Relationship Diversity Podcast

Exploring Relationship Diversity, Fat Justice, and Self-Acceptance with Tamara Pincus

September 28, 2023 Carrie Jeroslow Episode 67
Relationship Diversity Podcast
Exploring Relationship Diversity, Fat Justice, and Self-Acceptance with Tamara Pincus
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Episode 067:
Exploring Relationship Diversity, Fat Justice, and Self-Acceptance with Tamara


In today's episode, I have the honor of talking with Tamara Pincus, a licensed clinical social worker, certified sex therapist, and a fierce advocate for racial justice, fat justice, and LGBTQ rights. Our enlightening conversation journeys into the heart of relationship diversity, discussing Tamara's work with LGBTQ and non-monogamous individuals and the intriguing convergence of fat liberation and relationship variations. Prepare to broaden your understanding of relationship diversity, and learn how to appreciate and love yourself as you are.

Ever wondered about the rise of polyamory and diverse relationships? Tamara discusses the importance of open conversations about ethical non-monogamy and the necessity for personal growth and creative problem-solving in meeting our needs. We delve into how societal perceptions on relationships are evolving, particularly among the younger generations, and the potential benefits of exploring non-monogamous relationships.

Finally, we tackle the critical topic of body acceptance, discussing the power of reclaiming the term 'fat'. Tamara sheds light on how fat justice is tied with releasing shame and promoting self-love, reinforcing the need to make peace with our bodies. We underline the significance of self-acceptance and love in fostering deeper connections with others, a crucial aspect of relationship diversity.

This is Relationships Reimagined.

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Please note: I am not a doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist, counselor, or social worker. I am not attempting to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any physical, mental, or emotional issue, disease, or condition. The information provided in or through my podcast is not intended to be a substitute for the professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by your own Medical Provider or Mental Health Provider. Always seek the advice of your own Medical Provider and/or Mental Health Provider regarding any questions or concerns you have about your specific circumstance.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Welcome to the Relationship Diversity Podcast, where we celebrate, question and explore all aspects of relationship structure diversity, from soloamory to monogamy to polyamory and everything in between, because every relationship is as unique as you are. We'll bust through societal programming to break open and dissect everything we thought we knew about relationships, to ask the challenging but transformational questions who am I and what do I really want in my relationships? I'm your guide, Ker J. Bestselling author, speaker, intuitive and coach. Join me as we reimagine all that our most intimate relationships can become. Today's episode is part of our conversation series. I'm just one voice in this relationship diversity movement and it's important to bring more unique perspectives into the conversation.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Today I'll be talking with Tamara Pincus about her therapy work with LGBTQ and non-monogamous clients, as well as fat liberation and how it relates to relationship diversity. But first a little about her. Tamara Pincus is a licensed clinical social worker and a certified sex therapist who runs the Pincus Center, which offers therapy, coaching and sex education. She specializes in working with Kinky, polyamorous and LGBTQ clients. Tamara has been working in the field of sex therapy since 2011 and since then has built a practice with a team of 13. Tamara is passionate about racial justice, fat justice and LGBTQ rights. She also co-authored a book called it's Called Polyamory, coming out about your non-monogamous relationships with Rebecca Hills. She lives in Virginia with her partner, her kids, a friend and two pet snakes. Let's get into the conversation.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Hello everyone and welcome to this episode of Relationship Diversity Podcast. I am so excited for my guest today. Tamara Pincus is here. She runs the Pincus Center for Inclusive Treatment and Education, and one of the reasons I'm really excited about having Tamara on is because, if you've listened to any of my episodes, a lot of times I will talk about one of my tips for whatever you might be dealing with is to work with a professional and I emphasize to work with a professional who is supportive of diverse relationships, diverse lifestyles, diverse identities, and how important that is when Tamara is. Talk to us all about her center and her book, and I'm just so excited to have you here. Thank you for being here, tamara.

