Emily

*Emily was a part of a group interview with Paula & Lou, each of them having an opportunity to share their story not only with all of us, but specifically with each other. Below you will find the full transcript. I encourage you to take the time to meet Paula & Lou as well*

Kyira: “The one question I really like to start off with is to learn a little bit about what made you come here today or why did you decide to – impulsively or not (laughing) – sign up for and show up today?”

Emily: “Um, I guess I wanted to feel proud of my body without being criticized for being proud of it. I think that was the impulsive part of me.”

Kyira: “Mm.”

Emily: “Cuz I didn’t get a lot of attention when I was younger. But then when I finished puberty, all of a sudden I was getting more attention. And like the stuff that I was bullied for all of a sudden was stuff that people wanted. And it was kind of like really oddly – like I was really seduced by it. And I kind of, I had been in a place where it took me so long to feel content with my body that I wanted to feel more than content. I wanted to feel proud of it.”

Kyira: “Mm, hmm.”

Emily: “But when I started feeling proud of it, I kind of like, I don’t know, I was bringing my friends down that also had body issues. And I kind of felt like the older people in my family, I think they thought I was getting cocky. So I’ve been kind of in this weird place where I’m trying to feel like confident about my body but I also still worry that like, I don’t know, for some reason my confidence is like in some weird way making someone else insecure. So I cave in with like a dress that I felt like was like a happy medium between showing off my body but like, you know, not too much sort of a thing. I still struggle with that, so that’s why I came.”

Kyira: “Yeah, there’s definitely a piece of we relate our confidence to some scale of “that’s gonna push other people down” or there’s more people that make us feel less. So it’s always like this climb of people like this, soyour struggle then of how can I feel 100 percent confident and great in my body without having people make assumptions about maybe me being full of myself or feeling these certain things? Or the flip side, putting someone else down. And that is really a crappy thing to have to feel.”

Emily: “Yeah.”

Kyira: “Lou, what about for you?”

Lou: “Well, I think for me, I came out of curiousity. Um, because I’m curious about what my body looks like. And that I think when I look in a mirror, I focus on a particular part of my body, rather than the totalness. And I was talking with a friend about this who couldn’t believe I was doing it. And both of us agreed that we didn’t think we were beautiful and that we both talked about how we might focus on what is bothering us the most. And, you know, I told her I thought she was beautiful and I saw her as a total package that included her soul.”

Kyira: “Oh, mm, hmm!”

Lou: “And that’s why I would, you know, and that’s kind of how I would like to think of myself rather than focusing on, you know, the layer of (gesturing and laughing) that I carry with me.”

Kyira: “Well, and that you deserve to feel that without it ever being related to an appearance piece or what you’ve done or how you’ve done it. And that it’s already inherent in you – outside and inside, you know. So that’s really beautiful.”

Paula: “Mm, hmm. That is beautiful. Both of you. So, um, I came in January and I’m back because I’m on a cancer journey right now. January was before I started chemo. And now I’ve been through two chemo treatments. And I was really focused on beauty and attaching it to hair. And I proactively cut most of my hair off. I do have a little hair. But I proactively cut it off and this is a wig. And, um, so I’ve been wearing scarves and wigs. So I guess I’m here because the beauty part now that I’ve gone through two treatments isn’t just about the hair. It’s about seeing myself as being more than just cancer, seeing myself as more than hair, you know, what your hair looks like, um, getting through the sickness, taking care of other people and how they feel about my cancer. And if I wear a wig, I can ignore it. If I wear scarves, people ask. I’m very open on Facebook. I’ve been posting my journey. Except I go quiet, I’ve gone quiet since my last treatment cuz you just, I, I – I’m positive, I feel beautiful, but I get really sick. And during that sick period, I just kinda shut down.”

Kyira: “Yeah.”

Paula: “So I’m here just to kinda document the cancer journey, so, and to know that I’m beautiful even with this disease that the prognosis is good, I won’t die from it, but I definitely will never get rid of it, either, cuz it’s a lymphoma so it will always be within my cells. So that’s why I’m here. And it’s kinda cool to be around a lot of beautiful women.”

