Tag Archives: Trista Hendren

Daddy, Tell Me I’m Beautiful

Growing up, my household was far from perfect. As a matter of fact, my family fit the category of dysfunctional. My parents experienced certain challenges in the childhood causing them to be a product of their environment.

It wasn’t until I get older that I appreciated, despite my father circumstances due to his upbringing, that he planted a seed of self-assurance within me which I believe helped me throughout my life. My father also encouraged me to honor my feelings, always seemed to understand and relate to my intuition/spiritual experiences, told me that I must tolerate nothing less than respect and wholeheartedly love who I am…Unapologitically me.

Let me take you back…

I remember as a little girl, putting a towel on my head and feeling, in that moment, that I a had beautiful long hair. It felt good. (I know some of you reading this now did the same. It was one of those things that many little brown girls did.)

Although my dad would let me be in that moment, he would gently tell me my hair is thick and beautiful and go on saying that many women wished they had hair like mine.

4 year old Alyscia
This is me when I was 4.

In all honestly, despite my fathers had good intention, I didn’t feel as pretty as he told me. It was difficult seeing myself pretty when I didn’t witness little girls that looked like me on high platforms. Although my father pumped “beautiful” in my head, the media, my classroom and society in general was a impact on my self-esteem.

At the age of 11 and feeling a boost of self-confidence, my Aunty told me something that crumbled my self-love. While transitioning through puberty, and a face full of pimples, she looked me in the middle of my eyes and said, with her distinct Trinidadian accent, “Yuh gettin ugly.” I wrote about it in the introduction of my book, Feminine Transitions.

Though that one statement affected me for a few years, because of my fathers influence I grew out of that perception.

If I had not the significant voice at home to assure me of my beauty, there is no doubt that my journey self-awareness would have been much more challenging.

My fathers words, assuring me that I was beautiful just as I am (speaking completely against any enhancements, including make-up, chemical changes to my hair, and medical alterations) stuck with me, even throughout my adult life.

I clearly remember when I started getting attention from boys, and feeling nonchalant when they complimented me. Of course it felt good and I appreciate it, but in all truth their flattery didn’t phase me. It never went to my head. Why? I already knew it because I’ve been praised for as long as I can remember by the most important male figure in my life…my dad.

Can you imagine the walking confidence of a woman that was always told, by her dad as a little girl, that she is beautiful?

I was that little girl…one of them as I am sure we are many. Unfortunately, our stories are not told. Society tends to get too caught up with what we lack… fatherless daughters and sons…

I pay respect to the fathers doing their job!

(Oprah, I’m feeling this topic on Lifeclass coming. Let’s make it happen.)

I truly believe that if we had more dads telling their daughters (and son’s lets not forget them) they are beautiful just as they are, we will build generations of radiating confidence. Maybe even better relationships as people wouldn’t feel the need to cover up who they really are.

As Michael Baisden said, “Stop introducing your representative and introduce yourself.” That’s well said Michael.

The same goes for mom’s and their daughters. If our children do not hear it from us, they will simply seek approval elsewhere.

The reality is my dad and I do not have the best father daughter relationship. It simply is what it is. Regardless, I give Jack his jacket. He has instilled something within me that is powerful beyond measure. Certainty.

To my dad…thank you!

Me and my dad
Me and my dad in 1995.

Daddy’s…tell your daughter she is beautiful. You will awaken her soul.

Did your daddy tell you that you were beautiful? Is there a difference in a womans’ love for self who grew up with a father as compared to one who did not? To dig a little deeper, when a father often tells his little girl that she is beautiful, does she develop a more positive self-esteem than the little girl who was never told this by her father? Please share your experience.

*Posted originally at The Girl God blog http://thegirlgod.blogspot.com/2014/05/daddy-tell-me-im-beautiful-by-alyscia.html

The World Needs A Girl God

The Girl God by Trista Hendren
Paintings by Elisabeth Slettnes

As young as I can remember, hearing everyone refer to God as “He”, never sat well with me.  At church we prayed “The Father, the Son“. Before meal time we prayed, “God is great, God is good, let us thank him for our food“.  Before bed time we prayed, “Our Father, who art in heaven“. And the lists of praises to “Him” goes on and on. At some point I questioned my mom about the absence of the women in prayers. I wanted to know why “She” wasn’t included with “He” when it is “She” in fact that had “Him”  It was then explained to me that God is not a man but instead a spirit. My response, and I clearly remember saying this, “Then why call God he?”

