Grieving After Abortion. A Short Film.


8 years ago I had an abortion.

It has taken me quite some time to actually sit down and write this piece. I honestly thought for years that I would never let this admission escape my mouth, let alone write a  piece for God only knows how many people to see. There were many questions that crossed my mind.

Was it necessary to share?
What would my mother think?
What would my church family say?
How many people would look at me differently?
How would this impact the way that my customers looked at me and my business?

These questions and their very existence was even more evidence that I needed to speak.


Time and time again I recognized that I was carrying around an immense amount of shame about choosing to end my pregnancy and I was/am ready to let it go. I know from connecting with my own friends and those who have come to my Woman Untamed sensuality classes over the last eight years, that many of us have struggled with the choices that we needed to make for our own bodies and lives. That struggle turns into guilt and guilt into shame and shame into being emotionally paralyzed or numb. It’s from this place that I have witnessed myself and many other women die. Our bodies still physically here but our spirits standing somewhere on the outside waiting for an invitation back home.  We’d become Zombies. And piece by piece in our classes through the dancing, the sisterhood and raw discussion we have made space for each other to tell our stories and witness ourselves come back to life. It it my hope that in sharing this reflection and film with you that you will see that there is hope if you are struggling and you will see that it is possible to come back to life.


I do want to acknowledge that there are equally just as many women who don’t feel grief or shame after choosing to end a pregnancy. I believe that these stories have been told with such ferocious courage and wisdom. I am so grateful for each and every one of my sisters who have been willing to trailblaze this path so that myself and other women who have experienced the grief and shame can have space to speak up. I rest in this comfort of knowing that there is a circle of sisters emanating a vibration of grace and love waiting to wrap their arms around us even as some of our voices are trembling and hesitant.


Why am I sharing this? With the pending Presidential Election I probably see “abortion” or horrific pictures of abortion procedures in my timeline more than five times a day. When the hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion started I was triggered into rage and in many ways imploding in on myself. I read the stories, I saw women rallying together, I saw some women I know disgusted by the bold act. I’ve heard prayers petitioning God to change women’s hearts about choosing abortions. I’ve gotten into long quarrels with people I love about a woman’s right to choose. After every encounter I just felt more and more defeated, tired and broken down. I was angry that I kept holding myself back from speaking up especially when I had such a strong urge to help others. I look back now knowing that it was all divine timing and you can't rush the process of finding the courage to tell your story. I know that if I was experiencing this I could not possibly be alone. All the while I acknowledge that there are women who need this but might not have the desire or aren’t ready to speak up about their experience. I am creating it so that it exist for them whenever they need it and for any other woman or young woman in the future who is grappling her grief.


I’m not here to justify or explain my reasoning for choosing to end my pregnancy. That is a story that I do want to keep close to my heart. I am hear to talk about what happened after choosing.  Something that doesn't get talked about often. I fell into a deep depression. I couldn’t do much of anything other than what was critical at the time.  I was in the middle of theatre production opening in college which counted towards graduation. I didn’t have much of a choice other than to push through. I spent my days in class, my evenings in performance and any other time outside of that I was  lying on my naked mattress with the ultrasound picture underneath my pillow for what felt like months. My bedroom felt to isolating and dark, I lived alone so I moved my bed from dark bedroom into my kitchen where there was a ton of light. I remember having a follow up appointment with my doctor at the time. She saw the dark and heavy circles developing around my eyes, my faded demeanor and suggested that I schedule an emergency appointment with the in house therapist.  


For months I sat on this woman’s couch pouring out every detail of my life and trying to get to the bottom of this pain. It seemed like for every step I took forward I took ten thousand steps back. I was in this constant push and pull with my own spirit. All I could think about was how disappointed people would be if they knew what I had done. I felt unworthy of still being here each day and my depression continued to spiral.

It wasn’t until Halloween of that year that things began to shift for me. I was having a party with some friends. That night I had drank way too much and then some. The night as you can imagine took a huge left turn. That night I attempted to take my own life. This came after years of off and on self-harming from other other untreated traumas. It was that night and the months following that I knew it was time to get serious about facing my depression and turning my life around.


I think I did what many women coming out of stressful situations have done. I stuffed it down, buried it really far and I kept going. I finished school, I started really developing my business and I tried my best to just stop thinking about it all. On top of experiencing the depression I didn’t even feel the right to be sad because I made a choice. In my heart I knew that I still struggled with whether I had made the right choice and actually longed for the experience of meeting + mothering this child.


