I became interested in health and wellness at a young age.
When I was 12 years old, my youngest sister was diagnosed with Autism. In the months leading up to her diagnosis, the smiling happy babbling baby we knew suddenly forgot how to drink from a bottle, lost any speech she had started to develop, and was screaming all the time.
Simultaneously, I was feeling extremely uncomfortable in my own body. When I was younger, I never really gave a second thought to the way I looked, but suddenly I was being made fun of at school for being overweight, wearing giant Harry Potter glasses, and developing acne on my face.
It was a weird time, as it is for most girls that age.
The combination of these two things led me to do a ton of research about what it means to be healthy, and how to do it myself (because along with my other struggles, I also had an extremely hard time opening up to the people around me).
I'd spend hours online, after waiting for my dial-up connection to load, researching natural healing methods. I couldn't get enough of it. Even as I got older and went off to art school, my blog roll was full of wellness blogs about fitness, food, and self-care.
During my time at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, I got super interested in community-based art (among other things). Specifically, I was really interested in the way that art could be used as a healing tool, and the way it could bring groups of people together. After graduation, I served for 3 years with Americorps at a local grassroots non-profit art center for kids and teens in Baltimore.
At the art center, I got to do some incredible projects with some amazing kids. We used art as a way to start a conversation about social justice, community, as well as our own emotions and feelings. I loved it, but I felt that something was missing.
I got to know many of the teens at the art center well, and one in particular was having a really hard time at school. In an attempt to help her raise her grades, we set her up with a tutor that would come to the center. But we realized that by the time the tutor arrived around 5pm, the teen could barely focus and would be easily frustrated and give up. It wasn't until we talked about her food that I realized what was going on.
This teen, like many other people, would skip breakfast because she didn't have time before she had to go to school. Her mother would give her money for lunch, but she'd hold onto it, because she didn't like the lunch at school (and I couldn't blame her). Instead, she'd stop by the corner store on her way home from school to grab a Chicken Box - a beloved Baltimore tradition of literally filing a box full of fried chicken, french fries and ketchup. So this was the first thing she was eating all day, around 3:30pm.
So yeah, by 5:00 anybody would crash and not want to do their damn homework.
This was a huge eye opener for me. And to top it all off, I had a major meltdown (read: Quarter-Life Crisis) when I was 24. Think debilitating anxiety, depression, panic attacks, the works.
After my service term was finished, I enrolled at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and got my certificate in Health Coaching.
And I read a WHOLE LOT about women's health and feminism.
By making changes in my own diet (through loads of experimentation), lifestyle, mindset and self-care, I went from not being able to get out of bed to suddenly having loads of energy, clear skin, and generally feeing ready to take on the fucking world!
Now, I'm honored to be helping women who feel burnt-out, tired all the time, and generally like shit to feel vibrant and excited through nutritional education, emotional support, and incorporating radical acts of self-care into their daily lives.
I'm tired of the fucked up way that society treats women, and the way they are shamed for spending even a second of their time taking care of themselves. How often do you see women described as "selfish" "vain" or "snobby"?
How often do you see men described that way?