Embodiment for the Rest of Us – Season 1, Episode 9: Denise Friedman

February 24, 2022


Chavonne (she/her) and Jenn (she/her) interviewed Denise Friedman (she/her) about their embodiment journey.

Denise Friedman, LCSW (she/her) is a lifelong rad fatty and clinical social worker. She was born a New Yorker and has been welcomed by New Mexico. Her practice focuses on general mental health as well as trauma work, particularly complex trauma and childhood emotional neglect. She is committed to providing a safe space to be seen, heard, accepted, and affirmed to all who come to her office (or telehealth room). When Denise went online for the first time in 1999, the first thing she did was look for other fat people. She has been seeking and helping to create fat community both online and in person ever since her first Yahoo!Groups post all those years ago. Denise believes in the revolutionary power of fat people taking pleasure in food and can nearly always be found cooking food, reading about food, or sharing food with others.

Content Warning: discussion of privilege, discussion of diet culture, mention of mental health struggles, mention of trauma and complex trauma, mention of healthism


Trigger Warnings:

10:34: Denise uses the word “nuts” in a way that can be seen as stigmatizing mental health


A few highlights:

4:05: Denise shares her understanding of embodiment and her own embodiment journey

16:09: Denise discusses how the pandemic has affected her devotion to embodiment

30:28: Denise discusses what lights them up up on a regular basis to feel embodied how to make this accessible for everyone

36:06: Denise discusses her understanding of “the rest of us” and how she is a part of that, as well as her privileges

49:32: Denise shares what complex PTSD (C-PTSD) is as it relates to bodies and embodiment

57:17: Denise discusses where HAES® and IE fall short

1:05:26: Denise shares how listeners can make a difference based on this conversation

1:16:57: Denise shares where to be found and what’s next for her


Links from this episode:



By Ro! Designs



Executive Functioning


Health At Every Size® (HAES®)






Music: “Wheel of Karma” by Jason Shaw


Please follow us on social media:

Twitter: @embodimentus

Instagram: @embodimentfortherestofus



EFTROU Season 1 Episode 9 is 1 hour, 18 minutes, and 35 seconds (1:18:35) in length

[0:00 Music Plays]

[0:13 Intro plus EFTROU Podcast Disclaimer]


Chavonne (C): Hello there! I’m Chavonne McClay (she/her).


Jenn (J): And I’m Jenn Jackson (she/her).


C: And this is Embodiment for the Rest of Us. A podcast series exploring topics within intersections that exist in fat liberation!


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


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


J: In addition, the conversations held here are not exhaustive in scope or breadth. These topics, these perspectives are not complete and are always in process. These are just the highlights! Just like posts on social media or any other podcast, this is just a glimpse. We are always interested in any feedback on this process if something needs to be addressed. You can email us at listener@embodimentfortherestofus.com And now for today’s episode.



C: Welcome to Episode 9 of season 1 of the Embodiment for the Rest of Us podcast. In today’s episode (the last interview of the season!), we interviewed our dear friend and wonderfully compassionate human being, Denise Friedman (she/her) about her embodiment journey.


J: Denise Friedman, LCSW, is a lifelong rad fatty and clinical social worker. She was born a New Yorker and has been welcomed by New Mexico. Her practice focuses on general mental health as well as trauma work, particularly complex trauma and childhood emotional neglect. She is committed to providing a safe space to be seen, heard, accepted, and affirmed to all who come to her office (or telehealth room).


C: When Denise went online for the first time in 1999, the first thing she did was look for other fat people. She has been seeking and helping to create fat community both online and in person ever since her first Yahoo!Groups post all those years ago. Denise believes in the revolutionary power of fat people taking pleasure in food and can nearly always be found cooking food, reading about food, or sharing food with others.


J: Thank you so much for holding space for these interviews this season, dear listeners. Our last episode of the season will be a wrap up from us, your co-hosts. And now for today’s episode!

J: Hello! We are absolutely filled with joy to have such a thoughtful human being with us today on the podcast, we can’t wait.


C: Yeah, yes.


J: And today we have our dear friend Denise with us from Albuquerque. Someone whose perspectives we adore and get so very much from. There’s a lot of insight coming your way, we just know it. Let’s start. How are you today, Denise?


Denise (D): I am hanging in there. It is fabulous to be doing this with both of you.


C: Yeah, we are so excited you’re here. Yay! Thank you, thank you, thank you. [claps]


D: Thank you.


C: As we sit with how we feel in our bodies today, we’d love to start with a centering question about the themes of our podcast and how they occur to you. Umm, can you share with us, what embodiment means to you and what is your embodiment journey like, if you’d like to share that as well?




D: So embodiment to me, it’s, you know, being in our body, noticing our body, respecting our body, even when it does things we don’t want it to do, even when it does the hard things, even when it does the weird gross things because those that’s what having a body is. And you know my personal embodiment journey–I was raised in a home with extremely rigid gender roles and also extremely weird expectations and beliefs around body, sexuality, and so that can kind of lead to maybe not being the most embodied, maybe not being in your body. And so I noticed over the last few years, but I was feeling like just a head dragging around this sack of meat and it was super uncomfortable ’cause I’m like, I’ve got this head, I use the head I do school, I do work, I do like these, you know, intellectual pursuit type things. But I have never once in my life regarded the neck down at all. And so over the last few years, and this is despite you know, getting into originally in the early 2000s, you know, fat acceptance, body liberation, all of those things. Uhm, but I had not paid attention to my own.  I had kind of looked at it from this perspective of, this is a really cool thing for other people that maybe kind of possibly can be adjacent to my life, but it wasn’t something that I had really applied to my life and it kind of started, you know, fusing the head and the body started to happen. You know, in the last few years, I started really simply going outside and noticing what the sun felt like on my skin. Going outside and pretending to be Beyoncé and taking selfies in the wind. You know, becoming your own America’s Next Top Model.  All of those things come, learning to play golf.  I had never played a sport before because, you know, that’s not a not a thing girls do. I’d never played a sport before and so learning to play golf was the first time I had learned how to move my body in any way, you know, growing up as a little fat girl, you get told you have to exercise yet, so you have to do these things, that these are punishments. They’re not, they’re not. They’re the opposite of embodiment. They’re the head forcing the meat sack to perform movements, but they’re not embodied. And so learning things as simple as this is how you hold a golf club. This is what your front foot and back foot are, which sounds obvious. But it’s not. Uhm, all of those things really helped me learn like, oh, if I step here this it does this if I point my foot here, it does this and just I’ve really learned over the last few years that my head and my body can be on the same page, or at least in the same chapter. And that has just been earth shattering for me.


