We are kicking off the spirituality and creativity theme of the podcast, whoop! Our first guest is Christina Dunbar, a storyteller, poet, producer, and a doula for women's voices. For the past decade, she's worked as a transformational catalyst, helping women heal voice and visibility wounds through storytelling, writing, and soul work.
In this episode, we have a conversation about sacred archetypes and how they manifest in the lives of women, the fear and vulnerability we feel when using our voice or displaying our creative endeavors, and owning the power of being a woman. Christina is one of my favorite people, especially to see her speak on stage. I really hope you enjoy our conversation.
Some of the topics we discuss include:
- The sacred prostitute archetype and how that archetype work in the life of a woman (7:58)
- Some of the sub archetypes of the good girl and how they come up in terms of visibility and vulnerability with our voice + art (19:23)
- Fear around visibility vs. being witnessed (31:05)
- Shame that comes up for women around their body and sexuality and how that affects their voice and visibility (33:52)
Christina on Instagram
Episode 47: The Power of Your Voice, with Christina Dunbar
Cassandra Speaks: When Women Are Storytellers
Episode 213: My Resignation
You know how I love a good personal development book, right? I’ve compiled a list of book recommendations, as mentioned in past episodes. Check out these amazing book recommendations here. Happy reading!
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Christina Dunbar is a storyteller, poet, producer, and a doula for women's voices. For the past decade she's worked as a transformational catalyst, helping women heal voice and visibility wounds through storytelling, writing, and soul work. She's produced hundreds of solo shows for the stage, toured her own one-woman show, and continues to lead workshops and classes around the art of speaking and being seen. Christina is the creator of She Takes the Stage, MissBehaving, and RED.
When we are in circle, and we're hearing each other's stories, it's like, oh my god, I'm not the only one. But we just don't really talk about this in public, so there's almost like a sigh of relief, which helps women then understand that they're not alone, which helps them take up space, knowing they're not alone. And also the process of sharing stories that we might not normally share in public, but doing it in a place that feels like okay, you're being supported. It helps us break through those…the fear, the actual physical fear when we're like, Okay, I'm really afraid, but I'm going to talk about this story and it also helps us become the author of our lives.
You're listening to Make some Noise Podcast episode number 461 with guest Christina Dunbar.
Welcome to Make Some Noise Podcast, your guide for strategies, tools and insight to empower yourself. I'm your host, Andrea Owen, global speaker, entrepreneur, life coach since 2007, and author of three books that have been translated into 18 languages and are available in 22 countries. Each week, I'll bring you a guest or a lesson that will help you maximize unshakable confidence, master resilience and make some noise in your life. You ready? Let's go.
Hey, everyone, welcome to another episode of the podcast. We are kicking off the spirituality and creativity theme of this show. I'm so glad and happy to introduce you to these experts that I have lined up for you, including the amazing woman today. But before I continue, this is the third time that I've recorded this intro because I keep listening back to it and I'm like, that doesn't make any sense. It doesn't make any sense at all. I, not very often, don't get enough sleep. And when I say like don't get enough sleep. This is… I'm running on like, three hours. First of all, if you are someone who can, like complete a sentence and like have your cylinders fire correctly after such a small amount of sleep, I don't know how on earth I used to go out drinking and dancing in high heels, probably didn't drink any water, and then, you know, bars and clubs, close it to in the morning, and then I would go home and sleep for a few hours and then get up and go to work. And sometimes I would even exercise. Like what kind of bionic woman shit is that and how do I even get some of that back? Anyway, the long and short of it is the reason is, I was speaking at the Sun Valley Wellness Festival, which was so amazing and if you are interested in wellness festivals, I highly encourage you to check it out. It was phenomenal. And suddenly is a tiny town in Idaho. Very cute, very pretty. I had a 2pm flight it was delayed and delayed and delayed and I ended up making friends with all the people there because it's a teeny tiny like one terminal two gates, pretty much like the size of a large living room. So inevitably, you make friends and family with these people that sure delayed, how many hours was it? Six hours. And we get on the plane and we're cheering and taking pictures because we're so excited and it's like eight o'clock at night. And then the bad things happen. And then they were like, hi, we're gonna get the mechanic and then I overheard the flight attendant tell the other flight attendant, there's no mechanic in Sun Valley. The mechanic has to come in from Boise, Idaho, which is two hours away. Okay. So I pulled up the flight attendant and I said I was like, do you think this plane is leaving tonight? And she was like, I can't say yes or no and then she was like, probably not. Anyway, they ended up telling us to come back at 9am the next morning that the flight was delayed till 9am. So we all go get a hotel room, not the same hotel room. I had my own room. And then we come back the next morning and I had made a pact the previous evening with some friends that I made Jeff and Steph. By the way, if you're listening to this, I missed you guys. I made a pact with him and I said listen, if this 9am flight it gets delayed again, I don't trust this plane and let's rent a car and drive down to Boise, Idaho and we will get our flights out there. And then so we get it. We're all there at the airport and we get a text message that the flights been delayed until 1pm. So that's almost 24 hours that they had delayed. This flight was 23 hours. So we were like screw it, rented a car, drove down to Boise, ended up going home I arrive in Raleigh, Durham at what time was it midnight and then I had an hour and a half drive home and then I arrived home and I'm locked out. And there's a thunderstorm, which was super fun. It was so funny. It was 2am at that point and, and also like my dashboard lights were out in my car. And I was like, should I just like pull over to the nearest motel and just sleep. I ended up making it. I drove like 60 miles an hour, the whole way home, people were passing me flipping me off. And then the thunderstorm and I was locked out. And it was super fun and funny. And then I got home and couldn't sleep because of cortisol. I got in my bed. And then I had to take my daughter to an orthodontist appointment at eight o'clock in the morning. So I am not well. Not well, mentally, physically no. But I am really excited for this podcast episode, which obviously has been previously recorded when I was having a better sleep day.
