EFTROU Season 2 Episode 4 is 1 hour, 52 minutes, and 49 seconds long. (1:52:49)
Chavonne (C): Hello there! I’m Chavonne McClay (she/her).
Jenn (J): And I’m Jenn Jackson (she/her).
C: This is Season 2 of Embodiment for the Rest of Us. A podcast series exploring topics within the 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 and more welcoming place for those living in larger bodies and those historically marginalized who should be centered, listened to, and supported.
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!
J: 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.
C: In addition, the conversations held here are not exhaustive in scope or depth. These topics, these perspectives are not complete and are always in process. These are just highlights! Just like posts on social media or any other podcast, this is just a glimpse.
J: We are always interested in any feedback on this process if something needs to be addressed. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org And now for today’s episode!
J: Welcome to Episode 4 of season 2 of the Embodiment for the Rest of Us podcast. In
today’s episode, we interviewed the spacious and inviting human being, Chelsea Levy. (she/her) about her embodiment journey and nuanced perspective on relational healing and dietetics from a social justice lens.
C: Chelsea is a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor and registered dietitian nutritionist. She earned her Master of Science from Hunter College and completed her dietetic internship at the City of New York (CUNY) School of Public Health. Chelsea utilizes Health at Every Size® (HAES®) principles in her approach to nutrition therapy. She works with individuals struggling with disordered eating and eating disorders, with a focus on weight-inclusive medical nutrition therapy, body image healing, and Intuitive Eating.
J: Chelsea has interest in treating individuals with diabetes, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) along with folks, who are in larger-bodies, and those who are transgender or non-binary. She believes it is vital to provide care relevant to an individual’s culture, ethnicity, and overall identities. Chelsea hosts a collaborative space for the exploration of food and body healing through creativity and compassion.
C: Thank you so much for being here, listening, and holding space with us dear listeners! And now for today’s episode!
J: This second season is so fun and so exciting and that continues today with Chelsea Levy (she/her) who is joining us from Manhattan in New York City. Someone whose deep compassion and relational perspectives inspire us immensely. There are so many things to explore together in conversation and we’re so glad you’re here listening with us. Let’s begin. So Chelsea, how are you doing today?
Chelsea (L): Hi Jenn, hi, Chavonne!
J and C: Hi! We’re so excited you’re here! [laugh]
L: I’m feeling, I’m so happy to be here. I’m honored to be here, thank you for having me. Well, I’m good, I’m, I will say, like, definitely burning the candle on both ends, but right in this moment I’m feeling nourished like energetically. I’m excited. I’m feeling creative and playful. I’m, I’m hydrated and there’s a fan next to me and yeah.
J: All that just started giving you a picture. I love that and you have a Luna who’s jumping on you and jumping away.
L: Luna, the chihuahua here. She’s making little panting sounds you might hear. So, so yeah.
C: Welcome Luna, welcome Chelsea. [laughs]
L: Thank you.
C: Hi! [laughs] Great. As we start this conversation about being aware and awake in our bodies, I’d love to start with asking a centering question about the themes of our podcast and how they occur to you. Can you share with us what embodiment means to you? And what has your embodiment journey been like if you’d like to share?
L: Yeah, before I get started, umm, I just wanna name that today I’m sort of trying on an experiment of coming into this podcast with no preparation, no perfectionistic ideas, and–just to caveat that there’s nothing wrong with preparation. But uhm, in the act of feeling embodiment, I am trying to be as authentic with my thoughts and feelings to bring it into this interview. So to answer your question on, on the shorthand, embodiment to me means being connected to the physical of the body. And, and I guess more extensively, it’s the levels of connection we have in our subtle energy fields, emotion being one of them, emotion moves in our body through energy. How connected are we to our, the way we relate to ourselves and others, emotionally and energetically. How we feel about gravity in our body, in our state. Uhm, sitting and standing and moving, breathing. What does that feel like? How does that, uhh, relate to our mood and, umm, I guess when I pull back even more, I think about the idea of sort of…if this is just getting a little out there, but if the sun didn’t…I mean if the sun didn’t exist, we wouldn’t exist, but we are operating on gravity on this planet and time based on where we are in relation to the sun and so, so much of what we think about is our constructs. So just thinking about, uhm, standards and and society, as we get into more conversation, it’s just these are all constructs. So coming back to the matter, that is carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, we are all made of the same things and we are all connected and we are not separate and how attuned are we to that connection to me is about embodiment. That’s what, uh, embodiment means to me, uhm, yeah.
C: That’s a really, umm–yeah.
J: Umm, yeah. [laughs]
C: Yes, please. [laughs]
J: I felt that, umm, sorry, Chavonne, go ahead.
C: Oh, it’s okay. I felt that, yeah, in my bones. What I was going to say is it feels very grounding, your explanation. Your definition sounds really grounding, but also sounds really physical. I like that, it’s, I guess that’s grounding, too. I don’t know, but I like that it just feels very…the word coming to mind is concrete, but that’s not what I’m thinking of. I really like it. Grounding, I’m just doing stick with grounding, I really, really enjoy that. Thank you, go ahead. [laughs]
J: I was thinking of the word tangible.
C: Yes! Thank you. OK. [laughs]
J: I, I feel like I can reach out and touch what you were saying.
C: Yes, yes.
L: Yeah, I think that’s what was kind of my goal in, in talking about it. And like that stems from the nerdy science education I have, the experiences of yoga that I have, so that’s like the subtle energy, the science and just sort of like the basic term of embodiment being tangible. I wanted to sort of convey how that is experienced as a human being on this earth, for me and the way I see it based on the constructs that are in place.
J: Ooh and, and you know I, I’ve been trying to like have my brain come up with words for me to say about what it’s feeling like in my embodiment and and listening to you and it felt regulating and what you were describing felt like regulating, like whatever is regulating to each of us is embodying. So I was feeling like oh tapping in. So in trying to unlearn and not be so heavily reliant on my nerdy science side, because I could really get in the weeds there.
L: Yeah. [laughs]
J: I sometimes struggle to keep those things as part of my experience and what I was just realizing, just sort of an own, own tension and tug of my own embodied experience as it changes and kind of evolves with me is that whatever regulates each of us is so valid is something that I was hearing in what you’re saying. Like whichever part of what you said feels valid. There’s, I often call this like the woo moment, right? There’s not like a theory or an equation or anything to point to. It’s a set of sensations of umm, textures, tangibleness, grabbable, was sitting with me. Also like not just tangibles, and I can know what it is like in its shape and what’s happening, but also grabbable. Like I can take that over here with myself and I can try that on. OK. And that felt really important. So I was often, when I think of body image, I think of body imaging like a process. It’s continuous work. Like all these images are happening. I was just sort of sitting in a similar place with embodiment or it’s like, I guess I was realizing that my embodiment can feel very static because I’m keeping the technical nerdy stuff from myself ’cause I’m, I’m trying not to sit so perfectly there. And also there’s so much value there that I find regulating like the why and how of things is very regulating for me. So I was just sort of sitting in that and like oh, I’m fine. So I guess I’m trying to say is, it’s, I’m finding a lot of permission in this to be myself. I’m just describing it in a lot of words, but that’s really what I’m sitting with.
L: I love that. Yeah, permission to be embodied. However it is you feel today in this moment because it’s always changing. Energy is always moving. It’s not still or static, even though we can feel stuck or static, we’re always in constant motion or molecules in our body are always moving around. We’re digesting, we’re absorbing, our emotions are changing without always feeling happy or sad, or the nuanced sort of continuum that is, uh, you know emotions. So I love, yeah, that there’s no right or wrong way to embody. Umm, I think about sort of how we participate in society, then create sort of structure that we have to fit into these modes to function. But there is no right or wrong in terms of how we connect or relate to this energetic force that feels, I guess that we experience through our senses in different ways. That’s how I do it.
C: I really love that. Thank you, thank you.
J: Expansive. Permission I’m gonna, I’m gonna add expansive.
C: Very expansive, absolutely. Do you feel comfortable sharing what your own embodiment journey has been like for you so far?
L: Yeah, yeah, definitely. And I guess a couple of the things that I had thought about before I came here was just like, yeah, embodiment the title and just how I, how I related in human, umm. So like just sort of disclosing that I thought, I thought about it a little and, and it’s so multifaceted, but I guess I’ll come, come down to, I feel connected to, uhm, the ground. My body in this, OK that…so there’s, there’s some, these concepts in…I’m in yoga, about doshas and I’m not sure how much you know about doshas? And I’m not a yoga teacher. I just, I’ve practiced a lot of yoga over the years. And so I’ve studied. And I’m, I’m not super active in this moment, but I do sort of like have this toolkit about subtle energy. And so one of the doshas, there’s kapha energy, which is like connected to the earth, and then there’s some…Jenni, do you know about doshas? Just kind of checking in with you on them.
J: I do not, I, I know of them, but could I tell you them, right? No. [laughs]
L: Yeah, yeah. Well there’s air, there’s vata. Uh, uhm anyhow, and there’s pitta, there’s fire, and we all embody all of them. All these energetic sources and, umm…
J: Are they just the earth elements? Am I just realizing that right now? [laughs]
L: They are essentially all of the earth, but like they’re, you know, like earth being, uhh, sort of separate from air and fire, and so I sort of have been identified as kapha pitta. And so that’s like earth and fire. So I’m motivated by my heat and by my, umm, sort of like my belly energy too. And I know this could sound maybe woo for some people out of context, but uhm, I relate to it and sort of if we took it outside of the yogic space, I feel very connected to being still. To sort of come back to that being still being part like comforted, being calm and like kind of low key energy that feels like a really safe place. I am definitely thinking about my childhood and trauma and violence and sort of not to go too deeply in it, into it, personally. But just that food has always been a safe place to bring me back to my earth, to bring me back to my body when I felt unsafe or anxious or scared as a younger person. And, umm, I think in our culture we’re taught that, you know, like emotional eating is this negative thing. But really we have emotions and it’s…we don’t. We can’t really extrapolate that from eating. We are emotional human beings that relate and so all eating is emotional.
