EspressYourself doesn’t buy into all that basic beauty bullshit you see smacked across the covers of fashion magazines. We don’t believe you have to slim down to be sexy or flatten your belly to be beautiful. We believe beauty comes in any color, shape and size. You don’t have to conform to society’s norms to be beautiful. Tune in every Tuesday on E.Y. to challenge and diversify your definition of what beauty means to you.
Since the birth of Espress Yourself one month ago, we’ve managed to acquire a whopping ten followers on Twitter, the most recent of which I’ve spent all morning stalking and obsessing over. VivaLaKatieJ epitomizes the confidence and body love Talk-Beauty-to-Me Tuesday’s all about, but even more than that, she is a woman who truly dares to espress herself.
Don’t be fooled by the pink, or continuous tossing of blonde hair, or the ums and likes because the spaces between those ums and likes are filled with profound honesty and wisdom. As if her British accent isn’t reason enough to watch her entire battery of Youtube videos in one sitting, on top of that, she has some worthy shit to say. KatieJ doesn’t shy away from the real shit.
The video that moved me the most was Katie’s Self Harm Story, which I’m sharing here today because so many people share her pain and never dare to talk about it. We bear our emotional burdens alone, secretly, and privately. We keep our pain inside. We don’t think other people share our struggle, but lots of people do, and they probably struggle silently too.
Katie learned to love a body she used to harm. That’s not to say self-harm is strictly body-image inflicted. Self-harm can be triggered by any emotional pain, for any reason. Maybe Katie used to hurt herself because she had no other way to express her pain, but she’s created a new outlet for herself, a safe place to speak up, and it’s a damn good thing she did, because she has powerful shit to say.
I think it’s key to have an outlet to express the things we feel instead of suppressing them. If you don’t have an outlet, create one. Katie has Youtube. I have this website. Find a place to #EspressYourself because you’re fucking worth it. And so much admiration and respect for Katie’s strength and willingness to open up, and share her story.
Hers will be a tough act to follow for our next Twitter follower.
Give me a fucking break. Quit staring mournfully at your reflection as though I’ve failed you somehow. As if your rolls and muffin-tops and wrinkles somehow hinder your ability to live your life. As if I don’t give you enough—eyes to see, a tongue to taste, a voice to speak, two ears to listen, nerves to feel, lungs to breathe, a heart to beat, a brain to think, legs to carry you and feet to keep you standing, arms and hands to reach and hold and to create, even an ass to sit on when you need a break—and you’re complaining that your dick and/or tits aren’t big enough? Go fuck yourself.
Do you know how much work went into building this body? How many billions of years it took me to evolve? All the elements I’m made of? Where they came from? I bet you didn’t know (or maybe you did) that some of your ingredients wouldn’t exist if it hadn’t been for a distant supernova—the death of a massive star, combusting, heating, fusing and releasing all the elements your body is composed of—billions of years before the creation of our solar system and the birth of our own sun. The universe has had your body’s blueprints in the works longer than I think you realize. A lot of love and care and/or coincidence and chance went into your intricate design, and each human form is complex and exquisite and capable of things that other creatures couldn’t dream of, and yet, your boobs aren’t big enough / your belly isn’t tight enough / your muscles aren’t defined enough.
What do you think this is? A beauty pageant? I’m not something to be judged, I’m just a vessel to be lived in. I don’t appreciate your disappointment, and quite frankly I’m repeatedly insulted by your lack of gratitude. Get naked and go look in the mirror. Try to conceptualize how many cells you’re made of, and how lucky you are to be made of them.
Local hipster, Forrest Woods, has been uncharacteristically absent this #NoShaveNovember, to the apparent dismay of his Instagram followers, one of whom reported him missing over the weekend. The search didn’t last long. Police found Woods alive and well in his apartment. “Waste of time. That’s the last time we search somebody reported missing by a Twitter follower,” complained one officer.
“Instagram, not Twitter,” his partner corrected, then added, “Boy probably just didn’t pay for his wifi this month.”
Woods disclosed to us by phone that his Instagram followers were probably concerned about his absence because of his dedicated participation in previous no-shave Novembers. “A lot of my followers only know about me because of prior years’ no-shave Novembers. I’m known to post every day to document the progress of my beard. People dig my facial hair, what can I say?” Woods explained.
So we asked him, “Why not this year?”