C: Oh, that, that’s, that’s, that’s a great answer. I really love the imagery of this head dragging around and looking back like that. Just make, that makes me giggle, but I also, really understand where you’re coming  from. It’s so easy to kind of well, Jen, and I have talked about this kind of just existing from the neck up. For some people, if you have that, a level of ability, absolutely absolutely.


D: Oh, OK. Absolutely, and you know, the, the first time I got the Internet, I was only 13 years old and the literal first thing I did was go on–I’m gonna date myself here–go on Yahoo groups. And find and post an ad looking for other fat people. Like I never met any, especially not any my age and it was the literal first thing I did when I got the Internet in 1999. I was looking for other fat people to just try to find some semblance of community, to try to find some semblance of…yeah, I guess those are the tiny little seeds of trying to strive for embodiment. Trying to figure out, you know, obviously, before that vocabulary even existed in my little 8th grade world. But trying to find that to find that sense of..You know what does this body mean to this head? Can I connect them, do other people connect them, are there other fat people out there who live their lives and maybe aren’t sad about it and feel really alone about it? And so, you know, it goes back pretty far. Goes back into, like, middle school.


J: Wow, I have to say, I don’t quite know the word for it, but I’m feeling quite emotional listening to you. [voice breaks] Umm, both in being so vulnerable about your experience, but also in just realizing the recentness with which you have allowed yourself to be involved. Really, I really relate to that.  Uhm, I would say like I really allowed myself in maybe 2018 at the earliest, but I think I wasn’t that great at that, right? So like maybe this year in the pandemic, probably like is really like my intouchness and I was just feeling really related and connected to you in those experiences and I’m also feeling really hopeful when you talked about going outside and just feeling the sun on your skin. That sounded hopeful to me like, what a beautiful thing to do for you. Just for, for the head and the meatsuit to become like one full package like to, to be there in the sun together just sounded glorious and it was making me think of wearing a swimming suit as a fat person. It was making me think of being near water as a fat person. It was making me think of just, like, existing outside in space. And like how accessible that is to just be in the sun.


C: Hmm.


D: Yes, and I was…I don’t know how to create this, like this…But if you remember a few years ago, the fatosphere went nuts over the first generation of fatkinis.


C: Mm-hmm.


D: It was the forever 21 bikinis, it was, gosh, I can’t remember what the other brands are. It was when Swimsuitsforall started to become more prominent. They did the Gabi Fresh collaboration. I was really excited to, like, get in on the ground floor of that and there is a seamstress on Facebook. I’m, I’m gonna plug her, feel free to take this out if you need to, but Buy Ro! Designs. Rosario Vitale, and she, so she makes dresses. She makes swimsuits, and in probably 2010, you know, I saved, saved, saved. I was a grad student, so,  save, save and I bought this custom made bikini. It’s a triangle top and a circle skirt and I freaking loved it and like red and white polka dots! And I loved it and I didn’t wear it outside until 2019.


All: Wow. Mm-hmm.


C: Huh, yeah I absolutely remember the facchini movement starting and I bought one and it took me…like, I wore it in the house a lot. I thought it was cute. And how liberating it felt to just leave with it? YEah. It was such a huge movement. I, even now, I, I only wear bikinis. I want to wear them so I’m going to, yeah. [laughs]


D: Absolutely, and I’m doing that now, too, and it just, it feels so amazing.  Yeah, another, you know, part of my embodiment journey has been learning to swim. It’s considered one of those standard childhood skills, some of us, we have different upbringings. We don’t learn the heavily finger quoting standard childhood skills, and it’s OK to learn those as an adult. We don’t give that message culturally. We don’t give that message socially that it doesn’t matter if you are 35, and so uncoordinated that you crash into things. You can learn to float, you can learn to swim. You can learn to not just decorate your body, but use it and decorate it and enjoy it.


J: That was really beautiful. Let’s see if I can talk through my tears. [cries] Here they come. I realized the words for what I was looking for earlier. Ooh! This has never happened to me, actually. With any of the interviews. Ooh. Ohh, you got me good! I mean, that any time is the right time to bloom. I was thinking about younger you and I wish I could tell her that. I was also thinking about younger me and I wish you could tell her that. So thank you for that. These beautiful visual images that you have of describing your experience, this narrative quality oh, stop me, like, deep down tugging on like the deepest kind of heartstrings. This is beautiful.


D: I am both proud and some other emotion that I can’t put my finger on for being the first person to make you cry during one of these.


[All laugh]


C: I love it.


J: Thank you for that. It helps me, it’s helping me feel vulnerable which feels really good in the context of this podcast that it can be raw and honest.


D: One of the things that really helps me connect with that younger self who just needed to know that and you may find this useful as well. I look back at pictures of that little girl [voice breaks] and I’m like, you’re doing it.


C: Mmm. Yeah.


J: [sniffles] Oh.  I wanna hug you, Denise!


D: So many hugs, yeah?


C: Yes!


All: Mmm.


D: And I think that’s a useful trauma thing for a lot of people– to be able to look, literally  look. It can be hard for some folks to conceptualize their inner child.


C: mm-hmm.


D: And I think sometimes using those childhood pictures, those visuals really, really can, it can help. It can give you something tangible to connect to.


J: Hmm.


D:  to say, like this child was put in situations that maybe weren’t beneficial for them. And it wasn’t their fault and they’ve turned into this fucked badass adult and I love that.


C: That is awesome. It’s really awesome. It’s a way of, yeah, of healing that inner child, doing the things that you wish you could have done back then that you wish have been given in the space to do.  The encouragement to do, and now you can look back and say, OK, little me, here we are, we’re doing it, it’s beautiful.


D: We’ve arrived, we are in the pool.


C: Right, yeah, we are in the pool! [laughs] Absolutely absolutely.


J: Yes, and awake in the pool and enjoying the water and our skin and just the sun. I’m just..I can feel it right now. It’s a horribly gloomy day here, right? Feel the sun.


C: Mmm.


J: Wow, OK I’m gonna pull myself together and as, as a human being, as we all are in this pandemic, how has it affected your embodiment practices?




D: Oh my goodness, you know. Every aspect of the pandemic has just been such a clusterfuck in so many ways, and just such a clusterfuck and it feels almost inappropriate to think about the ways that I’ve been able to use some of the clusterfuck in useful ways. You know, it’s, it’s an immensely privileged thing to be able to say, it’s an immensely privileged way to be able to, you know, go to work in my office one day and brought my computer up on a bed in my apartment and be able to just work from home the next day and to be able to do that. It was an incredible privilege that clearly I’m still somewhat uncomfortable with. But I was able to use that time working from home just in that, like, second bedroom that I was using as a closet that then became an office. I used a lot of that space to explore my body. So the original setup was, I was sitting on an old computer chair with my computer in the bed. And then I said this freaking hurts. I’m gonna get a yoga ball. THis was in, like, April of last year. So I got a yoga ball. And I sit on the yoga ball. And I’m like, I wonder, if you bounce on the yoga ball? Bouncy, bouncy, bouncy, bouncy. I learned, yes, I can bounce on the yoga ball. I probably shouldn’t do telehealth sessions on the yoga ball, because the first session I did on it, my client said immediately, are you sitting on a yoga ball?


