10: Living Your Best Fat Life with Tiana Dodson

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Listen in to hear Tiana, who is a Body Liberation coach, and Andréa dig into what’s possible for our lives and world when we learn to accept and be in partnership with the bodies we have, right now, as they are.

Mentioned resources:

Transcript:

You’re listening to A CALL TO SERVE. This is a podcast calling entrepreneurs, coaches, educators, healers, creatives and other people with a vision for change in their communities to show up with integrity, use their power and practice radical service so that they can make their impact in the world in the most sustainable ways. My name is Andréa Ranae, I’m a facilitator and coach focusing my work on holding space for liberatory leadership and I am so excited that you’re here! Let’s get into this episode.

Welcome to episode 10 where we’re talking with my brilliant friend Tiana Dodson. In this interview, Tiana shares her vision and work of fat acceptance and fat liberation. 

Here’s why I asked Tiana into the show:

Here work is so deeply counter cultural, I mean, we’re talking working against the diet, health and weight loss industries. We’re talking work against, working to heal the idea that you’ve got to be thin to win, that fat is bad or unhealthy, that your size indicates your worth and for women and femmes, the smaller you are or for more masculine types, the more buff and muscular you are, the more value you have. 

The work she’s doing is a big deal. And I know that if you’re listening to this, in some way, shape or form you are also trying to shift culture. And the work of shifting culture is tough, it requires stamina, persistence, vision and commitment. So, as with every guest I bring on this show, I hope her words and stories inspire and affirm you. 

On a related note, I also hope what we talked about in this episode informs and makes you think differently about how you relate to your body and the bodies of others, especially fat and larger bodies.

Personally, I have made an intentional effort the past couple years to unlearn the ways that I am horrible to my body and learn ways to be sweeter to it. Tiana’s work has been a part of that. 

So this is such a delicious conversation that you’re about to dig into! If you want the transcript or any links and resources mentioned, you’ll be able to find those in the description of this episode OR at andrearanae.com/acts/10

And before we finally dive into this interview, I’ve got to mention that this show and episode wouldn’t be possible without my new monthly workshop series called A Revolution of Values which is meant to incite us all into putting our most human-centered values into action so that we might shift our cultures and change our world. Each month we’re digging into a different value and this month its LOVE. And I believe that one of the most powerful ways we can practice love is by being in partnership with what is, in the case of this episode: being in partnership with our bodies, as they are. So Tiana is offering up some good stuff in regard to #loveinpractice. If you’d like to join me for one of these Revolution of Values workshops you can check out episode 9 of this podcast and/or go to bit.ly/revolutionofvalues to find out more and sign up.

Okay, let’s get into this beautiful interview:

Andréa:

Hi Tiana.

Tiana:

Hi Andrea.

Andrea:

What's up?

Tiana:

...so much.

Andréa:

So much? That's a good answer. Instead of not much, not much, just chilling. Okay, let's get into this. So what are you cultivating right now?

Tiana:

I feel like the answer to that is so much. Um, but, the thing that's top of mind right now is, I'm working on this program I'm currently launching called: Live Your Best Fat Life. And what this program is - at the base - is a lot of different things, but essentially, it is the next step in cultivating my vision for the world, which is basically that all of us can show up looking how we look and being who we are and not have to worry about being shamed or being categorized negatively or being applied moral negative things to us because we don't fit into a certain mold that has been deemed quote unquote "good" or "best". And, I mean essentially I can sum this, this kind of Utopic vision up with two words, which is: body liberation. And the most beautiful part of body liberation is that it doesn't just get at what my specific zone is, which is to normalize and de-stigmatize fatness. But it also is encompassing race. It's encompassing gender, sexuality. It's encompassing disability, it's encompassing, neurodivergence, it's encompassing mental, emotional, all the things that are physical... I mean basically any and everything that has to do with the body or any effect on the body and liberating that breaking down these systems. So it's a beautiful thing.

Andréa:

Yeah it is. And it sounds like, um, I'm thinking about the listeners, and on just like the most fundamental level, the idea that fatness is okay is like a radical idea to a lot of people and then to also bring in that, like we all have - those of us that are fat - have larger bodies. We are all experiencing it differently based on our other identities that we are holding. Whether we're regarding race or gender, ability or whatever it is, is like a whole other mind-blowing level to just think about the intricacies of the experience of being black and being a woman and being queer and being fat. I'm like, what does that mean? So I just want to break it down a little bit. Especially because I think just like: what folks get from this episode - if all they get - is this idea, maybe they don't believe it yet, but this idea that fatness is okay. I'm okay with that. And I know that your work is about living your BEST fat life. So it's not just about: yeah, this is okay, like, yes, I'm okay and in this body that I'm in AND I'm going to live life to the fullest, to the extent that I want to, to create and live and experience pleasure and joy and ease and all of that in this life.

