You’ll Love It When You’re Older: On Ageism, Bias, and Covertly Dangerous Compliments

You’ll Love It When You’re Older: On Ageism, Bias, and Covertly Dangerous Compliments

Body Most Popular Posts Motivation + Inspiration

I got exposed to ageism at a very early age in a very odd way: by getting told incessantly how much younger I looked than I actually was.

Immediately followed by: YOU’LL LOVE IT WHEN YOU’RE OLDER.

Every time I got praised for looking “so young,” I could hear in people’s voices (and actual words) the clear subtext: how desirable and “good” youth was.

Plus, I was consistently told I acted older than I was but looked younger, which apparently was the *iDeAL* way to be.

Compliments like this can seem harmless. What’s the big deal?! someone might think. It’s a good thing, not a diss!

But the thing about getting compliments on things that are designed to change throughout time — namely, your age and your shape — is that it can create a dependence on whatever’s getting you the compliments.

And then when your body does what it’s designed to do, which is shift and morph and grow older, it can cause panic.

 

If you’re told your value is in your age or shape or size, what happens when it starts to inevitably change, and you’re not that age or shape or size anymore?

What happens to your sense of self-worth when the things that have brought you praise are no longer present?

 

This is why ads and articles for “anti-aging” tools and tips continue to be so popular.

Even if they’re not saying it outright, the subtext is: aging is a thing to be “anti-” and against. Aging is bad. Don’t age.

 

(and Here, buy this cream.)

 

 

I’ve been down the road of low self-worth with my body multiple times over.

However, by some blessing of the universe, I only rarely confront that with age.

My “secrets” aren’t so much a secret but a social and structural byproduct of the way I’ve lived thus far:

1. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always, always had role models to look up to who were significantly older than I was.

Aging, to me, meant that I would someday “get on the same level” as the women I admired. Whether it was personally or professionally, I always viewed age as a way in, not out — ironic, considering my career path for so long was as an actor (the entertainment industry notorious for its ageism). But even when I heard about people “ageing out” of certain types of roles, or women getting cast as grandmothers while they were barely in their 40s, I always had badass women to look up to who were defying the norms. If they can do it, I thought, I certainly can.

2. I am a professional noticer, which means I picked up on things early on that maybe other people didn’t until way later in life, or never did at all.

When it comes to age, I noticed how many people — namely women — just kinda stopped trying new things after a certain age. I vowed I would never be that person. From an emotional standpoint, but also a logistical one: I had too many interests and passions. If I gave myself an age cut-off, I quite literally wouldn’t have time to do everything I wanted to do.

At the old-young-neither age of 35, I’m usually not the youngest person in the room anymore, but I’m also usually not the oldest. I play 90s throwbacks in my spin classes and while 1/3 of the class members are right there with me, 1/3 weren’t even born in the 90s and 1/3 were well into adulthood and didn’t listen to, say, 702 (where my girls at, from the front to back).

So, here’s a photo of me hula-hooping with a giant bagel, at a #bagelinfluencer event (BagelFest – it’s a thing).

Here to remind you that like Aaliyah said, age ain’t nothing but a number.

And also, whether someone’s telling you you’re young or old — well first of all, young and old are subjective. Younger and older than who?? — YOU get to decide what you do and where you go in the stage of life you’re experiencing right now.

You’re not too old.

It’s not too late.

You’re not too young.

It’s not too early.

You are you.

It’s right now.

Make your own damn rules.

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128: Harnessing Your Ability To Change with Nicole Sciacca

128: Harnessing Your Ability To Change with Nicole Sciacca

Body

This is an extra special episode, because it’s a conversation with one of the most extra-special people in my life: mobility expert, personal trainer, yoga teacher, dancer, and one of my dearest friends in the universe, Nicole Sciacca.

