Since the start of our Woman of the Month series, many have asked us, "How do you select the women that you feature?" To put it simply, we are looking for women that exude strength, humility, individuality, uniqueness, and passion for whatever it is they do.
Rachel fits the script to the T. When we first connected with her, Rachel's eagerness and admiration for our organization was so refreshing. She came with a multitude of ideas to help us launch further into the direction of our goals with her knowledge as a well recognized and respected Writer (Raaachem.com).
In addition, Rachel's spirit is addicting. Her welcoming and warm attitude defines who she is before she even utters a word. And as she proceeds to speak words of wisdom via her life experiences and profound insight, she pretty much let us immediately know that we wanted her on our Team. See, Rachel knows victory, but she also knows loss. She knows what it is like to lose a child, to battle cancer, to experience divorce. But Rachel is still standing, and she inspires us and so many others to keep fighting because we all have a specific purpose to serve in this world.
Rachel is a Writer-and a fabulous one at that. She writes about love, heart break, motherhood, loss, and gain. She is heading operations of the diversity focused lifestyle brand- Mixologi (www.mixologicity.com), one of the most genius movements to ever hit the Bay Area. This team focuses on bringing attention to their distinguished tag line 'The Art of Diversity" through various events that bring good people, good music, good everything together, to describe it accurately.
While Rachel has immersed herself in such creative and remarkable projects that have captured the attention of numerous dedicated followers including ourselves, we are most moved by her role as a Mother. Rachel understands the definition of being a mother, and recognizes that though the title is not an easy one to wear, it is indeed an honor and privilege to hold. We honor you, Sol Sister Rachel Tan, for all of the work that you do professionally (we didn't mention that Rachel too, has a day job on top of eeeeverything else), and for the heart that you have shared with us so intimately and personally. Thank you for allowing us to explore the beautiful, incomparable, you.
1. Describe what your ethnicity means to you. How has it molded you as a person? What are the difficulties/challenges associated with it?
One word - Family. I went to a predominantly White school, with Korean and Fijian best friends, so growing up, the only thing I knew about being Filipino / Chinese was my family experiences. From my tightly knit nuclear family, to my extensive extended family, I learned everything. How to cook, how to love, how to forgive, how to work. As I grew older, and aligned myself with friends who shared the same ethnicity as I did, our circle of friends became an extension of family for each other.
Constantly being around people, I’ve found myself having a hard time being alone. In our culture, in our house, it’s family over everything. So even when I’m pursuing things that benefit me individually, I always stop and think how this will affect my family too. Currently, I’m in a position where I am helping my family out a lot, which satisfies my soul and my need to show them love. However, I feel like I’ve put myself and my needs on the back burner because of it. It’s a struggle to find a good balance.
2. Describe what it means to be a woman in today’s culture? What do you value/love about being a woman? What is the most challenging?
In July of 2009, I posted this on my little blog: http://raaachem.com/2009/07/20/kind-of-woman/
Sicker than your average, I walk around with my head high, kind of woman. Not because I’m full of it, full of shit, or think I’m better than the rest, but because I know who I am and I’m proud to be, a woman.
Far from average, I handle business on a daily, kind of woman. On the grind, on a mission to provide, for everyone, kind of woman. Take one good look, because that’s all you’re going to get; no time to slow down for anything, woman.
This post spoke on the beauty I felt as a woman, the value I felt in the title. But as I grew older and wiser in the years that came, I started to understand more the contradictory life I had to lead. I was too much, and not enough, at the same time.
The struggle to define being a woman today is something I continue to wrestle with. My mother came to this country in a era where femininity was being rewritten: where women were working, voting, and going to the moon. My mother was the keeper of the family, the caretaker of friends. She worked a 9-5 job, was independent in her relationship with my father, yet smothered her 2 children with all the love she cold bare. She told me I could be anything. Instead, I heard that I have to be EVERYTHING.
I think this is a common state of mind with women my age, who feel like we have to get good grades, make good money, and do it better than the boys. I must save the world, be my son’s hero, my boss’ rockstar. I have to fight cancer, and all of my friend’s battles too. Not to mention, be beautiful, stay fit, keep my nails painted and my hair colored. I must be perfect, and I must make it look effortless.
The most challenging thing about it is, I’m exhausted. It’s exhausting.
3. What are your greatest motivators to keep pressing forward and achieving your goals?
I have one motivator,and his name is Adonis. 6 years ago, my son came into my life tumultuously and spectacularly. Everything else fell away, and everything I do now is to solely make sure he has everything he needs.
4. What are your greatest fears and/or hindrances that get in the way of moving forward in your goals?
My only fear is of not trying. I have never been afraid to fail, but I’ve always been afraid of things I won’t try. I have a lot of responsibility as a 30-year old single mother. I also help provide for my immediate family, and although it’s a lot of responsibility, none of it is a burden. If I can’t be at the top with my people, I don’t want to be there.
5. In thinking about society’s pressure to conform to the “ideal woman,” what does she look like to you? How does that make you feel? Do you ‘qualify’? Where do you ‘fall short’?
I think I touched on a lot of this in my answer regarding being a woman. I don’t want to be the ideal woman, I just want to be the ideal me. It’s taken me a long time to realize that, although it FEELS like a competition, it isn’t. The ideal me, looks just like this, at this moment. Tomorrow’s me may look different, and I’ll be perfectly perfect then, too.
6. You are a huge inspiration to so many women, young and old reading this. What would you want to say to adolescent girls entering into a world of harsh and FALSE expectations?
Your heart never lies to you. Get to know yourself well enough to hear it speak. You’ll quickly learn what you can expect from yourself.
Thank you for reading and supporting our Sol Sisters organization. Our website is almost done and will launch in the coming month. Until then, take note from our featured Sol Sis: Be Yourself. Everyone else is already taken.
Photographer: Judy Galvez
Hair: Dana Marlise
Makeup: Christine Shayesteh
Wardrobe Styling: Fre Crawford/Aleli Crutchfield
Creative Direction: Christine Shayesteh/Aleli Crutchfield
Announcing our very own Sol Sisters Jewelry Line by Tiffany Perreras
Thank you all for your Love and Support.
Peace, Love, and Sol