Embodiment for the Rest of Us – Season 1, Episode 6: Tiana Dodson

Thursday, November 11, 2021


Chavonne (she/her) and Jenn (she/her) interviewed Tiana Dodson (she/her) about her embodiment journey.

Tiana Dodson is a fat, Body Liberation Coach and Facilitator who’s out to destroy the belief that you have to be skinny to be happy and healthy, loveable, or worthy. Through her work with the Fat Freedom programs, she guides people feminine-of-center to reconnect with their bodies, destigmatize fatness, and learn about the harms of health being a measure of worth… all while finding how they can live their best fat lives.


Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/iamtianadodson/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tianathecoach/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/iamtianadodson

Fat Freedom Foundation, introductory support community for body liberation: https://tianadodson.com/becomefff

Fat Freedom Moments, text message subscription service for a moment of Body Liberation in a Day Full of Diet Culture Nonsense: https://tianadodson.com/ffmoments


Content Warning: discussion of privilege, discussion of diet culture, mention of war and colonialism, mention of ableism, mention of neurodiversity barriers, mention of abusive relationships, mention of cults


Trigger Warnings:

41:33-52:23: A discussion of fatphobia in airplane travel

49:36: Tiana uses the word “crazy” to emphasize how the word has been weaponized against women and femmes and/or those with mental health diagnoses

52:57: Jenn discusses wheelchairs damaged on flights (and Jenn repairs in the moment at 51:42!)

55:33: Tiana discusses Hitler and the lack of self-awareness of those demanding conformity to dominance

1:23:13: Chavonne discusses Overeaters Anonymous


A few highlights:

4:28: Tiana shares her understanding of embodiment and her own embodiment journey

59:14: Tiana discusses her understanding of “the rest of us” and how she is a part of that, as well as her privileges

1:25:13: Tiana discusses where HAES® and IE fall short

1:40:33: Tiana discusses the “safety of sovereignty”

1:48:22: Tiana shares how listeners can make a difference based on this conversation

1:50:23: Tiana shares how to be found and what’s next for her


Links from this episode:

Absolute Fat vs. Relative Fat


Alishia McCullough

Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde’s Quote about A Single-Issue Life

Belly of the Beast: The Politics of Anti-Fatness as Anti-Blackness

Body Respect: What Conventional Health Books Get Wrong, Leave Out, and Just Plain Fail to Understand about Weight

Da’Shaun Harrison

Diet Culture

Executive Functioning

Fat Freedom Foundation

Fatness Spectrum

Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia

Health At Every Size® (HAES®)



Intuitive Eating

Kimberlé Crenshaw

Lindo Bacon

Lucy Aphramor

Medical-Industrial Complex


Sabrina Strings

“The Safety Of Sovereignty”

Wheelchairs Being Broken on Flights

The Wretched of the Earth


Music: “Wheel of Karma” by Jason Shaw


Please follow us on social media:

Twitter: @embodimentus

Instagram: @embodimentfortherestofus


Chavonne McClay (00:00:14):

Hello there. I’m Chavonne McClay, she/her.

Jennifer Jackson (00:00:16):

And I’m Jen Jackson, she/her.

Chavonne McClay (00:00:19):

And this is Embodiment for the rest of us, a podcast series exploring topics within intersections that exist in fat liberation.

Jennifer Jackson (00:00:26):

In this show, we interview professionals and those with lived experience alike to learn how they’re affecting radical change and how we can all make this world a safer place for those living in larger bodies and in marginalized spaces.

Chavonne McClay (00:00:41):

Captions and content warnings are provided in the show notes for each episode, including specific timestamps so that you can skip triggering content any time that feels [inaudible 00:00:51] to you. This podcast is representation of our co-host and guest experiences and may not be reflected with yours. These conversations are not medical advice and are not a substitute for mental health or nutrition support.

Jennifer Jackson (00:01:04):

In addition, the conversations held here are not exhausted 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 listener@ embodimentfortherestofus.com. And now for today’s episode.

Chavonne McClay (00:01:39):

Happy November and welcome to episode six of Season one of the Embodiment for the Rest of Us podcast. In today’s episode, we interviewed the ever wise, honest and kind, Diana Dodson, she/her, about her embodiment journey.

Jennifer Jackson (00:01:56):

Tiana Dodson is a fat body liberation coach and facilitator who’s out to destroy the belief that you have to be skinny to be happy and healthy, lovable or worthy. Through her work with the fat freedom programs. She guides people feminine of center to reconnect with their bodies, de-stigmatize fatness, and learn about the harms of health being a measure of worth all while finding how they can live their best fat lives.

Chavonne McClay (00:02:24):

Tay can be found on Instagram and Twitter @IamTianaDodson, and on Facebook @ TianaTheCoach, the Fat Freedom Foundation and introductory support community for body liberation can be found at TianaDodson.com/becomeFFF. Fat Freedom Moments, a text message subscription service for a moment of body liberation in a day full of diet culture nonsense can be found at TianaDodson.com/ffmoments.

Jennifer Jackson (00:02:59):

And however you are listening to this today, you are in for a conversation that is equal parts deep and delightful. We are so honored to have you join us in this conversation. Today’s episode is coming to you with all its’ “oo”s and “ahh”s right now.

Chavonne McClay (00:03:13):

We are so friggen excited and filled with joy to have thoughtful human being with us on the podcast.

Jennifer Jackson (00:03:13):

We can’t wait. Yay.

Chavonne McClay (00:03:28):

Today we have Tiana with us from France someone whose words [inaudible 00:03:34] there’s so much insight here today. We just know it. So let’s get started. How are you doing today?

Tiana Dodson (00:03:41):

I am hot and sweaty because it is August and it’s hot today. But besides that, I am super excited to be here with you all. Yay.

Jennifer Jackson (00:03:56):

So excited that you’re here. Oh my God.

Chavonne McClay (00:03:58):

And sweaty and hot.

Tiana Dodson (00:04:03):

Heck yeah. Oh heck yeah.

Jennifer Jackson (00:04:04):

I related to all of that.

Tiana Dodson (00:04:05):

All of it.

Jennifer Jackson (00:04:06):

So thank you again for being here with us and as we sit with how we feel in our bodies today. Thinking about the hot sweatiness and the other things we feel, we love to start by asking a centering question about the themes of our podcast and how they occur to you.

Jennifer Jackson (00:04:22):

Can you share with us what embodiment means to you and what has your embodiment journey been like if you’d like to share that?

Tiana Dodson (00:04:29):

Oh yeah. Oh, this is a good question. This is a big question. I think of embodiment as the ability to feel your feelings, I was going to say, and be in your body, which is kind of obvious, but definitely feeling your feelings because I know that there’s so much conditioning and so much learning that we do to avoid or bypass things that we’re actually authentically feeling as reactions to our experiences. And that is not a good thing. Not a good thing at all.

Tiana Dodson (00:05:17):

So my embodiment practice, it’s generous to call it a practice, but because I don’t really have any kind of ritual or anything around it. But essentially I just have really tried, ever since I found my way to my body acceptance journey, I just really try to be honest with myself and always try to check in with myself about what I actually am experiencing in a moment. It’s just this conversation that I’m sort of always having with myself. And it’s also interesting because sometimes I find myself going, “Ooh. Huh. We haven’t felt some things in a while.” Or, “It’s a little bit quiet in here, what’s going on?” Or, “Okay, for whatever reason, I can’t stop scrolling Facebook even though I’m not enjoying this. What is going on here?” And I suppose that’s pretty much all my practices is just questioning myself and trying to be honest with the answers.

Chavonne McClay (00:06:39):

You say that a lot too. Still processing. Yeah. I love this idea of just continuously questioning and just being a witness to [inaudible 00:06:54]. Do you comfortable talking about what your embodiment… What your process was to get to some form of embodiment or what your journey was like?

Tiana Dodson (00:07:03):

This is a good question, I think I feel like I’m going to say that every time.

Jennifer Jackson (00:07:09):

Thank you.

Tiana Dodson (00:07:14):

So I’m a lifelong dieter. I’ve pretty much dieted most of my life because I’ve also been fat for most of my life.

Tiana Dodson (00:07:26):

I’ve probably been fat all my life actually. And just getting fatter because that’s what bodies do sometimes. So I have a really huge dieting history and the last iteration of my dieting was to quote unquote “be on the search for health”. I was going for health, not for weight loss anymore, but I meant weight loss because, at the time, this was sort of when the discourse was changing around weight loss and they started to talk about health and refer to health almost exclusively and interchangeably. And so I was right on that bandwagon and I was like, “Yeah, I’m about health now. I’m just going to just be healthy.” And it found me a health coach, actually. I stumbled upon a health coach while looking… Sorry for the yelling in the [inaudible 00:08:27] my child has just come home.

Chavonne McClay (00:08:35):

I love [inaudible 00:08:35].

Tiana Dodson (00:08:35):


Chavonne McClay (00:08:35):

You’re like, “I’m a mom.”

Tiana Dodson (00:08:35):

Yeah, noisy kids. I mean kids be noisy. This is truth.

Chavonne McClay (00:08:40):

Noisy [inaudible 00:08:43] mine are.

Tiana Dodson (00:08:44):

Oh my god, it’s so sticky. Always. I’m just like, “I don’t know how this happened. We just washed that.”

Chavonne McClay (00:08:49):


Tiana Dodson (00:08:52):

Sticky. But also children are really amazing in a way, in a lot of ways actually. But one of the things I find really amazing with my child is to witness a being who is 100% of the time seeking pleasure and enjoyment. I’m just like, “That’s amazing.”

Chavonne McClay (00:09:16):


Tiana Dodson (00:09:16):

It’s just amazing. So children are really good teachers if you allow yourself to have the space to be taught by them. And also there’s a question of capacity there, because parenting is hard. Parenting is hard. And so that takes a lot of resources out of you and sometimes you don’t have the space left to be like, “Yeah, kid, you’re pretty awesome.” So yeah, there’s a lot there. There’s so much there. That’s a whole completely different conversation and podcast episode that is big. Is big.

Chavonne McClay (00:09:53):

Maybe we [inaudible 00:09:57].

Tiana Dodson (00:09:56):

Maybe can even be mine.

Jennifer Jackson (00:09:58):

Oh sounds great.

Tiana Dodson (00:09:58):

Absolutely. I’m here for that.

Chavonne McClay (00:09:58):

I love it.

