The Circles of Change Book Club
I want to thank those who tuned in for my live story on Instagram last night. I know that it was brief, and if you tuned in halfway through, it may have been confusing. I wrote down some notes in advance of the talk, and I'm providing them here so that anyone who is curious about the book club or why I started it can learn more.
Hello and welcome!
Thank you for joining me tonight, I imagine that those of you who are tuning in are here for a variety of reasons, including curiosity about Circles of Change, curiosity about who I am, and hopefully, because you have some thoughts about Holding Up the Universe.
There weren’t really any replies to today’s question, and that’s perfectly okay. We’re a new book club and it’s not always super comfortable diving into the unknown. You can always dm me if you have any questions or concerns. In the meantime, I happy to be the one to start the conversation.
Some background about the book club before we get to the January book itself. I have been working with Ophelia’s Place, a non-profit for eating disorders, and their movement Circles of Change for a little over two years. When I first came to them it was as someone who lived in the community and wanted to donate my time/skills in lieu of money.
Ultimately I they helped me more than I've probably helped them. I learned that I didn’t have to be at war with my body, that I could be beautiful and be outside the narrow beauty standards of our society, and I learned that honest, and sometimes difficult conversations have the power to transform women’s lives.
The most common adjective that women use to describe themselves, their bodies is “disgusting.” I used to be one of those women, and on my worst days, I still am. But thanks to people who are willing to demonstrate the different is not lesser, that weight is not our greatest indicator of health, or any indicator at all of worth, most days I love who I am and what I look like regardless of how little I look like the airbrushed fallacies in the media.
So, how do I imagine instigating some good conversations and moments of change? By using the biggest tool in my arsenal: My bookwormness. My love for books, for reading, writing, talking about books is generally pretty apparent. So why not talk about fiction books that invite us to celebrate characters who promote body positivity?
Which brings us to Holding Up the Universe and tonight’s question, which feels more like a long statement because I’m big on context:
Initially Libby isn’t interested in becoming “the Official Spokesperson for Fat Girls” given the limits of any label and the weight of expectations and responsibility that comes with it. She still ends up taking a declarative stance with her letter, her bikini, and her phrase, “I am wanted.” Sometimes being the first person to offer a new way of thinking, or to start a new conversation about body-positivity can feel scary. Did Libby’s actions inspire you to be braver or try something new in changing the conversation?
I will be the first to admit that the idea of doing what Libby did scares the hell out of me. I still get scared to shut down diet talk amongst my girlfriends or to keep my older relatives from berating family members who they think are too big.
But Libby’s actions gave me hope. I may not be ready, yet, to strap on a purple bikini, but instead of writing a letter I can write blog posts, I can have moments like this where I’m brave enough to believe I am okay, wonderful even, just the way I am right now.
Overall I hope that for anyone who loves book clubs that you’ll join us, and for anyone who has ever been made to feel lesser or worthless because of how you look, how you feel in your body, that you’ll come have more conversations with us, whether it’s about the book club or not, because you ARE beautiful and worthy.
Thanks for joining me.
I hope you'll consider joining the book club and they'll you'll tune in for another chat next Wednesday.