L: But what they mean is that, like, like negative eating or eating out to cope with negative emotions is somehow seen as negative in a weight centric model where size is a, is somehow a problem. problematic for us like medically, but also, like in beauty standards. So, so I was always sort of taught like oh like eating for comfort is bad. But actually I’ve learned in my sort of unlearning how it is such a beautiful tool. The problem is maybe when we use it too, and it’s the only tool we have, then it can become problematic. But to have this tool, I feel grateful for. So, my initial embodiment has been, uhm, learning where my safety is and pleasure. And that makes so much sense as a kid, right to seek, to see, search, or as a kid to search for safety.
C: Yeah, mm-hmm.
L: So there’s that. And there’s so many other layers of embodiment of the disconnection and connection, and then where you recognize it, sort of the idea of meditation when we, if we’ve, we’ve ever been in a class or been taught about meditation, like, oh, you have a thought. That’s your, that’s the monkey brain and the monkey thoughts or the limbic side of your brain going. And here, here we go, like pure clouds that float by and we’re going to try to just recognize them and come back to our body. So I relate to that, to that like on and off connection when, when am I feeling disconnected? How do I come back to it? And that relationship is just ongoing I think as a, as a human being. Because sometimes we are overpowered by stimulation and we have to turn off to protect our energy. Sometimes we’re aware of it, sometimes we aren’t, and so learning and unlearning, learning tools to connect to these things more and be attuned and relating to honoring my needs. It’s in, in my body as, as an attunement and sort of a, a way to be feeling really fully embodied, if that makes, makes sense.
C: It makes a lot of sense. [laughs]
J: Yeah, and I’m, I’m feeling like, uh, this feeling of, like, deep breath. Like I want to take a really deep breath. And thinking about what you said about layers, it’s really making me want to get very curious about my own ideas of embodiment that, that sometimes feel like they’re surface level and sometimes feel like they’re deeper and sometimes feel like they’re somewhere in between. But I’m just realizing, I wonder if I’ve had the experience of feeling more than one of those things at one time, or being attuned to them more than one of them at one time, which I thought was just really lovely. And, and, and you’re talking about unlearning that one thing that you can learn is pleasure, which would be one of the biggest bridges to embodiment. I was, and, and talking about the senses, I love that you’re tuning into embodiment as an experience of the senses. Like, really, just like sitting with that. It’s first of all, reminding me of the window of tolerance, but I don’t always like the phrasing of that ’cause why do we have to tolerate anything? And, and also, what I really connecting more with is like a space between over and under stimulated.
J: It’s a space between, uhm, feeling very dysregulated in a room like all the way to being feeling very dissociated and disconnected in your body, right? These extremes that exist above this and below this window. And I was just really thinking about how senses anchor us in what you were saying. That’s why it makes me want to explore more like all of the senses at once is totally different from each sense.
L and C: Yeah.
J: Which is also totally different than a situation in which you have some of the senses. I’m just sort of hearing the layers as senses. I think for the first time which is like really resonating. I don’t even know if I have words for that, but it’s like really sitting deeply in my heart right now.
C: It’s…we always come up with journal topics.
J: Yes. [laughs]
C: And I feel like this is my first one. It’s like when I’m feeling embodied, how does it feel in my sense of smell, taste, my sense of you know all of that? Like what does that feel within my body? I really really like that way of looking at it and kind of tuning in that way.
L: I love that actually. Just talking about the, the term window of tolerance, Jenn. When we talk about it, in, in relation to the senses, it feels like it takes away, sort of the, the duality of like good and bad or right or wrong. Or that we should fit into something and tolerate it and more about like permission and curiosity to check in with the wavelength of subtle energy through our senses. Like is it, like what do it, what feels good? What doesn’t feel good? We could change the word tolerance just to a different word and, and connect to all of our senses and feel, feel this embodiment. And the more connected we are, the more aware, self aware we are to connect and relate to others, which is still really empowering. That, that’s what comes to mind.
C: It’s a self witnessing, I, that to me is a real sense of embodiment.
L: That feels empowering in itself.
J: Uhm, it does. And so I’ve got my first journal topic [laughs] as I’m thinking about like if the window of tolerance had another name, what would I name it?? So already I’m thinking of like the window of choice ’cause it’s hard to make choices that honor yourself when you’re over stimulated. It’s hard to make choices or even know that there’s a choice to make when you’re under-stimulated, and just thinking about like what pulls us up or down, right? I, I’m, I’m just using up and down to feel relational, it doesn’t have to be in any direction. Uhm, but just what helps us feel like we’re in there and I’m also just really wanting to consider with myself how often I’m in the window. Like, how often am I actually there?
J: Well, uhm, just like thinking about embodiment, a surface level or many layers or super deep. It’s just making me curious. I have no idea what my answer is about myself. I have like, honestly, no idea. But it feels like a great thing to be embodied about checking in is like embodiment itself like a multiple layer kind of embodiment inquiry.
C: Like meta-embodiment? [laughs]
L: Yeah, it feels very meta.
J: Yeah, it’s like I can notice when I feel attuned to my body, like that first level and it’s just making me think especially because embodiment theories often use the word positive, umm, it’s making me curious if it’s making me rebel against even considering my own embodiment in a way. Because when I, when it’s positive, it makes me not want to feel at all. Trauma response! That’s what, what first shows up. I have to work through that every time. Like, oh, am I supposed to be positive about this? What if it sucks? It’s like what my brain starts doing right away. So just thinking like to sit in this space and call it like or even comfort, choice, comfort, something like, what is this state I’m actually trying to be in? Because I’m definitely not trying to be in positive state or in tolerant state or connected.
L: Like you’ve been talking about being really connected and I, I’m, I’m noticing I’m feeling a little spacey just having been vulnerable. And you know just thing like that is, uh, you know, response to my nervous system saying hi, like you know there are shifts happening and just checking in with them without judgment on what’s happening, and they’re, that they’re protective and supportive to us every day and, and as much as I want to connect to this deep embodiment, I think, sometimes, umm, I don’t know like where I’m going with this exactly, but, but sometimes this disconnection is like a, a safe space to be in and, and maybe a level of embodiment that we all need.
J: Oh, that’s, umm…
L: And there’s no shame in that, right? No shame in, in needing space or disconnection. You know it’s about honoring wherever you are because we all have different experiences and we have different needs and where we see the world and feel the world.
C: Yeah, absolutely.
J: OK, I’m not going to go too far into this journal prompts. [laughs] I need to just have a conversation with myself, but, umm, just really tapped into noticing, so embodiment is often talked at, about as looking at what is present. What I was really hearing and, and I’m really getting for myself or just hearing in this situation or conversation is that it’s also noticing what’s absent. That’s what I mean about the word positive. I can only think about what’s present. It’s really hard to think about what’s absent when I’m just thinking from positive perspective and like don’t notice the things that are sticky. I’m, I’m newer to boundaries, admitting I’m angry. I mean like new, whereas in my almost 40 year old life, like literally it’s like two or three years admitting these things regularly to myself, out loud to other people. I’m feeling this kind of sticky pull in my body to not be embodied, to just–I can feel a lot of sensation in my body, which is a really wonderful thing. And also I can feel like an urge to just disconnect completely and, and so right now I feel comfortable just having all this sensation. This is a very safe space in general with both of you, two people I adore so much, also feeling that level of safety. Uhm, recognizing that I’m going to be witnessed about this is, I think the part that makes you want to go, ooh! [laughs] I just like leave my body rapidly.
L and C: Mm-hmm, yeah.
J: And I want to stay here because, uhm, this is something I’ve been trying to cultivate and I’m beginning to realize that what I’m trying to cultivate is embodiment and it’s noticing what isn’t there. When, when I dissociate from my body I can’t notice anything that’s there, so I’m feeling all this sensation, but to kind of–that place of really learning to be with it and like what’s underneath here, what’s missing inside of here. I don’t know. And I really give myself this opportunity so it feels good to just be here in this exploration, and I’m also going to stop myself because I recognize that I’m about to like start doing my journal prompt out loud, which is OK. But it’s just like I, I had this urge to like process it all right now. I’ve written it down. I know I’ll process it.
L: I love that.
J: But it just feels…I have therapy tonight, I’ll do it then. [laughs] It just feels great.
L: That’s beautiful, it’s beautiful.
C: Yeah. Thank you.
J: I wanted to share that, to feel, to be able to feel embodied and no change it. Yeah, listen to it, adding nothing. That’s actually the spot I’m really trying to exist in right now with it.
L: I am, I know we, we might have other other questions but I, I just wanted to sort of add to this. The idea that the word disassociating is not a negative thing. You know, if anyone out there listening is thinking, oh, like I have trauma and I dissociate and like it’s this problem and I need to, you know, get more embodied and connect so I can function, like yes and like no, right? Like yes and no, because uhm, you know it served you for a long time, but, but also like we all have needs to disconnect and there’s nothing wrong with that. And daydreaming or shifting how deeply focused you are is a way to regulate your system. Just like we hydrate and we sweat so that we can be in homeostasis. Our body is doing that through dissociating. And there’s, that’s OK sometimes. I mean I’m not the therapist in the room, but, I, you know, I just feel like it’s important to name as, umm, someone who works with works in eating disorder recovery, there’s a lot of trauma, uh, in the room in, in my clinical work as a dietician. And so, so I want to honor, honor people wherever they are, and there’s nowhere to be or get to other than connect to what you need in that moment.