Tamara Pincus:

Thanks for having me. I'm super excited to be here.

Carrie Jeroslow:

So let's start with you telling us a little bit about yourself, how you got into the work that you do, what your inspiration is, and we'd love to learn more about you.

Tamara Pincus:

So I mean I think sexuality has always been one of my primary interests. I mean I think it is for a lot of people. I started, you know, really doing as much research as I could as a kid, reading more romance novels than it is at all reasonable. I came out as bisexual in high school and then I did some sex education stuff in college and then I helped start a BDSM group at my college. And I graduated from school and I was like I don't know what I'm going to do. And I was, you know, just doing admin work and trying to figure out what to do with my life.

Tamara Pincus:

And my parents were horrified that I hadn't gone to grad school. I'm still the least educated in my family. So they sent me to a job coach and the job coach is like what do you like to do? And me, with my early 20s rebellious attitude, was like I like to talk about sex. And she was like you could actually do that. And I was like, oh you know, I went and interviewed one of the local you know local sex therapists in the DC area and I followed her career track pretty exactly. She went to Catholic University, which at the time was one of the few social work schools that had a class on sexuality. I would not make that choice again, but I did.

Carrie Jeroslow:

What year was this?

Tamara Pincus:

So we had that conversation in 2001, and I went back to school in 2002. So quite some time ago Catholic has become actually much more conservative than it was, which is interesting. Like the social work school, particularly social workers tend to be pretty liberal and out there and accepting. But also Catholicism is a little bit less that, particularly with sexuality, and I didn't really think much about when I was there about how there was no LGBT group on campus. I got to the end of it.

Tamara Pincus:

I think I was feeling more sort of triggered around the abortion stuff at the time because the job I had while I was like trying to get myself ready to go to social work school was working on an abortion referral hotline, which is really powerful work and also makes you particularly incensed about the current state of the government and of the country.

Tamara Pincus:

Yes, it's pretty wild, because even then it was hard to get abortions for some people, particularly kids, who had to get parental consent or like there was just people who didn't have any money, which of course it was not going to get better if they had more kids. So then I started at this school that was very anti-abortion and had shipped in buses full of people every year for the anniversary of Roe v Wade. So went to school, did public mental health for seven years because there were no jobs in sex therapy, started a private practice, got clinical supervision and took a whole lot of courses about sexuality in order to become a sex certified and then went back around that whole process to get certified as a sex therapy supervisor. So I actually train people on how to provide sex therapy and I specialize in working with people who are involved in ethical, non-monogamy, bdsm and often LGBTQ populations. I really get to serve my people, which is really nice. It has its downsides can't go to the local dungeon, but it has its upsides.

Carrie Jeroslow:

But you're helping people.

Tamara Pincus:

Exactly, you're helping people, and you're helping people in a way that they really might have trouble getting help from other people, because other people don't understand the complexity of how relationships can be, and a lot of people have told me stories about telling their therapists that they're non-monogamous or interested in non-monogamy and just getting told that's terrible and you're crazy or that's the reason you have all these problems and having a lot of judgment. From when I started my practice, I've been very open about being non-monogamous. I sort of accidentally outed myself very early on to the president of the Greater Washington Society for Clinical Social Work. It was like at a party and I was just like my last weekend. I was with my boyfriend and then blah, blah, blah and then my husband blah, blah, blah. I didn't even realize who I was talking to. I did not know. So she was like you should do trainings on this. I did, so yeah, I've been doing this stuff a long time.

Carrie Jeroslow:

And you've really grown your practice. There's a lot of other therapists that work in your practice, right.

Tamara Pincus:

Yeah, we're at 16 right now. We're going to probably be down to 14 in. Some of the people who've been working with me for a while are going to start their own practice in the fall, which Actually I'm kind of happy about it. I think that they've grown to the point where it makes sense that they would want to do that.

