Tuesday 18 October 2022
Thursday 6 October 2022
Happy National Poetry Day 2022.
The theme: Environment. This works... as we live in our bodies and need to create a safe mind-space for it, so here we are!
A poem by me. Enjoy 😊
https://www.canva.com/design/DAFOTu6TTxw/view for a clearer view,
Does it resonate for you?
What would your "Dear Body" poem say?
If poetry doesn't work for you, why not freefall write your thoughts or write a standard letter and post it to yourself.
All the Best, Dx
Monday 30 May 2022
Got into some art!
I'm just going to start by saying this title has got me singing Billy Ocean, but that's not the point of this blog, so moving on😄...
Anyway. Last week was definitely one of ups and downs (not that I seem to have many that just pootle along), and so I had to be really minded of my mental health and wellbeing. I was struggling to get some reports written and the harder I tried to sit and focus the more frustrated I became.
Something I'm pretty good at is giving myself a talking to and taking the advice I'd give others both from a HR perspective and a body confidence one. There were various things I could do, but I realised that one of them was to take a break and do something creative. As fate (or faith) would have it I came across a community message about a mixed media workshop taking place and signed up for it straight away. I booked two tickets and encouraged my son to come with me.
It was great for both of us. He got out of his room. I got out of my head. For a few hours we created, chatted and competed (with ourselves piece by piece, rather than each other much), supported and encouraged by Yvonne.
We created four pieces each, each of them unique. Each of them created simply working with what materials we given - from old magazines to scraps of material. I realised that each piece I'd created represented a different aspect of me, at the moment. And all of them are works in progress that could be tweaked a little more... or accepted just as they are, they don't need more and chances are I'd 'ruin' them if I kept going because art isn't meant to be perfect - whatever that is. Tweaked or left, no grand and sweeping changes are required as they are already special.
That's you/us too - Working with what we've got. Unique. Special.
So many lessons in just two hours including:
- Movement is good
- Breathing and just sitting still (with yourself) for a bit is also good
- Company is good
- Art is good
- Abandon is good (in a safe space)
- Learning new things or new ways is good
- We have many parts to ourselves
- And we are many things
- Each part plays a part
- Each part is valuable
- Sometimes we've done enough
- Sometimes things are left unfinished
- Aiming for 'perfect' can lead to 'ruin'
- Things get messy, messy is ok
- Just make sure and wash your hands and clear up after
- Starting and getting something down is better than not starting at all
- We deserve to get out of our heads
- It is healthy to get out of our physical spaces too
- We are created to be creative
- We can only work with what we've got
- We are art ourselves - unique and special
- We are enough
So, do whatever works for you. For some people it's exercise, for others getting into nature and for others it's about rustling something up in the kitchen or their sewing room. Different things will work at different times. And sometimes, doing nothing is the best thing. Reflect. Repeat what works. Even revisit what didn't work this time. Enjoy.
I wish you well, Denise.
PS - I made progress on one report today and one deadline was eased so I'm defo more confident I'll get it done well now. Phew!
PPS - go follow Yvonne on Insta.
Monday 2 May 2022
I’m on my 4th newsletter and one of the regular sections has been “In the Rear View” where I look at what’s been going on in the BC space or for me in the previous month...
...So far, I’ve not been stuck for points to reflect on and this month is no different in many ways. However, this month a couple of reflections may be quite triggering, so to give people more a choice to engage I'm sharing them as a blog. The two hot topics of April have been the adding of calories to menus, and talk of skinning shaming following a post by Matt Lucas. So below, I share a few reflections. In addition, I‘m really pleased to say that I’ve been working on a few other related activities, that have been much more positive.
- Calories on Menus 📑
The hot topic in the BI space at the moment is that as of last month restaurants with over 250 outlets have to show calories on their menus. There is no middle-of-the-road on this one for me (which is rare), and I find the decision absolute baloney - it's so damn lazy and lacking in foresight.
Luckily, people like Hope Virgo have shared ways around it such as eating at small, independent local places and asking others to read menus to you. Like the BMI, this is not really a medically inspired intervention - it stigmatises food, takes the joy out of eating out, hampers progression from eating disorders (ED’s), and doesn’t address the myriad of reasons why people are (fat aka) in higher weight bodies.
Perhaps my biggest issue though is that calories don’t equal healthy, any more than thinness does. Calories do not tell us the actual nutritional value of food and can be misleading in this context. And there's more if we start to consider what 'healthy' means, defined by who, too! Let's just say we should all remember good mental health and happiness are indicators of health; and that health is broad, for example, links to socio-economic status.
As you’ll know I’m not anti-dieter and recognise the many reasons people choose to diet, but I am anti-diet industry misrepresentations and manipulation. I’m not the expert on this, but please check out the numerous news articles on the subject and follow those such as Hope and the FatDoctor for their perspectives on social media, because the views from Dr. Hillary Jones just ain’t the ones.
