Your Body is Your Home
Joy, Justice, and Embodiment
Larissa is a queer, cis, biracial, Black movement teacher and mom to twins. She teaches intelligent movement strategies that help you feel connected, curious, and joyful in your body, and specializes in core & pelvic floor dysfunction. She is an ardent believer in the idea that connecting to your body is a pathway to joy, and joy is a pathway to justice and liberation.
This episode we discuss
learning to sense joy and the full range of human emotion in your body
reestablishing a connection to the pelvic floor
the benefits of seeing a pelvic physical therapist
freedom and clarity that comes with middle age
living at multiple identity intersections and cultivating friendships
Decolonizing Wellness: A QTBIPOC-Centered Guide to Escape the Diet Trap, Heal Your Self-Image, and Achieve Body Liberation
Body Liberation for All Theme
They might try to put you in a box, tell them that you don't accept when the world is tripping out tell them that you love yourself. Hey, Hey, smile on them. Live your life just like you like it
It’s your party negativity is not invited. For my queer folks, for my trans, people of color, let your voice be heard. Look in the mirror and say that it's time to put me first. You were born to win. Head up high with confidence. This show is for everyone. So, I thank you for tuning in. Let's go.
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Dalia: This is so exciting. It's been forever since I've recorded an episode. Originally, I said I was just going to take a couple of months off. Mm-hmm. to just get my life in order, post covid and post finishing the book. And it is month six. And I'm not entirely sure when I'm gonna release this one, but I am excited to be recording again. I know that season two is gonna start the 1st of January and honoring rest and really liberating myself from that need to be productive all the time. I realized that I only wanted to podcast once a month.
It just felt so right in my entire body. Yes. And when I was looking at what you do, when we first met, it was at the Together Thriving conference. Yes, yes. And then you were talking about pelvic floor health. So, I thought your focus was on. Reproductive wellness. Mm-hmm. and that part of the body for people born with a uterus.
Right. And didn't realize that it's so much more than that, that it's embodiment work. When I was looking at your site and it talked about embodying joy, but also embodying justice, that really struck me because I realized I wasn't even sure what. Justice might feel like in the body. I'm just now getting to the point where I could feel in my body that podcasting once a month was a hell yes.
Per my entire body. Yeah. But there's still some things I think I wouldn't even recognize. So why do you lead with that on your site?
Larissa: That's such a good question. You know, so I was and still am really interested in and focused on doing core and pelvic floor rehab work. It's one of the things that. I love nerding out about hardcore, but what I found was, this is like the most circuitous way to get to the answer to your question, by the way.
But what I found was that the more that I worked with people and the more that we kind of went on this pelvic floor journey together, where they started developing more awareness of their bodies' habits and patterns, and the more work I was doing with the folks, the more I got to this like realization that.
At the bottom, if you imagine the work we're doing as a cereal box, or like a box of Cracker Jack or something, there's like this prize in the bottom of the box and that is like this body liberation stuff. Mm-hmm. And I decided I was tired of having it be the secret. Mm. I was tired of it being like the thing that we got to at the end of a series or after working together for a few months.
And I really wanted to lead with it because I feel very strongly. Like, like I say on my website, that the body is a home for joy because we feel joy in our bodies and our bodies are homes for justice because we feel injustice acted on our bodies and we feel it with our bodies, and we feel it in the ways that we make choices about our bodies.
And so, if we can get in more touch with our bodies, if we can really embody our bodies, feel like our bodies are our homes, then our bodies become a site for justice instead of injustice.
Dalia: I love that you lead with it, and everything resonates. I felt like the copy was so beautiful the way you phrased everything.
Thank you. But then I also thought, I am kind of a rare. Not that I'm a special snowflake, even though low key, I do think that I am, I felt like with my own messaging where I struggled the most was trying to give people something they needed that they would recognize. Yeah. So, with the pelvic floor, people recognized they need that.
Cuz when I first heard that, I was like, Yes, I'm gonna be front and center for your presentation so I can figure out how. Stop pee when I laugh. I used to think that was only for people who'd had children, and now I realize it's for like literally everybody. Uhhuh as you get a little older and no one's told you like what to do to strengthen your pelvic floor.
