EFTROU Season 1, Episode 1 is 54 minutes 27 seconds (54:27) in length
[0:00 Music Plays]
[0:12 Intro plus EFTROU Podcast Disclaimer]
Chavonne (C): Hello there! I’m Chavonne McClay.
Jenn (J): And I’m Jenn Jackson.
(C): And this is Embodiment for the Rest of Us. A podcast series exploring topics within intersections that exist in fat liberation!
(J): In this show, we interview professionals and those with lived experience alike to learn how they are affecting radical change and how we can all make this world a safer place for those living in larger bodies and in marginalized spaces.
(C): Captions and content warnings are provided in the show notes for each episode, including specific time stamps, so that you can skip triggering content any time that feels supportive to you! This podcast is a representation of our co-host and guest experiences and may not be reflective of yours. These conversations are not medical advice, and are not a substitute for mental health or nutrition support.
(J): In addition, the conversations held here are not exhaustive in scope or breadth. These topics, these perspectives are not complete and are always in process. These are just the highlights! Just like posts on social media or any other podcast, this is just a glimpse. We are always interested in any feedback on this process if something needs to be addressed. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org And now for today’s episode.
[1:38 EFTROU Season 1, Episode 1 begins]
(J): Hi there, I’m Jenn Jackson.
(C): And I’m Chavonne McClay.
(J): And this is Embodiment for the Rest of Us. YAY!
(C): YAY! [Chavonne laughs]
(J): So excited.
(C): We are so excited. Today we’re chatting about what brought us here to this podcast, kind of a mini-interview with each other, so you can get to know us and what we’ll share. The next couple of recordings will be about “embodiment” and “the rest of us” in more detail before we begin a series of interviews exploring the intersections within body liberation.
(J): Oooooh! We are so excited. We’re gonna say that a lot …
(J) Just like we did in the trailer.
(C): So excited!
(J): We’re gonna channel this nervousness and excitement that we feel into sharing about ourselves. So Chavonne, I would love it if you would tell me and us a little bit about the glorious human that you are.
[2:29 Chavonne introduces herself]
(C): Thanks so much. Um, so I’m Chavonne McClay, like I’ve said [laughs] a few times. I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I live in occupied Tiwa territory here in Albuquerque, and I have a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Texas Tech University, and a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh. Um, I grew up in El Paso, Texas, most of my life is spent there and then went to school in Lubbock. Lived in Pittsburgh for a while and then ended up back in the Southwest, um, here in Albuquerque, which is my home and I love it so so much. I’m a fat, black woman. I have been married to my husband for a little over three years. We have two kiddos, who I will be mentioning every once in a while, two boys, and will really use their nickname. The oldest is Bug and he is two years old and the littlest one is Bean and he is one. I’m married to a white man, so I have two biracial children. Like I said, I’ve been a licensed clinical social worker since 2010 [3:33 Correction: Chavonne has been a licensed clinical social worker since 2013]. And have been doing private practice for I would say about half that time. I’ve worked with clients who are looking for support with body liberation, making food with peace [3:47 Correction: Chavonne says “making food with peace” when she meant “peace with food”] in their bodies, and also need some support and parental mental health. These two topics are really important to me because I am that like I said, I’ve been fat most of my life, I’ll probably be fat for the rest of my life. And I think with being black, definitely born black, but it’s maternal [Chavonne laughs] mental health because I um, like I said, I have two kids. With my first one I had pretty significant postpartum depression and anxiety. And thanks to lots of support from, you know, a therapist and my family and friends I’m in a much better place. But it also made me really passionate about helping people who go through the same thing. In my free time I like to read, um, sleep, if my toddlers give me a chance to do so. I, you know, I walk, I’m trying to get into yoga. I really am obsessed with almost everything. I love all British murder mysteries always and Clue (the game Clue) everything about it. [Chavonne laughs] I’m vegan, which might come up, um, in the future. I’m really interested in talking about intersection because there’s a very different experience between being a Black person, between being a fat person, between being a Black and fat person. Even though I you know I have these marginalized identities, I’ve also really aware of the privileges that I have and how that interacts with those intersections as well. So that’s kind of me in a nutshell. That’s a little bit about me. Oh, and I’m also obsessed with Jenn and that will come into when I talk about how this podcast came to be. I’m so excited to be here. This feels like something I’ve been meant to do for a really long time and it’s really emotional in a good way to finally be starting. That’s it. Jenn, please tell us all about the incredibly beautiful, glorious woman that you are.
