What WOMAN Means to Me – Pt. with Becca Schultz

Becca Shultz is an amazing soul, she is an inspiring presence and I am so very honored that she has written a post for this series! As an empowered WOMAN, Becca has now taken it upon herself to spread the powerful inspirations and ideations that she has been taught by women in her life. I came across Becca’s Instagram page, Becoming_Becca.Again_, and it blew me away, Becca is not only powering through Eating Disorder Recovery like a boss, but she is also busting through the feminist world and making it her own, while advocating for ALL! I hope you enjoy this incredibly depiction of what WOMAN means to Becca.

“Being a woman.” Where do I even begin? I hope I don’t jumble some of my words, I do struggle with self-confidence a lot.

For so long I never really thought about or pondered on the fact of what it truly means to be a woman, to encompass the feminine spirit.

Growing up in a society that has it’s set standards of what being a woman “really encompasses” has caused me to feel confused throughout the majority of my life, questioning where I stood in society, and if my role in society was important or not, and I know that many women feel the same way about this no matter what race, religion, sexual orientation, skin-color, or gender someone is or the sex they were assigned at birth, and the list goes on and on.

Ever since I entered recovery for my eating disorder and other mental and emotional illnesses, I really started to see the actual woman that I was, not the woman that society wanted or still wants me to be, and once I found my space in the community of self-love and intersectionality on Instagram, I actually found my voice, as they say, and that my voice actually does matter.

Crossing paths with so many inspirational and powerful women through Instagram and of course within the world in general (one of them being my bad ass mom!), I feel like I finally am using my voice, believing in the things that I BELIEVE IN, not what my family or others want me to believe. I am an intersectional feminist and it feels good to finally say it. I am so proud of myself in regards to the woman that I am becoming every day, and I thank all of those that have crossed paths with me showing me the way to who I am becoming.

I am more than my hair, my looks, and my legs. I am more than my body! I am an intersectional feminist that is learning every day…learning every day how to be a better citizen and woman to those around me. Taking action to derail patriarchal standards that have created unrealistic expectations that make me and so many around me feel inferior and not good enough.

I am so honored to have this opportunity to do a write up for this amazing blog. My hope is to continue to be the change in this world that needs to happen, to inspire my nieces and nephews and future children to keep fighting for what is right.

I want to give a special thank you and shout out to one of my biggest inspirations, Dana Suchow (@dothehotpants). Thank you for giving me the strength to start “being me unapologetically.”

-Becca Schultz

Self-Care Giveaway! Recovery Love and Care & Celadon Massage

CALLING ALL LOCALS!!!! The lovely Joanna Gable, from Celadon Massage, and I have linked up and created an AMAZING give away for anyone who is within the Charleston, SC area!

Joanna is a local Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) here in Charleston. She runs her own practice with focus on local and organic products. Joanna believes in the power of the healing touch, the beauty of ALL bodies, as well as, the luxury of having another person take care of you. It is a wonderful thing to take care of others, and also to take care of yourself, but sometimes it is necessary for others to take care of you! Self-care is so incredibly important to live a healthy, happy and successful life, and sometimes that self-care needs to be LUXURIOUS! Therefore, we have come up with an AMAZING give away for all local Charlestonians! Check it out below!

The Give Away:
A completely complimentary 60 minute massage at Celadon Massage, with your choice of a complimentary add-on (see below)!
Add-ons include:
-Dry brushing: great for stimulation the lymph system and full-body exfoliation
-Hot Stone: heated stones applied during  the session to aid in relaxation and deeper relief, increases circulation
-Contrast therapy: Heat and cold applies to the body to increase muscle relaxation and decrease inflammation
-Extended Rest Time: 15 or 30m time on the table post massage to rest and fully enjoy the benefits of your massage before returning to the real world
-Feet Treet: honey/salt/coconut oil scrub applied to the feet along with heated towels and paraffin to exfoliate and hydrate the feet
Our promise:
– All massages include full hands on time (some places take time out of the session for undressing and such), pressure and techniques are always as needed for optimal comfort healing and relaxation, and aromatherapy diffusion is included!

-All fees included!