Lou: “Power to you.”

Paula: “Thank you.”

Lou: “That’s a way to go through it.”

Emily: “That’s a lot to handle. My, my mom’s older, oldest sister – everyone calls her mom because their real mom passed away and she’s like been the mother figure to them. She has cancer, too, and she had recently gotten one of her breasts removed. So she’s, and her husband died shortly after, so she’s been kind of going through a crappy time of feeling not only alone but feeling like she’s literally not, like, you know, not like a woman.”

Kyira: “The identity piece.”

Paula: “Oh, the identity of only having one breast. I could not even imagine that.”

Emily: “But she’s a hardy woman. She likes to tell us like, ‘Oh, I don’t have time to worry about this. Like I got kids to keep track of.’ But, I don’t know, I think she deserves to pamper herself once in a while.”

Paula: “Absolutely.”

Kyira: “Well, and what’s interesting is in different ways for each of you, there is sort of this reclaiming of how you feel about yourself. Or even defining what that looks like sort of separate from everybody else and feeling as though you deserve to do it. And a lot of what’s perpetuated maybe the negative pieces are other people and standards. So I’m thinking about how you know it’s a reaction of how are people perceiving and thinking about you and tiptoeing how to be cautious and compassionate while owning your body and yourself. You know, wanting to be able to say these things to yourself that you can say so freely. I mean, I’ve known you for a long time and you do this to everybody. You make everybody feel worthy and beautiful. And to the extent to which it’s been in the background to say it to yourself and then even this flip side of kind of connecting to your cancer journey of people miss the identity shift that cancer causes. So we, we take it seriously. It’s less hush-hush. But we forget to talk about how is this changing your identity? Because you, your purpose in life looks different, how you feel about your body, how your body just is, is different. So it seems like you’re all really doing this same thing through different channels. Where do you think that came from for you – those pressures that you had? How is that influenced, you know, hair, body type and what you can show…all of these components for you, where did you learn that that was something you should even pay attention to?”

Lou: “I can answer that real easy because I think I was about 12 or 13 when my mother first started talking to me about, ‘You inherited the family nose. And we will pay to get you a new nose.’”

Emily: “Oh, no! That’s at 12 years old?”

Kyira: “Wow.”

Lou: “About that. I wouldn’t have a successful life unless I had a new nose.”

Kyira: “Wow.”

Lou: “And I, I didn’t know how to respond. I never obviously agreed to any kind of surgery, but this would come up on a recurring basis. And so I became very self-conscious and feeling of being ugly as a result, because of my nose. And at times, you know, kids know where your weak spots are, intuitively I think, so I would be teased about my nose. And so I think that was like a precipitating thing for a lot of other related body stuff.”

Kyira: “Yeah, it sort of lifts the veil and then you became aware of your body differently and relate to it differently.”

Lou: “Yeah, like your nose is your body.”

Kyira: “Mm, hmm. Right.”

Emily: “Man at 12! You’re, all you know is that your nose is supposed to be for smelling. And possibly piercing, but that would like freak your parents out! (Laughing.)”

Paula: “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to laugh! I like the ‘possibly piercing’ part.”

Kyira: “Yeah, well, sometimes. … What about for both of you?”