Tiana:

Yes. I mean so much. Yes.

Andréa:

So fatness is okay.

Tiana:

Yup.

Andréa:

What's currently in the way of us getting to that place collectively?

Tiana:

Um, so in a word: fat phobia, fat stigma. Or phrase, sorry, the phrase I guess. Essentially the idea, the thing that always happens, is anytime I'm in mixed company, so basically I'm not amongst the believers, those zealots like myself. And it is uttered that it's okay to be fat. The response in the negative tends to be: yeah, but that's not healthy. And this is, I mean, thank you in some ways for caring about my health. But no, thank you in many other ways for the simple fact that you don't really care about my health. That's not what that is. Because honestly, if each and every one of us cared about the health of fat people, we would stop shaming them. We would make sure that everybody had accessible health care, we would make sure that, when I need to have a simple preventative procedure that you had equipment that catered to my body, you know? Just simple stuff. Just simple stuff like that. So that's something that really stands in the way, which is the medicalization of fatness. The idea that fatness is inherently unhealthy. And it's not completely true. It's actually not true really. Because if you look at the studies, what the science is putting out, what you see is it's not the body size that actually is the root problem. What IS the thing that is the root problem, what IS the thing that causes us to have less than ideal health is more about your habits. So what you are habitually doing or not doing, what you are habitually eating or not eating, and also how you are habitually experiencing life - your social situations, your social experiences - all have an effect on your health. So when you're a wealthy white woman, you can be, you know, 600 pounds and you're probably going to be much better off health-wise than a black woman who happens to live in the inner city and is trying to work three jobs just to get over oppressive systems. And I apologize for using that stereotype, but it gets to the heart really of the social determinants of health. It's really hard have optimal health regardless of the size of your body if you're unable to access the things that support health. So, that's the one thing that's really in the way of people accepting fatness as being something that is just normally occurring and non negative is the fact that we have put a social currency on thinness.

Andréa:

Mic drop! Okay. You just ended that sentence with the period, like it was like nothing. Yeah. A social currency on thinness.

Tiana:

Absolutely.

Andréa:

Whew. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Tiana:

Oh yeah.

Andréa:

Being a fat person supporting folks around their fatness, or just around their body in general: what is that experience like for you?

Tiana:

I love it. I absolutely love it. And that's not to say that I love being fat because it's hard to love being fat in a world that hates your fat body. But I am at peace with my fatness. And I am never more at peace with my fatness then when I am in community with other people learning how to be at peace with their fitness. It's really amazing to watch someone untangle, something that has been holding them down for years, holding them back from experience, holding them back from fully realizing themselves. I mean, that's just fucking magic. I love it. I love being there and I love being with that. And I love that I am capable of helping people do that because each and every person who I touch who can walk out into the world or go out into the world and show up a little shinier, a little brighter, head held a little higher, that starts a ripple, that starts change. I mean, that changes how you look at that person. That changes how maybe you think about fat people because what you thought that people were: all sad and you know, depressed, lazy people. And then you see your buddy out there, you know, just being fucking fantastic and maybe that'll change anything about what fat people actually are.

Andréa:

So you love it.

Tiana:

I love it. I mean, it's my passion. It's the thing...I will not say that gets me up out of bed in the morning because I have a three-year-old. That's what actually gets me up - just being real. But basically, I mean, this is not lucrative work that I'm doing. Unfortunately I'm not shopping for my learjet. I'm nowhere near that. It's very hard to make sales doing what I do because it's so loud. The noise out there is so loud that you fat person are wrong. And the only way you can correct that wrongness is by becoming less of a fat person and, if possible, as thin as you can be. And that's so seductive because there's...oh my goodness. In 2017, the diet industry made $66 billion. B-I-L-L-I-O-N in the United States.

Andréa:

Just in the United States.

