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A lesson in humility. A lesson in pride. Recently I’ve been digging into the difference between pride and integrity. Hard truths and what we label as “right.” I know there is no easy answer, perhaps no right answer, to a challenging situation that might even feel impossible. Not while we’re human, at least. . What I do know is humility is often selfless, often a true testament to strength and integrity, and it creates more space for power than pride ever does. Even when we think we’re right, or especially so. . I am starting over again (not my first time) with more humility than I had before. I am redirecting my resources to my work, to living, to uplifting others, and taking care of myself as I go. To know my truth even when it isn’t spoken, even if others will never know it. Even if no one is there to say you did the “right” thing. Right and wrong are a matter of perception, a judgement call. But integrity and humility ask us to do the internal work, to be responsive instead of reactive, to increase awareness, ask tough questions, and stay humble. . Because I can continually do this work, because I am supported, I have won my own internal battle (one of them) and can move on - by standing in my power, by supporting others as they rise, by being someone I needed.
Friends, I am so overwhelmed with gratitude and relief and happy to tell you: Alo, Cody and I have reached an amicable resolution. . First and foremost, I want to apologize for allowing my own frustrations and anger to become hateful. Speaking out of hate helps no one. I posted the Instagram Story that ignited this in haste and anger, speaking too freely and loosely in a reactive way. I was single-mindedly focused on the pressure I felt to keep a secret from my students, colleagues, and paying customers. I see now that I was so focused on my position that I did not consider the consequences my posts would have for Alo, Cody, and all of their constituents, including my own colleagues. I am the type of person that can look at a situation and see how I could have done better. I saw my misstep and deleted the problematic post after a few hours, and have learned many lessons through this process. If I could go back and do it all again, I would do more fact-checking and seek a non-reactive path to expressing my concerns. . Second, I failed to completely understand a contract that I signed, and that is my own fault. It does not excuse breaking my contract, but I was young and inexperienced in business when I signed. I spoke out of a desire to be transparent to my community and true to my work. My sincere hope is that all of this will result in a narrowing of the gaps that exist between people like me and companies like Alo. . I have learned a lot from this experience. Forgiveness is important. I ask for their forgiveness, the community’s forgiveness, and I freely give mine. Thank you so much for your support.
I lived with so much shame, unaware of how what I exposed myself to impacted me, unaware of who I was through so much noise. No ability to think critically beyond my own insecurities and worrying about the perception of others. It requires an immense amount of comfort with yourself to be open to critical thought in a way that involves our own part and can lead to our own change. It requires a quiet ego, a willingness to look at yourself first and notice your own shit. It requires finding compassion for your mistakes, past narratives, forgiving yourself, and making active changes. Ahimsa in action. We are meant to grow. From there, we can uplift others, think critically without hate, believe the experience of others, and find compassion for them as well. I don’t always get it right, but I am always working towards compassionate critical thought and action. . I believe in the importance of awareness because I believe it helps all of us. I believe in shifting the focus from the supposed beauty of the external world to something much more long lasting and perhaps less tangible - an authentic life that not only fulfills the individual but uplifts others as well. I have not felt like an inspiration through any of this the last few years; I have felt like me. And I know now that is what’s innately inspiring. A truth speaker, somebody who is honest in who they are, someone who speaks to bring up others in some way. It is contagious and it’s all I can hope to share: tools of empowerment so we can empower ourselves and pass that along. . I love sharing these thoughts with those who are most impressionable. It pulls them out of the noise for a moment during a time when life can feel so harsh. It brings them inward. We talk about everything from body shame to sexuality to being your own cheerleader, from health bias and true wellness to authenticity. I see them shift, I see them think, and I know how much it matters. I know how much I needed to hear this my whole life. I’ve always said that all I want is for people to get what they need and live without shame. I don’t want anybody to live with shame just for being who they are. Been there, very done with that.
It’s here! My new podcast, Deep Dive is live. Follow @deepdivepodcast for new episodes. Link in my bio to listen on iTunes (other platforms coming soon). I can’t believe I finally put this out into the world. Thank you all for your patience and support. . In this introductory episode, I discuss my own personal struggles and evolution with self-worth, beauty standards, shame, disordered eating and more. I also share the story of my journey into yoga and ultimately self-healing and liberation. . Please listen, subscribe, and leave a review if you feel inclined!
