– as told to The Silver Women
Women who inspired you as a young girl?
The first woman in my life is my mother, Ketlie Laurenceau. She was IT. My mother was the person I woke up with and fell asleep with. It was just us. She was a single mother that had to overcome a lot of disappointment, pressure and hardship, but she always found a way (and still does) to walk with dignity and class. She was grace under fire often times working 2-3 jobs and somehow never making me feel like there was never enough. There was always more than enough. And I just remember, how she took a lot of pride in dressing me up, fixing my hair with pretty bows and braids. She was and still is a very strong Haitian woman who I admire for making me all that I am today. The second woman in my life is Nana, my grandmother. She was the other strong half of my mother, who I miss dearly. Talk about abundance…she gave it in so many ways that are too long to list, but there was always a sense of feeling full and nourished when you were with her. She was the most giving woman I knew. I mean she would literally, especially with granddaughters and daughters just give without attachment, she just wanted to witness you flourishing. There was never a reason why she didn’t want to give. She was especially big on giving us heirlooms. If you noticed she was wearing something and you complimented her, she would literally take it off and offer it to you. That was the most amazing love one could be around.Luckily, I inherited her 50+-year-old dining room set and all of her china.
Also, I was always in love with the women superheroes like Wonder Woman and Storm growing up because they were uber feminine and could kick ass using the gifts they had whether it was Wonder Woman’s bangles to Storm’s ability to use the natural elements around her to get what she wanted. I think I’m a bit of a superhero.
Donna Summer. I had a Donna Summer doll. I lip synced to her albums with my doll as my microphone. I was the only child for a while, so I had to entertain myself, and I did – fun times.
Who are they currently?
Oprah Winfrey: powerhouse of a woman. Shonda Rhimes: brilliant woman that looks beyond race in her art.
Oddly enough: Wendy Williams: she turned her radio gossip job into an empire just being herself (love her or hate her).
Most valuable lesson taught by your Mother or any other women growing up?
Respect and honor yourself. Putting faith first above everything: men, money, fear, etc…There was always this dialogue of not letting yourself be run down by people OR circumstances of life emotionally mentally or physically. Adding to yourself by doing good things for yourself were the keystones. Not waiting on someone else to give you happiness. Give yourself happiness.
Do you think older women are valued or celebrated enough?
I think they are in certain cultures.
“I grew up in Haitian household, so the older women were the matriarchs that we often deferred to. They were the ones that we often turned to for guidance. They were “the boss”. I think now, in the fast paced world we live stereotypes are being broken down in terms of body image and ageism. I’ve been seeing a lot more honor come to women who are older”
On Facebook, I’ve seen several posts about women in their late 60’s and up who are strength training and doing yoga who look absolutely fabulous and quite honestly better than most women in their 20-30’s. So, I think people are starting to change their perception a bit on women who are older and the possibilities of changing the concept of what aging means.
Have you made career changes over the years?
Yes. A few, in part, because earlier on I didn’t quite know what gave me “life” what made me feel good.
For a while, I worked in public relations and publishing, but they were just jobs. I was just filling space at a desk. Little did I know then that my love for health and wellness on a personal level would have put me on the road I am on now. Currently, I’m finishing up my master’s degree to become a licensed acupuncturist in December 2016. That was a long journey for me as I took my time with it. This also led me to stay true to my Haitian roots and family legacy to start TeaFèy Infusions (www.teafeyinfusions.com), a lifestyle tea company based in Brooklyn, NY creating custom herbal blends and running workshops on tea & tisane blending. Working with the energetics of the body, tea leaves, and herbal botanicals feels right to me. When I started to really get committed to moving deeper, I’d have friends or family say to me, “This is so you…This makes sense”. So my work and I reflect each other well.
Through the Decades!
20s: Aside from needing the experiences in this era of my life, I would say to my 20-year-old self to be more decisive with no regrets
30s: I was beginning to gain a clearer sense of my needs personally and emotionally. I was so happy the 20’s were behind me, and I became more decisive and stood in my personal confidence and power more firmly. I let go of a lot of foolish things and people…I opened the door and said, “Goodbye!” with zero regrets, and it was amazing to feel that freedom.
40s: I’m here now and so, my life I’ve realized is what I want to make it. My intuition has gotten profoundly abundant and spot on-It’s amazing. I trust myself deeply now. In my 30’s, I wasn’t trusting myself thoroughly. For me, I’ve found that the presence of my ancestors are strong and I hear them quietly guiding me in ways that is hard for me to explain. My 40’s I believe will be about creating my life and seeing all the hard work and the seeds planted come to life.
What have been your greatest challenges?
Fear. But, I’ve become a lot less fearful. I’ve become the woman accepting that less is more. I don’t always have to know what the next thing is or how something is going to happen. Letting my fear go has been one of my greatest challenges growing into my womanhood, but I’ve learned to just move through fear and let things fall where they may when I feel my heart beating a little faster than normal.
What are you most grateful for?
My life. Every opportunity of life that is given me upon rising up from my night’s sleep. It’s a new day.
Thoughts on aging,
The downside…This whole idea that my clock is “ticking” as far as children and becoming pregnant. I’d like to continue believing that I’m not a clock. I’m a woman.
The upside…Self Acceptance.I don’t care what anyone thinks about me or decides about me. I’m all about keeping it moving. If you can keep pace, that’s awesome! I’m not interested anymore in making myself less than my greatness so that someone can feel comfortable. My light must stay bright!
Your advice to young women of today?
Get to know what your needs are first and foremost. Know what moves you. Understand what your purpose is, and once you find it, go deep and allow IT to continually reveal itself to you. Because if you can’t sort out who you are personally and spiritually, you leave yourself too open to be taken advantage of.
Images courtesy of Walda Laurenceau unless credited otherwise.
FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS!
Book/Novel: Since most of my books are school related, on my desk to read : Instinct by TD Jakes
Film: An oldie I found many years ago for $1 ‘Funny Girl’ with Barbra Streisand , I used to watch this when I needed a good cry.
Flower: All Flowers
City: Sedona, Arizona. This place has been a place of reprieve and healing for me during my most challenging times.
Skincare product you can’t live without: Jojoba or Castor oil.
Lipstick: MAC Red
Food/Meal/Cuisine: Haitian Cuisine, but I love ALL good food
Song: Recently. ‘Dressed in Black’ by SIA
Style Icon: Tracee Ellis Ross. She is amazing!