I have been writing this blog post longer than I’ve been pregnant, and at this point I’ve been pregnant forever. So fair warning: this is long, as there are many facets to this story. As what I’m sharing with you here unfolds, you’ll see why I have taken over a year to publish this, have rewritten it, and at many points simply ignored it. There's stuff in here that I'll probably always struggle with and don't like about myself. But it's all very real and very honest.
HERE WE GO...
In early 2015, I discovered an app called Periscope. I don’t remember exactly how I first heard about it, but what I DO remember is that the first live “‘Scope” I saw was of John Mayer giving a free guitar lesson to viewers. I died 100 times while watching it and was hooked on the app.
At the time, there was no such thing as “Facebook Live.” Despite the obscurity of Periscope (it was only being used by the Innovators and very Early Adopters then—which consisted only of business coaches, marketing experts, and the like), I just had this sense that this technology was going to create a tremendous shift in marketing, branding, consumer behavior and generally how we interact with each other as first-world humans.
I have no idea why or what, but I KNEW that I had to get active on this platform. So, I started ‘Scoping several times a week and building a following. Now just a day away from 2018 in a time when it seems like everyone is turning themselves into a celebrity online, you might read that and think “ok… what’s the big deal?” And I’ll tell you more about that soon.
Just a few months later, Facebook OF COURSE created their own Live streaming technology. At first, the limited features weren’t anywhere near as fun as Periscope’s, but as with so many other things Facebook continued to roll out more features to improve the Live experience. I think it’s safe to now say Facebook Live has officially killed Periscope.
Having months of practicing broadcasting myself to an invisible audience, I wasn’t afraid to start using Facebook Live when it launched. Well, actually that’s not entirely true. I WAS afraid. On Facebook all of my family, high school friends and chiropractic colleagues could potentially be watching.
I was afraid, but I did it anyway.
When my videos from a couple of years ago pop up as “Memories” in my Facebook feed, I absolutely cringe. See, I had no idea what I was doing. Specifically, I had nothing to say that anyone wanted to hear about. I tried to appear casual but I was working really hard at it. In those early videos, there’s an undefinable, un-measurable air of fakeness about me.
Most of the time, I was pretty certain that absolutely nobody was watching, much less interested or caring. So, despite how stupid I looked to even myself, I kept going anyway. Whatever it was that was fueling me (which was not much more than an indescribable sense of “I just KNOW I have to do this” in a this-is-bigger-than-me sort of way) was what kept me on track.
There have been times that I have been uber consistent—posting a video every day for 30 days in January 2016, for example. And there have been times that I have had no consistency at all—like most of 2017.
I started 2017 off by hosting a 5-Day Facebook Live Challenge for Mama Chiropractors and repeated the challenge 2 or 3 more times throughout the year. But, I’ve totally sucked at my own Live videos (or any videos) this year.
WHY? ‘Cuz I’ve got issues.
Yeah, this is where the story gets interesting. This is where the story that I’m telling becomes something that might stir your soul as much as it stirs mine. This is where I want to run. Hide. Delete the Word document I’ve been typing this post into. Forget that I ever had the knowing that I must share this story. And possibly vomit (or is that pregnancy nausea?).
In 2016, I created a business called Aligned Women. It took me months—no really, years—to figure out what it was. By mid-year, I hired a business coach who was oh so very wise—Caroline Greene. She was able to see the big jumbled mess of an online business (a little fitness, with some mindset coaching, but wait I wanna help you grow your business too because I'm a freak who loves marketing) I had created that was generating basically no revenue and laser focus in on exactly what I needed to do. Which was support other chiropractors who were also moms struggling to figure out the balance of life and practice.
At the time, I knew of absolutely nothing out there that was dedicated specifically to Mama Chiropractors. So it seemed to make sense. I knew there were a lot of us feeling alone and struggling to grow our businesses because we were so overwhelmed with just managing the day-to-day mix of home and office.
