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How I stopped hating my body (finally).

This post is part of our summer series on the Womanly Arts, in honor of our upcoming course, Virtual Pleasure Boot Camp! Alyce, a Mastery Grad from NYC, joins us to share her inspiring story of how she transformed her relationship with her body, self-care, and confidence, through her practice of the Womanly Arts!

Alyce, Age 29, New York City –
Researcher and Health & Body Love Coach

alyce-featureI began this journey as a woman crippled by fear. As a woman whose decisions were driven by guilt and shame, who self-isolated, who deemed myself unable to take the reigns of my own life.

Like many women, I seemed “fine” on the outside – with few in my life who understood that all this was going on below the surface.

I was highly functioning, but completely unfulfilled, finding myself in this deep well of perpetual funk.

My relationship with my body was toxic; I had never known any other way.

I came from a family of body shame, racking up years of critical messages. I remember in 10th grade, a relative bought me Slim Fast for my birthday – and she really thought she was being helpful. But experiences like that just taught me to hate my body.

Before coming to the School of Womanly Arts, I had sort of given up on feeling comfortable in my own skin. I had been through almost 15 years struggling with disordered eating, fad diets, and deadly friend-comparison.

Like so many other women, I “tried everything” to get myself happier or healthier.

I was constantly hopping on new trends. I’ve been vegetarian, vegan, raw, paleo, and pescatarian. I’ve tried yoga and pilates and stuffed pounds of kale into morning smoothies.

The problem was that at the end of the day, I just didn’t love myself enough to stop hurting myself.

Growing up I was taught that as a woman I come third – God first, family and friends second, and then me. Self-love? Self-care? They were self-indulgent. They were inefficient. They were completely foreign to me.

When I heard about Mama Gena’s from a friend a couple a years ago, I was curious, but seriously skeptical:

I thought, “It’s expensive, and seems like a weird secret club – I mean, what do they DO anyway?” Combined with their seemingly endless penchant for pink, I was not sold.

Fast forward to six months ago, when I finally said yes – Yes to myself, and yes to what seemed like a slim chance that this work could really help me.

Since then, this work has filtered into every area of my life, but the biggest shifts have been the deepest ones:

I have revolutionized how I care for my body, reinvented my internal dialogue, and reclaimed a profound confidence in who I am.

I’m honored to get to share some of my story with you here today, along with the ways I’ve personally integrated the Womanly Arts into my daily life.

After you read, I’d love to connect with you in the comments!

The Art of Owning Your Own Beauty

Really absorbing and learning to live the Art of Owning My Own Beauty was worth the tuition alone.

And the art is just that – owning MY beauty. Not society’s idea of beauty. Not my (well-intentioned) family’s idea of beauty. Not my self-loathing version of beauty.

It’s taking full ownership in the beauty of every single inch of this big bold beautiful body, exactly as it is.

And maybe even more importantly, it means owning the beauty of who I am, how I think, how I show up for the people I love, how I strive to contribute to this world, and every piece of that internal language.

Here are a few tips for how I foster the experience of feeling and living beautifully, on a daily basis:

  1. Dance often. Dancing is my go-to, to get out of my head and into my body. Anywhere, anytime. I can lock myself in the bathroom for five minutes at work, crank some Jill Scott in my headphones and remember who I am as a woman.
  2. Play more. I remember going to the clothing store in month three of the Mastery Program and looking at everything differently. Every whim I had could be fulfilled for no other reason than having fun and feeling beautiful in the dressing room. This goes for just about every environment – I’ll admit to frolicing around the park and taking big handfuls of leaves to my face just to smell them.
  3. Rethink limitations. I had always imposed so many restrictions on myself. I couldn’t wear a bathing suit in front of other people, I couldn’t show my arms in public, I had to hide any eating in public lest people point at the fat girl. Well, bare arms are my favorite now, and you’ll be hard pressed to find me anxious and starving at any party.

 

The Art of Sensual Pleasure

alyce1Wow, just that phrase alone – “The Art of Sensual Pleasure” – triggered my running-away response six months ago. I mean, we’re not supposed to talk about that, are we??