[5:41 Jenn introduces herself]
(J): Thank you darling. I am so excited to be here with you. I was just in all listening to you even though I know you so well in such a short amount of time. It was just so awesome to soak that in. so thank you so much for that. I am Jenn Jackson and I also live in occupied Tiwa territory in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I am, uh, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. I have a private practice here. I see clients from actually around the world as a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. However, most of my clients in my private practice are here in New Mexico. Seeing everyone virtually at this time as we have explored the pandemic and what that does mean about changes in our lives, my life, their lives, and also in connecting with each other. And my work centers around, well it’s hard to describe, but I would say that what these sessions are, is talking about, um, my client’s relationship with food, with their bodies, and with themselves. And as those things evolve and transform, and actually usually elevate, a grief that comes with that of the previous selves, and also the beautiful opening into whatever comes next. It’s a wonderful space to hold with people and I honestly feel very honored to do it. It doesn’t feel like work a lot of the time, it just feels very special to me. So that’s a little bit about my work. So who… What do I do outside of work? Um, as Chavonne was saying, I’m a real nerd for games and movies. So, uh, in this pandemic, my bubble, my family bubble, has had a movie night and the game day, so we can explore both of these things, so it’s not just me. [laughs] And we have a really, really good time. Chavonne and I were just talking earlier about having some game time with each other. We… I love Clue also…
(J): …and anything mystery like, um, anything that’s a card game that’s a little bit competitive is something that I like. I love that part of people where they get really competitive, just, but just about something very specific. And everyone’s competitive about something different. It is so much fun to watch that come out of people. [Jenn and Chavonne laugh] So I really love that. And I don’t like to admit that I’m competitive about games, but I definitely am. [Chavonne and Jenn laugh] And I am a white, fat woman. Um, I use pronouns she/her. And I am both neurodiverse and I live with diabetes. And those two things, um, which are both hidden, right, you can’t see know them unless I tell you or unless I express these things to you, um, has a …has been a very interesting exploration as an adult and is something that really makes me think, um, about and see myself in new ways that I find very expansive and wonderful, which really surprised me about those things. So I like to share them openly. So I want you to know that I have those experiences happening over here. And I love how Chavonne earlier talked about the intersections that exist. When that word comes to mind I’m thinking about Kimberle Crenshaw’s work. It really makes me think about race, gender, class, and ability. Those things really feel important to talk about all at once. And I love that you touched on those while also acknowledging your privilege, which I would also like to acknowledge now. I have financial privilege. I definitely have white privilege. Um, and these things exist together. And it feels really important for us to share with you what’s happening over here. Since you can’t see us, this is just audio on this podcast (or a transcript if you’re reading this right now 👋). And a, uh, place to consider what we’re saying in your own mind with all of the intersections that you embody. Um, I live with my partner, who has five adult children, I don’t have any children of my own. I have enjoyed having a mother-like role for the last seven years. And, um, I just love reading books, which I’m having some issues with right now but I can’t wait to get back to. It’s just hard to read in the summer when it’s hot, I think. Um, and sitting out in nature taking pictures of flowers. If you follow me on Instagram you know that I just take a lot of pictures of flowers, and feeding the “pets” that I have in my yard, which is a little bunny family that showed up this summer. Um, and a little family of squirrels that’s been here for two years now. There’s an abandoned house next to mine and these animals love being there because there’s no dogs. The rest of the neighborhood has them. And so that’s like one of my [Jenn laughs] favorite little things, is just getting up in the morning and feeding them. So there you go, a little bit about me. I hope that feel you feel like you get to know us a tiny little bit. And, um, yeah.
(C): I love us! Oh my gosh, we’re so cute. I’m so excited.
(C): I love learning about you…
(C): Even though I know I good amount about you. This is awesome.
(J): Yes. So now that we have kind of given you a little spiel about each of us, we would like to ask ourselves and each other some questions to have you get to know us, specifically leaning towards this podcast and also us as people. And that first one that I’d like to ask Chavonne is, what lights you up?
(C): This is such a great question. I love that we’re starting with talking about things that bring us joy. I would say a lot of things light me up. I love, love, love, love this podcast. I talk about it so much. [Chavonne laughs] So my friends and my family.
(J): Me too! [Jenn and Chavonne laugh]
(C): My friends and family have heard so much about it. So this podcast lights me up. Getting this podcast started, planning the interviews, talking about it, doing it lights me up. What else lights me up? I really love watching my kids. They are super rambunctious. Like I said, I have two toddlers. So they’re everywhere. They’re super busy, but they’re so cute and so sweet. And so enthusiastic, and they are really affectionate right now. So they just light me up. I love, um, the honor of being their mom. And, you know, re-parenting myself by being a mother. And also just making sure that I’m being the best mom that I can be. I am lit up by reading [sigh], as well. But, like you, and I’m struggling to find time to do so. [Chavonne laughs] I have tried audiobooks, but sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t. But if I try to read I fall asleep, like last night. So I’m trying to figure that out. It’s also hot, too. So I don’t know.
(J): The heat make it hard! What is that? I don’t know what that is. But it really makes it hard.
(C): It’s so hot! But I’m trying to figure that out. But once upon a time, when I have a lot of free time, I read nonstop. [Chavonne laughs] I’m hoping to get back into that.
(J): Me, too! Love that.
(C) I, yeah, [laughs] I’m lit up by the people who I love in my life. I have great family and great friends and I am honored to have that in my life. I am lit up by the work that I do with clients. I, like you Jenn, consider it a great honor to work with the people that I work with. I am lit up when I am able to make a difference in some way. In a way that helps them become who they want to be, who they’re meant to be, while holding space for people. It’s an honor to be able to do that. And, yeah, so those are the some of the things that light me up. [laughs]
(J): It lit me up to hear you say what lights you up. [Chavonne laughs] It was very warm and wonderful. Thank you for sharing that. I have another question. What is your favorite thing about yourself? As a person, and as a professional.
(C): Mmm, I think it’s actually the same thing for both. I, I really pride myself and work really hard on just being a kind person. I, you know, I read this book a long time ago, maybe a few years ago, I’m not exactly sure when. Um, when someone talked about what their currency was. It was Amy Poehler’s book, I believe, somebody recommended it to me. And, um, she talked about what her currency was. And I think it was her comedy or acting ability. I’m not really sure. But it made me sit with it and think about what my currency was. And my currency is kindness. And I, in all things I do, I try to be as kind as I can be. I think we all could use some kindness. So, I think, as a friend, as a family member, definitely as a professional, I believe in being kind.
(J): I can say, as your friend, you really are, like, kindness walking. You’re an expression of kindness. That’s who you are as a person. That’s how I would describe you. You’re also very good…
(C): That’s so sweet, that means so much.