Tiana Dodson (00:10:06):

Yeah, so rewinding back to me before I had a child and noisy children yelling in my hallway and things, I found myself a self coach, health coach and I… Because I was looking for a sauna for my then boyfriend, who’s my now husband, and I was looking on this website of this place that has sauna and they were like, “Hey, here’s this event. We’re going to have a detox workshop.” And I was like, “Yes, detox. That’s healthy. I’m looking for health so maybe I need a detox. That sounds great.” So I went to this workshop and I don’t remember much about it, but what I do remember is there was a free health coaching situation afterward and I was like, “I like free, free is good.” And this health coach was a gateway drug for me in a way because what I did learn from this experience, I did sign up with her eventually.

Tiana Dodson (00:11:08):

I didn’t lose any weight because that’s what I was there for. I didn’t lose any weight. But she was a raw vegan. And what she did teach me was how to have a better relationship with vegetables. She taught me how to eat them in a way that I had never had experience with before. And that was really nice. But the thing that was really enjoyable about the experience was watching her do her job. I was like, “You always look happy. You work from home, you’ve got a great butt. I want these things. I want these things too. So I think I want to be a health coach,” because I was starting to really get into nutrition and I’ve always liked helping people. And I was like, “This is a good marriage, let’s do this.” And so when I left the states to come to Europe to be with my husband, I decided I was going to learn health coaching.

Tiana Dodson (00:12:06):

And that was challenging, really challenging because I showed up on day one of health coach training in a fat body. And the discourse within the health coaching sphere is about losing weight because that’s quote unquote “healthy” and just all kinds of really healthiest sort of points of view. And when I say healthiest, what I mean is health uber allis and health is the most important thing that you have. And also only focusing on the physical part of health.

Tiana Dodson (00:12:49):

So I was like, “Okay, I’m here. I’m in this fat body,” but I was promised a transformation and with this promise of transformation I was like, “This is going to be great. I’m going to end up thin on the other side.” That’s exactly what that meant to me at that moment in time. That’s not the transformation I got. Not at all, not even close. Because I feel like I gained weight during the process actually because I… Part of the training was to try all these different kinds and types of diets, not necessarily calorie-restrictive diets, but ways of eating. Also diets, ways of eating that are… Or diets disguised as ways of eating I should say. So I had tried many of them over that period of time. And in the end, in a fat body, I was starting to question the whole notion of what health was because according to what quote unquote “health” is, I had achieved that. My blood work looked good, I was active, I was happy, I had a partner. And pretty much all those things that they say health is, I could check off except for I had a fat body. And I was like, “Is it possible? Is it possible that these two things can coexist,” because everything says, my lived experience, my evidence is showing this is true, but I didn’t have the information that would like yay or nay that for me.

Tiana Dodson (00:14:40):

So I go to the internet [inaudible 00:14:43] and I went searching and I found health at every size. And that started this rabbit hole where basically I was given permission to both be fat and be healthy at the same time, which was completely, completely ass backwards from what everybody else was saying because everybody else, my whole life had been telling me that I’m a ticking time bomb. There’s no way I can be healthy in this fat body and so on and so forth. We’ve all heard this.

Tiana Dodson (00:15:11):

And so health at every size gave me that permission that I needed to just live my fucking life and that was amazing. So I just started to integrate what would my life look like? If I’m not focused on my weight, if I’m not working on weight loss constantly, what does my life look like? And I just started doing stuff that just felt good and that I enjoyed. And it was hard, it was really hard a lot of the times because I’m, what I call, absolutely fat. I’m not relatively fat. I’m not only fat because everybody in my family is skinny or all my friends are skinny. I’m absolutely fat, which means that regardless of who I’m with or where I’m at, I am fat. I am perceived as fat, I am read as fat. And I’m not on the highest end of the fat spectrum by any measure. But I am very visibly fat and I’m fat in a way that actually is starting to cause me access issues.

Tiana Dodson (00:16:26):

And so it’s been an interesting journey because you have to always be dealing with the bullshit that people throw at you because the culture didn’t change just because I changed. But it’s also been really joyful to be able to go, “Well, I’m at this restaurant and the steak looks really good with the potatoes. Those potatoes look awesome,” because I was living in Germany at the time too, potatoes all over the place. And bread too and lots of bread. And I was just like, I would have that. I would just order it and not be worried about what other people would be thinking about me. And a funny thing started to happen, which was I actually started liking salads. I found myself also sitting in a restaurant going, “This salad sounds good.” And that was never a feeling that I had had before. Never, never once before. And that was the sort of thing that was amazing. I was actually able to tap into what actually sounded good and potentially could feel good for myself instead of measuring things that I was going to do on this rigid rubric of “will it take this amount of points or will I later have to burn this number of calories or work out that long” or whatever. It was so good.

Jennifer Jackson (00:18:08):

Wow. Deacon touchness that you were describing with your entire journey as well as when you were talking, I was thinking about the in touchness that you had, not just in describing to us now, but throughout. I found that really pretty amazing. I definitely can’t say that I feel in touch with so many areas of my embodiment journey. I really had to look at it retroactively, retrospectively. I had to just look at it. I felt very inspired by that.

Jennifer Jackson (00:18:40):

And I was thinking of the word transformation, but it really felt like transcending, there were these experiences that were happening and what you described repeatedly was the joy you found, the radical acceptance you found that that can become the place that you talk from or to because of that presence was incredible to me. And I will note whenever I say transcendent or elevate, I know that that can have a lot of connotations related to diet culture and purity culture especially. And I mean for yourself, your own standards, your own boundaries with yourself, that kind of experience just really incredible. So thank you for sharing that with us. That felt really special to be present for and just listen to.

Tiana Dodson (00:19:26):

I’m glad that’s what you got from it. I appreciate that. The thing is, I wrote down the phrase “in touchness” that you just said, and it’s interesting because I never really thought of it that way before, but it’s actually quite interesting because as you were saying that, I was realizing that this in touchness that I had… Okay, this is backwards as hell. What I’m getting ready to say burger warning or something. I don’t know. But ultimately I feel like when we’re dieting, when we’re dieting, there’s actually quite a lot of body listening that we’re doing. It’s masked by so much enforced narrative. Yeah, this is an unformed thought. This is a completely unformed thought, but it’s like this questioning, this in touchness, I suppose is just something I’ve always sort of had.

Tiana Dodson (00:20:27):

I’m not a good dieter, I’ve never been a good dieter. I know there are people who are good dieters. They get a diet, they have their little plan and they can follow it. And I am a terrible dieter because I also have a background in mechanical engineering and I love math. And I am like, “Wait, these things don’t add up and I’m confused. There’s a dissonance that doesn’t make sense. These numbers don’t match. What?” And so I’m always a questioning person.

Chavonne McClay (00:21:04):

What really stuck out for me, that [inaudible 00:21:07] was wonderful, of course. That the idea of absolute fat versus relative fat, that’s one of my favorite episodes of [inaudible 00:21:15] in show notes. The idea of kind of makes me think that spectrum like small fat, mid fat, [inaudible 00:21:24] fat. And yeah, I think there’s very much difference between absolute fat and how that interacts with the world because it doesn’t matter where you’re like, this is how you’re perceived, I’m perceived. But I also really love that you said the world didn’t change even though I did. And I think that’s just something have this very awakening and where [inaudible 00:21:47] everybody else does. So it’s a really intentional way of interacting with the world, knowing that you have this transcendence, this transformation world [inaudible 00:22:01] surrounding yourself with people who and structures that acknowledge that [inaudible 00:22:05] a big part of environment.

Tiana Dodson (00:22:08):

Absolutely. Absolutely. I think you really put that really well. The intentionality of this way of interacting and being in relationship with the world.

Tiana Dodson (00:22:22):

Oh, I love this. Y’all are giving me good words for stuff that I just be doing. [inaudible 00:22:29] height woman for everything. I mean this is awesome. Because the thing is I have this four step framework for body liberation and step three is self-care and resilience building. And when I’m describing step three, the elevator pitch version of it is that you need to know how to take care of yourself because you’ve done all this inner work. Because steps one and two are inner work stuff. So step one is education, because you cannot fight a system you don’t know or understand. Step two is reframing because we are carrying these stories around that we have been gifted. Not all of them are positive gifts, a lot of them are negative, but we’ve been carrying these stories around that determine how we do things. And some of these stories, if we look at them in a different light, can help us move forward and others are just harmful.

Tiana Dodson (00:23:32):

So in that step, you’re making this distinction and changing how we’re looking at things. So this is all internal work pretty much.

Tiana Dodson (00:23:42):

Step three is this part where, “Okay, now how do I get geared up to go outside in the world because I have fundamentally changed internally, but the world outside me has not really. So how do I continue to be able to do this and show up fully in myself as I am now moving things forward?” Because folks don’t like that when people change for the better generally, unfortunately. So you need to be able to take care of yourself. And so that’s what step three is about.

Tiana Dodson (00:24:21):

And then step four is advocacy. Because you need to know how to show up for yourself in the face of garbage that comes your direction. And every time you show up for yourself, you’re also showing up for everybody else who comes behind you. So advocacy is super important. Pass it forward.

Jennifer Jackson (00:24:45):

And I was feeling like both like, “Oh, this is touching such wonderful areas in me.” And also this other feeling of, “Wow, this involves a lot of grief and loss.” It’s something I think about a lot about embodiment, about growth, about anything that’s moving forward because all of that is really the same thing. Not feeling that stuckness. And I like the word that nest ethics after things or suffix, I don’t know which one is which. But anyway, this [inaudible 00:25:20] of things. I love that there’s a… It’s like it percolates in there and it’s not just joy percolating, I’m hearing grief percolating it. It really speaks to the complex nature of being a human being, of being, not doing the beingness.

Tiana Dodson (00:25:40):

Oh yeah.

Jennifer Jackson (00:25:43):

And something I’ve I think about and talk about a lot probably is how each of us has all of the past versions of ourselves within us.

Jennifer Jackson (00:25:54):

And that’s part of growth and a trajectory of moving forward. Just living life. Surviving, living, thriving, all of them. And there is a feeling once we learn a lesson that we’re done now sometimes, and there’s also a feeling of unlearning means we’re done now also in the same way or that it doesn’t get to carry us forward, that we’re in a new stuck place. These things were kind of sitting with me as you were talking, that there is a real radical acceptance that I was hearing in what you said and what you’ve designed to share with other people in support of their liberation. That it’s okay to be where you are, even if it sucks.

Tiana Dodson (00:26:44):


Jennifer Jackson (00:26:44):

And also that it’s okay to try to go for something that sucks less.

Tiana Dodson (00:26:49):


Jennifer Jackson (00:26:50):

That we can all do. That feels like the way diet culture looks at bodies. That everything is our fault. It’s all about personal responsibility. If the diet wins, it wins. If the diet loses, actually we’ve lost because we’re the ones at fault. There’s not really a lot of space to be a human being. There’s only a lot of space to be a human doing.