C: I am a therapist in the room and…
C: I can absolutely validate and normalize the need for…I was trying to think of a different word other than dissociation, but I’ll say dissociation. It’s a, it’s a safety practice. It’s how I’m going to keep myself safe in this moment, if that’s what you need. I mean, I can see on a personal level, professional level, there are times when I need to remove a part of myself, all of myself, of my brain, of my feelings out of this situation. If that’s what you need to keep yourself safe. That’s OK, absolutely. It’s just…oh now, I’m going down the therapy rabbit hole myself. [laughs] But before…about something becoming harmful, we do things to protect ourselves because they work, right? Like I’ve talked about this many times. I don’t believe there are good and bad coping skills. There are just coping skills that at some point might become more harmful than they are helpful. If dissociating is helpful for you, and it’s something that you can kind of rally from without it becoming harmful for you, great go for it. If that’s what you need to do to be safe, that’s what’s important here.
J: Hmm. Thank you for sharing that.
L: Yeah, it’s a great share.
J: I was thinking of the word adaptive when you were talking about that.
J: We’ve used this to adapt to stay present physically in a room where we want to leave it mentally. Uhm, when it comes to eating disorder recovery, eating things that feel challenging to give ourselves space to do that, sometimes that also involves dissociation or distraction was also sitting in my mind, understimulation, kind of spaces where we can tune in on a subconscious level and have things feel more regulated while our conscious self just goes offline for a little bit. Just feels really, really important as a step, as a place. And you said, is it helpful or harmful? I was thinking like, I, it feels important to name the system that we’re talking inside at this time like that when it’s patriarchal in nature, when it’s capitalist in nature. The, the signal, the message, the overarching energy and theme all around us is stay on, keep going, get it done.
C: Mm-hmm. Always.
L: Get it done. Be less, do more.
J: So it, yeah, and so to have a chance to be associated or not feels extremely valuable and a little countercurrent that can run within us from all of that shit. I was just sitting, I was naming those words. My brain went shit, shit over there.
L: Can we adapt without it being pathological, you know?
C: Yes, absolutely.
J: Oh oh, I love the way you said it, that gave me chills, right? To not pathologize disassociation and to just let it be something that happened is also a pretty big thing to like let it grieve. It is making me think of how rest is not a dirty word. It’s not a bad four letter word. None of them are really that bad according to me, but there isn’t like the…it’s not something that…you were talking about stillness being your place of reset. Your place of being with yourself, your place of comfort, safety and I was just thinking that rest is so active. As you were describing dissociation is so active, there is a lot going on. It’s just not these ideas that we have to be externally processing and performing and being so visible about it feels like something my rebellious, inner teenagers going let’s rebel against this. This feeling that everything has to be on the outside detectable by another human we can trust ourselves in our process. And to find spaces and have support where we can be who we are in that moment, and whatever processing we need. It feels very rare, very special, very safe, but maybe it’s not rare. Maybe it’s just not as common as I would like. I think it’s more common than we, we may, I may realize in my sort of…I immediately went very dichotomous with that, but there’s just something ’cause healing happens there and healing is so active. Guess what I was sitting with anything else sitting for you, Chavonne, I mean Chelsea. With C named person, Ch person. With this question that she asked, just want to check in.
L: Yeah, I, I see my embodiment as, uhh, always in motion, it’s just, it’s part of being a human being and, umm, there’s continuity to it and I’m adapting all the time and regulating and dysregulating and resetting and I’m noticing it and I’m privileged to be alive seeing it.
J: Thank you for that.
C: I think the only thing I was going to say is I don’t know if I see rest as dissociative. Honestly, I think for me, I can’t speak for everyone. I think it’s a really conscious act for me, maybe because this is the year of rest. I’ve been posting on social media and in my personal life, uhm, that I, I have an intention every year and this year all the signs in the universe told me to rest. I hate it and doing it, whatever. And for me, it’s a really conscious act to rest, like I have to really, it’s silly to say, but put effort into resting, and I think when I think of dissociation, I was thinking about this last just yesterday. I don’t even know why, maybe because we’re interviewing you, Chelsea, and I know you just got engaged, congratulations!
L: Thank you!
C: And I was like, oh, I was thinking about when I got married. I’ve been married for like 4 years. I don’t know what I’m talking about but like when I had to put on the dress. And like I don’t know why this is coming up, probably ’cause I’ve been decluttering, uhh, but, and I saw the wedding, my wedding dress. [laughs] Umm, and how they had me try it on. And I am, I’m large, I’m a big, I’m fat, I’m a, I’m a larger woman and, but I am not large on top, umm, there’s not much happening here [laughs]. And they tried to put like these like fake cutlets in there. You know and I, like, completely like my mom, like, we got in the car afterwards, my mom was like you weren’t even there and I was like I was not even there. And I like, I like, they were like trying to adjust me and da da da da da and put other things in there and I was like I’m not doing this. But that’s another conversation. And they just kept talking about it, but anyway, I think for dissociation it, at least, the way that I’m thinking about it, I, I’m going to sit with the idea of like rest as dissociation, but for me it’s pulling away. And I feel like rest is moving toward for me, like moving towards something.
L: Ah, I have. So many feelings right now. Just getting excited. I feel like tingly, yeah? This comes back to the doshas and whether or not you know we’re tuned into this higher vedic sort of understanding of energy energy, subtle energy. It’s like we all regulate and dysregulate differently because we have different nervous systems and different dispositions. We all have different personality and energetic flow. And, and so what makes me feel calm doesn’t make the next person problem, doesn’t like, so that’s why rest is maybe more dissociative or less sensitive for someone maybe maybe coming like what feels like a place I can go and escape or not. A really interesting visual, I have a, a, a yoga friend who, uh, was studying nutrition, but uhm, not like a sort of conventional job. She was doing more ayurvedic and functional medicine work. And so we were both on a yoga retreat in Mexico and we were sharing a room and so after dinner we would go back to the room and study for whatever we needed to do. And so I was currently studying protein metabolism, which is pretty intensely challenging. Jenn, you might, I don’t know if you remember those pathways.
J: Oh yeah.
L: They’re not as, they’re not as fun as studying like carb, carbohydrate metabolism. Personally, it just, tt’s like doesn’t feel, it’s like sitting like German or English, there’s like no like rhyme or reason, there’s like, whereas like studying like French or like English or Spanish languages feel like there’s like rules and flow, and that’s how I would really relate it to. So, so, so my like ability, my brain is like going, going, going but my body like really wants to be still, like that, that is sort of like my leaning way of being embodied. OK, so the way that I studied while I was on this trip was laying in bed with like my book like propped up on a pillow while I was like literally like head down on the pillow and like you know, looking up at the book. And my friend studying next to me who feels like much more regulated moving was like standing and pacing and like holding a book in her hand and walking around the room reading her book. And, and like we’re just operating in our own nervous systems and, and that was yeah, just a visual of like how two people can have totally different experiences on regulating.
C: Yeah, that’s a really helpful example. Thank you. To help remind me, but it’s not one…that’s everything, right? Not everything is for everybody like it explains it for me, but it might explain it for Jenn. OK. I really like that, thank you. That was really helpful, absolutely.
J: I love both. I love what both of you said because I was like oh I don’t, yeah, ’cause I think, I actually I’m the one who said rest is dissociation or the same. But I was just sitting with…and I’m like, oh, I could also think of anything that I say, that’s so dichotomous, so black and white, so rigid, I can almost immediately go, OK. I’ve already thought of like 3 exceptions [laughs]to that, so I was kind of sitting in that space. Anyway, I was like you’re reading my mind. I could see rest can be dissociative. I could see dissociation can be restful. I could see how they also feel like they’re really in distinct spaces from each other. Not just person to person but situation is situation for the same person. I was just sort of sitting with, you know, some things that have been mentioned in this little mini part of this conversation. Or like decluttering it’s super active, but there is no peace that comes to me like decluttering does.
J: So active and nothing like engaging and sometimes to get through it, that I love it. I have completely dissociated to stay in my active body part and not try to be in my head like oh, I could keep that, oh, I could do that with this, right? Or my brain will take me in so many directions, I’ll end up in different rooms and not decluttering at all, right? Just like a total tangential, physical experience. So I could even see how in one situation, having the tool of rest like if we were to consider them distinct, even if they overlap sometimes, so can have the tool of rest and the tool of dissociation. I can get things done by using both of those and harnessing them. And so that earlier Chelsea said, oh that’s really empowering. And I just realized today I don’t really think about embodiment as empowering like one word and then the other. Like, even though I can see the potential. But for me, no, that’s not actually what I feel. I have a lot of sensations I have been dissociating from for most of my life. So to be embodied is to be less empowered externally but more empowered internally, and I’m just realizing that even the directionality, I love directionality, but like even the directionality of like what is restful inside, what is restful to engage with other people or a situation outside of me? What is dissociative and therefore I could like check out or not be expending energy or whatever that means in that moment. It’s just very nuanced. This is something I love about you, Chelsea, is everything always turns into this delicious, nuanced, many layered, expansive, almost explosion of feelings and information, but I’m not dissociating. It’s overwhelming, it’s just, it’s just lovely. It’s very engaged, so I continue to feel I’m gonna use the word, extremely. Extremely embodied in this conversation about embodiment. Definitely the most embodied I felt in any of these conversations. But this is who you are.
L: Oh, neat.
J: This is what you pull us into. Uhm, so I love this. I love the nuance. I love even the idea of being wrong right now, I’m like, oh I want to think about that. Another journal topic. I said that’s what I do when I listen to these episodes. I’m like, oh, Jenn, I don’t agree with you. [laughs] I never think that about other people or like I don’t agree with you. I’d say that about myself, I don’t agree with you. And then I think about that. I interrogate that. I get really curious about that, why don’t I agree with myself? But I’m sort of doing it in real time. It’s very interesting. This is also the most expansive answer to this question. Like I’m not saying comparatively, I just mean like the most whatever that I mean to each of us. It’s so lovely like I’m really sitting in the loveliness of this.
L: Yeah, I…like part of me is like, oh, I could just keep going and talking about this and I believe we talked about all these other things and then, and then I’m like hold on.