Tamara Pincus:

You know they can't all work for me forever and I feel like I do a lot of mentoring people early in their career so they can go out there and like flourish on their own. So it started with just me. I worked just by myself for six years and then I hired one person, and then I hired more people and then in 2021, I hired somebody who I was like you know it would be really nice to have an admin and to like teach a class every once in a while and somehow from that we grew a whole education program.

Tamara Pincus:

So we teach classes on ethical nominogamy, BDSM, fat empowerment and fat dating and body justice, and also just basic dating skills how to use a dating app. How to do a first date. So it goes well, those kinds of things, you know. I think it's particularly helpful sometimes for people who are neurodivergent, who like need somebody to tell them what the unspoken rules are. It's been really, really going well.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Are these online courses?

Tamara Pincus:

Yeah, they're all done on Zoom. We started this when it was still pretty heavy pandemic times and we tried to do some hybrid classes where we had some people in person and some people on Zoom. It didn't really work very well, so we've gone to full Zoom and I think one of the things about that is that it's also really much more accessible for people in other places. It's not like there's a lot of places where you can get classes like this, and we also offer sliding scale and if people miss a class and they want to get it later, we offer recordings. We're working on getting an online platform up so people can just download classes on demand, because I feel like there's some things that you figure out. You want to do the thing. It would be really nice to have a class on it, like we've been thinking like a threesome class would be really good to do that way. Like you've decided, you want to have a threesome. How do you do this so it's not a disaster?

Carrie Jeroslow:

Yeah, those kind of things are because they are, I think, in the past hidden. You know it's like you've got to find your way, and what I love that you're doing so openly is you are bringing it into the light, which I think is really important to destigmatize diverse relationships. So I really appreciate that work, and if people wanted to work one-on-one with you, are they able to do that via Zoom For?

Tamara Pincus:

therapy, people need to be in a state where the therapist is licensed. So I'm licensed in DC, maryland, virginia. Then most of the people in my practice are in that area. But we actually have a few coaches on staff. I just hired Elizabeth Schaaf to do coaching.

Carrie Jeroslow:

We love Elizabeth Schaaf. We had her on the podcast. She's the best.

Tamara Pincus:

And we also have Rebecca Rose Vassie, who's been doing ethical nonmonogamy for many, many years, but also she does burlesque and she's done sex education for a very long time and she does a lot of work with people who are trying to figure out how to date, who need more individual work around that, so dating coaching staff.

Tamara Pincus:

And then we have Janelle and Fisher, who has training as an interfaith minister and impastoral counseling, but she also has a ton of training in like embodiment exercises and breathwork and Tantra. So people who want to learn how to really get in their bodies and being able to like really experience pleasure do really well to work with her, and she also does work with nonmonogamous couples around those kinds of things. To circle back around to Eli, one of the things that she's going to be doing in the fall is running a group for people who are in relationships that are mixed with a monogamous person and an ethically nonmonogamous person, so like monopoly relationships or relationships where people's relationship style is different to help people work out how they can stay in relationship, Even if the kind of relationship that person wants is different.

Tamara Pincus:

how can they sort of make peace with that and figure out what can work? Because I think a lot of people just tend to think those relationships are doomed and there's no hope for them. But there are a lot of people out there doing it who've been doing it for a long time. So we have to learn from the strategies that work and like give people the opportunity to stay with people that they love if they can make a work.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Yeah, you know, I think that there are so many societal and cultural programming on what relationships should look like that has to be unpacked. I mean, I'm looking at that within myself daily, sometimes hourly, of like. Is this a belief that I was raised that feels aligned with me, or is this just something that I took on who knows where, probably unconsciously, by watching like a Disney film when I was 11 or something, of how relationships should be? And what I love about that idea of coaching different relationship structure desires is that it allows the design, the unique design, of a relationship structure that works with the unique people involved and that can be really powerful. In your time working because you've been working in this area for a long time 20 years what have you seen as the evolution specifically in diverse relationships? How have you seen that evolve over the 20 years that you've been working with?