(J): You’re welcome! You are very good at being kind to yourself, as well, and expressing to other people you considering being kind to yourself, which I find very inspiring. So, I just wanted to reflect that.
(C): Thank you that means so much.
(C): Thank you, that means so much. Thank you, thank you.
(J): Thank you so much for answering that! So now that we’ve gotten to know you a little bit, Chavonne, I would love for you to tell everyone listening (and I would love to hear it again): How did this podcast idea come to you?
[14:48 How Chavonne came up with the podcast]
(C): Oh my gosh, I’m so excited to talk about this. Sooooooooo. I think I want to step back a little bit. So I met you, Jenn, gosh I think it took us until December. Jenn you emailed me about getting to know each other because we both do body liberation and intuitive eating work in the community. And you messaged me in [laughs] probably almost a year ago at this point. And I was like, sorry I have two babies, can’t do it! And then we kind of just went back and forth before we, um, connected, and the minute I met you and it was like this … you’re going to be in my life forever! I’ve already decided this, so…
(J): I knew it, too!
(J): I knew it, too, immediately.
(C): I don’t even know, it was just, uh, electric. And that’s when I decided I was going to do everything with you in my life. [Chavonne and Jenn laugh] So, I, uh, see a therapist regularly and she has been encouraging me for all the years we’ve been working together to do meditation, as something to think about. I’m all over the place when I do it, I exercise a lot [laughs] when I do it, too. But, um, she recommended, you know, trying moving meditation. And, so, I was on a walk one day and, um, did my moving meditation, I walked for a bit and then it was time to listen to a podcast. I LOVE podcasts! I listen to them all the time, as much as possible, and I couldn’t find one to listen to that I was interested in. I have since then found others, but what I said to myself was “Man, I really wish I could find a podcast that talked about body liberation, talked about, you know, peace with food, and body, and self. And it was just fat bodied people talking about it.” I think there are lots of podcasts out there that do good work and talk about this, but if I’m being frank it’s a lot of thin, white women talking about the work. I wanted to learn from people who looked just like me. Um, not just like me, obviously, but [laughs], um, but who at least lived in the same type of body and that I have the same experience with in that way. So, yeah, I had that thought and … maybe I should make the podcast myself and, uh, oh my God I love Jenn [laughs] I’m going to ask her to do it with me. So I walked some more and thought about it and got really excited. And you know, squealed while walking about the podcast.
(C): [Chavonne laughs] We squeal a lot. And then it came to me during that walk, Embodiment for the Rest of Us. And I sat with it, didn’t tell anyone for probably a few weeks, um, and then I texted you and just said it and said, I’m gonna say it. And it’s, you know, like, I’ve been in a relationship for a while. But it was like when I was dating, right? Where I send a text and then throw my phone. [Chavonne laughs] And then wait for the response. And when I got a response it was like, oh great let’s see what the response was gonna be. Uugh yeah! So I texted you about it and then quickly did something else because I was… I didn’t know what the response was going to be. And you responded so magnificently. And here we are. But that’s how it came to me. I wanted a podcast that was something I wanted to listen to. That was a, like we said before, one stop shop of people talking about body liberation, who live in fat bodies. That’s, that’s how it came about.
(J): I was doing a lot of hand movements and Chavonne could see but none of you can see while she was talking about that. It was really fun to re-live that. [Jenn and Chavonne laugh] I love it so much! Thank you for answering my questions.
(C): Yay. And now it’s my turn to ask those questions back. Um, so Jenn, tell me, what lights you up?
(J): What lights me up? Human interaction … community. Um, and I say both of those separately because I mean one-on-one just sitting having coffee with someone, just getting to know someone, or enjoy someone, or listen to someone, and just sharing each other’s humanity. And also community, whatever the reason is for community, or whatever the label that we want to put on every kind of community, just a way of connecting with others, both to learn about ourselves and unlearn within ourselves. And also to just witness each other. I get a lot out of witnessing someone else. Um, also being witnessed. It’s just a really beautiful shared space. Um, I would definitely say playing games. [Chavonne laughs] Um, especially when people in my family, such as my dad, hysterically giggle. [Chavonne snickers] When something is so funny. So we have played in this bubble on this pandemic Cards Against Humanity with my parents.
(C): AAAAH I can’t even imagine!
(J): And watching them get red in the face, or us getting red in the face. And it’s like, can’t even read the cards because we’re laughing so hard. Were just very special moments to me. And those in particular, community, even virtually in the pandemic, and also playing games were in… within my family bubble stick out to me as lights in a lot of things that felt like darkness. So those like really ring true in my… in my brain so far. And, also, I think… hearing what lights other people up, like, when you were talking about it really lights me up. Like people being really interested in their job, in a topic that they’re really interested in and have been researching. Um, someone telling me about a trip they just took, someone telling me what they love about their children, like, things that light people up, light me up. And, finally, anything cute and furry lights me up.
(C): Love it.
(J): Um, like I mentioned earlier that we have squirrels and bunnies. There’s also a road runner that frequents our backyard because we don’t have any dogs and a lot of people around us do. Uh, there was even a deer in my front yard just two mornings ago. Um, just seeing things in nature that look calm. It doesn’t have to be in my backyard, it could be in the foothills or something here by the mountains in Albuquerque. Um, just anything, just feel… it grounds me. It lights me up and grounds me which don’t always feel synonymous, but about nature it really does. Yeah, that’s what I would say for that. Thanks for asking!
