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Gina Graham

US photographer + social worker

S2 Ep77

Gina Graham

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In this final regular episode for the year I welcome Gina Graham to the podcast. Gina is a clinical social worker and a photographer based in Chicago USA and a mother of 2 boys.

Growing up Gina was inspired by her photographer dad to experiment with taking photos, but didn't think that she could do it seriously. She dabbled with it in high school and fell in love with it, but put it aside to pursue a career in mental health .

Gina studied and became a certified clinical social worker and specialised in treating patients with eating disorders and disordered eating. During a break from her clinical work after having her children Gina rediscovered her love for photography. Her style is very natural, soulful, emotive and raw.

When it came time for her to return to her 'day job' she was looking for a way to blend her two passions, she wanted her photography to be a real and true representation and celebration of the unique and diverse feminine beauty in the world.

Her two passions collided in her recent book Body Beautiful: How Changing the Conversation About Our Bodies Has the Power to Change the World which is a collection of conversations and photos of women and girls, around the topic of body image and self acceptance.

***This episode contains discussion around body image, diet culture + eating disorders.***

Gina - website / instagram / buy her book

Podcast - instagram / website

If today’s episode is triggering for you in any way I encourage you to seek help from those around you, medical professionals or from resources on line. I have compiled a list of great international resources here

Music used with permission from Alemjo my new age and ambient music trio.

When chatting to my guests I greatly appreciate their openness and honestly in sharing their stories. If at any stage their information is found to be incorrect, the podcast bears no responsibility for guests' inaccuracies.

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Podcast transcript at the bottom of the page

Thank you so much for tuning in to this episode of The Art of Being A Mum Podcast. I'm beyond honoured that you're here and would be grateful if you could take 2 minutes to leave me a 5-star review in iTunes or wherever you are listening. It really helps! This way together we can inspire, connect and bring in to the light even more stories from creative mums. Want to connect? Take a screenshot of this episode and share it on Instagram tagging me in with @art_of_being_a_mum_podcast

I can't wait to connect. And remember if you or somebody you know would like to be a guest on the podcast, get in touch! I love meeting and chatting to mammas from all creative backgrounds, from all around the world!


Thank you!


Alison acknowledges this Land of the Berrin (Mount Gambier) Region as the Traditional Lands of the Bungandidj People and acknowledge these First Nations people as the custodians of the Region.


Welcome to the Art of Being a mum, the podcast. It's a platform for mothers who are artists and creatives to share the joys and issues they've encountered. While continuing to make art. Regular themes we explore include the day to day juggler. How mother's work is influenced by the children, mum guilt, how mums give themselves time to create within the role of mothering and the value that mothers and others place on their artistic selves.

My name's Alison Newman. I'm a singer, songwriter, and a mom of two boys from regional South Australia. You can find links to my guests and topics we discuss in the show notes. Together with music played, how to get in touch, and a link to join our lively and supportive community on Instagram. The art of being a mum acknowledges the Bondic people as the traditional owners of the land, which his podcast is recorded on.

In this final regular episode for the year I welcome Gina Graham to the podcast. Gina is a clinical social worker and a photographer based in Chicago USA and a mother of 2 boys.

Growing up Gina was inspired by her photographer dad to experiment with taking photos, but didn't think that she could do it seriously. She dabbled with it in high school and fell in love with it, but put it aside to pursue a career in mental health .

Gina studied and became a certified clinical social worker and specialised in treating patients with eating disorders and disordered eating. During a break from her clinical work after having her children Gina rediscovered her love for photography. Her style is very natural, soulful, emotive and raw.

When it came time for her to return to her 'day job' she was looking for a way to blend her two passions, she wanted her photography to be a real and true representation and celebration of the unique and diverse feminine beauty in the world.

Her two passions collided in her recent book Body Beautiful: How Changing the Conversation About Our Bodies Has the Power to Change the World which is a collection of conversations and photos of women and girls, around the topic of body image and self acceptance.

***This episode contains discussion around body image, diet culture + eating disorders.***

If today’s episode is triggering for you in any way I encourage you to seek help from those around you, medical professionals or from resources on line. I have compiled a list of great international resources here

Music used with permission from Alemjo my new age and ambient music trio.

thank you so much for coming on, Gina. It's absolute pleasure to welcome you to the podcast.

Thanks so much for having me out. And I'm excited to be here.

Yeah, it's my pleasure. So you're in the United States in Chicago. Is

that right? I am. I am. I'm actually in the suburb of Chicago. Yeah. So totally different day than your night actually, in your Yeah, well, in the next day at this point, so.

Oh, it's cool. It's one of the fun things about doing these podcasts is talking to people from all around the world. It's just, I love knowing about what time it is and what your worth is, like. That's like, the two things that I find really fascinating.

Right, right. Right. Well, our weather actually, we just finished up the most gorgeous fall, I think in the history of, you know, on record, it was like the most stunning beautiful change of colors. We had amazing warm temperatures. I mean, we were really very spoiled. And then you know, the frost always comes eventually. So we're definitely kind of hitting our cold time of year and it'll be it's you know, the temperatures have dropped and it'll stay cold in Chicago most likely until well into spring. So we're kind of hunkering down and getting out our winter coats and know that we you know, got away with longer weather much longer than we typically do

so yeah, do you guys get snowed in

um yeah we do we do we get a good bit of snow and we also get you know, typically in January and February like really brutal cold temperatures you know, high winds brutal cold you're probably are you on Celsius?

Yeah with Celsius but like Yeah,

yeah, I know we sometimes get temperatures that are you know, like single digits and Fahrenheit. So you're gonna be like, You know what in the in the negatives and we can even have wind chills below you know, below zero and Fahrenheit, which

is really cool. Yeah, like minus 17. That is in Celsius.

Yeah, that sounds Holy moly. Yeah, it gets it gets brutal. Gosh, we're already sometimes grumpy bunch that time of year I always tell friends you know, friends and family that live all around the country and in other in other parts of the world like Chicago is a great city to come visit but you may not want to come in January or February.

Yeah. Oh my goodness. That's see I went when it gets wet our daytime here in winters probably. Hang on. I'm gonna say 13 Celsius. But what would that be for

you guys? Probably like mid 40s. Right? Hanging? Fahrenheit? Yes,

I 55 Roughly. Yeah, okay.


I'm whinge about that being cold. But I can clearly have nothing

to do I think I would do well. I think I would do well in Australia. I think that sounds about right. Like once you get below 55. Why? Why go outside? That sounds about right. Yeah. Why I chose to live here is a whole long other funny story. But yeah.

Good times, hey. So you're a clinical social worker, and also a photographer. So I, what sort of came first for you? What was the interest that grabbed you sort of first? Yeah.

