What I Show Up For

I come from a line of quiet but dedicated (and sometimes idealistic) activists who led from their values, wrote poetry about a Better World and the Path Forward, spoke at peace rallies, and fiercely believed in the power of community. Consider this me putting down on paper the values I lead with. This will evolve as I do. Nothing is permanent, nothing is set in stone, and that’s okay.

I share these both because I believe in the importance of naming what you show up for “aloud” and because it’s important to me that folks joining my communities know and align with my values. 

Also, I’m not perfect, I won’t always (or ever) uphold all these values perfectly. Such is being human! But I promise to try to listen, learn, and keep getting back up to move forward towards a better shared future. 

So without further ado…

  • I Believe Mental Health Shouldn’t be Hidden in the Shadows.

  • I’m For Dismantling the Diet & Beauty Industrial Complexes.

  • I Believe in Representation in the Voices We Hear.

I Believe Mental Health Shouldn’t be Hidden in the Shadows

There is shame and stigma in our society around the topic of mental health, and it prevents people who need help from getting it. It keeps people feeling broken and holds them back from embracing their unique voices and perspectives. 

I show up for introverts and sensitive or shy folks who have been told it’s not okay to be who they are. I show up for folks with neurodiversity like ADHD, and whose brains simply work differently than the dominant paradigm. 

I believe in normalizing depression and anxiety, especially amongst women business owners, and de-stigmatizing the need for support, whether it be medication or therapy. 

I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression throughout my life and especially as a business owner, I’m a Highly Sensitive Person and consider myself neurodiverse, and I have a family history of neurodiversity and mental health disorders. 

I also believe in access to mental health resources for all. I recognize that though everyone deserves the benefits of therapy and emotional and psychological support through qualified coaching, it does not reach all parts of the population equally or equitably.

I’m Against Fat-Shaming Culture & For Dismantling the Diet & Beauty Industrial Complexes

Through my own journey from body-controlling via exercise, obsessive calorie counting, and a “perfect health” fixation to embracing intuitive eating and the principles of Health At Every Size (HAES), I recognize the real, tangible privileges thin and traditionally attractive people hold and the culture that marginalizes people who don’t fit within those narrow parameters. 

I show up against the idea that there is ONE female beauty ideal – thin, white, tall, long-haired, feminine, able-bodied. I believe the more diversity we are surrounded by in the “media” and social media feeds, the more inclusive our definition of beauty will be. 

I am FOR:

  • Fat Positivity
  • Diverse Representation 

I am NOT for: 

  • Predatory Marketing of “weight loss” products by big business which doesn’t have their target markets best interests at heart
  • Anything that encourages a fixation on being Perfectly Healthy (orthorexia)
  • Eating Based on “Rules” or Restrictions (note: I don’t count veganism or vegetarianism as inherently within this category. I have huge respect for living your values in day to day life and still hold values from my 12 years being plant-based.) 

How I imperfectly show up for this:

  • Speaking up when someone is fat-shaming.
  • Making an effort to not talk negatively about my own body, to not weigh myself, to accept my own body (even after a decade, this is still a work in progress). 
  • Not engaging in group body-bashing
  • Not weaponizing the word “fat” as a negative term. It is not an insult to be fat because it’s not bad. 
  • Following intuitive eating principles and actively forgetting harmful advice like “calories in, calories out.” Having extra helpings when I want to, eating ice cream when I want to, and also noticing which foods make me feel best in my body and letting that drive my decisions rather than absolute rules and restrictions.

Also, I’m not perfect and I still think about my body in non-positive ways or compare myself to others. But the work is to notice.

I Believe in Representation & Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Voices We Hear

I believe there’s no way a Messenger needs to look, talk or act. I believe we need more layered stories of other lived experiences. (See Chimamada Ngozie Adichie’s TED Talk “The danger of a single story.” – thanks to Cher Hale for that resource.)

I believe that the future world we want to bring forward as Messengers doesn’t happen without also looking at how racism, white supremacy, and colonialism are embedded in leadership, in coaching spaces, and in our own personal lives. 

I believe in honoring people’s identities and the importance of living with difference in acceptance and respect instead of judgement. I believe in bringing awareness to ways people are “othered” or made to feel wrong because of how they look, act or think. I believe in normalizing the things we feel and not dismissing anything – that just because it’s not my experience doesn’t mean it’s not valid. 

I also believe that naming something is important but it’s not enough, that this webpage is not enough, but it is something. I’m still in inquiry, exploration and imperfect action. 

I Imperfectly Show Up For This By

  • Unpacking my own whiteness and privilege. By noticing the times I benefit from being able-bodied, CIS or straight. 
  • Educating myself so I can look inward and build awareness. Learning about the history of oppression for non-white folks. 
  • Consulting DEI coaches and leaders on how I can do things differently in my own leadership and business and applying those recommendations.
  • Having really hard conversations with family members and those close to me. 
  • Donating to organizations like Black Lives Matter, ACLU, and to individual BIPOC or underrepresented voices or businesses doing powerful work in the world (or just doing work). 
  • Checking in on whether a decision is performative or truly moves things forward, even if that means no one publicly “sees” that I’m doing my work. 
  • Recognizing this is for the long game and not a one-and-done trend, and there are no rewards given. 
  • Seeking out mentors who don’t look like me and who have different lived experiences than me. Hiring contractors and experts inside my business who hold different identities than me. Supporting the voices of clients who are BIPOC, LGBTQI+, or doing liberatory work for those communities. 
  • By being a Facilitator and Signal Booster for conversations like those on my Speaking to What Matters interview series, and letting others who hold the expertise do the talking while I hold the mic up. 

These are my thoughts, for now. This list is incomplete and imperfect because I am always evolving, same as you. Thanks for bearing witness. 

With love,