Plus size woman workshop

Here’s the thing: thin doesn’t equal happy, it only equals thin.  Fat doesn’t equal unhappy, it only equals fat.  … 

It’s ironic that the bigger I am the less visible I seem to be in the world, but that has nothing to do with happy either.  People will see what they want to see.  If they choose to look more deeply, they’ll see the best parts of me. If not, I have no problem remaining invisible to them.”

~ Katy Grenfell, from her blog To The Guy On The Train

 

Somehow our culture has conflated weight with any number of unrelated things – moral integrity, happiness, cleanliness, trustworthiness, etc.

In recent years, a number of people have started to reclaim that narrative, but there is still a voice missing from the conversation – YOURS.

In a time when prejudice and nastiness have been increasingly legitimized, it’s even more important to put a human face, a human voice, on this story.  In the process, you’ll connect with other women who are experiencing some of the same things – to create a loving, supportive community of sisters.

This isn’t a support group for losing weight.  It’s about learning to be okay with who you ARE, rather than hoping and praying to be somebody you MIGHT be in the future.  This is about encouraging and learning from each other, and then inspiring others.  It’s about letting people know they are not alone.

(Oh – and PS – Katy, the writer above, will be part of the workshop!)

Is this workshop for me?

These words are not part of “polite” conversation, but let’s call a thing a thing. This workshop is for you if you are a fat/obese woman.

This workshop is for you if you’re ready to tell your story in the company of sisters – because one story is strong, and a chorus of stories can change the world.

What will we do in the workshop?

We’ll meet via video conference for 2 hours, once a week, for five weeks. I’m offering the group two times each week, so you can choose the one that fits your schedule. The total group is limited to 10 people so it will be a very safe and intimate space.

The five weeks of meetings are all about YOU. We’ll spend time writing, sharing, and supporting each other. You’ll do all of the writing while we’re on the video conference, so there’s no “homework.” We’ll have a private Facebook group so you can continue sharing and supporting each other between calls.

When we complete the five weeks of writing, I’ll create a “script” out of everyone’s best pieces of writing. Then I will work with you to video yourself (using your webcam) reading your story. I will edit together everyone’s pieces and publish them to YouTube.

How much does it cost?

Zip. Nada. Nothing.

Yes, really. This is my way of standing in peaceful resistance to the chaos and insanity that is taking over our world.

I do have some costs, so if you get something of value out of our time together, you are welcome to make a donation to support my future work.

Why should I entrust my story to you?

I’m so glad you asked…because trust is something that’s hard to come by these days, isn’t it?

The first thing I want to tell you is that, while I’ve dealt with body image issues my whole life, I still shop in the “misses” department.  I enter this conversation as a facilitator and an anthropologist. But this is far from the first time I’ve done this!

I developed this writing-and-sharing workshop model 13 years ago and have used it with groups on a variety of topics: surviving breast cancer, aging, body image issues, etc.

The responses from the very first group of breast cancer survivors in 2004 were astounding – they reported having less fear about follow-up mammograms, less anger about the diagnosis, and a stronger sense of community and support. Here are a few of the things they said:

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This was a fantastic workshop, and a truly memorable life experience. I will treasure it in my heart forever, and the lessons I’ve learned – about sharing, about speaking, about telling the truth – will carry me ever upward.
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You’ve created a safe environment for me to bring the fear, hurt, and anger from the depths of my soul out into the light, where I could take a look from a different perspective. You accepted me as I am. I constantly felt your unconditional love – how rare, and how wonderful! Thank you.
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Leah taught us to give ourselves permission to tackle something we were unsure of having the ability to do. We realized it is important to be heard and we all have stories to tell.
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Working with you has been a healing experience that boggles my mind when I think about it – the process has been so quick. We’ve unwrapped layers and layers of stifling emotional bandages, and now I feel so free.

Then the community responded – we were invited to do staged readings of their work in theatres and medical facilities around a tri-state area.

Then the academic medical community came calling – I was invited to write an article for the American and European Journal of Cancer Education about our process and the results (to be clear, this is basically unheard of – people fight to get published in medical journals, it’s rarely an invitation; and as a non-doctor, to be invited is just CRAZY!)  I was later invited to write another column for the same journal about the process of educating through entertainment.  You can read both articles here and here.

I’ve also been published in a variety of other regional and national publications on the topic of sharing your story for healing (technically known as “expressive disclosure.”)

In addition to scads of complimentary words from workshop participants, I’ve been honored to be endorsed by top names in a variety of fields.

Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult

“Leah Carey is a very talented visionary. [Working with her] was the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.”
Iyanla Vanzant

Iyanla Vanzant

“Leah Carey is a bright light in the field of self-empowerment and writing as a healing art.”
Dr. C. Everett Koop

Dr. C. Everett Koop

“There is nothing trivial here, but rather deep soul-searching confessions … it can help you with any challenge of great significance.”

THE BIG QUESTIONS

What if I have writers’ block?

The process I have developed over the last 13 years is particularly effective at combating writers block. I will lead you through every step of the process and you will never be staring at a blank page, wondering where to start.

What if my stories aren’t as good as other peoples?

This is the MOST COMMON thing I hear from workshop participants, and ironically the people who say it are usually the ones who share the most compelling stories! I saw a great quote on Facebook that said, “Don’t compare your behind the scenes footage with other people’s highlight reel.” I GUARANTEE that you have compelling stories to tell. I also GUARANTEE that no one else can tell those stories the way you can. Don’t talk yourself out of doing this because you’re afraid you won’t be good enough – be brave. Make a new choice. We need your voice.

I want to share my stories in the group, but I’m not sure if I want to include them on YouTube.

I want you to feel comfortable with sharing everything you need to share within the confines of the group. We can edit out very personal details before making the video.

Will I get paid for my contributions?

No.  This is not a money-making project.  I will ask you to sign a release allowing me to use your words, however you will retain copyright.

I’m in! What do I need to participate?

* A web cam and high speed internet connection
* A quiet place to be during the 2-hour video conferences
* A commitment to show up to at least one session each week to share and support your sisters
* A box of Kleenex 😉
* A desire to share your story for your own healing, and the healing of others!!!

Workshop times are:

TBA in April
All times are Eastern Standard