In The Company of Women – I ADVOCATE
In The Company of Women – I ADVOCATE
It wasn’t very long ago that I had the privilege of spending a week in Colorado to help my dear friend and fellow advocate Chevese Turner, President and CEO of BEDA, host the 5th Annual conference of the Binge Eating Disorder Association. The conference is always full of great information, talented presenters and a wicked fun dance party and awards ceremony, but having been a part of the coordination team, I had a unique perspective of the event – I got to be immersed in the company of women for several days longer!
There’s something to be said for the power of positive female energy, the almost tactile electricity in the air. It’s something that I can’t quite explain, but if you’ve been to a celebration with a few hundred women; learning, growing, connecting, supporting… you know what I’m describing. You don’t have to be a hugger to be physically impacted.
And that’s probably why I’m now a passionate advocacy junky. I’ve finally gotten the bug.
I knew going into this conference that it would be amazing because my first BEDA conference was quite literally life changing.
I went to it to learn more about my eating disorder and I left with the understanding that I WAS ALLOWED TO ACCEPT AND LOVE MYSELF RIGHT NOW, AS-IS! The idea that I had the permission to look at myself and be appreciative, that I wasn’t obligated to say, “I can’t love myself until I reach my weight/shape goal.” was one of the most profound changes in personal belief I’d ever had.
And then adding to that, I committed to start the day by saying (and MEANING) “Hello Gorgeous!” when I met myself in the mirror for a 90 day minimum, just to see if it ever got easier (thank you Carol Munter); I learned that my body is my home and I can and should love it for being mine and working hard for me (thank you Amy Pershing); I was graciously shown that the people giving guidance to me were more than just smart, but approachable and warm (thank you Marsha Hudnall); I had a giggling fit and an epiphany when it was clarified that the scale doesn’t measure my worth (thank you Deb Burgard)… In those couple of days, I was taught that I AM ok, and that accepting it would become easier with work – that it wasn’t about lying to myself to feel OK but rather, untangling the dishonesty of the forces that had made me believe that I wasn’t.
And deep thanks. I learned through that experience that being thankful for a body that works as hard for me as mine does, as yours does, demands that I show thanks.
When I left that first BEDA conference I had big fuzzy ideas about each of those concepts, but what I knew clearly was that the women who were there cared. They didn’t judge; they didn’t make me qualify myself based on size or experience or duration in the community. They accepted me and wanted the best for me, and THAT was the magical ingredient.
My life was changed by absorbing education, but my life was changed due to the company of those women.
This year, things came full circle – I GOT TO SUPPORT THEM! -so right now, 2 weeks later, I miss that vibe; those hugs (that dancing!) and I wish I could keep them with me every day to interact with and learn from. That may be one of the reasons why I’m so dedicated to the latest BingeBehavior.com campaign – asking MSNBC to shed light on the injustice, discrimination and hatred shown to leaders, activists and advocates within my community.
If you are on Twitter or Facebook, or this post inspires you to send an email, please do so asking the All in With Chris Hayes show to feature the struggles that our friends and fellow warriors face at the hand of people who would do them harm.
Please send an email including the following taglines in the subject: #AllinAmerica and #STOPFATHATE to allinwithchris[at]msnbc.com asking that his show feature the challenges that Fat Activists, people of size and/or size diversity activists encounter when trying to obtain basic human rights and safety.
On Twitter you can create posts with the 2 hash tags – #AllinAmerica and #STOPFATHATE, or you can simply follow @BingeBehavior and RT the many (MANY) posts circulating. The more people we get behind this request, the more attractive our request will be to the producers.
If instead you would like me to email you a daily post you can cut and paste and have done with it, please email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you a quick tweet each day until we are getting what we need from the media.
So, thank you to the many, many women who have supported me, and taught me and accepted me – I thank you by living a better life and by advocating for the betterment in the lives of others.