Emily: “For me, I think it was I got different reception for my body when it came to like my family, like my friends versus my classmates. Cuz my family was very, my life was very, like once I entered home I was in like an Asian-American house. But once I went to school or work, I was in the U.S. So it was very like Eastern and Western beauty standards, which started to really stand out to me when I was getting older. Cuz, like, my mom was really good in that she, she was really proud of who I was, especially looks but I think it was probably because I look like her. She was like, ‘You have nice legs and you have a good smile and you have nice bright eyes. You look good!’ And I was like, ‘Yay!’ And then I went, I would go to school and I, no one cared about that. Like people would be like, ‘Oh, Emily, you’re so small.’ And like, ‘Oh, you’re hair is so dark and like your eyes look kinda funny or you have like weird eyebrows or something.’ And I’m like, ‘This is not what my mom tells me.’ So I would like feel proud for one thing at home, but then when I would go out to school, I’d feel like really awkward about my body. Because like my body and my face I know is, aligns more with like East Asian beauty standards. Cuz like to them, I’m rather tall and I’m skinnier and I have a clear face and they think I have like big eyes. And when I go out to school, everyone wants to look like a Victoria’s Secret model, and I don’t look like that. Like I’m 5-4 ½ and I have long, dark hair and like I’m kind of gangly. So, I don’t know, that’s kind of where I struggle with what, what should I be proud of and what should I like hide away from, because I live with different standards. The fact that you live with standards in itself is kind of sucky.”

Kyira: “Mm, hmm. And how isolating is that to be torn between two worlds, where you have to try to figure out how to fit in in both and how confusing that would be at such a young age to have to take that on.”

Emily: “Yeah. Plus, like, my family moved around a lot and right around when I was going through puberty, we lived in a predominantly white town. So no one, like literally no one looked like me. A lot of girls were blond and a lot of them were cheerleaders, so they were very fit and had like a certain body type, they had like blue eyes. I was like, ‘Oogh. I don’t really have that.’ I mean even if I dyed my hair and put contacts in, I’m still gonna be Asian (laughing). Like no matter how much I change my look, I’m always gonna be Asian. So I had to get to where I was OK with that. And it was just like, it’s also weird because when I step out of the house, recently I’ve noticed on campus that even when my looks are appreciated, sometimes they get, like fetishized, and that freaks me out.”

Kyira: “Ooooh, yeah!”

Emily: “I’m like, I’m either seen as not desirable or super-sexualized by some of these guys. I’m like, ‘Oh, my God, calm down!”

Kyira: “Yeah, what messages does that send about standards and what your body and your presence is for.”

Emily: “Yeah, like just cuz I have brown almond-shaped eyes and slightly tannish skin and black hair, I’m like expected to be a certain way. I’m like, ‘Oh, my God!’ I thought that just happened in TV shows! It’s happening on campus.”

Lou: “I understand completely what you’re saying because it’s my, my daughter is adopted from South India, and she by society’s standards is cute. And she chooses to often wear light contact lenses so that she looks extremely exotic. And she’s into, you know, being somebody’s fantasy.”

Kyira: “Mm, hmm, and it’s probably seeing how that’s playing out to get attention.”

Lou: “Right.”

Kyira: “Because we all want to be connected and feel valued. And like, and what I appreciated about what you’re saying is, ‘I want to be able to just be OK being me and not have to feel pulled in either one of these.’ Because ultimately that leaves you still disconnected from yourself.”

Emily: “And I wanna be somebody’s fantasy but I don’t want to be seen as like, ‘Oh, she’s just like …’ I wanna be seen, I just don’t want to be seen as something like super, I don’t know. It’s weird!”

Paula: “Yeah, I see you. I see you, yeah. I mean, yeah. I wouldn’t wanna be that exotic person that people fantasize about. I mean, it could be fun in some cases but it ends up being painful.”

Lou: “Well, it sets you up to be a victim.”

Emily: “Yeah, that’s not so fun.”

Lou: “Beyond who you are.  But I appreciate what you said about the two cultural standards thing, too, because I witness that in my family with the Indian in-laws, that you look a different way than what she looks. And their kids conform when they’re with their family, too, that look.”

Kyira: “And what pressure that is. … Paula, how about for you?”

