I learned body awareness and expression
I learned authenticity and boldness
I learned patience and compassion
Most of my life I’ve been compelled to justify my existence, and specifically my body. If I wasn’t explaining why my body looked “lumpy” in ballet class, I was silencing myself to be accepted. For the record, my body looked “lumpy” because I had life-saving surgery on my liver as a baby and the scar was deep, and across my full waist. While consuming myself with apologizing for my existence, I could only survive, never thrive. Surviving was easy. I survived a liver disorder (I wasn’t meant to), emotional abuse in the dance studio, at school, and at home as a child. When you live in the world of survival, giving yourself permission to thrive is dangerous, reckless, lonely, and terrifying. Everything could come crashing down at any moment.
I ignored and abused my body for not
being what I thought it should be.
My body is no stranger to survival. Between disordered eating and a failing liver, I only knew scarcity, injury, terrorism, and shame. Dance training offered a heightened awareness of my body, but I never understood the power possible in that awareness. The terrorism I inflicted on my body and experienced at the hands of others kept me distracted from my power. I was obsessed with how my body looked and qualifying it based on size and mobility. I kept myself in a cycle of disappointment and shame. I was ashamed of my queerness, creativity, and sensitivity. This shame showed up in every aspect of my life. I was frozen in bad situations, unfulfilling relationships, meaningless jobs and uninteresting dance work.
In 2014, my liver began to fail. The surgery that had once saved my life was now threatening my survival. I had to stop working in late 2019 and I thought my life was over. I hadn’t danced in over 2 years, just existing in a body I couldn’t understand or explain. My partner couldn’t console me and our relationship suffered. I had zero compassion, or empathy for this body that was fighting for life. As my liver continued to fail, I realized I could no longer terrorize myself and surrendered to prioritizing my health and caring for this body. In this terrifying breakdown, I had a breakthrough. I learned to take time for myself, unpack the shame stored inside, and truly look at what my body needed.
I found strength in giving myself the permission no one
else would give me; to prioritize self-care.
I found strength in giving myself the permission no one else would give me; to prioritize self-care. I was so scared to do it on my own and was unsure where to even start. As my liver continued to fail, I focused on this body. I could still move, just differently. In this realization, I offered myself compassion and empathy. I began a journey that has been scary, long, difficult, and incredibly rewarding! This journey was bringing me to Radical Self-Love! It’s radical because it’s important, it’s self-preservation, it’s self-centered, it’s unapologetic. This work allowed me to live in a time when living was really hard.
Navigating a world of liver-failure forced me to reckon with a body that could no longer perform as I was accustomed. In February of 2020 I finally received the transplant I desperately needed and during my recovery process, I’ve built up the strength, passion, and love of myself and this body. I took all the body awareness, fragility, and tension that had kept me in a place of acceptance, and used it to fall in love.
I assumed I had to accept myself, despite my body's "shortcomings"
when really I should have been loving and caring for this body that was only mine.
Our world does not suggest we care for ourselves. No one gave me permission to love myself, I had to take it. It wasn’t until I began the process of loving myself that I found my true power, creativity, queerness, and success. I centered my own healing when I realized that no one would give me permission to go on this life-saving journey.
My journey through that narrative was painful, terrifying, beautiful, and radical! I learned to love myself. For the first time I was fully aware of how my body functioned and how that related to my emotions, confidence, and even my 9-5 work. I began to really tune into the story my body was telling. I didn't just listen, I heard my it and unlocked my power, my creativity, and my unapologetic queer femme energy!
Loving myself radically gave me the space to be powerful, to be creative,
to trust my instincts, and to foster real, supportive relationships.
Finding and telling your story can be terrifying! Telling mine, and letting my body do some of the talking made me vulnerable to rejection. Once I found the strength to push through that fear, I discovered my power, confidence, and a love of myself I never thought possible. I’m also the most confident I've ever been and radically love myself for the first time! I've never looked back. I didn't have anyone really guiding me through the scary, so I'm here to be that guide for you!