I grew up in the time of Kate Moss’s: “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”. I know she has since said she regrets saying that, but the truth is that she didn’t act alone. That statement was upheld and supported long before she uttered those words and quite honestly still exists today.
One of the reasons it continues to be upheld is because billions of dollars a year are made by businesses, corporations and people who profit off our pain and insecurities. Diet culture is riddled with systems of oppression and white supremacy meant to uphold the idea that there is a “norm”. But the “norm” doesn’t necessarily equal the majority. For example, the average woman’s jean size is somewhere in the range of 16. We can’t get an exact measurement because different brands actually make their sizes differently. And yet we are led to believe that size 8 or below are the size in which we should strive for. I don’t know about you, but I have certainly jumped up and down in a dressing room in the past when I was fitting into a smaller size, or walked away feeling completely defeated when my size was up. The powers of oppression and body politics are so strong that we literally wage wars on the pant sizes we wear and on ourselves, upending our entire lives to follow along these rigid and strict diets in order to slide a piece of material over our hips with a specific size on the tag that no one will ever actually see.
And it gets further upheld and fed by all of the positive reinforcement we get when we lose weight. “You look amazing”, “you’re glowing”, “what have you been doing because it’s working”. Many of us have likely either said this to someone or had it said to us at one point. It matters that we all take accountability because we too have been existing in a world where fatphobia lives along the same insidious lines as racism. In fact, fatphobia itself has incredibly racist roots. And as we have (hopefully) been paying attention to and learning this year, we are all complicit. This isn’t said to shame us. I am saying this to set us free. Because the work of dismantling can begin right now and with each one of us. We can recognize our attachment to our own body politics and bias. We can check in with how we speak to others about how they look, most especially our children. We can drop the before and after photos as if we have won something in our weightloss. We can check ourselves and what the real reasons are we are taking on the latest new fad of how we consume food. We can begin to do the work of setting ourselves and each other free.
And of course, you can donate to my Project HEAL National Eating Disorders Awareness week fundraiser. I am so grateful and blown away by the responses I got yesterday. I would love to get to $500 by the end of this week.
Will you help me dismantle the barriers that keep us locked into the idea that skinny is a feeling we should in any way strive for?
I’ve shared a similar side by side with you before. On the left is a more recent picture while on the right is a picture of me from my mid twenties. On the left I am a mom. I am often tired and constantly navigating the balance of running a business and raising a child. But I’m so freaking happy and comfortable in my body. Not every day, but most of the time. I love the shape of me. I love nourishing and moving it. I am well.
On the right I am energized and able to run mile after mile and go on audition after audition to try and get that “big break”. But I am deeply unhappy and uncomfortable in my own skin. I think about all the ways in which I am not good enough, often. I eat food with guilt and regret and promptly purge it out of me. I am not well.
Societally, the image on the right has been far more widely accepted and embraced than the one on the right. We are making progress, but we still have a long way to go. Body politics and shaming are as old as this country. There has long been a “right” body and all the rest have to work to live up to it. It’s wrong. It’s harmful. It affects more people than we realize. And what comes of it are diseases and disorders that cause us to punish ourselves into submission. And I want to remind you that contrary to all the images and programs that are floating around us all day long, you can’t see wellness.
Today marks the first day of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. The stereotypes of who has an eating disorder – white, young, female, thin, affluent – are not accurate or representative, but they do exist for a reason: they are the subgroup that has been the focus of research and treatment marketing because they are the subgroup who is more likely to have the resources to access treatment. Research is clear that people of every ethnicity, age, gender, body shape and size, and socioeconomic status struggle with eating disorders, but our broken healthcare system prevents them from utilizing the resources required to achieve recovery.
The truth is, I am part of that subgroup. I was able and had access to treatment and healing. I would like to now use my privilege to stand up and call out the deep injustice that is going on here. Out of 30 million people who suffer from eating disorders, only 20% of them get help. As an ambassador for Project Heal, I am proudly launching this week my Classy Campaign page to help raise money and awareness for those who fall in the other 80% to gain access to treatment. If you could donate even just the price of a cup of coffee, I would be forever grateful.