Now, I understand that this Art means taking advantage of every amazing sensation that comes with living in this incredibly gorgeous human body.

Really, again, it all comes down to self-love. Deserving pleasure. Deserving to feel good. Deserving to nourish myself, feel joy, feel relaxed, feel taken care of.

This Art is all about putting yourself first, and choosing pleasure over pain. I used to think Sensual Pleasure was all about sex, but that’s only one aspect of this Art.

Waiting in the rain at the bus stop? Pleasurable. Longing for a vacation? Pleasurable. It’s a beautiful twist on perception.

But I didn’t always feel this powerful about my situation. The more I heard Mama Gena talk about it, the more I flirted with it, and the more I watched other women experiment with it… I realized how incredible self-care and the pursuit of pleasure, is. I mean, it feels REALLY good. Who knew?

It takes courage to decide to take pleasure. Here are a few ways I practice this art, on a daily basis – these are small moments that add up to a completely different experience of living in my body . . .

  1. Beautiful nourishment. I feed my body fresh and gorgeous home-cooked food. If I go out to eat with my friends instead, I eschew any guilt and partake in that experience, just as self-satisfied. I always make an effort to actually take my lunch break, or sit down at home and really enjoy my food and all the delicious things it’s doing for my body.
  2. Affirmation. Sometimes I just need to hear that I am beautiful, I am whole, I am important, I am doing good work, I have plenty to give, and it’s completely unnecessary to wait for another person to come along and read my mind. I write these and other saucy notes on stickies and leave them around the house, repeat them to myself on smelly subway rides, and even write them on my mirror in lipstick (which currently reads “You are delicious”).
  3. Moving. Curious about what my body could do, I started taking sensual movement/dance classes with some other women in this community. I was surprised by how incredible and tapped-in they made me feel. It was like my body was always supposed to move that way but I’d never let myself bypass the anxiety of getting myself into the room.

 

alyce2

The Art of Whetting My Own Appetite

The Womanly Arts are connected, fluid, and related – one leads to the other, and back again.

My desires for my life started rocking steady once I was experiencing a higher level of self-care and self-love.

I was growing my stock in myself, and everyone around me could tell I was in a better place. I began to heal my relationship with my body and love it for the incredibly wise and beautiful vessel that it is. I began to fully acknowledge my vast range of emotions by embracing the tools I learned from Mama Gena. And that led to a whole lot of clarity about my desires around my professional life.

For me, a big part of embracing my appetite – in the deepest sense of the word – was giving myself permission to want what I want.

In other words, The Art of Whetting Your Own Appetite means believing that you actually deserve what you want.

When I really got this, not just intellectually, but when I really felt this truth, unbelievable things started happening.

The funny thing about authentic confidence is that when you start owning up to what you want, people pay attention.

First, I got clear about my desire to be a health and body love coach. I have multiple degrees in nutrition and health, but have often felt ashamed of my field because I felt like my body didn’t match the work. I’ve watched myself accept jobs with little to do with my passion because I knew I’d be less likely to suffer judgment.

But Mastery helped me realize that all of things I’d seen as “missteps” or “mistakes” were actually things that would allow me to more authentically help the exact audience I was designed to reach.

This past April, I put out a desire in this community that I wanted to attend a particular health coaching program. I had no idea how I could pay for it, but I knew it was the right next step, and stood in that desire. A few weeks later, a woman in class had read my desire on the online form and approached me with HER desire to gift me the entire coaching program. I was so shocked by the love and generosity – things like this don’t happen! But as another Sister Goddess said to me, “in this community, they do.”

alyce-aishaThere is such an important connection between Appetite and Sisterhood. And that’s why the courses at the School work.

The world we live in does not make the Art of Whetting Your Own Appetite easy – it requires incredible vulnerability, questioning, and emotion.

When you take up this process in a community full of like-minded, huge-hearted women — that desire is nurtured to grow, and then it actually has the ability to take off.

