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Snippet of Unlocking Us: Brené with Sonya Renee Taylor on "The Body is Not an Apology"

Last Played: February 08, 2021
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In Dr. Brené Brown's own words: "This conversation was a big unlocking for me - especially when it comes to understanding the connection between how we think about our bodies and oppression."

In this powerful snippet, author, activist, and poet Sonya Renee Taylor tells the origin story behind the name of her digital media and education company, The Body is Not An Apology. Brené listens--uncomfortably sometimes--to Taylor's work around body shame, radical self-love, and social justice.
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Uh huh. Okay. I want to take you Thio. Ah, hotel room. So you're in Knoxville? Is that right? At the right place? Knoxville. You're in a hotel room. You're with your team. You all are preparing for a poetry slam. And you say we were black, white, Southeast Asian. We were able bodied and disabled. We were gay, straight, bi and queer. Well, what we brought to Knoxville that gear were the stories of living in our bodies and all of their complex tapestries. So you wind up in a conversation with your teammate Natasha, an early 30 something living with cerebral palsy and fearful that she might be pregnant. Natasha tells you how her potential pregnancy was most assuredly by a guy who was just a fling and all of her life was up in the air for her. For Natasha, she was abundantly clear that she had no desire to have a baby. And not by this person. And so somewhere in your career, many of the iterations you were a sexual health and public health service provider. So this background you right? This is what you write this background maybe notorious for asking people about their safer sex practices, handing out condoms and offering sexual health harm reduction strategies. Instinctually, I asked Natasha why she had chosen not to use a condom with this casual sexual partner with whom she had no interest in procreating. Neither Natasha nor I knew that my honest question, in her honest answer, would be the catalyst for a movement. Natasha told me her truth. My disability makes sex hard, already with positioning and stuff. I just didn't feel like it was okay to make a big deal about using condoms. You go on to say, when we hear someone's truth and it strikes some deep part of our humanity, our own hidden shames, it could be easy to recoil into silence. We struggle to hold the truths of others because we have so rarely had the experience of having our own truths held. Mhm this really this I didn't feel like it was okay to make a big deal out of using condoms because my disability already makes sex hard. This just pierced your heart. Yeah, tell me more. Yeah, when she said it, it was this moment where you know, I often have these experience. I mean, if they often, but often enough where my response is not a conscious response. It is not a like I'm reflecting on what you shared with me, and I'm sharing back with you. It is something outside of me that needs to say a thing. That's how it occurs to me. And so when she said that what came out of my face just with your body is not an apology, and I have never said those words. I never said them in that sentence had never been a thought I'd ever had before that moment. But there was something that needed us, not just Natasha, that needed me to know that there are ways that I have been giving myself away as a sorry for being in this body for being this person. And I could see my own being in Natasha's moment there, and there was something that wanted both of us to interrupt that trajectory. There was something that wanted to Tito halt that experience. Um, and it broke my heart, and it's one of those things where any time I tell the story, there's an audible gasp in the room because every time there's never a time I've ever told that story. And people do not go because there's something so painful about thinking about this person, not feeling entitled to their own safety, to their own sovereignty, to their entitled to their own pleasure in the way that they determine is best for them. And I think it's not just, oh, that person. I see this moment as that person. There's something in it. I deeply believe that when we hear it, we go, I've done it, I've done that. Oh, I see. I see myself in Natasha And that's what happened in that moment in that hotel room was I saw myself in Natasha, and there was something that wanted to Holt that experience from continuing to replicate itself. Andi, I really think that that's how this entire movement this work has spread is because that thing wants to be halted and something new wants to get created. God, it was. It's painful. I mean, it's it's really painful. I mean, I I wish I would have known that at 18 and 20 and I wish I would have known that Yes, like the times I said yes when I met, No, but also the Times I said no when I meant yes, but it's Do you know what I mean? Like, yeah, the times when we just the times when we don't honor us, that's really all it is is like, Oh, here are the ways in which I didn't hear the ways in which I betrayed my own truth. Um and and and, you know, like in the in the intersection of your work is all of the shame that comes betraying our own truth. Right? Um And so if there's ah, if there is, ah, a way of understanding our own bodies that can help us betray ourselves left so that we don't have to be mired in in the shame of that betrayal, then, yeah, like, what is that like? Let's do that. And I think that's that's what I think. Radical self love is old
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