So that it's a it's a really great question. Because I would have to say that photography grabbed me first, when I was in high school, I actually, my dad, back in the 80s, actually, you know, did a lot of photography. So he was always kind of lugging his Nikon in his tripod, and, sorry, I have a dog that has to be by my side at all times. Hear him barking or whatever he is, he does not leave my side. So So anyway, my Dad Yeah, just was always doing photography when I was a kid. And I was kind of exposed to all of that. And then when I was in high school, I did take a photography class, and I just really fell in love with it. And it's interesting, because I think, you know, looking back on it now, you know, my, my teacher was very complimentary about, you know, just kind of the natural composition and kind of my eye for photography. But I think I just always thought maybe creative endeavors weren't really my thing. I have an a brother, who's one year older, who is an incredibly creative person. And so I think I always thought he was like the creative one in the family. Like there's only allowed to be one and it was him and so it couldn't be me and I had to find something else. So as much as I loved it at that time, it kind of fell by the wayside even though I was always the girl at the party that was like, you know, taking pictures on my camera at the time and And, you know, spent some time doing photography, but not really, even in college did some but, but not really seriously until later. So I actually, you know, had kind of some experiences that led me to, you know, the mental health world at an early and an earlier time in my life. And I just was so kind of blown away by the transformational kind of capacity and experience that can be therapy for people in mental health. And I kind of took a few different roads, when I was in college trying to decide, you know, what my major was going to be bounced around a little bit, and then settled on being kind of in the space of physical education and wellness and health, and then kind of stumbled into mental health and clinical psychology from there. So, in 2002, I graduated with my master's degree and as a licensed clinical social worker, and I've been doing clinical social work ever since then. So. So that was definitely, you know, kind of became my bread and butter career, you know, as a young adult very early on. And, and I've, and I've, you know, I took a short break, when my kids were kind of growing up for a couple years, I stepped away from a practice that I was in, but for the most part, I've been doing that ever since. And photography is kind of, then had a fun resurgence in my life a little bit later, which was kind of an exciting rediscovery of that medium.

Hmm. Can you tell us a bit of how that did happen? How that sort of came back in?

Yeah, yeah. So I was kind of, you know, like I said, I had taken a little bit of a break, when my kids were babies, I was kind of trying to juggle, you know, like life as a mom working in a very clinical, you know, very kind of demanding field at the time, I was in private practice work. And, you know, so it was just kind of me servicing these clients that had a lot of needs. And you know, it was a pretty high risk population, I've always worked, treating the field of eating disorders, and you can have a lot of medical complications and a lot of extra things, you kind of have to kind of keep tabs on from a medical perspective. And so I was juggling a lot at that time when my babies were small, and, you know, was just kind of increasingly able to work less and less because of difficulty with finding the right childcare. And, you know, my husband works in a job where he travels a bit and you know, commutes into the city, and sometimes it's gone long hours. And so, you know, it became obvious to me that, I just kind of felt ready to take a little break, I felt ready to kind of be home a little more and not try to do that juggle. So I was, you know, fortunate enough to be able to take a couple years, and step away from that work. And in that time, I was loving being a mom. But I think I kind of had a combination of, you know, just all of the emotions that gets stirred up when you're a mom, and you're raising kids and wanting to capture it and seeing how fast it goes. And then I think I just kind of started to get really curious about, you know, it's like, I think the expression is like the date, the years are short, but the days are long. And I had some like long days at home with two very active young boys. And I just kind of got curious about what I was interested in, that could be a part of that day, that could also be kind of meaningful. And so I decided to get a camera and just kind of, you know, play around a little bit, I kind of just point and shoot camera. And every time I would try to take pictures on my boys, everything was blurry, and I just couldn't get an image that I liked. And so I thought, you know, what, I'm going to just kind of get an official, you know, digital camera, and kind of teach myself how to use it so that I'm not always frustrated with the pictures that I'm getting. So you know, in that time, I just kind of started to explore it kind of really retaught myself the things that I learned about, you know, the basics of photography when I was in high school, except at that time, it was film and I was, you know, rolling film in the dark and learning that medium, that type of photography, and I had to kind of relearn how to, you know, be a digital photographer and the digital age. So, you know, it was just a lot of trial and error and playing around and getting excited when I started doing things that I thought, you know, were fun to look at or meaningful for me. And then over time, had friends kind of start to notice or other people would say, Oh, would you just come over and quickly take a picture of like, you know us for our Christmas card, and then it kind of turned into this sort of side hustle family photography gig that I never in a million years would have thought I was doing while I was on hiatus from this very clinical demanding kind of mental health role. So it was a really odd time for me because I was really all of a sudden introduced to this whole side of myself that I not only never knew that I had but was actually convinced that I didn't have and so it actually was really meaningful and beautiful in a lot of ways because I got to all of a sudden kind of blossom in an area of my life that now I just can't imagine not, you know, being a photographer and seeing the world the way that I've kind of taught myself to see the world. So, um, yeah, so that's so the photography kind of got rolled into all of it, then, you know,

that's a great story. I'm glad you came back to it. Thank you with your photography, how would you describe the style of photos that you like to take?

Yeah, um, I think that over time, um, I would say I definitely really wanted my photography to be emotive, I wanted people to look at a photo and, you know, feel something, I wanted it to sometimes be maybe even like, a little bit like raw or true to real life. And, you know, I kind of always felt like, if people kind of came away from something feeling like, you know, a photoshoot that I did in any way sort of offered a little glimpse into their soul or made them feel something in their soul, like the word soulful, just kind of kept coming up, when I wouldn't think about the type of work that I always aspire to me, right. Whether or not I land on that is a different story. But it's definitely always in my mind that, you know, something emotive. And, and I think that's, you know, kind of where I've landed in terms of photographing women, you know, I was doing some family photography for a while and sort of was doing a little bit of everything, right? Like, hey, you need headshots, I'll do it, you need family photos for a Christmas card, I'll do it you need, you know, pictures of your new baby, I'll do it. And so I was kind of like the jack of all trades photographer, which I think a lot of photographers start out doing that. But you know, I started to feel this tug, and this pole to go back into my clinical practice at the time. And so I was just kind of trying to figure out, you know, how do I juggle it all? I can't, the reality is that I can't. So how do I take the work that I love to do in the world, which is, you know, working with young girls and women and helping people recover from, you know, eating disorders, and body image and self competence and self esteem issues? And how do I also kind of have my photography still be a part of my life. And so, you know, I think I've kind of definitely moved towards blending the two of them together. You know, we can talk a little bit about the book that I published earlier this year, that is definitely kind of a blending of all of the things that I've done up to this point in my life. But I think I finally kind of came into this realization that I wanted my photography to really be a real and true representation of, you know, and celebration of the unique and diverse, feminine beauty that is in the world all around us all the time, that is each and every one of us, right. And so, you know, it became really important for me to not be photoshopping bodies, or having people look overly perfect. I just kind of wanted it to be real girls, real women just being themselves and for people to kind of look at those images and say, Gosh, that's so beautiful. And don't they have all of their own unique kind of ways of manifesting beauty in the world? So,

yeah, I'd love that. Because, yes, there's a whole a whole element of particularly on social media these days that says that we have to be a certain size and look a certain way before we can be deemed and I'm putting air quotes beautiful. Yeah, that's something that you're really passionate about.

Yeah, yeah, that's what a lot of my work has really been. I think, you know, when you look at my clinical practice working within the field of eating disorders, it's an incredibly complex mental health issue. And I think part of what you know, is hard about it, is this this reality that, you know, I think we can kind of think, oh, it's, you know, just kind of predominantly young, white affluent girls that want to be thin for social media or for their appearance sake, that end up having eating disorders, and that's not true. Nothing could be farther from the truth. But what we do know in terms of how the eating disorder pathology really can take root is that, you know, body image can be a huge trigger for that. And I think even outside of having a clinical eating disorder or disordered eating or eating issues, the React alidium, unfortunately, is that most girls and women who have been raised in sort of, you know, kind of modern cultures where we have any type of advertising media, you know, products that are sold to us marketing, social media, you know, most of us are walking around, just no matter how we look, no matter how much we weigh, no matter how, what are ages, you know, most of us are walking around, just not feeling beautiful, not feeling good enough feeling like there's something wrong with us or our bodies are things that we wish we could change. And, you know, having spent the better part of 20 years working with people who feel that way. But seeing all of their gifts and strengths and talents and things that they're doing in the world, and then not being able to kind of reconcile those things, it just always really broke my heart. And I thought, gosh, if I can just, you know, put a drop in the bucket of, you know, girls and women's seeing themselves more, you know, in a way that celebrates who they really are, and kind of try to have this conversation about why are we all buying into this culture that convinces us of all of these things that just simply are tearing us down and not having us, you know, feeling like we're, you know, comfortable living in our own skin?