Jennifer Jackson (00:27:09):

When you were talking about some people are good at diets. Yeah, I was really thinking, “Yeah, they’re just doing and doing and doing.” And yes, you have to be in touch with how to make yourself do even when you don’t want to and how to make yourself do even when it doesn’t feel right for you and it feels harmful. It’s like just keep doing though. I was just really hearing the being and what you were sharing about liberation. I’ve never thought about being in liberation as being so necessary for each other before until I was listening to you. That felt like a gift. You were talking about gifts and I was like, “This is a gift. Right? This is a gift.”

Tiana Dodson (00:27:48):

I love it. It’s interesting because I had to… As soon as you started saying, being and doing, I was like, “Ooh, this reminds you of something.” I had this thought and I wrote it down, which is capitalism is human doing and post-capitalism is human being.

Jennifer Jackson (00:28:08):

Wow. I have chills up and down my spine. Seriously.

Tiana Dodson (00:28:17):

Also, I mean honestly, because I mean you could take the word capitalism, you could replace it with diet culture. They are interchangeable. Any other version of oppression, all of them are about doing. They’re doing where there’s like, there’s a performance required. There are rules, there are mandates and moralities. And if you’re not doing this, then you’re wrong. All of this oppressive system stuff is a doing sort of system. It is humans doing this in order to uphold a system that just harms us all. Because we’re not designed, we’re not created. We’re not put here to do all the time. We’re actually put here to just be.

Tiana Dodson (00:29:08):

And if we could just get back to that, because that’s where we started just being. The wonderful thing about being is that you get to be human. You get to burp and it happens. Bodies are just… Bodies are weird. Bodies are weird. And they’re sort of gross. And they’re also amazingly fascinating. And we know so little, regardless of how much we know about our bodies. And it’s like every time we learn something new, what we continue to uncover is how connected we are to nature, because we are of nature. And nature ain’t out here doing. Nature is out here being like, let’s just get…

PART 1 OF 4 ENDS [00:30:04]

Tiana Dodson (00:30:03):

Nature is out here being. Like, let’s just get back to that.

Jennifer Jackson (00:30:06):

Mm-hmm. Wow. Yes. I mean, I have nothing to say about that, because I just sit with that.

Chavonne McClay (00:30:16):

Yeah. I thought about responding and I was like [inaudible 00:30:19]

Jennifer Jackson (00:30:17):


Chavonne McClay (00:30:17):

I’m just going to breathe.

Tiana Dodson (00:30:25):

That’s wonderful, because in my head, I’m just like, “Ohm God, that was really woo.”

Chavonne McClay (00:30:29):

Oh, we love woo.

Jennifer Jackson (00:30:29):

We love the woo woo.

Chavonne McClay (00:30:29):

Love woo woo. Woo woo.

Jennifer Jackson (00:30:39):

There’s something very special about the imagining in a woo place and the conversation that happens in that place that’s really powerful in a way that’s really hard to describe or anticipate, except being in the moment of it, I find. So that’s just amazing.

Tiana Dodson (00:30:56):

Well, the thing about liberation is none of us understand it. None of us have experienced it. So if we’re talking about liberation and we’re walking toward liberation, we’re working toward liberation, what is liberation? We don’t know. We don’t know. We’ve never had it. We’ve never seen it in lived memory. We’ve never experienced it. And every single one of us who is working toward liberation, on our backs, we are carrying all of the oppression and the bullshit and the conditioning that we have always been given, which means that unfortunately, what tends to happen is we recreate this shit because we know it.

Tiana Dodson (00:31:38):

And so we have to constantly be asking ourselves, did we just recreate some bullshit? Or are we actually doing something new and different? I mean, that’s the power of liberation is that we don’t know what it is. We get to create it, we get to dream it, but then we have to do the work. We have to do the hard part, because the dreaming part is fun. It’s sexy, it’s really exciting, and it just gets you jazzed up. But guess what? We actually have to start making it happen. And the making it happen part is the hard part, because that’s the part where we have to go, “Okay, I’m reproducing my conditioning. How do I not do that? Let’s undo this.”

Tiana Dodson (00:32:24):

I mean, it’s something that has been seen. Frantz Fanon, for example, wrote this book in 1967 called The Wretched of the Earth. And he was talking about the Franco Algerian War. And so, I think it was a psychologist, if I’m not mistaken. And what he was writing about in this book was how the Algerian people who had become liberated from France through this war ended up recreating the colonial systems in themselves. And I mean, it was really fascinating because it’s like, yes, absolutely. This is what happens. I mean, we try to say, “Oh, we’re liberating ourselves. We’re doing something. We’re getting away from it all.” But then in that running away, we’re not challenging what we’re running away from, which means that we’re not able to build something new.

Jennifer Jackson (00:33:34):

I’ve got to snap. I was already holding it back, but I’m not going to. I was like, “Yes, yes, yes, yes.” Wow. Even the language that we use can trap us in the old system.

Tiana Dodson (00:33:48):

Absolutely. Absolutely.

Jennifer Jackson (00:33:49):

It’s making me think about, oh, this conversation about defund or abolish, that abolish has that liberated stance that it’s in that direction, and yet it is based on the old system in some ways. And I’ve seen a lot of discourse recently about what if we did not just stick with this word. Because it’s so used and so commonplace now, does it even mean what we said it means anymore? Has it been taken over by the same oppressive structures? Is it benefiting us to even have this conversation about this word anymore? Not that I feel like liberation has that we shouldn’t talk about it anymore kind of slant, it’s just really interesting to think about that.

Tiana Dodson (00:34:33):

No, absolutely. For example, a great example is body positivity. Body positivity is born out of fat acceptance, which is a radical movement started by fat queer people to make space for themselves in a society that has rejected them and continues to reject them. And so body positivity was this gentler version for people who were in recovery from eating disorders. And here, this day and age, apparently it’s morphing into body neutrality or something, but it was co-opted by corporations to sell products to us. I don’t need to buy Dove soap in a round bottle. That doesn’t make me feel better about myself. Thank you. I wasn’t questioning my body shape when I bought your thin, tall square bottle. That wasn’t a problem for me.

Tiana Dodson (00:35:45):

But basically in the end, it’s been co-opted. And so now this phrase, which was so useful for so many people for so long as a radical call has now become thin people curling over and squeezing, squeezing to get a little roll of skin, so they can be body positive too. And it’s just like, look, look, look… Let the marginalized have things. And the reason why is because if the most marginalized of us can have things, that means all of us get to benefit. All of us go forward if the most marginalized of us can go forward.

Chavonne McClay (00:36:39):

Mm-hmm. Yeah, absolutely.

Tiana Dodson (00:36:45):

So now the language is changing. Now we’re not talking about body positivity anymore. Now we’re talking about body neutrality, which is the new buzz phrase. And it’s just like, yeah, I guess I want to be neutral about bodies, but I also don’t want to wash out the bodies that are not neutral or being thought of positively.

Chavonne McClay (00:37:12):

Ooh, I hadn’t thought of it that way. Absolutely. Because I don’t see positivity all that much, because I think of it more on an individual level that thinking of it of a more global, positive about those bodies that are always seen positive, and whoa. Now I want to use the term again. Now it’s going to come back into my vocabulary, because people saying, “Fuck this toxic positivity, blah, blah, blah,” but I’m like, “[inaudible 00:37:39].”

Tiana Dodson (00:37:39):

Well, there is toxic body positivity is when we’re just like, “Oh, positive about all bodies.” As a term, it is a term that promises something good because the word f’ing positivity is in there. So it’s like, “Yes, this is good. Let’s get behind this being positive about bodies,” except that it gets gate kept by people who have power, who tend to be the people who are closest to the idealized standards of beauty, which means thin, conventionally attractive, meaning these basically European centric features, lighter skin. It’s just folks like me, folks like you, Chavonne, we get left out of that question, that conversation.

Chavonne McClay (00:38:30):


Jennifer Jackson (00:38:32):

I was also thinking about how ableist that was sitting with me thinking about body neutrality. Some people don’t have access to that.

Tiana Dodson (00:38:45):

Yes. This is the-

Jennifer Jackson (00:38:46):

Bodies they burn into, the bodies they move from or to, the bodies that are disabled, and also the bodies that you can’t see from the outside what’s different. And in a more silent way that those people have to hear that and know that that’s not accessible to them.

Jennifer Jackson (00:39:09):

And I really appreciate what you acknowledged about, I was just sitting here thinking the whole time, I was thinking, oh my gosh, I have a lot of privilege in this conversation right now because I do have traditional European features. I absolutely do. And just thinking, it doesn’t matter the size of my body, actually about that, and I never really thought about it like that. So I really appreciated you letting me just be here and sharing this space with me while you were saying that because that had a real impact on me. Because I have not even thought of that before, which is my privilege that I couldn’t even see it. But I really appreciate thinking about that.

Tiana Dodson (00:39:48):

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it’s important because we don’t know what we don’t know, right? And when I started my journey, my own embodiment journey, my own fat acceptance journey, it changed my health coaching. Because I started out health coaches tend to do, which is like, yes, let’s talk about how to eat more vegetables and drink more water and get more exercise because you need to lose that weight. It just felt so hypocritical to me, and it felt hypocritical because that wasn’t my lived experience. Losing weight, not something I was ever really good at.

Tiana Dodson (00:40:28):

And basically, my coaching started to be informed by the experiences that I was having. And so I start doing what most people do is you get really excited about a thing and you’re like, “Let’s all get to love. Let’s love our bodies. Let’s body love. Yes. Love it. Self, all of it. Love.” And I started to understand trauma, because that’s something that was fun that I didn’t realize, which is my work, body liberation, Jen, you talked about this a little earlier, grief and loss. This is trauma. We’re talking about trauma dieting is causing trauma. Beauty ideals, beauty standards, these things cause trauma.

Tiana Dodson (00:41:20):

And when I started to realize that I’m actually talking about trauma here, not just like, “Oh, you just need to be more confident.” How confident can you be when you have PTSD? Like confidence be damned. Or real access issues or both? Come on now. Confidence is never going to get me fitting in that airline seat. I’m sorry. I can be confident as I want to be, well-dressed as I want to be. And that seatbelt still ain’t going buckle. So these things don’t matter. These things don’t matter that much. They don’t matter that much. I mean, they do, but they don’t really matter.