L: And then I’m like what are they…like those, guys, there’s nowhere to go. Nowhere to get to like you know I’m not, I’m leaning into like perfectly imperfect of, whatever it is, it is. Yeah, it feels very present like everything that’s here is here and everything that isn’t isn’t. And then all of that is fine.
C: Yeah, absolutely.
L: Something just came to mind like in the studies that I’ve done in, in yoga classes and meditation classes. Uhm, there’s often a prompt to lean into the opposite embodiment that you are inclined to do. Like my safe place is to be still but I, I am a depressive person and I need to move. And that actually sometimes is something that’s really helpful for me to regulate and get more embodied in and more connected to what I need. So for other people, it’s really hard to be still, and they’re that, they’re recommended to slow down and be still so they can see and feel connected to themselves, especially with nutrition and eating and nourishing. Like we cannot feel from an empty cup of not knowing what we feel in our body, right? So to be attuned to those connections requires us to slow down. So it really just depends on what we’re going through and who we are, and you know it’s our disposition. But it’s also our, umm, it’s our story of like where we’ve had pain and where, you know, where we’ve been taught, that where there’s pleasure and how we experience it. Yeah, I’m just thinking about that like I know I know where I go when I, when I need, like, to feel, like, safe and that isn’t always what I need to feel involved like to really be embodied. Uhm, but it is my, my automatic reflexive goto, to slow down and be still.
C: It feels really embodied to even acknowledge this is not what I need at this moment, even though this is what I want.
J: Ooh, need-want. One of my favorite moments, uhh, in places and fine lines of being like, oh need’s here, want’s here, but which one is it?
J: I love this meta, many layered, amazing look at this and it makes me curious about the second half of our podcast title. The rest of us. So I’m curious, what does the rest of us mean to you? How do you identify within the rest of us? And we’d also love for you to share your pronouns and identify your privileged identities in context here, too.
L: So my pronouns are she/her. And my privileges are that I am, umm, able bodied, partnered, educated, umm, employed. I have many. Umm, I am white. And I actually have some feelings and thoughts about that, but I’ll share here which feels vulnerable. And so I’m Jewish, which I see is a marginalization in our world and as a Jewish person, it’s complicated. And I’m not, you know, uhm, trying to find the right way to describe it like totally tuned into it, dialed into it. I’m still sort of exploring what my voice is as a Jewish person that’s not super religious but traditionally identifies and celebrates on a secular level. So like I don’t belong to temple, I go to the High Holidays. Uh, but anyhow, I’m, I’m sort of being tangential. I am–if I left New York City, I would not necessarily feel 100% White, which I know feels probably awkward to say, as like a deeply pale-skinned person in a room that’s not 100%, yeah, privileged in skin color. So I just want to name that I, I am definitely privileged in that my skin is light white and that, uh, I see you know all these as constructs, and so I, I recognize that being Jewish for many people, uhm, who are in light skin just identify as white. But if we are really to get down to it, uhm, the way that I’ve been raised is that like the Aryan race is white that if you are blonde and blue-eyed you are really white, and that if I leave New York City and go out into the, the you know, the country that I, I am in some spaces like more oppressed than not. And I feel safe and cozy in New York City with lots of Jewish people. Umm, so yeah, I am, uhh, you know, vulnerable to say that ’cause it’s sort of a difficult sort of topic, but, but yeah, like it’s there, it’s a marginalization. Umm, being Jewish and like what it comes up with. So to come back to your question about the rest of us and my privileges, yes, many privileges that I stated, and forgive me if I forget any. Umm, when I think about Embodiment for the Rest of Us, I think about who is centered? Who isn’t? And how, how are we treated and how do we identify in that? How do we, how do we, umm, nternalize those, those experiences? And that’s a lot of the work that I do of, of unlearning with my clients and, and myself there. Years of chronic dieting, you know? Lot of unlearning to come back to myself. But yeah, it’s about. It’s about where do you fit or not fit systemically? Uhm, do I fit in chairs? Do I fit on the airplane? Do I fit in clothing and the stores? Am I seen, do I see myself in media or not? And how, umm, how is that identified or celebrated or not, umm, as a fat woman? Who is, trying to think of sort of how to describe this, I’m…I’m never not fat in a room and I don’t, I sort of have mixed feelings about how to break down the like, sort of continuum of fatness. Well, I think there’s an importance of sort of recognizing the level of privilege within marginalization of being fat, like being on the top scale of the infinifat, being the most fat and really not fitting in or seen from the rest of us somewhere that is in the population. Uhm to where I am, which is like I don’t, I can’t buy clothing in the store. I can get it online. I, I mostly fit into chairs, I’m sort of on that cusp of like an MRI machine might be really tight. So it’s scary on a sort of personal level of how the system treats the rest of us. Uhm, that aren’t fitting into spaces in, in the medical model, too, of course, of like medicine being tested and created for, you know, only a certain percentage of people based on a certain weight range. Umm, or like being able to get surgery. Maybe for gender affirming care top surgery based on your size or not. Uh, or I don’t know, any, any particular chronic disease if, if you’re in a larger body having, uhm, the ability to get, uhm, medical treatment that is available because doctors have the right to decline care in most of the states. And so, uhh, I think about that, about where do we all fit in this spectrum of a system that we create in our society to fit in? And, and when we don’t fit, what do we do about that? Whether it’s on an individual level, umm, to take care of ourselves, or on a sort of larger level like for me. As a clinician who has a social justice lens, how do I push the needle to change that? How am I part of the change to fit more marginalizations into that embodiment?
C: You did a really–thank you for that. You, you named most of your privileges as these ones that you were identifying, which I appreciate. How do you identify within the rest of us, like what do you name as your own marginalized identities?
L: So, uh, I am fat, I am a woman, and I’m Jewish. Those would be my 3 marginalizations, yeah.
J: OK. I’m trying to find words for how much I appreciate the nuance that was present in what you said, even things that felt sticky might be the word I would use for that. I’m, like you know, just can feel in my body, the the tension that you were feeling, right? The vulnerability that you were feeling. Uhm, you noted some, the wording that you used was really sticking with me about…you know, previous in season one with Tiana Dodson, we talked about absolute fat and relative fat, like walking into a room and you are fat or not, right? There is in terms of a construct there is that space. You talked about fitting into chairs, fitting into spaces, and I was also sitting on that level and just hearing and realizing perhaps that we talk about it on that level a lot. Like is there going to be a…
L: Fitting in?
J: Like are we literally going to fit into spaces? Are we literally going to fit into clothes, right, ’cause it’s their job. Clothes’ jobs to fit us. Chair’s jobs to fit us. It’s not the other way around, right? So it’s like sitting in that level, but I was also hearing, maybe this is a journal topic, but like in another place. That doesn’t mean that we have affirmed the person, the rest of us. The right to receive weight centric care, but have a chair that fits you is, OK, a pretty big, uhm, separation. It’s a lot to ask of someone, uhm, the surface, and I’m not trying to minimize a chair fitting you because it’s really important to me. And it also, I guess, I’m sort of perceiving this right now as surface level, it’s not. It’s not feeling deep enough for me, all of a sudden, it’s so important, comfort. I’m thinking of airplane seats. Super specifically my own trouble sitting in an airplane seat, especially in newer airplanes where they’ve somehow made them smaller or they weirdly angle them, or you’re like 1/2 seat or these other things. Seat belt extenders and things that quote unquote fit you, but I’m not sure that I’ve, that there’s any increased dignity I might say.
L: Yeah, absolutely.
J: Like why aren’t there airplane seats and that actually fit people? Why isn’t that the norm across the board? We are most of us if we’re talking about people in larger bodies. Why aren’t, why isn’t that? When you’re thinking about marginalization, something I’ve heard you talk about before, Chelsea, is when we center the marginalized, right, it just becomes normal to have a chair that fits everyone. And I do hear what you’re saying, that if someone is outside of people’s perception of fat, right, on the largest end of the spectrum, I wonder if they’d even be included in. I, I don’t know if, if, if chairs accommodate all, every person, for example, I don’t know the answer to that like I’m just realizing some information that I don’t know. But I’m going to guess no. And I was like…
L: I think it can, it’s a hard no. Because yeah, you know, for infinifats, chairs and furniture, if you go to websites for, like, details on products, they have maximum weights and they often don’t fit bodies. My partner and I are fat and we have a mattress that’s for plus size people, but we did a lot of research to find, you know a mattress that supports our body weight because most mattresses don’t think of us or include us in their sales and production.Uhm, this comes back to like legislative and policy work, which isn’t where I personally wanna live or, or be. Like I don’t want to move to DC and work and do this work, but I definitely want to participate and support it. And so I think it’s important to lift our voices of where we’re trying to push that needle against that grain. Uh, uh, you know, for example, creating curriculum like Jenn and I are doing right now that’s weight inclusive for nutrition programs across the country.
L: In an undergraduate capacity to change the medical models. You know just a, a little taste of, hey, like maybe there’s another way that’s a, a lot more ethical and that’s the beginning of change in a system. Because we’re all individuals that we can’t, we can’t make this shift on our own, and it’s going to take time, but we can participate in that, in that movement, if we, if we choose to in different ways.
L: I think about that a lot about, how I’m one human being and I can, what can I do to make a shift in us all being considered just systematically? Systemically, we come first and foremost, but then coming back to sort of like, oh, are we valued and not just seen to fit into, which I think is, is the most important, right? Like in terms of Maslow’s hierarchy, like our basic needs have to be met, but for self actualization to happen for us all. That, that, you know? I’m trying to think of this quote and Jenn, you know the yoga teacher in Texas, who…she’s in a larger body. She talks about, about beauty, that everyone is trying to lose weight to be beautiful, but we are inherently. And I’m like sort of like this isn’t verbatim, but we’re inherent, inherently worthy in , in our bodies as we are already, and that’s not ever considered. Uhm, because it, we’re in a capitalistic society that makes money off of people’s, uhm, not fitting into that centered space right, of, of beauty, ideals.
