One of the best parts of starting Queer Body Love has been how much I’ve been able to learn from others — people I’ve interviewed, clients, and others who have crossed my path.
Today, I learned from Grace Quantock, who interviewed me for her Trailblazer Interview series. (My interview will be up in a couple months.) She works with folks to blaze a new trail when illness, disability, trauma or grief throws your life off track.
She pointed out a couple times when ideas I shared could have been more inclusive for folks with neurodivergence and/or disability.
I love that she did in the interview itself. Instead of other responses I could imagine myself holding (judging in the moment, stewing in resentment after), she simply shared her perspective, strong, clear, and also open.
We were able to flow with the learnings with grace because of our mutual trust of each other.
Accepting that I am not and never will be “perfect” is what allowed me to be easeful within myself and with her.
I sometimes lovingly say that I’m a “recovering perfectionist.”
Similar to my previous relationship with food, where I set up dichotomous “good” versus “bad” food, one phase I have had to go through is rebelling and reacting against previously held perfectionism.
Now, I live from the perspective that recovering from perfectionism doesn’t mean throwing away my values. I can have high standards for myself and who I chose to interact with.
It means not basing my self-worth on a predetermined ideal.
And, I know that I often still harden and judge others when I see something that doesn’t feel right to me, instead of coming from a perspective of trust and calling others forth to meet me.
Here’s a story from yesterday of how my initial impulse is definitely not what Grace so beautifully modeled for me.
I leaned into support to align the way I communicate so I moved from my traditional ways of collapsing or attacking to being clear and strong.
Somebody invited me to participate in their coaching interview series yesterday. I didn’t want to participate because it seemed like a typical white/cis/het/thin/able-bodied woman who didn’t seem to have much focus on intersectionality. I wanted her to think about the fact that her being unconsciously “neutral” in her business is not actually neutral and can cause harm. (See these two amazing blog posts by Layla Saad, “I need to talk to spiritual white women
about white supremacy” Part One and Two that I ended up sending her for more on this if you’re interested.)
I asked a friend to read over my response. She said that a particular sentence where I critiqued the person who invited me felt like a “stab in the heart.” Now, in some contexts this is skillful. In this moment it did not feel so. So I shifted my response to come from the perspective that she probably wanted to learn and expand her awareness instead of cutting her down without ever having actually talked to her about it.
We ended up having a pleasant exchange where I felt like I was able to be clear and helpful — actually more in alignment with my values than had I simply cut her down.
I said no, I told her why, and opened the door for her to think about the issues.
She responded quickly with gratitude and grace, and we had a pleasant exchange that feels like it’s building towards creating the world I want.
It felt way better than compromising my values and just doing it anyway, or cutting down somebody who I judged without much compassion or room for them to meet me.
**Note -- this is NOT intended to tone police anybody or say that this is the "ideal" or "better" way of handling a situation, particularly if you're marginalized and dealing with somebody who doesn't share those identities.
This is one entry in the November Queer Body Love daily blog writing, where I will be exploring through writing what I see, think, pray, and question. I don’t know what liberation looks like, but I want that for you, and for us. This blog is me sharing a personal practice of being with the question of what that might look like in the hopes that it might be useful. If you're interested in personal support from me as your guide as you explore that in your own body and life, check out my newest 1-on-1 offering, SOFTEN. I can sit with you with so much love and compassion as you orient in the direction of more ease and comfort in your body and with yourself. Together we'll take a stand for new possibilities.