Christina Dunbar is someone I admire so much. I've known her for ever. And I admire her courage and boldness to get up on stage and perform. And I'm going to pop in the shownotes the links to her previous shows because she's just so great. I know that you're going to love her. And if you don't know her, let me tell you a little bit about her.
Before I do. There's a couple of spots left for our retreat in September. I would love to have you come and hang out with us for the weekend in Asheville, and do some really important work and I get to hug you if you want content, of course. Head on over to AndreaOwen.com/retreat. That's where all the information is and where you can sign up.
So hey, listen up about Christina. I just love her. Okay. Christina Dunbar is a storyteller, poet, producer and a doula for women's voices. For the past decade, she's worked as a transformational catalyst helping women heal voice and visibility wounds through storytelling, writing and soul work. She has produced hundreds of solo shows for the stage toward her own one woman show and continues to lead workshops and classes around the art of speaking and being seen. Christina is the creator of She Takes the Stage, Misbehaving and Red. So without further ado, here is Christina.
Christina Dunbar your back.
Yes. I’m so excited.
I feel almost bad that it's been this long since I've had you back on the show. When I tell people, you know people say that are new to my show. I have 400 episodes, and they're like, where should I start? What are your favorites? You are on that list.
Oh, I love that.
Your episode. So, I'm gonna link to that in the in the show notes because I want everyone to get to be able to consume as much Christina Dunbar as they can. And we might be actually talking about some of the same things that we talked about last time, but it's been a few years. So I'm gonna jump right into the deep end and ask you about the sacred prostitute archetype. So can you talk to us about that and how, how does that particular archetype work in the life of a creative woman or just even just a woman in general?
Yeah, well, you know, this story. I came to into contact with the sacred prostitute during my journey of being a stripper and being in that world.
Tell that story again for people who don't know.
Yeah, well, I came to Hollywood from Seattle at a really young age, 19 years old, ran out of money, wanting to be an actress, typical, very typical, actually, Hollywood story for young women and got into like, go go dancing. And then people were like, well, if you're gonna go dancing, why don't you just take it a step further and strip you can make more money. So I was like, uh huh, why not? So I did that and I got hooked. I got hooked to the money, I got hooked to the cash, I got hooked to the free time. I enjoyed it until I didn't. What happened was I started to dance in Vegas, which is like, really the underground, the seedy underground, world of stripping. And, you know, just had like, a lot of gross situations come up for me and felt like, I felt stuck, though. This is, okay, so this is the part that I feel is so weird to say but it's the truth. Although I was naked in the stripping world, I was absolutely hidden in my real life. I felt like I couldn't use my voice, I felt a lot of shame that I had been stripping for so long, like I had this big taboo secret and if people really knew me, they wouldn't accept me. And so I didn't have the confidence to do anything else although I wanted to. I started to dive into just personal growth work at that time to help myself get out of this space. And that was when I learned about the sacred prostitute, which Carolyn Myss talks about and basically the idea is that we all We'll have in her point of view, we have four main archetypes that we all have inside of us. And then I think there’s like…
I love her work by the way. She was one of my first teachers.
Oh my god, she's so powerful. So you know, so one of the main archetypes is the prostitute archetype, which basically, it's like, if when you're using it in an unhealthy way you're giving a part of yourself away in exchange for money, in exchange for security and that could be a job, it could be a relationship, just anything where you're like, okay, this isn't what I'm really supposed to be doing. But I'm selling my soul for this, this idea of security. And…
So is it like, where you essentially feel like you're being used?
