Undress me

by Tanya Monteiro on 07/18/2014

Earlier this year there was a youtube video making it’s rounds with strangers meeting for the first time and kissing. Now the same producer has released one with strangers getting undressed and in to bed together.

I grew up feeling that I had to hide my body. Wearing clothes that covered me up totally, were mostly baggy or big for me and even though I was very aware of fashion I never showed off my figure let alone my flesh.

This type of video reminds me of what I’ve had to teach myself over and over again. We are ultimately all the same, yes, some colours, sizes, preferences might alter but when it comes down to being naked humans, we really are the same all over the world. As Joanne Wilson said in her blog post, this is some kind of Brilliant.

and incase you missed it, below is the video of strangers having a first kiss

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Show people your brain

by Tanya Monteiro on 07/07/2014

This commencement speech by Ellen DeGeneres made in 2009, came to me via a friend this week.

As I listened to Ellen (twice over) share a little about her own life and the tragedy that ignited a fire in her belly to write about what she would say in a phone call to god which was the first step in her first career I was struck, once again by her deep honesty, her humour and the humbleness with which she speaks.

No doubt her climb has been tough, reaching to ‘the top’ and then not being able to live with yourself because of the Shame and Fear inside is something I relate to. Then loosing it all and going from having her own sitcom to loosing that sitcom and not getting a phone call for any job for 3 years must have been a mini kind of hell in her mind. BUT, during that time Ellen was receiving letters from people saying how her telling her truth had saved them or changed them or helped them in some way and slowly she realised her purpose and made that her engine.

By loosing everything she learnt how to fuel her life from the inside out and mostly she learnt to live with integrity and without the shame and fear that caused so much pain before.

As I go through my own stages of honesty and face the fact that allot of my family would much rather “the family laundry” be kept to themselves, I hear real stories like this and it reconnects me with that place in my soul that know’s “dirty laundry” is so often the real truth and that it’s ok to be honest, to find that place within us that we know we need to shine a light on regardless of what others might think.

Ellen ends by saying “show people your brain”, I’d add that we can also show people our hearts and ultimately, I believe, when we do share from this place of transparency the connection we feel cannot be described only used as fuel to keep surviving and find ways to Thrive.

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Reforming Ourselves

by Tanya Monteiro on 06/25/2014

23 years ago this man killed someone, he was 17, a drug dealer, angry and he had a gun. 14 months prior to this event he’d been shot 3 times and after hospital was dropped off at home to heal.

No one hugged him, he had no counselling and no one said you will be ok.

In his 20 years in prison he got worse and finally found himself in 7.5 years in solitary confinement.

A letter from his son was his tipping point. Finally he was faced with only himself and realised he needed to take responsibility.

What helped in prison:
- he found mentors,
- he found literature,
- he found family
- he found writing

In 2010, after 2 decades in prison, he walked free into a new world of the internet and works today to help others believe that anyone can have transformation.

Being held hostage to your past does not have to define your life. (but it can)

Three things that transformed him:
- Acknowledged he hurt others and he was hurt.
- Apologised to the people he hurt, with no expectation of acceptance. Apologised to himself.
- Atonement, helping others and helping myself.

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Stories are the foundation of our identity yet how is it that so many of us are ashamed to share our stories?

As Andrew states in his TED talk below I too believe that we all seek meaning in our lives, and through meaning we build our identity. Yet, so often we are at war with ourselves around this “meaning” and sadder still, many of us don’t even realise we have a war going on within us.

We seek our identities at the wake of painful experiences, often finding our vocabulary through others stories.

“Go out and tell someone, if we live out loud we can get rid of the hatred and expend everyones lives.
Invite the world to share your JOY.”

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Powerful Shame

by Tanya Monteiro on 06/05/2014

More and more Facebook is turning out to be my “new blog”, Today I posted something that I intend on reading over and over cause, without a hesitation in my mind SHAME was by far the biggest lesson I got out of sharing my story, so far.

