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I’m a ballet dancer, author, and Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling student at Trevecca Nazarene University. I recovered from anorexia nervosa and live with anxiety, depression, and PTSD. I aspire to create an eating disorder treatment program for dancers.
Sharing some of my favorite ballet photos from over the years for #WorldBalletDay 🩰 Photographers are tagged in their respective photos ✨ . . . . . #balletdancer #ballerinas #ballerinasofinstagram #worldballetday2021 #balletphotography #dancersofig #balletphoto #balletinspiration #classicalballet #loveofballet #dancelove #balletbeautifulgirls #ballerinaproject #balletspirit #balletshoes #loveballet #instaballet #balletfeet #balletclub #dancephoto #balletlovers #dancersworld #dancersofig #pointeshoes
It’s #WorldBalletDay! 🩰 I don’t think it’s a surprise that ballet is something that I love and is super important to me — but I always love when there’s an official day to celebrate it! ✨ I’ve loved ballet for as long as I can remember — but there were many years where that love was stolen by my eating disorder. And with how the majority of the ballet world (I’m looking at you ballet companies and many dancewear brands and honestly even some ballet fans) treats people who don’t fit the “ballerina body” mold — it was really hard to reclaim that love. I realized that if the ballet world wasn’t going to make room for me, I had to make room for myself. Back in 2017, I created the #BopoBallerina movement to encourage body acceptance, body diversity, and ED awareness in the ballet world. So many dancers started using the hashtag, and it felt so incredible to connect with a more diverse ballet community. As my body has changed and evolved over time, it has been hard to feel like I belong — especially during times where my technique hasn’t been as strong (like right now). There are people who say horrible things and say I’m a disgrace to the ballet world — and there are also people who say such wonderful, supportive things and tell me I’m making an important difference. When I become a Gaynor Girl for the 2020/21 year, it felt like such a major move forward. And there are people and brands who are working to make ballet more inclusive. I’m struggling with my identity as a ballet dancer currently because I’m not in a company (I was earlier this year but it ended up not being the right place for me) — but I also know that whether or not I’m performing with a particular group (or at all), I’m just as valid of a ballet dancer. All this to say, I believe that ALL people who want to dance ballet or enjoy ballet deserve a place in the ballet world. It’s an incredible, beautiful, exhilarating art form, and I can’t imagine my life without it 💛 Illustration of me by @milibelledance ✨
What are some intentions you have for the week ahead? ✨ I’m currently laying on my couch refueling with some pizza and drinking lots of water after a long travel day — and realizing that I need to set some intentions for the week! Some intentions I have for this week: *Do at least 1 load of laundry *Go grocery shopping tomorrow and meal prep at least one recipe for the week *Make a list of things I like about living in Nashville to help counter some of my post Cali trip sadness *Study a little bit each night to be as prepared as possible for taking the NCE on Friday What are some intentions you have for the week? Let me know in the comments ✨ Leggings: @beyondyoga (use code COLLEENM15 for 15% off your order) . . . . . #therapistsofinstagram #therapyiscool #therapyworks #curvyfashion #counselorsofinstagram #therapistlife #psychotherapist #plussizeinfluencer #plussizeoutfit #plussizebloggers #plussizeblogger #plussizestyle #counseling #counselors #plussizelife
Having some time to recharge and reset while I’ve been in California has been so nice and so needed 💛 While I’m sad that I go back to Nashville tomorrow, it’s been wonderful to spend time with my mom, my pups, some other family members, and getting to see my lovely friend @onthedanlowe ✨ Dress: @diaandco #MyDiaStyle . . . . . #loveballet #melrose #instaballet #bailarina #worldwideballet #ballerinasofinstagram #instaballet #plussizemodels #curvyblogger #pinkwall #dancersofinstagram #lastyle #plussizeblogger #plusmodel #plussizestyle #balletdancers #balletworld #honormycurves #effyourbeautystandards #curvymodel #balletlife #plussizeinfluencer #balletinspiration #balletphoto #loveballet #balletbeautifulgirls #balletaddiction
