I was born a feminist. At a very young age, I had an eye for gender inequalities happening in my family, communities and in the world. They were not something that I understood and was deeply affected by them. I was also sensitive to all injustices that I would hear about or witness in the world. My heart for justice and my eye for spotting oppressive binaries led me on a lifelong journey of feminism. I remember being called a feminist as a teenager, and while I hadn't been introduced to feminism yet, I embraced the term immediately and proclaimed, "Yes, that IS who I am!"
My Experience and Background
I have a master's degree in Anthropology and Social Change from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, California and a B.A. in Women and Gender Studies at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida.
I am a certified counselor of the Interchange Counseling Institute, a transformative training program for coaches, counselors, and anyone interested in growth, and have years of counseling experience.
For eight years, I worked as a self-employed fitness trainer and long distance running coach.
As a fitness trainer, I experienced a lot of anti-feminist messages that the fitness industry sends us every single day. Clients of various gender identities with different goals came to me with similar beliefs and messages that they had internalized about what kind of body they "should" or "shouldn't" have. I knew that I wanted to get to the root of these oppressive beliefs, but didn't know how. Even though it became very clear to me that fitness coaching was not my passion anymore, my desire for getting to the root of our internalized oppression has led me to doing the work that I love doing now.
I was also a competitive runner for twenty years of my life, from eight years old to twenty-eight years old and ran marathons (including a few ultras) in my 20s. I've always seemed to surprise people in how strong and fast I am because of their perceptions about my gender and body size. Can the stereotypes about how small women can't be strong or athletic die already?
My work with folks in helping them get free of harmful messages that we've internalized from society, from systemic oppression and the gender binary is not only an intellectual teaching, but a bodily and spiritual one as well. I take my skills and tools that I learned in counseling and as a trainer and apply them to getting free of oppressive societal conditioning. I believe that the more we connect to our bodies and our spirits, the more we are connecting to who we are underneath who society has told us to be. Thus, working with the mind, body and spirit is essential for our individual and collective freedom.
My Beliefs and Values
Personal growth, spirituality and social justice are intertwined. I believe we are spiritual beings having human experiences. We are all connected, and it is our responsibility, as humans, to care for one another's life, liberation and justice, and to act upon that care.
I believe that all oppressions fall under the same system and that we must acknowledge intersectionality-a term coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw (to describe her experience in the United States as Black and as a woman). We must acknowledge that there are multi-oppressions that many of us experience, which include but are not limited to race, disability, sexuality, gender and class. I paraphrase Audre Lorde, I am not free if you are not free. My fight for liberation and justice is a fight for your liberation and justice.
I believe in reclaiming and valuing our intuition. Many of us are taught, from a young age, to value our rational mind more than our intuition and spirituality, and because of this, we have disconnected a lot from who we truly are underneath all the societal conditioning. Patriarchy has valued logic and reason a lot more than intuition and inner wisdom. Thus, listening to and connecting to our intuition is a feminist act.
I believe in elevating diversity, which is reality, and am interested in the perspectives and experiences of people who are marginalized in different ways that I am. As a feminist, my commitment is to constantly learn, grow and evolve.
I believe that selfcare is a feminist act and is essential to our well being and livelihood. Selfcare does not only show up in isolated instances like bubble baths and meditation, but also involves the support of others (community, friends, family, even strangers...) and creating and holding our boundaries. It involves connecting to our joy, which involves feeling all of our feelings and learning to be with ourselves, being in our bodies, embracing who we are, and connecting with one another. We need this to get free and live into our gifts.
*Friendly Note: I am sex-positive, sex worker-positive, LGBTQIA+, kink & BDSM-positive.
I also grew up not feeling
completely aligned with the gender that was placed upon me and felt the complexity of my being. On one hand, I was no gender at all and never felt aligned with being assigned one. On another hand, I was outraged about patriarchy and sexism and wanted to "reclaim 'women's power". And on the other other hand, I didn't want to be a woman or a female. These multiple experiences led me to study gender and feminism and I took to queer feminist theory like my life depended on it. Because, well, it kind of did.
Queer feminist theory has given me a language to describe my beliefs and feelings about gender and feminism and it's where a lot of my work draws from.
(You can read more about my story as a "queer non-binary woman" here.)