So you mentioned your book there. So you bought your book came out recently? And can you tell us or I can read the title, it's called body beautiful, how changing the conversation about our bodies has the power to change the world? Tell us about it.

Yeah, so So the book really came about because, you know, like I said, I've got this clinical background, I've been doing this for a long time. And everyone that comes to see me their story is also unique. And everything that you know, that they kind of bring to the table has their own kind of personal struggle, too. But I found over the years in doing this work, there were there were kind of themes in tools and discussion points that I was hitting on time and time again, right, with girls and women around this issue. And so I kind of felt after 20 years of doing this, like I had a couple of things, maybe just share a couple of things that might hopefully be helpful, right? I mean, that's the beauty of being at something for so long, and hopefully accruing some type of knowledge base that you can hopefully share. And I really felt called to do that. I think, you know, one of the things that's started to get really exciting for me in my photography work was the fact that I could bring clients in that trusted me and knew me. And I could say, let's do a fun portrait session, and I'm going to show you that you're not as big as you think you are, you're not as ugly as you think you are, you're actually beautiful, and you actually, you know, have so many unique and special qualities that you can focus on instead of all of those perceived flaws that you're looking at in the mirror. So I would bring clients into my office, we would do a photo shoot. And then we would in therapy, go through the images together and talk about what they were seeing and have an experience of them. And then they could kind of take the images as a tool to remind themselves later of how they felt in doing that work, or what they have learned from those sessions. And I really just loved from a photography and artistic creative standpoint, the idea as a photographer of putting someone just one individual in the frame and capturing, you know, the real beauty to that person. And so the whole book project kind of started out because, you know, it was COVID at the time, and I was really, really busy with my clinical practice, you know, in the, in the States, as I'm sure you know, all around the world that need for mental health services just skyrocketed, and we were all just kind of home. So I was home, you know, seeing servicing quite a few more clients than I typically would on my caseload, and just in front of the computer on Zoom meetings all day long. And, you know, no one was hiring me for photography. And I was really missing my photography work, I was really missing the work that I do as a creative person in that space in my life. And I just kind of got this idea of you know, I love coffee table books, and I love art books, and I love anything that is kind of like a photo book. And so I thought, well, what if I just put together a book of images of just as many girls and women that I can photograph and, you know, maybe I would like throw in some quotes and make it really artsy. And it was really important for me that the book itself be kind of like art, right? is a testament to like, aren't we all our own unique version of art, like, you know, and so I have this like really kind of creative, artistic way that I even just wanted the book to be represented. And, you know, and so I would kind of talk to all of these girls and women that I was photographing, and I would say, Hey, listen, I'm primarily going to take Your photograph for this book that I'm doing, but in order to really get some like quotes and kind of have us both feel uncomfortable about what we're doing, I just want to ask you some questions about your relationship to your body, or your body image, or what do you think about the cultural pressures for girls and women, and they would sit down and tell me like an hour, or twos worth of a story. And, and there would be tears. And there would be so much that came out of these girls and women that I was so blown away at what they were telling me just freely needing to talk about with this. And I was recording those conversations hoping to get like a quote, right, yeah. And I came away from it, like, wow, I have like this whole story of this person. And yes, I have photographs of them. But the things that they would say I felt were so relatable, or so empowering, or so inspiring or impactful that I was like, gosh, this is what this book really needs to be about. So the whole project really took a pivot, and it became kind of a collection of art, and stories and quotes and information. And I do share some things about navigating the world with, you know, hopefully navigating with better body image and some things to think about, or some, you know, kind of some tips and some things I've learned over the years and during the work that I do, but it really is designed to be written not necessarily even by me, but by all of these brave and courageous women that shared with me, their experience of living in their bodies, in the hopes that no matter where someone's living, in what culture in what body size, and what, at what age, there's something there that they might be able to think about their own experience, because the book is really designed to kind of go through the lifespan, you know, as we get older, and our bodies change, and we age are all kinds of things are happening to our bodies that we have to navigate. And, you know, this issue of body image, or how we feel in our skin doesn't go away after a certain age. And, you know, I would talk to women who were in their 60s and 70s, you know, who were struggling with, the way that they looked or their bodies or their aging bodies. And, you know, I just thought it was really important to tell that story so that we could all kind of just start to get curious and ask ourselves like, Okay, what does this mean for me? And how am I doing with this issue? And what still impacts me? And is there anything I could start to take like little baby steps towards changing my relationship with myself and my body? And is there anything I can do? Maybe to change this conversation culturally? Is there anything I can do maybe to be a role model to younger generations of girls and women, whether I'm a mom or an aunt, or you know, a family friend of a young girl or whatever, just to kind of have everyone questioning? You know, what does it mean for them personally to be living in their bodies in our culture? And what could they do to hopefully feel a little more at home in their own skin?

Huh? Yeah. And I mean, I don't want without giving away too many secrets in your book. What are some ways we can start to do that?

Yeah, yeah, it's such a great question. I think first and foremost, I think we have to just kind of create some awareness for ourselves of like, where did we learn this? Right? What are the seeds that were kind of planted that took root for to this belief system that I do not live in a body that is good enough, or I need to change and I think everybody kind of has this mix of, you know, things that they've been handed by culture, and things that they've been handed by their family of origin or their story growing up, you know, whether it was being teased or being bullied. So I think some of it is kind of just really starting to parcel out, what were those influences? And what do you think about that? Now, you know, I think I think people can kind of really start to ask the question of, okay, culture handed me all of these ideals and beliefs and shoulds, and rules and thoughts and pictures and images. But do I actually agree with that? Do I actually accept that is that something that I would want for my daughter, or, you know, someone that I love and care about? Is that the same expectation that I put on my friend? I think really trying to find little ways of standing up to diet culture is really important. I think there's a lot of chatter, you know, about just kind of all of this stuff that we've come to accept as part of our life and diet culture, right. Like we talk about our but we women sit around and we talk about our bodies, we talk about what we're eating, we talk about what we don't like, and we talk about what diets we're on and we talk about what exercise we're doing, and we talk about whose bodies we think are better than ours and we're so self deprecating and I just want us to just if nothing else, stop ourselves from having those conversations. You know, out and kind of start to think, Wow, this is not really positive or empowering for me to be talking this way about my body. And it's probably not helping the people that I'm talking to feel better about their bodies, and anyone that's overhearing it probably might also not feel good about their bodies, right. So, you know, the whole, the whole. The whole, like, genesis of the book really kind of came from the fact that I was at this photography conference, and I was having the most amazing weekend, the most amazing, I was so inspired. I was on cloud nine, I was thinking all these creative thoughts, and I was in this quiet, you know, cafe in the morning, and these two women came in with the only other two women in the in the room at the time, they were having this really, you know, kind of toxic, nasty conversation about their bodies at the table next to me. And we were the only ones in the whole place. And so I kind of heard the whole thing. I was like, Oh, bummer to hear that. Right? Why are we doing this to ourselves? Why do we do this? Yeah, yeah. Can we start?