I know for me, reaching out for and receiving support was a big edge for me. I used to try desperately to be the strong, silent type. I thought there was this weird dignity in it, but all it left me feeling was depressed and alone.

Sisterhood and community have been one of the greatest gifts – and I access them often. I’ve learned there’s no shame in needing/wanting to be seen and heard by another human being, and have your journey witnessed.

I reach out for help and support and it’s always waiting there to steady my hand.

alyce3

What I really want you to know . . .

I used to read these posts. Part of me was always a little inspired, but a larger part of me balked at them, thinking they had to be written by the staff, or at least disingenuous. It seemed like a “drink the kool-aid” situation.

It’s easy to be skeptical; it’s easier to accept less. It’s easy to stay stuck and miserable. And I was amazing at it.

For a long time, paying money and doing work like this never would have crossed my mind. I really believed that people who seemed happy were secretly broken at the end of the day, just like me. They were just better at faking it.

I wouldn’t have said it then, but all of this cynicism was just a manifestation of fear. Fear that happiness actually was attainable, and if it was, then I must be a failure. A failure for not being happy, for not trying hard enough.

And the truth is – Mama Gena and the Womanly Arts are not magic, and this work isn’t just a 24/7 pleasure-fest. At all. Life can be incredibly hard and incredibly raw . . . and that’s part of what makes it so beautiful.

We all have hard days, really hard days, whether you have tools or not. But now, I’m able to reach for things that move me through those days, that honor and celebrate all of me (not just the pretty, shiny parts). Now, I can invite other women to witness my lows and love me up exactly as I am while I’m in them.

Despite the avalanche of pink feathers, there is real and courageous work being done here.

I have always struggled with being truly heard and seen. Part of me fantasized about it, but deep down I was terrified of it. I always felt that if the people in my life knew what was really going on inside me, they would judge me and leave me.

I jumped at the opportunity to write this post, but not long after had a major freak out. It’s one thing to tell this story in the safe container of The School of Womanly Arts’ classroom, but on the internet, with my name and picture attached? What if people see it? What will they think? What if my family sees it? What if they hate me?

And then I realized this is part of it. Being afraid of being seen is being afraid of my potential. Being afraid of being heard is being afraid of the power of my voice.

Thank you for being here, for seeing me. This very post is me owning my story, owning my body, owning my voice. And this is exactly the kind of inner language I have on my side now, with the help of the Arts.

Now, I want to hear from you – it would mean so much to connect with you in the comments! Have you, too, struggled with body image, self-care, confidence? What’s worked for you? And, what’s one way you can love yourself up today?

This summer series is our way of pre-partying for Virtual Pleasure Boot Camp, which is currently open for enrollment! Boot Camp is a distance-learning program that takes a woman deep inside each of the Womanly Arts. It includes live teleclasses with Mama Gena, carefully crafted weekly exercises, and a thriving online community. Click here for all the details!

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71 Comments / Leave a Comment

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  • Carly April 26, 2016, 8:08 pm

    Thank you for your honesty…you are a good storyteller. I struggle with self-love so badly….I want to cry just thinking about it. Tied to that is poor self-worth and an inability to trust myself. I was raised by a narcissistic mother who treated me with condescension, lack of empathy and affection, and constant criticism. I’ve never felt good enough in her eyes (and never will be). Thankfully she is not involved in my life very much, I only contact her on my terms.
    Consequently I am struggling to feel worthy of love (mine and others). And I am terrified at the thought of someone loving me (romantically). I know I am missing out and not living up to my potential but I can’t seem to overcome the lasting effects of my upbringing. From a young age I sought the comfort of food and books. I’ve tried almost every diet in the book. I’ve been fit and incorporated fitness into my life, but the good feeling hasn’t been enough for me to sustain the behaviour.

