Body Liberation for All
Body Liberation for All
How Being Yourself Can Change the World with Lindley Ashline | Episode 7

How Being Yourself Can Change the World with Lindley Ashline | Episode 7

Lindley Ashline (pronounced LIN-lee, she/her) creates photographs that celebrates the unique beauty of bodies that fall outside conventional "beauty" standards. She is also the creator of Body Liberation Stock and the Body Love Shop, a curated resource for body-friendly products and artwork. Find Lindley's work and get her free weekly Body Liberation Guide at

This episode we discuss

📷 The function of propaganda and misinformation 

📷 Intersectionality and Fatphobia 

📷 Purging internalized bias 

📷 Honoring the emotional labor of others

📷 Forms of activism and focusing on serving fat folx

Episode Resources

Decolonizing Wellness: A QTBIPOC-Centered Guide to Escape the Diet Trap, Heal Your Self-Image, and Achieve Body Liberation

Connect with Lindley 

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Welcome back! Today, we have a special guest on the show, Lindley Ashline. She has done a ton of work around body liberation and fat activism. She is intersectional. She’s a creative person. She’s amazing. Her photography is beautiful. You should definitely check out her website. All those links will be in the show notes. Today, we’re talking about everything from the sacrifices and the rewards that you get from fully stepping into what you want to do in your business and in your life and focusing on the people that you want to serve and allowing other people to fall away. And this was really relevant for me this week. It was a great discussion. It was very helpful to hear Lindley explain how her vision for her business has evolved over time, how her branding has changed, and how she sustains her energy as an activist, serving people who are just barely getting acquainted with true inclusion. Breaking down systems of oppression can be really exhausting.  Lindley’s explanation of how you find your way and sustain your energy in serving who you want to serve is very, very helpful. And I think everyone is going to get a lot out of this discussion. Before we jump right into that, I want to send out a very special thank you to Heidi. Heidi is a supporter of the show. You should be like Heidi. Heidi is making a pledge every month to support the show. The link to be a patron of the show is in the show notes. It doesn’t matter the size of your donation. It could be anywhere from a dollar a month to whatever you feel comfortable with. It all absolutely helps sustain the show, pay for hosting and pay for improvements with equipment, and help me get the message out to even more people. So thank you so much, Heidi, for supporting the show. Alright, everybody… let’s jump right in. Dalia Kinsey: Well, thank you so much for coming back on. Lindley Ashline: Oh, of course! Dalia Kinsey: So this is take two, everybody. Lindley is an angel, in case you didn’t know it. I always make people stay on the phone with me after the interview is over. People need an out. But then I felt so guilty when I thought back. I think I kept you for two hours. And then, “Where’s the recording?” Who knows?! Lindley Ashline: We had a good time. And we’re going to have a good time today. And honestly, I don’t remember any of what I said or what we’ve talked about. So it’ll all be fresh. Dalia Kinsey: Perfect! You know what’s so interesting? I do vaguely remember thinking when we finished that the title that we chose for the episode didn’t seem to match what we ended up talking about. We went in a different direction. But since we last talked, I’ve had a development in my life, an incident. I think this was yesterday. It was yesterday. And now, the title How Being Yourself Changes the World feels so timely. So, I don’t know how airy-fairy you are, but maybe this was meant to be. Maybe the universe wanted me to somehow destroy the recording without even knowing how it even happened. It’s so interesting. So, I was focusing on this podcast. I wanted it to be super queer, super brown, super intersectional, all kinds of bodies, all the things. And I’m not comfortable being closeted. So I say that to say I have probably been out to my friends for 15 years, maybe 20 years. I’m getting old. But I’ve never had this conversation with my parents, or any of my immediate family, only my brother. And this podcast essentially outed me… which was my plan. But I’ve been wondering, “When’s the conversation happening? When is it happening?” But I’ve realized, through this phone call with my sister, they’re very, very conservative. I was raised fundamentalist Christian. So I knew this was never going to be like, “Oh, we love you. We affirm. We accept you.” I knew that wasn’t going to happen. But I was just wondering, “What will it really look like? What it will feel like?” It felt really bad. And it made me wonder for half a second, it made me question: “Is being yourself that important?” and the things that you have to sacrifice when you decide to be yourself fully. There’s some validity to that, that it is a sacrifice. But the pay-offs I feel are huge. And it’s also important to model that for other people. But when you thought about that title, what was coming up for you? And what has your struggle or your experience been with fully being yourself and how that makes a difference in the world around? Lindley Ashline: Well, I’ll be honest. I picked that title, and I have no idea. But I have thoughts now—that may or may not be the same as they were then— Dalia Kinsey: Yeah, this is a crazy time. It’s like CoVID time. And we all saw the shit show that was the “debate”—and that’s in air quotes—yesterday. And it’s really hard to remember what we thought about anything even a day ago. We seem to be changing. Some people don’t seem to be changing at all. But the rest of us seem to be going through massive amounts of growth in rapid time. So that was a lot of time ago. Lindley Ashline: Yes. And I’ve had a lot going on in personal life which I’ll again talk about. It isn’t my story to tell, but someone who is close to me has had a pretty major health transition in a way where we’re navigating some new things. And honestly, right now, my goals are sleep and sleep, keeping up enough with my daytime work that I’m keeping to that list that I’ve made. And then next week, I get to collapse into a well-deserved break. I’m so excited.

