Leaving My Heart in San Francisco

I’ve spent the weekend in San Francisco at the Association for Size Diversity & Health (ASDAH) Conference.  It was awesome on a number of levels.  I’ll talk in a second about some specifically cool things and people, but the predominant thing that I experienced was the joy of being in a size acceptance space.  Being in the space was actually easy and natural, so much so that when I got back to my hotel room and turned on the TV to a weight loss infomercial it was at bit jarring.

This morning I’ve only been awake for three hours and I’ve already heard body hate and fat stigma language repeatedly – in the lobby waiting for the shuttle, on the shuttle to the airport, and in the airport.  It really drove home for me the work that needs to be done in this area.  Some of the science that I’m most interested in at the moment is around the effects of constant stigmatization on both mental and physical health.  It remains unbelievable (which is to say bat crap crazy) to me first that this is so often left out of the discussion on public health, and second that when it is brought up the “solution” is not to end the stigma, but to end fat people.

Miles to go before we sleep but I feel like some great ideas and action plans were put into place and I’m definitely jazzed to continue my work (hint:  there’s gonna be a book and I’m looking at ways to put my dance classes online…) and to collaborate with all of the incredible people fighting the good fight.

In no particular order, some of the amazingness of the conference:

Meeting the people who introduced me to the Health at Every Size(R) concept:  Linda Bacon and Marilyn Wann (with whom I got to spend a lovely evening going to the beach and then around San Francisco – Marilyn and SF are the awesomest and I can’t wait to come back here). I tried to maintain composure and act like a colleage instead of an over-exuberant fat girl but I’m not sure to what level I succeeded an I don’t actually care since they both deserve over-exuberant fan girlness.

I got to meet the amazing ASDAH leadership team (Deb Lemire, Deb Burgard, Dana Schuester, Jeanette DePatie, Fall Ferguson – apologies if I’m forgetting anyone).

I got to work with an ad hoc group who talked about how to combat healthism in the ASDAH message.  The people and the work were amazing and we came up with some action items that I’m really excited about.  The collaboration was also really amazing, we could easily feel competitive with each other, or focus on our differences of opinion but everyone at the conference seemed to be much more interested in collaboration.

I saw the newest screening of Darryl Robert’s Documentary – America the Beautiful II – The Thin Commandments.  That was fun but scary because I’m interviewed in the movie and  I was nervous that the people at the conference wouldn’t like what I had said.  In the end my part was well-received so yay!  (I also found out I get to walk the red carpet at the New York and Los Angeles Premiers. I am beside myself with excitement. Now I need to figure out what the hell to wear…)

I got to meet people who I know from online (I’m definitely going to leave someone out  – it’s very early in the morning – so I’ll just say Hi Y’all!!!)  Meeting people who identify as my fans remains one of the coolest things that ever happens to me.

There are so many blogs to write around things that came up this weekend but right now I have to get on a plane.  Thanks to everyone who made this conference amazing, big fat hugs to you all!!!

19 thoughts on “Leaving My Heart in San Francisco

  1. Congratulations for showing up in a community of leaders – the inspiration from a group like that helps to keep your inside inspiration cookin!
    Keep sharing your bat crap craziness!

  2. Yay! This is awesome, Ragen. I wish I could be at the conference, but I’m practically dancing myself to hear that you’re considering putting dance classes online. I’ve been working on incorporating more size acceptance and size diversity into my dance environments and would LOVE LOVE LOVE to incorporate your thoughts. I’d also love to help anyone interested incorporate Contact Improvisation into their size-positive dance experiences–it can be great for people of literally any size or level of ability/disability.

    Also, if you write a book, put me on the list to buy it!

  3. Red Carpet! Thanks, amazing! I love the glowy feeling that lingers after attending an amazing conference and meeting amazing people!

    When’s this film coming out? I’d love to use it in my classes. I teach writing, but we watch all sorts of films for inspiration and writing prompts.

      1. Do tell us which red carpets you will appear on and when – your fans are anxiously waiting to see you and cheer.

  4. I’m so super happy that things went well. I’m also super excited to hear that I will get to add to my, “Oops. I just bought another pile of books” list. Oh and super duper excited at the idea of online dance classes. I think it’s time to break out the Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy song. 🙂

  5. Looking back, my job in graduate school was an accepting space. I would not wear sleeveless tops before working with them and seeing beautiful, flabby armed women with their arms completely out. That’s not the message I learned growing up but often, you know right when you find it.

  6. Very excited at the prospect of your dance classes being online as well as reading your book! Congratulations!

  7. Girl, you were a big hit with us, too! You are my favorite part of the movie and having you be involved with all the press at the premier makes me feel like the message is in very capable hands – YAY!

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