Yeah, but then when you talk about the end goal, which, because I kind of think that way, what I wanna do for people is make them feel comfortable in their bodies and confident that their life is best led by them in every single way. But when you say that I think a lot of people don't know whether or not they need that.
I know even in the coaching contain, we weren't in this program together, but we are active in the same group. Yeah. So, one of the coaches that I've had, when I went to her, I did not know I needed what she actually offers. Yes. But she's such a master of marketing she presented something that I thought I needed, but what I needed, like you said, was at the bottom of the cereal another prize. It was confidence, it was mindset. But I never would've signed up for anyone who said they did mindset coaching. I would've been like, Oh, for what? Sounds impractical. So, have you had any issues finding your ideal person when you changed your marketing?
Larissa: That's such an interesting question because I'm kind of in this in between space where I've changed the copy on my website and I'm still also teaching a lot of the same stuff and marketing it very in a very similar way. So, I would say I haven't really had a hard time finding folks to work with. And the folks who really wanna do this work who show up in my membership, for example, are really interested in the way that we're doing this together.
When we are working together in that space at least, we have coaching conversations where we talk about all those little things that are going on in our lives that are taking away our sense of joy or adding to our sense of joy. But then we also do movement practices. So, we're really doing this embodiment work together and really experiencing, Okay the, the question that I think a lot of people can't answer all the time is, what does joy feel like in your body? Like what does joy feel like? Everyday? Joy. Not like, not like I just felt the best massage of my life.
Dalia: Well, see, I wondered about that. When you say everyday joy, that's really Yeah. Helpful because I could definitely think about periods of like transcendent period.
Yeah. And it doesn't have to be anything major. It's usually. Any kind of dancing exercise. It might happen if I do it for long enough. But a friend of mine I think saw, maybe it was your post asking like, what does, do I feel like in your body or someone else make, but I'm pretty sure it was you. And they said, oh my goodness, I don't know.
And that was the first time they'd really thought about that. And I thought, Oh no, that’s a little heartbreaking. Yeah. And I feel like they are a joyful person, but they, like so many of us, folks of color, spend a lot of time thinking about survival. Yep. And not thinking about joy. Yes. Yes. So where do you start with that?
If you don't know what joy feels like in your body, and why do we need to know?
Larissa: So, I usually start with something, actually, I think I wanna answer the second question first. I was gonna say, I have this thing we start with, but let's answer the second question first. So, like, why do we need to know what joy feels like in our body?
Because life is hard and because every system of oppression wants to steal our joy and so, I see joy as being revolutionary, not unlike rest. Rest comes along with joy. Like they, they go together. They're very important parts of the whole picture. We need to know what joy feels like because we know what struggle feels like.
Mm. We know what suffering feels like. We know what sadness, anger, frustration. We know what all of those things feel like and to not be able to also access things like joy, pleasure, delight. That is not okay. That's not a full spectrum of feelings for a human. And humans need to feel all the feelings. So, it doesn't mean that you're never angry if you, you're living a joyful, delighted life.
It just means that when you're angry, you know that you have reasons for your anger a lot of the time, and that the feeling will pass. And that we can come back to Joy eventually. And I don't see joy as like this, like peak experience necessarily. I really think of it as the practice of cultivating attention to things that we love that we find pleasurable, that we find delightful.
Dalia: Where would you see the concept of fun in relation to joy? Because I think that people probably all know what fun feels like. Yes. But what is the difference, and is this more like contentment than it is fun? Hmm.
Larissa: I would say fun has a big role to play in getting joy in your life. I think that fun is a type of joy. I really think play and curiosity are a big part of this also. We can't be joyful if we're just kind of like focused all the time and working hard all the time, grinding all the time. Unless you really have fun grinding on your work and I don't know anybody who has fun just deleting things from their inbox all day.
It's satisfying on some level maybe to watch it to diminish, but that's not always the case. So, I think that doing things that feel fun is great. Let's do more of those. Let's have as many of those as we can. Can we notice that the fun stuff is part of our joy? Maybe for some people doing things that, like going dancing or hula hooping or roller skating or things like that, that feel like play maybe that's part of your joy too.