  • stacy January 13, 2016, 11:02 am

    I’m so glad I took the time to read this. I love to read and write it’s my escape and in a moment of silent despair I found myself looking at books in a thrift store forcing a smile through another day offering silent prayer for guidance to anyone that might be listening. That’s when I found mama Gena’s book. I put it back on the shelf but something told me otherwise. I was kind of on the right track but mama’s wise words and women like you Sharing your experiences has helped me with my feelings of guilt, hating my body and insecurities. I’m not ‘there’ yet and I can’t afford a course but I follow you all on line, I re read the book and practice loving myself. Thankyou for being there, you have helped me to save myself. 🙂

  • Maria Stenvinkel January 12, 2016, 10:40 pm

    Alyce – you are beautiful, brave and extremely inspiring! I actually got tears in my eyes from reading your post (doesn’t happen that often). Keep shining your light!

  • SG Kyra-ahhhh-city (aka kyraocity) September 23, 2015, 6:27 pm

    You look, sound and are amazing! thanks for your sharing!!! And your self caring!! It inspired me today!!

  • Deb September 13, 2015, 6:36 pm

    thank you Alyse for your beautiful words. I admire that you are moving in your journey and have so much courage. I have taken Mastery two times and have not made the connections you have made. I will re read your post and use it to understand how to embrace my body. I know I need to actually use the Tools but think I have been afraid to. Your post is an inspiration

  • Yadila Angel Gonzalez September 11, 2015, 10:13 pm

    My dear Alyce Thank you for sharing your encouraging story , reminding us that when start loving ourselves profoundly , every little thing about us, looking for the goodness we have rather than criticizing, we can be surprised of the huge potential we have to overcome our fears and be able to do what we never did before. Our journey can be a beautiful one and we can enjoy even the simple and little things in life, we can please ourselves without waiting for others to do it. Life is absolutely a great opportunity to grow, to love and share.
    I will see you soon in Miami.. Sending Our my love …

  • Rivky September 10, 2015, 11:19 pm

    Alyce, I have no words for you, while I’m reading your post tears are dripping your talking to me!! And I was actually in mastery with you, cheering you on, as I’m writing I’m telling myself self sabotage is over, I know it’s murder , but I know with the support of sisters I can do it!!! I can’t thank you enough for being so brave and sharing and inspiring me!! I hope u read this post and would love to have a chat with you if u can reach out to me at 914-776-8435
    Love, Sg rivky

  • Peggy Cushing September 10, 2015, 6:15 am

    Good job Alyce, such strength to put this out there. I have felt a lot of what you have felt and think our families had similar messages. You are quite pretty and I know in NYC this is hard to feel… I grew up there and never felt worthy.
    Good luck, I am not suffering anymore (my path led to Buddhism) but I wanted to comment so you got some nice reinforcement

  • SG Scarlet Sparkle September 10, 2015, 12:28 am

    Beautifully written.
    I have really enjoyed following your story since that self care demo in class. That demo helped me a lot. I was so inspired by your graduation story and this story has really helped too. Congratulations on your mastery of the womanly arts. Thankyou for having the courage to share this story with everyone.
    See you in Miami! X

  • Heather September 9, 2015, 9:54 pm

    I’m so happy for you! You deserve it!

  • Anna September 9, 2015, 9:03 pm

    Wow. That was an incredible demonstration of “how it’s done”. You ROCK. And these two lines are worth their weight in gold (as are YOU!) “Being afraid of being seen is being afraid of my potential. Being afraid of being heard is being afraid of the power of my voice.” You just articulated what I keep rolling around in my mind lately!!! Those lines are as profound to me as Marianne Williamson’s, “Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” Girl, you are going places!!

  • SG Hannah September 9, 2015, 7:46 pm

    Absolutely blown away by your power, eloquence, and transparency, and beauty. The best way to start my day. So inspired. I loved hearing you speak at graduation. Your radiance is off the charts.