Um, I mean, I think it's so weird. I think it can go two ways, right? Like, I feel like for me, I knew that I was being handled, manhandled in the strip club, but I also knew I was getting something out of it. I was getting money out of it. And so it's like this weird thing, but it wasn't in alignment with what I really wanted to do. I felt like I was selling a piece of my soul. So I didn't necessarily feel like I was being used or that archetype, I don't feel like you're necessarily being used, But I think like both people are getting something out of it, but it's not necessarily a healthy situation. So the sacred prostitute though, that was really more about tapping into lifeforce and sensuality and sexuality and using it in a way where I'm not manipulating anybody, but I'm using it because it frees me up to be myself. And I looked at my chart, like I had an astrology reading, and I'm definitely a very sexual sensual person. So it's just part of my makeup. So understanding that sensuality isn't bad, understanding that it's really about more about lifeforce. Like I could smell a flower and almost have it feel orgasmic, and be, I guess what you would call in my sacred prostitute where I am, like, enjoying and having pleasure and it's not dirty, and it's not wrong, and it can be used in the bedroom and it can be used to flirt with life and men and women. But it's not like in exchange for that security. It's not an exchange for anything, but the pure pleasure of being alive.
That's so interesting. I had no idea what your answer was going to be when I asked that question? I find that so interesting and it makes me curious, do you think that with what you know now, about what you just talked about, and all of the things that you have learned as a woman as the years have gone by, do you think that if you were a stripper now, you would feel differently?
100%. I think I would strip now if it wasn't owned by patriarchal people.
If there was a different… Yeah, I 100% I mean, I can tell you so many stories were how the women were the dancers the freakin’… I don't know if I can swear, but the fucking dancers that bring in all the money that bring in all the customers are treated like shit, by who by the managers, the owners, the security guards, all men, right? Like I never felt like I was fully protected, or anyone had my back when it came to customers. I got into a situation where I was actually verbally abused by a manager and locked in a room and was told that if I didn't find something that said I did something wrong, that I would be taken to jail and he was yelling at me and like, totally steroids just, yeah. 100% I just feel like, it would be a different situation if we knew how to revere and respect women's bodies, and we do not so, I don't know.
Yeah, women's bodies and women's power. Power. Yeah, it's interesting to me, you know, in watching, and I don't pay that close attention to it, but I see things here and there about the sex work industry and how we people who identify as women are doing their best and it seems like they're making some strides in taking their power back both as it being a job choice and just generally speaking, you know, when you were you were speaking to, you know, the patriarchal things that go on. And for me, you know, you and I were chatting a little bit before and I was talking about this particular chapter in Make Some Noise where I write about internalized misogyny, and one of the many things that I had to come to terms with was the way that I had, when I was probably in my 20s, dehumanized strippers, you know, adult film stars and just any woman who chose that as a career, and sometimes, you know, they didn't choose it, because I was so insecure about my own sexuality. And also because I came to realize through my own work is like that they embodied something that I saw in myself that I could not embrace, because growing up in a traditionally Christian upbringing, that was not okay. Like those women, I'm using, like air quotes over, you know, over there were bad and you did not aspire to be like that you didn't hang around with them. And it was a reckoning that I personally had to come to terms with and in some ways forgive myself for having been a certain way. And, God dammit patriarchy.
Exactly. I mean, we're brainwashed to think, here's the other thing, like the bad good. I totally get that those women over there are bad. These women are good, right? Like, that's how we're taught. The binary thinking is such a thing where women cannot be, oh, my God, how dare she be a mother, and a poet and a stripper and you know, it's just like, we can't wrap our brains around it. And of course, religious overtones have had a big part of it. I mean, I've worked with so many women where we're unraveling that piece of it, where it's like, you're bad if you use your sexuality. And to your point, it is powerful. And I think, I mean, you probably talk about this in your book, I just ordered your book. I'm so excited. I'm gonna dive in. But like the being afraid of the power, right? Where we say that we make it bad and therefore, therefore, we don't really get in touch with it.
Yeah, just I mean, just nudity in general. I was texting with, well, let me back up. I created a gallery wall in my office, and I'm obsessed with it. And I bought a lot of art prints from Society Six shout out to them, they pay their artists. It's amazing. Or at least I think so. One of the art prints is a painting of, it's a really big looks like an oak tree with I think five women dancing around it, and they're naked and then there's, there's a little girl who looks like she's about seven or eight, kind of in the corner and she's holding a doll and then one of the women is looking over at her, like with an ‘oh shit’ look on her face. And the title of the piece is called ‘Mommy, What Are You Doing’. And I think it's so amazing. Like, I'm obsessed with this. And I texted a bunch of my friends a picture of it and I said for my 50th birthday I want to go out in the wilderness somewhere and dance around a fire or a tree, clothing optional, if you want to wear your clothes that's fine. I will be naked. We'll play Stevie Nicks, music. And all of my friends were like, I'm in. Can we go before you turn 50?
Oh my god, I love it. See, I grew up around this. I grew up around.