Tiana:

JUST in United States. I mean, we're not talking about the diet industry of France where I live. We're not talking about the diet industry of Germany where I used to live. We're not talking about the diet industry of the UK. JUST the diet industry of the United States, $66 billion. And so they have money. They have capital, they have people who are working for them with salaries who are doing the things that you do when you're a publicist or you're some kind of social media expert. But then they've also convinced your grandmother, they've also convinced your sister, they've convinced your doctor, they've convinced that person you walk across the street with, they have convinced everybody around you. And so you are always going to be evangelized toward about the beauty and necessity and value of thinness and the demonization and harm of fatness.

Andréa:

So, in your working against that which yes, is not necessarily lucrative and is like actively working against a well-oiled machine that has been in effect for many decades. It's so interesting for me - as a side note - to look at, in history, the way that how we see fatness has changed and at one point it being something that is a sign that you're wealthy and that you're doing well in life. And then for it to shift, especially over this past couple centuries. It's wild. But yeah, you're doing work that is counter-cultural, especially when you talk about - just from our conversations in general about like the work that you're doing - that there's so many people who are deeply tied to this idea that, well, if I just lose this amount of weight, then I'll be able to do that. Or then things will be better for me. Or, I just need to commit. I need to be disciplined. And you're sitting here like: No, you can live your best fat life now! You don't have to wait until anything! And the repetition that that takes in order for people to start to be okay with that, and even start to consider that maybe you don't need to lose weight in order to have value and in order to be loved and all of that.

Tiana:

Exactly. I am one person and the lovely thing is that I am not the only person doing this. We are an industry. We're not very big, but we are an industry. We are a movement, but again, we're up against an international $66 billion industry. This is literally David and Goliath. I don't even know if we're big enough to be David, I mean honestly.

Andrea:

Keep growing. Maybe before the fight. David when he was like a toddler.

Tiana:

But I mean, it's just that life is easier when you're thinner. I mean that's just physics, right? That's just reality. When you are a smaller bodied person, you fit everywhere. So if you've never lived in a larger body, if you've never been fat - what I call absolutely fat, where regardless of where you are or in what situation or what company you're in, you're still considered fat versus I'm fat when I'm around my sisters...You know? Like in my household I'm fat because all the rest of them are string beans. That's relative fat. What I'm talking about - absolute fatness, where always and everywhere you are fat, there's no question. When you are absolutely fat, you have to think about, there's an enormous mental load that you are always carrying because: Is that chair gonna fit? Can I sit there? Will it break underneath me? Is it going to make a weird noise? Am I gonna fit through this? Can that take my weight? You're always assessing a place that you are entering to kind of see if your peg fits into that space. Or if you're going to be uncomfortable. And as a larger-bodied person, you are always prepared to be uncomfortable and that's a shit thing to do. So imagine when you're asking me what about my health with my fatness, make sure you have a chair that holds my fat ass. Because thinking about the fact that I'm anticipating being uncomfortable and then actually physically being uncomfortable the whole time I'm here in this space, that's fucking with my health, you know? That is stuff that I do not need to carry because guess what? It is not really that difficult. I have a background in mechanical engineering. It's not that difficult, ya'll, to make a chair that actually can hold larger weights. It's just, it's not, it's not difficult. Chairs are not difficult. But basically if you've never been in this larger body and you've never had to think about that, like, oh, I want to go see this movie, I want to go see "US". So I'm just looking for a time where they're playing the original version so I can actually see it in English and understand it. And I also have to think about: am I going to be comfortable in the chair? But if you've never lived in a larger body, you've never thought about that. Like, what are you thinking about? I wonder if there's a cup holder. Will there' be a place for my purse? Or: Is that seat going to recline? Am I going to be able to kick my feet up? These are easy things to think about. You know, you don't have to worry about those like really heavy things when you're not a larger-bodied person. It's different and it's hard, but it doesn't have to be the thing that stops you from living your life, you know? I can still do amazing things. I can still be an amazing person at the size that I am. And when I made the choice and started to do the work on myself to be okay with the body that I have, I became a different person. I became a person who was much more capable and much braver than I was at any other point in my life. I take opportunities now, you know, I find opportunities for myself. I advocate for myself. I show up brighter and shinier than I ever did before because I have accepted who I am and what I am, and I am not going to let the lack of chairs that fit me be the thing that stops me from having pleasure in this lifetime or from honoring myself or just from being a dynamic fucking human being who's trying to be positive. Your chairs will not stop me.