The most surprising part to me about SHAME is that very very few of us even realise it is driving our lives.

In the word of the incredible mind of Seth Godin

  • - Shame between individuals is corrosive, an ongoing toll on many relationships.
  • - We don’t like to talk about shame because the very idea of it is so overwhelming.
  • - But shame in the public sphere is fuel for the media, and it’s a significant contributor to maintaining or changing the cultural status quo.

To read the full article, click HERE

shame

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Anger is a Signal

by Tanya Monteiro on 05/17/2014

As always Brene Brown makes me take notice and think. Most often though she articulates complex thoughts that I have had into simple language on paper. Last week Brene wrote about a book called The dance of Anger. Having spent years trying to understand my own anger and slowly learning and realising that shutting myself off from feelings of pain, anger or fear just makes things worse I immediately wanted to know more about this book.

The only way is through the Anger The only way is through the Anger

 

Including the four quotes that Brene used below:

“It is not fear that stops you from doing the brave and true thing in your daily life. Rather, the problem is avoidance. You want to feel comfortable so you avoid doing or saying the thing that will evoke fear and other difficult emotions. Avoidance will make you feel less vulnerable in the short run but, it will never make you less afraid.”

“Those of us who are locked into ineffective expressions of anger suffer as deeply as those of us who dare not get angry at all.”

 “Everyone freaks out. Sometimes the best we can do with fear is befriend it. Expect it and understand that fear will always reappear. Eventually it subsides. It will return. The real culprits are our knee jerk responses to fear and the way we try to avoid feeling fear, anxiety and shame. Don’t get me wrong, wanting to feel better fast is a perfectly natural human impulse. It is healthy to seek relief when you feel hopelessly mired in the emotional soup.”

“Calming down is an essential first step to accurately perceiving a problem and deciding what to do about it but the last thing you need to do is shut yourself off from fear and pain – either your own or the worlds. If there is one over riding reason why our world and relationships are in such a mess, is that we try to get rid of our anxiety, fear and shame as fast as possible, regardless of the long term consequences. In doing so, we blame and shame others and in countless ways, we unwittingly act against ourselves. We confuse our fear driven thoughts with what is right, best, necessary or true.”

Link to Brene Brown’s blog post is here

I also clicked through to the  interview with Harriet Lerner in Forbes Magazine.

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When Rabbit Howls by Truddi Chase

by Tanya Monteiro on 04/19/2014

Years and years ago a dear Aunt of mine recommended that I read the book called When Rabbit Howls. It took me a long time to get a copy and work my way through the book.

It’s the first written account by a patient with multiple personalities, prior to this book most written documents or books were produced by therapists.

Truddi Chase was sexually abused by her step farther from the age of 2 and it is also believed that Truddi was abused by her mother. To cope Truddi developed multiple personalities that she would later come to refer to as “The Troops” in her adult life.

The reason that Truddi called her book “when rabbit howls” is that Rabbits have no vocal cords so when they are killed they make a special sound, Truddi would hear this same sound when others, recalling their abuse, would screamed in Therapy.

The interview below was done with Oprah not long after Oprah shared her own story of abuse. I recall my own path to finding the feelings within myself and how watching video’s helped me a great deal in getting in touch with my own feelings.

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Gratitude: Louie Schwartzberg at TEDxSF

by Tanya Monteiro on 04/10/2014

How did I miss this?

It’s not possible for me to describe it better than the audio in the video does.

One thing I know for sure, ‘we protect what we fall in love with’.

Please carve out 10 mins of your day to watch this, you will not regret it, and perhaps, you, and I will never take for granted the beauty of nature, ever again.

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The Impossible

by Tanya Monteiro on 04/02/2014

What is impossible?

It’s always inspiring to me when I discover a project, especially online, that tackles big problems, problems that seem impossible.

impossible

Impossible is a social network that wants to encourage a culture of giving and receiving.