Tamara Pincus:

There's a lot of things. I think things have come out of the closet a lot more. A lot of people are talking more about the ethical, non-monogamy stuff that they're doing. When I started my practice, most people didn't know the word polyamory, and now most people know the word polyamory. It's not so far out there that nobody's heard of it and I think in the last few years you're seeing a lot of people decide that this is a thing that they want, and it seems to me to be possibly related to people being stuck at home with one partner during the pandemic, and I'm not like somebody who I haven't been stuck with all this time. That's just a pet theory.

Tamara Pincus:

I think one of the other things that I've seen is a real shift in the way that swinging has worked. When you look back at the past history of what swinging looked like and you look at a sex party now, the expectation of being a couple and the expectation that the sex happens when you trade partners is really shifting. You don't see a lot of that in the same way as you used to. I think people are more open to different configurations, which I think is helpful, because I feel like when you're doing the partner swapping thing. A lot of people end up having sex with people they don't really want to because their partner thinks one of the people in the other couple is hot. That's not good. I don't want anybody to ever have sex they don't want to have.

Carrie Jeroslow:

That just makes the wound a little deeper, yeah.

Tamara Pincus:

So, yeah, I think that there has been a shift in the poly community to be more diverse, or at least to acknowledge that diversity is a thing. I think when I started going to poly conventions also in 2011, it was like every single person was white, and I think that I'm not sure that it's 100% fixed, but I feel like more people of color are talking openly about having multiple relationships and are involved in the community, and I think that that makes a difference. And I do think also, you're seeing the rise of the black and poly separate black communities for ethically non-monogamous people. I think that ethical non-monogamy has really actually been there for a long time.

Tamara Pincus:

People have worked out agreements in their marriages and things have happened or in their queer relationships, which also had to be at the table, and I think they've always been there and always had to be secret. And I'm always hearing about people uncovering past things that happened, both cheating and things that people knew about and just didn't say anything.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Well, that was my. I grew up with a father who had an affair and it really broke up our family. So my response to this was everything being out in the open and being conscious about it and talking about it before it ever happens. That was empowering for me and in my journey in the poly world. What do you find in your work? That non-monogamy, ethical, non-monogamy polyamory what kind of people does that really work for, that really can make that feel good, feel successful, feel like it is a nourishing, safe experience. And successful I don't necessarily take as something that lasts a long time, I just call successful something that just feels like it was a really good experience.

Tamara Pincus:

I mean, I think that the really important thing for success in ethical non-monogamy is success, meaning you enjoy yourself and hate each other. At the end of it, it's really being able to work on your staff. Feelings are going to come up. If you have any abandonment issues, they are coming to the front. If you have any kind of attachment stuff avoid an attachment or anxious attachment that is all going to come up. But if you're willing to deal with it and have a conversation about what are the things that hurt you and how can you feel better and how can you support each other through that process, I think a lot of people have the capacity for it.

Tamara Pincus:

I think there's another piece of like is this the thing that you want? Like it's a lot of work, and so I think if you feel too overwhelmed with whatever else is going on in your life, it doesn't make sense to add another relationship. Like relationships are so much work. I mean and I think that is also a space for other forms of non-monogamy Like I feel like, if it feels like too much work, maybe just looking up with people every once in a while.

Tamara Pincus:

Or hiring a sex worker because they're not going to stick around and expect you to stay in touch. It is helpful in that way. It also can sort of move around some of the issues people have with. Oh my God, you're going to leave me for this person.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Right, right right, with there's no emotional connection, that it is an exploration sexually or physically, and that's all it is, that that might feel safer for people. But I think mainly what you're saying is that there are options and I think that a lot of times people want this kind of like. I want it exactly like this and there's no budging, where you can get some of your needs met, with it looking maybe a little bit different, which is something I think probably you could help people with in terms of like talking through it. Definitely the point you said about working on yourself, like yes, 100%, I'm waving like my pom-pom cheerleader, absolutely, but also coming up with creative solutions and understanding like really why you want to do it, to help you know what kind of creative solution could help you get some of that. Do you work with just single people? Do you work with couples? Do you work with triads?