Okay, see, I didn't not.
My mom… You did not do not. I know. So this is like a big… I feel like it's a rite of passage almost. It sounds like for your…
Okay, so tell me you grew up around women dancing around naked to Steve Nixcks. Like, I need to know everything.
Tell me every minute is the Stevie Nicks part. But my mom is Russian. Very European, and very free. And she used to wear like these like kneaded see-through tops. I mean, she would wear bikini underneath it. But like she would just, I don't know, she was just really free in her body. And I called my mom's crew, the goddess crew. They don't know that. But I just did. They were like from all over the world, right? Like there was like this Brazilian woman and a New Yorker, Jewish New Yorker and an Australian woman. They were just all sort of like hippie free and I grew up they would just go swimming, you know, naked in the river. And it was no big deal. Maybe that's why I'm more free. I don't know.
Maybe you ended up so free. Yeah, I grew up with my mom. My mom has seven sisters. And Spanish as their first language. So they were all just speaking Spanish and probably talking about us and their husbands and laughing and laughing and laughing. I at least didn't have a good model of friendship circle. But that's interesting about your mom and her mesh top. Oh, yeah.
Well, I want to ask about like, like, what are the… Let's, let's talk more about these archetypes. Like, what are some of the sub archetypes of like the good girl because I know you talk a lot about that. And how do they come up because I have a feeling they come up a lot around visibility and vulnerability.
Yeah, I mean, you'll remind me of some of them. But the good girl was this is the main one that I talk about a lot in my work. And she's the one, oh my gosh, I mean, how many people can not relate to the good girl? How many women. I just I'm curious, but this is where it's like, okay, the perfectionist is there, the competitive part of you is in there, the judge is in there. Or you're like, if you ever notice you're judging somebody else really hard core because they're not being perfect. You're probably judging yourself 10 times just as hard, you know, like when that judge just comes up. And the good girl is also really in that, again, that binary thinking this is either right or wrong, there's not a lot of nuance. It's very much like up in your head when you're, especially like, if we're talking about visibility and vulnerability. The good girl is thinking about what will they think, how will they receive it, will they like it, will they, you know, will they reject me, will they hate me. And she's stuck there, versus, or I guess I could say, and without thinking about, okay, but what am I here to really express, what is my deep truth, what…like turning that inside out from focusing so much on the outer world? And what everyone else is thinking and like this neurotic, like, oh, my God, I have to get it perfectly right into me. Me, what am I here to share? What is my soul longing to express? What is the creative inspiration that is bubbling up? What do I stand for? What am I willing to take a chance for and speak about because it matters to me? What's my why? Like, all those juicy, deep, rich questions, the good girl does not focus there.
So it's like, no…
You know about those suits, right? Like, I know, you there's so much this work as well. So it's really about focusing back into soul.
Which, how often do we ever take the time for that and make space for that?
I know, I mean, it's such a like a go to. I mean, do you still have this when you're posting were like, oh, shit, am I gonna…am I gonna?
Totally, especially now, the last couple of years, I used to not care at all. I was unbothered, like, 2010 2011, like, when I first started, I did not care. I just thought of something and I would post it and there were less repercussions. You know, like, I didn't have to be as thoughtful. And I admit, like, I didn't make room for nuance. I didn't acknowledge things there was there was some toxic positivity in there for sure which I would not go back to when I've evolved and changed. But now I often double checking like, okay, you know, should I say this? Oh, no, it's not worth it. Oh, that's, that's a lot of why I left Instagram in 2000, or in 2020. And you and I talked and I've told my podcast people they know about my mental breakdown, a nervous breakdown that I had and part of it was that. Like I could, I felt the pressure to please everyone and not make any missteps because the consequences were so dire. I was like, I need a break. I need a break. I need to take a step back and I need to rest.
Same. Same. I also had a mental breakdown and we chatted a little bit before the podcast. So yeah, and also Instagram. It's just so in your face, I had to… It was almost like it took me off of my sacred calling because I was so focused on what you're what you're saying getting it right, I've since come back on and I've done, you know, my breakdown, a lot of writing poured out of me and a lot of stuff that I feel I'm here to say and so I've been posting it, but I like you have also sometimes like oh shit is this…I don't know. And then it's like, just post it. And honestly, those are the ones that get the most response because they're my like, they're just so hardcore, my energy, my truth. It's like pulsating off the page. But I definitely think twice. Definitely.
Yeah, it's different now it's a different landscape.
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I want to ask you about which is very much in alignment with what we were just talking about the first chapter in Make Some Noise is that, the first or the second chapter, I'm forgetting. There's like 14 of us is about taking up space. And I know this is a lot of the work you do. And I kind of bring people through a process where I talk about, you know, like you need to do the internal process first and then think about like what, why you're pushing up against it like what are you resisting? What are you worried about, and then the actual action of taking up space, which is with your voice, with your opinions, with your body. So do you take people through a particular process with your clients or does it look different with every client talk to us about the whole concept of taking up space?
