I grew up in Barbados in the 80s, and was raised by a village comprising of my parents, grand-parents, great-aunts, teachers, family friends and housekeepers. Barbados is a former British colony, and is probably one of the most conservative of the Caribbean islands. The country boasts one church for every day of the year, which is no small feat, considering it’s surface area of approximately one hundred and sixty six square miles. The transition from girl to young lady was one bumpy, confusing ride, shared, but seldom discussed, processed, or fully integrated with my female friends and classmates.
I remember the anticipation of the embarrassing stain of the portal to womanhood on the back of a skirt, which would be followed by a hurried withdrawal to the school office so that a replacement uniform could be borrowed for the remainder of the day. The increasingly hairy legs which were the inspiration for endless taunting by a boy on whom I had a crush. The stash of obscenely large sanitary napkins, shoved into a drawer in my bedroom, which could never be discretely used under a ballet leotard, and so, since my mother refused to let me use a tampon, caused somewhat of an existential crisis for me on a monthly basis for several years. The dreaded ‘birds and the bees’ conversation which I recall taking place as my mother yanked knots out of my hair, and sewed knots in my stomach as I contemplated the Divine act of physical and energetic union through the lens of Christian Sin. The thought that, should I manage to get myself pregnant out of wedlock, my father would throw me out of the house. It is no wonder that I exiled myself to the badlands of New York City at the first opportunity, so as to adventure into my twenties alone. I had long wished that I had been born a boy, and it would take a lot of work and play for me to discover the beauty of the gift of being born a woman.
Maya Angelou once said, “Do the best that you can, until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” We, as incarnations of the Divine Feminine, all have a choice as to how much time and energy we invest into repatterining our stories around being born a woman. And, as mothers, aunts, grandmothers and caretakers of daughters, nieces, grand-daughters, girls and young women, we all have a choice as to how we will help our charges navigate the transition from girlhood to womanhood. How to hold space for them on this once in a lifetime journey? How to instill in them self-worth and confidence as they experience changes which rattle their very sense of self? How to model for them an unwavering connection to the Goddess, regardless of external circumstance, so that they may fly fearlessly out of the nest and gently leave their own footprints on the world?
There are many angels doing amazing work with women and girls to help facilitate these Rites of Passage, and Lorene Wapotich is one of them. Widely known throughout Boulder as the founder of Feet on the Earth, Lorene has been developing and offering numerous programs for girls for decades. She has recently turned her focus toward specifically addressing the coming of age transition, and has begun to hold circles and training for women interested in creating positive coming of age ceremonies for the young women in their lives. I am thrilled that Lorene will join the Conscious Nest this month to deliver a talk entitled “Boosting Girls’ Confidence Through Rites of Passage”. Come and join us as we embark on a journey to ‘know better’ and ‘do better’ for our daughters.
The talk will take place on Saturday January 25, at the Home Nest, 189 Spring Lane, Boulder, 10am-12noon. Please register on the Events page.