Sometimes I miss my old body. Earlier this week, my lovely internet friend @thebirdspapaya made a post about how she liked when she was thinner because of things like clothing fitting perfectly, people treating her better, and people congratulating her on her body — but that the things she liked about being thinner were about others accepting her vs. accepting herself. This resonated SO strongly with me. There are so many times where I miss my old body. I could easily walk into any clothing store and find something that fit me well. People complimented my weight loss and asked me how I did it. I fit into “sample size” clothing at modeling jobs. People didn’t make comments on my Instagram telling me my body was disgusting or a disgrace to the ballet world. I was taken more seriously as a dancer. I fit into airplane seats more comfortably. I didn’t have to wear bras unless I felt like it (and didn’t get the abundance of boob sweat that I get now, especially in the summer 🤮). The reality is that while I sometimes miss my old body, most of the time when I was in that body, I was SO sick. Of course there were times when I was thin that I wasn’t sick. But most of the time, I was entrenched in my eating disorder and I did NOT like (or honestly even accept) my body. But there were undeniable privileges that I was granted simply because of the size of my body. It wasn’t about me accepting myself — it was about society accepting me. All this to say, even though sometimes I miss my old body, I know wholeheartedly that my overall quality of life wasn’t truly better. Yes, there were so many ways I was treated better/more special — but I also hated myself and was entrenched in an eating disorder. While I often still struggle with body image, I’m truly in a place of neutrality with my body and have a much HIGHER quality of life than when I was thin. That’s not to say if you are thin that you have an ED or aren’t happy — this is just my story! If you’re grieving your old body, you’re not alone. You’re allowed to miss something and know that it’s not good for you 💛 Photo: @balletzaida Leotard: @danskinapparel Skirt: @body.wrappers
I am so honored and grateful to be part of the #SayItBrave Collective! ✨ The Say It Brave Collective is a group of mental health advocates selected by @eatingrecovery/@pathlightbh who help humanize the recovery experience by sharing our expertise, hope, and wisdom that we’ve gained along the way. As you all know, as a therapy intern and person who has overcome an eating disorder and lives with several other mental health conditions, mental health advocacy is so important to me, and being able to share my story and wisdom even further (and among the company of such incredible people!) means so much. Learn more at EatingRecoveryCenter.com/SayItBrave ✨ . . . . . . . #EatingDisorderRecovery #TherapistsOfInstagram #TherapyIsCool #RecoveryIsPossible #RecoveryWarrior #CounselorsOfInstagram
What’s an intention/goal that you have for this week? ✨ I’ve been working hard to set intentions at the beginning of each week to set me up strong for the week ahead. A few of my intentions for the week: *Stretch everyday *Drink at least 8 glasses worth of water each day *Take a walk at least 1 day *Pack efficiently before I leave for a brief California trip to help my mom move on Thursday *Take time to read a non work related book *Order an ADHD workbook What are some intentions/goals you have for this week? Let me know in the comments 🌞 PS: These @beyondyoga leggings came in the mail today and I’m so happy they did 😍 These are their space dye leggings and they are SO comfy and have plenty of room for my IBS-D bloat. You can use my code “COLLEENMWERNER15” to get 15% off your order ✨ . . . . . #nashvillewomen #nashvillescene #balletaddiction #balletinspiration #nashvilletn #nashvillestyle #dancersofig #counselorsofinstagram #worldwideballet #balletworld #plussizefitness #bodyliberation #bodyneutrality #healthateverysize #positivebodyimage #fatacceptance #effyourbeautystandards #haes #normalizenormalbodies #allbodiesaregoodbodies #foodfreedom #plussizefashion #antidiet #beyondyoga #bodyacceptance #bodyimage
It’s #WorldMentalHealthDay! My life used to be fully consumed by anorexia, anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Today I’m free from my ED, and I’ve learned how to manage my anxiety, depression, and PTSD. There were many moments where I wasn’t sure I could keep fighting — and I’m so glad I did. I still experience symptoms of my anxiety, depression, and PTSD, however, it’s to a much lesser degree than many years ago. I also still struggle with body image, however, it’s much different than when my ED was active. I was recently diagnosed with ADHD, which also makes a daily impact on my mental health. My struggles and the help I’ve received along the way helped me find my dream job of becoming a therapist. I’m currently working towards my Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. I’m an intern at @thegaiacenter, where I provide therapy to people struggling primarily with eating disorders, trauma, anxiety, depression, and/or traits of borderline personality disorder. I’ll graduate in 2 months and continue working at The Gaia Center as a full time therapist. I’m incredibly privileged to be able to access quality mental healthcare. My parents were able to help me pay for out of network providers when no ED specialized dietitians or psychiatric providers were covered by my insurance. At least part of my individual therapy sessions have always been covered by insurance. My current psych NP is partially covered. I am struggling to pay for one of my medications that isn’t covered by insurance, but compared to the costs that so many folks face, I’m still quite privileged in my access to care. Mental health care is unfortunately highly inaccessible — and this is especially true for EDs. @openpathpsychotherapy provides a directory of therapists that offer sliding scale spots of $30-$60/session. @projectheal (I’ve been a volunteer for 4 years) helps folks access eating disorder treatment through an insurance navigation program, free care through treatment programs and outpatient providers like me that donate services, & a cash assistance program. If you’re struggling, know that things get better & I believe in you 💛 Photo: @balletzaida
I haven’t been dancing as much lately, and sometimes that scares me. When I was a teen, ballet was my identity. Which honestly made me a one dimensional person — my ED contributed to that too. When I started recovery, I redefined my relationship with dance. I reclaimed my joy for writing and learned how much I loved mental health advocacy. I made friends with non dancers and didn’t define my worth by my identity as a dancer. When I took a break from dance in 2018, it was scary. I was always known as a dancer first — and taking time away felt like losing my identity. This year, for a variety of reasons, including chronic illness, mental health, COVID restrictions, finances, being a therapy intern, I’ve been dancing less. People have continued to refer to me as a professional and despite not knowing if the label truly fits, I’ve gone with it because clearly someone thinks it does (I have been hired as a pro dancer before so I do think at points I have fit the title.) Right now, my technique is lacking due to lack of full classes (thanks schedule and financial struggles) and times where I haven’t been able to dance. My strength isn’t where I need it to be. My pointe work is meh, after having about 2 months this year where I was off pointe. I’m not where I was at in 2019 when I was taking class 4-5 days a week + rehearsing and performing. And while I know I’m more than just a dancer — I often feel like a fraud because I’m not where I was a year ago. Sometimes I worry that I’m misleading people (even though I post videos that show where my dancing is at), especially now that I’m not with a company. This is where I’m at. Once again wrestling with my identity as a dancer, especially in the public eye. And also knowing that I’m SO much more than just a dancer, and sometimes wondering if people see that. Yes I’m a dancer, and I’m also a therapist (well, almost!) a girlfriend, a daughter, a friend, a person who loves fashion, a writer, a yoga teacher, a corgi lover, and more. I’m so grateful that being a dancer has helped me build this platform and that I’m helping create change — and I’m also so much more than that. Photo: @i.am.alaina
What are some intentions you have for the week? ✨ I had planned on making this post earlier in the day but Instagram was down basically all day — so here we are 🤪 I’ve been working on setting intentions at the beginning of the week for the week ahead to get me off to a good start! A few of my intentions for the week: *Work on planning out all of the daily aspects of my life thoroughly. I tend to focus only on planning work responsibilities and let household things (especially tasks I struggle with) go to the wayside. I’m working on planning/breaking down all of these things so that I can work with my ADHD brain more effectively 🧠 *Be more proactive with meal planning. I had a few solid weeks in August where I meal prepped and felt so solid about having meals ready for the week. Anddddd for most of September I was not as on top of it as I needed to be (hi depression, anxiety, ADHD and a hectic schedule combined 🤪) *Take more planned screen time breaks. Having several hours straight without Instagram today actually felt really good, and I want to schedule time like that into my routine. What are some intentions you have for the week? Let me know in the comments ✨ Wearing a beautiful @theocwear leotard with @gaynorminden tights + pointe shoes, and a @royalldancewear skirt 💫 Photos by my lovely boyfriend @fullmetalsean 💗 . . . . . #healthateverysize #balletlovers #balletdancer #fatacceptance #allbodiesaregoodbodies #gaynorminden #worldwideballet #gaynorgirl #nashvillewomen #bodypositivefitness #classicalballet #balletpost #balletspirit #dancerscomeinallsizes #plussizeblogger #bodyneutrality #bodyacceptance #nashvillefitness #dancersofinstagram #mygaynorminden #bodypositive #plussizedancer #gaynorgirls #balletworld