At some point I started to whisper my praises to “Her” during all prayers. I had to acknowledge the feminine aspect of life. The father cannot be a father without mother. The birth of creation is given to this Universe through the womb of a woman. So why is the role of “She” not as important in the presence of many religious practices?

As a mother, I’ve made it my duty to educate my children on the importance of a women and how vital it is for society to acknowledge the feminine power. Women possess the seed for the creation of life that represents the infinite potential with what she is born. In other words, WE GIVE BIRTH TO OUR EXISTENCE. What does that make us? Is that not a GOD?

Showing appreciation to the feminine aspect was yearning in my soul. Then the idea of Feminine Transitions came to me. From there, I discovered a whole new world of powerful feminine projects, bloggers, artist, books, etc.  One book that immediately captured my attention from a post on Facebook was, The Girl God by Trista Hendren.  The title alone is powerful,  the combination of the beautiful paintings by Elisabeth Slettnes create a stunning luminous beauty.  I finally found a children’s book I can share with my daughters that expresses the significance of a woman in a “Godly” manner.

For this blog, I interviewed Trista about her experience with The Girl God.

What is The Girl God?                                                                                                       The Girl God is the feminine form of God. She is the mother, daughter and sister in all of us women. She is the woman who gave birth to each of us and to life itself. She is grace, compassion and love.

Painting by Elisabeth Slettnes

How did you come up with the idea?      I had tried to raise my daughter as both a Muslim (as I had converted) and a Christian (as my family raised me). One day she sneezed, and we had a discussion about what that meant in Islam. I had taken for granted that she knew what I meant as I blessed her, but she did not. The discussion was enlightening for me. I realized I had failed her as a mother. I had used what I knew to raise her the best I could, but somewhere deep inside me I knew that same system had failed me. I had succumbed to materialism in pursuit of “raising a family”. But in doing so, I had lost sense of my own core values and what I needed in order to thrive as a woman. In losing myself, I realized my daughter would not have a fair chance at life.  If I did not honor my truth, she would really struggle to honor hers.

I wrote the original text in about 15 minutes after this conversation.  It has changed some grammatically and in small detail, but the original story and message is still very close to the original.  In a way, it has been sort of an apology and an amends to both my daughter and to all the women of the world. It is also a love story to my daughter and to myself. It is the story of the love our Divine Mother has for all of us and how empowering it is when we embrace her love.

What do you want little girls to walk away with after reading The Girl God?  Alternative views of the well-known scriptures as well as new ideas from feminist *thealogians* and the strength that comes from knowing you are a beautiful creation of the Divine Feminine.

Painting by Elisabeth Slettnes

Do you think that there is a lack of appreciation for the feminine in religion? If so, why?                    Yes. I think it is not only not appreciated but intentionally stamped out. All of the world religions come from a place of social justice and all of them have some aspect of the Divine Feminine if you look hard enough. This has benefited men but hurt women.

Painting by Elisabeth Slettnes

                                     

What was your first recollection of praises to “He” and not “She”?    The first idea that God could even be a woman was when I purchased Patricia Lynn Reilly’s “A God Who Looks Like Me” in college.  That was a transformative period in my life. I had come into both Women’s Studies and Islam at the same time. For whatever reason, I did not finish the book then. Perhaps I was not ready for it. But I kept it despite numerous moves over a 15-year period. As I was going through a divorce about 4 years ago, I went finally finished the book and was blown away.

Finish the sentence:

A woman is…powerful

Creation is…transformative and necessary.

When I think of pregnancy I think of…New life. A chance to also re-birth yourself.

Painting by Elisabeth Slettnes

What I love most about being a woman is…Fluidity.

I want to change….The inequality of the sexes. The foundations of which for me are religion, sexuality and economics. Religion is the most powerful force in most of our lives. Until we get to the root of what we believe and why, we can not really change anything.  A change in the way we view the divine – especially when we can imagine the divine as feminine, will change the inequality of sexual norms and economics. And then, women’s lives will change.

I want my daughter to know…That she is worthy. That she does not have to constantly sacrifice herself for the sake of others – as so many of us women do.  That her aspirations are just as important as any one else’s.

Painting by Elisabeth Slettnes

If I can change anything with The Girl God, it would be…That women would come into themselves much sooner.  So often it seems that women wake up after 30, 40 or 50-years.  I want girls to know their worth from the get-go and hold onto it.