Yeah, it seems when you say that it reminds me of a conversation, I've got some people, some people that I know in my life. So I'd say we're in my life, but they are at the moment, doing challenges, like for the gym, to only eat a certain amount of calories, and they have to exercise this much. And when they talk about it, I just have to switch off because I came through a period where I worked in a gym and went through in, you know, treating my body not very well not eating properly. And so that's very triggering for me. But now, and but it actually also makes me want to say to him, why bother? Because if you're treating yourself like this limiting, restricting yourself for eight weeks, in eight weeks time, you're gonna go back to how you were and then you're going to get cross with yourself, because we can't sustain that. You know, and that's very toxic. The gym is an incredibly toxic environment. Yeah. And so when they talk about it now, I just think, Oh, God, gills, like, I want to say to them, like, like one of them said to me the other day, how many calories do you think's in a mandarin? You probably say Mandarin over there. And it was like, who cares? Like it's a piece of fruit like, this is where people's heads are at. And it just, I think that's how I used to be I used to have my little app, and I'll be counting calories. And I'd be out for tea. When I when we didn't have smartphones. I didn't, I was just a normal phone. And I had to message my husband and say, Can you look up on this calorie app, which dessert has the least calories so I can choose which one to have, you know, that incredible culture of not just enjoying yourself, but being so so preoccupied with it. And it's a horrible place to be

it really it? It is a horrible place to be. And I think so many girls and women are tortured by this way of life in and I use that word very intentionally. You know, and, and I am not against health. I am very clear in the book, you know, I actually interview and talk to a health expert who had her own really incredible story of like, kind of like crushing it at the gym, right? Like she was like the most successful person at the gym, because like on paper and her weight and her weight loss and her metrics and what she was lifting and what she was eating. She was like crushing it. And everybody was like just putting her up on this pedestal. Meanwhile, she was depleted, she was in adrenal fatigue, she was miserable. She was hungry all the time. She was exhausted. Yeah, right. And so you know, I make it really very clear to anyone who was listening and who, you know, gives a fig about what I have to say that I think health is incredibly important. And so when you kind of look at that example, it's like, no, we actually need to be eating more fruits and vegetables. So if you're eating a fruit, let's kind of first of all, like, let's talk about do you have, you know, like, like, do you get enough of the right behaviors to promote health and wellness? And if you're making healthy choices, your body's going to go where it naturally is designed to go at that stage in your life? You know, given all of the other factors and can we be okay with it? Because it's actually a far more freeing enjoyable place to live. Like, I think if you were to ask most women, here's all the list of desserts, which one is the least calorie? Like and then to ask them, Is that also the one that you would enjoy? Or is that the one you actually want? Most? saying no. Right? Yeah. Honestly, like, I'm 46 years old. I don't know where it's going. I feel like I should still be 27 like life is moving. It's too short, right? Yeah. Yeah. And I think we all kind of have these reminders, if we're looking for them that like, hey, life is short. It's okay. It's also hard. like Life is short, and it's hard. So can you give yourself a break, and let yourself enjoy the dessert that you want to enjoy. You don't have to eat all of it. If your body's telling you, if you're eating intuitively, you might not even want all of it, or slowing down and being mindful and eating intuitively, you might get halfway through that desert and say, I'm actually full. And I really enjoyed that. Right? Um, or you might eat it on say, That was lovely, and then move on with your life. Right? Yeah. And I think I think the diet culture will tell you, if you do that, you're going to be so overweight, you're going to be so unhealthy and all these terrible things are going to happen. And the reality is diet culture kind of sets us up for the opposite, right? deprivation, deprivation, deprivation, to your point, things we can't maintain and sustain. And then we drop it. And then we don't persist in asking ourselves like, what are the health promoting behaviors that might actually get me closer to where I want to be? Right. So from a medical standpoint, we mess up our metabolism. So that's why most diets fail metabolically, we throw ourselves you know, this you worked in gym you Oh, you know, like, we throw our saw our bodies into chaos and disarray, because we're not taking care of it. But culture was a Oh, good job, you lost weight. You said, I lost it by being miserable, and depriving myself and it's going to come back on because I'm not changing my behaviors. I'm focusing on the number. Right,

yeah, it's that external validation. Like you said about that lady. That was she was the best at the gym and going awesome. It looks great from the outside. But yeah, the inside wasn't going so great. And I think that's yeah, I'm sure there's a lot of people listening that can relate to this. Because there's, I feel like, at the moment, there's a really big movement on social media to destroy this dark culture and to change the way that we think about food. And I don't know, the other day, so we're recording this in the middle of November, the heroin chic sort of things, this through the media now. It's like, oh, really, are we really going to go there? Again, like these people that don't eat, they have like cigarettes for lunch? And, you know, to look a certain way, because one particular industry wants, you know, them to, like, it's just so damaging.

I know. And that actually, I mean, look, I I've been doing this for a lot of years. And I mean, I came up in that generation. So I'm very familiar with that body type in that messaging. And not a lot shocks me, I have to say when it comes to the things that we see in media, but that actually took my breath away for a minute when I was seeing that there was a particular publication that had posted, you know, this article that was saying, like, curves are dead and heroin chic is back. And I thought, you know, I actually had a couple of people messaged me, because I reposted kind of in shock and horror and outrage, and I had a couple of people messaged me, like, is that even real? And I'm thinking I agree, right? Like, in this day and age did did a journalist in a in a fairly sizable publication, actually, seriously post that I mean, in the midst of the opioid crisis that we're having, right. And in the midst of, you know, everything that we are really coming to understand about the importance of size, inclusion and diversity and all of the things that we've been working so hard for, are we now going to have a couple of news outlets post a trend about heroin chic for our bodies and get it like status back and I just was like, heartbroken. So yeah. If anything, it just kind of galvanized me even more about this book, and the messaging behind it. And the work that I do with my photography to say, you know, enough is enough, enough is enough. You know, because eating disorders, you know, outside of, you know, suicide do have the highest mortality rate of psychiatric illnesses and they are very dangerous and I think just even outside of that women walking around depriving their bodies and not taking care of their health is a crisis. So

yeah, yeah. Totally crazy. Yeah, just shifting tech slightly. You mentioned before that your two boys and only boys now,

so I have a 13 year old and a 15 year old. Yep. I'm in a house full of boys. I don't Muay Thai, clinical practice for you too. Oh, my gosh. We could talk all day about that. Yeah, I kind of joke in my clinic. Got practice I've raised you know, I raised a lot of girls over the years, but technically I am a boy mom, even my dog is a boy. It's all boys.

Oh, do you? Did you have brothers growing up? Or you?

Yeah, so I actually have one brother. He is one year older. Yes. You did say that earlier. Sorry. Yeah. Yeah. So we're kind of I think, I think, you know, here in the States, I think that's referred to as being the Irish twins, because we are literally one year apart almost to the day. So that's interesting. But, but it's funny, because when I was in high school, I mean, I had like, some really amazing girlfriends and close girlfriends. My whole life, I've always, you know, been lucky to have some very special girlfriends in my life. But I just, like, always felt really comfortable hanging out with the guys, you know, I had a ton of guy friends. So I think having a brother and like, you know, just kind of in a lot of ways throughout high school and college being kind of like one of the guys or that girl that was just always like friends with all the guys that had the girlfriends that the guys all wanted to go out with, like, that was me, right? Like, I was like the net friends. And like, I had all the really cute blonde girlfriends that everyone wanted to date. And that was like, that was like my life. And so I just was always really comfortable around, you know, the guy. So now I'm like, move with me and the guys, you know. And so as you know, the World Cup is coming up. So that's what we're starting to go how like, it's all of a sudden going to be like soccer locked down. And this is just all we do is watch sports and soccer and talk about soccer. So I have to kind of sometimes get my head in the game and be like, Yes, I have to pretend to know who these players are and all these things.