Tamara Pincus:

We work with all of those, and we also have people on the team who work with teens as well, usually not around relationship issues. Usually that's more around identity stuff.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Well, I'm curious your perspective, because I know you have children, younger children. What do you see in this next generation in terms of their I guess perspectives on identity, relationships, sex? What are you seeing that's different from our generation?

Tamara Pincus:

I mean it's interesting and I feel like they're stated in the backup that teenagers are actually slower to have sex now than they were when we were young, which is interesting. A lot of teenagers are watching a lot of porn and learning about sex from porn, which is terrible, and we need to do a good job of like actually providing real sex education. The gender expansiveness in kids is kids are so used to having non-binary people and having trans people in their world and so it's interesting. I live in Virginia so there's all this drama with the governor putting out policies and saying that you are only allowed to call kids by the name that their parents tell you you can call them and those pronouns and like letting them use those facilities and those things. So I literally yesterday I have a daughter who's trans, so I was at back to school night being like how do we change her name in your system. So certainly I'm open to that, those things and also just the normality with how that was handled, like by the school and the other kids versus like the policies that you're getting from the governor. Clearly the kids are not like this girl should use the boys room, no, and I think as far as relationships, like clearly all the kids all know about non-monogamy.

Tamara Pincus:

There is still a lot of immaturity and they have trouble talking to each other about hard things. Teenagers mostly my kids, being raised by therapists do talk about everything. I do have one of my kids, who is Polly, who does have two relationships right now and he seems to be doing fine with it. There's a lot of processing but he's grown up in a house with a lot of processing. But I think, like he's always telling me stories about his friends who, like people, are cheating on each other and people are breaking up over the cheating and I think that's you know, and cheating in high school is like hands with somebody else or you kid somebody else, but at least in high school these days, yeah yeah, they're not in great shape to have multiple relationships but they know about it. So I think over time you will see that the younger generation I think we'll be doing more non-monogamy. I mean also like the 20 somethings are all over it.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Now I think you and I are around the same age, or like in the same generation, and even the evolution of LGBTQ in you know from like me, the 70s and 80s up to the 2023. I feel like relationship diversity is following in the footsteps of that. Do you find that?

Tamara Pincus:

I mean, I think that makes sense that in that like it's just starting to be more known now and like when I was coming out in the early 90s, it was, you know, much more edgy to be queer than it is now. So I do still think there are spaces where it's still very hard to be queer. I think it's very hard particularly for, like, male sexual fluidity, for instance, is just sort of coming to the light. Like I feel like you know, when I was in high school, everybody wanted to date a bi girl, so you'd make out with another girl. But we're only now getting to. Everybody wants to date a bi guy. So you can watch the video. Only now do we have this joy in our lives. Oh yes, I'm for it.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Yeah, absolutely. I want to move to the book that you've written. You've co-authored a book called it's Called Polyamory Coming Out About your Non-Monogamous Relationships. Can you tell us a little bit about that book?

Tamara Pincus:

So me and Rebecca came up with this idea that, like we were trying to figure out what is it that people really need as far as poly resources, because there wasn't that much out there at that time and we didn't see anything about coming out issues. So we were like, let's do it. And so we sat down and the first thing we did was write an outline and it was like okay, who do you come out to? Well, first you come out to yourself, and then you come out to your partners, and then you come out to your family, and then maybe you come out to your kids, or maybe you don't, or you know. Then you come out at work, like these are, and then like the community.