Tiana Dodson (00:42:06):

And I realized that, okay, I’m out here shouting, “You just need to love yourself.” And that’s unfair to people who just can’t find access to that. Because there are people, like Jen was saying, who just won’t. They won’t be able to because of dysphoria, because of a mismatch between their identity and their body presentation because of disability. And not because they’re disabled, but because of how society treats disabled people. Because they’re chronically ill and they’re constantly having to grieve the fact that this is a new thing for them and they’re no longer going to have the life that they used to have before. Or because they’re fat and it is a real thing that causes you to have blocks in your life. And some people will never be able to get to love. And shouting at them that they need to love themselves and just be confident is actually not helping. It’s continuing to harm.

Tiana Dodson (00:43:15):

So I started to walk back that language and stop using it. And I started to say, “Let’s just get to neutrality or as close as we can get. Let’s get as close as we can.” Because I see this on the spectrum. There’s on one side abject body hatred and on the other side, there’s absolute ecstatic body love, which I think is irrational and impossible because I don’t love my body when I’m sitting there having a poop. I know my body is doing something that is good for it. I know it’s doing something it is designed for, but it’s just like to sit there and go, “This is awesome. I am loving this. Smells so great and healthy.” No, this is not happening. This is not happening.

Tiana Dodson (00:44:10):

So saying to have ecstatic, this is bypassing, this is bypassing. And what are we doing here, we’re being, and part of human being is feeling your fucking feelings. And I feel inconvenienced about the fact that I have to sit here and make this poop, because I have other things to be doing rather than sitting here. And then I have to worry about wiping and washing my hands afterward. And it’s just like, no, I don’t want to do any of this. I don’t want to waste that time leaving behind waste. And hashtag, Tiana talks about poop a lot. So anyway.

Chavonne McClay (00:44:43):

I love it.

Jennifer Jackson (00:44:46):

So does Jen.

Tiana Dodson (00:44:47):

I mean poop is, and we all do it. So let’s stop hiding behind it. Hiding behind it, anyway. The long and the short of it is let’s just get away from hating ourselves. Let’s just get out of loathing. Let’s get close as we can to a place where we can at least be in partnership with our bodies, whatever that looks like. Because partnership can look like a lot of things. Hello, abusive relationships. These things are real. And I’m sorry if you have one, anybody who’s listening to this. You’re doing the best you can. Please continue to do the best that you can.

Tiana Dodson (00:45:33):

Anyway, let’s try to be in the best relationship we can with our bodies, which is not the place where we’re ecstatically in love, because I think that’s so out of reach for so many of us and so unrealistic. But what is realistic is being able to be like, “Oh, okay, body, I hear you. You said something. You needed something. I hear you.” And I can respond to that. That’s partnership. That’s partnership. I don’t love going poop, but I hear my body when it says, “Hey, we need to poop.” And I go, “All right, body. Let me go get the tablet and see what we can do while we making this poop happen, because we have work to do.” Anyway, yeah, let’s just get there. Get to some partnership.

Chavonne McClay (00:46:26):

You’re talking about the flight, or being in an airplane really sat with me. So I flew last week for the first time in years. Obviously, COVID sucks, but that was a gift to not even have to think about how I’m going to get into an airplane. And Jen and I are friends. She’s my work soul mate, so she’s not just my podcast partner. Big hug.

Jennifer Jackson (00:46:47):

I’m hugging her across the internet right now.

Chavonne McClay (00:46:49):

She’s also a friend, so I texted Jen. I texted another friend of mine. Hey, Tabitha. She’s going to listen to this.

Jennifer Jackson (00:46:58):

Hi, Tabitha.

Chavonne McClay (00:46:58):

I love Tabs.

Tiana Dodson (00:46:58):

Hi, Tabitha.

Chavonne McClay (00:47:04):

[inaudible 00:47:04]. Yeah. I can’t confidence myself into feeling comfortable in that seat that I’m not going to feel comfortable in for three and a half hours. That’s just not going to happen. When I think about finding more peace around that, I often think how much privilege I have just to be able to create some better circumstances for myself.

Chavonne McClay (00:47:29):

This plane didn’t have larger seats, but if they did, I could have afforded it. That’s a gift for myself. I shouldn’t have to use more of my resources to be able to feel comfortable in a… That’s bullshit. Anyway, I texted Jen and Tabitha about finding not even confidence, just advocacy. You step forward and saying, getting on the plane, and before I’ve even gotten in the seat saying, “I need a seatbelt [inaudible 00:47:53]. This is what it is.” And then I don’t even know where I was going with this. Just talking about your plane for inspiration. Oh, that was it, the embodiment. I actually ate on the plane. I drank on the plane. Normally I don’t even drink because I’m like, “I’m not going to the bathroom. I’m not going to let people see me walking down these aisles.” I’m not going to inconvenience anybody because I can’t decide the aisle or the window. God forbid I have to sit in the middle.

Tiana Dodson (00:48:25):

Oh, no.

Chavonne McClay (00:48:25):

That just cannot happen. So uncomfortable. But yeah, you can’t tell someone, “Oh, just be confident,” and that’s it. I’m not going to confidence my way into fitting into something that is not designed for someone [inaudible 00:48:34]. So it just really sat with me.

Tiana Dodson (00:48:36):

That’s right. Thank you.

Jennifer Jackson (00:48:39):

Oh, wow. And that makes me think of clothing, seats. Anything else that’s about accessibility, like chairs in a waiting room, for anything, to get your car fixed and also for the doctor. That we’re told that we should fit those seats without being told out loud, which is even more nefarious that it’s not even an out loud thing. It’s like, “Look, there’s no options for you. Enjoy your rest. We’ll be back with your car.” And that it’s really, they’re supposed to fit us. We are human beings as we have been talking about, not human doings. We don’t have to do the doing of fitting. We’re supposed to be able to be in those spaces. So they’re supposed to be doing the… They being the chairs and the people who design the spaces are supposed to have done the doing.

Jennifer Jackson (00:49:20):

And that is something that is, I hear talked a lot about only because of the job I have and the circle I’m in and the podcast I want to have. I don’t hear about it a lot outside of this space. And if I do talk about it, they don’t know what I’m talking about. “What? What are you talking about?”

Tiana Dodson (00:49:38):

You’re just that crazy person who won’t stop talking about the arms on chairs. Like I said before, I have a background in mechanical engineering. I worked as a mechanical engineer for five years. It’s really not that hard to accommodate a larger body. However, capitalism says, “That’s more expensive.” Because it is, it’s true. It is more expensive to make things larger or to make them out of materials that are stronger or even to spend more time designing something with a larger use case. These things take time. And time is money according to capitalism. And capitalism is about making profits.

Tiana Dodson (00:50:18):

So it’s not profitable. It’s not profitable to accommodate different sizes. Because what is profitable is taking a plane that is designed for 149 people and actually fitting 302 inside. That’s profitable. It’s not safe. It’s not good for people. People don’t enjoy it. It’s not pleasurable at all, but it is profitable.

Jennifer Jackson (00:50:45):

Wow. That was a whole room of mics dropping. I’m not quite sure how to describe the visual I had, but I felt the thunderous dropping. That was incredible. That feeling of that’s right. There’s too many people on that plane. It’s not meant for us. What are we doing in there is where my thoughts are going with that. Yeah. Wow. And-

Tiana Dodson (00:51:11):

Just to continue on that, because I watch YouTube. So interesting thing, have you, if you’ve ever been on a plane and your row does not line up with a window, ever had that experience?

Jennifer Jackson (00:51:26):


Tiana Dodson (00:51:26):

The reason why is because airplanes are designed with rails on the ground so that the company that they sell it to, the specific airline they sell it to, can actually choose the placement of the seats to have more or less seats inside. And that’s why sometimes your row doesn’t line up with an airline seat because it was designed to be flexed and changed, which basically means it is a conscious choice. It is a conscious choice for an airline to have small, nasty, narrow seats.

Chavonne McClay (00:52:03):

Oh my God. It was also the biggest plane I’ve ever been on in my entire life. And I was comfortable in the other ones, but this one, there were so many people I could [inaudible 00:52:12] ridiculous. How is this plane so big and I don’t fit in it? [inaudible 00:52:17] I was confused, but that answers it. Because they would have put us in like sardines, so they can charge a gazillion dollars to make all the money. Oh my gosh. This is so good.

Jennifer Jackson (00:52:30):

And this is also reminding me, just thinking about all these really functional and accommodating things, thinking about seatbelt extenders as well as access from someone in a wheelchair to get from the wheelchair they came with to the plane, and then on the other side to safely get their wheelchair back without it being damaged. I was just thinking about that it’s still on us to ask for a seatbelt extender is what I need, when I have to ask for one. I have to know at the airline, which place I’m supposed to ask, how to even use it between different airlines.

Jennifer Jackson (00:53:05):

And something I don’t experience, but people who are in wheelchairs who are flying their lifeline can be that wheelchair and probably is in almost all cases. That felt like a judgment. I’m going to erase that. I’m going to repair this in real time. Hold on. These people need their wheelchairs. They need to have what it is they need to have. And the wheelchairs get broken so often. I don’t know if I’m paying more attention in the pandemic or what’s going on. Maybe I just finally tuned into it, that it happens a lot and it takes months, two years to get a new one back. And they’re in the second location, not where they came from.

Jennifer Jackson (00:53:45):

And if that place isn’t home, what are they supposed to do? This feeling that the burden is on us just keeps continuing as we’re talking. And when you’re zooming all the way back to, we’ve changed, but the world hasn’t, that there are going to be more people who need these accommodations, not less. And there needs to be more awareness, not less. And yet it seems like it’s not really moving. People move and we’re being different versions of ourselves, and yet those responsible for the doing are not doing. So I’m getting a little angry as I’m saying that, and just sitting in this place of, that fucking sucks.

Jennifer Jackson (00:54:28):

And I actually wish for a lot of different buttons in life, but I wish for one where I’ve had a realization that I could make it so everyone gets it in the way that I got it. Especially people in power to be like, “You get that you should never break a wheelchair again. It is the thing to have care about that you don’t affect their whole lives.” Let’s push that button. That’s what anger does to me. I want a button. That’s what I imagine to calm down. So you’ve heard my little, that’s my muse. I’m calmer. I found my button.

Tiana Dodson (00:54:58):

The visualization. Absolutely. It’s interesting to me in a lot of ways how dominance works, because a lot of people who are part of the dominant class aren’t actually what the dominant class wants to be. What I mean by this, great example, sorry for this example, it’s also a terrible example. And I know it’s super overused, but I’m going to talk about Hitler. Hitler was, I would say the OG white supremacist. But actually, I don’t even think that’s true. I think there was lots of white supremacy going around before Hitler showed up. Hitler wanted to create the Aryan race, the master race. The master race, which was supposed to be German, tall, fit, blonde haired and blue eyed. I don’t know how tall Hitler was. Wikipedia probably could tell me. But what I do know is that number one, Hitler was Austrian. Hitler was also brown haired, and I think this man had brown eyes.