Andréa:

I love that: Your chairs will not stop me. Yes. It's like a battle cry. Hmm. I'm thinking about for myself. I am definitely in between in terms of my experience of fatness, just over the course of my life and today. And as I've learned more and more about, first body positivity and then fat liberation - and I want to talk about the difference - but getting more and more into the idea of fatness being okay but also the experiences of folks that are larger than me, the experiences of folks that are my size and experience with folks that are smaller than me - are thin. And I'm really holding for myself the privilege that I have and the experience that I have just in this one identity of fatness, that my size affords me the ability to not have to think about all the time: is that chair going to hold me? Do I have to worry about like when I go on the plane, is the seatbelt gonna fit? I don't have to worry about that as much. I do when I see a chair, I'm like: oh no, that's not gonna fit. Like, my hips are too big for that. But, it's not something I go into a setting with all the time. And there is a privilege that, that comes with that, where I don't have to think about as much the space that my body is taking up and what that might mean for how people interact with me. At the same time, I'm definitely not thin and do experience the, for lack of a better word, the weight of fat phobia in a lot of ways. And so, there's always - I can't even say attention, sometimes there's attention. Just about like what my responsibility is, beyond just to care for myself. But this work of like creating a culture and cultivating a culture that doesn't have contempt for fatness and actually is okay with it, actually supports people with a variety of bodies. And so, it's tough.

Tiana:

Yeah. Yeah, totally. I mean, I think it's important here, it's just like the work that you do with Coaching As Activism. You have to help people first see their privilege and understand better how to make space for people who are more marginalized than them. And even in the realm of fatness, just like you said, though you may experience fat phobia and fat stigma at the size that you are, regardless of what size you are, there are people who have more stigma and more phobia applied to them because their body is more outside of the norm, quote unquote, that we have today. And so I would give you the same type of advice that you would give someone who was thinking about race or financial capability, which is to do a lot of what you just did, which is acknowledge your privilege, understand your privilege, and still also understand that there are people that are more marginalized than you. And in those cases just move over.

Andréa:

It's that simple. It's really that simple because the thing is...

Tiana:

I mean there's a lot of hand flailing, you know: what do I do? I mean, it's not that difficult. You don't need to have all the answers. You just kind of need to have good questions and a good question is as simple as: how can I help you? Wha do you need? And then respond to that. You know, not just like, okay I'll write it down and thank you, have a nice day . But actually like, okay, what you actually need is a stronger chair or a chair without arms. Well, you know what, let me go find one of those for you. Things like that. A simple thing like that. That's just a courtesy. I mean, you know my work is a lot about getting a seat at the table, but in the way that we are creating a larger table, we are creating a more welcoming and more inclusive table. And essentially just finding ways to keep adding more space to that table because I am not a 600 pound person. I have never been one and so I cannot profess to know what that experience is. But I can remember that there are these people out there and that they have needs and my work can start cracking open the flow of resources that are also including them. And then, you know, stand back when they show up and have things to offer.

Andréa:

Yep. Sips tea. Well, let's talk about what I mentioned earlier: the body positivity versus fat liberation.

Tiana:

So fat acceptance started in the 1960s and seventies, in the United States. And I cannot speak to where or if it started in other places, but I do know in the United States that's what was going on there. And it was basically just my people asking to be treated like human beings, you know, the same way we're asking today. That hasn't changed. And out of fat acceptance came the idea of body positivity. And body positivity has a very strong root in the eating disorder community. Because eating disorders are mental disorders rooted in shame. And so these are people who have dysmorphic views sometimes of their bodies. And a lot of it has to do with chasing the thin ideal, you know, the fact that they can never be "thin enough". They can never be "good enough" until they're thinner. Which manifests in really terrible ways. And so body positivity was a movement that basically said, okay, let's take this recovery, this mental health treatment for these eating disorders, and let's help people think about their bodies in positive ways as opposed to negative ways. And so very basically that. That's what body positivity was about. You know, it's in the name. That's the definition. And it's just kind of been getting bigger and bigger. And because of the phrase "body positivity", it's easy to accept, it's easy to say yes to. Yes, positivity. Yes, that sounds good. Yes, that feels good to say. It rolls off the tongue nicely. And if you're somebody who like believes in positivity, which is like a new culture thing, we have this positivity culture thing, you know: JUST BE HAPPY! You just think yourself happy kind of stuff. Body positivity fits into that really nicely if you don't actually think about what it's about.