Like I don't, I don't see them as having to be distinct from each other necessarily. It's more like, are you noticing how you're feeling about it? Mm. Or are you just doing it because you're doing it, you know?
Dalia: Yeah. Oh, that makes a lot of sense. Paying attention to it. Mm-hmm. So, when it comes to justice now, that's the one where I feel the disconnect.
Yeah. And I like that you clarified. We know it struggle feels like we know what anger feels like, what frustration feels like, what does justice feel like?
Larissa: What does justice feel like? I think it feels like, I was gonna say the opposite of injustice, but that's just a, that's a lazy answer, let's be real. Justice to me feels like a sense that my body.
Has worth and value on its own without needing to be supported by the systems that oppress me. There's a difference between saying, well, my body has value because I've assigned it this value in my capitalistic system.
Or my body has value because I'm pushing back against the patriarchy for sure. Right. But my body has inherent value and worth, and that those systems of oppression that I am liberating myself from the systems of oppression, not necessarily gonna be able to burn it all down as much as I would like to.
But I have found the people in my life, I have the support systems I need so that those systems do not grind me down every single day all day. And justice isn't just my individual thing justice is something that we want for everybody. So, if I can get to that point where I'm like, okay I can feel the water, I can tell I'm swimming in it.
I can tell who is my community, who's with me, and we are also working to make this water of oppression move away from everyone else too. So, is it a feeling that I can say I feel justice in my heart? I don't know, but there is a feeling of righteousness and a felt sense of safety in the body.
That is what I want everybody to be able to feel, and that to me is where justice is flowing.
Dalia: Oh, I love that. I love that concept. What role do you think oppression in terms of the patriarchy has in deteriorating or undermining the health of people born with a uterus?
Larissa: Where do I start?
Dalia: You know, I guess I didn't even, I'm saying that I'm like, I like a white dude to ask you a crazy question, but I really meant, cause I'm like, I'm thinking about reproductive health and all the ways that they block. Yes. But then I'm thinking, beyond all that, let's say you're in a position where you're in a state where you can get an abortion, where you need one, awesome.
You're in a state where if you were born with a uterus, but you are a man, it's not a non-issue. Like assuming that all those things are taken care of, just psychologically. What do you think it does? Because I know for myself, I think it's ridiculous that I knew nothing about what to expect. Mm-hmm. from my pelvic floor as I aged mm-hmm.
Anything that has to do with a fem body, you aren't gonna get information on because nobody cares. And all of the research is generally done on cis men. Yep. And things have changed a little bit, but not really. And then you notice that if it's affecting the health of men, people may be inherently motivated to resolve it.
Yes. If it's affecting the health of people born with a uterus, then if it generates a lot of money, probably for men, they will be motivated to at least look like they're trying to resolve it. Like I think about all of the money that gets thrown at breast cancer research. And it's just this money-making machine and volunteer labor is really taken advantage of in a way that I just can't imagine happening with anything that maybe was cis male health concern. So, like on a deeper level, where have you noticed it kind of creeps into your life?
Larissa: I would say, Okay. Let's assume that you can get all the medical care that you need and want and that you are not gaslit at the doctor for your endometriosis symptoms and that you are able to have a birthing experience where your body is cared for as much as your child. If we take the medical complex out of it a little bit and just go to like, how do we feel? Do we still feel shame and stigma around having a body? Do we have shame and stigma around having a body that menstruates? Do we have shame and stigma around talking about pelvic floor issues so that people understand that you don't have to ever carry a fetus in order to have pelvic floor issues. And should you give birth, the type of birth doesn't necessarily determine whether you're gonna have pelvic floor issues later in life. It's like, okay, technically the statistics say that they're a little bit higher for a vaginal birth, but regardless something like 70 or 80% of people with a uterus will experience pelvic floor issues in their lifetime. That's a lot of people. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. I feel like that's where the impact is still coming in, where it's dirty. To talk about having a uterus to talk about, having a body to talk about dysfunction in our body.
It's not just the patriarchy there. I think that we're also looking to a certain extent at a little bit of ableism, trickling in as well. Like this idea that your body always functions in one particular way, and there's one particular ideal way for your body to function throughout your life. And why would your body be different at 60 than it is at 20?
