Activist movements, as in almost all things, can suck you dry—there is always more to be done, more people to reach out to, more actions to plan, more art to make, more reaching out. But at a certain point you have to be able to say, this is my limit. But we’re not socialized in a way to know what our limits are, to think thoughtfully about our capacity, and how to use self care in order to build our capacity. We're not socialized to be able to say, "Enough, I can't do this any longer." I've seen it wear down on people until disease forces them to make big life changes.
Y’all last month I posted that Pop Sugar was going to film my class Fat Kid Dance Party (For All Sizes to Heal From Body Oppression) and I wanted to pack the house, so I invited you all to come. The video was released on July 7th and within 36 hours had one million views. When it first came out Dara wondered aloud if it was viral when it hit 8,500 views and I responded, “Who even defines viral?” But whatever that definition happens to be this video is, officially, viral.
What’s it like to go viral? The GOOD kind of viral. Not like America’s Funniest Home Videos viral but the kind where people hear your message and like and share it because it is important. Like you’re a body liberation activist who has been at it for fifteen years and synthesizing all the work you’ve done for all those years into aerobics and millions of people hear you say that self love can move mountains. Readers who have been with me for years here, you know how hard I’ve been hustling. This is huge and amazing.
Having a viral video is kind of like regular life except also like it’s your birthday. On Facebook your friends are writing really nice things about you when sharing your cool video. You get tons of email. And your girlfriend buys you something cute for each milestone. We had lattes for our one millionth view and I got flowers when it hit two million. Birthday treatment. (I always worked to femmifest a loving and supportive partner and I totally have one now. Visioning works!)
Me and Dara, photo by Rachel Crowl. I’m working with her on a redesign of my website, this garden hasn’t been tended in awhile and deserves to glow all fresh and beautiful! As I’m launching my Energy Healing practice I want it to have an obvious space on the site. You can read about Rachel’s fabulous journey as an actress in this week’s LA Times! So proud.
Having a viral video means lots more opportunities—meetings, phone calls, exciting plans. Lots of people have been reaching out to me since the video went viral and I’m trying to get back to people. (If you need to get ahold of me queerfatfemme at gmail is the best way, Facebook Messenger is really hard for me to manage.) A viral video does not pay the rent or get the dishes done. I’m about to go do about 8 Ikea bags worth of laundry that has piled up. That viral video has not shown up with a free washer and dryer yet!
What’s clear is that people want this where they are and I want to figure out how to get it to all of you. Right now my aerobics class is in the special LA only beginning phase but the future can have a lot in store.
The things I’m most excited about pursuing are a workout video, reality TV development and touring the class to other cities. I’ve already got dates cooking in Seattle (my mom lives up there and her house on the Olympic Peninsula is amazing to chill at, I am excited to create a second home up there) and Orange County. If you’re in either of those places and want to get an email when that happens sign up for my email list.
I have always wanted to be a talk show host and I feel like a reality platform that is committed to people living their best lives would be really fun for me. I have had three meetings with different development people in the last week–exciting! I will only work with people who are 1,000% committed to the idea that all bodies are worthy of love exactly as they are. I’m trying to figure out how to test those levels with people other than my gut instincts. Maybe I need to do a body liberation workshop with them?
In terms of getting Fat Kid Dance Party (For All Sizes to Heal from Body Oppression) to as many people as possible I really want to do a series of videos. Like Richard Simmons, I believe we can have fun and joy in movement and I want to bring it to everyone everywhere! My classes work just as well at a high cardio level as they do in a chair–meeting people where their bodies are at right now. Unlike Richard Simmons, I am completely neutral about weight loss goals and am not interested in making money marketing towards that.
I think that production value matters and that we deserve to have a fitness video that doesn’t cheap out on music or any other part of it. My class is about healing the effects of oppression as much as it is movement. Neurolinguistic programming is a part of why it is so effective; when you’re listening to music you know already you drop into your body and away from the limiting messages in your brain easier. People knowing at least some of the songs is also part of the fun and licensing songs for videos is no small feat, financially or logistically.
I have a lot of ideas for developing a fitness platform that can reach everyone and how to bring that into schools to help kids learn to love their bodies and love movement. I want to do it one for one like Tom’s–for every download I sell I give one to a kid who needs it. And like Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Program I want to pay for the research to find out how effective it is to help raise self esteem and empowerment. Dolly lays out her process for developing the Imagination Library in her book Dream More, I highly recommend the audio book. The Imagination Library is so successful because Dolly did a lot of research to find out what works to prevent high school drop outs. I want my program to be really successful at creating resilience to body negativity and oppression.
My next steps on that front are looking at all the ways I can raise the capital–social impact venture capitalists get at me! Brand partnerships get at me! People who have interacted with building out the technology around downloads, get at me!
I’ve known Jenni for over a decade and she’s raising money to support her mental health crisis. I have had lots of Femme friends die via suicide so the opportunity to help someone choose to heal is such a gift. If you have the cash to forego a latte and help a babe in need (who does so much for our community) please consider giving or sharing her fundraiser.
On Friday at sundown I did a little Tea with Bevin live video on my Facebook Fan Page if you’re interested in hearing some of the other stuff I’m up to–taking cold showers for vitality, my cat Biscuit Reynolds, Bobby Turner this social impact capital investor and his thoughts on millennial activism, the Hello Kitty x Torrid collection launch party I went to, how and why to do a vision board, and why I’m very invested in getting financial support for one of my Femmes who is asking for help with her mental health.
If you want to hang with me and have tea (and ask questions) I’m going to work to do this every Friday live on Facebook, so be sure to like my page and turn on notifications.
For those of you who are new to my site and are coming to visit because you saw the video—welcome!!! I’m excited to have you. I’ve been blogging here for nine years and there’s a lot to love. I blog fat fashion & style, my awesome and fun life with its natural challenges, fat sex, queer stuff, body liberation activism—here’s what that is in five minutes, health at every size, LA Fat Fitness–a series about fun fitness modalities I’m trying out, spirituality, self love, dating, and nobody ever died of awkward.
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