Two really defining moments happened in my spiritual life helped propel me forward. I had done two study abroads to Brazil by this time and was fascinated with Lukumi & Santeria. As the Universe and God would have it I was led to the Shamabalah meditation center in Rogers Park but that day no classes were being held due to a silent retreat. I was directed to a class the following day happening in Hyde Park not too far from where I live at the time. I attended the class and met a beautiful friend who shared with me that they were also starting their initiation process in the Lukumi religion. Outside of my experiences in Brazil with Santeria I never knew that people intentionally practiced here within the states, let alone in Chicago down the street from my house. I had the opportunity to meet with one of the head Godmother’s in the house for a shell reading. In that reading, for those of you that are familiar with the Orisha lineage, Elegba had many messages for me. Now, I want to remind you that I had never met this woman giving me the reading and I had never shared my experiences with my friend. The first message that showed up in my reading was that I needed to forgive myself for the abortion. Verbatim. Here I was a few years past the experience, believing that I had effectively shielded anyone from seeing that far into my past and it was laid out right in front of me.


Fast forward to 2015 after I met my now girlfriend. I was starting to attend her church more frequently after having been out of church for almost four years consistently. Now, Pastor Lewis is a phenomenal woman. I was told that she was a Seer and Prophet. I had no idea what that really meant within the realm of a Christian experience. Growing up Christian it wasn’t something that I had ever experienced. During the beginning of service there is a ritual entitled “First Fruit”. It’s during this time that the Pastor names signs and delivers messages. I had seen others raise their hands when she would say for example “I see someone dropping a glass and it shattering this morning”. Whomever had that experience would raise their hand and she had a message for them completely unrelated to the glass shattering. The ‘sign’ is a less intimidating way for people to open up and I believe it also keeps the mystery of God present because you aren’t being led by a series of questions like you imagine with a psychic. On one summer day in particular she called out someone who is worried about the backdoor being open. I raised my hand. Rushing out of the house the morning after taking out the trash I couldn’t remember whether or not I had actually locked the door. She called me forward towards the pulpit to ask me something privately. She whispered to me did you lose a child? In that moment the grief, the rage, the heartbreak emerged forward and I said “Well… I had an abortion in college”. Seeing me crumbling under the weight of my words she gave me the message that I needed to hear. She shared with me that she saw the spirit of a child standing near me and that I needed to forgive myself and stop beating myself up.

She didn’t know me.  She didn’t know my story. My girlfriend didn’t know the story. I could only take it as Divine intervention. Here we were nearly seven years later and I was still unwilling to forgive myself. I still thought that I needed to be ashamed.  I cried a cry that I had never heard come from my body before. 

It was in church that day that I wrote the outline for my second film “Let Go & Let God”.  


I wanted to document a woman’s journey of battling the grief and depression after burying the pain for so long. We come in on the time period where everything explodes and she chooses to rise.

I know that many women who have had this experience don’t want to or aren’t ready to share their stories even with just their close families.

I know that there is a young woman wrestling with the idea of whether God still loves her.

I know that when Mother’s or Father’s Day rolls around there’s a woman who feels guilty.

I know there’s a woman who has contemplated taking her own life.

I know there’s a woman who has given up after seeing hundreds of images of mutilated infant bodies shoved in her face.

I know there is a teen girl scared to death to talk to her family.

I know there is a woman who feels that she is struggling in this experience alone.

I wrote this piece and created this film to tell you that you are not alone.

There is hope. There is healing. There is a life afterwads.  If you need help please don't be afraid to reach out and get the help that you need.  Over on the website I have listed several resources + links that have been helpful in my own journey. I will continue to update this list over the coming weeks as I find more pro-choice leaders and organizations.


With that I want to share with you all the short film that we created "Let Go & Let God" in partnership with Open-TV (Beta) I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback in the comments over on the blog. If you would prefer to share your thoughts privately please don't hesitate to email me at

with love,


Open TV Presents: Let Go and Let God from Open TV (beta) on Vimeo.