These women are my team. My family, my support, my cheerleaders. These two women are behind most of the content you see here. They’re behind lots of content you haven’t seen yet. No doubt I would not be where I am, as I am, without them. We have all helped each other grow and we are growing together. Stronger together. Michele is one of the hardest workers I know. She gets shit done, delivers excellence, and has a true vision for supporting women and femmes in their work. Cheyenne is another powerhouse. She shoots boudoir redefined for women and femmes and gives every client an unforgettable experience of growth that goes far beyond photos. We work hard, we give our energy from a place of true care, we hold space together and we take care of each other all the while. I am so grateful for these strong women and the many others in my life. @onlo_beauty on me + Michele. @anna_sky_beauty on Cheyenne. My lingerie is @elomilingerie.
Identifying as a woman feels very empowering to me now, but hasn’t been easy to navigate. Growing up my body changed quickly and I had full breasts and hips and curves by the time I was 12. I felt ashamed in my body. I was bigger than my friends, couldn’t shop where I wanted, and felt like I stood out everywhere I went. I was treated differently. At the same time, I was sexualized by men, and by society, for looking the way I did. . As I got older and my body continued to change through years of awful dieting and self loathing and disordered eating and a whole slew of coping mechanisms, it became increasingly difficult for me to identify as a woman and understand where I really fit in as one who didn’t fit all patriarchal and Eurocentric beauty standards. Now that I have come home to myself and learned to embody all of who I am, I own my power. As a human, as one who deals with all the bullshit that comes along with the perceived identity of woman and a fat woman. . I am powerful. I am a force. I have the universe within me. I have my own light. I have survived. And I am thriving, knowing that all systems in place to stop me and all labels to strip me of my worth are also my power. I have the privilege to exist with a lot of autonomy and I will use it. Without those systems, I may have never found the motivation to seek myself out, to be my own person, to exist beyond the noise. To yell a big fuck off to all forms of control in place to keep women and femmes powerless. . I am big and I love it, I take up space, I make myself known, I know my worth, and I don’t care if they don’t see it, if they don’t like how much space I take up, don’t care if they think I’m unhealthy, if they think I’m too naked, too liberated, if they don’t like my body. I am here to stay. Talk to the hip ✋🏼🍗 . 📷 @quartermoonco. 💋 @onlo_beauty.
There’s a difference between hate/intolerance and constructive criticism. No more conversations shut down under the guise of love and light, please. No conversation silenced because money talks louder than our own voices - those who have it know that and use it to their advantage. Spiritual bypass ain’t cool. Commodified wellness that doesn’t encourage wellness for all ain’t cool. ALSO self love is not an excuse to shut your ears or mind. Love yourself and check yourself. Put love and light into the world and call out bullshit when you see it. We can do both. What’s bugging you?
The glow up is underway my friends. In the studio today writing some essays about the importance of self-awareness as a route to autonomy, and the commodification of self-care and wellness. Let’s get it poppin’.
TW: Eating Disorders. I’ve had a binge eating disorder since I was about 10 or 11. Binge eating is more openly discussed now but 10-15 years ago it was very taboo and most discussion of ED surrounded anorexia or bulimia, and many (still) equate EDs with visible thinness. I was never diagnosed because I binged in secret and did it without realizing what I was doing for many years. EDs are not a choice. They don’t exist due to lack of control or will. They are a result of biological, environmental, and psychological impacts. There are defined eating disorders; there is also a wide spectrum of what we’ll call disordered eating for the sake of this convo. That spectrum intersects with exercise habits, body image, and more. It’s insidious and often problematic patterns and internal dialogue go unnoticed. For many, myself included, it takes many years to find a place of body freedom, guilt-free eating, and exercising/moving to feel good and not to counteract eating. Taking care of ourselves for “health” can quickly spiral to obsession and restriction, and it can feel very normal. For those of us with eating disorders or who recognize tendencies of disordered eating, freedom is the goal. Not necessarily “health” in the traditional sense. What I mean is, the healthy choice for someone may be to eat what someone else might deem unhealthy because health is dynamic, can’t be seen, and can’t be assumed in any facet. My perspective is that intuitive eating is wise. Tuning into feeling is essential. Different ways of eating work for different people. Working towards a relationship with your body where eating and movement aren’t directly tied to it’s image is key to breaking the cycle that diet culture perpetuates. With that freedom we can foster autonomy. Making the choices that make us feel good in all ways. Organically shifting perspectives and patterns to find ourselves seeking holistic health that works for the individual. While it’s true we eat for nourishment and fuel, it’s not the only reason we eat. Food is also a sensory experience, can be pleasurable, can evoke feeling, can be communal, cultural, and our relationship with it is as dynamic as we are. Share below?