Nicole is a WEALTH of information on any and all things having to do with how your body moves – and prides herself on nurturing her client’s sense of self while optimizing their performance, potential, and personal recovery. She’s also a rockstar mother, a former fitness studio owner, a meditation teacher (and devotee), a trainer to A-list celebrities, an eternal optimist, and basically the most loyal friend you’ll ever have.

In this episode we talk about Nicole’s philosophy on doing and being many things in your lifetime (and what that can actually look like), the phrase that helped her navigate the darkest moments of her personal and professional life, how an unexpected instance involving one of her most famous clients led her to instant Instagram celebrity status literally overnight (and how she navigated that), how to rethink movement as your body ages, and WAY more.

Oh! And: Join us this Sunday June 27th at 3:00pm Eastern Time for Nothing But a Number – A Movement + Self Talk workshop to reimagine your relationship with age. In this free 90 minute workshop, you’ll dissect your relationship with age and “aging” no matter how old you are. Half intentional movement focused on longevity and joint health, half mindful discussion, walk away with practical tools to help you age powerfully in body and spirit.

LISTEN ON ITUNES | LISTEN ON SPOTIFY

SHOW NOTES:

Nicole on Instagram

Sweat And Stillness: Nicole On-Demand

Register for NOTHING BUT A NUMBER

Follow me on Instagram

Leave a review on iTunes (and subscribe to the WANTcast if you haven’t already!)

Subscribe to The (Good) Wordour monthly email digest filled with tips, tools, motivation, and inspiration to shift your self-talk

Join The WANT Community, our private membership club

Visit womenagainstnegativetalk.com

124: My Story

124: My Story

Body

After almost six years and 124 episodes, I realized I’d never done what many people do right at the start of their podcasts…shared my story.

But as I’m evolving, WANT is evolving, and the world is evolving, maybe now is actually the perfect time for a (re)introduction. If anything, so that maybe you can recognize a little of yourself in these words, and know you’re not alone.

SHOW NOTES:
There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing via NY Times
Join me for the WANT Your Self RETREAT in Paros, Greece: Oct 4-9!
Follow me on Instagram
Leave a review on iTunes!
Subscribe to The (Good) Word, our monthly email digest filled with tips, tools, motivation, and inspiration to shift your self-talk

Join The WANT Community, our private membership club
Visit womenagainstnegativetalk.com

How To Be Fearless. (plus…we’re on CNN!)

How To Be Fearless. (plus…we’re on CNN!)

Body Community Most Popular Posts Motivation + Inspiration Tips + Tools

FEARLESS = FEAR < FAITH (or, “Fearless” is when the fear is less than the faith) was an equation I stood behind long, long before this past year.

But March 2020-March 2021 made me realize how vital it truly is to maintaining a sense of self-assuredness WITHOUT abandoning your very real responses to very real crises.

That’s why when CNN asked me “What’s a lesson you’ve learned during the pandemic that could help women in the year ahead?” my answer was a no-brainer.

True fearlessness is when the fear you have of a situation is less than the faith you have in YOURSELF.

I’d never advise anyone to write over their fear. That’s not how to be fearless. Whenever I hear people say things like “I choose not to live in fear,” I take a deep breath. Not only is that phrase one of my biggest spiritual bypassing/self-gaslighting pet peeves, it makes me so sad to think that somewhere down the line, whoever is saying that phrase has been made to believe that fear is not only a choice, but a “wrong” choice that must be locked away.

Lowering your fear is super hard for a reason. Fear is like an inner security guard: it just wants to keep you safe.

But upping your faith in yourself? That’s a different story.

Fear and faith can/should coexist. It’s what can help do everything from take the next smallest proactive step forward, to not giving up on yourself, to just getting out of bed in the morning.

I have faith that…

…I can brush my teeth.
…I can cook myself a meal.
…I can write something that means something.
…I can think and feel deeply.
…I can gift myself a good night’s sleep.

These are the types of things that have gotten me through my darkest days over the last year. Seriously.