  • Claudia September 9, 2015, 5:57 pm

    Hello Alyce,
    Thank you for sharing, timing is great for me.
    I seem to come up against similar limitations and all the areas your spoke about here, make sense and resonate with me so strongly today.
    I am scared of my voice, no role models so been stuck in how to move forward, your post is helping me make a step…forward. Adoring my in every way, every day and loving how I express myself.
    Thank you xoxo

  • Norma September 9, 2015, 2:28 pm

    Alyce – thank you so much for sharing your story…it’s such an inspiration! I know all too well what it’s like to be “fine on the outside”, to rack up years of critical messages about my body from well-intentioned family members and friends, and to struggle with being heard and seen. Your story really empowered me to take action! Thanks again!

  • Helena September 9, 2015, 9:18 am

    So wonderful to hear of your transformation (in how you feel) and how hopeful. I’ starting boot camp this month and I’m very much looking forward to it, I so need it!

    I’m 37 and my husband recently had an affair with a woman who is 9 years younger than me. This has brought all of those messages I was brought up with to the surface: as a woman you have value as long as you are young and beautiful. I understand the gift in this; the opportunity to heal these beliefs and I think with the support of other women wanting to empower them selves, just like do, it will be so much easier.

    Thank you. Love to all. And can’t wait to start.

    Helena xxx

  • Cindy September 9, 2015, 9:18 am

    Your post made me cry. I’ve starved myself, (3 week fast was my longest attempt), binged after that, dieted, run marathons, weight trained, pushed through pain, just to fit into a particular dress or suit only to gain all the weight back again and hating my body the entire way. I’ve been working with an acupuncturist lately and she constantly reminds me that life isn’t about far extremes, all or nothing, feast or famine,but rather, about finding a balance that sustains us. Thank you for sharing your experience and hope with us. I’ll be starting boot camp soon and hope to learn more to try and find balance and joy again in this thing they call life.

  • Suzanne September 9, 2015, 7:11 am

    As a mama of three daughters, I want to thank you for risking to share. Love on!

  • Janet September 9, 2015, 7:09 am

    This was perfect for me to read tonight. You speak so eloquently. I especially was moved by your sharing you have trouble being seen and heard. Yes, this is something I also struggle with. Thank you for sharing so beautifully and being brave to step forward and shine your light!

    Beautiful!!

  • Alyce September 9, 2015, 2:24 am

    You’re so right – it really is a masterful sense of freedom that sinks in. Blaze on shall we both 😉

  • SG Kalyani September 9, 2015, 1:03 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your story, Alyce, you are on FIRE! I too, have struggled with self love issues and body image. I’ve come a long, long, way, yet it wasn’t until completing the SWA Mastery Program 2015 that the importance of loving who I am, and self care, reeeeally sunk in to my very soul. My life has completely changed, and practicing the tools I’ve learned, every single day, is key to maintaining this sense of freedom I’ve acquired. My favorite message was: ” Being afraid of being seen is being afraid of my potential. Being afraid of being heard is being afraid of the power of my voice.” So true! Thank you, Blaze On!

  • Leelee September 9, 2015, 12:32 am

    I loved reading your story and a window into how you are rocking the tools in your day-to-day. It was such a pleasure to witness your journey in Mastery!

    • Alyce September 9, 2015, 2:23 am

      Thank you thank you SG <3

  • Annette September 9, 2015, 12:26 am

    What an inspiring post Alyce!! I too struggled with body image for a long time. I’ve been smaller and I’ve been bigger and after taking Mastery, I can truly say that I love myself exactly the way I am. I’m 53 and 174 lbs of utter fun, bliss and enjoyment!! Thank you SWA for making me love myself like no man or other person could. A gift that I’m grateful to have.

    • Alyce September 9, 2015, 2:22 am

      Ah yessssss FF “174 lbs of utter fun, bliss and enjoyment!!” Digging your body love 🙂

  • JB September 9, 2015, 12:23 am

    Love this! Definitely can relate to the skepticism haha. You just gave this very shy person the courage to post on the community after such a long time – thank you! x

    • Alyce September 9, 2015, 2:21 am

      Yay! Welcome! Haha I hear you – and I’m glad this stuff is real.

      • JB September 9, 2015, 1:18 pm

        Wish there was a bit more action on the forums 🙁 Sad to have posted today and hear nothing back. Is there a Facebook group or anything?