Dalia Kinsey: So, did you have to go back to work already? Or now, you’re just working from home and doing more? Lindley Ashline: My own business work, yes, because I have deadlines and things for my writing clients. And I’m not doing any client photography right now because of CoVID. Bless you. But things that I have a big new website launch coming up, big things like that, where I need to meet the commitments that I’ve made if I can. But also, the great thing is if I can’t, my only boss is my cat who’s behind me. Dalia Kinsey: Judging you. Lindley Ashline: Judging me. Dalia Kinsey: I like that stand. Lindley Ashline: Isn’t it cute? Dalia Kinsey: Is it he or she? Lindley Ashline: She. Dalia Kinsey: …or something else. Do they ever go into the part at the bottom? I just want to know if anybody’s cat ever uses anything they buy for them the way it’s supposed to be used. And so far, it looks like the answer is no. Lindley Ashline: No… and she doesn’t jump very well. So that stool that’s beside us, that square thing, that’s so she can get up into it. She doesn’t cat very well. Dalia Kinsey: It’s so funny. I just feel like this year, the comfort that we get from animals is more important than ever. I’ve been on a waiting list for cats for a minute, and I can never get one because so many people are getting pets this year. They really do help with stress management. And I think they don’t get enough hype when it comes to how important they are for self-care. For people who do love animals, the cats and their purring, I think it actually heals people. Lindley Ashline: Yes. Unfortunately, we had two cats. And we lost one in April. And she just had a sudden medical condition and passed away. For losing a loved and valued family member, it was the best possible scenario in the sense that we had the privilege to be able to get her some very expensive medical care very quickly. And we were able to spend another week with her. And when she passed, we were both there. She waited until we were both there—and I can’t talk about this because I’m going to cry. But she waited until we were both there, and it was quick and probably painless. We don’t know. But it was not—sorry. It was very difficult, but it was also the easiest way it could have gone, if that makes sense. Dalia Kinsey: Yes, it does. Lindley Ashline: But losing a family member in the middle of a pandemic has been— Dalia Kinsey: That’s horrible. Lindley Ashline: That’s been an interesting thing too. And of course, the question has been, “Aren’t you going to go and adopt again?” And I feel like it’s a combination of not being ready and of wanting to give our remaining cat some time because they didn’t get along. So people kept asking, “Oh, is your other cat grieving?” No, my other cat is throwing a freaking party. She doesn’t get picked on anymore. She’s delighted. Dalia Kinsey: They are so interesting. Lindley Ashline: She has kitty PTSD. Dalia Kinsey: Well, it’s so funny how it doesn’t matter with some cats how long they’re together. If they don’t like each other, they never change their mind ever. And it looks as though their family ties are really important to them. When they live in the wild, they stay with their family. And so that’s why I’ve been trying to get siblings. So at a minimum, they would have someone else they were related to always. And that’s really been another problem trying to get two from the same litter. But it’s been interesting because our cats, both had congestive heart failure, and then I took one to be euthanized because I saw how much the other one struggled when he died. It was horrifying. And apparently, the way cats have congestive heart failure is the same way people have congestive heart failure. And the thought of knowing that, at some point, they’re going to just drown, and the panic that you feel when you’re drowning, I just thought, “Oh, my goodness.” Lindley Ashline: No. Dalia Kinsey: It’s a no. So I took her to get it done. And the doctor was so nice and showed me the way they sedate them before they euthanize them, that she was completely out. Her whole body went limp the way you do when you go under anesthesia. You don’t remember anything. You don’t feel anything. So, at least I know— Of course, she wasn’t excited because she was at the vet. And it was just so interesting. All the times they’d gone to the vet and thought, “This is a bad place. Bad things happen here.” I did feel bad that, “Hmmm… it’s true. This is where you got medical care and this is where you’re euthanized. Bad things do happen here.” Lindley Ashline: It’s true. Dalia Kinsey: Yes, but I’ve waited long enough. And it is true you have to wait a while. You think about all the