Andréa:

And culturally it kind of gives folks who have a lot of disdain for fat folks, or whether that's themselves or other fat folks. It also gives them kind of - in the same way that around queerness or even race - where it's like, no, I don't have a problem with you. I'm just worried about your health.

Tiana:

I mean, and that's the thing, right? It's like body positivity is supposed to...there are no qualifiers, right? It's not like it's not thin body positivity, or you know, healthy body positivity. It's just body positivity. But the fact is that, as a culture, we're still so steeped in fat phobia that our larger - our culture at large, you know, the people who are using body positivity in general - are using it fat phobicly, you know? They're applying weight stigma to it. So there becomes a limit. It becomes, you know, like you must be this thin to claim body positivity and if you are larger than that then what about your health? And so it just becomes a bludgeon - another one - in the toolbox of beat the fat people thin. And it also becomes commodified. It's so easily commodified. I mean Dove, this the soap company, is making shower gel bottles in different shapes and sizes and somehow that's supposed to help me love my body more. Or like, you know, they had a campaign where they were showing "real women" (quote unquote) this frickin problematic-ass phrase. "Real women" who were just like little bit chunky in their underwear and they were like: Hey, body positivity! It's like, you're now using that to sell product to me. And body positivity, it's this buzz phrase because it sounds so good and it sounds like you're doing something good. But if you're still putting a limit on the size that people can be and still claim body positivity, then you're not actually doing body positivity. And that's how come I don't need to actually use the phrase, I don't use the phrase. I don't use it because I want it to be very clear what my work is about.

My work is not about body positivity. I'm not here to just be positive because I feel like that's - like I said before - it's another bludgeon, another tool to beat the fat out of people. And I'm not here for that. I'm here for fat acceptance. The long and short of it: I'm here so that fat people are accepted as part of the normal variation of bodies. Point. And so I don't use body positivity. I use the word fat. I'm unapologetic about using the word fat. I have done the work to reclaim this word for myself and for others, and I use it literally. I apply it. And I love using it and watching how people react to it. It is part of my evangelism to go out and spread the gospel of the reclamation of the word fat. Name a thing a thing. Audre Lord says - oh gosh, I'm going to misquote my, one of my favorite Audre Lorde quotes. and know what it is, but I can't...I know I should know it by heart because I use it so much because it's so powerful. All right, here we go. "Nothing I accept about myself can be used against me to diminish me." Mother Audre. I mean, look, call me fat all you want, it will not hurt me. I know that's what you mean. You're trying to hurt me. But guess what? Calling me fat is like calling me brown. It's like calling me black. It's like calling me curly haired. It's the same. It's another word that describes me. And so, that's my line in the sand. You will not confound what I do. You will not misconstrue or take my words out of context because I'm not here for this body positivity staff. I am here for fat liberation. I'm here for fat acceptance. That's it. Because also positivity is maybe too lofty for some people. It is unfair.

Andréa:

There's a lot that has to occur before we get to positive because we're in BEYOND negative.

Tiana:

I mean, I'm working with people who are saying things like: I feel BETRAYED by my body. I feel SEPARATE from. Imagine you're walking around believing that you are you from the neck up and the rest of that underneath there is just a meat sack. That is so horribly depressing and negative. You do not have to live that way. But to ask you to just look at yourself in the mirror every morning and say an affirmation: "Body love, body love, body love. I love myself. I'm beautiful." That can actually just be more micro-aggressions. That's just aggressive. That's just hurtful for some people because that's it. That's also ignoring people who have trauma in relation to their bodies. You may never be able to love your body because your body represents the trauma that you have experienced in your life. And by asking these people, or by saying that they have to love their bodies, they have to be positive about their bodies, this is continuing to aggress them and erases this narrative, this reality of their lived experience. Somebody who's experiencing body dysmorphia because of their gender identity might not ever get to a place where they love the body that they have because it doesn't represent them. And by asking that person, you know, saying: Well, you have to love your body. Again, this is just causing harm and erasing the reality of their lived experience. I want people to get to a place...I feel like when you can accept your body or feel just neutrally about your body, we no longer hate it. We are okay with it. It is ours. We are in partnership. This is the place that ideally you want to be. I mean, of course, if we can get you to love, great, let's go! But, at very least let's get you to neutrality and partnership. Because then you can be embodied. Then you can that life.

Andréa:

Yeah. And there's so much more ease in that being okay. I AM neutral about my body. What you were just saying about the body love stuff...I made a video when I was 16 that went viral on Tumblr, that was essentially saying the exact thing that you said. That was like: you've just got to love your body!