Yeah, I have really begun to use storytelling as a tool to help women take up space. It's the thing that… So back to my stripping years, and it being this taboo thing and not wanting to tell anybody about it. You know, I created a one woman show, which is very different than having it be a secret but that one woman show was like a rite of passage for my voice and taking up space because I think a lot of for at least personally for me, the women that I work with, they can't take up space because they feel what we talked about that pressure to be good or to get their stories, right or to think that their stories don't matter. And also they deal with sometimes trauma from the patriarchy. Like I feel like there was so much trauma for me that was based in patriarchal thinking and so we go into fight flight, freeze, fawn, whatever, right. And so like storytelling has become this tool where I'm helping women. First of all, when we are in circle, and we're hearing each other's stories, it's like, oh my god, I'm not the only one. But we just don't really talk about this in public. So there's almost like a sigh of relief, which helps women then understand that they're not alone, which helps them take up space, knowing they're not alone. And also the process of sharing stories that we might not normally share in public but doing it in a place that feels like okay, you're being supported. It helps us break through those, those, the fear, the actual physical fear when we're like, okay, I'm really afraid, but I'm going to talk about this story and it also helps us become the author of our lives. I feel like so many women have these stories that are almost like unfinished or they're like… You know, Maya Angelou said that words stick to the walls and the rugs. And I always think about, well, what about the words that we don't speak? Do they stick to our insides the stories that we hold on to and it's like, yes, their weight. And I find that when women can share those stories, they become a little bit more free, some of that trauma gets loosened up, and it helps them to honor their voice and their visibility.
I am obsessed with that. I love that so much. Thank you for sharing it. And have you read Cassandra Speaks by Elizabeth Lesser?
No. Do I need to? Clearly love it. Okay, I'm putting it down.
It's I think the subtitle is ‘The Power of Women's Stories’ or some or something like that, or, yeah, basically like what would happen if history was based on the stories of women versus the stories of … And Elizabeth Lessor, she's such a great writer and she's written several fantastic books, and I listened to it on audiobook and we'll throw the link in the show notes, I really think you would like it, Christina, it's right up your alley. In this last book in the acknowledgments, if anybody read it, because this episode's coming out, right around the time that my book comes out, I said, if you're a person who reads the acknowledgments and books, because you think about one day writing your own acknowledgments after you've written your book, this is your sign to write your book. And I say that, because my hope is that, and I know a lot of women that listen to the show have dreams of writing a nonfiction, maybe a self-help book, but I think so many of us want to write a book because we want to tell our story. We want to be witnessed in our story. And it's it can be terrifying.
Oh my gosh, absolutely. But it's the thing. I love that you said witnessing, because that's such a big part of it. It's when we're witnessed, we're not looked at, because we're so used to being looked at and judged, but when we're witnessed, and we can create spaces where we talk about the difference between witness witnessing versus looking at versus judging. That in itself is so healing. And I'm like, yes, so many women are the ones that are listening, if you're wondering if you have a story inside of you, and if it's worth telling, I just want to say yes, yes, yes, please tell your story. We need her stories. We need more of them. We don't have enough of it. And that's part of the reason we're hiding in the shadows. We don't have enough fuel for our feminine fire. And so your story really does matter.
Yes. Say it again. For the people in the back your story matters. It does. And I remember when it was what the last time I saw you that you and I met up for my last book for How To Stop Feeling Like Shit and I read you women, my poem. I read My Resignation, and I read that on the podcast. And I'll link to that in the show notes too, because that was one of my most emotional shows when I read that I remember had to stand up to read it. And as soon as I stopped recording, I burst into tears. And that's what that is. I mean, that is like telling a story. And for me at that moment, it looked like spoken word, and for some people, it's putting it out on the page for other people. It's being in a circle of women and telling the story.
And I want to emphasize that witnessing sparks… I was having a conversation Rachel Luna was on the show, and we were talking about being when you go through something difficult, and people praise you for being strong and they say, and I wrote about this, in How To Stop Feeling Like Shit, and that becomes people's, that becomes an archetype. It's like the strong woman. And that's great. I think we all need strength, because sometimes life is hard… You know, we get those, we get sick, and all these all these difficult things happen. We have breakdowns, all those things. What I was more specifically telling her about how when I went through my most difficult time, like my husband left me for another woman got her pregnant and I ended up marrying a guy who lied about having cancer to cover up his drug addiction, got conned and people would they would sit with me and you know, as they're hearing the story, and they're like, I don't know how you're getting out of bed every day. I don't think I would be able, this was my least favorite, I don't think I would be able to go through what you went through. And I know these people were being supportive the way that they knew how. But it felt a little bit like an othering. Like you stay over there with your terrible life because I felt terrible. Like I felt so ashamed of where I had ended up. All my friends were getting married and having babies and here I was with an explosion of a life. And I was so humiliated, embarrassed and ashamed all of these things. And my friend Rachel said, What did you want people to say? And I said, I want people to look me in the eye and say, I imagine what you have gone through fucking sucked and it sounds like you got the emotional shit kicked out of you and I'm so sorry that that happened to you. Right empathy. I don't need praise for being strong because at that moment, like when I was in the weeds, I sure wish it didn't feel strong. I felt defeated.