J: Uhm, yeah, Amber Karnes. Uhm, no, oh no, it’s not. She’s not in Texas. Feels familiar.
L: Yeah, she works a lot with Julie.
J: Shoot, I can’t remember her name.
L: Yeah yeah, it’s OK.
C: I really appreciate your discomfort with the whole idea of the fat spectrum. I think we did–and I have talked about it before and I think we’ll continue to talk about it, but it’s definitely sitting for me. There’s this yet again, more categorization of fat bodies, and I think sometimes it’s necessary. But I also struggle with the fact that it even exists, so I really appreciated that.
L: Well, thank you. Yeah, I try not to over identify with it. It’s like, you know, wherever I am on the spectrum, but I like to identify where my privileges are and my marginalization within the spectrum instead of naming my size. Like, I can fit in a chair versus like I’m a small to medium fat. For example, like I’m naming it, but for the purpose of…it’s not relevant if I take myself and point out like where, where my privileges are as a, in my body in what embodiments are and my marginalizations are. I am very uncomfortable in an airplane seat, but I can fit. I might be like spilling over to somebody else, and it might, it might make them uncomfortable and that is a design flaw on the airplane. Yeah manufacturing, not me. That is, that is, that is a cusp that I’m on and I don’t need to, you know, identify where I am on that spectrum to articulate this, because I think the more that we parse out like this identity, it’s more of of like where we are in the spectrum. I think we can use it and not use it and it just, it’s so nuanced, but I don’t know where I was going with that, but I think it often can be a use of harm. Like, uhm, in that, let’s see on the spectrum, we’re othered. We’re disembodied when we’re othered, in my opinion, uhm, but also like identifying the outliers, like the infinifat, uhm is important, so like both can exist in different ways.
L: Uhm, ’cause these are social constructs so like what is real? What is not real? What’s real are living in a system that doesn’t design things for you. What’s not real is like just the self identity without any context, it’s words, it’s an idea that like sort of loses its meaning like without the identification of the marginalizations or the privileges. It’s just a social construct that loses its meaning.
C: Oh, this is sitting really heavy, uh, only word that’s coming to mind. Uhm, because I, it’s something that I need to kind of sit with personally and repair with other people. Other conversations I’ve had because I definitely have used the spectrum to identify where I am and I yeah, and you’re saying like why? I’m like I don’t, I don’t know, I don’t, I don’t actually know [laughs] So that’s sitting really…it’s making my stomach hurt, right? Like if you’re, if you could see this Zoom video, like I’m scratching my arms as I’m talking ’cause I feel really itchy just thinking about it.
J: Oooh, this, this, the itch that’s like emotional itch.
C: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
L: So I can identify with that because I think…so something important to share that I didn’t share before I realized is that, uhm, I haven’t always been fat. I mentioned that–so my, my relationship to it feels very different than someone who grew up fat and hadn’t had that marginalization as a child, right? That is a different sort of trauma and, and I recognize a privilege of like having been in a straight sized body as a child and not having to experience that. But then to come into being that from weight cycling and chronic dieting and among other things, because there’s like it’s multifaceted. It’s chemistry. It’s biochemistry in the body. We can’t really like parse it out, but always feeling the need to like self-identify like before I stopped chronic dieting but was in a larger body like oh, I’m not really fat. I’m fat because–then I could change that, that idea, even with my education that, that sort of helped me understand that of unlearning. Umm, let’s be clear. I had a very weight centric education in, in dense sciences, in dietetics and a deep unlearning of it as well. And even with my intellectual knowledge, a lack of acceptance that I can’t manipulate my body long term even knowing the statistics because it’s just, it’s a denial piece for sort of like regulating and fitting into our systems of, of not being centered, right? So, so I always felt the need to be, like, well, I’m in a larger body because of this or like, or like you know, like and it’s like, fat bodies are all valid. Whether you were always fat or became fat, like whether you’re fat because you took medication or because you have a chronic illness or because you just genetically are predisposed to it. Like they’re all fucking valid and we need to stop, like explaining why we’re fat. I think there’s this huge need to like self-identify like where we are in the spectrum of fatness and why and I think that is because of thin privilege and medical, medical weight stigma. And I see the relevance of sharing where we fit in that fatness spectrum, some of the time like it just in terms of like being public facing about it, I always question like what is the, what, what am I trying to get across by telling people my size? Am I trying to validate myself in the room? Like that, you need to know I’m marginalized or and which I think is relevant, but there’s other ways to do, other ways to do it. Like, like I can’t fit in this thing or I can’t travel to you because, or like I can’t get this medical care because of my size. You know these are like more specific and like help, sort of, yeah, ground us in understanding each other. Uhm, but in terms of like, I am this size, I don’t know. I’m just, I’m fat and that’s it. And I, I think that maybe if I was an outlier of fatness, this would be a different conversation like I am really never heard or seen like I can’t even buy clothing online, I have to have it made for me, I can’t…I’m like I’m disabled to the point that I can’t, I’m immobile or what you know, like those levels of things. Maybe then it becomes more in the room, umm, but, umm, identifying my privileges and my marginalization around my size help, I think, connect me to my embodiment and to others. And it, it feels weird and icky because we live in this society that’s like really, umm, othering about it, right? Like where there’s a very small percentage of people who are really centered.
C: Yeah, I recently read a book called Don’t Let It Get You Down by Savala Nolan and–which I recommend to everyone, it’s the best. Oh my God, it’s one of the best things I’ve read in years. And she does a really great job. I’ve been talking about celebrating privileges and how icky can feel to do that. But it’s, it’s real life, right? Like we, I’m not saying I’m glorifying, or like lauding myself for being whatever, but I definitely have benefited from privileges, so it’s, right? That’s probably why I feel so icky to even say in my head, like I have celebrated the fact that I’m not whatever. I’m not trying to be fatphobic, but it, it’s, it’s where I don’t know. I don’t, I don’t know I’m itchy. [laughs]
L: If, if, it’s OK, if it’s OK for me to say, umm, I think that’s so human. Uhm, that we feel lucky or gratitude for privileges in a, in a system that is harmful, like it’s, you didn’t do it. You didn’t create this system, you’re in a system and like having compassion for that feels so important. Uhm yeah and I, for the record, like, you know, I’m in and out of naming my, where my body size is. I’m starting to come to a place where I’m like I don’t know how relevant it is, unless it’s maybe like working with a client who needs to hear my story, right, to connect me to heal like publicly, openly without any sort of like containment. I don’t know what to do with it.
J: Ooh, this is so layered and so nuanced, just like we’re talking about embodiment and even the sticky parts of other identities you mentioned, including white and Jewish. I’m sitting with that, too, right now or I’m feeling so icky about that. It’s, umm, first of all I’m feeling very honored to have this kind of conversation because, uhm, it just feels important to explore the nuances of things like both the chance to be, talk about your personal experience. And I’m also hearing that in this space, like each of our personal experiences and also a space to consider the nuances and this one of my favorite things about you, Chelsea. But things can be relational even in that, that stickiness, right? It’s, I also heard the recognition that there are people who are more marginalized that wasn’t lost in what you said. So I think that’s really important and, and like they, they gave me chills and I’m feeling itchy because it’s–
L: Thank you, I appreciate that.
J: So I’m white. I’m in a fat body, but I’m white, white, white. [laughs] I’m pale like you and I always feel like I’m, even in exploring the nuances like just having a conversation, it feels like I’m taking up space that I didn’t mean to take up, but I also think it’s important to explore some sort of I don’t know sitting in both places.
J: And also sitting with the like walking into a room as fat. Now that’s not something that I experience. Like I, I’m, I’m not on those margins, right? I did not grow up a child who was fat. I grew…I became fat, so I’m like, I’m just realizing I’m the most privileged person in this room in a lot of ways. Like in the terms of like what other people can be absolute or undeniable or visible, I’m not sure which word is OK. Umm, think I’m going to stick with visible ’cause that feels like really what I’m trying to say that like I can walk into a room and I can be invisible, but not in like in another way. I can just be invisible. Well, that is a possibility for me is something that I’m sitting with here and and sitting with the nuances in this conversation from each of you that there are aspects where you it’s, it is visible. You don’t get to be invisible in that way. I’m just sort of just sort of feeling all of these embodied feelings that I’m feeling and, umm, I just want to sit with it. I just want to listen about that. I just want to like sit in that. The discomfort I feel, but also like the awakening sort of moment. It feels to just sit with that for myself, so I wanted, I wanted to also get vulnerable and share that.
L: Yeah, thank you.
J: And I’m wondering, Chavonne, and I’m not trying to–-I’m wondering if you want to share anything about that or how it feels to have two white women saying this with you. You, you can be like I’m not going to talk about this, let’s take it out.
C: Yeah, I’m not going to talk about this.
J: Okay. Okay.
L: I’m glad you shared that, umm, and I just want to name if we want to take anything out about my feelings about race, that’s totally valid too, and we just hold it in this space about being fat like that’s totally fine. It doesn’t need to be in here. I recognize like full on privilege of being white skinned and like Judaism is complicated and it’s like, really like, really misunderstood in a lot of spaces.
L: And I I don’t even fully like, for all intents and purposes, I fill out forms as white and I don’t…I’m not not, I’m not not white but like, I don’t know, I’m just, I’m not Aryan and I’m not…and I…if I go into a lot of places, I’m, I feel othered and disconnected. And I also have a lot of privilege. And I just want to name both and that there’s like something to both of you like I.. I, I don’t see like it’s not, there’s no competition in marginalizations or privileges. We can, we can sit in our privileges and like, be grateful for them, you know. And we can like support each other in our marginalizations to understand what that means for each other. And, and like that and that it all fits.
C: Yeah, I appreciate that I don’t have an answer, I’m just sitting. [laughs]
J: Yeah, of course, you don’t have to have an answer. I hope it doesn’t feel like I’m waiting for one.