This film is dedicated to people who are struggling with the grips of depression and wondering if there is a way out. In Let Go and Let God she finds her release through dance. The movement stirs her soul to the point where it brings her back to life and she makes a commitment to live again, to take back her power and move forward walking in the joy that God intended her to have for her life. -- Rashida KhanBey


Rashida KhanBey // Creator, Writer, Producer, Star
Zarinah Ali // Director
Zakkiyyah Dumas // Director of Photography
Kamal Williams // Editor
Alexa Grae // Composer
Aymar Jean Christian // Executive Producer
Stephanie Jeter // Co-Producer

// TEAM @WeAreOpenTV //

Aymar Jean Christian // Head of Development
Stephanie Jeter // Head of Production
Elijah McKinnon // Head of Communication and Design

Scroll to the bottom of the page to see the film.

Scroll to the bottom of the page to see the film.

Resources For Healing + Support.

This list is not exhaustive by any means but it is a start. I will continue to add links and posts to from leaders and organizations that are pro-choice.


Website Link:


Website Link::

Website link:

Take The Risk of Rejection & Letting Go. (Video)

First of all let me just say that October has been fantastic rollercoaster of goodness. Last week I kicked off The Shamelessly Sexy Masterclass here in Chicago. We had an intense and transforming session. So much so that I've decided to expanded the sessions coming up into a full day experience. Seats in the class are limited right now to 8 people per session. Learn more about the masterclass here


Nothing could have prepared me for this epic-ness last night. On top of an electrifying class with a room full of curvy women, the beautiful, talented comedian and tv personality on Windy City Live, Erica Watson, came to out to my class. She on the spot interviewed me via FB live after class. Here is the video: 

I’ve always protected myself in a certain way when it came to my work with sensual and erotic dance. I believe that this is part of the reason why my private practice + group coaching classes have been so intimate, even when I had a desire to take the message to more people.  I’ve experienced something now that I know in my heart I wasn’t mentally or emotionally equipped to handle when I first started this work.  This video, in 24 hours has been viewed over 40,000 times. That outweighs my small production teams first film “Sex Is A God Thing” which gained over 20K views in less than two weeks without a marketing budget and quite honestly without a strategic plan other than just continuing to share our process and share our excitement for the project. I say that to say that nothing could have prepared me for this experience this weekend.


My body has always been protected in the sacred space of my class. In class we love on each other with grace, loving support, compassion and constant praise. We let every woman know, regardless of shape,size or any other factor that she is beautiful + hott.  Outside of class I have selectively shared and edited small snippets of me dancing on my own terms. In the excitement and the high of the experience after class, I went against my own norm and pushed my boundary.


I usually never let anyone film me dancing after class nor do I agree to it being shared on social media for many reasons:


  1. When I was working full time as a teaching artist in high schools I sacrificed my business for the sake of avoiding drama with my employers and remaining “respectable”. I went to work everyday dreading every call or email scared that I was about to be fired because I had been “found out”

  2. The fear of my church families new + old having a negative impression of me. I feared that they would question my walk in Christ because of their misunderstanding of what it means to be sexually liberated and of my work. Let’s not talk about the fact that I have led Praise Dance ministries and performance efforts across the city.

  3. Men that I know and men that I don’t know, or shit just masculine of center people in general regardless of anatomy,  seeing my videos or images as an invitation for their lude comments, aggressive behavior or sexual violence.

  4. Facing negative comments from online trolls about my plus size body and/or getting slut-shamed for being a woman embracing her sexuality in a public space.


My performance at Black Sex Matters

My performance at Black Sex Matters

Prior to this weekend’s class I spoke into existence at a recent performance at #BlackSexMatters that I was tired of hiding under all the stuff. I was tired of hiding under all the fears of taking up space, all the fears of rejection, all the fear and confusion of not wanting to be seen as anything less than a “respectable or good woman”. I let something go that night. I let go of other people’s expectations of me. I let go of my own resistance to doing this work that was put on my heart. I let go of the pain that people had caused me over the years that led to feeling crippled in my sense of self-worth. That last piece was probably the biggest release. While onstage I ripped the dress I wore to my father’s funeral (and the two weeks after). This ripping symbolized for me taking back my life and a commitment to not get stuck in the pain of the past- especially the pain that I experienced with my Dad. This was a new step in my liberation journey.