Paula: “I think just, you know, the standards of beauty have always been different to me, you know, to me it’s always been the Barbie doll, the standards of beauty that are on TV or that are seen. And I remember being in kindergarten and they came in, there was, also because we came from a lower socio-economic status so we never, I couldn’t afford nice clothes, I didn’t have a lot of the nice things. I didn’t, we were lucky to get a couple of outfits for school and that was it. And I remember this – her name was Mimi Anderson, I will never forget – and it was in kindergarten and they came in and it was for prom. And they came in and they wanted to select a crown-bearer for the prom. And I was sitting there and I didn’t even know what that even meant or who or why they were selecting. And I knew that they were looking and me and Mimi. And Mimi was like really cute and really wealthy. They owned the furniture store in town and, you know, she was really popular. And I got selected. And we were so poor that one of the people within the prom, whatever, one of the girls made me a dress. And the dress wasn’t even that beautiful really, it wasn’t. When I look back at pictures, I’m like, ‘Ooh, I don’t really …’ It was kinda yellow. But it was still the fact that somebody made it for me. And then I had these black shoes with like this yellow dress (laughing).”

Emily: “Oh, you looked like a bumble bee!”

Paula: “I know! (Laughing.) Anyway, and then my mom did my hair all up, like this. And so, and then, probably the only Asian boy in our entire school, who was adopted – and I still remember, his name was Chuck Dahl, Chuckie Dahl – and so him and I, we danced. Like we were the only little kindergarteners that danced at a prom. And there’s pictures in that yearbook still. I don’t have the yearbook. But I guess I remember thinking that I couldn’t possibly be selected because I didn’t have the nice clothes or was – so for me, socio-economic status really ties into beauty as well. So I guess that’s my earliest memory of it. And maybe it’s socialization too, how we’re socialized. And it’s what our standards of beauty are.”

Kyira: “So what do you think has been the hardest part for you, when you think of all you have gone through, and to get here today where you can – probably not fully comfortably, but at least open the door to talk about this stuff? What’s been the hardest part to get to here?”

Emily: “For me, like, a lot of my friends that have body-image issues have been heavier, or heavier than me. And like a light-bulb moment for me was kind of realizing that in a certain way – I don’t know, you can take this however you want – in a certain way I’m kind of privileged with the body that I have. Cuz even though I was criticized and bullied for it when I was younger, for some reason now it’s like my body aligns more with what girls my age want. Cuz I’m, like when I was growing up, the areas that I grew up in, I remember people really liking tall girls and very athletic-looking girls. Like volleyball players were like the thing. Like they had nice-sized butts, they had long legs, they were like tanned and toned. But now, like the friend group that I hang out with or people that I even just like meet on dating sites or whatever, they like the more petite-looking girls. And my body type aligns more with that. But I’m still like, I’m still uncomfortable with it because to go from a place where you got almost no attention and almost ridiculed to getting lots of attention is just very shocking. Cuz I hold some sort of resentment sometimes, I’m like, ‘Well, you didn’t like my body before. Why do you like it now? What? Just cuz society told you to like it? You’re not independent enough to appreciate it on your own?’ I don’t know. I was very upset for a long time. But then I had to sort of realize that there’s a lot of girls that wish they would have my body. And so I tried to sort of have a conversation where like I let them know that maybe they do like my body but that doesn’t mean that I don’t go through my own sort of struggles, too. Like I know, I know feeling concerned that you’re too skinny is not exactly the same thing as being concerned that you’re overweight but they both have this same thing where we don’t like where our body is at.”

Kyira: “Yeah, the circumstances might be different but the feelings are the same. And so being able to unite in that, what you’re talking about actually has come up in a few other interviews I’ve done with people saying that they’ve, it’s sometimes been harder when they are seen as average weight or underweight to be able to come out and talk about it. Because you’re supposed to be OK with your body. Because, again, if it aligns with certain standards, basically don’t bitch because you don’t know how bad it could be. And so there’s this gap of saying, well and it’s really not about the weight. It’s not about these certain presentations. It’s something much deeper. That by not giving space for people to talk about it, we’re perpetuating the problem even more. Because you’re still feeling those same feelings that everybody else is. So it’s, I think, really important to keep talking about that and to keep letting people know those things. Because it’s not about shaming them, it’s about we’re all here together, and this is hard. … What about for each of you?”