(C): Of course. And I can see you lit up as you were talking about what lights you up. That’s just, this is so much fun. This is great. Uh, Jenn, why did you want to start this podcast with me?
[21:16 Why Jenn wanted to do this podcast, too]
(J): Ooh, that’s a great question. Um, I have always felt… this is me getting a little woowoo for a moment, that the universe tells you three possible answers in something that you’re being asked. And that is a Yes. A Yes, but not this. And a Yes, but not now. I rarely… I very rarely hear like a no in my head or anything like that. Um, we can talk about my boundaries later. I really don’t… I hear Yes. And that was the first answer that I said was Yes. When you said, um, actually phrased the first text to me, was you told me what happened with your therapist, you told me about the walk. And then you told me you had this dream. I said, “I would do that with you.” [Chavonne laughs] And you said “Well, I’m serious/not serious.” And I said, “Well, I’m serious!” [Chavonne and Jenn laugh] I’m serious! Um, and you were like “Are we doing this?” and I was like “We are doing this!”
(C): It was beautiful. [laughs]
(J): It was immediate for me that something… that you would think of me, when this kind of epiphany, moment of, like, where everything can feel different after such a moment like that you would think of me in that moment, just felt like something to immediately say yes to. And I also listened to a lot of podcasts, like you were saying. And it also strikes me that either the people doing the podcast, or what they’re choosing to talk about, or how they talk about, how filtered it feels. Um, maybe even sometimes they have a very liberated version of a topic or because of the guest the … kind of these fleeting moments is what it feels like to me when I listen. Um, and these times and listening to a podcast or listening to a person where my brain just tunes in, “what are they talking about?” I sometimes rewind, like, okay, this is so amazing, I have to rewind and make sure I’m listening the whole time. Those kinds of moments. I wanted something like that and MORE of it. And when you brought this idea and mentioned this and said it, it felt like that. Like the thing that was missing and what I’ve been searching for…
(J): Um, which I’ve told you before. And you also feel like a person I’ve been searching for.
(J): And so those two things together, how could I say no? And to talk about something that’s on the margins. Um, I didn’t mention earlier, but I really feel like it’s important to treat from the margins, helping people understand how to get closer to what they need, especially when they feel pushed there or to the side or down, whatever kind of analogy you want for the visual of that, um, and a space in which to talk about it and explore ideas where people don’t just feel alone in those spaces. Right? No matter how quick the movement or ability to move or anything like that, that we can have a space together to explore these things. Um, and as you said earlier, wanting someone… you wanted to talk to people who represent your experience, whatever piece, or combination of that experience. And that also feels like it really resonates with this, immediately, just in the title: Embodiment for the Rest of Us. It’s like, “Ooh, who’s the rest of us? Ooh, embodiment, yeah, embodiment, which is about a reflection of how the world sees you, and whether or not you take that on, and also how you see yourself in the world, right? Whether it’s independent of that or not, just like… It’s just incredible. Um, and we’d only have a few conversations before that time…
(C): Mmmhmmm, yeah.
(J): Before you shared that with me. It was really like a match. Like, I knew where it was gonna… like, and I don’t mean like perfectly where it was gonna go. But I knew where we were gonna go together. Like I trusted us. You said earlier, you love us, I love us. And I trust us. And that feels…it’s a very like home like feeling, a very brave feeling. And also a feeling that feels like it can be a space for repair, which is something I really don’t hear a lot of in podcasts. What I mean by repair is how even people who cause harm, even us as professionals. How we can repair, how these… how we can restore — these kinds of words, um, feels really important. And anything that leans in that direction, and I really want to be a part of that. And I don’t mean just in the general sense, I’m speaking rather vaguely and generally. But I feel very specifically like this is it, the mix that I really want to be a part of so… um, that was a lot of words for me to say: instantly I knew exactly that I was going to do it and that it was going to be with Chavonne. And that was a no brainer. No thought, no pause, nothing.
(C): This… I love your answer, first of all. That is INCREDIBLE. Uugh, I just got chills listening to you and just, learn… remembering our process. And I also wanted to say I think your memory is better than mine because I totally forgot I had a dream about it. It’s like … [laughs] It’s like this didn’t all come about during the walk, it wasn’t that long of a walk. Um…
[Chavonne and Jenn laugh]
(J): I have a dangerous memory, I have a dangerous memory for sure. Um, and also, I don’t always trust it. I trust us more than I trust it, so… [Jenn laughs]
(C): Right. I don’t trust my memory, which is why I write everything down as you know. [laughs] Oh, it just gave me chills to hear your process. And I’m just so honored that you want to work with me and that I want to work with you. And I’m just…
(C): I’m just so excited!
(J): I want to say thank you for holding space for me to answer that. And just thank you for creating space for this to even be happening.
(C): And thank you for saying yes. And letting me figure out how this works for both of us as we go along and giving me the space to dream. Like, this is something that like I said it was coming a long time. And I didn’t even realize and I’m getting emotional and trying not to cry.
(J): Ooh, that made me really emotional. Ooh! I Love you!
(C): I love you! I’ve been a therapist for a really long time. And I, like I said I’m honored to do the work that I do, but this feels like what I’ve been meant to do for a really long time. And it just feels like it’s coming to fruition, um, to make a difference in a way that really honors my own boundaries. And, um, lets me use a different set of skills. And um, my… you know, it’s just, it’s what I’ve been looking for so. [Chavonne sighs] Aaaaaaaahhhh
(J): It’s amazing. It’s very expensive, when I was just listening …
(C): Yeah, mmmhmmm…
(J): It’s just very expensive, which is… why would we not say yes and simply expansive?