C: Uhm, before we go forward and I’m probably gonna cut this, I don’t know if I’m going to do it later.
J: You can put anything out you want.
C: I’m sitting with this idea of, Jenn, you saying that you’re the most privileged person in the world, which you are, umm, I’m not denying that. But like I think there’s always this…and because I’m so black and white for lack of a better term. Like, uhm, I’ve always struggled with this like is this me centering myself? ‘Cause I have privilege in different ways. I’m Black but I appreciate, I actually feel quite privileged being dark, like a darker Black, Black person because like there’s never any question of where you were? Like, I’m just Black like nobody questions that.
L and J: Yeah. I mean.
C: That also could be because I grew up in a family that was–there’s a lot of colorism, but kind of reverse, I guess, colorism, that the darker you are, the better you are in my family. Umm, but anyway, uhm, just…I guess I get stuck with this like dynamic of am I centering… like am I speaking up as a way to center myself in this conversation versus am I speaking up as a way to make space for less privileged people to talk? Like I don’t know.I guess that’s kind of where I’m sitting, right? I don’t know. I don’t really have an answer, I’m just kind of sitting with that.
J: Ooh, that’s a very, that’s a good, that’s a…
L: Can you say that one more time? I’m sorry, that last point.
C: Umm, no.
C: So I guess. I was just like babbling. Umm,kind of this dynamic between am I speaking up because I’m centering myself in this conversation. Or am I speaking up because I am, I’m trying to, I guess have an effort to create more space for less privileged people in the conversation.
J: It’s very important.
L: Oh interesting, that sounds like a lot of emotional labor. I just want to name that.
C: Yeah, thanks.
L: And, and that’s a lot. And I, I just appreciate you saying that, uhm, and being vulnerable, it makes me feel safer when everyone is.
C: Agreed. Yeah, I’m trying not to cry right now, like I feel really, really vulnerable.
J: I, I’m so close to tears. You have no idea. I’m probably gonna cry today.
L: I, I also, I also recognize that like in our–and it’s like whatever we can take this out of the recording ’cause like I do want to center it around embodiment and being fat. But the fact that I shared this piece about being Jewish and like I’m still exploring it for myself of being oppressed but like I still recognize that we live in a country where I have way more privilege and like in the toolkit, like Jenn and I are in like the people we want to pay first are BIPOC and transgender. Like I’m not anywhere like on the top of that list, and I’m, I’m certainly not trying to center my voice. And as an oppressed Jewish person as like historically speaking, I have ton of privilege in my life like as an individual and, and I’m focused on like talking about being fat and like trauma, but like I don’t know. I just like I had family that was like literally killed in the Holocaust, and there’s a lot of feelings about it! So, yeah.
J: Oh yeah, this is so beautiful.
C: I’m not trying to disregard your experience because–there’s a difference between, like…clearly you’re white, clearly. But people are not going to show up at other white people’s places of worship and end their lives because they’re white, like that’s the difference. Like there’s absolutely like, uhh, recorded constant aggression toward your people. That’s–I shouldn’t say your people, that sounds terrible, but you know what I mean.
L: That’s okay. Yeah, totally.
C: So it’s not the same thing to me.
L: It’s not, it, it’s not, it’s really not. You’re right, it’s not, and like I’m not, I’m not gonna put it there ’cause it is…I just guess like just the idea of like being Caucasian is from a specific place. And like I’m Jewish and like so my heritage is like not white even though I’m light skinned and and race is a construct and I don’t identify with it all. But for all intents and purposes I’m fucking white.
L: And like I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna like play around with that. I’m just, I’m playing around with like naming like Judaism, and so I, if this like tossed up any emotional shit or like discomfort, I’m sorry.
C: No, no/ And I also think that that’s what this podcast is about. It’s not just we’re only going to talk about fat people and only that and nothing about anything else than that. That’s–we talk about the margins. We talk about the intersections, not just ethnic or racial, but neurodiverence and you, you know, uh, gender identity, sexual orientation, all of it, all of it, it’s not just that.
L: Yeah, of course, of course, uhm.
J: ’cause it affects all of our embodiments.
C: It does, mm-hmm.
J: Everything that we’re talking about. So I’m just going to say my vote right now. I think all of this should stay in because it’s, it’s fucking perfect.
C: Yeah, and our introduction would be like all right, here it is.
L: Here’s a, here’s a messy pile, enjoy.
J: It’s perfect and I want to hear you both say these things and I didn’t even know what you were going to say.
L: I was even planning, I wasn’t even planning on saying that, and like most Jewish people, don’t, don’t, wouldn’t say, identify this way. I, I would say it’s a hard conversation to have and what comes up for, for me is just like people look at my features and they don’t know like what, what are you? And I’m just like, you know, yeah, it’s this other thing.
J: Yeah, it’s like the features version of colorism, I actually don’t have a word for that. But, uhm, where people assume who you are based on what they consider those features to be attached to, as in a, in a socialized way. And I, I something that I’ve really appreciated right now that you’ve said a few times and it’s really been sitting in my head is that these are constructs and right? We’re talking about directionality. We are socialized to see each other as different and some as good and some as bad some in between or ambiguous or whatever the thing is. Uhm, and again, naming the structures that were inside of it upholds patriarchy. It upholds capitalism and all kinds of supremacy, no matter whether that is the social racialized version of supremacy or any other thing that says this is the best, this person, this match. You mentioned Aryan, right? The, the idea that there’s a particular person that is the best just because they have particular features.
L: Let’s be clear, I don’t, I don’t identify that as the beauty standard, the Nazis did. [laughs]
C: Right. [laughs]
J: Right, right. Thank you, exactly, thank you. I, I was just sitting with, wait a minute, I’m not naming, right?
L: I just wanted to name that.
J: But people uphold systems. So why do we bring up this word Nazi so all the way into now, in the future? Because people still identify with that as a, in the power structure.
L: Yeah, our media, our beauty standards.
J: And this, the reason that I’m, I was getting emotional, the reason I’m sitting here, I’m having some release of the embodiment I have been feeling the whole time. Actually it feels really lovely even though it’s sticky and a hard topic is that, uhm, it feels important to, I don’t know, it just felt really important for me to witness that. I actually don’t think I have any other words for that, but it just, yeah, uhm, it felt like an honor to me. You don’t have to say these things in front of me, right? It’s not an. Obligation. You’re not my teachers. And I still felt like I, I feel like I learned and unlearned. Well, unlearning is learning. But I just felt like there was a lot of activity in my unlearning realm in that space and in just witnessing, so it felt really important to me for that reason.
L: Yeah it, it’s, it’s a hard conversation, I think. Like before I was saying–
J: I like hard conversations, live for them.
L: I have marginalization. There’s no competition like we all matter like the rest of us. We all fucking matter. And in our system, in this particular, in this country, but also globally, like there is a hierarchy of like who’s most marginalized and like we need to be real about that. Like even–like, yes, there are constructs and like we, I can talk about that fluidity of like what is real and get meta about it. But like our frameworks that are upheld, that are oppressive like have a hierarchy and like you know I’m not anywhere near the top of that marginalization. And I’m, I’m grateful for it and recognize not fitting in and not being an outlier and like that is, the rest of us. We’re all just in the rest of us, a lot of us, most of us, because that, the centering is a really small percentage of people and it’s, it’s keeping, uh, white men richer.
J: And more powerful and more everywhere.
C: Yeah, I think it’s an important conversation to be had. I’m, I’m thinking about when there was the shooting in El Paso, TX, a year and a half ago. So I grew up there, so that place holds a lot of, a lot of fondness for me. And a friend of mine who I adore, uhm, is Mexican, like she grew up in Mexico. She and like, we went to school in El Paso together. And we had a conversation about it and she, she’s afraid to sometimes acknowledge out loud that you know that the, the, the assault on brown bodies is as much as the assault on black bodies ’cause she feels like she doesn’t have the right to say that. I’m like, but it’s happening, you know? And I think it’s important to give space to that and to where there are no oppression Olympics. I like to make the–I call everything the Olympics. [laughs] Also I like the Olympics but that’s a whole other conversation that I probably shouldn’t like it as much as I do. [laughs] You know, but there are no oppression Olympics, but like you said, there are these, these these systems that encourage the oppression Olympics as well.
L: Yes, yes, that hierarchy exists and we have to, if we are caring about the rest of us, then we need to lift the most marginalized voices and center them.
C: Yeah, yes, absolutely.
J: Hmm. I feel like there’s 1000 journal prompts that could come out of this, maybe a million. [laughs] You know the nature of a podcast is we’re all here talking, so it’s like this strange in between place of like are we centering ourselves but also this is our podcast and we’re having conversation. And I think it’s really important you brought up, Chavonne, about just the question of asking ourselves what is my intention here and also what is my impact, is such an embodied question. The traveling of something from intention to impact is through our body, speaking it, doing it, whatever that is. So I was just really just sitting with not having to have an answer to that question feels actually really important now. I’m just, I’m witnessing, I’m just talking about me, but it just I was like, ah, it’s OK that that question isn’t answered. It’s OK that it felt like do I have any comment here, do I have anything to say? ’cause I feel exactly the same. It’s also was like I don’t want to call you out, but I did it instead of calling like asking myself. So I just want to name that because I’m just sitting with and realizing that that’s what I did. But uhm, I, I think the answer sometimes is just I don’t know as we were talking before or like I don’t know right now, might be the full answer. I’m talking about, umm, dissociation and rest, are there differences and are there similarities? I’m also sitting with, and something that I’m just realizing how important it feels to me and I say this all the time, but it’s like I say it to other people, I think I’m saying it to myself right now. I don’t know, just like the word no is a full response. Letting it just be an idle no actually feels important to be not capitalistic, not fixed, not perfectionist, not anything like that, but to just be in the question. Or even if it’s, I don’t know, just I don’t know empty brain space, which I don’t have, I don’t know what that feels like. [laughs] But like, uhm, not having to arrive at a question that leads to an action, change, or something like that, but to just be with the question is actually something I’m really sitting with in this conversation and mostly listening to the two of you just sitting in that space. I think it’s the space I’m sitting in right now. I don’t know if that makes sense outside my brain.