grief you have when they die. But then you think about all the joy you had while they were alive, and I’m just ready for that again, especially because I feel like if I— I think I’ve reached my max as far as how much chemical help I can get getting through 2020 before my liver packs its bags and just decides to get out of here! So, I’m like, okay, we need to try some other things. We’re trying sunlight. We’re trying walking. And I need some animals in the house. I really think it would be one more tool in my toolkit to deal with all this stress. Lindley Ashline: Yes. I think I might have talked about this last time, but my thing has been the house plants. Dalia Kinsey: Yes, they’re beautiful. Lindley Ashline: At first, I really wanted that new cat energy. But then, it was so clear that Blue, our cat who is behind me, is kind of like relaxing for the first time in her whole kitty life (because the other cat was older than she was). And so, we felt like we needed to give her some time. And now, I just wanted some lower stakes because I’ve had my first cat, the one who passed away, for 13 years. And we were avatars for each other. If I was upset, she was upset. And if I was sad, she was sad. And we were so closely connected. It sounds weird that to say this about a pet, but it was pretty intense. And then, what if I get a cat and it’s not a good match? And then, I’m like, you know, house plants are alive. There are some stakes. They’re just not as high. And if I kill one, it was $15. Dalia Kinsey: Right, exactly! Well, I’ve been going through them so fast. I do think they help with the air quality (some plants more than others). So I thought maybe that could help with mood too. But I cannot keep them alive. I’ve got a hydroponic unit that I’m having more success with. But it comes with a Bluetooth functionality thing. It tells me, “The water is low.” And even with that, I have killed a couple of plants in there. So I am not ready for all the planting you’re doing. Lindley Ashline: But also, I joined these Facebook groups, and they’re a lot of help because they’re also local groups. So they’re growing things in the same lighting conditions and the same climate. Dalia Kinsey: That’s really smart. Lindley Ashline: But also, the big thing for me was getting a humidifier and a fan (a tiny, little USB fan). But just the humidifier, all the tropicals that you buy like at the hardware store or whatever, all those tropical plants, they need higher humidity. And so, I’ve always grown plants. But by “grow,” just keep alive until they eventually die. They’re not growing, they’re just not dying. And so, I stuck them all in indirect light with the humidifier. And suddenly, they’re growing-growing. Dalia Kinsey: That, I’ve never in my life considered, buying a humidifier, because it’s just so damp here. But it probably is too dry for my orchid. Lindley Ashline: For your indoor air, yes. Dalia Kinsey: And I usually buy de-humidifiers. You originally came from the south. So did you have a de-humidifier growing up that was just full of water? Lindley Ashline: Yes! Yeah, yeah.  And you just had to go and do it occasionally. But also, the other secret weapon is an app that tells me when to water things. Dalia Kinsey: What is it called?Lindley Ashline: It’s called Vera—V-E-R-A. Otherwise, I will water things until they turn into mush. Dalia Kinsey: Yes, I had a cactus explode once. And I thought it was starting to look funny. And so I touched it a little bit and it just burst full of water. So that sounds handy. I was listening to an old interview of yours where you were talking about the time before the internet really got going. That was during that time. And it just wasn’t intuitive that you should just look it up. Everything was just either ask a librarian, figure it out, or find somebody older who looks like they might know. So, how do you feel going through what we’re going through now with access to all this information? Do you think it’s helping, or would we have been more comfortable going through all this in 2006 in LiveJournal days? Lindley Ashline: I think it’s kind of a chicken and egg because I think, if we didn’t have access to all this information, we wouldn’t have the same situation in the sense that if misinformation and disinformation didn’t have the power to be passed around as quickly, and radicalization couldn’t occur as quickly, I think that we wouldn’t have a situation that’s so intense and so high stakes. I mean, I don’t think we could have had the situation in 1980. I’m not saying that we couldn’t have some of the same elements, of course. We could have had a Trump presidency in ’98 but I think it’s more about the intensity of