(C): IIIIII know … [Chavonne laughs] I’m so proud of us. YAY!
(C): Um, um, yeah, so let me get… [Chavonne laughs] I’m getting all giddy again. I’m gonna go to the next question. [Chavonne laughs] Um, tell me what led you to do the work that you do?
(J): That’s a great question. Um, I have been a dietitian since 2013. And the first five years or so of being a dietitian, I always had a feeling… that something was not right. That… I now know this word, this phrase, cognitive dissonance, right…
(J): Like how I was acting and how I would feel in my body, in my bones, and my heart, was not a match.
(J): And that’s because I was doing things the traditional dietetics way. Um, at that point, at the end of that period, I was a concierge dietitian. So I created a private practice, in business for myself, where I went anywhere and everywhere in the five boroughs of New York City to give people services, to their company, and events, and to individuals. Um, and I basically ran myself into the ground, which in a way was fun, because I explored all of New York. And, at the same time, I was exhausted all the time.
(C): Yeah, yeah.
(J): And I was catering what I was doing to other people in a way that was starting to become even more clear that something didn’t feel right. And what I realized in that process is people were asking me to fix and change them. And I’m not really in this for fixing and changing work. I’m just here to hold space for people.
(C): Mmm, mmmhmmm.
(J): And that they feel understood, and, uh, to brainstorm and come up with ideas together of what might be different, and what we might try so that things can be different if they want to, right. They don’t have to, but just the space. And also just say things to people that they would never say to someone else. That tends to come up in this work. Anything about food and body, as I’m sure you know, Chavonne.
(C): Mmm, mmmhmmm
(J): It is just a vessel for talking about what is most important to us. And that was missing from my work. So I went on a search for… moving away from meal plans and all of these other things to how can I support people where the judgment on my side were as little as possible. Even if that meant, um, talking about misinformation that was present in people’s lives and how I might not be that and do they want that anyway, and that kind of search. Which led me to…
(J): Which led me to body image, which led me to embodiment, which led me to, you know, intuitive eating, which led me to non-diet, which led me to a lot of spaces in which I feel like I have it and, of course, Health at Every Size®-aligned. And actually the work that… this… the work. I’m calling the podcast, the work. That’s interesting. I want to think about that later [laughs] what the work is. Um…
(C): Ooh yeah I want to talk about that. [laughs]
(J): Yeah, so in this podcast, we feel this expansive feeling is even going to be beyond things like intuitive eating, like Health at Every Size®. These things are included, of course, but they all look at operating inside of a system, called the Medical Industrial Complex. [30:48 Correction: Jenn did not come up with this idea, it came from D’Shaun Harrison. Jenn also mispronounces their name. See show notes for links] And really interested in looking outside of it at what justice, which still kind of is on the borders and inside of it, but really more liberation … outside of any restrictions. Outside of a context of “I have been harmed, how can we repair?” It’s more like “How can repair be at the forefront? How can repair and restore be part of things? How can conversations feel expansive, not constricting? Um, how can we notice that in real time? How can we not be ‘specialists’ about one tiny little area but really have a much larger conversation together?” Um, because in our individual fields and disciplines, and credentialism, and the pursuit of letters, or whatever you’d like to call that. We get, like, kind of in these straight lines. And this beautiful expanse of space that you and I are sharing and together feels like there’s many roads that are an option. And those roads have different speeds, and some have yield signs, some will have stops and we get feels like there’s just a lot of choice there. That’s not really present. And choice feels healing and interesting to me. That’s really how I got to this not just for individual clients, but wanting to have a larger conversation.
(C): Uugh, wow. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever asked you this question. So I loved… [Chavonne laughs] I loved learning. Actually, this is fantastic. I’m gonna ask you a question that’s not on my list to ask you. But that you asked me. What’s your favorite thing about yourself as a person and as a professional?
(J): Oh, that’s very interesting. So I thought it would actually be the same thing in both, as you said before. Um, and I think also, my answer will be surprising. And that’s what I’m a really good listener. So I’m …
(C): That’s not surprising at all! [Chavonne laughs]
(J): It IS surprising because I’m a really good talker, like I’m a really good talker. [Jenn and Chavonne laugh]
(C): You can talk, you talk.
(J): Yeah, I can talk endlessly and I think that’s like on the surface or just seems like… but I actually spend more of my time listening because I like absorbing what other people are saying. I like relating to what other people are saying. And back to your earlier question of what lights me up, I can’t get to anywhere that lights me up without listening because almost all of my things are listening-centered. Um, and I really feel that I learned a lot about myself in the process. Um, not that that’s the purpose. But that’s the nature of listening to other people. It’s very, to use a word from earlier, it’s expansive, like mind expansive. Something I’m really interested in is flow states, which is about your prefrontal cortex and your relationship with time. And I feel a different passage of time when I’m listening to other people …
(J): …than when I’m talking. When I’m talking, I have no sense of time, nothing, no, like nothing.
(C): [Chavonne laughs]
(J): I have to be very careful. Um, and very boundaried about that, because I can just go forever. But listening, is like, it’s a totally different experience for me. Like, I feel like I can listen to every word and that feels really important to me. Um, that that exists in the world. I don’t just mean to me, but like it feels very comforting to me. And it’s… it’s why it’s my favorite thing, but like I’m so glad that that exists in me. I feel really honored that I have that capacity. Um, and it just makes me feel good. It’s just great. So that’s what I would say.
(C): I love that. And I think you’re a fantastic listener. I never would be surprised.
(J): Thank you!
