In people pleaser recovery we learn that what we must ultimately do is the work of knowing what is in our heart, what makes us sing, and what we want. I learned from Jeffrey Marsh that we do not need to be “nice” (doing what other people think we “should” or saying what they want to hear), but we can be kind. We can kindly say, “Hey, this isn’t right for me right now.” And we can be kind to ourselves and let go of the need for other’s approval.
It's pretty special to be a queer person with a Lesbian mom. It's nice to have that in common, even as my mom and I are as different as you can imagine a Glitter Mega Femme and a Tomboy can be (or, in astrology speak I'm a Capricorn and she's a Cancer--we are literally opposite signs). Last year on a visit to mom in her Lesbian village in the woods deep outside of Seattle, she proudly showed me her TomBoyX bathing suit covered in jelly fish. She has never been this excited about a bathing suit in my whole life, so I knew it had to be special.
In general, I find when I assume strangers are intending to be loving and kind it makes my experience of living in an oppressive world a lot easier for me.
Pronoia helps me keep my brain decluttered from other people’s judgments. I could spend a lot of time micro analyzing how strangers look at me or if I hear an audible sigh from someone seated next to me on a plane. Most of the time I assume their looks and sounds don’t have anything to do with me or my size. Maybe that’s not true, but probably it is true the majority of the time.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”—African Proverb
Last week I filmed the first workout video for Fat Kid Dance Party Aerobics and these words never hit so close to home. For those of you who have been reading my blog for any part of the last ten years, you know I’m on a healing journey. Healing from origins I can identify and some I cannot. The process of healing, I believe, is awakening to who you really are at your essence.
Somewhere along the line, I absorbed the idea that if I didn’t allow people to help me I could take full credit for my success. In the process of creating the video shoot I absolutely had to ask for help. I wanted a product that looked better than what I could film on my own and I felt like my audience deserved a truly kick-ass workout video.
Decision making is really hard for me sometimes. My perfectionism flares hard when I'm up against a deadline. Suddenly I'm afraid of everything being wrong and it makes even minor decisions seem like they will destroy everything good that exists in the world if I choose incorrectly.
This is not unlike college when every decision about every paragraph in my 20 page papers seemed unsurmountable until I was hard pressed by procrastination. Only now do I understand this to be fear-based procrastination and that I do it as a coping mechanism.
In justice circles, the general call is for shirts that go up to size 6X. This is difficult to find but I basically made it my mission to do it. I feel especially hurt by so-called intersectional feminist stores that don’t carry plus sizes, or barely make it to a 2X. I wanted to create a different experience for my customers.
It is really hard to find a size inclusive line of tee shirt blanks.
A little over six weeks ago I was on the phone with Jes Baker. She has been doing some incredible graphic design work for me in exchange for distance Reiki treatments and she had a question we needed to ask my friend Bridget about. Bridget is a strategic coach and has been helping me get a handle on pursuing my goals for Fat Kid Dance Party Aerobics and building my dream company.
Bridget patched the three of us into a conference call and I had an epiphany. Listening to these brilliant women talk about creating a Fat Kid Dance Party style guide I realized that I was no longer just teaching an aerobics class. I was now, for real, running a start-up.
Letting my regulars do the talking! "I’m so grateful to have found your class! I’ve been working on loving my body the way it is for a while now but it’s all been very cerebral like like reading, podcasts, etc… It’s really nice to have a fitness/movement class to physically go to that supports my body love journey. I also really appreciate the community I’ve met there so far, people of all sizes in an inclusive and supportive environment...and class is SO FUN!"
I have been saying for years that asking for help is a sign of strength. But, as with all personal growth, there is always new work to be done in areas I thought I had handled. Having that time at the retreat to really examine myself and how I might be limiting my greatness introduced me to this new growth edge—I needed to open up to asking.
It made me so bummed out when I saw signs for the Women's March last year that focused on his small hands instead of the thousands of substantive issues that are available for critique. I thought about the children at the march who would see that and how it might make them think that targeting someone's body is okay and that might inflame their own insecurities about the way their bodies aren't "normal." What a toxic word and idea in a world so full of diverse bodies and totally valid ways to inhabit those bodies.
If you're interested in learning more about how to lovingly inhabit the body you're in and have some fun--check out my Fat Kid Dance Party Aerobics (For All Sizes to Heal from Body Oppression) videos!