Following her advice and staying committed to the plan we had laid out, Aligned Women started to grow. It grew and grew and grew. And strangely, so did I. I gained about 15 pounds in just a few months. For many people this is no big deal. For someone like me who has spent her entire lifetime measuring her worth by her size, it was nerve wracking at the least. As much as I despised the weight I was gaining, I felt like I simply couldn’t stop myself from my daily dose of chocolate peanut butter ice cream to soothe over the extreme vulnerability I was living with every day growing an online community--a "following," if you will--and even having the audacity to ask people to pay me money to be a part of it.
I continued to replace my usual staples of avocados, eggs, and berries with ice cream for enough weeks—weeks that turned into months, mind you—that I developed cysts on one of my ovaries. What the hell was I doing? I had gone through this before. More than once. And I thought that I had overcome my emotional overeating tendencies. But even after seeing the cysts on the ultrasound monitor, I didn’t change my behavior.
Meanwhile, Aligned Women was growing and I had started my second practice in a town that was brand new to me where I knew basically no one. Then, as if I didn’t have enough on my plate, my daughters decided that they wanted to have a baby brother.
They talked about it every day. For maybe the first week or so, I just laughed and said no. I had been absolutely certain that I was totally done with pregnancy and babies. I'd already given away ALL of our baby stuff.
But they continued on. For weeks. And somehow their asking made me re-evaluate. I mean, we would all love to have a little boy in this family. What if they were being guided by powers beyond their comprehension? Who was I to say no to that? As crazy as it seems still, I figured…. Ok, I’ll get pregnant, we’ll have this baby brother they’re asking for, that’ll be totally awesome, and we will once and for all be done with the baby-making years. I was convinced that this was what The Universe wanted for us.
My husband and I had always made a baby on our first try; when that didn’t happen this time I knew it was because of the state I had emotionally-eaten my body into. So, like any reasonable crunchy chic would do, I did a detox, felt a ton better, and didn’t get my next period. I was pregnant, and the little brother my daughters had requested was on his way.
Go ahead and ask me here: what the hell does any of this have to do with Facebook Live already? Yes, I’m getting to that now.
You see, for the better part of 2017, I’ve been growing. My heart has grown, my mind has grown, my belly has grown, my butt and thighs and boobs have been growing, and even my face and feet have grown.
This is what’s supposed to happen during pregnancy, right? But for some reason I’ve had this story through all of my pregnancies that I’m doing something wrong—something unhealthy—by growing so much in size.
How can I show up as a leader in a holistic health and wellness profession when I look so… round?
Further, I’ve pursued being smaller for over 25 years. I’ve measured my worth, value and success inversely with my size. I have no idea how or why this started. But I remember feeling I was far too fat when I was just 10 years old and wearing a crop-top at my dance recital. Really. I distinctly remember worrying about the fat rolls on my abdomen showing…. When really I had none. Where the idea that I must be smaller to be “good” came from, I still don’t know.
There have been 4 distinct times in my life that I felt uber successful and happy, each one of them directly related to how small my body had gotten at the time.
I’ve mulled over the idea of including pictures in this post for several months. Pictures of me at all my varying sizes, so that you could see what I see now. Which is basically how messed up my perception of my size has been for most of my life. How I can look back on a photo or video of myself from just two years ago after giving birth twice and see how strong and lean I was but remember how desperate I felt to be smaller. But I decided against adding the photos... mostly because I'm too busy waiting to give birth at the moment.
So, as you can probably imagine by now (and possibly even relate to on a really deep level because you’ve struggled with body dysmorphia yoursefl), as I’ve increased in size I’ve become more and more resistant to being seen.
As in, I don’t wannnnnaaaaa.
There are already so many reasons (excuses, really) why creating and posting videos on any social media platform can feel anxiety-provoking.
The potential for ridicule...
Particularly in the chiropractic profession, there’s so much judging that goes on amongst ourselves. And then there’s the legal restrictions on what we can and cannot say that we do, too. It can leave you feeling like "why bother?"