Yeah, on that I'm gonna dampen the mood a bit on the soccer. How do you feel about where it's being held? And, you know, the ramifications of being in a country that doesn't treat women very well?

Yeah, that's a yes, I know. And honestly, I, I, I feel like I've, I've not been following closely along with it. So I do kind of want to, you know, reserve too much comment. I think that I know, there's been a lot of controversy. I know, there's been a lot of, you know, just questions as to what's really going on, you know, in the inner workings of FIFA and so, you know, yeah, I don't know, it's gonna be really interesting to watch and to kind of see, but yeah, I think I think that we are definitely at a time historically, where I think it's really important for women to kind of champion other women all across the globe in any way possible. Right. And I just, you know, I know there's all parts of the world where there are things happening against women and for women that is not honoring the dignity and the spirit of women and it's truly heartbreaking. And I think it's really doing a disservice to our planet. I think that you know, women have such a incredible nurturing you know, kind of differently creative way of being in the world and I think I think kind of the the, the surgence of women to kind of come out and say, you know, we really need to kind of fight up and stand for you know, stand up and fight for you know, our rights and the rights of other women is really important right now.

Absolutely. Because yes, there is a lot there's a lot of going on particularly like you know Iran and Afghanistan off the top of my head but I'm sure there's a lot going on in a lot of other places that we don't see on the New Zealand day too so yeah.

question that I like to talk to all my moms about is the concept of mum guilt. Or Mum Mum guilt so that was a really bad attempt. Mom guilt minute. Yeah. How do you feel about that? Concept and the topic?

Yeah, my mom guilt so mum guilt. Um, yeah, it's interesting. I, I mean, find me the mom that doesn't, you know, experienced this to some degree. I just, it's interesting because in my mental health work, I talk a lot with my clients about how the interesting thing is that we're truly like cave for If cave people living in this modern world, right, like our world has evolved in this incredible way, but like our bodies, and our brains have not caught up with it and have not kept pace. So there's a lot of things that I think happened psychologically, for the human race right now in modern culture that actually is kind of like trying to reconcile sort of these primitive parts of the brain are these primitive ways that the brain operates. And then like our kind of modern culture, and I think, mom guilt is kind of an interesting one, because I sort of wonder if that isn't a part of that, right? It's like, if you think about how the survival of our species literally is dependent on Mothers not only giving birth to the babies, but nursing them, nurturing them, feeding them caring for them, so that they can go on and propagate the species forward. So it's interesting when you think about like, Is mom guilt, almost one of these things that is hardwired into us that we're like, supposed to feel so that the species doesn't die out? Right? Yeah. And so I think so I think that, you know, it's interesting, like, it's so primal and primitive, like if we didn't have mom guilt, and we didn't feel tethered to our kids, no matter where we were, like, who would be taking care of the kids, you know, what I mean? So, I mean, really, because if you look at, you know, culturally, at least in sort of modern Western culture, you know, my generation is the first generation where I feel like, dads kind of have a very active part in sort of the upbringing and the rearing of their kids, right, the generations prior to us that were very well delineated gender roles. And so up until very, very, very recently, like right now in human history, if moms weren't feeling mom guilt, the children wouldn't be thriving. Right? Yeah. And that's a biological thing. So I think that we're just kind of trying to figure it out of women, right? It's like, I biologically primally primitively feel so tethered and kind of needed by my kids, and I want to be there. And I feel like I'm needing to be there. And I'm reconciling the fact that maybe I can't, I can't be there all the time. Right? Like, I literally don't have live in a village with my children around me all the time. And we don't go any farther than like these five huts. Yeah. So we have to as modern moms, we have to venture away from our kids. Some of us are in situations where financially we have to work, we have to be in the workforce, right? Some of us want to be in the workforce, some of us choose to stay at home, and raise our children and have the financial, you know, kind of benefits and wherewithal to be able to make that choice. But it still might not be good for us to be there all the time. Because we still might need to go out and pursue our own, you know, our own endeavors, our own, you know, friendship circles, our own things. And so I think it's really interesting when you kind of look at this idea of mom guilt, because, you know, I know, I know, everybody kind of grappled with it to some degree and struggles with it. But I do think it's kind of rooted in something very primitive that we need to kind of, just try to understand from the perspective of, you know, maybe looking through that lens, looking at it through that lens, but also giving ourselves permission to, you know, continue to kind of pursue whatever it is we need to pursue, or we want to pursue in the world with with maybe a little less guilt, you know, because, yeah, guilt is such a heavy emotion, you know?

Absolutely. And I think you're definitely right. We do need something else other than our role as mothers and fathers. Because I'm pretty sure we did lots of things before we had children, we felt we fit lots into that time, you know, now we've got the children, but we still probably have things that we want to do. And, you know, some of us are fortunate enough to be able to do that, like whether it's, you know, we've got the time, we've got the resources or the way, just the way, our you know, our circumstances are, but I'm sure there's a lot of people that do want to do things and can't quite make it work, which would be very frustrating. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, absolutely.

I feel like you know, I was I was, you know, like I said earlier, I was lucky that I, you know, was able to kind of take a few years off from my clinical practice when I needed to, I was kind of doing that juggle, and that hustle of all the things when my kids were babies and trying to figure out that stage of life with working. When I did take time off. I was, you know, such a, I was so kind of kind of fortunate to be able to be a very present mom. You know, and involved mom and in those years and so, now that I've shifted to being more involved with my work writing this book having different, you know, interests and passions outside of raising my kids, I would say that I personally am not in a season of my life, where I'm feeling an excessive amount of mom guilt, it's a little bit different. I think with teenagers, it's, you know, they have just very different needs of your, your, your presence and your focus and your your time and your energy. And so that's, I'm at a season of life where I'm just trying to figure out the trickiness of that, right, you know, and so, if I like, miss that little window, and then it's gone, you know, because we're on the same room for a while, or, you know, they're kind of out doing something or whatever, you know, I'm kind of at this stage of life, where I see how quickly it's all going and I can count, you know, with, with both my kids the number of years, they'll still be in this house on one hand with less thing you know, and so to me, that's, I think it's less about guilt, and just more about really wanting to double down on making the most of the time that we do have, because, you know, from from from my kids, it's a very busy stage of life, and everybody's going in lots of different directions. And the time that we do have all together that's kind of meaningful quality of time, just feels like it's constantly slipping through my fingers. So it's less of a guilt and more of kind of a melancholy a little bit and sort of a bittersweet, you know, reckoning of the reality of time. So,

yeah, now I can definitely relate to that. I've got a almost 15 year old and a seven year old, so Oh, yeah. It's interesting. I want one to Well, I want them both to stop growing up, that would be nice. But the needs, the needs that they require are incredibly different. And it's, it's sometimes a very tricky juggle. Because yeah, you're right, when with those teenagers, you only get a limited time when they're available to you, I suppose. So. Be ready at the same time as

gratiae with their presence. Okay, in Australia, what age do kids learn how to drive a car?

I think we do come up if it's 16 or 17, six, okay.

So you're not quite there yet. In the states where I live in Illinois, when you're 15. You can be learning to drive a car. Yeah. And you get your license when you're 16. So so I'm teaching my 15 year old how to drive right now. Which is, so I think, for me, the predominant emotion, going back to the question about manga isn't guilt, it's fear, right? It's like straight up anxiety and fear. Like my kids about to be on the road, he's on the road with friends who already have their license. They're out in the world, you know, when they kind of talk about like, bigger kids bigger problems, and having worked in mental health for teenagers for 20 years. I'm like, Oh, my gosh, I think the predominant mental health issue for myself is less about guilt and worry about anxiety. Just straight up, you know?

