After our hike up to the Botanical Garden, Patti and I returned to the hotel room and got packed up. She was off to the airport and back to Auckland, and I was off to the Wellington Friends Centre, currently run by my new friends Elaine and Sue.
I got there and got settled in a bit before heading out on my next mission: finding a New Yorker.
Not just any New Yorker. I was looking for Substantia Jones - the photographer and activist behind Adipositivity. Adipositivity is an art project exposing the beauty of fat bodies, a brave stand against what Jones calls the "Angst Industrial Complex." I remember stumbling across her page during the research for my Public Health thesis on Size Acceptance - I promptly sat down and looked at Every. Single. Image. And I recommend you do it, too. Though I had written many pages about how important size acceptance is and how fat people deserve consideration and respect, I had never before really thought that fat bodies were beautiful. I had embraced intuitive eating and respecting my body's own set point with regard to weight - but I had this unspoken assumption that this meant I had to give up on being sexy. But these pictures are sexy. They are sexy and beautiful and intimate - and they capture the spark of each person.
So I went to find her. It was a long trek onto a college campus - I got a bit lost and ended up cutting through the local high school.
1. Yes, the high school was unlocked in the middle of the day. These things are possible in countries with reasonable gun laws.
2. The walls were adorned with posters about "What Being a Feminist Means to Me" and adverts for the "Refugee Welcome Committee." I really want to meet and hang out with these kids - they seem awesome.
Eventually, I found the location of the presentation - and Pax and I slid inside. It was a great presentation - there were lots of new photos that I hadn't seen before. And it was awesome to see Substantia Jones in person - it's hard to articulate, but it's good to see internet reality cross over into regular reality. Too often it feels like my corner of the internet is very liberal and supportive and when I venture into the real world I often find it less warm and cuddly. So it was good to see that Substantia Jones is a real person, and that there were real people there to hear her speak.
And also, she is just a person. She's a very talented photographer and quite inspired to come up with this project and quite brave to be taking this project all the way across the world. But she is also just a person. Even though her website has meant so much to hundreds of people and has helped so many people value themselves more and maybe treat others better - she is just a regular person doing this awesome thing.
Just your daily reminder to go do your awesome thing.