Andrea Rice, NC
Andrea is a writer and yoga teacher with over a decade of professional experience. With a background in journalism, she has written for The New York Times, Yoga Journal, The Wanderlust Journal, mindbodygreen, SONIMA, and most recently, INDY Week. Andrea was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, grew up in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, went to school in Phoenix, Arizona, and became a lifelong student of self-study in Brooklyn, New York, before settling in Raleigh, North Carolina, with her husband and their cat. Her first book, The Yoga Almanac, comes out in March 2020 from New Harbinger Publications.
As a Story Terrace writer, Andrea interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better by reading her autobiographical anecdote below.
The Mountains Are Home
My sister, two-and-a-half years my junior, and I lived most of our lives without roots.
We always kept moving, relocating from one city to the next, one country to another. Canadian schools weren’t sure whether to hold us back or skip us ahead, the lackadaisical American education system—at least in Arizona—did not seem as concerned.
I was seven years old when our mother left for the second time. She had retreated to the mountains to find herself. It was evident she wasn’t coming back.
My sister and I would visit her periodically in the Canadian Rockies in the years that followed. There, her absence was alleviated with presence, attention, and the nourishment of a mother’s love. There, she would fantasize about the life the three of us could have together, if only she had the means to provide for us. There, upon each short visit, the underlying sorrow and lack we had grown so accustomed to was temporarily filled with joy and hope.
In the mountains, our mother was her best self. She taught us how to be wild and free and creative. In the mountains we had a mother—whereas elsewhere we did not.
Our father did his best. He loved us, provided for us, and ensured we received a good education. But we were told a story about our mother that was one-sided, and we adhered to a narrative that we were motherless children. We buried the pain and resentment, and each found our own respective, often self-destructive, coping mechanisms. As we grew further and further apart from our mother, my sister and I harbored resentment toward each other for a very long time.
Today we live on opposite coasts—about as far away from each other as we could possibly be. But within that distance, still, there is a psychological cord that cannot be cut, a chain that cannot be broken, for we shared the same womb, and we have endured heartache that no one but the two of us can comprehend. Though we could not be any more different, this connection is our bond as sisters and as our parents’ daughters.
In recent years, that distance has somehow brought us closer. We realized we were not responsible for causing each other pain. We accepted it was neither our mother nor our father who were to blame. We acknowledged our individual suffering by allowing those feelings to finally surface. Together, we are healing.
Much like our mother, my sister and I searched for happiness. But we have learned we must listen to the instinct that insists upon running whenever things get difficult. We acknowledge when we must stay put whenever it feels safer to flee. Though we have forgiven our mother for abandoning us—and have empathized with our father for protecting us—now that we are grown, a normal mother-daughter relationship still seems impossible.
This is why we are called to the mountains. The spirit of our mother, when she was wild and free and happy, lives on there. The mountains represent a foundation—when we had a mother, when we felt anchored and nurtured instead of fractured and untethered.
Whether together or apart, my sister and I find each other on mountaintops. From the majestic seaside cliffs of Big Sur, to the rugged peaks that overlook barren Sonoran desert valleys, to the rolling green hills of blueberry orchards in the South, and even returning to the Rockies to summit that iconic ridge above a turquoise lake as clear as a looking glass mirror—a glimpse into our frozen past.
The higher we climb, the stronger the invisible threads that bind us.
The more stable our footing.
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