  • Liz September 9, 2015, 12:04 am

    What a beautiful journey and well written post, Alyce!

    I’m on a similiar journey, working full time in the fitness industry and just getting started coaching women to love their bodies and lives. I held myself back because like you I felt that I needed to look a certain way to be authentic. I’ve had a beautiful turning point in just reading Mama Gena’s books with feelings toward my own body and beauty which has helped me to finally bite the bullet and take on my first coaching client. What I’m learning is that we have so much to offer others when we’ve walked down the same road and are brave enough to find a way to love and accept our bodies as is.

    Thank you for sharing your story. Lots of love to you!

    • Alyce September 9, 2015, 2:20 am

      Wow! Congrats! Taking your first client is such a huge step. Excited to be on this journey with you 🙂

  • Sylvie Trahan September 8, 2015, 11:53 pm

    Alyce, thank you so much for taking a risk and putting yourself out there! I am deeply moved by your honesty! I needed this today!!! To tell you the truth, I’m actually crying as I’m writting these words.
    I’m 53 years old, surrounded by people I love and still, feel isolated and unfulfilled. I dare not express my pain because I do have a great life and am truly blessed in many ways. I play my role in life so well, half the time I don’t really know what I want. Every now and again I get glimpses of my “essence”, untainted by expectations, old patterns of behaviour, limiting beliefs, self-doubt and guilt. And I want MORE!
    I have started practicing the Womanly Arts and I can see how transforming and, I have to admit, how scary and challenging it can be. I know in my gut that this is the right path… I want to come out of hiding. I want to connect with other women who want more for themselves, other women who inspire me as you have inspired me today!
    So I have registered for Boot Camp. I’m thrilled, excited, nervous, scared and committed all at once.
    If I ever get to meet you, expect a big hug:)

    • Alyce September 9, 2015, 12:43 am

      Wow Sylvie, I see you and hear you. Congrats on the huge and reclaiming step you’ve taken! Thank you so much for sharing – and enjoy the ride 😉

  • anna d'Onofrio September 8, 2015, 11:30 pm

    Hi Alyce,

    I am holding space for you and your courage and bravery and success in self love!!! Yes, I had a different eating disorder–bulemia and anorexia for over 10 years. I would it pounds of food and then purge and at it’s worst I did it five times a day–it became life threatening. At first I did not think it was a problem I thought I was just enjoying being very thin. Eventually, when I was proposed to by my first husband, I realized that I did not have control over this “thing” I was doing. Psychotherapy for 22 years twice/week helped cure the bulimia and anorexia and allowed me the opportunity to have a beautiful and loving relationship with a gentle kind man, my architect, painter, sculptor husband. But it wasn’t until I went to mastery this past year, did I really understand how to pleasure myself and how to love myself and take care of myself before anyone else. I am sooooo grateful for all my sister goddesses and all the women in the world and most of all our beloved Mama Gena and the tools of the Womanly School of Arts!
    SG Anna

    • Alyce September 9, 2015, 12:42 am

      Thank you for your vulnerability Anna. I mirror your gratitude for SGs and the SWA – it made such a huge and important difference!

  • Gail September 8, 2015, 11:26 pm

    I loved reading your story. I’m thrilled you young-uns are breaking and moving past the bonds that have restricted women for ever. Thank you for sharing, Alyce!

    • Alyce September 9, 2015, 12:36 am

      It certainly feels like breaking an immense cycle – and there’s always more pleasurable work to be done 🙂

  • Jen R September 8, 2015, 11:25 pm

    Amazing..simply amazing! You hit the nail on the head for me. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I want to speak my “truth.” I’ve learned to keep quiet in order to keep other’s comfortable around me. When my true self loves to talk and share and open up. Thanks for resonating with what I’ve been thinking lately. And, thanks for being beautiful, open and your amazing self! You rock!