Tiana:

Because it's a wonderful message. People love it!

Andréa:

People do. It affected a lot of people. I got a ton of messages from people that were like: this had me crying! And I look back on that video and there's not enough nuance for where I'm at now. And I just see the growth for where I am now, and see the harm in that message as well. To ask people to go from extremely negative, really violent... To go from violent to love just by saying a couple of affirmations and to just feel like they love their body. That is a violence. It IS like disregarding their experience, disregarding all of the different experiences that might be present for folks who are not in partnership. Or really see themselves as: My head is me, the rest is not.

Tiana:

Yeah, exactly. I mean, I am not saying no affirmations and I'm not saying trying to apply love to your body is, is wrong. Please do, please do. But, just like you said, we just don't want to perpetuate violence, and even earlier in my health coaching career, like I was also preaching the same thing. I mean, please, please, please, please: I'm sorry if you find language like that on my website. We're in a little transition. But I mean, you will find these things from me. Do a deep dive through Facebook or Twitter. Just like Joe Biden touching people inappropriately for years - that was just an attempt at a segway, and not a very good segway - but, basically I apologize for this violence that I was perpetuating because I didn't know it was violence at the time.

I didn't understand that because I was caught up in the culture, you know? I was like: YES, body love, let's go! Because it sounds really good and it's very, very intoxicating. And I'm preaching a message of positivity, YAY! But the fact of the matter is, like you said, there's no nuance there. There is no space for nuance. And I have learned that fatness carries a lot with it. You can be fat because of trauma. You can be fat because of genetics. You can be fat because of lived experience. You can be fat because you have a chronic illness and there's a medication that you're taking that unfortunately causes weight gain. You can be fat because you were an athlete for a lot of years and you had an unfortunate accident and now you're not so mobile. Fatness happens across all demographics and we are all capable of being touched by it, unless you are part of that teeny tiny population that just has the string bean gene with the high metabolism and ain't nothing you're going to do to gain weight. This is neither good nor bad. It just is. You just have a different type of body. My body is able to put on fat, which means that if there was an apocalyptic situation and the food situation is bad, you know what, I'm probably going to live longer than a lot of you. So how about that? As long as I have a source of clean water, I will be good for probably a bit longer than you will. So, you know, that's just my genetic makeup and my lot in life. There is no reason for me to be shamed for that. None whatsoever. I am not worse. I am not better - better at survival maybe. But, basically as far as morals are concerned, no. Let's just get to a place where we can all just be accepted. Can we just get there?

Andréa:

Please. So beyond everything that we've already talked about, which is really the core of the work that you're doing, what is it that you really want people to know?

Tiana:

Oh my goodness. Fatness IS. That's what I want people to know. Fatness IS. It's not going anywhere. It's been around as long as human beings have been around. There's this lovely sculpture that was found in some big archeological dig in Austria called the Venus of Willendorf, also called the woman of Willendorf. And it is a teeny little figurine of a female-presenting body with large, pendulous breasts, a big round belly, big old fat thighs, and a big fat butt. And they dated this thing to something like 24,000 years before Christ. Now, for you people who don't believe the earth is that old, this is not for you. But for those of us who do believe that, somebody carved the image of a fat female-presenting body 24,000 years before Jesus. And that means that there were fat bodies back then. That fat body looks like mine. Here we are in 2019 with a fat body that looks like mine. There we were many many thousands of years ago, tens of thousands of years ago, with fat bodies that look like mine. We have been here, we will continue to be here. You cannot eradicate us and there's no reason to. We are part of the normal diversity. And if you're paying attention, diversity is a good thing. So fatness is. Accept us.

Andréa:

Accept yourself.

Tiana:

Mm, absolutely. That too.

Andréa:

Okay. We're gonna wrap this up. What are you currently being challenged by?

Tiana:

Challenged by...oh my. Time. Time and capitalism. Both of these things just, you know, challenging. Time is something we cannot change or fight against. And I feel like I am fighting against time because I want everyone to hear this message now. I want everyone to accept this message now. And I want all you fat people out there who are struggling with your bodies - even if you're not fat and you're struggling with your body - I want you to be okay with your body and be in partnership with your body NOW. Because we are only here for a finite period of time and there's a lot of life to be living. And if you are stuck not living, or are afraid to do things, because of how you might look while you're doing it, you're missing out. And you're not going to get that time back. We need to get over ourselves and accept this ourselves so we can get busy having that pleasure.