C and J: [laugh]


D: And I said I am, and she said, I can see the gentle sway and I said I can’t do that anymore but good to know. Thank you for letting me know about that, but it opened up this, you know, you can bounce, you can plank. And at that point I was getting all of these Joyn ads. And for those of us who have not gotten the Joyn ads, Joyn is a HAES-oriented fitness subscription service. And they were just embedding in the back of my mind and as I’m continuing to work from home in this room, my husband is working from home downstairs at our kitchen table. This was just my space. So I thought I’m gonna turn on some music and maybe dance on the ball seated. And a couple of weeks later, I said, can you do a sit up? And I’m asking myself these questions as if I am a toddler. You know that is going back to the inner child thing, and I’m testing it, testing and testing it. And I can dance seated on the ball. I can do a sit up. Maybe three weeks of that. I said you’re signing up for Joyn. So I did. Using that, you know, well, this is a  10 by 10 room that I’m using for so many different things, but using this space for me, for my body was this really transformative, really new experience and it ended up happening that I ended up totally rearranging the room, totally moving everything around so I was no longer using the bed. And it cleared this space that I could use for Joyn classes for just dancing around in the room for just bouncing on the ball, which I still do when on a phone session. They can’t see the gentle sway. But the pandemic created this space for my body. And on one hand it’s been a really transformative experience. On the other hand, it’s been the most privileged experience that I, I’m still unpacking.


C and J: Mmmm.


J: Oh my goodness.


C: I absolutely understand that. I personally think that embodiment has to involve acknowledging your privilege. So I, I really appreciate your doing that. I think that acknowledging all the big aspects of yourself, all of these intersections within yourself is a really important step of embodiment. I  also have that. I am having that experience ’cause we’ve been in the pandemic for fucking forever, it feels like at this point. But I also and I have a lot of acknowledgement and some guilt and from tons of gratitude for the fact that I’ve been very privileged during this pandemic too. And I really feel like, I don’t know if, it, It’s, uh, only because of that, and it’s not just because of the pandemic. It’s also because I had a kid during the pandemic, but like it’s been a really important time for me to come home to my body in a lot of different ways. And I also…we;ve been friends on Facebook for like a while. Probably, like, basically since I moved here and I loved watching your journey of embracing your body and in movement, right, and learning to enjoy moving your body that way it’s, it’s been really, really great to be able to watch that and I also have had that same experience. I really like moving my body and I think…and now I’m just talking, but I think kind of coming to that place where I had two kids in 14 months. I went through a shit-ton of grief because I had two kids in 15 months or 14 months. And recognizing that my body was never whatever I thought it was going to be or whatever I wanted to be. Once I got out of that place of grief then I was able to move with joy and I, I was wondering how that worked for you because you said that you grew up with very rigid gender roles around movement around, around this, you know who you are, what you are, and what you’re doing. Did you have a place of grief before you were able to find joy in, in moving your body? Just wondering.


D: Oh so very much and to realize that grief was what that was such an experience, ’cause I remember, don’t wait. This was before COVID, actually going to my therapist’s office and saying, all right I gotta run this one by you. When I can normally go to the driving range and just stand there and get quiet and pay attention and focus. Be in my body. I can usually do that, but this one particular day they were running this youth golf camp on the driving range. You know that they had blocked off just for the kids and I was just  in this super triggered fight or flight and I could not figure it out and I’m describing this and she says, “that’s grief.”  That’s great for you to know the fact that just discovering this, that those years didn’t happen, and the gratitude of it happening now, and grief and gratitude are so deeply intertwined. I think in general, but grief and gratitude are so deeply intertwined in my own personal experience of embodiment, and it sounds like so much in yours as well. Because to truly appreciate where the the path that I’m on, I don’t want to see where I’m going or where I’ve arrived at, ’cause this arrival thing doesn’t exist, it does not but to appreciate the journey like you have to grieve so much and they are just so powerfully linked, I think, on this embodiment path.


C: I’ve never thought of grief and gratitude as being linked, and that is, ooh! That’s a journal topic.  I mean that. But as soon as you said that, intrinsically, I was like, oh yeah, of course they are. Wow, that’s really something that’s really powerful yeah.


D: And I could talk about the intersection of grief and gratitude for hours and it would derail the hell out of this, but it is such a powerful, it is such a powerful intersection.


C and D: [laugh]


J: It’s like the duality of things, or the…or…umm… that we rarely are experiencing one individual thing at any time, as if we’re some sort of, I don’t know, computer program and also that’s not how I use computers anyway. I have 1000 tabs open and like seven programs and like you know that’s more reality. And, and talking about this embodiment, your embodiment journey. I’m curious, uhm, If there is a time or moment when you feel most embodied and what lights you up about that?




D: Definitely being outside. You know, before I had really learned about my own body and I was still only applying all this knowledge I had to other folks and their bodies, I remember thinking, OK, and gosh, this can be my public apology. I remember thinking that the people who did yoga poses in the corner on breaks from classes were being really performative about it. I was like, oh, we get it, you do yoga. And so this is, I guess, my public apology too. Not understanding that because I wasn’t there yet and these people were just so embodied and so in tune with what their bodies needed and they were giving themselves that and I just had no idea and now I notice it to myself when I’m outside. When I’m in the shower, I think outside and in the shower are such wonderful places ’cause there’s such intense sensory experiences. You can feel, you know, like I mentioned earlier, the sun, the wind, even like the little beads of sweat in your folds as they come up, which I think most folks don’t think of as a positive experience. But it is such a part of being in your body, noticing you know where am I uncomfortable? Where am I irritated? Where am I sweating? Where am I really comfortable? Where does this chair like feel good in my back, feel bad in my back, you know when you’re in the shower, the feeling of the water, the like little clump of hair when you have long hair that just slides down your body and you’re like oh, but it’s just such a sensory experience. And all of those things I feel so in my body when I’m really noticing those sensory experiences.