Woods sighed, an air of defeat in his breath, and swallowed back the tears as he confessed, “I burnt it off… my beard. I can’t show my face like this! Hairless…” This last word he uttered under his breath—a dirty word, in hipster terminology. “My beard is my most valuable asset, and now it’s gone, and who knows when it will grow back again… if ever!” Woods proceeded to lose his shit entirely as the true burden of his beardless-ness fully dawned on him. “My life is over,” he dramatically concluded, mid-interview.
“Not so fast,” we argued, “We still have more questions for you. For starters, how did you burn off your beard?” Predictably, Woods’ beard ignited after accidentally catching fire to his bow-tie whilst torching the unrefined organic cane sugar on his vegan crème brûlée. “Did your date call 911 when you went up in flames?” we asked.
We pointed out that Woods was making homemade crème brûlée, and wearing a bow-tie—rather unusual behavior for a man alone, staying in for the night. “Alone? I wouldn’t say I was alone. I mean, physically, maybe, but I was posting on insta the whole time… well, up until …the accident,” he choked back a sob. “I haven’t posted since I lost my beard. I haven’t known loneliness like this all my life. I had to disappear completely. Any account activity at all would warrant a demand for my customary morning selfie and a full-blown investigation from my fans. What would I tell them?!”
“Have you considered telling them what actually happened?” we suggested. “…#ForrestFire?”
“Not an option,” Woods asserted, resolutely.
“Suit yourself. But if you insist on disappearing, how have you been occupying all your time?”
“Mostly, I’ve just been altering old pictures enough to pass for new ones, so I can resume my online presence while I wait for my follicles to heal. I’ve also been massaging the affected area with coffee grounds and avocado oil to try to stimulate new growth.”
“Have you tried Rogaine? I hear it works wonders on premature baldness.”
“This isn’t baldness, it’s a burn…” Yes, Woods—a burn it was, indeed. Woods’ was becoming audibly frustrated with us, at this point, likely beginning to suspect we weren’t local officers following up to collect his statement for the police report, so without any further ado, we prompted Woods with our final inquiry: “We can’t help but wonder why your Instagram followers were the first to notice your disappearance. Typically, missing persons are reported by someone they’re physically close with… a coworker, friends, family, a neighbor…”
Woods paused to ponder this before responding, “I suppose I don’t see people in person frequently enough for them to notice. I live alone and work from home as a freelance writer and photographer. Rarely do my clients meet with me in person. And my family lives out of state. So, naturally…” Woods trailed off.
“We see. Perhaps you should consider having more of a physical presence in your own community, instead of confining your social life to social media,” we suggested, then added, “you know, so next time you go missing, you do it properly.”
“But I was never missing…” Woods argued.
“And if you do decide to go missing again, make sure it’s for a better reason than burning off your beard. Surely you have more to offer your followers than just your facial hair. If they can’t accept your naked face, they don’t deserve to see your photos in their feed. Find yourself some real friends who value you as a person and not just a vehicle for your beard. You should never be so ashamed of your face you refuse to show it.”
“Makeup or no makeup, people will always give you more likes for your self confidence.” -Adriana Garcia 11/16/15
“I don’t consider myself an artist. I feel like I’m just another addict like everyone else, and I just want to share the excitement and love I have for makeup.
It’s like portal I use to get away sort of like therapy just having the choice of all the colors, textures, techniques, finishes, mixtures, blends, styles, looks, etc.—it’s endless.
I love how it’s always multifunctional like if it’s a lipstick it doesn’t mean it’s only for lips. I can use it as a blush or a base for an eyeshadow. If I make an error, there’s always a way to correct it.
And at the end of the day, it’s not permanent. So there’s no commitment.”
-Adriana Garcia-Ayala 11/16/15
Ultimately, Adriana believes the bottom line is there are no real rules, and comfort is all you need to radiate confidence.
There’s a lot of body-love / love-your-body talk buzzing around the media right now (for instance right here on this website, every Tuesday), and it’s awesome. People are showing due love and respect for their bodies and acceptance of themselves. People are conquering all kinds of insecurities about their physical appearance, and it’s fucking wonderful, but for the ones still suffering from insecurities, these words might frustrate us or even hurt us. Love this body? …How? How are we supposed to feel when we experience this pressure to love a body we’ve spent our whole lives learning to hate?