(C): But like you said that you’re a great talker. I’m not gonna lie.
(J): I mean, I am, I am! [Chavonne and Jenn laugh]
(C): That’s why meetings always run over. But I love hearing you talking because you always have something that , that makes what I have to sit with after.
(J): Thank you so much. I love hearing that. The way Chavonne asks questions of other people AND of herself out loud, that I have never conceived of. They are beyond my conception.
(C): Uugh, aw!
(J): And the way she just asks questions and it just enters, you know, it’s like, it just suddenly enters my thoughts and my feelings. And I usually have to process it for a lot. But I think about questions that you asked for a very long time after you ask them.
(C): Uugh, wow, that… you’re making me blush. [laughs]
(J): Well, I don’t know if you can tell whoever’s listening can tell, but we love each other.
(C): We do! We love it. [Chavonne laughs] But I also think you’re a fantastic listener…
(J): Thank you!
(C): Like, I feel so heard and so held every time I talk to you. And I think that when we first met… in my head, I was like, I want her to be my dietician. But I do have professional boundaries so I’m not gonna ask her.
(J): I wanted to ask you to be my therapist. I don’t know if I ever said that out loud. Absolutely reciprocate.
(C): [Chavonne laughs] I love it. I love it so much. [Chavonne laughs] That makes me so happy! So yeah, I think those are all of my questions. And we’re gonna ask a few more, we’ll just go back and forth. I think the next one’s yours.
(J): I really love listening to you. I love listening. And I love listening to you. And, um, I am really just getting in these moments where I forget that we’re on a podcast.
(C): I know.
(J): And I’m just having a conversation.
(C): I know!
(J): With my friend Chavonne which is making me feel… this is just feeling really special to me. So you said held and heard earlier, and I’m feeling that way in the podcast itself. So I can’t wait for other people to feel held. It’s really exciting. And I also feel really sweaty. And I have like some nervous tingles happening, and it’s awesome. It’s great.
(C): It’s good, yeah!
(J): Thinking about the podcast, and we’re going to go more into these in two additional episodes after this. We’re going to really be talking about these concepts. But I would really like to ask you now, what does Embodiment mean to you?
[36:35 What “Embodiment” and “The Rest of Us” means to us]
(C): [Chavonne sighs] Yeah, this is a great question. Um, we’ve been talking about embodiment a lot. Trying to define this, we went back and forth for months, and like you said, we’ll have a longer conversation about it, but, I think something that keeps coming back to me is the idea of embodiment is integrating all of these aspects of yourself, myself. Um, that’s a long and short of it. We’ll talk more about why we didn’t land on that definition in our next episode. But for me, it’s integrating all of these parts of me, not just existing in one aspect of my identity, but all of them, all the things that make me who I am.
(C): What about you? What does it mean to you?
(J): Um, well, I’m really excited for us to talk about it in the next episode, like which things don’t land or we realized were ablest or anything. It’s a very interesting conversation to me. So looking forward to that. And I was thinking about, we’ve talked about a lot we’re thinking about. I’m not really a great summarizer. Um, however, for some reason, three words have really been sticking out to me about this. Um, like the kind of summarize… what it’s like to know your body and have a knowing of your body. And that would be respect. That would be trust. And that would also be liberation.
(C): Ooh! I love that.
(J): I just… I give myself chills. We were just saying …
(C): [Jenn and Chavonne laugh] I love it! That’s how it should be … that’s so good. Woo! Me, too. I just got really excited for a second.
(J): Yeah, me too!
(C): Okay, there we go.
(J): It’s what should be there all the time. Let’s keep going I’ve got a lovely little, um, fidget toy I’m using here for all my nervous energy.
(C): That’s really funny. Because I really loved that and I loved I loved I loved it.
(J): We both said, I like it really love what we both said and I cannot wait to explore that more.
(C): That was like…
(J): I felt like I had a sensation of preview, of what it’s gonna be.
(C): Ooh, I can’t wait for that. I can’t wait to do this with you, but that’s great. Um, okay, here’s my next question. What does the rest of us mean to you, Jenn?
(J): Ooh, I love that. I love that that’s part of the podcast name that you came up with. Um, earlier I was talking about people in the margins and people who are oppressed. Um, I would also say the intersections, as you were describing earlier, of how additional identities can lead to further marginalization and oppression.
(J): And those words feel very, like, big words and very heady to me. So I’ve also been thinking about this a lot. And what I really think about is the rest of us is anyone who feels left out from a larger conversation, from the main narrative, from, um, popular culture, from social norms, whatever feels like… from what can be seen, like, we we have this perception that we can judge other people, and it’s really ingrained in us from our society, like not just United States, but like, basically the whole world not really getting that. Um, we can judge people based on what we see ONLY, not even hearing a word they have to say. And it really feels like the things that are hidden, that we really have to listen to and ask you about, in addition to things that are judged based on, I mean it’s cliche, but based on, that are really deeper and more interesting, first of all, and second of all more intricate and detailed than we could ever imagine by just like a surface look, or I love really looking to the phrase, the phrase “glossing something over.” It feels like the rest of us are glossed over.
(C): Yeah, yeah.
(J): And it’s like, just like, there’s some sort of either picture-perfect view of something that we’re all supposed to, um, try to be that picture perfect thing. Or that something can be simplified in a single sentence or judgment when really people are complex and wonderfully so.
(C): Mmmhmm, mmmhmm.
(J): And there’s so much more to look at and consider when we talk to and listen to the rest of us.
(J): What do you think?
(C): That is a great answer. Can I just use yours? [Jenn and Chavonne laugh]
(J): Aw thank you! You can and I would love to hear what you have to say.