    • Alyce September 9, 2015, 12:34 am

      Thank you Jen! It’s amazing how good we get at making others feel comfortable. Cheers to breaking the mold 😉

  • BBSG Sister Goddess Karen Fitzgerald September 8, 2015, 11:17 pm

    Alyce, I remember our deep conversation several months ago. There was so much in you waiting to explode to the surface, and now it has! It was a delight seeing you speak onstage at graduation, and I am overjoyed to read this now. You are modeling it for so many…and this is just the beginning! Congratulations!

    • Alyce September 9, 2015, 12:32 am

      Thank you so much Karen! That was a big turning point for me – thank you! I still replay in my head some of the beautiful and important tidbits you gave me. Can’t wait for what’s to come 🙂

  • Snowcat September 8, 2015, 10:48 pm

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful story with us, you are an inspiration for all of us who are afraid of our power and of being heard. I too want someone to witness my journey. I struggle with all the fears and feelings you have and I am the skinny girl……see it is not about your body at all, it is all about how we truly feel about ourselves and how we love ourselves and that is what the school has taught me.

    snowcat

    • Alyce September 8, 2015, 11:05 pm

      So true! Thanks for sharing this – fear does not discriminate! So glad you were able to get message too 🙂

  • Jenny September 8, 2015, 9:40 pm

    Thank you for an inspiring and honest post 🙂

    • Alyce September 8, 2015, 10:59 pm

      <3

  • Kristina September 8, 2015, 9:29 pm

    Thank you so much for this story! Really inspirational!!! And I can relate to a big part of it. I have been following now as well Mama Gena for a year but always had an impression as you that thesr stories and comments are pre-written by somebody, these kind of happy and overwhelmingly satisfied women cannot exist… Guess what, this is my first comment ever to all the stories that I’ve read during the year!!! And moreover, two weeks ago, I’ve signed up for the Virtual Pleasure Bootcamp!!! I’m so so exited to start next week and to embrace the road of rediscovering the fun and pleasures in life???? thank you once more Alyce! I’m very happy for you!

    • Alyce September 8, 2015, 10:59 pm

      Congrats Kristina! Thanks for sharing – I knew I wasn’t the only one that felt that way. Enjoy your wild ride 😉

  • Debra September 8, 2015, 9:27 pm

    What exquisite generous transparency. Sharing from your heart and soul is inspiring and uplifting.
    This work gives us all the playground in which to jump into any game we choose and the imagination to choose ANYTHING we want!
    You are the perfect inspiration for this.
    Thank you for your generosity of heart, mind, body and soul

    • Alyce September 8, 2015, 10:57 pm

      Thanks Debra – and you are so deliciously right!

  • stephanie harkin September 8, 2015, 9:25 pm

    Alyce, brava for telling your story—your radiance rises like steam from its surface. I am so inspired by your courage in telling it.

    Yes, our bodies are, as you call them, “incredibly wise and beautiful vessel[s].” Yours is, mine is. I wish you even more courage as you continue to go after that deep sense of pleasure with your life.

    • Alyce September 8, 2015, 10:53 pm

      Gorgeous comment – I will absolutely receive that wish for even more courage. Thank you 🙂

  • SG Eva September 8, 2015, 9:25 pm

    SG Alyce: You beautiful, sexy, radiant goddess! This is amazing – thank you so much for sharing your journey – again! I am honored and inspired and literally dancing with joy! Much love to you xoxo SGe

    • Alyce September 8, 2015, 10:51 pm

      Ahhh thank you thank you beautiful Goddess <3

  • Aubrey September 8, 2015, 9:24 pm

    What an amazing story. I love the Womanly Arts and I will be a part of this amazing community… just saving my shekels up to do it. Sister Goddesses are the best!

    • Alyce September 8, 2015, 10:51 pm

      Agreed! And I love how powerfully you said “I will” – I have no doubt you will 🙂

      • Aubrey September 9, 2015, 1:52 am

        Thanks, Alyce! 🙂

  • Ruby September 8, 2015, 9:18 pm

    Alyse, I feel lifted up by your journey. body hate is such a big thing. I am glad you have the courage to come out on this. Bravo!