#LoveYourBody, #BodyLove, #LoveYourself, etcetera. A person with insecurities about their looks might see these words and vaguely recognize that they’re supposed to be somehow empowering. That person might laugh at these words and shrug them off. Love my body? Gotta be kidding. Or that person might honestly consider the meaning of these words. They might try desperately to follow these instructions: Love your body. But that’s like telling somebody who’s drowning to breathe. And no matter how many times we might repeat the words, they’re never any truer. Love isn’t a voluntary function. It isn’t something we command so easily. It takes more than #LoveYourBody to really love your body.
So for those of us still learning to love ours, let’s break this love-your-body business down into digestible pieces. Baby steps. For one thing, you can’t leap all the way to loving your body without first stopping to accept it. If you’re struggling to accept your body, you’ve probably spent a considerable portion of your life comparing all your body parts and facial features to the “perfect” ones you see on tv screens and magazines. You’ve probably composed a mental list of all the right ways for these features to appear, and all the ways that yours are wrong.
Sometimes we forget those body parts and facial features aren’t decorative. Each one serves a vital function. Sometimes it helps me to remember this. When I feel critical of some part of my body, I remind myself what that part of my body does for me, or enables me to do. Loving your body doesn’t just have to be about loving the way your body looks. You might find it easier to love your body for what it does for you. So I’ve composed a handy list of all the awesome shit our body parts make possible, and reasons to appreciate them.
Here’s why you should love…
Your Head: The thoughts you think.
Your Skin: The things you feel. And the exceptional job it does containing all your yucky guts and innards.
Your Eyebrows and Eyelashes: All that shit they keep out of your eyes that you probably never noticed, because it wasn’t in your eyes.
Your Eyes — The things you see.
Your Nose — The scents you smell. The air you breathe.
Your Lips — The lips you kiss.
Your Mouth — The food you eat. The words you speak.
Your Neck — The tenacity with which it holds your head up.
Your Arms — The distances you reach. The things you carry.
Your Hands — The things that you create.
Your Fingertips — The things you touch.
Your Hips — The love you make.
Your Legs — The strength with which they carry you.
Being beautiful is a full-time job, and lots of work. It can be overwhelming and confusing to keep up with. Every day, gazillions of magazines and websites have new tips and advice, new fashion rules to follow, new products to use and new trends to conform to. So I thought I’d save you all the trouble and break beauty down into nine easy steps, from head to toe.
Hair: Wash and brush your hair. Or don’t. Dye it, dread it, style it, shave it off, do nothing with it. Edward Scissorhands that shit. Whatever you want to do. It’s your hair. Use it to espress yourself.
Eyebrows: Just leave these things the fuck alone. Quit waxing them off just to paint them back on again every morning. Unless your unibrow impairs your vision, leave that shit alone. Thread or pluck your brows a little, if they’re totally atrocious, if you want, or rock the caterpillar look. Do whatever makes you comfortable.
Eyes: If you enjoy dressing them up and wearing makeup, by all means, go right ahead. I know I do. Makeup is just another way of expressing yourself. But try to go au natural from time to time. Remind yourself you’re beautiful without all that. Teach yourself to wear makeup because you want to, not because you feel like you need to.
Face: Be careful not to cake your face with too much cover-up or foundation. Presumably you wear these things to hide your scars and blemishes. Unfortunately, and somewhat ironically, the makeup you use to make your skin appear more healthy is the same component causing irritation. If you let your skin breathe, you’ll be less prone to blemishes. Take a look at your industrial grade concealer and ask yourself, what are you trying so hard to hide? …And why? Your skin is nothing to be ashamed of.
Lips: Again, there’s nothing wrong with dressing up your lips, rocking the retro red-lipstick look. Pink, orange, purple, black, blue whatever. Wear whichever color suits your fancy, but don’t fuss so much about the plumpness of your lips. No, you do not need lip injections. Calm down about Scarlett Johansson; it’s not a competition. Focus more on the words coming out of your lips and the food going into them, and the people kissing them, than what they look like.
Tatas: Your only concern about your breasts should be their health. If they’re cancer-free, they don’t need fixing. Don’t put yourself through risky, expensive and unnecessary surgery simply because you want a lift. So many women agonize about their breasts. They think their nipples are too big, their chest too flat, their breasts too saggy. Take it from me with the lower-case-a-cups, as long as you have two breasts, you’ve got nothing to worry about. And if you only have one, or even none, you’re beautiful too. Breasts are just body parts. They have nothing to do with you.