Tiana Dodson (00:56:17):

So dominance is ridiculous because folks who are in the dominant class want everybody to conform to some certain thing that they themselves don’t conform to, which is ridiculous, completely ridiculous. But I mean, dominance is one of these dishes that is delicious, just delicious, but there is zero nutrition in it. Zero nutrition. It actually hurts you more than anything. In the moment it feels good, but that’s it.

Jennifer Jackson (00:56:58):

Wow. The lack of self-awareness that you just described is pretty telling, pretty incredible. And this also reminds me of lots of cult-like feelings and movements where it seems like there’s a lack of thought. But I’ve been noodling this around and thinking that the point is not to be the thing, but it’s to be right or to be together about it, or both, I don’t know. But that it’s how can we say this is the thing, and then how can we make everyone else onboard with this? It’s a weird outside of humanity kind of process. How could you ever be in the warping of life and reality in that? It’s just very strange to me, but very powerful and enticing, like you’re saying. Being part of a collective, no matter what it’s about is pretty enticing.

Tiana Dodson (00:57:58):

Absolutely. It’s survival. It’s also survival. I mean, maybe you’re not a hundred percent onboard, but all your friends are, all your family’s here. And it’s hard to make new friends. So I guess I don’t really believe this, but I’ll go along. I’ll march with y’all. It’s fine for now. That happens too. That definitely happens too.

Tiana Dodson (00:58:27):

But we’re also not taught. We are not taught how to question things.

Jennifer Jackson (00:58:34):

And you’re a natural questioner.

Tiana Dodson (00:58:37):

I suppose I am.

Jennifer Jackson (00:58:38):

I am too. I annoy myself with how many questions I ask. It’s for a purpose, it’s okay. But I’m also like, “Wow, can I just take something at face value.”

Tiana Dodson (00:58:49):

Be, can I just be?

Chavonne McClay (00:58:50):

Yeah. Can I just enjoy something?

Tiana Dodson (00:58:51):

Yeah. I feel you on this. But questioning is also how I learned how to make lemon meringue pie, which is my favorite pie. Oh, and it’s information.

Chavonne McClay (00:59:06):

I love it. Love it.

Jennifer Jackson (00:59:08):

Wow. Oh, I love this. And as we explored the first half of the title of the podcast, I’m super intrigued about how this conversation is going and about the second half of the title of this podcast. So I’m curious, what does the rest of us mean to you and how do you identify with the rest of us? And in this space, we often ask if you can identify your privileges for the nuance of looking at it in both ways?

Tiana Dodson (00:59:36):

This is a great question, and I don’t say that flippantly. I say that really, truly, honestly, because identifying my privileges and the context for “the rest of us” is really important. So I am a fat biracial woman of color. I’m queer. I’m …

PART 2 OF 4 ENDS [01:00:04]

Tiana Dodson (01:00:03):

… of color. I’m queer. I’m a parent. I’m partnered, and all of the above. And in my biraciality, I’m black and Chamorro. And what Chamorro is, is the indigenous people of Guam. So my mom is from Guam. And so I’m somebody who really hasn’t ever really been one of them. I’ve always been somebody else. I’ve never really fit neatly into any nice little box. And that actually really informs a lot of my personality and also my work because my lived experience is the lived experience of someone who is marginalized but has always lived on the margins. I’ve never been one of the cool kids. That’s not really completely true because I was voted homecoming… Not homecoming queen, but I was nominated for homecoming queen my senior year of high school, which was a complete and total… It was a surprise to me when I got the phone call that I was nominated. I was like, “This is a joke. Who is this pranking me?” Because this was before cell phones and so when your phone rang, it was attached to the wall and you didn’t always know who was calling.

Tiana Dodson (01:01:36):

So anyway, I was nominated from Homecoming Queen, which was weird as hell. It was a weird experience, really surreal, for me because I was like, “Oh, I didn’t realize I was popular. Okay, people know who I am. Great. And also frightening.”

Tiana Dodson (01:01:59):

The rest of us are those of us who aren’t included by default. And even saying by default, that’s not true. There is no real default. There’s only the default that is chosen and dictated by the dominant parties. And so if you’re not somebody who fits within the dominant party, you’re not one of them, you’re one of us. And the thing is really interesting that, to be honest, these kind of dominant structures exist everywhere, even out in the fringes. Because in the spaces that I run in, for example, fat liberation spaces and fat activism, fat acceptance spaces, there is actually a dominant party within these spaces, which are people who are on the smaller end of the fat spectrum.

Tiana Dodson (01:03:03):

Also, the better they conform to idealized beauty standards, the more likely they are to be lifted up, heard, given platforms, be called out in an article, have a big following on social media, things like that. Not because they’re brilliant, or especially brilliant, because I do feel like a lot of people who are out here are brilliant. Being a fat public person, proudly, is hard. It’s hard. And if you’re doing that, you’re fucking brilliant. But there are other people who have deeper critical analyses. People like me. I’m going to claim that one, I would claim that one. Or who really know how to connect the fact that this is not a one issue situation. You can’t only focus on fatness and not think about the other intersections.

Tiana Dodson (01:04:13):

Shout out to Kimberly Crenshaw, but also Audrey Lorde, Mother Audrey, says… What did is she say? She said, there are no… gosh, there are no single issues because I don’t live a single issue life or something like this. I love Audrey Lorde. I butcher her quotes all the time. But she brilliant, or she was brilliant, and I’m glad her work lives on. But ultimately, if you’re not in the in crowd for whatever reason, you’re a weirdo, or a queer-do, or whatever that is, that’s us. That’s the rest of us.

Chavonne McClay (01:04:59):

And how do you identify your privileges within this topic?

Tiana Dodson (01:05:04):

The privileges are interesting because these are always the hardest ones to talk about. It’s sort of in fashion to talk about how you’re marginalized, but to talk about your privileges is always harder. I’m certainly privileged in a lot of ways, and some of them are really hard to hold onto, knowing that I can both be extremely marginalized on one hand and privileged extremely also, on the other hand. I think one of my big privileges, I have pretty privilege. I have been told many times, “You have a nice face.” And then that’s also trauma speaking, all the times that people said, “Oh, you have a pretty face”, and what they really mean is, “Too bad you’re fat.” So there’s a lot of trauma in, “Somebody thinks I’m pretty, I’ll take it, it’s great.” Anyway, that’s also another podcast to talk about, podcast episode number three.

Tiana Dodson (01:06:06):

I’m just going to throw those up in the air. But yeah, so I have pretty privilege. I’m light skinned, which actually, when you start knowing things about colorism and look-ism, we check these boxes. Another privilege that I have is… God, so many of them just jumped up. I have some financial privilege. I’m not struggling to pay my rent or anything like that, even though that doesn’t mean that my business is making lots of money. But what it does mean is that I don’t need to hustle hard because my business is what’s paying my rent. I have a husband who affords to do that because he’s French. Yes, also another privilege. I’m married to a white guy and there’s that. And then I am easily identifiable as a feminine person and, so far, we identify as a feminine person. So these things work. They’re also privileges I have.

Tiana Dodson (01:07:10):

Another privilege, I have a college education. I also have an easy to listen to voice, which is helpful a lot of the times when you’re trying to make points about things. Oh God, we’re going to have an exhaustive list. We’re not going to have an exhaustive list that… I have nice big boobs, which have served me very well a lot of times in my life. Yeah, I can be funny. I can be funny. I get real awkward and humor is actually my response to feeling awkward about things. So that’s a privilege.

Tiana Dodson (01:07:57):

Also, I think that I might have ADHD, and I’m saying that out loud nowadays more often than not, and it’s quite amusing to me because in being somebody so marginalized, I have had to mask so hard, which means that even the things that are on the assessment, I can’t really say yes to these things. So it’s hard to actual actually get a diagnosis for ADHD because I have had to mask so hard that I’m really good at performing neuro typicality. So there’s also that as a privilege.

Tiana Dodson (01:08:42):

I know how to spell real good. I do. I love spelling. I spell really good. It’s important to me. All of these things are privileges for me that really help me quite a lot. I’m a bit tall. I’m five foot seven. I’m five foot eight if you like me, but I’m five foot seven. And that also helps because I have a large frame. I have big broad shoulders, and there’s really nothing small on me, and these things are privileges as well. They’re also drawbacks. But another thing is, I don’t visually look like any specific racial identity. So this is also very helpful because people project on me a lot like, “Oh, you’re Dominican. You’re Puerto Rican. Your mama’s Thai.” It’s just been fun. It’s been a lot of fun playing that game. I think I’ve been Native American one time, which was pretty cool. But also, what?

Chavonne McClay (01:10:01):

You are delightful. I just need to say that all loud. That was wonderful.

Tiana Dodson (01:10:08):

This is also a privilege. I’m able to do that. I apparently am really good at making people feel welcome.

Chavonne McClay (01:10:20):

Yeah. I agree with that. Absolutely.

Tiana Dodson (01:10:21):

That’s awesome.

Jennifer Jackson (01:10:22):

Yeah, for people who can’t see us, Chavonne and I both have our head in our hand because we’re just looking at Tiana longingly and lovingly. It’s really love. It’s really great.

Chavonne McClay (01:10:35):

And I think that a kind privilege that a lot of… Something that came to mind as you were saying it, is that you can name some of these privileges and sometimes you don’t have to, right? So having ADHD makes you the rest of us, but Tiana, you possibly having ADHD as a privilege. Do you see it as more of a marginalizing thing or more of a privilege thing?

Tiana Dodson (01:11:00):

Oh my goodness, that’s fantastic. So the thing that’s really interesting about identities, especially ones that are marginalized, they are both things that hold you back and also things that make you a fucking superhero. Because having ADHD means that I have executive dysfunction, which I don’t have the hyperactivity and all of that stuff, but executive dysfunction? Hell yeah. This morning it took me 20 minutes to get… No, it didn’t take me 20 minutes, it took me a lot longer. It took me a really long time to get dressed this morning because I couldn’t find a bra because my husband hung them up in a different place, because we just moved recently, and I didn’t know where they were, and then I couldn’t figure out what to have for breakfast. So basically what I did was I had a leftover piece of pizza, and a glass of juice, and sat down to start working, and ate sunflower seeds to tide myself over until lunch, when I had a proper lunch. Or… A proper lunch, that’s a judgment term. But a more fulfilling, sustaining lunch.

