"A jellyfish...to remind you that life might sting,
but good lord, it is so beautiful."
Said the inside of the card with a beautiful drawing of just that.
I was driving home today, running an assortment of to-dos through my head. I've been more than overwhelmed lately with the amount of work to be done: house gutting and rearranging, stacks of bills waiting for my attention (I'm good at ignoring them), surprise hairballs and fleas from the roommates, needed organization galore and the delicate process of breaking up with a long time employer and making sure it goes as smoothly as possible. All that (and more) was weighing heavily on my mind when I walked up to my door and saw the package.
I tried to determine if it was that awesome essential oil diffuser I ordered, but it was way too fucking heavy to be that. I opened it, unsure of what I would find, and when I realized what I was looking at... I teared up hardcore. The heavy was gone.
You probably know Amanda Trusty. She's that kick ass burlesque dancer who's "Roar" video went viral and inspired millions of people to peel off society's labels and live/dance like they didn't give a fuck. I just re-watched it and got goosebumps. (And started crying. I'm really emotional today turns out, which I 100% contribute to staying up past my bedtime because I'm mildly addicted (<-- lie. I'm beyond addicted) to Blacklist. But anyways.)
The box was full of thoughtfully selected gifts from her current home in Hawaii and I don't know how she knew just what to send but there was coffee and banana pancake mix y'all. BANANA PANCAKE MIX. Jesus christ, she's good.
Beyond the goodies, there was an envelope with a beautifully typed list: "14 Reasons Why You Are Fucking Awesome." The list included some of my favorite things penned about me maybe ever, and here are a few favorites:
( "14 Reasons Why You Are Fucking Awesome.")
1.) You are so knowledgeable about psychology that your body advocacy will forever be different than everyone else's. Incorporating mental health education into your mission is what makes it so positive and inspiring.
7.) Your brilliant hashtags
10.) Your emotional honesty in your writing. You never lead us to believe that you have it right or perfect. You always take us along for the ride. Thank God. This is why you matter so much, We know we can always fund a relatable story in your archives.
14.) Your courage. Your perseverance. Your balls. Your ferocity. Your strength. Your aura. Your stance. Your fucking passion. All the passion. You've got all the passion. Never forget it. Never ever ever ever. Your passion is your best asset. It will take you places in this world and allow you to change things that you never thought were changable. And you have an army of passionate women here to back you up whenever you call us in. Never, ever, ever forget that,It was reading through these that made me stop and realize: HOLY SHIT THIS IS WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT. This is what the body love community stands for. This is how it's supposed to work.
I came across an amazing image on Instagram that I just re-posted out of "YES THIS" that says "Her success is not your failure." The sentiment is exactly my experience with every body advocate I've ever met. And this, dear friends, is a beautiful and rare thing.
We live in a competitive world that constantly tells us that someone else's win is our loss, and guess what? Ain't true. I've watched teams and communities grow stronger and more successful when they bask in other's achievements. This basking doesn't mean that the others are falling behind, but rather, it means they recognize the power of collective happiness.
While sun bathing with the indescribably wonderful Virgie Tovar in San Jose, she shared her mission in life: to rid our society of its diet culture habits and to help others be successful in doing the same. Not just to kick ass at something, but to hand off her knowledge to others as well. It was so refreshing, and this isn't an isolated incident. The speakers from the Body Love Conference have a secret Facebook group simply to connect, support, and build one another up. I remember being so touched when the magnificent Sonya Renee took the time to make a lengthy phone call and give advice on how to make advocacy a full time job. There was an email from Marilyn Wann with an opportunity to die for. Volunteers are practically tripping over each other (not really,but I like the visual) to donate time to the conference because they believe in the cause. When I reach out to any activist, I'm greeted by a friendly YES to whatever I'm looking for. Every time.
THIS IS WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT. This is what the body love community stands for. This is how it's supposed to work.
Did I mention it's rare? It's a lovely thing, seeing people relish in other successes. And I think the reason for this community's undying support of each other lies in the fact that every single one of us believes in empowerment. Positivity. Love. GOD I want to see every person adopt this mindset, y'know?
Amanda also sent that deliciously chubby hula doll pictured above with this message:
I adore her so.
I remember her offering to send something after a particularly rough week of mine, and her act of incredible kindness was just the kick start I needed to refocus my intentions to be even more generous with my support. I remember reading a book when I was a kid called "Random Acts of Kindness," and it's message has stuck with me all these years. The goddawful cover design has also stuck with me, but that's another conversation all together.
So I'm going to do more of this kindness/support/empowermentofothers thing. And I think you should join me.
It could look like anything. A casual compliment. A surprise gift. A postcard to remind someone that they're fucking awesome. A congratulations on a success. An empathetic "Hope things look up" comment when things go wrong. A "Fuck the haters" when necessary.
I wanna see the world re-frame their view of this whole competition thing; we don't have to hate to win. I wanna see us all mirror the body positive world. And I'll vouch: it's such a great fucking world to live in.
So thanks Amanda. For the chocolate covered coffee beans and the reminder that there certainly is beauty in the world.