Dalia: Yeah. Oh, that's such a good point. And considering how common it is, it is really strange that some things, they're kept so hush hush. Yes. That you literally don't know it's a thing until you experience it. Yeah. But it's amazing the difference that mentioning it might make because for some people they may not feel a sense of shame about it, that like plagues them every day when they put on their poise, whatever.
Right. But they still don't feel like it's something you could bring up in conversation. Yeah, casually, like they would feel it might be unsafe, but if you mention it, then it's been interesting because I work with almost all women. If everybody's laughing and somebody says like, oh my goodness, stop, I'm gonna pee. Yes. Other people are like, Already did it. Nobody cares.
Larissa: Right, right, right. Or like, I, I took my kids to, when I was first starting this work, I took my kids to trampoline park with a friend and she texted me and she was like, make sure that you, you know, wear some pads for this. And I was like, oh, I don't pee my pants when I go down the trampoline, but you know, I can help you with that.
And it comes up. I used to like anytime, you know, in the before times when you could walk into a room full of random people. I used to walk into the room, and I would say, oh, this is what I do. And people would kind of like, at first, they might whisper, depends on what, you know, who's in the room.
If it's a small enough group, they, they're like, oh yeah, I saw a PT. It was the best thing I ever did. You know, there's just a lot of conversation around it. It's just hidden and quiet, and I think that's changing a lot. Or that, or my Instagram feed is just full of lots of pelvic floor nerds like me.,
Dalia: It is revolutionary to find out that there are things that we've accepted as part of the aging process that really it has nothing to do with that. It's about how you're treating your body. Mm-hmm, how you're nurturing it, or whether or not you're getting the information you need about what types of exercises could be helpful. Yeah. You know it that is, it's revolutionary to find out something that you were told there's nothing to do about this, and to find out that that isn't always true. That it frequently is not true. I know when I had rounds during my internship in an assisted living facility and in a long-term care facility. We came across a lot of elderly people with uterus as that had such severe bladder infections that it looked like dementia. Mm-hmm. It caused such confusion, but because it's so common, that's one of the first things they'll check for in a long-term care facility. Yeah. And because sometimes the infection, you know, it's sort of affect the kidneys. Yep. But people just out in the world when it happens, it can go so far before anybody recognizes it.
No one thinks about. If you think people aren't thinking about a middle-aged person's vagina, you can forget about it once you are an elderly person. Yes. Like no one's gonna ask you anything, even if that's crucial information. So, what should we be doing now if we're concerned about feeling disconnected from that part of our bodies?
Mm-hmm and feeling like it's changing in ways that we were not expecting.
Larissa: I think the first thing I would say is any sort of movement or embodiment practice, even just mindfully walking more slowly to the kitchen will start connecting you with your body. And like, you don't have to take my class, you can take whatever it feels good to your body and just start connecting to. Does my body feel like right now? Like those little, tiny things. If you're feeling pain or discomfort, oh, what does that feel like? What else is going on in my life when I'm having this? Pain? And discomfort too, can be part of the picture.
Noticing patterns, noticing. Whatever is going on in your body. Noticing whether there's for folks who have cycles, is there a cyclical pattern to it? So, I know that a lot of folks who have pelvic organ prolapse tend to feel their symptoms get worse at certain times, and then they get better depending on where they are in their cycle.
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So that would be my first thing is just start paying attention to. Thing you're in, like what does it feel like to be in my body when it's feeling pretty? Okay. If you're starting to feel symptoms of some kind. I really recommend everybody gets to go see a pelvic PT at least once in their life because they will assess what's going on.
Some PTs will do internal assessments as well as external assessments. They'll do hands on assessments of what's going on with the muscles in your pelvic floor, and a really good PT will actually look at how your whole body is moving. They'll assess you in different positions, won't just have you lie down on a table.