Tamara Pincus:

So those are basically the chapters of the book. It's pretty like sort of straightforward and I mean and we do start at the beginning with, like what polyamory is, just in case people don't have that background going in and, I think, made some pretty good suggestions. We think about, you know, making sure to like find a time where it's not like super difficult, like don't come out at Thanksgiving dinner, like, if you think people are going to lose their shit, do it in writing so that they can have their panic attack somewhere else, where they're not yelling at you.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Yeah, it's a big process coming out in any way from I guess you know. Yes, you talk about coming out to yourself first. That is a big part of it going through that time where working with a therapist or a coach is really helpful, because there's, I mean, we'll ask you, working with people who are in the process of accepting something about themselves that maybe they've judged or they're scared other people are judging. How do you help them initially start that process?

Tamara Pincus:

I think we first start with a lot of real normalizing, normalizing desire, normalizing, loving. Lots of people Like we get these messages that it's not okay to like love people and you should love both of your kids or all of your kids I have two, clearly I said those but like you're not supposed to love other adults and why I don't know why I keep trying this coming up in therapy, but I do the way in which we're taught that we have to only love one person. So once we have that person, often we shut down. Like you can't let that conversation go too deep, you can't let yourself really feel alive, because I feel like a lot of sexual desires, just about feeling really alive and connected and opening up to like let yourself really be out there.

Tamara Pincus:

And if you are scared, that well, but they might have feelings for me or I might have feelings for them. You have to sort of dull yourself down a little bit. And I think also women do this a lot, because men are predatory, they've been trained to be predatory, so, like you're always trying to like not be too shiny because you don't want them to come on to you or come after you. So I feel like there's also this piece of like really letting yourself be free. There are people for whom being truly free means you only want to have sex with one person, and that's fine, but I think, even for monogamous people, letting yourself really be open and have deep relationships is really powerful, and being in a world where you are surrounded by people who love you, where you have a community and a family of choice or of birth either that, like you, can really feel safe with.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Yeah, tamara, that's really powerful and hits me like right in my heart because I've always felt like I've had such capacity to love. I really just this is not healthy. But I mean, there's a part of me is like if I could just take the world's pain away and bring love to every heart in the world, like that I mean it's too much for one person. It's too much for one person.

Tamara Pincus:

We all do it together, right, right.

Carrie Jeroslow:

So I've given up that I need to do that, but like instead helping people to heal those beliefs that say love is limited and I need to love in a certain way, because this is what I've been shown instead of, and sometimes it's the environment we grew up in that was you know it. Just it's just learned experience and then we take that on as our own. So it's really breaking what we've learned, whether from family or culture or society, and choosing another way and having someone like Tamara help us to do that, it's so powerful because I do believe that if we all opened ourselves up to that experience and yes, I can feel that I think in past relationships where I had this judgment of I am with this person so I should not feel the spark that I feel with this other person and that did feel like a part of me was being squashed and I wasn't able to be my true self and that kind of resistance and then the numbing I feel like that creates depression and sadness and lost living.

Tamara Pincus:

Yeah, I mean, and I think for a lot of people and I know I felt this way that like I felt like a bad person when I would have a crush on somebody else when I was in a monogamous relationship, I was like I am bad and even if I confess I'm sorry, you know I also have feelings for this other person I won't act on it, it will be okay. I promise that to do anything, I was ashamed and we don't need that.

Carrie Jeroslow:

I feel like a lot of your work is about releasing shame around so many aspects. Yeah, and I feel that you know what I've talked to you about and what I've read about. Fat justice is a big part of releasing shame. Can you talk a little bit about your work in that?

Tamara Pincus:

The fat justice work that that I've done has really been basically comes straight out of my own stuff. I mean, I definitely, you know I'm a fat person. I've always been a fat person and I really got the message growing up that if you're fat you're unlovable.