They intend to operate as a business and reinvest 100% of any profits into their social mission.

THE GOAL is to try and build a more collaborative economy, drive social cohesion and empower individuals.

Disrupting conventional economics is so important to all of our futures, 100% of us humans face change and in my opinion, right now more than ever.

These people are not just talking about it they have created a reality that I hope will spread and they are speaking for the idea of TRANSPARENCY, how can that not be worth supporting?

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Face to Face with the Man Who Sexually Abused Me

by Tanya Monteiro on 03/26/2014

My name is Tanya Monteiro, and I’m 43 years old. I’m a marketer, social media buff, yoga teacher, African, daughter, girlfriend and human being. I was also sexually abused by my stepfather from the age of twelve to the age of sixteen.

For a long time I guarded this secret, telling myself I was okay because I was working, I was living, I had friends and I had a life – which, by the way we measure these things, was a successful one. I travelled, met people, had relationships, made money and it took me a long, long time to realise that surviving is just not the same thing as thriving. Not by a long shot.

I was surviving because I was keeping quiet about what had happened to me and what ultimately changed who I was when I was too young to know how to stop it. For fear of hurting my family and the people I loved, I held this secret close to my heart telling myself it was okay now, that it was in the past and that I didn’t have to visit that place of sadness and pain any longer. And I half-believed my lie as I numbed myself with work and projects and the things we find to do when we’re crying inside and don’t know how to make the hurting stop.

PicMonkeyAboutTanya

This project is about making the cycle stop. Not just for me, but for everybody out there who’s been injured in this way and has been suffering in silence. It will never go away unless we confront it head on; look our heartbreak in the eye and go, ‘hey. I see you. I’m doing something about this’.

For me, it’s speaking my truth by sharing my story. It’s my way of taking it out of the dark and flinging it into the light so that it can stop festering and growing like mould does when it’s left undisturbed.

Part of this process turned out to be documenting, in audio form, a face-to-face conversation I had with my stepfather and his wife. I confronted him and tried to get answers to questions I’d held on to for far too long. I needed some acknowledgement of what he had done; some semblance of an apology that would help me to heal. I didn’t get exactly that, as many of us in this situation don’t.

But, as I discovered, that doesn’t even matter. What it did do is set me free, and I hadn’t even realised that I wasn’t free from him.

PicMonkeyThe Farm.jpg

Sharing our conversation feels like a small part in my responsibility on breaking the silence and helping to make these cycles stop. I’m proud of myself for standing up to him, looking him in the eyes and forcing him to confront what he did to me.

I never realized how powerful that meeting of the eyes would be, and this is the deeper reason I want to share this audio – to encourage and inspire and help others whose desire is to Thrive.

What I learnt when I was numbing myself with work in London and on Wall Street, with interviewing loads of people for my documentary across the USA, and with teaching yoga and learning to surf in Portugal, is that I will never achieve inner peace until I do something good with the bad I lived through.

PicMonkeyTanyaNYCSurf.jpg

It happened to me for a reason, and denying that means denying myself, and what I believe to be my way of living with purpose. It’s time to jump into the arena!

I don’t know exactly what this project looks like yet or how it’s all going to fit together. For now I’m taking the leap and hoping that by sharing what was a meaningful and very real experience for me, I will encourage others to speak out about their experiences too, – maybe even visit their perpetrators and take back their own power.

Embarking on this project makes me feel less like a victim and more like a part of the solution to a situation, which is far too commonplace. I can’t say that I can fix anyone but I can say I’ve been there, I get it, and you are not alone.

I hope to be a small stepping-stone in helping others find their own voices, and to offer the courage to bring their own secrets into the light. I also hope this will help others to discover that inside each of us there is the strength, resilience and passion for living and thriving, something I never knew I had.

Here’s to Surviving AND Thriving!

Thank you for hearing my story.

NOTE: My stepfather was given an opportunity to listen and comment to this audio. I received no answer.

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