Yes. And to your point.
I'm like, you're not seeing me. You’re not seeing me at all.
Right. And we're not allowed to go there. I mean, especially with our glossy online world. I feel like women aren't supposed to be… I mean, there's just so much around that, but I think this is part of like telling our stories is we get to share that we aren't one thing and that that's okay. And I hate, you know the word othering I'm like, that's just the worst feeling right? Like when you're you just you're not feeling seen. But I think what's so beautiful about your podcast and your books and all of that, is that, that you're, you're being human out loud. And we need that.
That is such a compliment.
We need that. We need that. I mean, that's what happens in my story circles. We're doing it, you know, in private and I do have shows sometimes where women will go public, but it's like, can we just be human together and have the breakdowns and be like, life suck and it's not one thing, and we don't always have to be positive. And we don't always like it.
I mean, my lens is the poetic lens where it's like, yes, there's so much beauty. I'm looking outside and seeing this tree. There's so much beauty and like a dear friend just passed away yesterday, true story. Like, there's just so much going on that sucks. It's like all of it. And I think women, the many faces of women, we can represent that when we share our stories. And help ourselves be seen and help others be seen as well because you know, when one woman shares her truth, it's like that, that opening or that door for someone else's. Yes. It's like wildfire. Yeah, the good kind.
The good kind of being in California, this is the good kind. Okay, well, let's try one more question about visibility. And when is fear around visibility telling you to pause because sometimes that happens, and when is it time to face it and be seen?
Yeah, well, I kind of caution women, if you're speaking a very personal story, for the first time to check in around a few things. One, what are you looking for from the audience? Is there a part of you that's looking to, like get validated or, yes, we want to be seen, but if you're focused solely on getting validated, or like, is this story, okay? Like, you know, like, oh, that kind of validation. We're like, okay, you haven't really, you're not in a place where, what if somebody tells you your story sucks, or calls you a slut, which, hello, that's what happened to me when I was sharing my stripper story. If I was like, looking for validation that it was okay, then to be a stripper, I would have, it would just have sunk me. So just really checking in around that.
And checking in also around, what's your why, what's your why and sharing and being visible? And does it really hit your heart? Is it coming from… This is where you're really checking in intuitively and doing that personal growth work. Like is it really coming from your from your heart, from your soul, from your spirit. Is it coming through you? Is it something you're forcing coming from ego because someone else told you how to do it and be visible? So what's your why?
And all I always ask them to think about like, what is the pearl that you're leaving behind and sharing the story because we tend to think about what's the worst thing that can happen if I'm visible. So cool, go down that lane, check in like, for me, the worst thing that could happen is me being totally just rejected and humiliated and, and will that take me down for a few hours or a few days where I can call my friends and get back on the horse? Or will it, you know, will I be in a shame spiral for like, months and months and just want to hide? It's like, there's a difference. So yes, think about what people might say if you're sharing something very vulnerable and very personal and very, maybe even, that's something that a lot of people don't talk about.
I think it's healthy to check in what happens if it goes, doesn't quite go the right way. But hello, we as women, we tend to like go all in around that and I always ask women to check in well, what is what's like the pearl that you're leaving behind? What's the gift? Is it that you just want to inspire one other person? Is it that you want to heal a part of your story by sharing it, but also, maybe somebody else will heal in hearing your story? Is there a piece of wisdom that you have? Is there like, what if your younger self was listening to the story, what would what would she or he think? You know, like, what is that that pearl that you're leaving behind and really get excited about that pearl because I think that's a big part of being visible is relieving these beautiful pearls of wisdom. And we don't even know how many people are affected. We don't wait because a lot of people are quiet. But anytime I get a shout out or for love or like wow, this really changed my point of view. It's it keeps me going and I would never be able to get that connection with another human being if I had stayed small or hidden. It's only in being visible and facing that fear that I'm actually now connecting with other humans and creating community.