J:  I, uh, the phrase embodied sense in just came to mind like these tiny little things. I was, I’m in Brooklyn right now and I was just thinking about how it feels like a sweat lodge here to me because I’m so used to now being in New Mexico again without any humidity, or at least I mean nothing compared to this. And like just going to like the pharmacy and back. But I did the other day. I, I came back and within like one minute of being back in the apartment there was like sweat dripping to my chest and there was like one over on my arm and just I actually took a moment to notice like normally I would like wipe it away and I did eventually but it was like this like slow trickle like something going on. Oh, and just that, this is reminding me, what you said at the very beginning, but it’s like all the different ways in which we notice being in our bodies, that even if they’re hard things to notice, even if they’re weird or gross like they’re just body. It’s just like when we talk about life, life is hard. Like why make it harder? Like bodies are weird. Why make it weird? Or why are we told to make it weirder for ourselves like it’s, it’s already weird and I feel like weird can be a wonderful thing like in noticing, like, noticing quirks and and recognizing them as self. And uhm, like a real yeah, the word self is really like sitting with me today. Chavonne, when you were talking about, uh, journal topic, we’re always talking about this, by the way, like thinking about this intersection of gratitude and grief. That to me sounds like looking deeply at the self. Like acknowledging something that can feel really challenging. I used to find grief not challenging, but gratitude really challenging. It was like that activated my fight or flight to even engage in gratitude like directed at myself very specifically, like, to like recognize my accomplishments or my presence having some meaning for myself or someone else is those kinds of things I never considered that there was some grief to do. There was some processing and reflection to consider about why I would not be grateful for myself, to myself, about myself. Anything like that and those were things I was taught and I can unlock if I learned it, I can unlearn it. So I was really sitting with the self and gratitude and grief and how unlearning is an honest exploration of I mean, so many things, but like really thinking about it as an exploration of, of these things. Like you know, I said what lights you up and like I feel lit up by considering exploring them. [laughs]. Like that transferred over here immediately. Thank you for that.


C: Mm-hmm. Absolutely. Do you have a daily embodiment practice and if you do, what would you recommend is an accessible way for everyone to be able to do what you do?


D: So for me, if I call something a daily practice, it immediately becomes pressure and I stop doing it. Oh, look at that. If I say to myself, if I say to myself, you can do this when you think about it. It becomes much more accessible and I have used this trick. This is kind of an ADHD executive functioning trick that I originally started using. Speaking of bodies being weird, I originally started using ’cause I couldn’t remember to brush my fucking teeth because I thought you had to do it, you had to do it in the morning or at night or both or obviously like I thought there were specific times and if you didn’t do those times you could not brush your teeth. And then I realized what is stopping me from brushing my teeth when I notice my toothbrush? Umm so I started doing that and I have basically taken that and applied it to my embodiment practice because that empowers me to do it in this incredibly low to no pressure way. I don’t feel the need to give myself shit about it, almost it’s, hey, you’re in the shower, how does that feel? How does the water feel on your skin? Would you like to put your face under the water? Okay, maybe not today. How does it feel to put your leg up on the side of the tub to wash yourself, like how do these things feel? Or if I’m driving to work, oh, you’re sitting in the car and you know you’re feeling this and you feel this on your skin and you feel your butt in the seat and your elbow on the side. And using the moments that I have for me and I would recommend this to folks who struggle with executive dysfunction especially. Use the time that you have rather than putting pressure on yourself to have a daily practice, ’cause some folks find that to be really pressuring.

And I know I’m one of them. And if you are also one of them, give yourself permission to do it when you think about it.


C: That sounds great.


C and J: [laugh]


J: Okay! My ADHD brain was like, thank you so much! [laughs] Brushing my teeth used to be one of the biggest struggles and it really was like if I found myself in bed and I had forgotten to brush my teeth. How to get myself to go back there? How? Like, and it was, I was in the bathroom and I had noticed the toothbrush, but I’m like, it must come last! It has to come last, it’s the last thing before I go to bed. Last thing left and if I changed the order of things it would just, like, evaporate from my mind. And then I’m like,  but that already happened. I’m in bed now. It was, like, such a hard thing. I’ve never, I, I suddenly, I’m beginning to realize, as I talked to more people with ADHD and think about this more is just realizing…umm, how something that seems so simple to everyone else. And this is reminding me of just like embodiment in general, but something that feels so simple like on its face, that the surface is not so simple. Like the whole inner dialogue that I would have about this simple act was incredibly complex and touched all sorts of areas of trauma. In life and just like, umm, overthinking and anxiety. I mean, I can go on and suggest really relating to that, that’s…So thank you for that!


C: [laughs]


J: I mean, other people listening were having [unintelligible], but I was like thanks!


C: No, that’s really acceptable.


D: It works in so many ways. I’ve caught myself, you know, as you describe, I’ve caught myself out of the shower. Staring at this bottle of lotion and wanting desperately to moisturize. And just being frozen and I would go back and forth. Just moisturize, just moisturize. And I would get into this back and forth with myself of why can’t you just fucking moisturize?  It’s right there, which is ultimately useless. So one day I decided I’m gonna, I’m gonna flip this on its head and trick it. And I said, you know, if you just pump one pump of lotion and put it on your body, you’re gonna be able to get up. You’re gonna feel like you can get out. And all of a sudden I pumped the lotion. I put it on my skin and I got up and I went about my day.


J: That’s awesome, that’s really…and this notion of pressure obligation I was hearing in there. I, I call these other people reasons or check boxes that have somehow found their way into my brain. Like once the build up of all these reasons of why I should do it. They’re in front of me.  It’s like between me and the task now. I just, I can’t do it. It, it’s given such a beautiful explanation of this and like, like, where it’s like I have to simplify it into something that I can just do right now that has nothing to do with any of these other thoughts that I have otherwise I’m just gonna stay frozen or skip it.  Umm, loving this conversation so far.


C: Yeah.


J: Obviously I’m getting a lot out of it to have all my emotions come to the surface. Denise, what does the rest of us mean to you? The second half of the podcast name, and how do you identify within the rest of us? We’d also love for you to identify our privileges in this context here, too.




D: You know when I think of the rest of us, I think of the notion of being just regular ass people, just regular everyday people. The box is so narrow to be a human and so many of us either don’t fit or don’t want to fit or have completely kicked the side of the box and outside of that box is where I feel the most at home with folks who are willing to accept and explore and learn about just being a regular ass person and not feeling like there’s the one true way to do it, like you mentioned, other people reasons, but there’s not, you know, those don’t have to apply to it. In, in my own life, you know, on one hand, there’s this white lady with this advanced degree who’s got this white collar professional job and is in a lot of ways tasked with holding up the walls of the shit ass system. And then there’s the actual, like, how do I interact with that?

How do, how do I unpack that and work to destroy that and use the completely unearned power that society has non consensually vested in me? And not, you know, not, not use It, but use it to destroy itself. That was complete word salad.


J: No, it’s great, no! [laughs]


C: It’s great. We, we were there. We were right with you. [laughs]


D: ’cause it is, it’s unearned social power.


C: Mm-hmm.