Every tiny thing you have faith in – notice it. It counts. List out the reasons you already have to have faith in who you are. And slowly, the fear-to-faith scales start to tip from the fear over to the faith. That’s what can actually make a difference in the long run, and make you believe there’s more out there for you than just fear alone.

WATCH IT HERE.

BIG BIG gratitude to CNN for including me in this campaign alongside some of my role models, like Padma Lahkshmi, Malala Yousafzai, Lori Gottlieb, and more. 

Also grateful for what’s an important thought-starter for us all:

What are some lessons you’ve learned over the last year that could help others – or future YOU – navigate the year ahead?

 

121: Walking (And Paving) The Road To Recovery with Johanna Kandel of The Alliance For Eating Disorders Awareness

121: Walking (And Paving) The Road To Recovery with Johanna Kandel of The Alliance For Eating Disorders Awareness

Body The Recovery Myth the WANTcast

After recovering from a ten-year-long battle with various eating disorders, Johanna Kandel founded The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness. Since its inception in 2000, The Alliance has brought information and awareness about eating disorders to more than 340,000 individuals nationally and internationally. In addition, Johanna runs free weekly support groups, mentors individuals with eating disorders and their families, and helps thousands of people gain information and find the help they need. She’s also the author of Life Beyond Your Eating Disorder (Harlequin). As a passionate advocate for mental health and eating disorders legislation, Johanna has spent a lot of time meeting with numerous members of Congress, and was part of the first-ever Eating Disorder Roundtable at the White House.

In this episode, Johanna and I candidly discuss how to move forward proactively in your life if you’re struggling with an eating disorder, how you can effectively show up for others as someone who KNOWS someone with an eating disorder, and so much more.

SHOW NOTES:
The Alliance For Eating Disorders Awareness
NOT ONE MORE Weekend
Instagram
Facebook
Twitter
The Recovery Myth series on The WANTcast

The WANT Your Self RETREAT in Paros, Greece: Oct 4-9, 2021
Join The WANT Community here!
WANT website
Katie’s Instagram
Leave a review on iTunes!

Subscribe to The (Good) Wordour monthly email digest filled with tips, tools, motivation, and inspiration to shift your self-talk

This episode is in support of The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the outreach, education, early intervention, support, and advocacy for all eating disorders. The Alliance will be hosting their first-ever NOT ONE MORE Weekend, taking place February 26-28. This will be a virtual three day event focusing on what The Alliance does best: Help. Support. Recovery. This international movement will urge individuals to reach out for help, get support, and imagine a life beyond their eating disorder. Proceeds from this weekend will directly fund The Alliance’s free weekly, therapist-led, virtual eating disorder support groups.

To learn more, visit allianceforeatingdisorders.com, check out the show notes…or, just listen to this episode :)

Feeling Myself: On Touch + Body Image

Feeling Myself: On Touch + Body Image

Body Most Popular Posts

Jessica Rabbit once famously said, “I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way.” Self-talk isn’t inherently good or bad, positive or negative – it’s all information. It’s how we view that self-talk that determines if it’s on Team Positive or Team Negative.

And for many of us, our self-appointed negative self-talk flares up the biggest when it comes to talking about our BODIES. 

My thighs are _____.

My hips are _____.

My arms are _____.

My skin is _____.

Pick your body part and pick your adjective, and I’m sure you’ve got at least one area you tend to beat up and call mean names on the regular.

But just like our self-talk, none of our body parts are inherently good or bad – we just name them that way. And way too often, we lump them into the bad category instead of the good.

Seeing a reflection you’d prefer looked different, or noticing your clothes fit differently than usual, can instantly morph your response from neutral sensations to negatively charged emotions.

And what do we do when those emotions bubble up?

We distract ourselves and immediately blame our bodies for merely existing.

My body must be the problem. 

My thighs are _____.

My hips are _____.

My arms are _____.

My skin is _____.

None of our parts are inherently good or bad - we just name them that way. Click To Tweet

So often we don’t bat a lash at being mean to ourselves – not because we’re inadequate, but because we’re removed.