Tiana Dodson (01:12:21):

But yeah, it’s executive dysfunction. I couldn’t do a basic thing, which just made this cascade of ridiculousness happen. However, it also has forced me to cope and find ways to… I’m resourceful as hell. I’m resourceful as hell. I’ve been living in Europe since 2011 full time, and I actually came here for a job back in 2009. I was here for a year. I lived in Germany, not speaking German, not looking German at all, and on my own 100% pretty much. And figuring out how to deal, how to do things in German, in a small town in Northeastern Germany, where places don’t really have websites. They do now probably, but back then they did not really have websites because that part of the country was behind the Iron Curtain for many years. So they’re still catching up. And so you can’t do a lot of the things that you would normally do. When I lived in New Jersey, for example, it would be, “I don’t know when this store is open. Let me just search and see the website.” Because at least back then, everybody at least had started to have a website with their opening hours and their phone number. Or you could just call, you could open the phone book and find the number and call. It’s hard to do that when you don’t speak German and everybody else around you does. But I was able to make that happen. I was able to figure out how to do things, and take care of myself, and actually thrive. I had such a good time when I was in Germany that first year, and being marginalized, having grown up in handout poverty, having my stepfather pass at when I was… I wasn’t quite 14.

Tiana Dodson (01:14:26):

All of these things have helped me learn how to do stuff in a different way because I didn’t have privilege, and I didn’t have access, and I didn’t have resources, and not having resources causes you to be resourceful. Some folks call it ghetto because you cut up a box to do an X, Y, Z, or you’re flossing your teeth with the package that the Doritos were in. But the fact of the matter is, actually, no, this is resourcefulness. This is you taking what is available to you and making do, making things happen. So this is why these things are also a good thing.

Tiana Dodson (01:15:14):

Honestly, being fat is one of the sort of… I was going to say joys, and I was like, “No, that’s not what I wanted to say.” It’s been sort of a blessing in disguise, and the reason why is because being fat brought me to where I’m at today. If I had not been fat, I would not have been on this journey. I would not have been having to ask these questions, or struggling, or challenging myself, or the world that I live in. So these things have… This is also good as well as bad.

Jennifer Jackson (01:15:58):

The dialectics, one of my favorite words ever, of something, but it’s, the “both and.” Bad, good, not that they’re against each other, but they’re in some kind of swirl together. And Chavonne, you were reminding me what I said when we were talking about our rest of us, the conversation, I was like, “Oh, wow, I don’t even agree with myself from the past.” This is so interesting. Even before Tiana said anything, I was like, “Oh, you know what? I don’t think I agree with that at all.” So I really begun to see it as a privilege because I was able to mask, in a way, that made me do… Be a human doing in a way that made me accepted, in a way that also lit up my brain. So I was able to cope, and in the last five years where I’m like, “Oh, maybe I want to relax for the first time in my life.”

Tiana Dodson (01:16:50):

Oh God, yes.

Jennifer Jackson (01:16:51):

Maybe I want to have just a day where I don’t actually do anything. First of all, I have no experience with that. Not one day in my life before the last five years had I ever experienced it, ever. Unless I was horribly sick from pushing myself too far, which is not, of course, the same. I mean, a peaceful day designed by me, fulfilled by me, all of that. Where I was like, “Oh, but it’s really hard to do this. I don’t know how to do it.” And I had to unmask to be able to do it. And to have been able to stay masked that long was a privilege, not even. I did try to seek a diagnosis, and my mom did as well when I was much younger, but I didn’t have to have it to be able to be in the world. And in fact, it got me where I would like to have gone.

Jennifer Jackson (01:17:34):

And was really resonating with the last thing you said that, fatness brings us somewhere… So I’m in a mid-fat body. I technically have a straight sized body. The nuances of I’m fat and also I’m straight sized, I’m sitting in a place of privilege in a world that is not privileged. Well, compared to the standard, the ideal you were talking about. It’s important to look in… I was going to say both directions, but I’m going to rephrase that. It’s important to look in all directions from where we are, at our privilege, at how we’re marginalized, at who and what is holding us down, at who lifts us up.

Jennifer Jackson (01:18:13):

What are the how’s? The really juicy, interesting details, I’m only interested in them because of experiences where I have not felt like the privileged one. That’s actually how I got that perspective, and I have never thought about that in my life or even put words to that, not like that. So I appreciate that very much. I feel like I have 20 or 30 journal prompts from you today, at least. Wow, I’ve never talked about it in this… And I think the directionality of language. I can’t wait to talk about intuitive eating and help every sense of you, because I think about the direction of language about that in so many directions all the time. I just can’t wait.

Tiana Dodson (01:18:57):

So here’s the other thing that I do want to say, because I know there is very much this narrative, especially when you’re talking about a black woman. It’s like, “Oh, black women, they can do anything because they’re so strong.” And basically that strength comes from the necessity to survive. The basic biological drive of survival, but also, you have to become resourceful because you don’t have resources. But the fact of the matter is, is I want to acknowledge this is why I’m resourceful. I’m resourceful because I didn’t have resources. But also, and I’m going to glorify that. I don’t want to say we should all go struggle so we can be resourceful. No, let’s not do that. Can we find a way? I think this is part also of what informs my work toward liberation is that, can we find a place where we can be resourceful because we want to be, or it’s interesting, or we develop it because this is what we’re into versus being forced into it.

Tiana Dodson (01:20:14):

Let’s do that because yes, having marginalizations and having challenges is going to probably force you into something better. Diamonds are formed by adding lots and lots of pressure over a amazing amounts of time on very simple carbon atoms. However, we don’t have to do it that way. Of course, I guess, if we want diamonds, we’re going to have to do it that way, but we don’t have to become diamonds, damn it. Can I just be?

Chavonne McClay (01:20:54):

Be a cute lump of coal? Yeah.

Tiana Dodson (01:20:58):

Yes. Just be a lump of coal. Lump of coal is useful. I play Star New Valley. I play Star New Valley. Coal is necessary. So precious.

Jennifer Jackson (01:21:11):

This is reminding me of what you were saying earlier, Tiana, about gifts. Sometimes they’re diamonds, sometimes they’re coal. They have a purpose. I was also thinking of the why of things. Why because I was forced is so different from the why because I choose to.

Tiana Dodson (01:21:30):


Jennifer Jackson (01:21:30):

And also the other in between space where someone facilitates that for us. The why of following someone else towards liberation, all of that was sitting for me as you were talking about that. I don’t think I asked that question enough. I’m not sure an entire, many fields of people and just human beings, ask that question enough, actually, now that I’m sitting with that. What is the why?

Jennifer Jackson (01:21:55):

Thinking about my training as a dietician is to talk about the what of food. But actually what’s important is the why of food. There’s almost no importance in the what of food. You can go look that up on the internet. Talking to me is not about the what, it’s about the why. And this is something that’s hard for me as a dietician. It’s so trained into me and my brain just lights up with being, I know something about that. And why they’re eating or not eating, and why of the what even, is so important. And to leave space for that, changes the power dynamic, which is I’m hearing is this really lovely and delicious undercurrent of everything we’re talking about, is how does the power shift?

Tiana Dodson (01:22:38):

Yes, yes. What is liberation other than being able to take back your power? Because the why is of things are really important. And right now I’m leading a group reading of Sabrina Strings book, Fearing the Black Body, the Racial Origins of Fat Phobia. We on chapter three, and I just… it’s so difficult to read. It’s so difficult to read because it’s like, we’re still here. We’re talking about things that happened in the 1600’s, and we’re still here. The attitudes have not changed. It’s 400 years later and we’re still here, and it’s so upsetting to read that. Basically the notes that I’m taking oscillate between why the fuck are we still doing this, and also cis men are gross, and always have been. All that’s in my notes. But then there’s also the one that I keep circling which is, so many things are the way they are because some random ass white dude with power and money just arbitrarily decided so. There’s no real reason behind it. It’s just arbitrary. That sounds good, I like that today. Yeah, I’m going to do that now.

Jennifer Jackson (01:24:21):

Can we start the way we relate to all people about this? That seems great.

Tiana Dodson (01:24:26):

Pretty much

Jennifer Jackson (01:24:27):

That’s a real fast forwarding, takeoff kind of-

Tiana Dodson (01:24:30):


Jennifer Jackson (01:24:33):

Garbage. Total shit. That’s what I was thinking as you were talking. I was like, “Total shit.”

Tiana Dodson (01:24:37):

Yes. This is what my notes look like. Just, this is garbage. I’m highlighting things and just writing, “This is garbage. Gross. Just gross.” So much of that.

Jennifer Jackson (01:24:48):

In the margins of that book I wrote, “WTF.”

Chavonne McClay (01:24:51):

Yeah, I wrote that a lot.

Jennifer Jackson (01:24:51):

I wrote, “What the fuck” a lot. I wrote, “Circle back. Wtf.” I wrote that a lot. I don’t even know what to think about this, except what the fuck?

Tiana Dodson (01:25:00):

It’s a lot. It’s a lot.

Jennifer Jackson (01:25:03):

I relate to that. And I’m a person in a white body, I have all these privileges, and I’m reading that and feeling anger, despair. How can it still be like this? And knowing that I’m… It’s like a sample size taste, it’s like nothing. And it’s ever present… Yeah, it’s ever present. I’m just now noticing, but it’s ever present.

Tiana Dodson (01:25:31):

Yeah. Yeah.

Jennifer Jackson (01:25:32):


Chavonne McClay (01:25:36):

Can you talk about what you think about [inaudible 01:25:44] and where do you think they fall short? If you think they fall short. Let’s talk some shit.

Tiana Dodson (01:25:48):

This is juicy. In the parlance… in the parlance of the queer population… I’m about to spill some tea. So up until recently had never read [inaudible 01:26:08] referred to it… I’m just playing. I know what this is about. Absolutely. Yeah. So I have a weekly support group, an introductory support group, for body liberation called Fat Freedom Foundation because the foundation of freedom is support. And so basically… I just came up with that the other day but anyway, a lot of them have this book, or the workbook, or both, and they have all gotten stuck at some point. And I was like, all right, you all keep talking about this. Maybe I should fill in my blanks because I don’t really know the details. So I started listening to the audiobook because that’s all I have capacity for right now. I do not have space to be reading books, which I love books, I have so many books, and I love everything about holding, and turning pages, and all of that stuff. I love it, but I don’t have capacity for it right now.

Tiana Dodson (01:27:11):

So I got the audiobook, and I actually questioned myself many times, up until about chapter three, if it was being read by a person or a robot. I wasn’t sure. So I’m sorry to the person, if you’re listening to this, who actually narrated that book. You took a long time to warm up. And I don’t know if those were directions, if that was their stage direction or what, but I was just like, “Ooh, this is real robotic.” So it was really hard to nestle into what they were trying to give me. And what I understand is that the authors have done a lot of work on trying to fill in the gaps and add lenses to their things and all that good stuff. And I haven’t finished the book yet because it’s like 16 hours of audiobook, and I just moved, I have a child, I have a business I’m trying to run. Folks be busy. I got to sleep sometimes and poop.

