For this month’s Creative Spotlight, we had to opportunity to interview the creative behind Womban Kind, an Australia-based female empowerment movement.
Hi, Nerissa! It’s my absolutely pleasure to have you as our March Creative Spotlight here in ATOW. I’ve been absolutely inspired by your work. Its strength and authenticity is just exhilarating! Do you mind introducing yourself to the ATOW community?
I am a feminist writer and poet who writes for the empowerment of Women.
I am a mother to two young boys and have a supportive and loving partner. We live as a family in the Dandenong Mountains in Victoria, Australia.
I am a sassy and quick-witted person who loves sharing a glass of wine whilst laughing and chatting about the intricacies of life.
I LOVE a deep and truth filled conversation around a fire. I love expresso martini’s, playing dress ups and dancing till early in the morning.
Your work is so powerful! Where do you find inspiration to create?
I gather my inspiration to create, from the things in which we do not talk about enough.
The things that are overlooked.
The ways in which we as women have been conditioned to suppress and under acknowledge the parts of ourselves, in which are not recognised here, as beautiful.
The parts within ourselves that are the creation made from living in the shadow of bright. These parts of ourselves are the places in which hold our power. These places have learnt to live without being fed. These places that we keep hidden from ourselves and from others are possibly THE key in which to harness our truest wisdom and rawest power.
I use fire to fuel my writing because every Woman deserves to be seen; Even in the darkest of places.
As a writer and poet, it must be challenging to feel inspired every single day. What do you do when you’re feeling uninspired or unmotivated to create?
I either immerse myself in my own time and space or I take myself away from my mind, and venture out into nature or the healthy distraction of friendships.
I have a very active mind, so I need to check in with myself constantly.
When it comes to a sense of lack in creativity or motivation, I am all or nothing. Which translates to either sitting on my own dissecting my thoughts and writing down and focusing on specific mind filled conversation, or taking a break from my own space and mind – and immersing myself in situations where I can grow fresh creativity and gather inspiration from being immersed in humankind.
Do you remember your first creation? Do you mind telling us a short story about it?
I have always been a writer but for a time, I grew distracted with life and so I unintentionally put my writing on the bottom of my life list.
When I was giving birth to my first son, during the transitional part of my labour, when I felt I could not go on
I felt the seed of a Fire Woman plant inside my belly. It helped me birth my baby, but unbeknownst to me, it was going to birth me too.
During the birth of my second son, This Woman Of Fire was birthed inside me. And I would say that She was my first creation. The creation and birth — of my ultimate self. And from my second son‘s birth, I have many times, written in a trance like state, knowing that my words are being fuelled by Her.
At home where I write, I have a little altar dedicated to my inner Fire Woman.
Every day I take a moment to speak gratitude to her, for allowing me this rapid expensive growth. I light a candle and in doing so, I acknowledge her. For She represents to me, all of the women and all of our ancestors who are not, who were not — acknowledged.
The fire represents — their ferocity. Their power and their ability to control death and rebirth, pain and comfort.
She encourages and ignites “The Too Much Woman” that I tried to suppress for half of my life.
She has reminded me, that there can never be too much — of a good thing.
Do you have a mantra that gets you in the mood to create? Do you mind sharing it with us?
I do not have a mantra per se, but if I am struggling to dissolve into the mindset and place I need to be to write, I intentionally light a candle – calling upon my Fire Woman to fuel me. If I have not had the time and/or space to check in with myself – I will take some time away, for myself, to pleasure myself or give back to myself, which then ignites my mood to create.
When I write this, I realise that to be in a state to write and be a vessel for empowerment to come through, I need to create space.
My writing takes a lot of energy.
So to create more energy, I need to allow a healthy flow of energy to happen within me.
Releasing leads to increasing.
So whether that be literally releasing a part of myself — letting go of distractions, or simply lighting a candle to tell myself, I am present, I am listening — I am ready.
Do you have a mantra that gets you in the mood to create? Do you mind sharing it with us?
I look up to any woman who is following her own truth. In a world where women are constantly told and conditioned to ignore and abandon their truth, their intuition — I look up to and commend all of the woman, doing otherwise.
The rebels are the ones amongst us who are constantly carving the unknown pathway for the rest of us – for when others are ready, wanting or searching to follow.
We carve the path with our footsteps. And the more of us who are following and living in our own truth — the more distinct and seeable that path becomes for others to knowingly acknowledge and choose to walk, for themselves.
What is your creating process?
