Eve After Eden: The Next Big Move
Baltimore native Selah Alexander was all big hair and bright smiles when we meet. Her mystique is just as faceted as the clear quartz necklace she is wearing. And, as always, I am wondering what urging has caused Alexander to leave the familiarity of home and move to Costa Rica with her seven year old daughter in tow. She does not provide a simple answer.
She has reasons that compel her to leave places that do not welcome her.
She has lessons from her younger days that remind her to keep moving forward; complacency is not in her DNA.
She has the examples of women in her family who made what seemed impossible burst into existence.
When Alexander came up on the Eve After Eden radar, she had just made a public proclamation on LinkedIn that she would be living life according to the standards of the women in her family and no one else’s.
The 41-year-old has followed the footsteps of four generations. She is a serial entrepreneur who employed all of her talents in the beauty and music industries until recently. In 2022, Alexander entered the finance industry.
“I come from a long line of entrepreneurs. It never really occurred to me to plan to get a job or to position myself to be attractive to employers. It literally never occurred,” she said.
Alexander’s early childhood showed her what entrepreneurship offered. Her parents owned and operated an oil company. Her mother handled the day-to-day operations and finances while her father handled contracts, new business, and truck driving. She grew up wanting for nothing. She attended private schools, lived in a nice home, and was unfamiliar with the concept of food insecurity.
That all changed when Alexander was eight years old. Her father passed unexpectedly and her mother took on both sides of the business. She earned her CDL, began driving the trucks but had little to no support. On occasion, Alexander and her brother would go on the road with their mother.
“In the 80s there was a certain dynamic,” said Alexander. “It’s just a very traumatic experience because I have uncles who were truckers. No one would help her unless she was going to subjugate [herself]. She was not going to get support. In the context of that time, there was literally a penalty for a woman who dared to be smart and beautiful. Dared to have audacity. Dared to aim for higher for herself.”
The men with whom her father had done business did not transition the respect they had for him to his widow. Without it, Alexander’s mother could not maintain the business. She sold it and the family adjusted to a new standard of living. Now, there would be times when she’d want for something and it was not in the budget. The family traded in private school for their local public school and Alexander’s mother went from running a business with her husband to lower-level positions. She delivered phone books using the family’s van and did telemarketing at a call center to make ends meet.
“Our parents were middle class. We were their prize in a way but it put us [my core group of childhood friends] in a position where we didn’t belong to ourselves. We belonged to the people who wanted to see us win but that didn’t look like the way they thought it should look,” said Alexander. “I grew up in a very conservative [Baptist] church that really was about class values so there were things you had to do because you were a certain class.”
She believes the results would not have been the same had the roles been reversed and her father lived while her mother passed. She thinks society would have accommodated a man in business.
“My father would have found some woman to take care of us. He would have continued to be wealthy,” said Alexander. “Society around us, including the people who claimed to love us the most, were the biggest impediment to [my mother] being successful. You can’t escape society. You may think you can but the entire society has to support the life you make with your partner.”
For Alexander, the lesson was clear: Provide for yourself, with or without a spouse.
She carried that into adulthood and business.
Alexander’s no longer agreeing to be the prize for other people, regardless of if they want to see her win or not. The separated mother of one is preparing for her biggest move yet and it is on her terms.
“I just woke up one day and Spirit said Costa Rica,” said Alexander. The conservative Baptist church girl turned spiritualist said that she is connected to Spirit and guided by her ancestors.
I am intrigued and cautious. I don’t play with the unfamiliar let alone something that’s not covered in the Bible. Here, I tread lightly and Alexander patiently and passionately guides me through her logic.
“I learned the lessons of spirituality with different names,” she explained.
According to Alexander, her grandmother was a musician in the church with her own spiritual beliefs. Alexander described her as a woman who was very intuitive and could tell what a person needed without them having to tell her. Her grandmother attributed that gift to God.
“My deity is Oshun. She is beauty and love and feminine, all the things that I realize I am,” she said.
Oshun is a river Orisha, or goddess, of the Yoruba religion. The only female deity of the 17 Orishas, she is the goddess of beauty, divinity, fertility and love. She is often associated with femininity, purity, sensuality and water. The tale of the world’s creation states that without Oshun, the world became dry and barren. Only after the male deities apologized for being dismissive of her contributions did she return with a warning to never mistreat her again.
“I don’t necessarily believe that Jesus died for me but I do believe in affirmations and setting intentions for the day. ‘This is the day the Lord has made.’ That’s an affirmation. It also sets your intention for the day. My spiritual practices align [in the ways of affirmation and setting intention],” explained Alexander.
With her logic shared, we returned to her longing for Costa Rica.
Located in Central America, Costa Rica is home to just over five million people. It is known for its beaches facing the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean, volcanoes, and biodiversity. With a protected jungle covering a quarter of the country, wildlife of all kinds prosper there. Also, the currency exchange rate is high. Every U.S. dollar is worth $652.63 Costa Rican Colon which makes the country an attractive location for Alexander.
When the idea of moving to Costa Rica hit her, she tried to work with financial advisors and planners to plot a path forward but found it difficult to find a professional willing to work with her.
“Unless you are coming with a certain amount of money, financial advisors don’t want to work with you. I get it because what are you managing,” she said.
So, she came up with a plan of her own.
“My goal everyday is [to make] $333. Some days I hit it, some days I don’t, and some days I exceed it,” she said.
For Alexander, Costa Rica is not just attractive because of the currency exchange rate. It is also because the country is safe for women, has racial diversity, and a host of schools for herbalists like her.
She plans to reduce the number of businesses she operates and focus on growing a holistic health company that offers natural products made from locally sourced herbs. Learning the categories, properties, and attributes of herbs would aid Alexander in her next venture.
“I’m an herbalist by nature. I’m intuitive. I’m a holistic healer and practitioner,” she said. “I don’t want to go back into a service role. I don’t want to be like ‘I’m only going to give you this much healing because you only gave me this much money.’ I can’t do that. I have to give you what you need.” Her words are a familiar echo of how she described her grandmother.
Today, she is lightening her load by selling her belongings in preparation for her trial move. This summer she and her daughter will see if Costa Rica is right for them.
“My daughter’s seven but she’s like me at seven so I make decisions with her,” said Alexander. “She’s talking about next school year so we’ll go for the summer and come back [before school starts] to see how she feels. Moving can be a lot on a child.”
Just three months away from her Summer 2022 excursion, Alexander is following Spirit and her intuition on the next step.
“I don’t need the whole picture or blueprint. I think that is where we go wrong. Don’t worry about it. All I have to do is my part which is run my companies, promote my businesses, post on social. Whatever that looks like, that’s all I’m responsible for. Everything else is going to come together and, as long as I understand that, I’m just fine,” she explained.
“I’m being obedient with what I’ve been given which is: Don’t have any baggage; Let go of everything because I’m preparing you for bigger and; also, stop working with people because you give away too much and when you give away too much [you’re giving away what you need.]”