D: It’s, it’s unearned social power and I have discussions with clients around this type of stuff frequently and about how some folks who have immense amounts of privilege really resent folks who have immense amounts of privilege. Who use it to rail against the system rather than enforce it? Oh, uh. A great example is teachers. There’s some…I’m sure you guys are familiar with people saying white dudes with an axe to grind, become cops, white ladies with axes to grind, become teachers and…


C: No, I’ve never heard that!


J: I’ve never heard that.


D: OK, so I’m glad to share that with you because it obviously…not all teachers, but it’s one of those places that the system is so upheld and privilege is wielded so violently and as is social work. And to be cognizant of that and to use it in a way to, to demolish the systems of power rather than to enforce them. If that’s not what you’re doing, why are you a social worker?


J: OK, I’ve never heard that and…


C: Okay, me neither, and also one of my best friends is a teacher. But she’s someone who’s trying to dismantle from the inside and that’s probably why we’re such good friends, yeah. [laughs]


D: [laughs] Well, my dad was, my dad was a teacher and it was my first window into seeing how schools, seeing how schools operate differently for different students and so seeing that from when you’re gosh…I started going to his school after I got out of school when I was only like 14 and so I’ve been watching that unfold and operate and I’ve grown up with it. And you know, it’s not to rag on teachers per se, but it’s to say it’s a, it’s a place where people go to wield privilege as a weapon. And social work is a place to go to wield privilege of the weapon and it is just so incumbent upon those of us who want to dismantle the system to be here and to show up because not everybody is.


C: It sounds like you really practice from a radical social work perspective, and that’s not a lot of social workers out there, yeah. Sadly it is not that I wish there were more.


D: Join us! Be one of us!


C: Yes! Fuck shit up!


C and D: [laugh]


C: Yeah, So what would you say are your, uh, rest of us, like things that make you feel like someone that is within the idea of the rest of us.


D: You know, growing up in poverty, growing up with the really rigid gender expectations, growing up with knowing, that knowing that access to the world is not for you. It’s not for you ’cause it’s for other people. It’s for the thin, it’s for the pretty, it’s for the people whose parents have a car. It’s for the people who don’t have to move every year. It’s, you know, it’s not for you. The world is not for you and taking them back while still saying you know the rest of us are people, we are people. These are regular ass folks, we are people and the world is ours. It is not strictly the domain of just upper income white people.


J: Uhm, this reflection about radical social work. About how taking back being a person is a radical, like, seems like against the status quo radical thing. Uhm, just really feeling like it should not be like I…I desperately want to have a button that I can press, that’s lik, make it make sense.


D: [laughs]


J: Why can’t regular ass people just get the things that they have asked for or worked for. Umm, and just even like before or even beyond that without having to do a single thing other than existing. Like, why can’t they just have what they need? It always makes me think of billionaires doing absolutely nothing. Uhm, except getting more money.


D: The true leeches in society.


J: Yeah, on the backs of people actually doing the work who are these regular asss people who are never gonna see or touch or even dream of anything like that? It’s making me mad and also making me think about my own profession where there is so much privilege in dietetics and nutrition and wellness in getting to decide what health is, enforcing health, reinforcing how umm, uh, describing health, defining health. Like, I could keep going, like who gets to do that? The all capitals, THE nutrition expert. The colonialization of it. How most of it is actually things that we already knew before there was the scientific method. But because we’ve done it through that method through that direction, but it’s ours now, I was just hearing like the ownership of that, like the billionaire he’s like, this is my money. I’m like, but you didn’t do anything. Like it’s also like, this is science, but you didn’t do anything. It was already there. You found your way to like, show that this is how we do it now. But, like, it was already there. And people already exist, lived experience already exists. Not needing to prove our existence or perform to match norms, which I’m starting to hear.  In my having an amazing training yesterday and there were these videos that we watched that was norms and ideals are actually the same thing, and I’ve actually never connected that before. Norms, ideals, norms, ideals. I’m like, oh, I get why ideals are just upholding the most privileged of people and also, how norms are a thing that, like, trap us and get us conditioned. But I never thought about them being the same. Holding up, I mean it seems really obvious that I’m saying of course, but like holding up a system also generates the norms.


C: Right.


J: But who gets like, why do they get to decide the norms. It’s just because of power dynamics, like everyone should be able to decide what’s ideal or the norm, heavy emphasis on these air quotes here, for themselves. Uhm, that’s another thing that I wish that…so I call my inner child, Jenni K. That’s what my mom used to call me when I was very young. Uhm, I would like to tell Jenni K that it’s OK to just be yourself, whatever is ideal and normal for me is…it just, it like, it just feels really matter of fact, right? All that while feeling a lot of sensation in my body, but is not afforded, allowed, all these other things, and power and privilege dynamics.


C: Mm-hmm!


J: Ooh! I think I have, umm, 100 journal topics.


C: Journal prompts?


D and C: [laugh]


J: . I don’t even know if I have the words for all of them yet yeah, but I’m feeling something like brewing or stirring in me.


C: Mm-hmm. Yeah, yeah. So what do you think are the marginalized populations that you are a member of and what privileged populations do you think you’re a part of as well?


D: The biggest privilege identity that I occupy is obviously whiteness. It has opened plenty of unearned doors, and it’s important to me to keep that door propped open for everyone behind me, not just other white women. And you know, the privilege of being able to access education, being able to access, you know, advanced education. Being able to, I touched on this earlier, as far as being able to just, poof, switch to work from home.


C: Hmm.


D: The… and it’s odd as a person who grew up in poverty to now occupy this, like, middle class, white collar identity and it’s a really common therapy topic. Folks who grew up in poverty transitioning as adults to this middle class background to this sound middle class identity.  This middle class world, not knowing the norms, not knowing the language, constant code switching, and I’m using my customer service voice right now! It’s, it’s not my New York accent. It’s not my, you know, private behind the scenes voice, but it’s instinctive. Because you have that. You know when you occupy this privileged identity of like professional white lady, you have to fit into it, but then you don’t think but then you do. And you know, obviously, being a straight woman, being a straight white woman, being married to a straight white man who never gets pulled over even though he drives like a maniac, those kinds of things.


J: [laughs]


D: You know it’s, it’s access to a lot of unearned social capital. And then in the same token, you know the marginalizations of, you know, moving through the world as a fat person, moving through the world as a woman, moving through the world as someone who does have to kind of put on their customer service voice and not use, you know, that vernacular that they grew up with. It’s, you know, it’s the intersectionality of all of it, it’s, it’s all you know, it’s being cognizant of it all the time. It’s just so necessary to, I think, be a person in the world.


C: Mm-hmm. Absolutely.


J: The recognition of your regular ass-ness.


C: [laughs]


J: That’s just something [laughs] that came to mind!