I also want to encourage you to join in this week on Instagram as Project Heal hosts a 5 part virtual even series held nightly at 7pm EST. Head to their page to get all the details. I will see you there.
Our Bodies are our earth.
This is the space in which we stand, we break down, we open, we flow, we wake and we slumber.
Our bodies are our earth.
May we make them so much our home that there is no greater intimacy we experience than that of our own bodies, our own earth.
It’s been a while since I have shared in this space. I don’t know if it is the winter months or the general malaise of pandemic living, but constantly writing for others to read, other than a specific group right now has felt somewhat impossible. I know through speaking with my girlfriends that I am not alone in this feeling, so if that is you, know that I see you and feel you. So much.
But the truth is also that with what energy I have had, I have been using it towards writing a book. Or rather, practicing writing a book. Practicing because the truth is, I have never done it before and I am completely in uncertain territory. Wanting to write a book has been a dream of mine for a long time now. Actually going to work and doing it has been a whole other story. All the usual suspects of thought have crept into my mind: “everyone else has said what you want to say”, “no one will actually read it or let alone publish it”, “I don’t know if I could fill an entire book with words, it feels so daunting”. As they say, these are the moments when I am “back on my bullshit”. And I know it’s bullshit so therefore, I made the choice at the beginning of the year to simply give myself the permission to practice writing a book. No expectations, no pressure to turn it into anything and yet the door has been left wide open for the creation of something to occur.
Here’s how I’m doing it:
When I decided to create and launch Project eMOTION, I made a decision that each week everyone would get a chapter of an eBOOK pertaining to that week’s Small Ritual practice. And so for the last six weeks, I have spent every week writing the following week’s chapter. Rather than this being a simple PDF, which very much could have been, I have taken it upon myself to write a few pages about why we are taking on that specific ritual that week. Sometimes this means storytelling from personal experience, or a deeper history lesson into the art of the ritual.
The real key is that while it is absolutely landing in the inboxes of people who have paid me for this work, it is not about getting it perfect. In truth, these twelve chapters that I am writing are no more than a rough draft for the book that it will eventually become. Already in week six I look back to weeks one, two and three and know there are a ton of edits to be made, thoughts to expound upon and work to be done. But for right now, that’s not where I am in the process. I am in the practice portion which is about sitting myself down and utilizing the framework of our work in Project eMOTION as my guide. To practice putting my words down on “paper” and releasing the judgment long enough to put it out into the world for the eyes of others. Women of whom I adore and trust btw. Who even though they have come to Project eMOTION for their own work and reasons, are giving me the gift to equally realize my own work.
I won’t lie, it’s incredibly hard. There are days when I sit down and all I can do is get a few words written before my brain wanders aimlessly away from the page, feeling the weight of having nothing to say. And yet somehow, each week it happens. Every Saturday night I finish it in its current form, I record an audio version of it (a very helpful tool I must say) and I send it off for eleven women to read and take away from it what they will. It’s imperfect and a rough cut, but it’s a practice that has allowed me to strengthen the muscle to finally do the thing I have been saying I want to do all these years.
And that is the real point of sharing this with you. It would be a tragic shame for you, for any of us to get to the end of our lives never have filled our hearts desire. To have never taken the deep breath and forged ahead in the creation of something that may or may not work, but you’re not beholden to the outcome because honestly, the heart doesn’t really care. No one needs to give you permission to do this. You do not need to get it right. Just practice. And when the doubt comes and the fog envelopes you, you practice being in those moments too because they are just as much a part of the process as the triumph of it all. It doesn’t have to be any more than that right now. It does not need to be a certain anything.
I dare you to go and practice this week whatever it is that you are wanting to create. Go. Make bold mistakes and paint in all the wrong colors and do it again and again and again. It’s just practice.
(But shh, here's the secret: that's where all the good stuff is anyways)
is a Mama, Wife, Yoga and Meditation Teacher, Coach, Writer and Activist. You can read more about her here.