Paula: “Well, for me the hardest part about being here is the confidence and feeling like I deserve to be here. And feeling beautiful. And so, you know, taking that journey to come here and to be here. And then, um, you know, I have two sons and one is very overweight and one is underweight. And so seeing how they both respond is really, really hard, like and the feelings that they both go through and the names and the bullying. Oh, my God. And even my really skinny son has been, ‘Aw, look at those chicken legs! Look at those skinny legs!’ And the one wants to just eat more and the other one is trying to eat less. And it’s really, it’s really, um, the feelings that they both go through. But, yeah, I think the hardest part for the journey of being here is just having that inner feeling of beauty in myself and not having it be based on what other people think of me, but that I really truly believe that I can claim beauty and what does that look like?”

Kyira: “You can say no, but I’m curious how that shifted for you since I saw you in January? Like how have you seen those shifts or have you found new barriers you’ve had to overcome with that?”

Paula: “I think there are barriers because cancer’s like a new identity, especially when I’m really sick. And, you know, your body does change, your body does go through things, you know, whether it’s not having hair – which, actually, my hair is still there so I’m not completely bald. But, you know, feeling the alignment of the beauty, like I don’t want it to take me down, I don’t want it to claim me. But sometimes when I’m that sick – and you can physically see, like when I go through a chemo treatment, I don’t eat for about three days and I’m really sick. And you can physically see that I’m thinner, like you can see in my face and you can see that there’s this, you know, my body doesn’t look as healthy, it doesn’t look as beautiful. And it, and then the inside just feels really yucky. But then I kind of bounce back, and I go back and I feel better. And when I can eat, man, do I eat! (Laughing.) I’m like, ‘I want steak! I want something!’ I ordered two Glass Nickel large pizzas.”

Emily: “Aw, that sounds so good!”

Paula: “Yeah. But it’s that, it’s that really not feeling very beautiful. And it has shifted since the chemo treatments and what’s gonna happen? You know. So, yeah, it has shifted.”

Lou: “I guess I’ve become aware of things that I was unconscious of. And one is that I feel that I need to, that I’m detached from my body. And that, um, I take it for granted. And that I just, I’ve just – one of my goals was, and I’m almost forgetting the question, is to feel more integrated and to pay more attention to different body parts to become stronger and more appreciative. And it’s not like to remake myself into some kind of different image. But, um, I don’t know. Can you restate the question?”

Kyira: “You can just keep going where you’re going. I mean, if it feels relevant for you and it’s real …”

Emily: “You’re a whole person.”

Lou: “Yeah. Um, and I guess, you know, that, oh, the other kind of ‘ah-ha!’ I had in driving in was, you know, I for some reason I’ve become a shopaholic. The good news is it’s from resale stores (laughing), so it’s not that I’m spending that much money.”

Kyira: “And you’re a bomb thrifter! She’s found some really good stuff before!”

Lou: “Yeah, and I resell it, too.”

Kyira: “Nice!”

Lou: “So I started off with the idea that I was doing this as a little entrepreneur thing, but, you know, if I’m being honest about it, I’ve not made any money. (Laughing.) And, um, seriously, you know. And I think it is because I’m looking for a magic thing that I will look better in. And it’s kind of like I’m looking for clothes that will make me something that I’m not, kind of thing.”

Kyira: “Oh, to feel better about yourself.”

Lou: “Right, to feel better about myself. And so it’s kind of like, you know, am I wearing the clothes? Are the clothes wearing me? And what is an adequate number of clothes to be mentally healthy?”

Kyira: “Wow! That’s huge.”

Lou: “And so, if you have more clothes than what you wear, why do you have all of this stuff? And I’m sure it’s relating to something deep that I’m not even conscious of. You know, it’s like a hoarding mentality going on. So it’s kinda like, mmm, I don’t know.”

Paula: “I can relate.”

Kyira: “Go ahead, if you’re gonna …”

Paula: “Oh, no, I was just gonna say I think it’s kind of an emotional thing.”