So that's what I recommend for most folks when they're starting to have maybe like some symptoms that they're really noticing, and pelvic floor symptoms can be all over the place. You could have low back pain; you could have something weird in your hips. A pelvic PT can help with that. You could have pain during sex. You could have constipation. You could have like all kinds. And then there's the leaking, right? We talk about the leaking, a feeling of heaviness in the pelvic floor, like something's falling out of your vagina, like that kind of feeling. In folks who have penises, the symptoms are also often constipation or difficulty urinating or like dribbling and things like that, or difficulty with getting an erection. Those kinds of things can be pelvic floor problems. They can be indicative of lots of other things as well, but those can be pelvic floor problems. I think that a lot of people don't know just how extensive that is, but if you think about your body and you think about where your pelvic floor is, it's at the bottom of your pelvis.
It's a bunch of different muscles lining your pelvis, and everything is stacked up on top of that. If the pelvic floor isn't feeling pretty balanced and functional and reflexive, then of course it's gonna move up and down the whole rest of your body. Tight jaws is one of the really interesting ones is that a lot of folks who have really over hypertonic pelvic floors is what we call it also tend to have some jaw tension. It doesn't mean if you have jaw tension that your pelvic floor is also tight. It just means that sometimes. There's a
Dalia: correlation. That's really interesting considering the distance from your jaw to the pelvic floor.
Yes, it's all connected. Everything is connected. So many times, especially the way medicine works here in the States, everyone deals with one little piece of the body, so it gives you the impression that it is separate because there's a person you go to for your ear. There's a person you go to for your eyes.
There's a person for every little part, right? How do you even find a pelvic floor PT? Are PTs generally specialists?
Larissa: Yes and no. Every PT I've ever interacted with has been a bit of a specialist, even if they're kind of generalists to begin with. I had to rehab my knees a few years ago and the guy I worked with was a really specialized in getting people back to running and was really good with knees and ankles,
Dalia: So, it's something you end up as you work you get the niche down.
Larissa: Yeah. PTs have to go through specialized training, and I'm not a PT myself. really talk to a lot of them. They have to go through specialized training after PT school. I also find that Pelvic Health OTs are a really fantastic resource.
They also do, they can take the, like they can go take the same training after school and OT will have more of an activities of daily life focus.
Dalia: So, Okay. That's an occupational therapist.
Larissa: Yeah, sorry. Occupational therapist. Physical therapist, occupational therapist. They're both great. You can look them up online.
You can Google Pelvic Health, PT or pelvic health, OT that will usually find you people in your area. And if anybody needs to know who to go see in the Raleigh Durham area, I got like six people for you.
Dalia: Now, this type of exercising, is that also part of what you help people with inside your slow burn community?
Larissa: Within that community, we do, in addition to kind of talking about pushing away the systems of oppression, we also do movement classes. And in those classes I tend to focus less on the core and more on the periphery. So, like I was saying, jaw attention and pelvic floor attention often go hand in hand.
And I don't just sit around talking about hands and feet, but it's not quite that peripheral. But we'll do a little bit of core work. But mostly we're working on whole body exercises that support core and pelvic floor health. Or whole-body exercises that help your body just get grounded and relaxed.
Or sometimes we lie on the floor and just release our bodies over things. There are so many different components to feeling comfortable moving in your body that you can go strength training, you can do some core work, you can do some relaxation, and it's all good. Mm.
Dalia: I love that. Something you mentioned on your site that jumped out at me is that you said in your forties you felt comfortable to carve out your own space and I just turned 40 on December 3rd, I keep on being dazzled by the freedom that I feel like I'm experiencing. And it hasn't even been a month, but, and I don't know if it's just in my head because I heard for so many years as a child that the older you get, you know, you just open up and you feel free to do what you want to do to say what you need to say. And I heard that it starts in your forties and look out for your fifties. It's gonna be amazing. So maybe I just internalized that and believed it so much that I've around here setting boundaries left and right. Even walked out of a meeting yesterday.
Not angry. I was just tired of being in there. Mm-hmm. and nobody said anything, and I swear. Before I turned 40, somebody would've been like, where do you think you're going? But it's the confidence with which I got up and I was just like, I'm done. Bye. No questions. They just, I'm just in shock. So, what did it feel like for you?
What shifted? What made you realize it was time to carve out your own space? And when you say you were looking for a place where you fit in that stage of your life, what did that look like?