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, I'm not looking forward to that stage. I'm really not. I'm really not. Because there's, there's a bit of a culture. We live in a country, sort of country area. And there's a bit of a culture about boys in cars, and, you know, driving fast and challenging each other and taking risks and all that sort of thing. So definitely not looking forward to that phase. But I think Alex is he's got his head screwed on right he's gonna be pretty right I think. I'm sure yes. Yeah, so the other thing that I really liked to talk about is this identity, so the way that we see ourselves and perhaps how that might have changed when you became a mother, did you sort of go through any sort of big shifts?

Yeah, um, I mean, definitely, I think there were, like, right off the bat. So many events and things that just felt so deeply powerful for me that it you know, you just don't know to expect it you just think oh, I'm going to be a mom and you know, it's going to be great or it's going to be whatever it's gonna be, but like, you know, the things that really kind of knock your socks off, right? That just completely make you be like, Wow, I can't even believe I just experienced this or I experienced that feeling or whatever. So I definitely think, you know, becoming a mom really changed me in a lot of ways. It's, it's interesting because, you know, I think I am a bit of a kind of, naturally sort of perfectionistic sort of controlling type of person, and personality. And so, being a mom has really forced me to look at, you know, some of the things kind of in that shadow for me that I needed to kind of continue even, you know, 15 years later to just try every day, to kind of grow up myself a little bit like, my kids are kind of growing me up a bit too, in terms of like, faith and patience and things that you know, I'm trying to learn, I think that it is easy to feel that mothering and motherhood is so all consuming in so many ways, right? You have like the all consuming emotion you have the all consuming, especially when they're little all consuming need of like, literally your body in every last ounce of your energy and your whole kind of world does, especially in those early years get gets so caught up in the the role of mom or mum. And you know, and I think that it is it was interesting, I'll say, for me personally, it was interesting for me to kind of start to get curious about like, Okay, I love this, but like what else? You know, I love this, but who else? What, where else do I need to grow as a person? You know, I, I was kind of thrilled to get back into my work as a clinical therapist, because I think it just really drove home for me that we're all kind of like these little pie charts, right. And that was a big part of my pie chart was, you know that I'm a helping person and I have this skill set. And I have these kind of natural inclinations to help people in this way. And then photography became this other part of my pie chart, right. And then I've had other life experiences outside of being a mom that just happened in my 40s That made me really need to grow in my faith and my spiritual relationship and kind of caused me to really stop and question, you know, what do I really believe? And how do I want to live? And what are the areas of my life where I want to continue to grow just as a person outside of being a mom, just to be a, you know, a person who is constantly evolving and learning and growing and changing and not stagnating? Right. So I think, you know, there's been a little bit of all of that, for me, I think, you know, the, the fun surprising piece for me was that I think it was through becoming a mom that I was finally able to realize that I was a creative person. And that's just been the most beautiful gift in my life, right to kind of go through life with young boys doing creative things with them. I mean, we used to, like, you know, paint all the time. And we you know, we're redoing our basement one year, so we just kind of had like, you know, unfinished walls, and we just, like started painting big murals on the walls. And I just really got so into creative thinking, creative, living, creative being and of course, my photography was a part of that, but it's bigger than that, for me now, and I just love living life through that lens. And I think motherhood kind of birthed that for me. You know?

It's interesting, you say that I was talking to someone the other day for a podcast, it said almost the same thing. was almost like having children gave them permission to let that creative side come out of them that they might have been holding in. Yeah, yeah. It's really good. Yeah.

For sure. Yeah, it for sure. Did that for me. And I think, you know, part of the thing that's hard, you know, and being a mom and being an or being a parent, or just being a busy person who is also a creative is like kind of finding time for all of that, you know, and so I think you know, really kind of reminding myself that you know, it's okay to make that a priority and it's okay to set aside some time for that. And if there isn't time for that in certain seasons for whatever reason, how can you still be a creative being in the world right? I mean, as mothers we are inherently creative, we created babies we created life. Yeah, we are all we are all creative beings. So so that very much kind of got switched on. All those lights got switched on for me.

Wow, that's awesome. That's really good. With your creativity and in your book that you've made in the work that you do, is it important to you that your boys see that and see that you are capable of creativity outside of what you do with them as a mother?

Absolutely, absolutely. I mean, I think I think they are probably constantly underwhelmed by me, and there's like, not a thing I could do that would be interesting or noteworthy. I mean, actually, I think they would go like the other way and say that, like, everything I do is actually cringy. And embarrassing. And I stop just even being in the room. Because it's so embarrassing. But but it but it really is important to me, I think, first and foremost, you know, like I said, we're kind of, you know, I have two boys that are kind of naturally athletically inclined, and, you know, my husband was an athlete. And so I kind of always want to remind them, like, hey, you know, we all have all five to Earth. And even though you're so aligned with, you know, your athletics and the sports that you love to do, like, don't forget that you used to really love to draw, don't forget that you used to actually really love to paint or you like, picked up musical instruments, when you were little or learn to, you know, play something for a time. And so, I think having my life having lived really well into my 30s, not thinking I was creative, it was almost, I felt like, you know, I kind of looking back on that just sort of feel sad at the thought that like, I wouldn't have been able to kind of be in touch with those parts of myself that now give me so much incredible, like inspiration and motivation and, and are such a part of my day to day life that I do want them to kind of see, hey, you know, you can have lots of different sides. And creativity is something that, you know, maybe mom does from time to time, or we do as a family or whatever, and like, you know, that they can always come back to those things or explore those things. You know, I'm a big believer that, you know, as you go through life, it is important to keep kind of growing and changing and learning new things. And it's kind of that, you know, fixed mindset, or open mindset or growth mindset type of thing, where it's like, you know, I think, you know, showing them like to just kind of always be open and have a growth mindset that, hey, you might not know how to do watercolours, but if you're interested in it, like you can certainly, you know, give it a try. In terms of the book, you know, it was really interesting, I do feel like, I was kind of able to recognize that the boys were kind of putting that together a little bit at the time that that book was launched, and we did a local launch, and it had a really good turnout. And it was kind of neat to see them be able to recognize that I had done something that hopefully is meaningful and kind of giving back. And it was very important for me to role model that for them, you know, I dedicated the book to my boys, even though it's a book about women's body image issues. And then I did that very intentionally, because I just really, so deeply want them to know, if you feel called or pulled in any direction to do anything. Go for it and do it and don't hold back. And you know, they, they did kind of see the blood, sweat and tears that went into that. And they did kind of get the behind the scenes of kind of what it took out of me and where I had to sacrifice in my life to make that happen. And all of the steps that I had to take to get there. And I was really proud that they were able to kind of see that model through the work that I had done. So

yeah. Now that's really important. And I think when you're talking about including boys in things, like there's two points to that, I think it's important to note that any sort of eating disorder or disordered eating can happen to anybody. It doesn't just fit. Absolutely. But also I think it's really important that possibly the the hand that men have had, in creating this world, that women are so judgmental of themselves. And perhaps if

they weren't doing that he might help us a little bit. Yeah, putting that in a nice way. But you know what I'm

absolutely, yeah, absolutely. And I do think there are, you know, it was hard for me to kind of look at that project through, you know, the lens of just kind of one gender, because I don't believe that my overall messaging is just about one gender, right. And in treating eating disorders, I certainly have seen and treated my fair share of boys and men with eating disorders and body image issues and their issues are just a little bit different. It's like, you know, there's kind of a different approach that you know, I would take or a different way that we kind of spin it I did think it was important to just kind of speak to the very specific cultural experience of God. Throwing up female.