Tamara Pincus:

And if you can't make yourself thin, then like that is a, you know, moral failing. If you were good enough, if you starved yourself enough and exercised enough, you would look the way that society wants you to look, and obviously for me it didn't work. Obviously, for most people, trying to make themselves thinner only makes themselves fatter. That's where the data lies 95% of the time. So one of the things that that brings on is this sort of you know, there's this cultural stigma about fatness and a lot of people, when they choose a partner, are choosing a partner based on also on like societal thoughts and like status, and so there's been this long history of fat people dating in but being a secret. So like somebody will date you but they won't go out in public with you, and they'll like pretend they don't know you if they see you on the street, but you know they're sneaking in your window at night. So I think one of the things that we've really been working on is like how do we help fat people accept themselves, help people see fat people as attractive, which, frankly, is not that hard. Like BDW is way up there in the porn searches that exist. I feel like black, I feel like big men haven't gotten as much positive press. We need more. More like fat men are hot, definitely. I feel like I feel like the bears are trying.

Tamara Pincus:

So you know, at the center we have done classes specifically for fat people on dating. We've done classes on body image to just sort of help people make peace and work towards acceptance. I feel like what we want to do is sort of start with making peace with your body and just you know, kind of tolerating it and then accepting it and then, if you can get to love that is what we should all strive for. So Nia Renee Taylor writes a really good book about the body is not an apology, which is a really good book for like helping work through some of the feelings around fatness and learning to accept yourself as being worthy of joy and pleasure, like right now.

Tamara Pincus:

Yeah, so we've done those things. We actually ran a fat pool party over the summer, which was great, and we will probably do that again. But a lot of those have been sort of popping up around the country, like to just have people be unapologetically fat in a bathing suit, because I feel like we get so much of you know, you have to have that beach body and you have to look good in a bikini, and you must starve yourself in the spring so you can look good in the bikini. And so for us to just be like we're going to go and put on that bikini and sit in the pool and it does not matter, it can be really powerful. It can be very powerful.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Definitely, definitely, and I love that there's a reclamation of the word fat.

Tamara Pincus:

Yes, yes, I have been criticized on some of the professional listservs for using the word fat by people using the freeze morbidly obese. No, fat is better, but it is. It's being reclaimed, in the same way that the word queer has been reclaimed and people who can't say fat. That word is dirty and that word is just the most obvious descriptor. My body looks like, so like. If you can't say what my body looks like, what does that say about how you feel about me?

Carrie Jeroslow:

Yeah, yeah, you know, and I mean I have, I think about just body image and I have wounding around that from my mom, from her mom, I like traced the way that they talked about their bodies, the way they felt about their bodies and that's why I know when we first met and you used that word fat and it definitely like had a I had a reaction to it honestly and I told you it was like it was. I had never heard it reclaimed in the way that I'm hearing queer reclaimed. It's a reclamation. It's saying this is who I am and I accept and I love myself and it's, it is really powerful. I am thankful for that interaction that you and I had at dinner that one night because it got me. It really got me thinking about my own wounding around that word and took me on a journey to do healing around it.

Tamara Pincus:

Yeah, I mean, I think this fat stigma is so woven into our culture that a lot of the time we don't even notice it, like it is just so clear to everybody that the best way to be is smaller, that like when you say things about it, people just don't even acknowledge it, as this is a way of expressing stigma. But there are spaces that I go into, like the gym, which I love to work out. Weirdly, I'm the 350 pound woman at the gym with the glorifying obesity shirt on that whole space. Most people are there to avoid looking like me. I am the embodiment of their fear and so when I go in there and I have fun and it makes me happy and I'm like dancing around and smiling, I feel like that does just a little to maybe undo this idea that they have that being fat is the worst thing you could be. Wow, like.

Tamara Pincus:

I feel the goal of life for me is to be happy, to experience pleasure and try to make a world where as many people as possible can experience as much pleasure as possible. So that also includes social justice and maybe fixing the world being on fire. But I think we really start from pleasure and this pleasure activism. A great book, definitely.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Okay, I'm going to tag that in the show notes.