Larissa: So, I think there are a lot of a lot of things to talk about with that. I started teaching movement up.
About just right before I turned 40, cause I'm turning 45 next month. Yeah. And, and I'm right in the middle of the forties now. The not caring what people think just keeps going.
Dalia: Extremely exciting.
Larissa: I mean, I do care, right? I care a lot about what people think. I care that people get treated with respect and dignity and are heard and seen and listened to.
Of course, but also, I just don't have time for any of that BS, the rest of it.
Dalia: So, you're not as invested or invested in other people's approval anymore.
Larissa: I mean, I probably still am working on that. That's like, I don't wanna hear that. I want to hear that at 45 it's completely gone.
Working on throwing it out the window. I'm way less invested in other people's approval. I'm way more in touch with a sense of, again, what feels right for me. That's a very embodied sense of rightness. It's not kind of this up in my head. I've gone through all the options and this and that, and this and that, and this and that.
It's like my body says yes, my body says no, and then I'm done. And I would say, you know, for me, I've spent my entire life at many, many intersections, so many intersections when we talk about identity, and I'm not gonna like lay them all out cuz just to draw Ven diagram of all the intersections I put me in the middle.
Dalia: That's what, that's my favorite type of person to work with. And because I feel like as a first gen kid, a pansexual person, a black person, A person with one non-American parent, which I guess I cover with first gen. It just feels like a lot when you're surrounded by people who are part of the racial majority in the country, or who are straight or who are cis.
Mm-hmm. It just feels like, Could I get any weird. As a kid, that's what it feels like.
Larissa: I'm cis and I can own that. And I feel really settled in that part of my identity. Everything else is just up for grabs. but like, yeah, I think it's really hard to find a place and, but what I've found is my places with other people like me, like other folks who have lots of intersections, and that is really where
I find it to be a comfortable place because we all get it that there's a fluidity.
Dalia: Yeah. I feel that when I find I'm with people like that because it seems like people rarely talk to us. I don't know what you would say, to let those people know, Hey, I'm over here. Aside from just slowly word of mouth, you know, getting to know people one on one.
Yeah. Because when people never talk to you in content, you don't even look for stuff that's for you. It wouldn't even occur to you because before you look, you know it's not there.
Larissa: Hmm. I don't have a good answer for that, but I'm like, now I need to make some more content about being in the middle of all the intersections.
Dalia: Yes. Yes. Well, I wanna see that. I feel like it's going to be coming, because I know through the second wave of the civil rights movement, I heard more about the biracial experience than ever before. Yeah. And it feels. Anything up until then that I was hearing about the biracial experience was being told by people who are not biracial.
Mm-hmm. So, like a lot of tropes in movies from the fifties and they just make it look like, oh, it's so tragic to be multiracial. Yes. And you know, from that lens of like being white, so great, it's so sad to be fair skinned, but not white. Like, okay, fine, from your white supremacist perspective, I'm sure it is very tragic, but you know, have you ever spoken to anybody biracial to see what was really going on?
But to hear about the stressors of living through a civil rights movement when you have people who encourage you to erase or gloss over that part of yourself was really interesting. So, I feel like it's coming. Yeah. It may be the Gen Z people who start making more content available for people that are living at multiple intersections.
Larissa: Could be. I mean, I definitely, that what you just said about listening to more stories of people who have to, like gloss over half of their parentage. I'm like, That's me. Oh, yeah, I know that story. Or, you know, Yeah, there's just, and, and there's so many contexts where I'm like, oh, I can, I can go into this room or that room, and if I go into the white room, people are like, Oh, you're the friendly black lady.
Dalia: like this feeling like there is no room for you. Yeah,
Larissa: there's no, there is no room for me. And that's why I feel like making my own room is the easiest way to get there and to feel and to find people who understand and resonate with that experience. And it does take time. It takes a really long time.
I think. I think it's not something that's super easy, like might be easier to find joy in my body from hula hooping than to find like five other biracial people to hang out with.
Dalia: maybe in, in the part of the world that you're living in, maybe.