Ripping the dress during my performance at Black Sex Matters

Ripping the dress during my performance at Black Sex Matters



Over the years I have shared and talked about overcoming the pain I experienced in my relationship with my Dad. From his many health challenges, to our vast differences in opinions to not growing up with him actively in my life, there was a lot of distance and tension in our relationship. In that heartwarming way that children want to be loved and nurtured by their parents, I believe I was always a Daddy’s girl. And truth be told my Dad broke my heart on many occasions throughout my childhood and into my adult years up until the point where I came out to him as a Lesbian. It was his violent and abrasive response to learning that I was same gender loving that put the final wall in place. I made a resolve within myself that I wouldn’t keep opening the door to that type of pain, no matter who it was. I prayed for the strength to love him from a distance, forgive him and God willing have the opportunity to do the work of reconciliation with his initiation. Years later my Dad did apologize for how he responded but I know that he never really understood the pain that he caused me at that time. It didn’t occur to me how much I had been holding on still to that pain until I received the news that he had died. I spent the next two weeks during and after his services in white, mostly the same white dress. I didn’t work. I slept. I cried. I avoided a lot of the stuff that needed to get done. And with the help of my partner and her gentle encouragement I found strength to face this depression head on. This performance at BSM happened  about two months after his passing and the act of ripping that mourning dress gave me something back mentally that was invaluable.


I know these aren’t stories that we are suppose to share. I know that especially since my Father has passed I am suppose to only remember the good moments that I had with him. The truth is that I had very few moments in my life where we existed in joy and peace together. I do know that he was much more than what I experienced of him. However, that does not change my experience and one of the things that I encourage my own clients to do in our classes is to tell their truth and dance their story.  We can’t have our own experience of healing if we are not willing to take the risk of speaking our own truth even if it means going against norms and loyalties to set ourselves free.


That night on that stage at #BlackSexMatters I set myself free. I think that is part of the mission of that beautiful space curated by the phenomenal Playwright & Activist Kristiana Rae Colon, to give Black people a safe space to reclaim pleasure, eroticism, sensuality and joy without shame. To set themselves free from the societal and interpersonal violence that blocks us from experiencing our birthright to ecstasy. Because in so many spaces, Black Sex doesn’t matter, it is stifled, invalidated, abused and shamed. In those spaces where we can’t embody our sexuality in our own expressions we are forced to numb out at best and die at worst.


The Universe heard my cry on stage that night prior to my performance and decided to come out guns blazing to meet my request for growth.  I’ve been met with many opportunities to show up and show out in my truth and this video culminating the end of our class is really the epitome of this energy surging through me. This video for me is raw, unfiltered and beautiful for so many reasons.


And then I read the comments.


What stood out the most was the praise from other women who saw the confidence that they desired to embody, the celebration of unashamed body love and being sex positive even in a body that is often times deemed undesirable by society standards.


I noticed a few other comments in the midst of the praise. Comments asking if I was dancing in potato chips,  why I wasn’t covering my stomach, I should have started the dance differently, people saying stop, no or flat out calling me ugly.


Here is my response:


  1. Those were clearly rose petals. To the ignorant assholes that thought it was funny to make food jokes - fuck you - twice.

  2. My stomach is round and full of stretch marks. I love every inch of it and I will wear whatever the fuck I want regardless of your rules.So again- fuck you.

  3. I’ll start these dances however the hell I want.  Once again - fuck you.

  4. To all the people calling me ugly or undesirable. Please do us all a favor and go fuck yourself.


I will not succumb to the pressures of ignorance. And I pray that the women who are reading this message won’t keep taking hits either.


You deserve to celebrate that beautiful body you live in- RIGHT NOW.

You are desirable - RIGHT NOW.

You are sexy - RIGHT NOW.

You are worthy of respect - RIGHT NOW.

You are needed - RIGHT NOW.


Any son-of-a-bitch that has the audacity to tell you anything different can kick rocks. Dismiss that shit from your life and keep holding your head high. More than ever right now we have to take the risk of showing up. Life is not waiting for any of us. I refuse to see women holding back from living the life they desire out of fear of the possibility of rejection.


So what are you holding yourself back from doing?


Where do you feel resistance in your life to taking a risk?


You have nothing to lose other than the opportunity to experience pure freedom.  


I want to hear what you are going to do for yourself before this year is over in the comments.


with love,



Join me for the Shamelessly Sexy Masterclass. Here are the upcoming class dates. Remember this experience is my VIP intensive and it's limited to 8 people for a full day of working with me in an intimate setting. 

  • OCTOBER 8TH 2016 Chicago,IL (Sold Out)

  • OCTOBER 29TH 2016 Chicago,IL

  • NOVEMBER 19TH 2016 New York, NY

  • DECEMBER 10TH 2016 San Francisco




Thank you to the beautiful women from my Sweet Seduction Class + the First Shamelessly Sexy Masterclass in Chicago (not pictured here) for giving me life this month!

