I believe that telling our truth — and living it — is a form of Badass Self-Care. It protects us, nourishes us, replenishes us and holds the power to change not only us, but our world.
And so I am here to create a world of truth-tellers with you.
The opposite of the truth is a lie.
Lies are what allows violence and harm to thrive in our lives and in our world.
When we internalize the lies our culture tells us, we start to believe that we are not enough, that we are somehow broken, that we need to hustle to earn love and acceptance.
And so we over-give, we over-work, we over-achieve until we feel exhausted, overwhelmed, stuck, maybe even depressed or anxious.
As a therapist and a woman, I know from both professional and personal experience that we all walk around every day with a head full of lies.
One of the biggest lies is that only the masculine is valuable.
The truth is, every one of us has the human qualities of both feminine and masculine within us.
The truth is, patriarchy’s devaluation of the feminine hurts men and women and everyone in between.
When we believe the lie that our feminine nature is less than, we disown and deny parts of ourselves in order to feel worthy of love and acceptance.
Because we are women in a culture that devalues the feminine,
we believe that we are not good enough,
we believe that we are alone,
we believe that we are powerless.
Lies, lies, lies.
This is devaluation, harm, and an absence of care — and you don’t deserve to live like this.
We are fed the lies by our culture.
They are reinforced by the media, our institutions, and often even our own family and friends.
But we don’t have to continue to believe in the lies.
We can opt out.
We can learn to value, to honor, ourselves.
We can practice Badass Self-Care.
We can become truth-tellers.
When I talk about unlearning the lies and stepping into our truth,
I speak from my personal experience.
The first lie I believed was that I didn’t deserve safety.
I was abused – physically, sexually, and emotionally – and I thought this meant something was wrong with me, that I was somehow damaged and unworthy. For a long time I didn’t tell anyone. Instead, I quietly shoved my fear and pain down, down, down so that I could be who I thought I was supposed to be – a smiling, accommodating nice girl.
The second lie I believed was that my productivity defined my worth.
I was working 60 hours a week at a “good” job, making a meaningful contribution to the field, and taking home my first real paycheck. In order to thrive in this demanding work environment, I cut myself off from my wants and needs. I remember that I would not pee when I had to pee. My worth was so wrapped up in checking things off of a to-do list that I would not honor my body on this most basic level. At the time, I thought sacrificing my most basic needs in service of getting shit done for other people meant that I was an amazing, hardworking woman.
The third lie I believed was that I was less than because I was a woman.
Society told me (implicitly and explicitly) that I was weak, too sensitive, the original sin. They told me to obey, to stay small, to stay home. They told me no one would believe me. They told me I was a slut and that boys will be boys. They told me I didn’t matter. They told me I had no purpose beyond serving a man. They told me that’s just the way it is and for a long time I believed them.
The fourth lie I believed was that I had to abide by the unspoken rules of the patriarchal culture.
I was 30 years-old and I honestly had not considered what I wanted for my life. In my defense, I had been very busy doing what I thought I was supposed to do. Checking items off the productive adult list – get a degree, get a job, secure health insurance and a retirement plan, buy a house. And let’s not forget the special, unspoken be a good woman list – don’t be too smart or loud, be sweet and accommodating but also sexy, don’t make people uncomfortable, be thin but not too thin, be an amazing mother, lover, friend, daughter, employee and on and on.
The fifth lie I believed was that I had to please others at all costs.
I internalized the belief that in order to be loved and accepted I had to put myself last. I believed that to be a good mother, wife, therapist, and teacher I had to put everyone else’s needs before my own. I could take care of myself but only after I had taken care of everyone else first. I was exhausted. There was a constant low level buzz of anxiety inside me. I felt like whatever I might do in a day, it was never enough. I was never enough.
I did the hard work of therapy and healed my traumas.
I found yoga and reclaimed my body.
Over time I woke up to the truth.
The truth is I am worth of safety and respect. And so are you.
The truth is I do not have to earn my worthiness, it is my innate right. And yours too.
The truth is I am not less than. Neither are you.
The truth is I deserve to take care of myself. And so do you.
The truth is I am not here to overwork and over-give.
The truth is I am not here to perform.
The truth is I am here to heal and to serve and I do that by standing in my truth.
I am a therapist, yoga teacher, and radical proponent for Badass Self-Care and I am on a mission to create a world of truth-tellers.
The truth is I know that every injury, violence, and oppression begins with a lie.
The truth is our world is filled with lies.
The truth is one of the biggest lies is that only the masculine is valuable.
The truth is we are lacking the divine feminine, personally and socially.
The truth is patriarchy gives privilege to the masculine and asks us to cut off our feminine.
The truth is we have internalized the lies of patriarchy.
The truth is denying and disowning our feminine aspects is a violence toward ourselves and a disservice to the world.
I believe honoring the feminine will heal us, individually and collectively.
I want us to reclaim our whole self.
I want to live in a world that welcomes the whole truth.
Because the truth heals.
Because telling the truth about our lives is how we get free.
Because the antidote to violence is truth. We will not harm what we hold sacred and the truth is we are all sacred.
That’s why I do this work.
Yoga, therapy, Badass Self-Care: it’s all a form of truth telling.
And I know the truth heals.
I know the truth can heal you.
I believe the truth can heal our world.
My work is informed by my experience and training as a psychologist, yoga teacher, and Badass Self-Care coach.
I earned my doctorate in Counseling and School Psychology from the University at Buffalo in 2007. In 2009, I became a Licensed Psychologist and opened a private practice as a therapist.
I have the clinical experience of more than 4,000 hours of individual therapy with hundreds of clients.
I completed a 200 hour teacher training program through YogaFit, including specialized training in trauma-informed yoga.
I have been teaching yoga since 2008.
I own and operate Tree of Life Yoga Studio in Niagara Falls, NY.
In June 2017, I will complete a training in yoga for survivors of sexual assault with Zabie Yamasaki.
I am the proud creator of Badass Self-Care®.
Badass Self-Care is about reclaiming our bodies, our voices, our power.
I call it Badass Self-Care because it can feel a bit radical for women to prioritize their needs. I’m working on changing that.
I have taught Badass Self-Care online since 2015; the offering is currently in its third iteration – a six-month online circle.
I am a woman navigating self-care in this world as a wife, mother, healer, and entrepreneur which means this isn’t theoretical for me. This is my life.
My academic training and personal and professional experience means that when you choose to work with me you are getting a deeply compassionate professional trained in both mind and body modalities. All of my offerings are informed by my knowledge of evidence-based strategies as well as my practical experience in the field as a psychologist, yoga teacher, and human.
Truth-telling, Badass Self-Care, and healing is our project, together — in your life, and in our world.