Andréa:

And capitalism?

Tiana:

Capitalism. Neoliberalism. I mean, the idea is that we are only worthy when we can do certain things, when we can produce so much, when we look a certain way while doing it. That we have to be perfect and we have to be better. That there has to be a hierarchy. These things are also getting me down, let's not have a hierarchy! You were born, you are a human being. Everything about you is amazing. If you ever delve into what your body is doing when you're not thinking about it, it's an amazing, amazing experience, your body. We are all miracles. It is fan-frickin-tastic. Capitalism is just in the way.

Andréa:

Yeah. Agreed. What's supporting you right now?

Tiana:

Oh, supporting me right now. Wonderful people like you. Good friends who keep telling me like: Hey, did you get your message out today? Who I kind of hate sometimes because, no, I don't want to, but I mean people who love me and accept me and believe in me and are holding me to a higher standard, the standard that they know that I can reach...these people are supporting me. Lady Grey tea by Twinings is also supporting me - not financially or otherwise, but you know, in this moment, in this moment supporting me. And sunshine is making me feel much better about myself.

Andréa:

And I want to underline that because there are a lot of folks who interact with my work who aren't doing the work that you're doing, but are doing work that is against the norm, that is counter-cultural that people don't necessarily want to hear about. Similar to what Graeme Seabrook was talking about - in, I think it was episode one or two - in her work around motherhood. Just the fact that we are friends, and that we're each doing in different ways work that is, very different and very difficult to market and to get folks engaging in and to see the value of it and see the benefits of it. But it's so vital to have that community to remind you that what you're doing is important and that people want to hear about it, need to hear about it. I would not be able to show up. Like it's, it's a struggle for me to show up period. And it would be even harder if I didn't have people that I knew were also moving through the same struggles and committed - no matter what - to what we're doing. I'm grateful for you. How can folks get to know more about your work?

Tiana:

Oh my goodness. Folks! Come see me! So I hang out on Instagram, which is a lie, actually. I don't hang out there. I post there and dip and then come back later. If you interact with me, I'll interact back. So I'm on Instagram as @OneBeautifulYes. And you can find me on Facebook too. But mostly I'm an Instagram and right now I've also got this website that - please excuse any references to old things, it's under construction. But my website is tianadodson.com. That's where you can find me and that's where you can hang out with me. I'm currently launching - going through, taking applications for - my current run of the Live Your Best Fat Life program, which starts May 6th. So if this is after May 6th, go ahead and go to my website and click on the link and read about it. Because I will be running it again.

Andréa:

Yeah, you will. And I just want to throw out that the URL of Live Your Best Fat Life is LiveYourBestFatLife.com

Tiana:

Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Yeah. Actually, yes, that's true. I DO own a url and that will also link to the program. LiveYourBestFatLife.com. Find out more there. Absolutely. Please do.

Andréa:

Is there anything else that you want to share with the people?

Tiana:

Hey people! You know, your body is amazing. And it doesn't matter what it looks like. You are amazing. Your body is amazing, and you can do amazing things if you want to. And if you don't want to, that's also okay. So let's work toward partnership. Make space for that. And if you need help making space for that, come talk to me. I'm happy to talk to you. I like talking. So people, I love you and I love your bodies and I want you to be able to accept them all. Let's get free.

****

Alright. I hope you’re really taking that in. Your body is okay as it is. If that’s hard to do or believe, take a step back and just consider the possibility that that’s true. Just consider it.

I would love to hear from you about this episode! What’s you get from it? What was challenging or enlightening? And most importantly what now? If you got some goodness from this episode, how are you going to integrate it, experiment with it and put it into practice? Let me know. Holla at me on insta @andrearanaej or facebook.com/andrearanaej and let me know what you think.

And before you go, could you leave a rating and review of the show? My birthday is this month and I would love love love to get 50 reviews by the end of the month. This helps the show get out to more ppl. So leave a review and also share this show or episode with your peeps, post about it on social media on your insta stories or Facebook feed or tweet about it! It all helps!

As always, thank you for listening and sharing your attention with me for the past hour. I don’t take that for granted at all. There are some many different things in the world that you could be giving your attention to and so it just means a lot that you gave a little chunk of yours today to me and Tiana and this show. Thank you. Talk soon!

Andréa Ranae