Tummy: Unless your weight impairs your lifestyle or health, or holds you back from doing things you love, you’re fine. Don’t fuss so much because you have a stomach. I’d be much more worried if you didn’t. Not eating is not the answer. Eating healthy is important. Focus less on what your stomach looks like and more on the quality of food you’re putting in it.
Skin: It’s always good to take care of your skin. Keep it clean. Moisturize it. Protect it from the sun. But whatever you do, don’t give a fuck about the color of your skin, and don’t treat your skin to “fix” the pigment. Get your ass out of the tanning salon. Stop using potentially harmful products to lighten or darken it. Remember that beauty comes in any color, and it doesn’t need correcting.
Feet: Are your feet blistered, cracked and callused? Are they dirty? Do they reek? Good. That’s what they’re for. They’re feet. If your feet are baby soft and you’re not a baby, you’re probably not using them enough / correctly. Take your shoes off and go stamp around in some mud. Your feet are supposed to be disgusting. I’ve spent my whole life working on these calluses, and I couldn’t be prouder. They’ve carried me so many places. It’s like having soles built into the bottom of my feet. Saves me money on shoes. And are they beautiful? You bet. Don’t trip over your so-called imperfections.
Love yourself, and love your body. Take good care of it. Appreciate it and be thankful that you have it, but remember your body is just your body, and it doesn’t define you. Your physical parts are just a vehicle for transporting your soul, and proper maintenance is important, but your exterior is no indication of your actual performance or potential. Your body is yours to do with as you please, a canvas on which to paint your personality. Your clothes, your hair, your makeup and tattoos, or lack thereof — they’re all just pieces of your presentation, places to express yourself.
If you want to be beautiful, be you. Just be yourself. Be-you-tiful.
What better way to launch E.Y.’s Talk-Beauty-to-Me Tuesday series than to cannonball into a sea of radical self-love and body-acceptance, with none other than Jes Baker—blogger, speaker, writer, fat-freedom-fighter. And what better day to do it than the release of her first book (of hopefully many more to come),Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls.
If you are local to my neck of the hoods, join me tonight at The Booksmith in San Francisco to meet the famous Miss Baker in the flesh. If you are not from the San Francisco bay area, fret not. Jes might just be touring somewhere close to you in the near future (tour dates / locations listed below). And even if you’re from the middle of ass-fuck nowhere, you’re in luck. Want to meet Jes Baker? Look no further. Just scroll down to the video, click play, sit back, and soak in some of Jes’s wisdom, virtually.
As a blogger myself, and the owner of a body, Jes has been such an inspiration to me, and if this is the first you’re hearing of her, may she be as much of an inspiration to you. I first discovered Miss Baker a couple years back when she ever-so-gracefully put Mike Jeffries (CEO of Abercrombie) in his place for only offering women’s sizes fit for women who are slim. Ironically, his exclusionary attitude toward beauty was the same flame that sparked Jes Baker’s fame and success, when her “Attractive & Fat” campaign went viral. I’ve been stalking her closely ever since. You should too, but be prepared to put some miles in because, as you can see below, she’s quite the moving target.
Transcribed verbatim, minus some ums, likes and you-knows.
ESPRESS YOURSELF: Dakota Snow from EspressYourself.coffee here with Jes Baker. Jes, my first question for you is what is body love? For those of us who’ve never used those two words together in the same sentence, what the fuck is body love?
JES BAKER: Body love. Body love is actually kind of controversial because it kind of seems like the opposite of what we learn to do, and also it’s a huge step, right? It’s a hundred and eighty degrees. A lot of people talk about body acceptance, body neutrality. I think those are really important. They’re the kind of in between steps. Body love is when you really learn to literally love your body, instead of loathe it, and it’s really important. For some people it’s a lifelong journey. Actually, for me to love my body a hundred percent will probably be a lifelong journey.
Body love is the ultimate destination, I suppose. There’s an article by Melissa Fabello that talks about body neutrality on ravishly.com, and I would really encourage you to look it up. I think it’s really important.
Body love is really extreme. It’s something that I think it’s great to aim for. It’s not something that comes naturally, because we’ve been conditioned to hate ourselves. But I like to talk about body love because what a wonderful thing to have, right?
E.Y. Jes, I knew I wanted to be a writer for a while, but it took me multiple blogs and several years to narrow down the things I want to write about. So my question for you is, which came first for you, the blog or body love? Did you know you wanted to blog about body love when you first started blogging?