How to enter:

Go to Instagram and find this post, follow @RecoveryLoveandCare AND @Celadon.Massage and tag two local friends, and thats it! Remember, you MUST FOLLOW BOTH ACCOUNTS in order to be eligible for the give away!

For every extra local that you tag (two are required) you will be entered into the drawing again!

The giveaway will start on Wednesday May 10th and go until Wednesday May 17th, so make sure to enter!

The winner will be announced via Instagram on Thursday May 18th!

And don’t forget to #selfcareitout!

What WOMAN Means To Me Series – Pt. 3 With Gissell Reyes

Gissell Reyes is another dear friend of mine, fellow woman warrior, future colleague and fellow sister! I am overwhelmed by her beautiful depiction of WOMAN….go ahead and indulge yourself in this amazing illustration of What WOMAN means to Gissell….

Defining your womanhood is unique to yourself. This is one woman’s perspective on what it means to be a woman. Using this word to define the manner in which we keep our relationships with your loved ones and friends, what you give of yourself to those relationships, and how you maintain your balance with both.

Being a WOMAN in today’s society means many things but these definitions belong to society.

 

My definition is my own, just as your definition is wholly your own. When I think of my womanhood, I think of the relationships I maintain and my role in these relationships. Beyond my biology, I am a woman because I am a daughter, a sister, a friend, and a partner to my boyfriend. All of these relationships have a specific meaning that makes it unique to my idea of a woman.

I am a daughter, different than a son because women are closer to their families. Traditionally, we stay closer to home even as we build our own separate families. There is a saying about this: a son is a son until he gains a wife but a daughter is a daughter all her life.

I am a sister. I am loyal and protective and the keeper of memories. Sisterhood comes from a bond that is soul deep. It is formed through the sharing of adventures and of secrets and of life. To be a sister means to give of yourself for the betterment and wellbeing of your sister. You share your soul with your sister. While your children are your heart walking in the world outside your body, your sister is a piece of you doing the same thing. This is the same for people you chose to share a sisterhood with, your close friends that sub in when you don’t have a sister or are apart from them.

I am a partner. To be a girlfriend or a partner or a wife as a woman means you share yourself with another person. It means that you take care of the other person with compassion and support. To be a woman in a relationship you walk a fine line. You give of yourself without losing yourself. It takes balance and self-awareness to be a woman in a healthy, thriving relationship.

In reality, it takes balance to be a woman in general. In today’s society, women are told how to look, how to act, how to feel, it is more important than ever to find balance and be confident in your own identity. For me, what woman means to me goes beyond the superficial. It is, at its core, about how I maintain my relationships, about what I put into them. It becomes a part of the identity I create for myself. The goals I have and the achievements I accomplish are defining characteristics of the kind of person, the kind of human being I want to be. But what I put into my relationships is what woman means woman.

-Gissell Reyes

Take Up Space

In light of my new collaborative series, What WOMAN Means To me, as well as the social state in which women find themselves in on a daily basis I felt it would be beneficial to talk about the importance of community and this concept of taking up space.

During childhood and adolescence and in the absence of self-care we were taught, coached and trained to constantly compete against one another. We were taught that in order to win or to make it to the top we must be better than someone else, this competition and constant comparison breeds a feeling of confusion and a state of constant second guessing ourselves.

In addition to this competitive nature, women are taught, and told to be small, sweet, coy, kind, polite and caring. We were taught that in order to be a “good little girl” we must smile, stay sweet and take up AS LITTLE SPACE as possible. This concept of small has transcended into our adult years into our concept of woman hood.

In addition to the whole body image piece, how is this even possible or fair?! How can young girls be expected to thrive and grow while being told to do the exact opposite? How are young girls supposed to “win” in this competitive world, while also staying SMALL and quiet? It is quite the concept, and a ridiculous one at that!

Therefore within a world that breeds competition and comparison, young girls, and women have no fair chance, and with that we have learned to tear each other down. With society’s unrealistic standards, women now compete rather than connect, we compare rather than communicate, we tend to take each other down rather than lift each other up….but who is to blame us….we weren’t really given a chance to begin with! With all of that being said I say that it is about time that we stand up for one another! Why not TAKE UP AS MUCH SPACE as we possibly can, but in unison?! How about we put COMMUNITY before competition?!