Kyira: “Yeah.”

Paula: “I’m kind of like, sometimes I do it with food, it’s emotional and it makes me feel better. And if I’m gonna go on a date with someone, I might have to get something new.”

Lou: “Or a job interview, or all sorts of things.”

Emily: “Oh, my god. Job interviews! I’m a senior, so I’m graduating this semester. And I need a job so bad! Over winter break, I don’t usually wear makeup, but my mom and my sister bought me makeup. And my mom told me, she’s like, ‘Here’s your present, you need to start looking like a woman. Because you need to look for jobs.’ And I was like, I knew, I knew where she was coming from because she’s told me before that she doesn’t think I make myself feel good enough. Like I don’t really splurge very much on makeup or like clothing. But I guess she kind of feels like, I have an anxiety disorder, and I guess she feels that, um, a way that I can sort of lift myself up is to make myself feel better about my appearance. But like I don’t really need the makeup, like I actually don’t need very extravagant clothes either, because of starting to feel better about my body. So I feel happy when I’m just in a t-shirt and jeans. Obviously, I’m not gonna wear that to an interview. But like I, I don’t know. For me personally, the fact that I enjoy wearing simpler clothes is kind of nice, cuz it means that I don’t have to be packaged so much to feel OK. So, I don’t know. Mama Yi is coming from a good place, but that was a crappy way of saying it! (Laughing.)”

Lou: “For sure.”

Emily: “Yeah.”

Kyira: “So when you think about – and I’ll probably have you go first, if you’re OK with this question – when you think about what’s next, so obviously coming here, talking about these things, doing the photo shoots. We’ve all done one, so you know it’s a different level of feeling when you do that. How can you continue to nurture yourself in how far you’ve come to get to this point? And how can you celebrate all those next barriers that you’re gonna overcome? Cuz we all are saying our journey’s not done yet.”

Paula: “I think for me to continue nurturing through, um, through talking about it. I do have, I have a couple friends who have done this as well. And what does that mean and what does that look like? Also, you know, continuing with the cancer journey, and knowing that it doesn’t, you know, define me – define me as a person, but in one way, I’m a survivor so in a way it does. I have a lot of work to do around that still. And so I think maybe even one thing I haven’t done a lot of is talking to other women who have been through chemo and are continuing. I think that would be an important piece for me to relate to what they’ve gone through and how they’ve gotten through it. But also to empower myself. Like I have a whole bunch of people say, ‘Well, why are you cutting your hair?’ Cuz I did cut it proactively to take, to be, to take control I guess, or power over that. Like I don’t want to wait for it to start falling out. And I don’t want my kids to see that. And I don’t want to be in the shower and have it – cuz my doctor said it would happen. I just felt like something I could do to empower that beauty.”

Kyira: “Yeah.”

Paula: “And you know what? I kind of like my really short haircut! I have great hair, too, and I have a little widow’s peak. You guys will see. Well, I don’t want to take it off yet cuz of this thing, but I am gonna take it off for shots, too, so I’ll have a couple different, you know. But I kinda like it. And they were like, ‘Oh, it will take a year to grow back.’ And to me it’s very empowering to say, ‘Oh, well.’ I did it, I like it, my hair’s gone. And some days I like to wear a wig, and some days I don’t. And I also really need to do some more shopping, like get like a red one or a purple one (laughing).”

Kyira: “You mean have fun with it?”

Paula: “I can have fun with it! To me, that is empowering, too. Like that’s empowering in reclaiming my beauty. Like in a way, it gives me permission.”

Kyira: “Yeah.”

Paula: “But do I need permission? Why do I need permission to do that? Well, but it’s because it’s the journey I’m on, so I am gonna have some fun with it. And talking with you is just like huge, and listening to your stories, too, so …”

Lou: “Can I ask you, have you had any experience with Gilda’s House?”

Paula: “No, I have not.”