All: [laugh]


J: Okay, here we go. I’m thinking about your work, Denise. And I’m really excited about this question because I have no idea what the answer is. What is complex PTSD and how does it relate to bodies and embodiment?




D: So we’re gonna start a little bit before that and we’re gonna start with defining trauma. So trauma is, it’s an incident that…there are two kinds of trauma. There’s single incident trauma and there’s complex trauma. A single incident trauma, we’re not talking about severity, but frequency, really a single incident. Trauma is something like a car accident, witnessing a violent crime, a home invasion, a fire, umm, those kinds of single incidents, and those can all cause PTSD for folks. And PTSD is, you know, some of the hallmarks are re-experiencing flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, a lot of fight or flight. And that’s a lot of what we see with single incident trauma and with complex trauma. Complex trauma is more repeated incidents that they may, they may not have the big T trauma of being, bam, this one horrifying incident.  But it’s trauma by 1000 paper cuts. It’s the often… it’s childhood neglect, often it’s domestic violence over a long period of time, and folks who’ve been displaced from their homes and are seeking asylum. Folks who are refugees, folks whose homes are being impacted by war, by  genocide. A lot of generational trauma as a Jewish woman. You know the idea of being in a diaspora? There’s so much that goes into complex trauma and complex PTSD. It affects kind of the sense of self.

You know, and it really ties into a lot of what we’ve been talking about, ’cause a lot of folks with complex PTSD didn’t get a chance to learn who their self was or could be or would be or is. And a lot of folks who experience it as adults, kind of lose that sense of self throughout. You know, having to leave your home, or domestic violence, or any of these over a long period of time, traumas. And when you work with complex trauma, a lot of what you’re working with is supporting people in finding their self. Figuring out who that person is. You know, not, who would I be if this never happened to me, but who am I now? Who am I? How do I move in the world? How do I learn to have healthy relationships? How do I learn to feel safe or for some folks feeling safe is never going to be accessible, how do I feel safer?


C: Well, it, it makes me go back to our podcast title. Not everyone who experiences CPTSD, obviously. meet this criteria, but I would think that a lot of people that do are within that realm of the rest of us because they experience homophobia, transphobia, racism, anti-semitism, ableism all you know so many isms and I would imagine that’s the way to really [unintelligible] complex PTSD as well.


D: And it is not currently in the DSM, which the DSM is, is its own problematic animal, and because of that it is, it is challenging to find people who know what they’re talking about regarding that or…and the shame that comes from a lot of those traumatic events, particularly experienced young. The shame leads us to believe or can lead us to believe, well, it’s just me. There’s just something wrong with me, I’m broken, I’m terrible. This is all happening for me because I’m terrible. And that’s just the way it’s going to be because I’m terrible and to learn that., gosh, I’m not terrible. I’m a human who is learning how to deal with terrible things. It’s, you know, folks who experience homophobia and transphobia. You are not experiencing that because there’s something wrong with who you are. You are experiencing that because there’s something wrong with the world we live in.


J and C: Yes.


D: Yeah, just to a lot of folks with this, this kind of trauma, look at it and they say, well, I’ve never been to war. I’ve never, you know, been in a horrific car accident. Like, what happens to other people is so much worse. And that’s when we get into, it’s not the big T or the little T of the trauma. It’s the legacy that it leaves. It’s not the big tear. It’s the infinitely developmental rewiring our brains that it can do. And to folks struggling with that who think, you know, maybe I don’t meet full criteria for PTSD, but this is still affecting me. It’s real and you deserve to explore it and unpack it, even if it doesn’t meet some criteria in some book, ’cause that book doesn’t know you. That book has nothing to do with your lived experiences. Often that book describes things based on how they impact the folks around them, rather than how they impact the actual person experiencing it. Looking at you, ADHD criteria!


J: yes!


D: That’s my yeah, yes. But just to know that it’s not about, you know, ranking a hierarchy of what happened, but the legacy that it left on us


C: Wow, that’s really good.


J: I could hear a real kindness in there, like attempting time to ourselves and and also just thinking of the DSM and ADHD criteria like who are the privileged unearned social status individuals who got to make those decisions and get to be the ones like pushing their perspective of those things on people instead of listening to them where they are was slightly enraging me under the surface as well.


C: Mmm. Mm-hmm. In talking about supporting those getting back in relationship with their bodies and you know, working toward embodiment, what is your take on intuitive eating or the health at every size movement? Where do you think they both fall short?




D: They are a wonderful introduction to exploring embodiment. They are, the easy to digest, like  here. Have you thought about it this way? I’ve found myself able to begin those conversations. Open those doors with people who have been just balls deep in fat phobia and diet culture and affected so strongly by it.


J and C: [laugh]


C: Sorry, I love that you said balls deep.


J: [laughs]


C: I’m sorry, I’m listening, I just started exploding inside.


All: [laugh]


C: OK I’m sorry. I love it. Fucking balls deep!


J: Please don’t stop, yeah.


All: [laugh]


D: You know, it’s unfortunate, but because of, you know, the crappy capitalist society that we lived in, they have now both been essentially sold is another fucing diet. Like how many times do we think somebody is at least on the basic boat of understanding, that health is not a moral imperative , that all bodies are good bodies, that there’s no wrong way to have a body. And then we find out that they’re selling a fucking diet. You know? So, a lot of what I use from the intuitive eating principles are not about specific foods, but about more of the embodiment aspect of it. Uhm, one of the things I like to explore with folks a lot, especially people who’ve been parents because it’s easier to make this connection, is think about your infant. They know when they’re hungry, they know when they’re full. We all knew that at some point. The world fucked it up, but we all knew that at some point ,we all knew. I would really like to nourish my body now and my body feels nourished. I would like something sweet, hot, cold, whatever. And the world has fucked that up. And so they are wonderful entry points. But they fall short because of the…they end up becoming just another way to enforce the dominant paradigm of healthy is everybody’s goal, and we all do have the same goal and your goal should be the same as my goal and health for you looks the same as it does for me, and none of that’s true.


J and C: Mm-hmm.


C: I agree completely.


D: Health is about so many different things, it’s…and you know, I keep going back to sensory needs because they are so important like I’m a crunchy fiend and so I will occasionally sit there and eat crunchy things when I am not technically hungry. But my body is like, you want the crisp. You want the crisp and I’m going to give my body the crisp because it’s asking for it and I’m sure there are plenty of HAES-aligned folks who would say is that really pursuing your health goals. Yes, ’cause my body wants crunchy.