C: It does.
J: But that’s, that’s how I would describe what I’m experiencing, which feels like lovely and wonderful in this moment about a hard topic. But I’ve noticed that in our conversation, Chavonne, that we end up, what I end up feeling is like that was lovely. That was amazing. That was hard. Uhm, that was so nuanced, right? That was sticky. I loved it, right? Just a real mix of really strong things like that.
C: Definitely definitely.
L: I know that I’ve said a lot of uncomfortable things. So I’m just naming them. And, and that, like my intention, is so that, yeah, but anyone who feels othered wherever they are, that it’s relevant and they can experience that and identify with it.
J and C: Mm-hmm.
J: We can be related in having been othered without it being identical. That’s what I got from what you just said.
L: Yeah, like I don’t wanna center it above or below any, anyone just, just want it to exist in a space where people know that they are inherently valuable, and if they feel other than that, they’re not alone.
J: OK, I fucking love this, OK?
C: Yeah, I know I’m just babbling, but I…
J: Go for it.
C: Can I go back to my idea of the Oppression Olympics? So yeah, the Olympics are so fucked in so many ways. I should stop saying that. [laughs] So fucked in so many ways, like even think about how the Olympics are…
J: The Oppression Championships, we’ll come up with something.
L: I like that a lot.
C: Yeah, we call it the Suffering Olympics in our marriage. Like you don’t get to win the Suffering Olympics today. It’s so terrible.
C: Yay,, couples counseling. but I…
C: Yeah, yeah, I, I, I guess I’m struggling because again, like you said, Jenn, you can say something and 5 minutes later it’s like I don’t like what I just said. And that’s where I am right now, so. There is no…there’s a hierarchy and there’s not a hierarchy is, I guess, just what I wanted to say. And that’s not saying that we must be like, oh, but this is how I suffered, da da da da da. But there has to be some acknowledgement that like there is a hierarchy of oppression.
L: Yeah, there is.
C: To be a queer, I’m sorry to be a trans Black woman is to be the most targeted person in this–marginalized, most targeted, most marginalized person in this country.
J: Thanks. I appreciate that.
C: Thanks. And I just need to say that out loud. Obviously, you know that all three of us know that, but I still just need to say it.
L: Yeah no, I totally agree with it. Like wholeheartedly and like I live by that. In that, like in our, with Jenn, general curriculum building like we want to pay the most marginalized, the trans BIPOC combined like they need to be paid first in our group of people that are in our DEI and for that reason.
J: Yeah, yeah.
L: Yeah, and, umm, and like you said, like we can all exist, like all of our marginalizations can exist or like…yeah, it’s just, it is hard. It’s hard to wanna even talk about it because, because I’m not the most marginalized. Like it like, I just don’t feel like I should take up space talking about it. I generally don’t publicly and, and like that’s OK, like I don’t have a, a deep need to like most the time talk about my Judaism in that way. I guess I’m just exploring the ideas of the construct ’cause like this is they’re all constructs and like I don’t fit either, but I have some more privileges in some of those spaces. And like because this, it is because I’m being interviewed, I’m being honest about. But like I don’t.
C: I loved your honesty and I really appreciate it, I don’t–
J: Me too.
C: I don’t have an answer, either, that’s like my, my answer for everything.
J and C: [laugh]
J: Yeah, I don’t either.
C: I don’t have an answer, yeah. I just, I really appreciate your honesty. I really do.
L: Thank you. I just like I don’t center it most of the time because it’s not, yeah, it’s not the most important thing to me, and it, it’s not umm…eah, there’s not a burning need right now in history. Like this is, that’s not where I’m at. It’s just, it’s just there’s, umm, that generational trauma and it exists and, yeah, there’s some space for it, but it doesn’t need to be, it doesn’t need to be centered either.
C: And if it is the most important thing to you, that’s OK, too.
J: Yeah, I was gonna, just about to say that.
L: I’m like there are people, there are people out there where I think it is, it just doesn’t happen to because I was raised by hippies that were not religious, but their parents were and like it just so happens that didn’t happen for me.
C: Gotcha, yeah.
J: Ooh yeah, this is the most still and least sweaty I’ve been because I’m just normally. I’m just like…
J: Like there’s something about how you described embodiment in the beginning that pulled my embodiment in and then even in this really incredible vulnerable space, I’m, I feel like I’m feeling it with you, my own version of that. But just that’s what I mean about being an honor to be in this space. My presence is pretty unparalleled right now. And so this is you, Chelsea. So thanks for letting me be in this space with you. Thanks for being here in our space because I can, I can feel it, I am experiencing it.
C: Yeah, this is the most comfortable–I mean, two hours or whatever, we started like that–I’ve like, I never come in this comfortable. I really don’t, so I appreciate that. So honored. Normally I’m sweating and my head’s in my head’s on 35 different chores and like…
J: I’m not sweaty at all. I mean, I’m not pretty at all.
L: I’m super honored. I feel like, yeah, I feel honored that we’re holding space together, to be, to be authentic and vulnerable and, and unfiltered as much as we can.
J: I love the lack of filter. My brain doesn’t even know what to do with it even though I consider myself a very unfiltered person and I find that very interesting. It’s just very interesting to me, so I’m just sitting in it.
L: I am a rebel dietitian.
J: You are. It takes one to spot one. [laughs]
C: Speaking of being a dietitian, should we talk about eating disorder recovery?
C: Was that a good segue?
J: That’s perfect.
L: I like it. I like it.
C: Perfect. I’m actually cold and this never happens in these, like I mean like I am normally like I like, I don’t even shower on podcast days ’cause I already know like by the end of it, I just gotta like run to the shower and, and I don’t need one.
C: That’s so weird. Anyway.
J: I’m about to put this back on.
L: I-I’m freezing.
J: I have never put a coat, anything back on. Never, never.
C: Oh, that is, that is what I needed. OK, that’s–I start like pulling my shirt up, I’m like trying to pull my pants down during these things. Like I’m just like I gotta get out of my clothes.
C: What embodiment practices do you recommend for folks experiencing various stages of eating disorder recovery? What caveats or exit strategies do you offer if any part of the process is overstimulating, or what caveats or exit strategies do you offer to resist retraumatization?
L: Wow, so as an eating disorder dietitian, I work with a multidisciplinary team typically, and it’s advised and is sort of the common practice to have a team of a therapist, a psychiatrist, a dietitian, and then in some circumstances, umm, you know, maybe a gastroenterologist, an endocrinologist, some sort of specialist depending on chronic illness. And so I really am leaning into trauma informed, umm, therapist for that support. In some cases will use, umm, OTs for regulation around trauma I’ve seen and worked with and so it’s usually sort of a collaboration of like, uhh, working with a team to learn about what works for this client in particular to ground them. What’s dysregulating typically, historically in their, uhm, history is. You know, uhm, in, in all the cases that you know, do it, does somebody need a fidget tool? Uhm, depending on their neurodivergent, does somebody you know, usually check in about like how is the temperature? How’s the lighting for you? How’s this sound? Checking in with all their senses coming back for embodiment about, it’s about all adaptation in regulation of these senses, so what feels good to you right now? Maybe nothing feels good and like that’s the reality we need to just be honest about it. A lot of times I, I will do meal support with people and so really just like getting it set up through telehealth as we’re in a pandemic. It’s a really beautiful thing and technology is like a, a beauty and a curse. I, I think personally, umm, working in telehealth’s been really supportive for my clients in that like I’m in the room with them from virtually. Like I can see their space and they have access to their kitchen. Maybe I’m doing like cooking with them before they come to sit down. Maybe their pet is with them or like their artwork. And it just…they get to see my pet, Luna. And, and so there’s a lot of like kind of connection in these elements that maybe makes up for like the nuances of being in the room together at least for dietetics. It, it makes sense for the food piece, being able to have access to your bathroom or to your food really is like about that basic need, coming back to the senses. It’s usually a prompt about, you know, how is your seat? Some people bring weighted blankets, to put over their laps or over their feet. Do you have socks on, comfy clothing, does their clothing fit? Are you wearing a bra that’s too tight, pants that are like not letting us breathe. You know, these are in certain sort of nuances to check in on, on, because we can’t really be present when we are. We’re deeply uncomfortable and, and we’re going to do some hard work together that could be uncomfortable. So let’s get as comfortable as we can. Yeah, I think, you know, when people dissociate or dysregulate, it’s, it’s bringing them back to safety and getting consent and permission. Uhm so it’s about building trust and connecting to like clients. Uhm, uhm, but they can trust themselves even when they’re you know, in their deep throes of their eating disorder that they can trust when they don’t feel OK or not, and they can tell me and we can collaborate on that support. Uhm so yeah, so, so a lot of that regulation is about the senses. And then of course coming back to knowing historically from the therapist, you know, like where there are maybe pieces to lean into and prompt about how to ground and how to regulate, and that’s different for everybody.
J: So I am feeling at peace just listening to you.
J: Uhm, these are some of the things I do in my own practice and hearing some of them said back to me, uhm, invited me in a different way to just be there for a client but to be there for myself in that moment. I have adjusted, I rolled up my sleeves a little bit.
J: I, I was just sitting in what helps me be present now. It was such an invitation, a permission you mentioned, and really, that it really it felt like my choice. Beautiful.
L: Yeah, I think we need to want that. We need to wanna be there even if you don’t wanna be all that makes sense. It’s a hard ort of balancing act of showing up in the room and being vulnerable, or the virtual room there is as we’re in a pandemic and a lot of times people in the pandemic haven’t had any contact with, with enough people. So like these meetings are so extra meaningful. It’s important if this can human connection is, is so grounding on. I mean, even if it’s dealing with hard conversations or challenging maladaptive behaviors around recovery from an eating disorder. And it really yeah, sometimes we play music and dance.
