A Facilitated Group Reading of Literature Around and About the Fat Experience
Do you have a stack of fat positive books you’re eager to read?
I know I do.
Actually, I’ve got two… a physical one and a mental one. And I bet you do, too.
So many amazing texts exist that were written by fantastic people unapologetically choosing to live their best fat lives! I want to read each and every one of them because these books are chock full of pearls of wisdom, stories that let you know you’re not alone out here, and analyses that can help you expand your fat politic.
But no matter how much I love and enjoy these books, sometimes I get stuck. I’ll finish it and have gotten so much out of it, but somehow feel like something is missing.
Or I won’t finish it because I just really need someone who understands what I’m talking about to talk about it.
And then there are those times that I’m straight up intimidated by the author, the subject matter, or what the reviews have told me I’m getting ready to get into.
So that’s why I’ve decided to launch the Fat Freedom Group Read.
What’s a Fat Freedom Group Read?
Well, it’s basically a Book Club… with a twist!
Instead of committing to join an ongoing thing, you only have to choose to read along with us for one book at a time.
We’ll have an easy-to-stick-with schedule that allows space for fitting the reading in while living your life, live group calls where we process what we’ve read in community, and an accompanying Discord chat server for connection in between the calls.
How does it work?
If you’re familiar with how traditional Book Clubs work, this is a bit like that. If you haven’t been a Book Clubber in the past, here’s what I mean:
I choose the text we’re diving into, set the pacing, and facilitate live discussion calls along the way.
You decide if you want to participate this read, get yourself a copy of the text (library copies, ebooks, and audiobooks are all valid!), read along with our schedule best you can, and show up for group calls if you’re available and have capacity.
Together, we digest, process, and move forward with knowledge into action.
What can you expect from the space?
Fat Freedom Group Reads tend to attract groups of people that are called to read these texts that can be really difficult to get through alone. They are folks who are interested in destigmatizing fatness, looking for community, and wanting to learn (and unlearn) from these books while being able to discuss them with other people doing the same.
The folks who come through the door are at different points in their own journey toward body liberation. This means that sometimes people could use words or ask questions that can feel harmful or hurtful, make negative judgments of themselves or others, or not understand how cultural conditioning or bias can show up.
Thus, I facilitate the space as a place of learning and am there to help guide the discussion in a liberatory direction. I am committed to holding space for exploration, critique, and analysis, but will not tolerate blatant harm or disrespect.
In turn, I expect that every person who decides to enter the space is prepared to take care of themselves best they can, ask for what they need, and work toward being kind so that we can all have the most productive conversation possible.
However, if you are someone who needs more individualized support, then this space may not be for you. I trust you to make the best decision for yourself. You can check out the FAQs for more information.
The text for this Group Read is “The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma” by Bessel van der Kolk
Wait. Is this really a fat positive book?
Well, no. Not at all.
However, I realize that this is a prime text that many people read to learn about how trauma lives in and affects the body. Though this book doesn’t expressly discuss fatness, fat experience, nor have a fat politic whatsoever (and may actually run counter to fat politics altogether), it’s still a useful foundational text because fat people live with and experience trauma.
Additionally, we’ll be joined by my friend and colleague, Sarah Mariann Martland of Trauma & Co. as a co-facilitator. They will be able to draw upon their work around humanizing trauma to offer a professional and nuanced lens to our discussions and critiques of how trauma is presented in the book.
The Reading and Live Call Schedule
We kick off our Group Read officially on Monday, January 17, 2022.
Our text for this Group Read contains 5 parts and 20 chapters. We will have 2 weeks to read each part (with part 5 broken into 3 sections), capped off with a live call biweekly on Fridays at 12pm Eastern Time for 90 minutes.
The schedule looks like this:
|Text to Read||Live Call Date|
|Prologue and Part 1||January 28|
|Part 2||February 11|
|Part 3||February 25|
|Part 4||March 11|
|Part 5-1||March 25|
|Part 5-2||April 8|
|Part 5-3 and Epilogue||April 22|
|Wrap Up Celebration||May 6|
The Fat Freedom Group Read is a virtual experience led by me, Tiana Dodson, Body Liberation Coach.
I’m a fat, queer, biracial (Black and Chamorro), parent, and certified holistic health coach who’s out to destroy the belief that you have to be skinny to be happy and healthy.
I’ve been fat my whole life. And with that experience, negative body image, constant dieting, and the work I’ve done to find my way into partnership with my own body as a base, I guide feminine-of-center people to reconnect with their bodies, destigmatize fatness, and learn about the harms of health being a measure of worth.
