning to put that quote up in my bathroom for future reference!

    • Caliente Creatrix Mercedes August 13, 2014, 3:31 pm

      You are so awesome. I love your awareness and how you amped it up. Well done! I can feel the shift in you through your words. Thank you.


  • Zoe August 6, 2014, 1:01 pm

    Darling sister goddess Mercedes, thank you so much for this hot blog post–I can’t believe you were ever insecure about your phenomenal beauty, and I can’t believe you’re 38! I thought you were more than a decade younger.

    I dig and practice all these arts you mentioned also, and in addition:
    I flirt my sexy ass off. I had no idea how much joy I was missing out on giving and experiencing!
    I strive for radiance above beauty–more fun and less charged.
    I find something to admire about anyone I’m talking to, and focus on that.
    I give out compliments like Halloween candy.
    I repeat this mantra often, “I am a playful, radiant, undercover love goddess.” (It’s true.)

    • Caliente Creatrix Mercedes August 13, 2014, 3:29 pm

      Ooh Zoe, you are so juicy. Thank you for the compliment, love.
      I love your additions; striving for radiance above beauty, ah that just seems so alluring. I also like that you find something to admire in someone. I’ve done that before and you reminded how much higher it takes me when i do so many heartfelt thanks. And thank you for sharing your radiance!

  • Sg Rockstar August 6, 2014, 10:20 am

    As always your words about owning your own beauty so resonate with me. You are amazing in that the sharing of your wisdom reminds all of us how much beauty we really do have. I loved what you said – your entire blog – and thank you so much for sharing!!

    • Caliente Creatrix Mercedes August 12, 2014, 4:40 pm

      Thank you Rockstar!!! Your words means so much!

      Love you.

  • Annette August 6, 2014, 8:19 am

    Thank you for sharing your lovely story, full of hope and joy! You sparkle! I found my deepest sense of self when I took up ballroom dance at mid-life. Previously, I had lived pretty deep in my head, valuing my intellect above all and doubting my external beauty. Most of my adult life, I worked as a freelance writer and editor, enjoying the work but bound to a desk. Freelance because I wanted to be with my three children more than a 9-to-5 would allow. My heart was an exuberant, stylish, well-tended open house for them, but for myself, it was a haunted mansion with many locked doors. Dance blew off the doors, revealing rows of glittering chandeliers and walls of mirrors with a magical property — everywhere I looked I saw my most beautiful, expressive self. A self who could serve herself and others by simply being, not just in relentlessly doing and planning and doing some more. Near tragedies in my family over the last year have dimmed the lights but I am ready to reclaim the beauty. Very excited that I will participate in my first Mama Gena in Miami!

    • Caliente Creatrix Mercedes August 12, 2014, 4:35 pm

      Thank you for sharing Annette, I feel how you are ready to reclaim your beauty and your light. Wow, my heart is soaring for you!Thank you, Beautiful!

  • Sheila August 6, 2014, 12:32 am

    I’m intrigued to learn more! Doesn’t seem possible to love my body but at the same time it seems too easy to accept myself. Your story gives me hope! Can’t wait to see you at boot camp!

    • Caliente Creatrix Mercedes August 7, 2014, 11:51 am

      I love that you are intrigued and in your own timing you will find that it is possible. I tell you it is intoxicating. Can’t wait to see you too.

  • Denise August 5, 2014, 10:30 pm

    Wow honey you nailed the description of this art!
    I feel reborn ready to take tomorrow with the attitude
    I’m beautiful just because say it is so

    • Caliente Creatrix Mercedes August 7, 2014, 11:48 am

      YES! YES! YES!!! It is true! You are beautiful!
      Thank you!

  • Ciarra August 5, 2014, 10:17 pm

    Beautiful inspiring story. I am so grateful that I got to be a part of it and witness your transformation !! You are one gorgeous goddess !! And filled with juicy love!

    Sassy Ciarra

    • Caliente Creatrix Mercedes August 7, 2014, 11:46 am

      Thank you, it’s true!!!
      Aw Ciarra, you are a doll. I’m so glad you were there to witness and support me too.

  • Chara August 5, 2014, 8:10 pm

    So beautiful, Mercedes! You are gorgeous, and I loved reading your story. You are a wonderful mentor.

    • Caliente Creatrix Mercedes August 7, 2014, 11:44 am

      Thank you so much, Goddess.

  • Clare August 5, 2014, 4:42 pm

    There is no-one more suited to write this blog post than you! YOU are so delicious and sexy it’s hard to believe you ever thought/think otherwise 😉 I especially like the reminder that it’s on the days we feel least like it that it is most important to amp up the self love and take the world higher with us.
    Thank you for sharing your story and your practice gorgeous Goddess xx

    • Caliente Creatrix Mercedes August 7, 2014, 11:42 am

      Thank you, Gorgeous. Your smile, love & amazing energy inspire me.