Larissa: Maybe North Carolina's weird. Well
Dalia: see. And I don't know, there's so many people who, it’s so interesting, I've been finding this as I've been spending more time making an effort to seek out the company and community of other folks of color.
Like you mentioned, like liberation happens in community and yes, being separated from. People who are likeminded, who have similar backgrounds is part of being treated like an other than person and being taught to reject yourself and therefore you have trouble connecting with other people with the same marginalized identities as you.
And it goes on and on. But what I kept finding was, And I already knew this on a level, but when I was focusing on building community, it really jumped out at me that just because somebody shares the identities doesn't mean they've gotten to a point to where they can be a safer space for you. Absolutely.
Absolutely. Yeah. So that's even more people to filter through. Yes, yes. Are you could find five and like three of them could be really weird, like still working through a lot of internalized racism.
Larissa: Absolutely. Or so internalized healthism and fatphobia. And wow, I do not wanna sit around and listen to you talk about your diet.
That is not my thing. So, yeah, I think finding the right people is hard, and we know when we're with the right people because they feel right. because we're in tune with how our bodies respond, because we're in tune with like, oh, this conversation could go on all night. That feeling of really deep connection and the fact that they're respecting your boundaries, they're listening to you, they're validating you.
They're not just kind of half listening and thinking about the next thing they're gonna say, like all of those things. When we find those people, it's so, so good.
Dalia: Mm. What has the trick been to finding those people?
Larissa: Being a raging extrovert.
Dalia: I wanna give the introverts some hope too, if they can muster up the energy. I myself am introverted.
Larissa: Yeah. I'm like half again, let's take those intersections. I'm like half every time I take the test. I'm extroverted by nature, but especially as a parent, I have deep needs for solitude. I really understand that. And I really don't like parties where I don't know anyone.
So, like I really get that. I think finding the people you connect most with. For me has been, it's come about through being part of communities, smaller groups. Yeah, with common interest, whether that's an entrepreneurial group or a yoga class, or my Aikido Dojo or wherever, like the places that you go, whether they're online or in person, where you get time to connect with people in an authentic way with a shared something.
I don't know what, that's something that's interest. We can call it an interest. And then for me it's really been a process of deliberately cultivating friendships with people where I feel like we, we connect and where I feel like it's meaningful and that we have a shared, shared enough value system where we're not gonna be constantly disagreeing about everything.
But where maybe sometimes there's a little push and pull where I might say something and they don't agree with me, or they're like, Well, what about from this perspective? That's, that's been it. And it's really hard as an adult to make friends. Like it's, it's hard. We're not just thrown together in a building with, with lots of people all day long.
Dalia: Yeah. I think it could be more challenging depending on how much free time you have, how much energy you have left. Cause like you said, cultivating I think is the key. And I find that people who have a lot of responsibilities Yep. Who are caretakers, whether that's for a parent or for their own children.
Yep. They don't have the energy sometimes to cultivate friend. Yeah, and that's where even when they find a connection maybe it kind of withers on the vine because they don't get to tend to it.
Larissa: I do feel like that's often true. I also really. Focus on like a very small number of people to cultivate those connections with.
Like, and we just have walking dates or phone dates or group chat where it's, the group chat is great for those of us who are in caregiving positions where we can't maybe get away to go do something cuz I can text my group chat at 10 30 at night or one in the morning. And I know that nobody's got their notifications dinging.
So, it's okay. And then I can get that support and I can get that connection that I need. And that's really, really helpful. And it's hard and it takes a lot of time. I don't think that that we recognize sometimes how long it takes and how much intention it takes to be friends with people. Even for my kids, I see it happen where they have to intentionally spend time together regularly so that there's an ease in the relationship where they don't have to constantly negotiate boundaries all the time.
Like, yes, we all negotiate boundaries all the time, but if I take my, my friend Elizabeth, and we go for a coffee and I'm gonna be late, she can order me a coffee and I don't necessarily have to tell her what to get me because we've cultivated that relationship.
Dalia: Yeah, I think it's something you definitely don't notice. When you're younger, because the people that you're friends with are people that you're around all the time. Yeah. So not having that time is a non-issue. And you also think friendships last forever because they do last for years when you're a kid, if you're staying in the same town, same school, same church or something, you're around each other all the time.