Jennifer Jackson (01:28:26):

I’m a human being.

Tiana Dodson (01:28:32):

Right. So it takes time. It’s taking me a lot of time to get through it. And then sometimes I fall asleep, and then I have to rewind, and listen again. So it’s a lot. But basically, surface level, love Intuitive Eating as an idea. However, one thing I keep hearing… Well, there’s something else I keep hearing, but one thing I keep hearing is the idea that it’s easy and super doable and anybody can do it, and then it solves all your problems. And you never have problems again. And it’s that last problem, really, that keeps pissing me off because they have these use cases that they put in, which I understand why they’re there. It’s social proof. It’s like a testimonial of, Gary came into our office and he had X, Y, Z problem, and he was actually a secret dieter, and then through our work together, we exposed that he was a secret dieter, and then he started doing intuitive eating, and he’s not a secret dieter anymore, and his whole life is great.

Tiana Dodson (01:29:37):

He’s just great, just great. And I’m just like, yes, but what I know about the journey to body liberation is this shit is, number one, it’s uphill. It’s rough. This is not a smooth, gentle road. No, no, no. It is rough and rocky, and there are giant creases all of the-

PART 3 OF 4 ENDS [01:30:04]

Tiana Dodson (01:30:04):

… rough and rocky, and there are giant crevasses all over the place. And sometimes you trip and you roll down that damn hill. Sometimes you just go backwards. And that’s the thing, is that every step toward liberation is not necessarily forward.

Tiana Dodson (01:30:22):

So the way they present it in this book is just like, “Just follow our steps and you will magically be better.” I understand why they’re saying that. They’re trying to help people. They’re trying to sell books. They really believe in what they’re doing. But the fact that you can use intuitive eating, you can read this whole book and then actually use their process as a diet, says a lot, actually. Says a lot. So that’s what I’ve got there for that.

Tiana Dodson (01:30:58):

And then, Health at Every Size, is a wonderful place to start. It’s a wonderful place to start. And I understand that Linda Bacon with Lucy Aphramor, together updated the work and put out Body Respect. I have not yet read Body Respect. But I do have to say that it’s interesting because it was super liberating for me to come to hear this paradigm that health can be had at every size.

Tiana Dodson (01:31:34):

And then I’m challenged by this regularly by being in community with people who have disability or chronic illness, who are actively saying, “No, no, I’m sick. I am sick, and I’m never going to be healthy.” And my little do-gooder, trained as a health coach heart is like, “But wait, no. Help is individual.” I want to challenge that. And then people like Da’Shaun Harrison be out here writing whole ass books, basically saying things like, “Look, health is a construct not made for the rest of us.” And I’m just like, “But no, Da’Shaun, no. We can reclaim it.” He’s like, “Let’s reclaim some shit. Let’s take it all back.” But it’s both and, right? Let’s reclaim the hell out of this, but also, health wasn’t made for us. So yeah, it’s complicated, right? It’s complicated. They’re great places to start. I think they’re great places to start.

Chavonne McClay (01:32:45):

I agree with that.

Tiana Dodson (01:32:48):


Jennifer Jackson (01:32:48):

Oh, sorry, go ahead.

Tiana Dodson (01:32:50):

Oh, just don’t get stuck there. That’s all I had to say.

Chavonne McClay (01:32:51):

Yeah, that’s [inaudible 01:32:52].

Tiana Dodson (01:32:53):

Start there. Absolutely. But don’t get stuck there.

Chavonne McClay (01:32:54):

And that’s how I started. I was the [inaudible 01:32:59] and overeaters anonymous, a survivor, basically. And that’s how I found it. That’s how found intuitive eating. That’s how I found HAES. And I can say categorically that they saved my life. I truly believe that, but there has to be some expansiveness past that. And I know that’s also, for me at least, that is again, a privilege for me, that I even have the capacity to realize that the capacity to work towards something further. But it definitely saved my life. I just think that there’s, but I think there’s room for growth in everything. And then, so I worked with Alishia McCullough, who we interviewed… Oh, two people before you. And she and I were talking about what’s next. And I was like, “I don’t know.” Because I feel like anything that comes next can easily be co-opted, easily be manualized. So meaning to a manual of some sort that takes the nuance out it. That takes individualization out of it. But if there’s no individualization, then it’s another thing that we have to get stuck in. But there has to be something. So there’s some definition, so that it’s not co-opted into this bullshit… Let’s all do yoga and eat wheatgrass bullshit, whatever.

Tiana Dodson (01:34:22):

Right. Exactly.

Chavonne McClay (01:34:26):

There has to be some definition to it, but I don’t know what it is. I like to say there’s something wrong with it, but I don’t know what it is. I don’t know what’s next. I don’t want to be the person that comes up with it. Something’s got to give.

Tiana Dodson (01:34:37):

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, one of the things that really has to give is the faces of the movement need to change. And not just visually, not just visually, but actually who is on the board. Who is really making the decisions. Who actually has the power and who is in control of where the money goes. These things are important. We need this representation because neither one of these people who wrote the book… Okay, zero of these people who wrote these books, Intuitive Eating was not written by people who have lived experience as fat people.

Tiana Dodson (01:35:22):

HAES, Health at Every Size, Linda Bacon has never been, I mean, I think Linda Bacon in the book was writing about, they actually have been larger, but Linda Bacon was never, as far as I understand, a large fat. Same as as what I understand for Lucy Aphramor. So I appreciate the work of all these people, all four of them who have written these books. However, it’s not my lived experience. Even Sabrina Strings, who wrote this book putting together the… Pointing at the intersection between fat phobia and racism, or specifically anti-blackness, so anti-blackness and anti-fatness, how they intersect. She’s not fat either. She’s never been fat. And so it’s just like, look, I’m glad that I can add to my pantheon, a Black face. However, my bodily representation is still missing.

Jennifer Jackson (01:36:29):

This is reminding me of some earlier pitfalls and errors that I did in anti-racist training. It’s feeling so related right now. The demand of me, the white woman, of I need a manual. I need a portfolio of how everything is going to be done. That’s how I’m going to do anti-racist work. My first training was with Rachel Cargill. It’s one of the very first things she said, just wiped from the slate immediately and incredibly. But it’s like what goes there? And I think that when diet culture gets wiped or we try to wipe it, that’s what the whole first chapter of Intuitive Eating is supposed to be addressing. Well, first two chapters. That it’s like, let’s wipe this clean. But what fits in there and what was chosen to be wiped clean definitely has these slants and narratives that you’re talking about of privilege and lack of lived experience of being in a larger body.

Jennifer Jackson (01:37:24):

And that also makes me think of invisible things and chronic illness things. Not invisible to the people experiencing them. I mean, we can’t judge them from far away or closeup. That it’s interoception and proprioception, which I’m sure I’ve already said on this podcast, I talk about this a lot with my own clients as well. That sure, I’m a certified intuitive eating counselor, and let’s talk about the nuances, let’s talk about the pitfalls, I’m okay if you take some and leave some. This is not the end all be all of this.

Jennifer Jackson (01:37:55):

And something else, Tiana, that I thought you said was just so important, is that there is not a destination to this of eating intuitively and getting the championship trophy and going and telling everyone that you have it and then every year you can meet up with the other trophy holders. Although there is an element of that-

Tiana Dodson (01:38:14):


Jennifer Jackson (01:38:15):

In intuitive eating support groups. My clients often come to me because they’ve had that experience, but they need to not be with other trophy holders. They need to be in a more nuanced, vulnerable, you mentioned bypassing, and I was also thinking of the toxic positivity aspect.

Tiana Dodson (01:38:36):


Jennifer Jackson (01:38:37):

It’s okay to be on a journey. It’s okay to… Oh my gosh. When you said there is not just, there’s not just forward. I’m like, oh, there isn’t. You can go in any direction you want.

Tiana Dodson (01:38:50):

That’s right. I mean-

Jennifer Jackson (01:38:52):

Intuitive Eating, Health at Every Size, anything can take you anywhere, it can take you in any direction. Even assume the direction, feels not okay. I’m sorry, I’ll stop.

Tiana Dodson (01:39:01):

No, it’s okay. But what you’re saying right now is exactly what I was saying earlier where when we’re working towards liberation, we’re still taking our conditioning with us. Intuitive eating as a practice is working towards a liberation, liberating ourselves from the oppression of diet culture. However, it has taken with it, the conditioning that was held by the authors and people who are looking for the trophy, they’re looking for the finishing lap and the victory lap to celebrate at the end. They’re looking for, “I have arrived.” This is also that conditioning that we have taken with us and we’re just not comfortable with… This is just a ride. We just going. Going and going. We’re going to keep on doing that. We’re not comfortable with that. So it’s really important to start becoming comfortable with this.

Jennifer Jackson (01:40:12):

Yes. Oh my God. All I have is noises right now.

Chavonne McClay (01:40:19):


Tiana Dodson (01:40:24):

That’s good. That’s good.

Chavonne McClay (01:40:25):

On one of your Instagram posts a while ago you mentioned something called the safety of sovereignty. What is that? And what does it look like for you?

Tiana Dodson (01:40:37):

I laugh, because my knee-jerk reaction is I want to sound really smart. The safety of sovereignty is a phrase that I came up with when I was writing my Love Notes for the New Year. I decided to do this… I don’t know… Thing. I decided to do a thing where every day I just wrote a love note, just some sort of affirming thing, to help to cut through diet culture nonsense that happens in January. And I ran it as a way, I send it to people who signed up for my newsletter list. And I also put it out on social media because I was like, “I don’t want you giving me your email address to be a block or not giving me my email address to be a block for you receiving this love,” that I just want to put out in the world. So the challenge is January is 31 days, and I was trying to have something completely different every day.

Tiana Dodson (01:41:51):

It was really hard. It was really hard. I think I got to 16 and I was like, “Yeah!” And then I was like, “Ooh, you only halfway done. What else are you going to say?” So safety of sovereignty, again, I don’t even remember what the rest of it says, what the rest of the love note says, but safety of sovereignty is a phrase that I kick myself about. Because after I made the thing, I was really excited and then I put it up and I was just like, “Ooh, what the hell does that mean?” And then I did a journaling thing afterward where I was taking the love notes and using them as a basis, followed by a few prompts based on the love note themselves for journaling. And coming up with questions for the safety of sovereignty love note was challenging because I was like, again, “What the hell do you need?”