  • SG Catherine August 5, 2014, 3:01 pm

    I needed to read this today – I have been giving myself a hard time for not exercising…and then I give myself a hard time for giving myself a hard time…I think, “I am a Mastery grad, why can’t I just practice the freaking art of owning my own beauty?!” I like how you shared the story of falling in love with the DB (and I don’t mean defensive back!) guy after Mastery and forgetting to practice this art – and then remembering it. That means I can remember it, too. Thanks for this post!

    • Caliente Creatrix Mercedes August 7, 2014, 11:37 am

      Hi Catherine,
      Thank you for sharing. You always put a smile on my face. Yes, and we can remember again and again and again. You are beautiful!


  • Caliente Creatrix Mercedes August 5, 2014, 2:38 pm

    Hi Caroline, Thank you for sharing. You are right, it is a practice. Bravo, on taking those steps toward owning your beauty. The essence of who you are is more important than how you look in pics. I am so loving your self-discovery and the way you are challenging yourself to see the true beauty that you are. You are amazing. I can’t wait to see you in that red sequin dress. Are you coming to Miami in November? Perhaps you can where the dress then and we can take fabulous pictures together? Are you game?

  • Caroline August 5, 2014, 11:52 am

    Well said, Mercedes. You radiate beauty, warmth, love, but I suppose that’s all redundant. We have been taught to think of beauty as something external, but external beauty alone is unsatisfying. Beauty is a glow from within and you definitely have it along with the externals, too.

    I’m a fledgling in this practice, but what I have done is get dressed every day, including make up, hair do, earrings. That may not sound like much, but I don’t have an office to go to and I can slouch around all day in sweats and a birds nest for a hair do. During mastery, I began to focus on what looks good on me and noticed every time I wore red, I got scads of compliments. I also gave some thought to what styles look good on me. After the weekend we talked about style, the thought occurred to me — why not always wear the right color and style? 100% of the time! Really, such a novel concept….makes so much sense. Why have only one red dress? I’ve been looking for clothes in the right colors and styles and replacing my wardrobe.

    I do look in the mirror and approve of myself initially, but then I see a photo of myself or catch a glimpse in a store mirror and I think — who is that fat old woman? I realize that I feel pretty because the picture in my mind is not the same as the one in the photo or mirror. Recently, I had to get a new drivers license, the photo horrified me. Oh, my face looked fine but my neck looked like I had a gullet! I showed it to my husband. I said, “look. Do I look like that?” He laughed and said, “no”. Maybe it’s not exactly as bad as it is in the photo, but I can see the makings. When I look in the mirror I check its progress.

    I am a portrait painter and a clay sculptor. I’m used to manipulating faces. I’m always tweaking, but not necessarily making the image more beautiful.

    And don’t get me started on my body. At this stage of the game, I have to choose between losing weight and deflating, or maintaining plump and some youth. I have thus far chosen the latter.

    Coming to terms with age and body, where the picture in one’s mind is youth and beauty, is not easy in a culture that admires and elevates the latter. I confess I am drawn to pink hair, sequins, bling. Not exactly the style for a round, mature woman. Can I steal something from Helen Mirren, Judy Dench and Tina Turner to express myself? A red sequin dress hangs in my closet. I shall never wear it. It is lined in velour, much too warm for Florida. Perhaps I will plan a trip to the North Pole next year or have a winter party– invite people to wear their winter finery with the AC turned down to 65, and fake snow everywhere. Brrrr.

    Part of this process is to catch up and see myself as I am today and accept the reality so that photos of me don’t shock. And I wish to find an authentic style that incorporates the art school student I always wanted to be, the lawyer and writer I became, and the inner me which is full of curiosity, longing and daring. I have concealed and hoarded my love, afraid to share it, afraid to be vulnerable, but I have recently learned that love doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t make one soft (or weak) but strong. What hurts and makes one hurt and feel weak is the strings one attaches to love. Being free means I must cut the strings. I must love without strings, just for the joy of it.

    Practice makes perfect. To love what is, I have to open my eyes, see me more clearly, the good and the not so good. Stop lying to myself. Find myself where I am. Acceptance first, compassion next, and then just stop dwelling on body parts. I am a whole person and yes, I am full of light, light which has been concealed by a barrel of my own making. The barrel evaporates when I focus on the wholeness, when I spend my love freely, see thru my eyes rather than the eyes that were imposed by Madison Avenue.

    Thank you Mercedes for your story, for your support during mastery, for giving me the opportunity to reveal this, and for your guidance.