For over a year, I put myself out there despite those usual things we’re afraid of. But the one thing that stopped me from showing up consistently in 2017? My increasing size. How crazy is that!?
I’ve let my ick-factors about gaining weight take precedence over sharing the mission that I’m on—which is to help more women in chiropractic create practices that align with their families because, when we do, we’re able to serve more people. And the world really really needs us, lady. There’s no shortage of unwell people; they’re everywhere you look.
A few days ago, a local doula asked if I would be sharing my upcoming birth on Facebook Live. WTF?! At first I laughed. I mean, really?! The thought hadn't even crossed my mind.
But then the reality of what she had asked hit me in a different way. She and I have never met in person. We Facebook-know each other thanks to—you guessed it—me posting videos on my page.
It was a weird moment, when I considered that people I’ve not even met associate me with being that lady they’ve watched in Facebook videos.
But isn’t that what it’s all about?
We have this incredible (and FREE, mind you) tool literally at our finger tips that has never existed before now, that can help us reach our local and global communities anywhere they are and inspire change in them. It’s so simple, yet still so fear-provoking for so many of us.
This lovely doula asking me about live broadcasting my birth inspired me to pause and reflect.
A little over a year ago, I was one of the very few female chiropractors I saw utilizing live video on social media. There were more and more men jumping on the bandwagon, but where were the ladies I wondered? I knew we could do this Live thing, because I was seeing women in other professions do it—business coaches, health coaches, authors, and more. Even though I was (and am still) no expert, I saw a missed opportunity, a need for support, and took a chance on offering a free 5-Day Facebook Live Challenge to help female chiropractors just get started using this platform to create more awareness in their communities about what they do.
We had about 20 ladies participate in this challenge back in January 2017, and it was so incredible to witness. I felt so blessed. Watching these ladies get out of their comfort zones and step into new realms was literally like watching a dream come true. Suddenly there were more and more female DCs VISIBLE. Other amazing things happened from there. One mom doubled her practice volume in approximately two months. One had a video go viral in a huge way. We were seeing them create measurable changes in their businesses.
Today, a year later, I can look back on that first challenge and see how far things have come for not just Aligned Women but for so many of the members in their own practices.
I’m reminded of what’s really most important.
It’s not the cut of my deltoids
or the strength of my quads
or the tiny-ness of my waist.
It’s my willingness to feel the fear and do shit anyway.
It’s what’s in my heart.
It’s the calling that I feel to step up, play bigger and support other women in doing the same.
Speaking of playing bigger, in the week ahead I’m gonna do just that. While I wait out what feels like the longest pregnancy ever, I’m gonna play and have fun in my coaching practice with a group of amazing women in a new round of the 5-Day Facebook Live Challenge. This is going to require me to say “f*ck it” to my insecurities about my overdue pregnant roundness and know that there are more important things going on than what anyone thinks about my chubby cheeks—myself included.
I might always feel insecurity come up about how much space I take up in the world. But one thing I know for sure--it won't ever change by me letting it win. So, I'll do one of the few things that I can say I'm damn good at.
I'll feel the fear and I'll do it anyway.
(unless I happen to have labor start...)
If you want to grow your authority as a leader in health and wellness in your community, no one is going to do that for you. No one is going to lead you to the cliff and make you jump, except you (and maybe a really skilled coach). No one is going to give you permission to get yourself and the mission of your business more visible. No one except you.
So if you’re ready to walk through your fears and build your social media presence in 2018, come join us in the 5-Day Facebook Live Challenge. It starts Tuesday, January 2 and the number of participants is limited (to what, I honestly haven’t decided yet…. We already have almost 30 ladies who’ve said yes to this event!)
Request to join in on the challenge and find more details about what to expect inside the group.
Most of all, I want you to know that if the idea of participating in this challenge speaks to you but you feel scared to do it… guess what, so am I. But what’s most important to remember right now is that on the other side of your fear is your growth.
PS: That baby brother? Well, turns out he is a sister. I'm still waiting for God to show me the lesson in that one :-)