Lou: “Cuz my friends who have taken part in their programs found it really good for them. I mean, it may not be good for you, but they just felt good being there, especially.”

Paula: “I’ve heard it’s been recommended after I’ve gotten through a couple. So I probably will, just because they’re there to …”

Lou: “Check it out.”

Paula: “Yeah. And talking with people about the choices they’ve made during their treatments, I think it would be cool.”

Kyira: “And, then, in so many ways like you coming back now and making this project yours in the sense of how do I chronicle my journey and continue to celebrate my beauty throughout it. Like that is, that’s a way that you are continuing to nurture yourself.”

Paula: “It is. And you guys are awesome to let me come back! (Laughing.) So thank you!”

Lou: “It’s powerful for us to witness. And so, you know, by sharing that, it helps other people who are gonna go through the same thing.”

Kyira: “Yeah.”

Paula: “Thank you!”

Emily: “Your body has been through a lot, but you sound like you are a very powerful, encouraging woman. I really appreciate that. Like, you’re not making yourself a victim of the circumstance.”

Paula: “Yeah. Yeah, I know.”

Emily: “In any way.”

Paula: “Yeah, and that does feel good. And you know, there’s different times where I’m really exhausted and tired. But I’m not gonna let the tiredness keep me home. I want, you know, I’m here, I’m coming back out. Actually, I set it up for February, and I’m like, ‘No, I’ll wait til March.’”

Kyira: “I like that, too. And especially that notion of, um, having that time in between and see how it continues to evolve.”

Paula: “Yes. Yes. So thank you! Thank you, it’s great to meet you both and Kyira to see you again!”

Kyira: “So what do you think for both of you, when you think about that sort of last piece, how are you going to nurture and celebrate that?”

Lou: “Do you have thoughts coming to mind?”

Emily: “I’m trying to organize my thoughts (laughing).”

Lou: “Yeah, I can talk … Well, I guess I am really trying to, um, do things like I’m taking a strong women weightlifting class, that I want to get stronger in joints and stuff like that for my body. I don’t care, really, if I change how I look. Um, I’m gonna be spending the rest of my life at Weight Watchers, which is fine with me, because I used to weigh 60 pounds more. And if I weigh more, I don’t feel good. And so it’s all about how I feel. I want to feel strong, I want to feel energy, I want to avoid getting hurt, I want to enjoy life with zest and not be held back by my body. And so that’s when, and you know, I’m thinking in addition to the exercise and healthy eating, that I wanna get into probably a regular massage routine.”

Kyira: “Nice.”

Emily: “So making yourself feel good. Literally feel good.”

Lou: “Literally feel good.”

Kyira: “Mm, hmm.”

Lou: “That’s right. And how it looks to the outer world – if it looks better, that’s good, but if not …”

Kyira: “Fuck ‘em.”

Lou: “I’ll feel better. That’s right.”

Kyira: “(Laughing.) I know you won’t say that, so I’ll say it! And what about for you?”

Emily: “Um, for me, like what I’ve noticed in the photo shoot that I wasn’t really expecting was that I was really shy like with my body. And I’ve told my friends before that I get really nervous about the thought of like going to the beach in a swimsuit or something. And, you know, they’ll still tell me like, ‘Oh, but if I had your body, I’d be like prancing around in it!’ But I’m very, I’m still really shy about my body. So for me, I really want to learn to be confident in it without sort of feeling bad for the confidence. I think I have to realize that me progressing with body confidence doesn’t mean I’m responsible for someone else having a hard time with theirs. Which is really hard for me because I, I don’t like seeing people struggle. I mean who does? But I guess I have to sort of let myself reach my potential and not feel bad about it. I wanna feel like, I’m like sick of content, I wanna feel confident and I wanna feel OK for being confident.”

Kyira: “That’s awesome. I like that. It almost feels like a, like a poster.”

Emily: “Yeah!”

Kyira: “The tagline on something for people …”

Emily: “Fuck ‘em! (Laughing.)”

Kyira: “Exactly! There you go!”