    • Alyce September 8, 2015, 10:49 pm

      Thanks Ruby! It felt very powerful to own it.

  • Molly September 8, 2015, 9:17 pm

    Thank-you for sharing your story! For a minute I thought you were the the little voice in my head! I can relate to so much of you pain, frustration and doubt. I am glad Mama Gena’s School has helped and look forward to growing comfortable in my own skin and life like you!

    • Alyce September 8, 2015, 10:49 pm

      Thank you Molly! I know you will 🙂

  • Maya September 8, 2015, 9:09 pm

    I can soooo relate to this. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Alyce September 8, 2015, 10:47 pm

      So glad it was able to strike a chord 🙂

  • Lisa September 8, 2015, 8:46 pm

    Hi Alyce – I so appreciate you sharing your story with us all, and so beautifully. Wow. I am moved! I do feel like SO many women struggle with exactly what you have, and so much of it comes down to self-love. I, too, have struggled with body image in the past and am now a health coach encouraging women to love themselves and their bodies, so I really resonate with your message. Thank you for your courage and willingness to share your story with this wider audience. One of the things that you said that really spoke to me in my personal journey right now too is “Being afraid of being heard is being afraid of the power of my voice.” Thank you for that. It felt like a little message to me!

    • Alyce September 8, 2015, 9:19 pm

      Wow, Lisa! It sounds like you are my spirit animal 🙂 Thank you for jumping into such worthy and important work. Stoked to join you in it <3

  • Sherry September 8, 2015, 8:41 pm

    Along with the cost (which is too expensive for me right now in my life), I sometimes think programs like this aren’t for me because at heart I am an introvert. Large groups of people make me nervous and overwhelmed. I have trouble connecting until the group gets smaller and more intimate. So I wonder if a program like this would not be for me because I’m not extroverted; I’m not outgoing unless I really trust and know and feel comfortable with the people surrounding me.

    Nevertheless, I do love everything you’re saying and how well the program worked for you, and I’m so glad you found your voice. That is FANTASTIC. Thank you for sharing your story with us all.

    • Alyce September 8, 2015, 9:17 pm

      I totally hear you in this. I shied away from raising my hand every. single. time. that Mama Gena asked us to participate. Finally the last weekend I felt so bolstered by the love of the community, that I let it all hang out. Honestly, introverted, extroverted, or otherwise, this work will hit you right where it needs to. Many of us started right where you are, myself included <3

    • Silverheels September 9, 2015, 6:27 am

      Hi Sherry,
      I, too, am an introvert and took the program several years ago. I chose which exercises to participate in and which not and still got a lot out of the program.
      I ran across the invitation to the program in a Cheryl Richardson newsletter and signed up because it “felt right”.
      Best to you,
      Silverheels

      • Deb Philbrick September 29, 2015, 4:58 pm

        Hi Sherry,
        I just wanted to respond to you as a fellow (sister) introvert. I took Mastery in 2011 and I’m not going to tell you that it wasn’t a stretch for me because at certain points it definitely was. But Mastery ended up being, for me, a challenge from Day 1 to see how far I could stretch myself. To get out of my comfort zone in an environment which was actually safe, even though it didn’t always feel that way to me. 6 years later, I’m still myself, but I reflect frequently on how the experience changed me and my experience of life. It was so worth it!!

  • Lisabeth September 8, 2015, 8:08 pm

    Oh your words are so welcome! (And accessible and easy to digest!) I’m starting boot camp this month after years of reading the blog from the sidelines. I’m ever-more excited to jump in. Thank you!

    • Hannah at Mama Gena's September 8, 2015, 8:19 pm

      We are so thrilled to have you in Boot Camp this year, Lisabeth! So glad Alyce’s story resonated with you. xo

    • Alyce September 8, 2015, 8:52 pm

      Congrats Lisabeth!

  • Emily Andros September 8, 2015, 8:03 pm

    Alyce – YOU ARE RADIANT!!!!! Emily

    • Alyce September 8, 2015, 8:07 pm

      Thanks Emily 🙂