When we feel things we don’t want to feel, we try to distract ourselves. Scared? Procrastinate the day away. Uncomfortable? Check every app on your phone (twice). Angry? Play the blame game and point out everything wrong with someone else.
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When we distract, we dissociate. But something else happens, too.

When we dissociate from whatever’s happening instead of facing it head-on, we don’t learn how to navigate the full spectrum of our human experience. And what’s more, we start to shut down OTHER sensations, too. We don’t just become removed from the things we don’t like, we start to numb out to the things we do, too, because what affects one aspect of our lives usually affects the rest of it, too. It’s no different with our bodies.

We detach, place blame, and dissociate – instead of trying to figure out where those pent-up emotions are actually coming from.

 

Just like Ghost Worries hijack your thoughts and make you forget the reality of your situation, body-related negative self-talk steals your sensations and makes you forget what your body actually feels like.

 

The pattern is simple, and mirrors the kinds of patterns we’re often prone to when a relationship on the rocks. See the thing. Notice the fault. Blame the Other. Withdraw attachment. Withdraw kindness. Withdraw touch.

But instead of the Other being a partner, the Other is our body.

~

Touch is vital. As U.C. Berkely explains, touch “activates feelings of reward and compassion. reinforces cooperation, and cultivates a sense of safety and trust.” 

If you apply that logic to touch between two humans…it might behoove you to stop and consider if the same is true with self-inflicted touch.

The second you dissociate from the actual feel of your body, the second you start to dissociate from your body itself. And when you dissociate from your body for too long, you become afraid (or at least resentful) of it. This thing you call your body seems entirely out of your control.

Your skin becomes something to pick at and prod.

Your muscles become bulk.

Your rolls become flab.

Your fat becomes forbidden.

The only time you touch your body is when you’re zeroing in to fix something.

Some relationship.

The solution is simple:

like Beyoncé and Nicki, you must literally start feeling yourself.

(cue music)

No, I don’t mean in the sexual sense (but hey, if you’d like to discuss that, listen to two episodes about sex education on the WANTcast here or here). I mean actually TOUCH yourself.
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Your arms. Your legs. Your stomach. Your hips.

Feel what your body feels like.

Sound awkward? It might be at first. But it’s a weird yet effective trick I always come back to when I’m really feeling low about my bod. And I find the longer I go without putting TOUCH into practice, the quicker I slip into old body-loathing tendencies and self-talk.

It takes a matter of minutes, doesn’t involve spending money, and doesn’t require you to recite a mantra or do anything too hippie-dippie. It’s as easy as applying lotion after you get out of the shower or giving yourself a mini massage. There is NOTHING fancy about this practice, but it’s powerful beyond belief.

Take the time to actually feel what your skin feels like in your hands, the way your muscles curve and your thighs dimple (yes, everyone’s do). Notice the micro-dips in your collarbone as you press in, or the soft area under your armpits that is so often shielded from the sun. Get curious about your lines and shapes – ALL of your lines and shapes.

How does this thing I call My Body fit together?

How does my back hold me upright?

How does the weight I put on my feet each day affect their sensitivity?

How does the constant texting and typing my hands do affect them from the inside out?

How do my hips center my whole body?

When we notice how our skin feels, we become a creature to admire instead of an object to critique Click To Tweet

Touch is healing, and not just when it comes from another person. Touch can be healing in our relationship with our Self – an aspect of healing that is way too often overlooked.

If you want to take it up a notch, try using creams or oils with your favorite scents. Learn about acupressure points. Maybe even turn it into a journaling exercise by taking a 10-minute ‘touch break’ in your day to explore what the skin you’re in feels like and take notes. The best part is that you don’t need anything fancy to put this self-love-building practice into place. When we can notice the way our skin feels, relieve a tight muscle, feel the way each part of our body miraculously fits together, we become a human to admire instead of a object to critique.


 

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