J: Ooh, sensory satisfaction as an Ave to healing and health is a really incredible perspective to take on that. Well, I’m trying to phrase what’s going on in my head here, but there yeah, this uhm, robotic everyone fall in line attitude that it can, even it’s not just like them being these concepts, these paradigms being co opted and used in a way that’s the opposite of the original intention. But also that being in, oh man, maybe I’m gonna lose my thought here. When you… when you were talking about, uhm, sensory things. It was making me think of ADHD. It was making me think of anxiety. How tactile expressions of our inner environment help release it instead of it being contained? Building up something that we get stuck in, in some sort of loop. Uhm, how valuable it is to like crunch on ice. Yeah, I know every dentist out there is like don’t do that. I’m crunching on ice, on my favorite thing.


D: yes!


C: I love it.


J: Leaving tension in the jaw and all these muscles and tendons and ligaments that exist here, it’s such a natural place for it to go. And also, like, just also feels like a natural place for it to release. There is no time of day to do that except when we feel like it, like, releasing tension in the jaw when we don’t feel that tension in the jaw isn’t gonna do anything. So honoring how we feel in a moment sounds pretty darn embodied.


C: Mm-hmm. Absolutely.


J: The notice, like what you’re talking about there being the noticing the–even of things that feel gross or weird or, you know, the, the unclear. Exploring them anyway, that’s something that’s kind of sitting with me so far in this conversation, Denise, and I think it’s a really special kind of space that you hole. Even if something doesn’t feel perfectly clear, it can still be looked at. It’s something I’ve just, like, been sitting with as you’re talking that we don’t have to have, like, a bright and shiny definition that has like perfect lines of the letters and like is in these like you know in in lines all in a row like it can be really messy. So, everyone listening, I’m showing them my notes. My notes are messy and all, all over the place right now because that’s how it feels. Interesting to explore the messiness in this conversation with you. So thank you for holding that space. It’s really like it’s really resonating over here.


D: Thank you for articulating that so well, yeah.


C: The word that keeps popping up for me is radical, which is a word I love anyway. Like, I want to say it all the time. Thinking about radical as you were talking earlier. Like, does every profession have a radical aspect that they’re kind of doing the work? like, are there…I love teachers, so, like, are there radical teachers?


D: [laughs]


C: You know, if they are trying to dismantle from the inside. Who are doing such incredible work during this fucking pandemic. Are there radical, you know, I know that there’s radical librarians because I know one of them. Radical banking, you know, thinking of micro loans.


D and J: Mmm.


C: And with all this…and like even the idea of…I am going to eat crunchy ’cause that’s why my body needs? That’s radical nourishing of your body. Like I’m not hungry but I really need some I don’t know, it’s Cheetos. [laughs] Whatever, it’s, like, that is a radical way of taking care of you and your needs. I really like that.


J: Mmm.


D: Thank you and yeah, like there’s radicals doing this work in every profession you can possibly think of.


C: Mm-hmm.


D: Shit, I was helping a client look for a trauma informed dentist recently because of, you know, discomfort with having someone standing over you, discomfort with having someone touching you.


C: Huh.


D: And there are dentists who can help people meet those needs. There are people out there doing the work in every profession.


C: Radical dentistry. I love that no and so many people are terrified of dentists and I just…that’s really remarkable.


J: Yeah, oooh.


C: Radical food, radical dentists, radical, radical radical! I love it! [laughs]


J: It’s a great word. We’ve talked about a lot of big and small picture perspectives in this conversation. What do you think we can all do to make a difference with what we have learned?




D: You know this might sound real elementary, but it’s not. Your body is yours. It doesn’t belong to your family, it doesn’t belong to your partner.  It doesn’t belong to your kids, it belongs to you and whatever you can do to support that, whether it’s you know, noticing the sensory things or feeding your body in a pleasurable way, or healing from trauma so that you can experience your body experiencing pleasure, whether that’s sexually or some other way, it’s your body. It’s yours and there are so many ways to be kind to it. Besides what we see on those toxic positivity memes. There are so many ways to be kind to yourself. There’s so many ways to explore your body starting from something as simple as I think I’m gonna step outside. I think I’m, let’s go even more elementary than that. I notice I have to pee. I’m going to go to the bathroom rather than sit there uncomfortable. It is my body. I recognize I have a need to pee, I’m gonna go. I can do that. I have this autonomy over my body. I can recognize that sensation.


J and C: Hmm.


D: You know it starts with the most elementary body processes and flipping the script on how we talk about it. I like probably many folks out there. I’m a nail biter and have been since before I can remember and since before I can remember it has been if you don’t bite your nails for this long, you can get a manicure, getting a nail polish, whatever. Some sort of reward for not doing a thing for an arbitrary period of time. But a way to practice embodiment and something like that is, ’cause it’s gonna feel so good when your cuticles aren’t bleeding. It’s gonna feel so good when your nail bed starts to grow back, ’cause I am a serious nail biter like we are not talking little messing with here. We are talking bleeding and painful. And if you’re struggling with something like that, think about it in terms of, how does this feel? How am I experiencing this?

How does this feel in my body? Do I have to berate myself if I go 9 days and then on the 10th I bite my nails? No. I can look at it and I can say, look how well it’s healing. Look how much less bleeding it is. Look how much less pain I’m in. Look at how much less MRSA I’m going to give myself from touching things while I have open, like, open wounds. You know, looking at it in the really, really like nitty gritty of how is my body and myself? How are, how am I experiencing this?


J: Yeah, oh, that’s good and I think you talking about kindness really makes me think of what you were talking about complex PTSD and giving yourself that kindness and saying like you said, maybe I didn’t have this, like, very large event, but I can be kind and acknowledge that I have been through trauma with these kind of papercuts as you said. Like, I think that’s a really kind way of looking at your history, really kind all around.


J: Hmm.


D: Yeah, kindness goes so well with embodiment because it’s hard to be in your body when you’re actively railing against it.


C: Oh yeah, oh that’s good. Ooh! I had to dance for a minute. Ooh! Okay. [laughs]


D: Oh, I had another slightly grossone talking about bodies being real and gross.


C: I love gross! Be gross.


D: If, if you, if you pee a little when you cough, it is OK to just buy the pads. It is OK, uh, you do not, you do not have to say I shouldn’t need to do this. You get to say this is what’s going on in my body and I get to be comfortable even while something I’m uncomfortable with is happening.


C: yeah.


J: Ooh, the, I’m hearing this…so I, I think it was Jess that we interviewed last that talked about not wanting to use word practice, but the devotion is really what talking about. So I was just hearing what you were saying as really devoted to your body and I’m starting to hear this in a new way. Like, like it’s a constant, it is a keep intentionally looking in this way, but I’m also hearing, UM, like if we take away the norms and the ideals. The cloud embodied conversation with ourselves and ask ourselves what we need right now and right now and right now like what I’ve really been hearing so far, and what you’re saying, Denise. I mean like it’s resonating in me.  Like I’m about, like, ding!