Yeah, yeah. And

where that landed, but yeah, for sure. It can, you know, the insecurities or the the kind of Hey culture handed me this and, you know, now I don't know if that's really working for me can apply to all of us in some way, shape

or form so yeah, cultural norms, that's something that I find interesting, I sort of, as I do this, I've been doing this podcast for 18 months, roughly. And as I've gone through, I sort of find these interesting threads that often come up. So then I add them into, like, the permanent thing that I like to talk about. And the cultural norms is something that I find really interesting. And we did talk briefly, we did sort of mentioned about, you know, this is the first generation where the dads are really involved, was your mum of that era, were mums had to just be at home, look after the family, or was your mum able to, you know, get her own interest and do our own interests and have our own outlet as well?

Yeah, so my, my upbringing, I think I kind of have a, you know, generation that can kind of take the best of, you know, kind of both sides of that equation. In terms of my upbringing, you know, my mom was very much of the generation where, at least where I grew up, you know, most of the moms were stay at home moms. My mom was a teacher before, you know, my brother and I were born and when we were little, and she, you know, kind of did some work when we were little, but she's a very, she's, she is a very gifted writer, you know, but my mom, my mom is just so great. And that she has, you know, she, she has this spirit about her, she has this very kind of feisty spirit about her. And so when we were growing up, she was very involved, she was incredibly nurturing, she was always, you know, kind of helping us with whatever we needed and involved with our sports in school and all that. But she also, you know, kind of modeled that, hey, I'm gonna go out with my friends. And we're gonna go, you know, for doughnuts every Friday morning, or we're gonna go out and play golf, and she used to kind of go play rounds of golf. And, you know, I'd be, you know, we'd all be at the pool with our moms all off playing golf, like the whole day. No, so she definitely and you know, she always love to have a good party and have lots of great friends. And, you know, so my mom, I think very much, you know, kind of modeled for me, hey, you know, just because, you know, I'm here at home, you know, most of the day, and I don't work outside of the home right now, there are all these things that I want to go and do an experience. And, you know, my dad actually was, in the medical field, my dad was a dentist, and he had his own practice. And so I, I was kind of able to also have modeled for me through my dad, the importance of, you know, the importance and the challenges of being self employed. So I think that always really impacted me, you know, I would kind of see the benefits of him being self employed and being his own boss, but I certainly would see, like, the hard work and like that, the harder aspects of that, I don't think it's a coincidence that, you know, I kind of very early on, even when I knew I wanted to work in mental health knew I wanted to be in private practice, because I kind of knew I wanted to, you know, kind of call the shots and have, you know, be self employed if, if at all possible. So, so I kind of had that, you know, modeled for me on both sides. And I think, you know, my family is very kind of, you know, my family of origin. My parents and my brother are very supportive of like, you know, hey, like, if you got a dream or something, go for it, you know, like, don't let life kind of pass you by without, you know, kind of pouring yourself into something creatively or something that you feel called to do. I mean, my dad is, you know, 75 in two weeks and up in like, you know, last month he was on a on a racetrack in Texas for the support races for the IndyCar Series and he loves like racing karts, so he's still at 75 out chasing his dream of being a racecar driver. So in my family, there's no shortage of hey, you know, if you want to make something happen, do everything in your power to try to make a go of it. So, you know, but also from my mom very much like the loving nurturing support side of that, too, so, hmm,

it sounds pretty ideal. Yeah, thank you gave you that. That awesome start. That's great. Good luck. Dad, I hope he keeps doing it. I love that so you've got the book yet now,

we I'm really excited about the book, I hope that, you know, there's something in there that speaks to girls and women, you know, at some level in some way, I just hope it's kind of inspirational and meaningful. Yeah, but the launch of it's been really exciting. Now I'm kind of in this place where I get to go and just kind of enjoy it being done, because it wasn't you forever, but also just enjoy being out in the world, right. So I'm kind of doing some local book events, or, you know, I may kind of plan some things for 2020, we're 2023 Sorry, where I, you know, I'm kind of partnering up partnering up with different female local businesses or different bookstores are different things just to kind of talk to people about the book and its contents and, you know, share a little bit more about it. You know, one of the things that's been really fun for me, and having done the book is this idea that I really want to kind of double down on, you know, through my clinical work helping girls and women specifically with their body image issues. So I'm kind of really have been kind of crafting and creating what I'm calling the body beautiful set series or sessions, and they're really just going to be kind of time limited therapy sessions with me, where we're going to set aside a certain number of sessions. And we're going to just kind of go through the nuts and bolts and nuggets of trying to live in the world with more positive body image. And some of that can kind of track off of the book, I've almost created kind of like a workbook or sort of PDF that, you know, if people are working with me in these series, they can kind of go through and even if they have an outside therapist, or they circle back to it later, you know that it just kind of reminds them of you know, some of this work that they want to do to have a better relationship to their bodies. And those sessions will include a photo shoot, which I'm super excited to do, and then we therapeutically can kind of walk through the images and what they're seeing and, and make sure that they can kind of resonate with something about it being beautiful or positive. And then in addition to that, I'm just really excited to get back into doing some more of my photography. You know, I think it's really important that we debunk the myth for women that we can like do it all simultaneously. I think it's really toxic for women to just kind of look and be like, Oh, look at her, she did the same, she did this thing. She's doing this, she's doing that, like she must be able to have this magic secret sauce that, you know, she can credit juggle all of these things. And, you know, the reality for me in the last, you know, now, you know, two over two years is that I had to backburner a lot of things in my life in order to still be a mom and still have my clinical practice and write this book. And so there are areas of my life that I've kind of missed out on a little bit that I'm really wanting to get back to. And my deep love of photography is one of those things, you know, my my kind of side hustle of photography business, you know, I was writing the book and I was like flexing all these new muscles as an author and writing this book and working on this project. And even though there's photography in the book, my actual photography, business muscles kind of atrophied a bit and so, you know, I really am excited to hopefully continue to grow my photography work I really want to specialize specifically in portraiture, celebrating anything having to do with female beauty and empowerment. So I call these sessions portrait her and they are just custom special photo shoots. It's really it could be like milestone, it could be maternity motherhood, you know, so the last year of high school here in America is like senior year so senior portraits are things that we do in the States, you know, when it's your last year of high school before you maybe go away to school or go to your job or whatever you're going to do so senior portraits, empowerment, you know, sessions, you know, so I just really want to kind of be able to focus in on my photography, I found myself drawn back into those photography books that first inspired me to write the books to begin with, I'm kind of playing around with you know, different cameras that I haven't had a chance to play with in a while different lenses and I just some really feeling hungry to be an artist in that way again, and kind of have a fresh body of work there. So I'm hoping that in 2023 that kind of takes back off and I can be creating more work there. But you know, it's always a juggling act. I mean, I definitely feel like you know, time is always what is in the Most short of supply for any and all of us, right so you know, I certainly wish I had more time to devote to you know, the creative artistic pursuits. Well, you never know. I'm sure we all

do you awesome, so your website is life lens

and Yeah, awesome. And

you're active on Instagram. That's where I found you. You're on. Are you on Facebook or any other of the social medias?