Tiana Dodson (01:42:49):

This is how sometimes you have a moment of brilliance, and you still haven’t fully processed something, so you got to come back around to it. So I had to redefine it for myself because I was like, “What the hell do I mean here?” So sovereignty, essentially, is this beautifully, love… Oh, it’s a beautiful word. It’s this beautiful big word that essentially means that you are in charge, you have dominion and ownership of something. And each and every one of us are sovereign beings. However, we’re not conditioned that way. And the cultures that we live in are putting things on us, such as laws, where our choices are affected.

Tiana Dodson (01:43:39):

So we may not feel like we have sovereignty. We are able to choose. We have the agency to make a difference in how things are going for ourselves. And that’s not true. We have a lot of choice, which also can be infringed upon depending on what your identities are and how you’re marginalized. But one of the most amazing things you can do is to find your sovereignty, is to find that place where you are like, “No, no. I have control here.” There are some things I cannot change. I am not a lawmaker. I cannot change laws. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t write a letter to your local lawmaker or your representative lawmaker and somehow enact, make change happen. Be part of the landslide that happens.

Tiana Dodson (01:44:43):

All of that to say, there is a safety in sovereignty. When you can embrace and reclaim that this is mine and I can do what I need to do here, I can get things done, that’s an amazingly empowering place to be. And there’s a safety there because you’re in charge. And I realize I’m saying the same words over and over again, but essentially that’s that. I think the love note was, “May you have the pleasure or something of experiencing the safety of sovereignty.” Which is essentially, when you take all the big words out of it, just saying, “I really want you to find your power and stand in it.”

Jennifer Jackson (01:45:43):

I was thinking of a classic way of talking about this, a self-determination, and how that always occurred to me as super academic sounding. Very founding fathers, white men talking about what we should all philosophically do, even when they’re very few exceptions to a lot of things. That there is an element of containment that happens even around agency and autonomy because it’s inside of a system. The patriarchy, the medical industrial complex, inside. And how you were just talking about it really sounded expansive. The perspective is one of being expansive. If you’re safe, what could you do? If you’re safe, what would you want to do? How does it differ? What is your why in the safety of sovereignty? Just felt… That was like a hug. I loved your Love Notes for the New Year. I did all of your journal prompts. And this is not a pat myself on the back thing. It’s like a… Each and every one was so special.

Tiana Dodson (01:46:55):

Oh, wow.

Jennifer Jackson (01:46:55):

And so incredible. I’m pretty sure I shared them all too. I was like, “Jere you go. Here you go. Here you go. Hey everybody, look at this.” There’s something in the way that you look at something, your perspective is just expansive. Just you, are expansive. And I can feel that. And right now, as you were describing, and I’m remembering it from the experience of seeing the love notes.

Tiana Dodson (01:47:13):

Oh, thank you.

Jennifer Jackson (01:47:14):

It’s wonderful.

Tiana Dodson (01:47:15):

Thank you. I appreciate that. I mean, that was the intention behind them. Was just like, every day you’re going to get ads on social media. They’re like, “New year, new you,” and “Here, let’s change everything about you because the calendar changed and clearly you’re wrong for this year. So let’s change that.” And I was like, “No, no, no. Let’s counter that. Let me just send you a little bit of love.” Just like, “Hey, okay. Okay.”

Jennifer Jackson (01:47:53):

Yeah. What if you’re enough? What a beautiful thing to share with all of that other nonsense going on. I can feel it now.

Tiana Dodson (01:48:04):

I loved that project. I had to bring it back.

Jennifer Jackson (01:48:09):

So here as is we’re starting to wrap up this podcast, we’ve talked about a lot of big and small picture perspectives. Your perspective, your expansive perspective, we were just talking about in this conversation. What do you think we can all do to make a difference with what we’ve learned and sat with you today?

Tiana Dodson (01:48:25):

This is a good question. I am struggling to answer the question in the moment partially because there’s so many things that come to mind. But also, if something you heard today makes you uncomfortable, I want you to try to sit with that. Try not to rush to action or criticism or whatever. Sit with it. Sit with it. Roll it around in your mouth. Let it shower your brain. Let it live on your chest for a couple of days. Just sit in that. And I know it’s going to be uncomfortable. Sitting in, [inaudible 01:49:17] uncomfortable to sit with discomfort. I mean, literally discomfort, not comfortable. It’s hard. It’s really hard. But just try to sit there with it. And after you’ve sat there for whatever is the amount of time that you can stand, as yourself, “Why was that uncomfortable?” And see what comes.

Chavonne McClay (01:49:42):

That’s wonderful. I can’t wait to go back and edit this and sit with what’s making me uncomfortable too. I learned so much.

Tiana Dodson (01:49:52):

Thank you.

Jennifer Jackson (01:49:59):

When you said let it sit on your chest, I was like, “Ooh, there are things sitting on my chest.”

Chavonne McClay (01:50:03):

There are things. Yeah.

Jennifer Jackson (01:50:04):

I felt them. I felt them from this conversation.

Chavonne McClay (01:50:06):


Jennifer Jackson (01:50:06):

This was really important.

Tiana Dodson (01:50:08):


Chavonne McClay (01:50:10):

Thank you so much for being here with us. As we finish this episode today, what would you like everyone listening to know about what you’re up to and how can they find you? And also, what direction do you see your career and or work going in the future?

Tiana Dodson (01:50:27):

These are big questions. So if you want to follow me around on social media, I don’t hang out there hard, but I be there. You can find me on Instagram, @iamtianadodson. I’m also on Facebook, but not really on Facebook. Posts happen there. And posts also happen on Twitter, also @iamtianadodson. But really Instagram is the place to find me if you want to see what I’m up to on social media. And I… what’s going on in the future? Well, I’m building a course. I know. I didn’t know that I was building a course. I was just making a teaching space for myself. But also, as I say that out loud, I realize, “A teaching space is probably a course, bitch.” You know?

Tiana Dodson (01:51:29):

I’m making a teaching, making a course, I’m creating a course which is formerly known as Body Liberation Practice Space. That’s what I was calling it. That was it’s working title. But I’m now calling it Fat Freedom Practice Space. Because yes, body liberation, but also fat freedom. Maybe somehow that comes first. So I’m building Fat Freedom Practice Space, which is going to be a course, it’s going to be a year long, so far. Where what we’re doing together is we’re going to be learning the skills that we can use to get us to fat freedom, both for ourselves and for everyone, because actually that’s something that’s really necessary. There are a lot of skills that are necessary. I mean, of course it’s important to have education. It’s important to know what the systems are. Absolutely. But if you don’t know how to deal with that, if you don’t know how to have a conversation with somebody who doesn’t agree with you, it’s going to be really hard. It’s going to be really hard for you.

Tiana Dodson (01:52:43):

So we’re going to be learning that as well as going over some of the lovely hot button things that are really important to know that are keeping fat freedom from being a thing. In addition, it’s a practice space, so it’s a learning space. It’s going to be a place where I’m going to lovingly hold you so you can ask those questions that feel taboo, because we all need a place for that. We all need a place for that. So that’s coming up. I don’t know when it’s going to be released, because every time I look at it, it seems to grow a little bit. But that’s what’s coming in the future. And what am I up to? Well, I’ve got several things that I’m up to, that I’ve mentioned also. So one of them is, I’ve got Fat Freedom Foundation, which is my introductory support community for body liberation.

Tiana Dodson (01:53:38):

We’re meeting every Saturday to just be in community with other fat people who are just out here in these streets having a hard ass time. And actually celebrate some things sometimes because there are some lovely things to celebrate within just our human experience. So if you’re looking for community and you’re looking for support, come join us. And I’m also releasing something else called Fat Freedom Moments. This I’m really excited about because this has been in the works for a while because the tech side has been challenging. And what Fat Freedom Moments are, are little teeny interruptions right to your phone. So it’s going to be a text messaging service. So if you sign up with that, you’ll be receiving one text message from me each week that will disrupt the diet culture nonsense of the everyday.

Chavonne McClay (01:54:43):

Oh my gosh, I love that. That’s really exciting.

Jennifer Jackson (01:54:51):

I’ve turned really red as I do by the end of every podcast, but I was, it’s also because I’m excited.

Tiana Dodson (01:54:55):

Excellent. That’s excellent.

Jennifer Jackson (01:54:59):

Pretty darn red. Oh, there’s a red thing behind me, you can see it sort of. I so look forward to all those things. And that note of fat freedom throughout, feels like naming something that is not always on the forefront and named. We tend to be with more nebulous words like we’re in the cloud somewhere and we’re like eventually going to get to some specific words, but let’s talk about the cloudy stuff first. That was straight to it. I love it. Love it.

Tiana Dodson (01:55:38):

Absolutely. Thank you.

Chavonne McClay (01:55:40):


Jennifer Jackson (01:55:41):


Chavonne McClay (01:55:44):

Oh my gosh, this is everything. Thank you so much.

Jennifer Jackson (01:55:46):

Yes. Yes.

Tiana Dodson (01:55:49):

This has been fun. This has been a lot of fun.

Chavonne McClay (01:55:51):


Jennifer Jackson (01:55:55):

Ooh, Chavonne’s singing [inaudible 01:55:57].

Tiana Dodson (01:55:58):

I love it.

Chavonne McClay (01:55:59):

I sing a lot. If you just watch me, I just sing songs all the time. Anyway, you don’t need to know that.

Tiana Dodson (01:56:10):

It’s so good.

Chavonne McClay (01:56:10):

This has been awesome.

Jennifer Jackson (01:56:12):

And affirming and wonderful.

Chavonne McClay (01:56:14):

And affirming. And we feel so heard and [inaudible 01:56:16] by you. And I’m pretty sure [inaudible 01:56:18] because you’re amazing.

Tiana Dodson (01:56:22):

I would love it. I would love it.

Jennifer Jackson (01:56:24):

Okay. That makes my weekday, month and year.

Chavonne McClay (01:56:27):


Jennifer Jackson (01:56:28):

Whatever order they’re in. Yeah. Thank you.

Chavonne McClay (01:56:28):

Yeah, [inaudible 01:56:29].

Tiana Dodson (01:56:29):

Well, thank you for having me. It has been an absolute pleasure. I’ve really enjoyed this conversation.

Jennifer Jackson (01:56:41):

Thank you for listening to season one of The Embodiment For the Rest of Us Podcast. Episodes will be published every two weeks wherever you listen to podcasts.

Chavonne McClay (01:56:50):

You can also find the podcast at our website, embodimentfortherestofus.com, and follow us on social media on Twitter, @embodimentus.

Jennifer Jackson (01:57:00):

And on Instagram, @embodimentfortherestofus. We look forward to being with you again next time in conversation.

PART 4 OF 4 ENDS [01:57:12]