C: Oh, I love that.
L: Sometimes, yeah, yeah. So yeah, I really sort of lean on my clients to tell me what they need. You know, a prompt and ask questions with consent if that’s what they need or want, but sometimes they really know what they want and need, and I’m like great, like let’s do it. I need to turn on music, music, and like I need to dance and like when we do it all together and or like I need like, oh, my hand lotion, smell or like maybe I’ll light a candle, create a space and then food to feel safer and more connected to my senses. Uhm, I often try to help people connect to their body and breath, and it’s often, uhm, rejected when people are in the heightened state of anxiety, it’s really common to see that, and that, that’s OK, you know, like we can find a moment to take one breath versus 5. Uhm, we don’t need to like meditate for an hour to, umm, get grounded and connect to our body. Umm, sometimes it’s like are you breathing, asking that question? Like are you holding your breath or your breathing? Is your breath going to your stomach, to your chest? Like where is it? Where are you feeling tension in your body right now? Like are you shaky? Umm, just like sometimes there’s a lot of digestive altered GI, you know, with eating disorders. It’s sort of like what comes first, the chicken or the egg, of, of did it ’cause the eating disorder, vice versa. And there’s a lot of unknown sciences about that and sort of we have to come back to harm reduction and so sometimes it’s like how, how is your stomach like, you know? Are you feeling rumbles in your tummy, inner, inner GI, anywhere? Or are you feeling like acid reflux up here? Uhm, you know, prompting and connecting to the body, umm, in, in this moment, so that we can, uhh, we move forward in the work that we’re doing and, umm, as safe as possible.
C:It must feel really restorative to work with you as a client. I would imagine that’s just, both of you honestly.
L: Thank you.
J: Yeah, just in conversation. Yeah, a thought exercise of what you might work through is so regulating, calming, centering. Uhm I feel very present and awake, there’s an awakeness in myself, with myself listening to you. I already knew this but we’re like really sitting in it, right? As we like listened to you, I was also thinking of the vagus nerve just when you think about altered GI function. Which comes first? Who knows, but the vagus nerve is everywhere from the just below our chin all the way to our colon. In other words, all of the body, the full digestive tract in and around every single organ in our body, not just those used for digestive purposes. And how the vagus nerve is responsible for regulating our heartbeat and heart rate, how fast and how strong it feels and how we’re talking all of these things about embodiment and regulation. The intention of these things being regulated is to feel that your heart rate and heartbeat are more of a match for where you would like to be in your body, right? It’s a, a chance to move states, so it’s also really making me think about embodiment as flow. Not just dynamic, as in the opposite of static, but I’m really hearing that as flow, right? Like how are things flowing through our body? Does the act of eating feel interruptive to that? How can we address that so it feels more regulated? What can we notice in our body and when we notice things to our senses, do we feel more regulated in really tangible ways? I was just thinking about how things related to regulation can be so like we can literally touch our wrist and get our heart right, right? Or you can touch your carotid artery. You can get present to something going on with the new before and after trying to be embodied during embodiment. We don’t even have to get so tangible, but I was just thinking about how it can be. It was just becoming a really clear kind of, I don’t know, experience?
L: I love that. I love that picture and I like you nerding out with me.
J: I’m a nerd!
C: I love, I love you nerding out in dietetics with me.
J: I’ve reclaimed fat and nerd. Two of my favorite things about myself.
L: I love that and I love you.
J: Thank you. I love you too. I love you both.
C: I love you both. Already, I don’t even know you, Chelsea, but I love you.
L: I, I feel love here.
C: And I love sitting here just listening to you. This is fun for me.
J: It is fun. It’s hard, hard fun, fun hard. I don’t know, there’s something I’ve never thought of those two things as together, but they’re really weird.
C: I like listening to you two nerd out on dietetics.
J: We do. We do it regularly.[laughs]
L: Oh my God, we love it so much. We’re like, how long, how much time can we nerd out today? We do, we do that frequently.
J: We do, all the time.
L: I’m like we have an hour and a half, let’s go.
J: Yes, all the time.
C: That’s awesome.
L: Uhm, something I love to do related to the vagus nerve. Thinking about the parasympathetic nervous system and the sympathetic nervous system which relates to digestion but also just a million other functions in the body and one way to regulate and kind of calm is to tune into the parasympathetic nervous system and one way to do it is to put one hand under the armpit of the other hand, across and then just sort of gently hold to our side of the rib cage and breathe.
Close your eyes and take some breaths and it can really harm our nervous system because we’re activating the parasympathetic nervous system, right, in this section here.
J: Mmm, the thumb part, yeah.
L: Right. And so I do try to prompt some of my clients to do this if they feel open to it, right, uhm, to connect, but sometimes, umm–to Chavonne’s question before about like what happens when people’s trauma comes, kicks up, it’s, it’s a lot of times not safe for people. And I I come back to the fact that people are wise, like in, in their bodies and they, they need to tell me if they don’t feel safe. Uhm, I can prompt and check in if I see that someone is starting to lose their attention with me. Uhm, that might be, might be one way, not all across the board, but it could be a, a variable. Or the you know, sort of the inability to put words together or eat a meal, continue eating. Like what’s happening right now? And sort of just check in. Like we don’t have to go so deeply in, we don’t have to feel so embodied, so connected to that subtle energy all the time, to get anywhere, to accomplish anything. If we just show up a little bit and, and lean into any sensation for a little bit of time. That, that makes a difference. And so I try to just hold on as much consent and support, umm, to my clients. But you know, sometimes we get silly. Sometimes people get sassy with me, their eating disorder’s really raging. And I’m like, oh, let’s pull some eyes, looks, giggle. Let’s challenge each other here. Like, you know I had something Jenn mentioned before, was that it could get really relational, and so I’m–mirroring is happening, like if I see somebody, I might mirror them and see how it relates back and connect to that piece. Umm, I mean, obviously in the scope of my practice and dietetics, nutrition and body image healing which that piece overlaps into a therapy collaboration. But yeah, I think that scope, there’s such a fine line because when you’re treating a human being, like how do you separate like this piece of trauma for the therapist and this piece of psychiatric is for the psychiatrist. It’s like, it’s all in the room you, you know, I’m holding space for the safety of, of my client. It’s to the best of my ability that I, umm, I took an oath, do no harm, but I’m a human and we do harm and we do repair and we show up for each other, uhm, with trust. So whatever it is, let’s, I’m, I’m here for it. I’m honored to, for anyone to be vulnerable with me and show up with me. And we can, we can get meta, we can get serious, we can get silly. I’m, I’m just, I’m here for all of it. The messy, the clean up. Yeah, I’m just really interested in, in centering the uncentered. For the outliers and anyone who’s felt othered. Uh, because the idea, I just think in, in mental health because in dietetics, so much of what we do is just biochemical, right? Like we just, it’s so like sterile and then behavioral health of eating disorders is such a different world. Coming into that space, I just, I hold different like lines of scope where my scope is based on the collaboration with my team and direction and, umm, show up for it all, yeah.
J: For those of you who can’t see us, Chavonne and I are sitting here with our hands and our opposite armpits with our thumb over this, like very edge of the ligaments and tendons that go from your chest to your arm. We’re just sitting here being regulated listening to this.
C: It’s really, really good.
J: I am such a nerd for polyvagal things and I actually never thought of this one before. It’s like this is so, this actually you can, you know, tap into flow in general, our lymphatic system is also accessible from where our thumbs are sitting right now. So I’m just sort of sitting with like how we can…uhm, I want to expand my conversations with myself and other people about embodiment for what flows into through and out of embodiment, and like what’s like swirling around it as well. It doesn’t even go into it that there’s something about the context of embodiment through this example of flow that’s sitting with me. So I guess I have another journal topic, but it’s just, I don’t know, it’s sitting with me in a really…I love the word safety and how much it’s been here today, but like I would say a secure way, a deeper level of safety. It’s feeling really nice.
L: I wanted to just come back to the idea of like there’s no good or bad in where our embodiment is. There’s no like pathologizing of like, dissociating.
J and C: Yeah.
L: And we do need to come to the body in the present moment to care for our nutrition and care for our mental and physical health on this plane in the now. And so that may not be safe for some, for many, who are actively in recovering from an eating disorder. And so that flow, like Jenn mentioned, of like the digestion and the movement of the embodiment is sort of haphazard. Thinking about like gastroparesis, which is delayed, yeah, stomach emptying of food as Jenn knows, and for those out there who don’t know it’s really common with eating disorders to have slow digestion. And so thinking about when your digestion is slow and the energy is slow. Think, so how like, where is it where emotions and our subtle energy? And how do we like, where, where do they go and how do they get stuck? They don’t move, umm, and they’re not just fluid, and we have to gently stay curious to what is happening so that there is more of a flow so that we can connect to ourselves to be embodied and empowered.
C: Wow. I love that.
J: Wow. [laughs] I love that. We could literally keep talking about this for hours. So Chelsea, I’m curious, would you like to pause here and have a whole ‘nother conversation with us?
L: I would love that. I’d be honored to join you both and chat more. Thank you for having me today and I look forward to having deep, rich conversations, I just, I love this space that, uhm, open, raw, authentic so to be continued sounds good.
C: Thank you so much.
J: Thank you!
C: We’re really, really appreciative. Thank you. This is great. [laughs]
J: I love it. OK, see you next time! Bye!
C: Okay, bye!
J: Thank you for listening to season 2 of the Embodiment for the Rest of Us podcast. Episodes will be published every two weeks-ish (because let’s be real here) wherever you listen to podcasts.
C: You can also find the podcast at our website, embodimentfortherestofus.com and follow us on social media, on both Twitter @embodimentus
J: And on Instagram @embodimentfortherestofus We look forward to being with you again next time in conversation.