I'm I am on Facebook. Not that well. On I have a I have a page on Facebook it primarily Mitch matriculates from my Instagram feed. I've not been very good about checking it on Facebook for quite some time now. But

I've gotten off the off the chair off the rails on Facebook. It's just like, I'm like you, I link my Instagram. So anything that goes on Instagram is on Facebook. And then I just don't go on it. I just I've just really dropped off. I really have no desire to be on it to me.

And I and honestly like sometimes it confuses me like I was on there after a long time and realizing that there were messages for me hidden in there for people that literally were very old. And I was like, I didn't even know where to find these. But they popped up and now I feel terrible that I never responded to these messages that people sent me on this separate messenger thing of Facebook that I somehow missed. So yeah,

I've done that, too. I've done that too. It's NBA anyway, I could talk all about how much I don't love Facebook anymore.

Me too. Me too. Me too. Instagram, like is making me kind of sad these days, you know, I feel like just this algorithm is really tricky. And I think there's a lot of people whose pages in work I love but I'm not seeing and you know, you really have to play the game. And I, you know, think if you if you want to jump on and make a real and be dancing and doing something fun and free spirited and I think that's amazing. But I just really want to see like photography, I want to see stills I want to see, you know, I want to see things that like I can kind of really, you know, kind of take away from and I don't know, I think it's kind of gotten a little too tick talky and I jump on Tik Tok, and it makes my head want to explode. And I don't know why he would want to spend any time there. It's, yeah, goldfish with a three second, you know, attention span. And so I just feel like, oh, I kind of hope that Instagram can kind of revert back to the original spirit of the app, because I really loved it. And it's early days. And now I feel like we're kind of getting in a space where I don't know how much longer I'll be, you know, trying to play that game. But we'll see.

Yeah, it's interesting. A lot of people. I say a lot of people, not a lot of people. A few people I've noticed lately have been getting completely off everything and just saying this is my email, but this go on my email list or visit my webpage. That's how I'm going to talk to people now. Because I think people are worried that if the like, we don't own our content that we put out. Like, if Instagram goes down, there goes all our stuff, you know. And so I think some people are starting to get a bit worried specifically with the way that Twitter has just been desecrated for one word, but knew who knows what could happen to anything at any time. So I don't know, if people get a bit worried. But you're also on YouTube, I saw you've got some content on YouTube as well, what sort of, to share on on YouTube?

You know, it's that is an evolving bag of tricks. I don't know what's going on on YouTube. I still sometimes like why did I build this channel. But I know part of it was that I last year around the holidays, I felt like I was kind of seeing some just trends in my clinical practice that I thought a lot of people could really kind of relate to in terms of like different issues that come up with the holidays or stress at the holidays or whatever. And I just felt compelled to like make some short video clips or content and I just didn't really know like, where those should live and where to put those and, you know whether or not it's even helpful or meaningful so I just I've started to kind of say like, alright, if I ever do anything, you know, that is video related, certainly with a book launch, there were a few things that were, you know, kind of a few interviews that I did, and a few things with the publication of the book that were more video content, my publisher wanted me to kind of post a video of me like seeing the book for the first time. So that's on there, you know? And I thought, gosh, where does one go to post random video clips of themselves promoting their work in the world? I guess it's YouTube. Oh, you know, I was traveling with my kids, like, hey, Mom's got her sights set on being a YouTuber. A couple of subscribers. So if you're listening, and you are at all interested, you can join the other couple of people. But yeah, I don't know. You know, I mean, I very much relate to what you were saying that you were kind of hearing, I think I am in very many areas of my life feeling old to more of a just kind of an old school way of doing things. And technology's kind of shaping me a little bit in some ways, and kind of the modern pace. And the ways we're supposed to do everything is kind of grinding on me a little bit. Maybe it's just the time of year and coming to kind of coming off of this big year professionally. But I don't know what next year is going to hold for me in terms of how much I'm pumping all this stuff out there with the content and kind of trying to, you know, maybe have a presence on YouTube or social media, whatever we'll see. I mean, certainly with Instagram, I find it's just crazy. I do love the creative aspect of it. You know, I mean, I just feel like I share the music that I like, and I share the some of the stuff with different artists that I like and whatever else and some of it's super random, and I just feel like if anyone cares, they can check it out. Maybe, then I don't I don't know. But, you know, we'll see. We'll do we'll see. I mean, I certainly understand that bowl of you know, like, let's just kind of get back to like, meaningful relationships with the small circle of people and just kind of spend our time less on technology. Maybe. Yeah, see how that feels. They can get actually get bored again, like, remember what that feeling felt like?

Like that? Yeah, fit nowadays. It feels like a rest. You're not bored. You're actually just having a rest from everything. That's overwhelming. You know what I mean?

Yeah, I mean, if you can get that, that's awesome. We have to actively hunt for that. Right? I mean, I really look for pockets where we can create, we have to create that we won't get it

right. That's so true. That is so true. Yeah, well, I'll put all the links, I'll put some hyperlinks in the show notes, so people can click away and find you and the link to purchase your book, which is pretty important. You're selling that through Amazon exclusively for Amazon. Yeah. Yeah.

Yes. Yeah. There's, there's a couple of other places you can find it in the States. I don't know if it would translate, you know, kind of, you know, outside of the states. It's like, yeah, there's a couple of other But Amazon is the best one to kind of go and find I feel like that's kind of the pipeline for all the books in the world is through their

platform for just about everything, isn't it? Yeah,

I haven't really, I have been really pleased that some of like, my local boutiques have picked it up and some other local businesses, which has been really nice to kind of see local places showing interest. It's good. I know. Some people have strong feelings about Amazon.

Oh, that's great. Well, thank you so much for coming on. Gina. I've really loved meeting you and chatting with you. And thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and your experiences and all the best with everything I love. I love what you're doing. I love how you've combined these two completely different elements of your life into this. This book is amazing. And I love I love the ideas you've got coming up for the future. So yeah, thanks again.

Thank you so much. And can I just say I am so in awe and inspired by your vocal talents and your singing and I love honestly I mean, I when I found out you were a musician, I was like, Oh, can I just tell you that that is like the the thing that I want to come back in my next life and be because I love music. I have a terrible singing voice. If I do anything it would be to sing. So I'm just like, I'm so in awe of what you do. And I Oh, thank you.

That's lovely. We just say but I do have a belief a very long held belief that everybody can sing. We just not everyone knows how to use their instrument. So you never know if you're a good teacher. You might be right.

That I don't know here's what I will tell you about that when my kids were babies like before they could even string together sentences you I would like because I always have music going I love to sing. I always had lullabies for them like, like hand like curated CD mixes of lullabies for like babies. Right? But But I would be in the car and I would be singing and they would quit like they were strapped in their little car seats. They couldn't even say sentences, but they will be like, Mommy, No, mommy, stop. Mommy, no. Mommy stop. So I did feel like you know, out of the mouth of babes confirmation that I am not a vocal talent.

I got one the other day. I was singing along to a song and my seven year old said Ma'am, can you stop singing? You're wrecking the song. I pick your pardon. I said yes. Sure, mate. No worries. Right, right. I know. Yes.

There's nothing honest. Yes. Why would she want about two and I love that you're doing this because I think really, you know, just introducing women to things that other women are doing and you know, just everyone kind of I think we learn through stories and relating. Absolutely no, and I think it's so powerful. I just love that you're doing this. So thank you. Thank you for having me. Oh, it's

my pleasure. Thank you for coming on. That's my always think people thank me, but I got to thank you because you're the people that make it without you guys. There wouldn't be a podcast. Right. Thank you. Good on you. Thanks so much. I've had I've had lovely time to

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