What I Learned from Speaking at the Body Love Conference

With JP, who co-presented mental health workshop with me at the Body Love Conference!

I’m lucky. What happened for me when I read Jes Baker’s letter to Abercrombie & Finch’s CEO happened very fast. I know it was a journey long before that time, but her energy flipped a switch inside me… I suddenly no longer cared what people thought or said to me (what they say to my kids is another story).  I know that this is an anomaly… but it’s still weird look back and remember what it felt like leading to that change.

The Body Love Conference did that for me.

I met women on every stage of their journey, some there on a whim. Some there for school, not even thinking it was a spot that they needed to be at, and many who had embraced the role of activist with much more vigor than I. Some people wouldn’t believe it, but I am a wallflower… these women were not. These are the women I want to grow up to be like:

1. Jes Baker

Jes is just as personable in real life. Honestly, ever moment around her I felt like we were old friends. She’s awesome.

2. Jen McLellan

Jen is an activist in the truest sense. She is an incredible motivator to find healthcare professionals who will do more than overlook weight. I spent a lot of time talking with her at the conference learning about all that she does to keep women informed of their choices.

3. Shanna Katz

Shanna is a board certified sexologist (talk about a crazy job!) and an awesome person. She also did a workshop on health needs that I’m sorry I missed. But in talking with her during lunch, Shanna shared a story with me about a woman with OI who made a choice to go in to a wheelchair to protect herself. I think that story alone will impact how I deal with my health… It’s not about everything that I need to do to fit societal norms- it’s about how I need to take care of myself so I can continue to be awesome 🙂

4. Jennifer Chambers

Jennifer is an amazing woman, with an amazing story. I suggest that you all go read about it and find out what it’s like to have a traumatic brain injury and have to relearn your whole life. On a personal level, though, she is amazing. I just want to have enough energy to do midnight swims before and after speaking at a conference someday!

5. Elizabeth Denneau

I’ve met Liz before… she’s the one who made the cute matching dresses for my girls and I 🙂 (you have to look closely, but the pattern is made of skulls!)

In my second free session my brain kinda went haywire with all the choices, so I ended up in Liz’s workshop, and was totally amazed. I must have heard her say it before (or we have some weird mind link) but her message is that when clothes don’t work for you, it’s not your fault- there’s something wrong with the clothes. I love her.

6. Ivy Ross

I met Ivy at the mixer before the conference. What a beautiful spirit! Ivy is a yoga teacher and a musician, and just a comforting person to be around. I could have sat with her all night.

7. Meghan Tonjes

I wouldn’t have known who Meghan was without this conference… but her YouTube channel is very addicting. I highly recommend it.

8. Sonya Renee

Sonya not only had an amazing message… she also had these amazing shoes. I was totally jealous! Her message is inspiring and definitely worth reading.

9. Michelle Merritt

Michelle gave a talk on surviving sexual assault that impacted the entire conference. Women were bringing it up in my second session, a mental health panel, at the end of the day. I hope someday to have the same impact.

10. Chrystal Bougon

And Chrystal of Curvy Girl Lingerie… I don’t think I need to say any more about her other than that Curvy Girl is awesome.

 

From these women, and the 400 others who were there, I realized something very important… we ALL need Body Positivity and we all need to talk about it.

…Women and Men…

…Fat and Thin…

…The Wallflowers and the Gregarious…

…The Students and the Teachers…

I learned more from these women and being part of this community than I can express, and I can’t wait to do it again next year!