    • Olivia August 5, 2014, 10:05 pm

      Dear Caroline

      I loved reading your comment, it really inspired me and made me smile, laugh and tear up a little, too. It was like watching a good movie, had everything in it! 🙂

      I wanted to tell you: You are beautiful. As I read your words, I thought, wow, what a wonderful, accomplished, funny, witty, gorgeous, juicy woman! I love that you love pink hair, sequins and bling (and I think you should go ahead and wear them, in some form or another). I love that you are getting dressed up every day and it’s making you feel good! I love that you can write and paint and sculpt and make others laugh with your clever words. AND you’re a lawyer on top of all of this? Amazing! Please feel joy and pride in these incredible accomplishments.

      I wanted to share a story with you. I grew up with an Aunt that I admired throughout my childhood (and still do). Every time I saw her, whether we were tagging along to the supermarket, going to a movie with my cousins, or baking at her home, she was dressed to the nines. I remember being in awe of her femininity, grace and beauty. Now, my Aunt is not a classic beauty – she has our family large nose trait, (which I have grown to love on myself after 20 years of wanting a nose job) and she is not a slim woman. Before the age of 15, I had no idea, I thought she was perfection (I still do, but what I mean is societal ideas of what women are supposed to look like to be beautiful or loved had not infiltrated my mind at that stage). Even now, in her 60s, she has a pink streak of colour through her hair (because, why not?!), and wears glitter, sequins and sparkles in her clothes and accessories. But everyone, and I mean everyone, describes her as movie star glamourous and beautiful, and it’s because she believes it, wears things that make her feel amazing and adorns herself and acts this way 100% and around her, life is always full of golden light and smiling moments. The joy is infectious.

      With love and huge admiration,
      Olivia x

      • Caliente Creatrix Mercedes August 7, 2014, 11:27 am

        Your aunt is an inspiration! Truly!!! Thanks for sharing Olivia. I love your support and admiration of Caroline. It makes my heart soar when we see that beauty in one another and share it.

        • SG Jill is MAGIC August 10, 2014, 11:28 am

          I desire to be “THAT aunt” to my teenage nieces and thanks to the healing I’ve done at SWA, I am modeling self love and body positivity… wearing bikinis, cut off shorts, sequins, dressing like a rock star every day and celebrating my Divine Beauty.
          But yes, it is a Practice…like you have to do it everyday…validate and love on yourself…and that is so much easier in community! The healing I have received just from being ‘in the room’ in NYC and Miami with SGs changed my life, pure and simple. More on how I owned my Beauty here:

    • SG Jill is MAGIC August 10, 2014, 11:36 am

      Caroline, I really feel you in your writing. I am a goddess in her 50’s and a photographer as well – I so get how the picture in your head doesn’t match the photo. For me, it is helpful that I can photograph myself in a way that is pleasing to me. I still struggle with accepting my sagging neck, but i do feel and affirm my Beauty everyday and dress like a rockstar! and it really helps. Much love to you on your journey – hope to meet you in Miami!!!
      XO SG Jill

  • Caliente Creatrix Mercedes August 5, 2014, 11:42 am

    Wow, Jen. Thank you so much for your loving words. Thank you for witnessing me, showering your abundant and unconditional love & support. You are a gem! I am so grateful for you.

  • SG Jungle Jen August 5, 2014, 11:12 am

    Dearest Mercedes – I have so enjoyed getting to know you and bearing witness to your gorgeous trajectory these years. Reading this made my appreciation of and inspiration by you that much bigger and better and cooler and sweeter. Thank you for being who you are … and choosing to love you so grandly and perfectly!

  • Lysa Price August 5, 2014, 10:43 am

    Thanks so much for sharing your inspiring story!

    • Caliente Creatrix Mercedes August 5, 2014, 11:40 am

      My absolute pleasure, Goddess! Thank you for your love & support!

  • Allyson August 5, 2014, 10:17 am

    You are so gorgeous Mercedes– inside and out! I am so honoured to know you. I have learned so much from you about owning my beauty, accepting myself and really partying with myself. Love you!

    • Caliente Creatrix Mercedes August 5, 2014, 11:39 am

      Allyson, thank you so much! I am so deeply touched by your words & love. I am honored to know you as well. Your beauty, uniqueness and enormous heart are an inspiration to me.
      Love you too.

  • BSG Glitzy Cougar Karen August 5, 2014, 9:56 am

    Mercedes, thank you for your story. You express this art so beautifully! I do so many of these activities, and they work, especially loving yourself up in the mirror…
    And after meeting Louise Hay, I wrote this song the next day. I call it my hip hop haiku (it’s short:). Hay House loved it and asked me to post it on You Tube as an intro to my recent webinar with them. So there’s the song, my sisters. Dance it with me, sing it with me…use it as a mantra…and love yourselves up:) xo Glitzy

    • Caliente Creatrix Mercedes August 5, 2014, 11:36 am

      Thank you for your love & support, Karen. It’s true, this stuff works!
      I love your hip hop haiku; know that I will be dancing & singing with you as I incorporate this in my daily ritual. Thanks for sharing, Beautiful!