But you really do start to notice as people move away in your early twenties. Oh, we weren't friends because we were in the same physical location. Right. You're not the types of friends that survive distance. Yeah. And then you learn like how to find people that are willing to invest as much time or to invest as much time in the relationship as you need. And I think that's something that also your body will let you know when something is not working for you anymore.
Larissa: Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. And I will say that we often just ignore those cues from our body for a really long time, especially in a time when we can stay connected.
People that we grew apart from 25 years ago on Facebook, and they're like, liking your posts and you're like, Oh, how nice. We don't actually have to maintain those connections that don't really work for us anymore. And we can bolster up those connections that do work for us. I, I just, I think that's actually one of the things the 40s really gives you is, oh, I don't actually have to spend my time on all of these people. I can spend my time on the people I want to spend my time with, and I can choose, like to go back to kind of justice and liberation stuff. I can choose how I wanna spend my energy in the world. Do I have the resources today to engage with this person from my high school who whatever they've done, whatever the thing is that they said. And you know, y'all know there's something they said, do you have the resources to really engage with that? Or will you just get angry and shut down? And, and that, I feel like those are the choices that I get to have now that I might not have thought I had before.
Dalia: Yeah. I've gotten a lot more selective about how I wanna use these spoons.
Larissa: Cause spoons are limited, and you don't know tomorrow you're gonna have the same number.
Dalia: Yes, exactly. And just going through the pandemic, being reminded, I'm not someone who shies away from the concept of mortality. But it's helpful, at least it has been helpful for me to have that reminder that I keep thinking, oh, I have like 40 more years. Says who is the thing, right? Yeah. So why can't I prioritize my joy in real time? Remembering that joy is also a compass. It isn't a luxury. Yes. It helps you discern which direction you should be moving in.
Mm-hmm. And also, you physically need a break from all of those other states for your wellness, for you to be able to do all the other things in life that you think are important. Yep. Spending more time in a joy state will help you with everything else you're trying to do.
Larissa: Absolutely. Absolutely. If you're doing community organizing, I hope you're having a dance party at some point because, because we can't stay in that state of a nervous system arousal that like heightened state indefinitely. That's not how our bodies work best. and yeah, I'm certainly gonna be the last person to say, oh, we all owe each other health, but we do owe it to ourselves to put ourselves at the center of our worlds and to really focus on our own joy and doing that gives us more spoons.
Yeah. Maybe not as many as you want. Sometimes I as someone living with chronic illness. I'm like, Oh. No spoons today.
Dalia: Yeah, another intersection. And another one of those things that people don't talk about cuz even people who are chronically ill like to pass as people who are not or maybe need to for safety or an employment type of thing.
So no, no judgment there. But thank you for reducing the stigma by letting that be part of your identities that you share with the world, so people understand while this looks like many different forms and with hidden illnesses, people tend to undermine them and not understand the severity.
So, it's just helpful when people actually share some of their experience for other people to know, you know, the amount of struggling that you're doing is actually normal and there's still plenty of room for joy and purpose and you just have to pace.
Larissa: Exactly. Exactly. You are just a little bit at a time.
Dalia: Yeah. If there was one thing you could tell everyone that they would internalize magically, instantly, and never forget, what would you want everyone to know?
Larissa: Ugh. I feel like I could quote a bunch of people on this and say something like, your body is not a problem to be solved. It is your home.
Dalia: Oh, I really love that. Who said that?
Larissa: So, your body is not a problem to be solved. It's like something that a lot of different people have said. I have it on a tank top from an artist whose name is Rascal Honey, I think.
I don't remember their actual name, but that's the name of their brand. Your body's your Home is something that lots of people said and something I say. So that's actually, yeah, that's mine.
Dalia: Oh, I love that. I love it all together. Yes. It goes together. Yeah. Ugh. Beautiful. So, what is the best way for people to get in touch with you?
Larissa: So, you can follow me on Instagram @larissa_parson. You could check out my website, which is www.larissaparson.com. Those are the best ways to find me.
Dalia: Awesome. Thank you so much for coming on.
Larissa: Thank you so much. This was just delightful.