Tamara Pincus:

Yeah, adrienne Marie Brown, because I think one of the things that we talk about is how. That it talks about is how pleasure is seen as this thing that you're not supposed to seek when you're doing something like when you're working or when you're working on an issue, but pleasure is the thing that will make us want to continue working on that issue. And there's a phrase in that book that is a quote from somebody else. I made myself a little poster of it and it says I have a big belly and I love my belly and it's just, it's like such a radical thought because most of the time, like that's where the fear around fatness centers. It's like, oh my God, what if I have a belly? So what if I have a belly? Exactly, I could just rub on it like the Buddha.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Yeah, and find contentment. Well, that's my question is do you think it's possible to experience pleasure if you aren't able to accept yourself?

Tamara Pincus:

I mean, I think you can have moments. I also think there's this idea that acceptance is like place you get to. We never get there Right, you never 100% get there. Like I'm in here talking about loving my belly and petting it and I'm like there are days where I still am. I really fucking wish I was dead. I wish I could like rip this belly off of me. I wish that I felt like I could get weight loss surgery and be thin without shitting my guts out for my life, but because it would be lovely to walk around in the world and be treated well.

Tamara Pincus:

So even I don't accept myself 100%, but now I accept myself most of the time and I feel like what we're doing is working towards accepting ourselves most of the time or more of the time. And so I feel like you can experience pleasure in a moment, and it may be that moment you're actually accepting it yourself. It may be that moment that you're sufficiently distracted that you aren't thinking about yourself. Like you may be in a moment of I don't know, like I just jumped in the pool and it feels amazing and you just like feel the water on your skin and you're able to feel that joy, even if you're not thinking, you know I'm great. You're probably not thinking about yourself.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Like you're just in the moment kind of in a sensory place, feeling it on your body. That kind of pleasure yeah.

Tamara Pincus:

I think it's worth. I think it's worth striving for acceptance. I think hating yourself will bring nothing but misery, Because if you hate yourself, you're not going to do the things to make your life better. And I think we do so much to shame people into doing better. And why, if you're such a terrible person, why would you do work to make things better for this person that you hate?

Carrie Jeroslow:

Exactly Right, which is again that self-work that we take on to bring more joy into our lives. And yeah, that's all really powerful stuff. I love it. I'm just having just so much of a like big aha kind of body moments with all the things that you're saying. So, thank you. If people want to connect with you on your classes, on your services, maybe on Eli's coaching, your other coach how is the best way for people to get in touch with you?

Tamara Pincus:

So the best way to get in touch is to go to my website, wwwtomarapinkiscom. You can sign up for our mailing list and then you'll hear about all of our classes and stuff. You can write contact at wwwtomarapinkiscom if you want to set up a coaching or a therapy appointment, or you can also just like look at the list of all of the staff who are there and pick whoever feels like they would be somebody you want to talk to, and then you can just rate them directly.

Carrie Jeroslow:

That's amazing, Tamara. Your work in the world is so powerful. Thank you for being here and talking about all that we talked about. I really just feel very honored to know you and have you in the circle of amazing experts that are part of this relationship diversity movement. So thank you for being here.

Tamara Pincus:

Yeah, thank you so much for having me. It's really been a pleasure.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Thanks so much for listening to the Relationship Diversity podcast. Want to learn more about relationship diversity? I've got a free guide I'd love to send you. Go to wwwrelationshipdiversitypodcastcom to get yours sent right to you. If you liked what you heard, please subscribe to the podcast. You being here and participating in the conversation about relationship diversity is what helps us create a space of inclusivity and acceptance together. The more comfortable and normal it is to acknowledge the vast and varied relating we all do, the faster we'll shift to a paradigm of conscious, intentional and diverse relationships. New episodes are released every Thursday. Stay connected with me through my website, carriejeroslowcom, Instagram or TikTok. Stay curious. Every relationship is as unique as you are.

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Love and Acceptance of Fatness
Embracing Self-Acceptance and Reclaiming 'Fat