I love that. Yeah, checking in as to like what you're trying to get out of it. I fully admit like when I was first telling my story about my divorce, it's like early on in the early years, I was looking for sympathy. Not empathy. Like, I wanted people to feel sorry for me and I wanted them to be on Team Andrea. Like, I wanted to recruit people. I wanted to be… Right? I wanted him to be wrong and I think that's okay. Like, it's okay. Depending on, you know, it depends on a few things. But I just talk about like, when I was telling, like friends and things like that, I think you're gonna go through what you're gonna go through, like, none of none of it is wrong for the time being. But like you were saying, like, if you're trying to tell the story on stage, and you want all the applause, like, yeah, it's good to check in if you really, is it that you want sympathyor if you want attention, that's okay.
Yeah, I'm so glad you mentioned that very clear. around talking to friends or talking and safe circles, I actually am so aligned, what you're saying. Because I think sometimes we bypass that part, where it's like, we just get to, we want that sympathy or we want whatever we need to go through those emotions and I feel like storytelling is such a big part of being able to release those emotions and get validation. So yes, I am in complete agreement with what you're saying. But I'm thinking more in terms of like when you're speaking to strangers, or you're going yeah…a whole different animal. Yeah, therapy in that form is not a good idea.
Yeah. Not the right audience. Know your audience. Thank you. Yes. Okay, so I know that you work with your work with women centers around healing shame. So can you talk more about the shame that comes up for women around their bodies and their sexuality and how that directly is connected or affects their voice and visibility. That shame.
Yeah, I mean, so much of our culture is placed on the way a woman looks, and we internalize that, and then think, not speaking for everyone, but I'm speaking for the women that I work with. It's like, oh, I don't look a certain way so therefore, I don't have…
Wait, I'm gonna stop you for a second. Did you know that in Brené Brown’s research that's that came up as the number one shame trigger for women for women was body and appearance.
I did not know. But I'm not surprised.
Okay, so you are correct. It's science. Okay. Please, continue.
Ahh, I love this. And then that that shame spiral of like, I gotta do X, Y, and Z before I'm visible. Whether it's, I gotta lose the weight, I gotta get more perfect and my speaking skills, whatever the story is, but specifically with body that is a big piece. And so the vagina looks like the throat chakra. It's like such a trip, right? Like the larynx, if you do like to picture side by side, they're the same.
I guess you're right. Yeah. Because it's the…what is that flap called?
Like, the, all the science? I just know what the same. What is… I should know.
This because I went to I have a degree in exercise physiology. So okay, keep talking. I'm gonna I'm gonna mute myself and I'm gonna Google it and come back.
Okay. Good, please. But basically, I'm saying that as like, oh, it's there's so much vulnerability in both. There's so much vulnerability around being seen when it comes to our body and our voice and there's so much vulnerability, when it comes to opening up to our sexuality and opening up our voice. I know this is getting weird. But I think that so many women have a story around, again, we're living in a very religious society, there's so much to unravel where sexuality, there is a story around sexuality, that that you're somehow bad if you're sexual. There's also a lot of assaults. I've been assaulted in different ways sexually, that actually is trauma inducing and that stops a woman from using her voice. Because she goes into that freeze response. And so it's like this very, it's sad, but it's like this very direct connection between the thing we're seeing for our bodies, the thing that we are almost afraid about our sexuality, because we might get hurt in some way if we use it the wrong way, and then if we have been hurt, we think it's our fault and so we get smaller and smaller, and we don't use our voice. And so it's like unraveling, I mean, it's so much to unpack in a short conversation, but unraveling all of our myths and lies about our bodies and our sexuality and our power helps us to then also be more competent to use our voice and to be seen. And it does have to do sometimes with healing trauma, because it's like, oh my gosh, if I put myself out there again, will I be hurt in the way that I was hurt before.
I know I just said a lot.
It's a lot to unpack a lot.
I'm not a concise speaker. Just like…
My audience gets it. This is your people. It's called the epiglottis, by the way, the word. I was looking for laffy thing. Yes. I have been doing sidenote directly related, I've been doing a deep dive into the impact of purity culture. And I know that you and I are around the same age so purity culture really became kind of trending in the religious Christian community, more like in the mid to late 90s. So I was already done at that point, with going to church and things like that. I graduated high school in 1993, so I was in my 20s, by then and, and experimenting with life, with life . But I still was directly impacted. And I think that even if you didn't grow up in the church, I do think that, you know, call it purity culture, call it just our culture in general, in terms of what we were taught, is a good woman is and what a good woman isn't. It's very confusing the mixed messages that we got, because whether you were explicitly told this or not, we basically learned that our body and our appearance primarily was for the male gaze and that we are to be attractive enough to attract someone, but not too attractive. You know, it's like this, this balance that is that we can never win that we will constantly fail at and we're just we're set up to be fundamentally confused, shamed, insecure. And it's a slippery slope and I feel like it's an uphill battle. And I'm not here for it. Like, I'm not. And the connection between purity… Anyway, I just, it's been some unraveling, and there's religious trauma in there.
