Natasha Noel is one of the most real women you will come across on social media. She bares her deepest secrets, and random cheap thrills with her audience wearing no makeup but the most hearty smile or sometimes even tears. Orphaned at 3, having gone through years of sexual abuse and physical injury, Natasha is not just a survivor. She lives her life as passionately as she can and shares her detailed experiences with her digital family to ground them with the beautiful complexities of life. A body positivity ambassador, she initiates dialogues on the lesser highlighted and even taboo topics that affect us all as humans.
In this exclusive interview with BeBadass she opens up about mental health issues, body positivity and what she has learnt so far as a teacher, influencer and an allover badass human being.
What would you say is your life’s purpose (currently)?
Hmm, currently to not be so hard on myself but still continue uplifting Humans.
How has opening up and sharing your issues helped you?
It’s actually helped me be aware of the issues. Come in terms with them, accept them and actually start working on getting better. It actually made me face my own bullshit and made me understand how and when I needed to stop bullshitting myself. It has honestly kept me very accountable.
What is it that you have learnt from teaching yoga?
So many things!
But one of the most recent lessons is being patient. With my self and with my students. Just because my student is going through something I cannot expect them to “want to fix themselves” asap. Everyone takes their own time to figure their shit out. I can’t expect people to want to love themselves faster or harder just because I think that’s good for them. Understanding that when people are ready they will I can’t interfere with their mind to change their situations. They must want to. And it’s so hard because I don’t want people to suffer but it also teaches me my own urge to help needs to dial down a bit. To actually just give people the room to grow and learn without me interfering to “fix” or “help” in any way that’s my biggest lesson currently.
Social media is filled with inauthentic curated lives. How do you avoid that temptation and continue to be your authentic self?
Because I don’t know how else to be. I have depression and anxiety that means I’m continuously tired. If I have to pretend to put on energy to be someone else I would have no energy left. It’s tiring pretending to be someone else.
When you are authentic to who you are there is no deception!
Are there any drawbacks of being ‘real’ on social media?
Honestly nothing. Because no one can say or do anything to dim your light. Because you know exactly who you are.
Some people still don’t get the point of therapy. How would you convince them?
I feel this is such an individual choice and I can totally get why one wouldn’t want to go to therapy . The whole stigma around it also if you have trust issues then you would think everyone is out to get you, then how can you ever trust a therapist. What I’ve understood from my little years of life is you can’t convince anyone to do anything. The harder you try the more people start pulling away. Patience is a virtue so they say. Communication. Actually talking to people. Not saying “you must do it because it will help you” but maybe change the dialogue to “you know I’ve started therapy and I was skeptical in the beginning but it’s helping” (always your honest opinion!) if we change the approach around therapy the stigma will change.
In my humble opinion everyone should go to therapy. Everyone. No matter how sorted you think you are but just stress can screw with you and we all are so good at repressing everything that stress can change to anger and get ugly. The mentality that therapy is needed for someone who has a mental illness or someone who is “crazy” or for “not sorted people” needs to change. If we normalise it everyone would be in therapy. So don’t convince by talking, convince people by action- doing.
One thing that you think all of us can do for a more peaceful mind?
Continuously breathe. I
would say mediate but I know that most people would run far away from it. But if you mediate everyday even for 10 mins (and increase over a period of time) you will see your life change. However if you’re scared or uncertain about mediation even if you consciously breathe for 5 minutes everyday you will understand you can be peaceful. The breathing is nothing fancy it’s called equal breathing. Where you inhale for 3 and exhale for 3. Using all your breathing muscles- clavicular, lungs and diaphragm in harmony to inhale for three and exhale for 3. Just do it as soon as you get up. Find a couple of minutes for yourself and this is a great start for the day. When you’re stressed, sad, angry or even feeling anxious just doing this exercise to get your awareness back on your breath can calm you down immediately.
What is the first step on the journey to healing (mentally)?
Wanting to heal.
What book/line /quote or advice from a person about mental health has resonated with you the most?
“You cannot eat the fruit the day you planted the seed”.
What advice do you have for anyone who is struggling with their mental health?
Please don't give up. I know it gets hard every effing day. And every effing day is a struggle but don’t give up. Take baby steps. Write your goal list. Do small things. Baby steps and in time you will see how far you have come.
When and how did you begin your body positivity journey?
2017. I was tired of hating myself. And I realised that it didn’t get me anywhere. So I went into therapy, read a lot of self help books Watched a lot of motivational videos to change the conditioning of my brain.
To make me like myself again.
I wanted to be my friend.
What is the most difficult thing about trying to be body positive?
There’s no trying to be body positive. It’s just you are body positive. However for me repeating old patterns of negative self talk and the conditioning like I alway thought I was fat, even when I was skinny. So sometimes on bad days I go back into patterns of wanting to starve myself if looking at myself in the mirror and thinking I’m ugly. However I make myself eat and when I look into the mirror I smile and say I’m beautiful. It’s difficult. It’s a constant fight with yourself in the mind. But we do it. We still work towards getting better
Do you think our body controls the mind or the other way around?
The mind controls everything. All the diseases start in the mind. The mind is very powerful. But we must learn to make the mind a garden and not a prison.
You have accomplished a lot in terms of your positive influence on the society. What has been your proudest moment so far?
When I could open up to my family and actually express how I felt. When I started talking to the gram (Instagram) if I couldn’t to my family. Opening up and accepting myself made me open myself up to my family and now we have such a healthy relationship. This is my proudest accompaniment because I had such a bad relationship with my family and I thought it could never heal, but now it is healing.
RAW. AUTHENTIC. WEIRD.
What three words define you best?
Define a Badass woman
A badass woman is confident in her skin. A badass woman lifts others up. A badass woman is kind. A badass woman is both soft and strong. A badass woman feels. A badass woman cries. A badass woman takes no shit. A badass woman is every woman.
Name a few Badass women who inspire you.
Nidhi Mohan Kamal
Your advice to people who find it difficult to accept and love their bodies?
It’s never easy. But you have to understand your skin is your home. You have hated it for so long and has it got you anywhere? Why not TRY accepting it and loving it to see if that makes a difference? No one is perfect, perfect in itself is bullshit. And the grass is always greener one the other side. So what you hate about yourself and love about someone else that person might hate that thing about themselves and love it about you. Grass is always greener on the other side but in this process the only thing you can do is be kinder to yourself. Respect yourself to make good decisions for yourself. I know we can’t love ourselves all the time but respect yourself to do good for you I see it like this.