Thank you to the beautiful women from my Sweet Seduction Class + the First Shamelessly Sexy Masterclass in Chicago (not pictured here) for giving me life this month!



Fast Girls Aren't Wife Material.

Fast Girls Aren't Wife Material.

That's pretty much the sum of what many women have learned about their sexuality. 

This phrase and others like it teach girls a few lessons that can be difficult to unlearn as we get older: 

  1.  We're taught that our sexuality is not our own but the possession of our future partner

  2.  We're taught that autonomy equates basically to death because if you aren't able to have someone marry you then you're not worthy or valuable 

  3.  We're taught to base all of our life decisions around our body on someone else's validation of our worthiness for love 

  4.  We're taught that in order to be a good wife we have to be disconnected from the essence of our being until we are chosen 

  5.  We're taught that we can't trust ourselves to explore our sexuality & sensuality  

  6. We're taught to automatically experience shame around our sexuality vs. celebration because living in fear of our bodies is better than being too connected.

  7. We're taught to disconnect from our bodies therefore to never trust our intuition or internal guidance.

So where did that leave many of us in  finding a healthy way to explore and connect to the very essence of our being?

Some of us snuck around and got into dangerous situations. Some of us repressed the desire to explore it out of fear of literally dying. Some of us explored openly and rebelliously. Some of us experienced rape and manipulation at the hands of people older than us.. Some of us became mothers. Some of us had abortion(s). Some of us gave children up for adoption. Some of us lived with our abusers.  Some of us ran from home. Some of us ran from God. Some of us abstained until marriage to become the perfect wife only to be unhappy. Some of us slowly died. Some of us aged far beyond our years.

The experiences vary from woman to woman. But If you ask any of us somewhere near the top of the list of "things not to do" you would find "Not being Fast" in the number one spot or in close competition.

The "Fast Girl" archetype is something that we all need. She will literally save your life, your relationship and if it's strained enough even your relationship with God. 

The Fast Girl archetype is the energy within us that is devoted to pleasure, to voracious curiosity, to love that starts with her own desires, to expansion, to being able to feel. The Fast Girl archetype is the energy within us in her most raw form is closest to God because she is constantly stripping back the layers of obstacles that prevent her from experiencing intimacy with visceral ecstasy. That visceral ecstasy to her is the energy of God and it's through connecting to that intimacy whether with her chosen lover, through her self-adornment, through her self-care, through devotion, through her dance, through her cutting ties that she finds her power and strength to live again. 

A lot of women experience shame when reconnecting to this part of themselves. I can't even say I don't give a fuck about the shame and judgement anymore. My honest truth is that I am aware of the shame that rips me away from my power at times. It's vicious and unrelenting. I question everything. And somewhere along the way I have a holy grail experience with my sexuality and my body and remember that without this visceral connection to my Divinity, I die. Not just spiritually but I see the impact that numbness has on my health. When I'm tapped out, I don't have the energy or will to care. I don't have the will to live when I am numb. So instead of the quick and catchy I don't give a fuck answer and neither should you, I would like to give about shame I will be honest. Shame fucks me up just like everyone else. And then I choose to come out of it's death grip and take my life back. I choose to remember that my sexuality, my body, my aliveness is integral to my longevity. I choose to not be numb even at the cost of having to wrestle myself on each level out of the grips of shame.

Today's assignment:

I want you take about 15 minutes with your journal by candlelight today and answer the following questions. When you're ready or if you feel comfortable sharing in a safe space. I want you to join us over in the private Woman Untamed Sisterhood. Click here to join. 

Journal Prompts: 

  •  How do you feel in your body about your sexuality and sensuality on a day to day basis? 

  • When you think about experiencing pleasure what are some of the first thoughts that come up?

  • What things bring you pleasure on a daily basis?

  • What's the vision that you have for yourself as far as how you connect to your sexuality?

  • Whats the hesitation or fear about owning your sexuality boldly?


In my masterclass "Shamelessly Sexy" I'm going to talk about the key reasons why we end up bouncing back in forth in our ability to own our bodies + our pleasure and how that creates stagnancy in our lives and relationships. I'll also be sharing practical + spiritual tools on how to navigate shame when it starts coming to the surface. If you are interested in attending drop your information below to be contacted about upcoming class dates. 

Name *