I take a moment to focus on a specific emotion or thought process within my mind. I then allow my thoughts to process through my fingertips. When I feel my word happening is done, I read it – then I reread it again. Then I edit and change certain words and sentences, and I reread it. Then I add spaces where I feel space is needed. Then I re read it, again. I do this until it reads like I want it to.
Do you happen to have a morning routine?
I wish I could say that I sleep in until I naturally want to wake – but the reality is, I am a mother to 2 small children who wake very early – and who demand food and watering as soon as they wake.
When my youngest son has his morning nap, I take the time to ritually make myself a hot cup of coffee and make sure that I drink it whilst it stays hot.
This is really the only time in my day where I get to sit with just myself, whilst my older son plays.
I have gotten very good at using time, wisely. I get everything I need right now, from carefully making use of my 1 hour a day.
What are five things we can definitely find on your desk?
(1) Candles (2) a frame with my words: “spit fires find one another” (3) a thesaurus (4) a dictionary (5)my (Goddess) Kali statue
What advice would you give to creatives that have just started their own page on Instagram?
Be authentically yourself. Share your truth. Your tribe will sniff you out and find you on their own.
Do you have a shop? When and how did you decide to open it?
I have an online store – Wombankind. I originally opened it to share my plans for digital prints of my poetry and for the future sale of my book/s. But it has also become a great place to share my other creative skills. I create silver Pussy Power jewellery which has become the perfect Tasman to empower and liberate women, and also to support my work and my writing.
Were there challenges in starting your own creative business? What were they and how did you overcome them?
The challenges in beginning to write the way that I do now, and sharing it so openly, have been the triggering effects they seem to have on certain people in my life. “Can’t you find a way to share this empowerment in a more subtle, gentle way?” — is something I have heard from women many times. All I can say on this, is that fire can be nurturing and warming but it can also be incredibly powerful and incredibly painful. My words trigger people because my words lighten the darkness. They expose the hidden. Conversing with people who feel intimidated and triggered by my writing, has only made me feel more propelled to share it – because the world needs more Fire starters.
My writing empowers and liberates the women who are ready to receive it. The women who are ready to harness it and use it for fuel – to grow, cleanse and heal.
So consume with caution — and take what you can, what you need. Even if it only plants a seed inside you… A seed will one day be a tree.
What advice would you give to creatives that have not started their own shop yet but are looking to do so soon?
Start small. Create a really good structurally strong base. You can always built up from strong.
What was one of the biggest disappointments you’ve faced as a creative? How did you overcome it?
As creatives we all understand that the artistic world is one which is very populated. Like any creative — my art, my writing, comes from my soul. It always feels disappointing when others do not acknowledge or cannot understand your art, and so – the deepest parts of yourself. But when you’re truthfully creating, from a place of absolute authenticity — and when you DO find the people who appreciate and acknowledge your work — nothing, NOTHING feels more empowering, more fuelling, more addictive and invigorating than that.
Do you mind sharing one of the moments you were most proud of yourself? What was it?
I’m proud of my ability to do my own self work. My writing asks me to discover, uncover and get to know – the deepest, darkest parts within myself. Because I am a woman writing from the experiences of myself, and so, of all women.
Every single time I write — I open. I dive into, I break through and to something new within myself.
My writing allows me to explore myself, as I analyse and dissect Womankind. I pull apart our stories, to heal our blood. The ancestral trauma, our lived in experiences, the patriarchal societies role in Women’s disempowerment — all of it is Pushing of our comfort in reality.
And as I push to draw awareness and acknowledgment for all women, I push for myself.
And I am proud of myself for being The Woman – Who Pushes.
Lastly, how do you define feminism?
Feminism is not about holding onto past anger for fuel.
It’s about igniting flames for change from our lived in experiences.
From our continued exposure, as Women, to social expectation, assumption and conditioning from a patriarchal cultured society of which so much gender discrimination is still accepted and swallowed.
It’s about liberating the Female body from the sexualised shackles that continue to restrain and control a woman from feeling free to safely expose her skin.
But most of all it is about the keeping alight of the flame every women holds inside Her. The flame that reminds her that the only trust She needs to listen to is that from herself.
To remember the evolutional journey of which women have battled long and hard for.
To continue to unite our collective voice So that no one will ever forget our sustained force ferocity and where we have come from.
Thank you so much for taking the time to share some insights into your creative business! We wish you all the best with Womban Kind!
Stay tuned for Nerissa’s IG Takeover this March!