(C): [Chavonne laughs] Okay, I guess. Um, so. Um, yeah, like, again, I’m gonna repeat what I said before, we’re gonna have a whole episode about this. But, when I think about the rest of us, I think about, like you said, uh, people who are on the margins. The word that keeps coming to mind for me is “other”. So you are treated as other, you are seen as other, you know, there’s this conversation, the idea of like, having a seat at the table, there’s no seat for us. Um, so… we’ll be talking a lot about what the rest of us means, obviously, with everyone that we meet with, and also in the episode that’s coming up. But it makes me think of the idea of nothing about us without us, which is, you know, a statement that was created, a saying, a slogan, that was created by James Charlton, um, for the disability, um, disability rights movement. And if you even agree with that sentiment, I have a… I have a firm belief that that makes you the rest of us. Because it means you’re not having a seat at the table in terms of something whether there’s different aspects of intersectionality, which we’ll get into, but that’s what comes up for me as the rest of us.
(J): I really heard dehumanized in what you said.
(C): Yeah, mmmhmmm
(J): That was really lovely. And it almost, and I think, really, the intention of this podcast, and something that really resonates with me, is reducing harm.
(J): Conversations about reducing harm or repair or restorative justice…
(C): Yeah, totally.
(J): And liberation, and looking away from the things that oppress us and other us and dehumanize us to spaces and areas where we don’t have that feeling and what’s possible there. Those are really powerful and interesting conversations that I know we’re gonna have. And I really heard all that in what you were saying.
(C): Yeah. Thank you. I love it. I love it.
(J): I’m gonna have yours and mine together. And I love it. I love that. [Chavonne and Jenn laugh] So for our final question of this episode, um, I’ll ask you first Chavonne, just thinking about the podcast and who may relate to it, I’d love to know, how do you identify as the rest of us, which you’ve already mentioned a little bit before, but I’d love to hear more or again, how do you feel your experiences are intersectional.
(C): Yeah, um, no, that’s a I love that. Um, like I said, before I identify as the rest of us and that I live in a fat body. I’m a Black woman, I’m a woman, right? [Chavonne laughs] All these things, play into it. I’m sure there are other ones. But those are the first three that comes to mind: Fat, Black, Woman. I have a significant history of depression and anxiety. I think that that plays into how I interact with the world. I will say those are really the four that are coming to mind for me.
(J): Thank you so much for answering that. And as you were talking about that I was thinking about how important it is to acknowledge our privileges, while we’re also talking about any marginalization, um, and what we’re talking about as the rest of us. And I’m curious which ones you’d like to share with us and that come to mind right now?
(C): Absolutely, I think it’s really important to keep them in mind. And then talking about intersections, for sure because I do’t have the same experience as other people. Let’s see, I am, cisgendered, I am heterosexual. Those are definitely two big ones for me. I have a Master’s degree. I, um, have a… I don’t have a religious affiliation but I don’t have a religion that is marginalized. So I think being religiously agnostic, um, is a form of privilege just because I’m not in a… I’m not part of a religious group that is marginalized as a person. I am financially privileged and I, I… those are the ones that are coming to mind. And also I’m American. I think my citizenship status, um, also gives me some privilege globally and even in the United States. Okay, what about you Jen, how do you identify as the rest of us and how do you feel your experience is intersectional?
(J): Thanks for asking that. And thank you for answering when I asked that, as well. I think it’s really important to have these conversations and try to acknowledge as many as possible in both sides, right? Um, feeling oppressed and in “the rest of us” kind of conversation, and also privilege, so I’ll start where you did and thinking about the identities. Um, but I have this feeling of the rest of us and that would first be that I am a fat woman, um, although it’s not lost on me immediately that I’m also white and there is a different perception about my fat body than other fat bodie,s something that’s not lost on me. Um, also neurodiverse, so I have ADHD, um, I’m pretty newly diagnosed, actually, and newly exploring how that has left me feeling othered for a very long time, since I was very young. Um, but not really understanding what that was or having the words around what was going on. So that feels very, um, as well as having a chronic condition. So I have diabetes, so these are things that are unseen mostly, um, and when people hear about that and also that I am a fat woman there is a certain amount of judgment that comes with that. For example, that I caused myself being here, which is not the case, not for anyone actually.
(J): And so that really feels like the primary one that I’m thinking about now. I also identify as demisexual, which means that I need a very strong emotional connection, in ANY of the relationships in my life before I really even consider that long-term. That goes for Chavonne. And for being like this, this goes for me about every relationship. But I think about it a lot, it’s also something my sister recently introduced this term to me and I realized that it has built a hole that’s been sitting there waiting for something for a long time. So that is newer to me. I don’t really identify with being othered in that way because that one is so new. So I also consider it a privilege that I did not have to consider that as something in my life anymore.
(C): Mmm, mmmhmmm.
(J): That I was able to not have to face that until I was in my late 30s which I am now. So it is something that could be seen as the rest of that that I actually think of as a privilege that I was allowed to have the time and space to discover that. Um, and do it in my own way. So I love how you described earlier your privileges, um, some of them I really… never really thought of, like, being an American. But, of course, now that you said that that’s really quite obvious to my brain. That the world is different here, it actually made me think of the fact that we have 60% of adults over 30 who have had this COVID vaccine.
(C): Mmm, mmmhmmm.
(J): Here has a very specific set of privileges that currently, in that example, doesn’t exist anywhere else. Nowhere else. So that feels like… actually that’s not true, some other smaller countries do, but very few other places right.