it. The stakes aren’t the same as they would have been in 1980 because if you can be— I was born in 1980. I don’t know what politics was like other than reading back about it. But I’m guessing that if white supremacists were trying to recruit you, you might come across a brochure or maybe a buddy would take you to a meeting or something. Dalia Kinsey: Yes, I’m assuming that someone you knew would have to decide, “Oh, they look turnable,” or, “They seem like a match,” or whatever. Lindley Ashline: Or you might find a brochure at the bus stop or something. But you didn’t have 24/7 news channels and the media bombardment that we have that radicalizes people very quickly. It’s very widespread. Dalia Kinsey: Even Facebook, intentionally or unintentionally, even helps you find affinity groups or affinity people. I’ve even heard people getting ads that were clearly a stepping point to lead you to a hate group site and they were like, “Why in the world am I getting this?” And then, you later realized a relative of theirs who they’re connected to on Facebook had, for a moment, and dabbling in some white supremacist research, and then decided, “Oh, that’s not for me.” But then Facebook was funneling those same types of interests to everyone he was connected to that matched his demos as far as white and male. So then, you can blow up as a hate group overnight, reaching people you would have never even known or considering membership. Lindley Ashline: In addition to that too, I was reading an article, I don’t know, last night or this morning, it just came out, about one of the ways that the [unintelligible 17:23] data got used in the 2016 election, we now know that there were lists of individuals—millions of individuals, but individual people—who were on these, I can’t remember what they called it in the news article, but it was disinvited from voting. Specific people, the majority of whom in most of these lists were people of color, primarily white folks, who were being specifically targeted, individually, with Facebook ads, discouraging them from voting or giving them some kind of misinformation or— Dalia Kinsey: I saw a lot of posts that they felt true true, and in hindsight—I kind of doubt it. It’s so realistic the way it was written like old quotes painting Hillary as just another disappointing closet racist. And I thought considering her age and everything else, I’m not voting for this rapist. I don’t care what she said. So, it didn’t turn me, and it didn’t make me feel like I shouldn’t go out and vote. But I could easily see someone else feeling like, “Oh, why even bother?” Lindley Ashline: It’s very scarily smart. And then honestly, I hated email lists because it means that there are e-mails from the Trump Campaign in my inbox all the time… but I signed up. In 2016, I signed up for White House e-mails and also, Trump Campaign e-mails. And those get automatically forwarded into Evernote for later preservation and analysis just in case I ever want to go back and run language analyses on them or whatever. But I get seven or eight of these per day. Dalia Kinsey: That’s a lot. Lindley Ashline: And again, I don’t look at them. I don’t generally read them, partly, because they’re very intense like, “The liberals are coming to get you” and “The democrats lied again.” They’re very intense.  They’re always from up to 11. And most of them, the calls to action are campaign donations. But if you are getting seven or eight of these per day, every day—I have thousands of these—if you’re getting that every day, and you’re being bombarded with this, and you are in any kind of vulnerable population who would be susceptible to believing this stuff and not fact-checking it, by this point, you would be so indoctrinated. Dalia Kinsey: Oh, yeah! I just rode around my neighborhood when I came home this evening to see who had taken—I say it as though anyone did. I really believed someone would have taken down their signage for Trump after the debate—no one, no one. It doesn’t matter if he shows up with full, grand wizard gear. And what is so interesting to me is that disconnect between them thinking, I still am going to want to go hang out with them and be buddies. But these are people I spend time with. These are people who I eat with. It’s just very odd the way people cannot see why I’m not a Trump supporter. I’m like, “How are you not hearing this?” This debate isn’t even dog whistle stuff anymore. This is stuff I thought everybody could hear. It’s very peculiar. But like you said, it’s disturbingly smart, the manipulation, that we’re seeing. I think that you have to almost be marginalized in some way for you to be able to start to see how we’re all being manipulated by the systems of power that are in place around us. If they’re serving you, it’s hard to see it sometimes, or if you imagine they’re serving you. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how toxic the concept of whiteness is and how diverse people of European decent were prior to arriving to the U.S., and all the things that you must give up to be white in the US. And all these things that to me look like signs of distress that I see among white Americans and all the appropriation and desire for tradition and culture, it’s like, “You had your own, but your parents’, grandparents’, grandparents gave it up. They got to Ellis Island and said, ‘We’re changing your last name,’ and they said, ‘Cool! I’m white American now. End of story.’” And it really seems like it causes a lot of grief. Have you experienced that being marginalized as a fat person has given you an ability to basically sense BS on a label that skinny, able-bodied, cis-white-het people usually just really struggle to grasp or even see? They’re literally blind to it. Lindley Ashline: In some ways, yes. But I’m also not going to pretend that I’m a magic detector of oppression in all its forms. The last time you and I met, you caught something that I said in the moment where I had been— Dalia Kinsey: Oh, when you said we were all surprised. Yes, we were all surprised to find out that sometimes police do bad things. And I was like, “You were surprised.” Lindley Ashline: By all, I clearly meant people like me, which are clearly not the whole freaking universe. But having that lens, I think, does help partly in the sense that you’re more likely to believe other people when they speak. If I expect people to believe me when I talk about something related to fat oppression, of course, I have to give someone the floor when they want to talk about something that is homophobic or any other access of oppression. I think it makes me more inclined to listen and to be like, “Oh, I should give this a hearing, at least.” I think it makes you more aware that there are lots of other intersections. Once you start seeing those things, I think you’re more likely to keep seeing them. But really, I can’t. I would like to be able to claim that I’m somehow magically more aware of oppressions that aren’t my own, but mostly just the importance of listening. Dalia Kinsey: And that’s huge! That’s crucial. It’s so interesting. White supremacy affects all of us. It affects people of color. And I find myself wanting to give anybody white who isn’t being bat shit so much credit for the most minimal things. Lindley Ashline: “Yay, I get a cooking for not being like that.” Seriously, that’s a low bar. Dalia Kinsey: Yes, it’s a very low bar. And now, even thinking about driving through a neighborhood and seeing all of my “friends” and neighbors with their Trump signs out, it really— This is a year of introspection and reflection and self-awareness on a level that I have never experienced. And I thought I had already gone through a lot of levels of growth, but this year in particular, the importance of intersectionality and the importance of really digging deep to see what internalized BS do I have in me that I want to release? And what is it going to take to get it done? And it’s an ongoing thing. But to even hear your awareness to catch something that reflects another thing I want to work on reminds me that having a variety of people around you is the key to working through your internalized bias because we keep reflecting back to each other areas that we need to take a look at. Lindley Ashline: Yes. I mean, I learn from people who are bigger than I am. I learn from people who have different intersections, people who are fat and black, people who are fat and gay, people who are fat men because they have somewhat different pressures affecting them. So, my job is to sit there and take notes, support them in whatever they’re doing. Don’t just lurk and then suck up all their labor and then leave. Dalia Kinsey: Can we get that one more time for the people at the back?

Access the full transcript on Lindley’s site

Body Liberation for All
Body Liberation for All
Holistic Registered Dietitian Dalia Kinsey created Body Liberation for All as a resource for QTBIPOC folks who are ready to become the happiest version of themselves, using healing tools tailored for BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ folx. Since wellness is multi-factorial each season covers a broad range of tools (sexual expression, indigenous medicine, mindfulness etc.) for the pursuit of happiness. Special guests and healers join throughout each season to share their journeys to inner peace and fulfillment.