J.B. I never knew I wanted to blog. I started to blog because I was in a horrible relationship, to be honest with you, and really needed an outlet. So I started this blog and it was really unimpressive. It was called “The Kitschen.” K-i-t-s-c-h-e-n, right? Kitschy, kitschen? It was about vintage baking—I was a baker at the time—and it was really insignificant. But it introduced me to blogging in general, and lifestyle blogging. And I read this really amazing article called “Better Homes and Bloggers” in Bitch Magazine, and it talks about how we think that blogs are going to be a little more honest than magazines, but really they are also glossed over and Photoshopped and all of that. You know, we take the most amazing pictures, and then we brighten them and make them look amazing, we talk about the really great things in our life—and how different is that from Photoshopped magazines?
And so I thought about that for a while, and I was like well, fuck, I’m going to make something real and honest. So I started blogging about, you know, my dirty dishes and my shampoo mohawk in the shower, and it felt really amazing to be transparent in a very glossed over world. And I came across a blog by Rachele, called “The Nearsighted Owl,” which doesn’t exist anymore, but she blogs under “Rad Fat Vegan,” and she was everything in lifestyle blogs that I loved—she had purple hair, she loved cats, she loved thrifting, and she was really super fat. And I was kind of, morbidly curious about this because I’d never seen such a thing before. And I was really in denial about my body at the same time, as well. I didn’t know that it was possible to like yourself. But after going back to her blog over and over and over again, I had this realization. And it’s sad that I had this realization, but it really was a moment where I thought, ohmygod… I don’t have to hate myself for the rest of my life. Ohmygod, I don’t have to hate myself for the rest of my life! Wow! And you know, once you kind of, sort of experience and know something, you can’t unknow it.
And so that continued to grow and blossom. I started to read books. I started to find more body positive blogs. It really was like the starting point for me, and the more I read and researched, the more obsessed I became with this concept, that self-loathing was an advertising hoax, and that you really could love yourself the way you were. And then, of course, because blogging is personal, the more I became invested in body love, the more it took over my blog. So when I really wanted to try and do body love and honesty, I changed it over to “The Militant Baker,” and it took off. And I’m incredibly fortunate that it did. I never expected this to become a life career in any sort of way, but it just happened that way.
And for me to be able to be honest and open with the world, to portray vulnerability, which is incredible and very important (something Brené Brown talks about that I really agree with) has been a dream come true. Because we all need to know that no one’s perfect, that we all struggle, and so it’s a gift to be able to talk about that.
E.Y. Writing, in my experience, has been a slow and mostly unrewarding process of drafting, editing, finally publishing and ultimately wondering if it was even worth it for a couple views and likes. But maybe, eventually, your views pick up until you have a following, and then one day you wake up and realize you’re famous and the Huffington Post is reporting on your Tedx Talk. I don’t know about you, but I consider you a pretty big deal. So at what point, or what milestone, did you realize you made that shift from just-a-blogger to a pretty-big-deal?
J.B. Really the thing that catapulted me into being visible on the internet was the “Attractive & Fat” campaign. And that was kind of also supported by this blog post I wrote a long time ago called “Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls So I Will.” That started to gain some popularity on accident, right. It was just revelations I had and I wanted to put it out into the world, and it started to be shared a lot, and so I gained some followers, and then when I shared “Attractive & Fat,” that went viral. It just happened to be good timing, it just happened to be well done, and that ended me up on… woo! Oh my goodness, English. *I then ended up on the Today Show, and it’s never been the same since then. So I would say it’s a combination of experience and talent and mostly luck, and I feel really grateful to have that.
At a certain point it becomes normal, which is really interesting. And I’ve really come to appreciate that because every time I’m covered by anything, whether it’s small or large, it puts me out into the world again, and I feel really grateful that my message is shared that way.
E.Y. Let’s talk about Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls. Your book hits the shelves October 27, I believe, and if I understand correctly, you cranked out your first draft of this book in just three weeks. For you to power through that much work that fast, with that much determination and that level of commitment, something must have driven you to do it. So what prompted you to write this book?