As I continue to develop my brand, and network within the Charleston area, I am finding that this theme of community shines much brighter than that of competition! All of these incredibly successful, passionate, independent, creative and self-starting women build upon a sense of connection and empowerment rather than competition. We all take up space, and we embrace it! It is OKAY TO be LOUD, BOLD, COURAGEOUS, BIG, AND VIBRANT! I have been making beautiful and REAL CONNECTIONS  with amazing women with varying stories! Yes, we have ALL been told that we must be small in some way shape or form, but my goodness it is about time that we take up some space!

Why not have a girl gang that includes everyone, for ALL women, to lift each other up and thrive as a group?!

Take up space, be loud, be adventurous, be courageous, connect with others, lift others up, communicate, love and, as always, #SelfCareItOut!

What WOMAN Means to Me – Series Kickoff!

This is a start to an extensive and beautiful collaborative series about what WOMAN means, as the concept of female and woman is unique to each and every individual. We will be hearing from women and men from all walks of life, all shapes and sizes, all colors, all cultures and backgrounds. So read on, and stay tuned!

Self-Awareness is such a crucial part of self-care, and self-love, as we can only truly find our self worth and state of happiness once we look at ourselves. We must ask ourselves questions that force us to delve deeper and peel back the layers to find awareness of our true beings; self-awareness helps us understand why and how we are important to the world…. because we are ALL so important, and so incredibly worthy! Self-awareness can start with some simple questions….

Who am I?

What makes me happy?

What do I appreciate about myself?

What do others appreciate about me?

What do I appreciate about others?

How do I perceive myself?

How do I perceive others?

What truly makes me happy?

What truly makes me proud?

So much of my identity is being a woman. My Mom and Dad raised three strong, independent, driven and compassionate women, and with that came a sense of pride! Within this world of oppression, inequality, gender norms and media manipulation it can be difficult to maintain that sense of pride, as others constantly try to tear it down. Therefore, I find that self-awareness towards what makes me a proud woman, and self-compassion within my pride of what being a woman encompasses, is truly self-care at its purest form! I am woman; this is what WOMAN means to me.

To kick off this series, I chose to incorporate a poem called “Where I am From”

WHERE I’M FROM

I am from American Girl, Disney Princesses, Hopscotch at recess and swimming in the summer.

I am from the outer banks of the concrete jungle, from the cozy suburbs, a neighborhood filled with privilege, the bustle of trains and gusts of wind; from squelching summers and freezing winters.

I am from the dandelion blowing in the spring air, the daisy and seashell in the sweet southern sun.

I am from a Christmas Eve’s watching White Christmas with Bing Crosby and strong women from the Irenes, Gorey Girls and Edwards.

I am from the anxiety-ridden tears, eating disorders and unconditional love for animals.

From being an “old soul” and overly sensitive.

I am from Methodist practicing Irish Catholics, from the shame brought upon by converting.

I’m from La Grange, IL, Irish and Italian Catholics, deep-dish pizza and bowls of popcorn and ice cream

From the time Kathie pulled her hamstring while doing the champagne splits the millennium being rung in with innocent cheer, sparkling grape juice and silly string and

Tess, and Claire brushing their teeth to NSYNC every morning before school despite the seven year age gap.

I am from underneath the Christmas tree, on the beaches of South Carolina, the strong trust of my parents, the intense bond with my sisters, the struggle of becoming a woman, the results of being a dancer, the middle child, the sensitive one, and most importantly the love and truth of family.

I am healthy, I am beautiful, I am recovered, I am in love, I am happy, I am strong, I am a WOMAN.

The Balance Between Self-Love, Self-Care and Self-Improvement – Feel Good Look Good Series

Above is a compilation of images that represent various stages within my personal recovery, love, and care journey. I changed within each of these moments, I desired growth ALONG WITH my deep appreciation and love for myself. I desired self-improvement while also practicing self-care, self-love, and self-compassion. There is a space for self-improvement within our self-love journeys, read more below to find out how to foster this space!