I’ve been doing this work and focusing on these issues for the past several years as someone suffering these same anxieties and access limitations. This is what makes me well practiced at finding grace and space in my own life using my resourcefulness and creativity. Let’s work together to find that for you.
This Group Read will be co-facilitated by Sarah Mariann Martland, Founder and Director of Trauma & Co.
Sarah Mariann Martland (she/they) is the Founder and Director of Trauma & Co., a collaborative online organisation supporting people with trauma and the complex intersections with being human. She is also a Trauma Support Practitioner, providing individual and community support and training to people living and/or working with trauma.
Sarah is a queer, fat, thirty-something, woman from NW England. She is a complex human who lives with her own complex experiences of trauma, neurodiversity and chronic illness. She is also a writer who advocates for humanizing the experiences of trauma, grief and the complexities of being human. All her work is based upon person-centered, consent-based, non-pathologizing, anti-oppressive practices and principles.
In an effort to be as financially inclusive as possible, I am asking you to make your monthly investment as a payment from the heart. That means you choose your price by checking in with yourself about what you have to offer, what is sustainable for you, and what feels right in order to be in this relationship with me.
I also have needs to sustain on my end because doing this work is neither free nor easy. What that means is that I have created several different price points for you that help me continue to bring my work to the world. No tier differs from the other as far as content or access is concerned, it is simply a sliding price scale to accommodate you and your financial situation.
So, first, I want you to make the conscious choice to take part. You get to choose if this is for you by imagining yourself being supported in this way and what possibilities may come from it. And if that feels good, then come join us!
Now comes your action step. Here is where you take an honest look at your financial situation and feel into what the best, realistic monthly contribution for you is. Whatever that number is, I’m not going to judge or question it. I trust that your contribution is made in good faith and I can’t wait to welcome you into the group!
C + A
- This amount will cover my costs for systems I will use to run the group and time I spend on administration. It is partially subsidized by the top tier.
C + A + F
- This amount will cover my costs for systems I will use to run the group and time I spend on administration, as well as compensate me for group facilitation.
- This amount will cover costs, admin, and facilitation, as well as help cover my costs in relation to members paying the minimum subscription amount.
*Split payment options are available for every tier.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know this space is for me?
Basically, this is for you if anything I said above totally resonates. But to be more specific:
You know this is for you if you’re ready to get off the dieting bandwagon but are having trouble doing so, know that you need guidance to get you moving in the right direction toward body acceptance, and want to surround yourself with like-minded fat positive friends to boot.
You’re also someone who is prepared to take care of youself best you can, ask for what you need, and work toward being kind.
What if I'm not fat?
Not a problem!
This space is fat-centered, which means that though my message is for any and everyone who wants to work toward body liberation for themselves and others, people in larger bodies will be given the most attention.
This doesn’t mean you will not be able to ask questions or participate.
This only means that fat people will have priority in this space because making space for the most marginalized of us makes more room for all of us.
Will there be affinity groups for people with marginalized identities?
As a multiply marginalized person, I understand the desire and need for affinity groups. However, since I tend to facilitate the Group Read alone, I do not have the staff or resources to facilitate affinity groups.
I'm in recovery from mental health issues and/or an eating disorder. Is this space safe for me?
First, it’s important for you to know that I am not a mental health or medical professional. I endeavor to stay in my lane and refer out when I am not.
However, this space is virtual and flexible, which means that you are given the runway and trust to take care of yourself.
If you have specific questions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s chat.
What kind of accessibility options are offered?
All meetings will be hosted via Zoom, a video conferencing platform. You will need internet access in order to attend the calls with your computer or mobile device.
However, if internet is not available in your area or at the time of the calls, Zoom provides both local and toll free phone numbers so that you can call in to meetings.
You will not be required to speak, share video, look at the screen during the call, or apologize for doing/not doing any of these things. I encourage you to show up in ways that are most comfortable to you.
Calls will have live captions that are auto-generated.
If you need other support not mentioned here, please let me know in advance by emailing me at email@example.com or by including that information in the space available on the check out page.
Calls will not be recorded.
What if I can't make the calls on Fridays at 12pm Eastern? Will calls be recorded?
In order to respect the privacy of group members, calls will NOT be recorded.
Thus, if you just can’t make it for whatever reason, you will simply miss the call. You are, however, welcome to come late and leave early if that works for you.
You will, however, have access to a Discord chat server that you can dive into at any time to share your breakthroughs, thoughts, and questions, as well as if you need support. Additionally, prompts for each chapter will be available there as well.
What is your refund policy?
I deal with the question of refunds on an individual basis. If you have further questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have a question that wasn't answered here. Help!
Still got questions? No problem! Send me an email at email@example.com. Let’s chat!