And also unrelated, I mean, sorry, directly related, another caveat is that I've been dealing with as a 46 year old woman is beauty and aging, and how we reach a certain age, you know, the whole term of like, unfuckable. And the invisible… Like, part of me is like, thank God because I'm done being harassed. If it doesn't happen to me, it's rare when it happens. But also like the loss of that, because for so many years, I was taught like, that is how you are valued. Like, this is your currency, and it is slipping through your fingers. And it's something that I've had a reckoning with and it's very confusing, you know, like, here, I am an empowered woman, why the fuck am I worried about this? And so, I, I'm a big believer in giving people the dignity of their own process and so I'm trying to do the same for myself. And I get all my feelings when other people especially when other women are saying, you know, aging is a gift only given too few, embrace it. And I'm like, yes, and? Give people the dignity of their own process. Patriarchy has done a fucking number on us.
I'm so with you. Keep preaching.
There’s a lot to unpack, there's a lot to unpack. And, you know, as I kind of turned the corner, into 50, it's this feeling of invisibility and like trying to stay relevant and the concept of like, oh, well, you're a bad, there's some people who say you're a bad feminist if you get fillers, or Botox or you know, microdermabrasion, and like, all these things that we have access to now or that some of us have access to, but studies show that the more attractive you are, the more people will listen to you and the more relevant you are, it's just, we still can't win.
I feel like you're just speaking the inside of my brain because I think about this all not all the time, but I do I think about it, this is part of the thing I think about like because I think people have so many strong stances on aging and beauty and feminism. And it's like, but wait, we live in a world where that is currency. Like that's a straight up fact. We know this. And so how do we how do we move in the world, how do we be public and visible in the world? And I know there's like a lot of growth to be done, but it's like, it's almost like we're doing it in a vacuum. It's very difficult because we don't you don't have a lot of these conversations and they're so heated sometimes from the feminist point of view. So it's like okay, I think there's a lot of room here for exploration, and for doing it a new way. I don't even know what that way is. But it's, it's not as black and white is what's like put out there in terms of how we should feel or how we should feel or how we should…
What we should so. The concept of radical self-acceptance and yeah, I understand the argument that if women stopped doing all these things, you know, like the weight loss industry, and which Yeah, I can get on board with that, like, that's a whole other conversation, which we won't dive into but, but just the beauty industry in general. And just what does that even called? I'm blanking on what the name of it is, like, it's not plastic surgery, but…
It's cosmetic enhancement.
Yeah, like, that type of stuff that's just like these quick procedures, like Botox and stuff like that, it would collapse. If we just decided no, we're not going to do that. We're just all gonna age the way nature intended and it's just no big deal anymore, we could turn it on its head. We could and I'm like, okay, but isn't feminism about having the choice and freedom to do whatever you want and makes you feel good, but at the same time, who set those standards? It gets complicated. It's very complicated. And I love listening to women who are smarter and better feminist than me, like on a panel discuss this. I don't think I'm the expert at it at all. It just is. All I can say is I keep saying it over and over again. It's complicated.
It is complicated. And we've got a lot of different voices. But yes, let's the panel. Some panels of experts, I'm all for that. There's a lot of different voices in the mix of how we should be doing it. And yeah. I won't go down the rabbit hole it is it's just very layered.
Okay my dear, well, that’s all the questions I had for you and I'm so glad that I had you on again. And thank you so much for being vulnerable and coming on here with us. Tell everyone where they can go to learn more about you and the services that you have.
Well, I'm back on Instagram @ChristinaDunbar
You’re back on the gram. So am I.
I know, it seems… I love your posts. I’m trying. It looks good. I love the little reels you're doing.
I love yours, too. You drop some wisdom bombs over there. So everyone needs to go follow you.
Thank you. Yeah, so @ChristinaDunbar on Instagram. I hate my website, but you can check me out. I'm totally redoing it. It’s so old. Okay. ChristinaDunbar.com. And that's it. Facebook, you know, it's all under Christina Dunbar, so.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And I want everyone to go listen to the first episode that that I had you on here where you tell a little bit more of your story. And thank you everyone for joining us and spending time with me and my guests. I know you have a lot of options. And I'm honored that you spend time with us. And please share this episode you can take a screenshot of wherever you listen to your podcast and tag me and Christina in your Instagram stories if you're on the gram, I'm @HeyAndrea on over there. And I always tried my very, very best to repost those. So thank you for those of you that do that. And remember, it's our life's journey to make ourselves better humans and our life's responsibility to make the world a better place. Bye for now.
Hey, everyone, thanks again for listening to the show. And just a quick reminder that if your company needs a speaker or a trainer, I might be the right person for you. I speak and do keynotes on confidence and resilience for mixed audiences as well as do trainings on the daring way which is the methodology based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown. So if you think it might be a good fit, hit me up at support@AndreaOwen.com or head over to my speaking page AndreaOwen.com/speaking.