- The shame of 'Skinny-Shaming' 🗫
Comments made to Matt Lucas have (re)started the conversation around so call skinny-shaming. The last time it was a hot topic in my brain was the backlash to Megan Trainer's (still catchy) "All about the Base". Body shaming is never ok. Making unsolicited comments on another person's body, even if you think you are being positive, is rarely a good idea (ask if you need me to expand) and you even need to tread very carefully responding to a person's ask of your opinion.
Let's be serious though, skinny shaming - whilst as painful for an individual as any form of body shaming - just isn’t as broad and deep a structural societal issue as fatphobia. (Please be clear I am not saying it isn’t an issue - I know you have to shop special as size 4 as well as at anything over an 18).
In reality, and to be clear, ANY & ALL BODY SHAMING NEEDS TO GO IN THE BIN. Any body commentary is a risk when said/ heard directly or indirectly. Instead, think about complimenting a person for something else. Say nothing. Talk about how something makes a person feel. Point out the positive. Seek to understand their negative thinking or need for validation. Just try something different, be different - there are enough body image messages already.
- Other stuff 📰
In the last month, 'Damson Belle' put their toe back in the image consulting pool and I’ve got back to doing colour analysis. I’ve also delivered an updated Body Happy Kids (BHK) workshop and been developing a Body Confidence (BC) journal.
Doing colour analysis is such a joy giver and bringer - I'm very happy to say my client was very happy. I'm looking forward to doing a style session soon, but I will be applying more of a BC approach to it.
Doing BHK workshops underpins the work I do with young adults and adults. Issues later in life are often a result of unresolved childhood challenges and narratives, so being part of an organisation that starts the conversation early is so important to me.
As for the Body Confidence journal - I am working with a few people to get it right including two coaches and a Doctor, as well as my designer the superb Ces Loftus. I’m just putting it out there in the hope it gives me a nudge, but that’s all I can say on it for now.
Phew, it’s been a deep and busy month!
Hope all is well with you!
As for me, I better finish the actual newsletter!
Take care, Dx
Saturday 9 April 2022
And other issues...
How often do you take the workings of your body for granted?
I suspect many of us take the things we are able to do for granted, such is
the focus on looking and feeling good in society.
As I prepared my newsletter, I reflected on last month during which I had
not one but three reminders to be ‘grateful’* for living largely pain free in
a body that doesn't need society to make reasonable adjustments -
especially as it, and many of us, are oblivious to what adjustments truly
need to be made.
The first was that my boy was in pain with a knee condition (he’ll be fine),
and secondly I had a sore leg and hip (I am fine).
Both may cause long-term niggles... O’s issue is manageable but not funny,
mine was avoidable-ish and had a tinge of the comedic about it.
Yes, folks, I took a cartoon style tumble into mud on a walk during A pause outdoors – TheKateOutdoors. Mud - 1. Ego - 0.
In my case, I am glad I can laugh about it and glad for the reminder to
appreciate the home I am/we are.
The third reminder however was a much bigger one, and will require
major adjustments for a loved one.
All I'll add is please don't ignore health warning signs, especially you men.
If, and when, your body talks folks... Please, listen.
on how it might be not so in the future if any of this was insensitive)
Friday 11 February 2022
...Beyond (not) talking about Bruno!
- afro (as well as straight) hair,
- different skin tones
- Isabela's joy of breaking away from being supposedly 'perfect', and
- the star - Mirabel - wears glasses but isn't quirky or geeky (quirky and geeky is good, just challenging the stereotype) Encanto ticks another box. Disney film makes girl’s glasses-wearing heroine wish come true | Trending News,The Indian Express
And I have another reason for loving it - my brand journey started with my own Mirabelle (spelt differently) who, like me, has the butterfly as a symbol.
However, I can't talk about Disney movies without at least a mention of the issues surrounding them, such as the battle there was for the Luisa we have, stereotypical princesses and 'he'roes, why the name Bruno?* (unless just for the song!) and the latest controversy being the Snow White remake.
"Why does it matter?" you might ask, well... because stereotypes are limiting, the slim/pretty = healthy/good narrative is subtly divisive and damaging, and frankly representation matters. (Next up I look forward to black characters who remain human for a whole Disney movie, but I'll accept their progress and hang on to Wakanda!)
|2-Year-Old Girl Reacts To Looking Like Mirabel From 'Encanto' - Edernet.org|
There's lots more on this through Body Happy Kids, who I deliver training with, by the way - but, for now lets just go with the positive shift our love of Luisa brings.
And before I go here's a few other kids shows/films I think deserve a shout-out (though they're not without some challenges also)
- Brave: Merida the character was described as a 'tomboy' and proposed changes to her in merchandising, such as shrinking her waist size, sparked debate and were knocked back.
- Trollhunters: Jim Lake isn't the school star but turns hero and another show hero Toby, and his Grandma, are in higher weight bodies and love interests.