Within a world filled with weight loss tips, diet culture, and media manipulation we find ourselves lost within the shuffle. How can we practice self-care, self-love, and self-compassion within a world that keeps telling us to improve ourselves through a new diet, cream, hair product, or workout routine? This is a tough thing to do within today’s world, but it IS possible and OKAY to want to improve within certain aspects of your life, while also practicing self-love and self-compassion.

Trigger Warning! It is important to note, that these standards may not apply for individuals within the beginning of their Eating Disorder recovery, in that self-compassion and steps towards growth and change must be monitored closely, as certain things may be triggering to the process of recovery.

Self-love and self-compassion are finding peace within your body, within your present life, despite all external messages and stressors. Self-compassion is when an individual treats his/herself with kindness, understanding and support, it is an ideal response related to experiences of perceived failure, perceived inadequacy, self-judgment, and isolation. Therefore, it is important that we understand that self-love, self-compassion and happiness do not come from outside variables. A true state of happiness comes from inside.

Wanting to change and grow does not mean you don’t love yourself, it is the very opposite! Yes, loving yourself for what you are in the moment is crucial, in that numbers, products, appearances and compliments won’t and can’t make us happy…. and yes self love is finding compassion for you mind body and soul in the here and now… but wanting to improve is not a bad thing! Self-love, self-care and self-compassion are not black and white concepts! It looks different for everyone.

Again let me remind you that my message is anti- diet culture, so by no means am I promoting weight loss, diets or self demeaning behaviors, instead I am bringing to light that it is okay to want something different and better for your life! I have always been an advocate for first finding happiness within yourself, as you are, and then finding joy in other aspects of your life… because it is WONDERFUL to feel good and it is OK to look good too!! Therefore, skin care, makeup, hair products, and other self-care inspired activities are ways that make me feel good AND look good… they are my additive luxuries to my already present feeling of happy!

Wanting to feel good AND look good are only natural reactions and desires that we have, therefore, when practiced in a safe and manageable manner, we can successfully practice self-care, self-love and self-compassion, as well as, self-improvement. Therefore it is best to stay self-aware of our motivations behind the desire to self improve, in that if we are looking for a state of happiness we must re-evaluate WHY we  believe that a spa treatment, makeup product, or work out class will make is  happy, as this is not possible. Additive luxuries only ADD to our current states of happiness, they ADD to our self-care routine, our feelings of self-love and self-compassion. Therefore, check your motivations behind self-improvement in order to practice safely and successfully!

-Skin Care

-Make Up

-Workout classes

-Spa treatments

-Hair Styles

-Face Masks

-Lingerie

-Swim apparel

-Sun time

As this Feel Good Look Good Series continues, I will touch on these additive luxuries within my self-love, self-care and self-improvement! And as always Self Care It Out!

Awareness in Body Checking: Taking One More Step Towards Living a Body Positive Life

As another extension to my body positive series, today’s post is about body checking. Body checking is a very common behavior within individuals with Eating Disorders. What do I mean by body checking?

Body checking: Constant “checking”, looking, touching, and/or intensely focusing on a body part and/or section or area of your body. The “checking” is fueled by insecurities on how the individual thinks or feels that they look.

My Story: This is something that many individuals struggle with throughout their Eating Disorder. One main form of body checking is involves mirror checking….

It started at the young age of ten, when I went through puberty, every single time I went to use the restroom, whether it was in a public place, school, work, or at home, I would wash my hands, look in the mirror, suck in my stomach, and slightly lift my shirt, to check my belly with my hand in the mirror. Every time I looked at my belly in the mirror I hoped to find some sort of strength, success, and worth. It became so much of a habit that I did not even realize I was doing it. One day my nutritionist advised me to try to not “body check” for just one day, I broke down in tears after the first half of that day, because I never realized how much I actually “checked” my body. Little did I know that every time I lifted up my shirt and grazed my belly with my hands, I lessened my self worth, tore down my self love bit by bit, and further engrained an emotionally dangerous behavior into my life. I was constantly judging myself, comparing my self worth to that of what I “wanted” it to be at that time.