C and D: [laugh]


J:  Like this is how I’m feeling in my body right now, but like with ADHD, so I’ve had a lot of urinary tract infections, even a kidney infection, because that I do have. I have had interoception. I have noticed when I have to pee at some point in my life and because of pressure to perform and accomplish, and there’s only one more hour till the work day is over.

But somehow three more hours ended up being worked in these sorts of moments. But there were it felt, it’s just like you’re talking about brushing teeth. It feels like there are these specific moments in which to honor ourselves and then we, like, have to abandon it ’cause it’s too late even in small tiny moments and situations. I’m just realizing how present that still is for me. Even right now, almost 39 years old, like right now, just really getting how I would deny my body signal to get something done.


C: Mm-hmm.


J: But I would come beat myself up for it later long before I would address it in real time and I’m just realizing how that keeps me from being fully embodied like right now in this moment. That’s why it’s, like, ringing me like a bell. Uh, it also feels like what embodied sensations are offering to us. They’re like, ding! And we’re like, stop vibrating. I’m doing something, right?  It’s just like when phones or computers annoying the way by making sounds and disrupting my experience. I’m realizing right now that I have turned my embodied signals into feeling like annoyances when they’re like the most sacred of messages that I am getting so much more important than seeing an alert for an email or the time on a clock. Or, uhm, it’s also new to me recently in being virtual as a dietician, I’ve been seeing everyone for an hour. I’m like oh therapists do it for 50 minutes like that’s their standard, but what we do is for an hour. Well, l come to find out I’m the only one doing that.


C: [laughs]


J: I’m like, oh my gosh, I need 10 to 15 minutes each. I like… I need to be able to transition and process and do my notes in the moment, not later and all these kinds of things, it’s just realizing how much we keep ourselves from like just saying this like I keep saying it a lot this week ’cause I am changing everything that I’m doing about this. Because I deserve those 10 minutes.  I deserve to be able to support myself and listen to my sacred messages while encouraging clients to do the same. We all deserve to be embodied and human. We don’t have to be workhorses.


D: Yeah, it’s not something that…I’m sorry.


J: No, go ahead.


D: It’s not something that we have to earn the right. The concept of earning jams us up so, so badly. We get it just by being human. There’s a meditation on Joyn that I like and most of it is focusing on, I am a living thing, and that’s just so simple, but so not simple.


C: Yeah, yeah.


D: We don’t have to earn it. We are living things.


C: Oh my God.


J: Mmm. We don’t have to earn it and we don’t have to pay for it either. I, I feel like…OK. I could let myself get away, like, my already…like, my adrenaline senses were actually coming back up to the surface like you’re right, I don’t have to earn it, but I do have to pay for it and like but no no. I’m gonna just disrupt that right now. No, we don’t. We don’t have to earn or pay for any.


D: yeah.


C: Mm-hmm.


J: We just get to exist, ask questions, and answer them. We don’t have to wait for the answer. I’m just realizing how much embodiment is not just questioning and curiosity, but also the answers themselves. And of course the process in between. But just like really thinking about, have I been answering any of my own questions? I, right now I actually don’t know.  The answer… I’m sure that I have.


C and J: [laugh]


J: My first response is to be hard on myself and say no immediately and be like super dramatic. I can wait. But what I’m getting right now? My, my therapist right now would say, Jenn, can you just stop for a minute, you just, like, stop for a minute. I’m like OK. And she’s like don’t say that shit to yourself. So I’m not gonna say that shit for myself and what I’m really getting what,what I’m getting is that it takes time, energy focused, lack of distraction, true presence and awakeness with ourselves to answer our own questions. And I’ve just never thought of embodiment as answers before so thank you for that also. I’m really good at asking questions, but I’m, I don’t think I, I don’t think that I have the practice that I thought I did for the answer.


D: And anybody can ask and answer. You don’t have to have the letters, you don’t, the letters behind your name. You don’t have to have credentials, you don’t have to have…There’s no floor, there’s no, there’s no minimum knowledge necessary. We all have bodies. It’s not, oh,  when I peeled this this and this, and when I’ve achieved this, this, and this, then I can be embodied. You can explore it whenever.


C: Yeah, lived experience is experience, it’s valid. It’s absolutely knowledge.


J: This is reminding me of something I just saw on Twitter yesterday that it’s cracking me up and I haven’t shown to like, well, just to [redacted] ’cause he’s the only one physically here with me.

But like I’ve sent it to other people. That it was someone talking about being interviewed and they’re like they had been asked this classic question of can you explain the gap in your resume and they’re like…


C: I saw that. [laughs]


J: Can you explain why there’s a vacancy here at your company? Can you explain why there’s such a high turnover? like thinking about how our response is to eat like that’s how we’re like the…I mean, it’s hilarious to me and also like questions being answered with questions still didn’t answer the first question and in fact, I think legitimizes the first question. Without intending… like the question that wasn’t really us honestly asking ourselves something.


C: Mm-hmm.


J: Uhm wow, OK Denise, I could, we could talk to you all day.


C: We really could. [laughs]


J: Thank you so much for being here with us and as we finish up this episode today. What would you like everyone listening to know about what you’re up to and or how to find you.

And what direction do you see your career and work taking in the future?




D: So I am in private practice in Albuquerque and I’m working mostly with folks who’ve experienced complex trauma who are, are working to build that sense itself to heal that sense of self, to learn that they are not a head on a sack of meat, but they are a person. And one of the things that really happens a lot with complex trauma is we build up this set of survival skills. To survive the trauma, and then when the trauma is over or receding or safety is increasing, even if the trauma is not totally over, we can find ourselves with no healthy skills because these survival, survival skills that we used to survive the trauma, they become obsolete and then we reach that moment of oh shit, everything in my toolbox was appropriate for that situation. And in this situation I am coming up empty. My toolbox doesn’t have anything for a healthy situation. The survival skills that kept me safe are not only obsolete now, but they are often actively detrimental to what I’m trying to do. I need to build skills that can support me rather than skills that kept me safe in this situation, sort of hurting me here. And so that’s what I’m up to, and that’s what I want everyone to know. If you find yourself with a toolbox of obsolete skills that only help in a traumatic situation, you can build new ones. You can build healthy ones. You are not stuck with that toolbox of obsolete skills.


C: Ooof.That’s really powerful.


J: Oooh. Ooh!


C: Thank you so much! [laughs]This has been so great.


J: Yeah!


C: Thank you so, so, so, so much. We love you! We love [unintelligible]


J: We love you!


D: Thank you so much! I love you both!


C: Yay!


J: Yeah! Yeah, thank you for being with us.


C: All right!


J: See you next time!


C: Yay!


D: Thank you for being fabulous.

J: Thank you for listening to season 1 of the Embodiment for the Rest of Us podcast. Episodes will be published every two weeks wherever you listen to podcasts.

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

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

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