(C): Yeah, yeah.
(J): And all the other things that come with that. Um, so I’m white and I have white privilege and although I have unlearned a lot and looked a lot of this I know that there are so many things I have not yet discovered and things that I do without thinking. Um, and just ways in which I am not perceived in particular ways and I’m just allowed to have the privilege of being that, being white. Um, I am financially privileged. I also have a Master’s degree like Chavonne does. Um, I am cisgendered, um, I am a… I’m not of a dominant political affiliation but because I’m white it’s okay if I am whatever affiliation that I am.
(J): Does feel like a privilege there. And, um, disability status I would even say. Even though ADHD is considered a disability it’s pretty invisible.
(J): And I don’t need accommodations from the physical world of entering places. Um, perhaps sounds, um, and lights situations where I can become very sensitive to those things. Especially when a lot of people are talking or a bright light is shining on my face. But other than that, um, I can… I just, I just put on sunglasses. Like, the things I need are rather small. So I feel like it’s more of a privilege that not. Um, yeah those are what come to mind. Um, when I was listening to you and talking… and I think this is a wonderful thing that I’m kind of unsure here in this moment. I’m actually unsure of two things that we’ve talked… Chavonne and I talked about this a little bit. One is I don’t feel like “the rest of us” enough because of how many privileges I have, which is like a thing within me to unpack. I think it’s important for me to say that because I think…
(J): In acknowledging my privileges along with these things I’ve really kind of discovered this for myself. Something I’m excited to do. No one is here to teach me. I’m here to learn this, if that makes sense. Um, and, it’s really important for me, I think, to say especially with the privileges that I hold that these are just my experiences. It’s also something that’s true for anyone, not just “the rest of us”, right? All human beings, that we’re all having our own experience.
(J): Anyone who even says “oh I check all the same boxes as Jenn and I relate to these things”, I think we are not having the same experience and I think it’s really important to acknowledge that. That that’s just me talking about myself up. Um, and this also brings up that… something that’s important to me ,and it’s important to Chavonne, on this podcast. I’m not afraid to make mistakes here.
(J): Do I still nervous about mistakes? Yes, but I don’t actually feel afraid to make them. I’m trying really hard to be very conscious and to not make any. And if I do, I’m gonna totally be up to owning that..
(J): And also unlearning anything about that that I need to in my own time and in my own way. And it’s always okay to point those things out to me. And that also feels like it exists in some podcasts but it feels refreshing to even say that and feel so authentic about saying it. Like, it’s very important to me. So, I just wanted to share that here because it kind of feels related to privileges.
(C): Uugh, that’s so good. That’s beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing how you are the rest of us, what privileges you have, because it’s really important for us to keep that in mind as we’re doing these interviews, as we’re doing this podcast. And, yeah, I’m just excited. I’m just so excited to just keep talking and keep learning and, uh, like Jenn said, no one is my teacher either but I’m excited that we’re learning and unlearning together. So, yeah, thank you so much, that was great.
(C): Yeah. Is there anything else that’s coming up for you that I didn’t ask you, or that you want to say?
(J): Um, that’s a great question. I think the only thing that’s really sitting here with me now is how excited I am to record the next bits AND also be in conversation with people, as we said, who are not our teachers. They are people who are here to be human beings with us and talk about really incredible topics. It just feels great to expect and anticipate being human with other humans about these topics. I’m just so excited.
(C): Uugh, that’s so good.
(J): How about for you? Anything sitting there for you that feels like it needs to be said now?
(C): Well the only thing that popped up earlier, and this is a sign of my privileges and, you know, owning up when I say things that I should or didn’t say. And I didn’t have acknowledge my gender pronouns because I didn’t even think to do so. So that’s just me feeling aware of the fact that that is a privilege for me that I don’t I always feel like I have to identify my, my, uh, pronouns. So I am she/her and I didn’t say it earlier. Um, and when you said it I was, like, “dang it!” but we’re here, so uh…
(J): I love that you heard something like that and included it here. Thank you for doing that. That’s exactly what I meant.
(C): Well, thank you.
(J): That’s what we intend.
(C): Yeah, uh, yeah. Nothing else that I felt like I needed to say I’m just really excited about this. I cannot wait to start interviewing people. Um, it’s important that we’re in conversation with you. You said that already in the, in the trailer, but if you feel like here has been some harm we appreciate the feedback. We want to make sure we can restore and repair as much as possible, which is necessary. Um, but yeah, I’m just really excited. I love this. This is making all of my dreams come true and it’s my dream come true that you’re even listening to this, so thank you. Um, I think that’s all that I have. [Chavonne laughs]
(J): Thank you for making Chavonne’s and now my dream come true.
(C): Yes! *squeals*
(J): Thank you all.
(J) and (C): Thank you all [said at the same time].
(J): [Jenn laughs] Sorry! [Chavonne and Jenn laugh] I love that we both said that.
(C): Me too, me too. It was perfect. Um, next time we see you we will be talking about what embodiment mean to us.
(J): We can’t wait.
(C): Thank you so much
(J): See you then!
[53:57 Season 1 EFTROU Outro]
(J): Thank you for listening to season 1 of the Embodiment for the Rest of Us podcast. Episodes will be published every two weeks wherever you listen to podcasts.
(C): You can also find the podcast at our website, embodimentfortherestofus.com and follow us on social media, on Twitter @embodimentus.
(J): And on Instagram @embodimentfortherestofus. We look forward to being with you again next time in conversation.
[54:19 Jenn’s voice fades out and concluding music plays]
[54:27 End of EFTROU Season 1, Episode 1]