The difficult thing about healthy body image is that it does come last within ED recovery. Therefore individuals within ED recovery are usually done with, or working towards, finalizing their treatment before they even graze the surface of their physical and emotional self worth, before they learn about how to develop a healthy and positive body image. Having an emotional behavior such as thinking and feeling poorly about one’s body is not immediately detrimental to an individual’s health like that of using other ED behaviors, such a,s binging, purging or restricting, therefore behaviors ,such as, Body checking often go unnoticed and untreated, but it does effect functioning and an individual’s overall self-worth, therefore it is worth addressing and treating!

Body checking is a behavior, therefore a habit that can be deeply engrained within an individual’s functioning, and can be very difficult and scary, leaving and individual feeling vulnerable. Starting slow is the safest way to go about eventually ridding of body checking…

The first step is awareness and acceptance. The second step is slowly acknowledging your feelings while practicing this behavior. This is the safest way to approach to an emotional behavior, such as body checking. The third step is slowly, and safely eliminating the behavior from your everyday functioning, therefore taking it one-step at a time. If you ever feel too vulnerable, reach out to your closest support, go to your comfort box, and practice self-care, self-care, self-care!

As you acknowledge your body checking behaviors, I also challenge you to find a positive emotional behavior that you practice on a daily basis, for instance, the joy that brewing your morning coffee brings, listening to your favorite music, cuddling with a loved one, warming up by the fire place, lighting your favorite candle, any healthy behavior that make you feel your best! Please reach out if you have any questions or comments, don’t forget to subscribe, have a wonderful weekend, and self care it out my friends!

Fat Is Not A Feeling- Identifying Your “Fat Feelings” To Reach A Healthy Body Image

Finding a positive and healthy body image is so incredibly challenging…especially when you don’t FEEL as if you look your best! But first let me remind you…FAT IS NOT A FEELING!

Each and every one of your feelings and emotions is valid, therefore, once you identify your ACTUAL FEELINGS….NOT YOUR FAT FEELINGS you will be on your way towards a healthy body image!

Whenever I “feel” fat….I always need to remind myself that FAT IS NOT A FEELING…and when I forget, which admittedly is quite often, Sean reminds me!

Once I remind myself that fat is not a feeling, I first refer to my trusty vocabulary wheel…which I basically have memorized…I then identify my feelings.

feelings-wheel-1

Once you can identify your “fat feeling” through a broader vocabulary, it is that much easier to face that feeling and/or feelings.

Facing your feelings looks different for each and every person, and is dependent on the situation. For instance, there are times where I find that instead of “feeling” fat, I feel vulnerable and powerless. I then identify what I NEED based off of these feelings….in the moments I feel vulnerable and powerless I usually need extra love, whether that be self love, or love from another being. Sometimes I lay down with a good book and cup of tea, other times I cuddle up with my dog Gio and a glass of wine, other times I just blatantly tell Sean that I need a bit more love, and ask for a hug!

Here is another thing to keep in mind…it is possible, and more often than not, very likely to feel more than one feeling! Therefore, instead of using BUT, use AND. For instance, you CAN feel sad AND happy at the same time; you CAN feel guilty AND confident at the same time! Once you identify your “fat feeling” as a valid feeling, you may find that you have several feelings flooding your mind and body….and once you identify those feelings, you can face each one head on in a SAFE AND HEALTHY way.

If you do not feel that you are in a safe place to identify and face your feelings alone….then do it when you are safe, when you are with a loved one, when you are with a helping professional, and then once you are safe, you can slowly learn how to gain the courage to face those “fat feelings” on your own.

The more you face your “fat feelings” the more often those feelings will change to “healthy body” and “body positive” feelings.

Recap:

  1. Your feelings are valid
  2. Fat is not a feeling
  3. Identify your “Fat Feelings”
  4. Identify that you can feel multiple feelings at one time – use AND instead of BUT
  5. Find self-awareness through ACTUALLY feeling your feelings
  6. Face your feelings
  7. Practice self-love and self-care

This is one small step towards finding a healthy body image! As you move through your weekend, remember that you are capable of loving yourself from the inside out and the outside in!

Self Care It Out Everyone!!