J.B. I did crank out my first draft in three weeks. Terrible idea. I do not recommend it to anyone. But the reason I did, and I can’t remember who said this, but my partner had shared that he was listening to NPR and there was some sort of screenwriter where he was talking about this voice, the voice that tells you you’re not good enough—“Everything you write is shit, why are you even bothering”—and he said the only voice that trumps that voice, is the voice that says, “Ohmygod this is due tomorrow.” And so that’s really what happened for me. I was like, “Oh-god, I’m not capable of writing this book, this is so difficult, what am I going to write, is it gonna be good enough?” But it eventually came down to a deadline, and I was like, “Well shit, here we go—I’m gonna write this whether I like it or not.” And so I did spend twelve hours a day on my bed with this plank that carried my computer, Netflix in the background, and I just typed my heart out. And it was really amazing—it was really clarifying. I really had to decide how I felt about a lot of political items, and I wasn’t allowed to beat around the bush. I had to talk about it.
So, it was really incredible… Still don’t recommend it. Some people spend three years writing a book, and I wonder what that’s like. Three weeks? Not recommended, but it worked. If people write a book in three weeks, I would recommend planning the next nine months and knowing that you’re going to be editing the shit out of it.
E.Y. As a writer it’s always nice to get lots of likes and supportive comments, but I won’t consider my website successful until I raise some kind of hell in the comment section. If you’re not writing something that pisses people off, you’re not making your readers think and you’re not challenging the norm. All my heros earned their place because they had to rise above the opposition to stand up for what they believe in, and so do you. You have a lot of opposition, and I say that as a compliment, but I do want to address their leading argument: that you promote obesity and an unhealthy lifestyle. So what do you think? Does your campaign for body love promote obesity?
J.B. Oh, the obesity-promotion question. I think that—you know, I had to do a lot of research for Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls—and what I came to realize is really that, ultimately, it doesn’t matter—your health status. It doesn’t. We could talk all day about medical politics and how much money they make by treating weight first, which is something that they encouraged in 2015. We could talk all day about it, there’s chapters written about it—it’s in my book.
Ultimately what I have come to realize is that “obesity” doesn’t fucking matter. Your health doesn’t determine your worth. Your medical charts do not determine your value as a human. And so do I promote obesity? I promote happiness. I don’t give a shit what your health is like. You are a valuable person, you are worthy of love and affection and visibility no matter what. And that’s very controversial to say. A lot of people—as The Beauty Myth today, for those who are familiar with Naomi Wolf’s work—the beauty myth today revolves around health. We determine a person’s worth by health, and I just believe that it’s just as much bullshit as having a thigh gap. It doesn’t really determine who you are as a person. And that’s all I have to say about that.
E.Y. So, looking back at your accomplishments so far—your blog, The Militant Baker, your Attractive & Fat campaign, your career as a speaker, and now your book—you’ve done a lot of work you should be proud of already, but what’s next for Jes Baker? Any new goals on the horizon? A talk show, perhaps? A clothing line… a vacation?
J.B. You know, as far as what’s in the future, I think I’m gonna be riding this book wave for a little bit? I have no idea what’s going to happen in the future, and I never do. I kind of have the six-month plan in my life as somebody who does freelancing. You can call me an activist, you can call me a speaker, you can call me a writer, you can call me a blogger… Whatever it is that I do. I really don’t know what I’m going to be doing six months from now, and it’s terrifying and exciting because I never know what’s going to end up in my inbox.
And so, I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know that this fall I’m going to be promoting my book, and we will see what happens. It’s going to be very controversial. I wrote it to be a basic introduction to fat liberation, to body positivity, to acceptance in general, and so it’s going to reach a lot of people that either agree with it or very much disagree with it. And I anticipate a lot of controversy just because of the world we live in. So we’ll see how that plays out. Maybe people will ignore it, maybe people will love it, maybe they’ll hate it, maybe it’ll end up on a really big television show. I don’t know, but we’re gonna see how that plays out, and I’m really excited.
E.Y. Alright Jes, last question. If you were not a blogger, writer, speaker, slash body love activist, what would you be instead?
J.B. If I wasn’t a blogger or body love activist, I would still be in mental health, and I actually miss it, a lot. I’ve been contemplating going back just because I miss it. I really love working with people who have serious mental illness—the people who are invisible to the rest of our society, people who are so strong just by getting out of bed every single day. Mental health is something that’s overlooked, it’s underfunded, and there’s a lot of stigma around it, so I really have a lot of respect and admiration for those people. I love being able to sit down with them, help them self-advocate, help them work through life barriers. It’s so fulfilling to me, and so I know for sure that if I wasn’t doing this full-time—if it didn’t take up all of my time—I would definitely be working one-on-one with the individuals that have a serious mental illness. They’re incredible people, and I love them so much.