Tiana Dodson

I learned this from a cleaning video

Published about 1 month ago • 3 min read

Hey Reader.

[read this with your ears by clicking here]

Do you ever catch yourself sliding down the YouTube rabbit hole of videos that you're watching for "curiosity" or "entertainment" sake, yet are thinly veiled self-punishments because you spend the entire time judging yourself for what you aren't doing already but think you should be?


Just me??

Well, that's fine. Because if you keep reading I'll tell you more about the wild landscape that is inside my brain and maybe you'll find something that resonates for you (even though you definitely don't use online content as self-flagellation).

So, hello, my name is Tiana and I like to watch videos where people teach me how to keep my house clean.

You see, I am a person with a busy schedule, a child, a business, and executive dysfunction to boot. This means that, though I enjoy having a clean home, I do not normally have what could be referred to as a clean home.

(TL;DR: We be messy over here. Call before you visit. Also, we need to put on pants before you arrive. Consensual comfort is caring.)

So I am often looking for inspiration and helpful tips and tricks that will get me closer to that fabled clean home. Enter: YouTube.

4 minutes into a 27-minute video of exactly this type, it dawned on me: the entire subtext of this genre is basically...

::have a system AND THEN use that system::

Immediately, I paused the video and had to write this down because I realized that this applies 3000% to my body liberation work as well.

Granted, this might not be immediately apparent to you, and that's totally okay.

Let me break it down a little bit:

Oppressive systems are successful because they are, in fact, systems.

It means that they are built up of multiple layers of values, beliefs, practices, and even physical barriers, among other things. They are proliferated and strengthened through repetition, the appearance of ubiquity, and the "everybody knows this" phenomenon.

And we can appropriate this approach for our own liberatory purposes!

If you want to become someone who is kind and compassionate, then you need to ground yourself into these values by defining what they mean for you, what it looks like for you to practice being kind and compassionate, and maybe even find tools that help you do just that.

If you want to destigmatize fatness for yourself, then you need to better understand why you feel negatively about fatness in the first place, reframe how you look at and think about fat bodies (shout out to my 4-Step Framework for Body Liberation), and find some supportive and caring community to help you along the way.

And, yeah, these may not look like systems because they're sort of amorphous, but they TOTALLY ARE!

They're systems simply because the different steps can be pointed to and isolated. The actions necessary can be highlighted. The progress can actually be quantified in a lot of different ways. And all of this is infinitely repeatable!!!

Your system can be as simple as having a list of trusted folks you can call on when you're feeling low OR it could be as complicated as a multi-database-referencing Notion template with AI support that helps you organize your self care tasks.

Ultimately, whatever it is you want to improve/ learn/ organize/ destigmatize in your life is done through the simple process of creating a system for it AND THEN using that system.

That's it!

I know you've probably got so many systems you use already (because you are a brilliant human being surviving in this horrible world) and I'd love to hear all about them.

Hit reply to this message and let me know one system you've created to support you in making it through. I can't wait to hear all about it!

With all my big, fat love,

What am I up to?

[Below, you may find affiliate links. This means that I will receive compensation (with no extra cost to you) if you make any purchases using those links.]

❤ I'm loving ❤

audiobooks!!! Reading with my ears while playing Minecraft has been so restorative. Anyone else into the weird mix of comedy, horror, and lesbian stuff?

👷🏽‍♀️ I'm working on 🏗

laying out the reading schedule for the next Fat Freedom Group Read!!! (hint: we'll be reading a recent release from a brilliant friend of mine!)

💭 I'm thinking on 🤔

ways to bring us together to do the hard stuff that we totally don't have to be alone in doing

Sent with big fat love from a messy desk and a neurodivergent mind.

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Tiana Dodson

With a decade as a body liberation facilitator and a lifetime of lived experience as a fat, biracial, queer, neurodivergent person, Tiana Dodson is well-versed in what it is to exist in a multiply-marginalized body. As an active co-creator of the Syllabus for Liberation, her work addresses how personal, community, and global liberation depend upon each other. Through her consulting services, group offerings, and public speaking, Tiana highlights the ways these systems of oppression are bound together and how we can push back against them.

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