What’s a win (big or small) you’ve had this week? 🥳 Around once a week I make a post where I can share some wins I’ve had throughout the week and you can too so that we can all celebrate together 🥰 Some wins I’ve had this week: *Prioritized sleep — I function best on 8-9 hours of sleep, and sometimes I find myself staying up too late, whether it’s scrolling through IG or TikTok, watching TV, or talking to Sean. But this week, I made sure sleep was a main priority *Got my ADHD diagnosis and started meds — I have a more detailed post on this from a few days ago, but this week I was diagnosed with ADHD, and I started medication! The medication my psychiatric nurse practitioner started me on isn’t a stimulant, so I hopefully won’t have as many side effects as I would if I was taking a stimulant. I’ve noticed some *slight* appetite changes, but honestly my appetite fluctuates anyway due to anxiety and depression. I probably won’t notice the effects of the medication for a bit since it has to build up in my bloodstream but I’ll keep you all updated! *I did really well with hydration this week! I struggle with drinking enough water sometimes, and this week I was pretty on top of it, which has made my body feel a lot better. Keeping my Yeti filled with ice cold water is the only thing that I’ve found helps me remember/enjoy drinking water 🤷🏻♀️ What’s a win (big or small) you’ve had this week? If you can’t think of any, just getting through the week is a major win itself! Let me know in the comments so I can celebrate you ✨ Photo: @dinelianoel Leotard and tutu: @discountdance (use code COLLEEN1015 for 15% off your order) Pointe shoes: @gaynorminden . . . . . #nashvillestyle #nashvilletennessee #nashvillescene #nashvilletn #nashvillelife #honormycurves #plussizemodels #plussizeblogger #curvemodel #worldwideballet #plussizedancer #lovedds #plussizedancers #dancersworld #nashvillewomen #pointeshoes #mygaynorminden #balletbeautifulgirls #dancerscomeinallsizes #discountdance #dancewearmodel #ballerinasofig #fatliberation #balletspirit #gaynorminden #balletaddiction #balletpost #ddsambassador #nashvilledancers #ballet_soul
Life update: I was diagnosed with ADHD this week! I’ve struggled immensely with concentration/focus/distraction/ for a LONG time (honestly as long as I can remember) with little reprieve as well as some other ADHD symptoms like fidgeting/perpetual restlessness, interrupting, talking too much, constantly losing things, disorganization, short attention span, forgetfulness, emotional dysregulation, difficulty with household tasks (despite putting in a lot of effort), difficulty organizing tasks and activities, easily distracted by external stimuli, etc. As someone who often appears to be “high functioning” (which I’ve recently learned from some folks in the disability community is an ableist term) and “having it all together” it was difficult for me to bring this up with my psychiatric nurse practitioner because I was telling myself I was just being “lazy” or something was wrong with me. The reality is that my brain just works differently than people who don’t have ADHD! It’s important to note that a lot of depression/anxiety symptoms can look like ADHD and vice versa – but my psych NP agrees that I do have ADHD on top of my mental health struggles. Receiving this diagnosis is SO validating and makes so many things make sense for me. I’ve started medication for my ADHD and I’m looking forward to hopefully seeing some symptom reduction. I’m also looking forward to working to address this in therapy (and outside of therapy) so that I can work WITH my neurodivergent brain instead of against it 🧠 PS: I’ll take any ADHD tips/suggestions in the comments – but please don’t tell me to just change my eating/movement patterns – because I find that super misinformed, unhelpful, and reductionist. Photo: @balletzaida Leotard: @danskinapparel Skirt: @body.wrappers . . . . . #nashvilletn #balletaddiction #nashvillewomen #balletinspiration #bodyneutrality #bodyliberation #fatpositive #allbodiesaregoodbodies #balletlovers #adhdproblems #balletphotography #ballerinasofinstagram #balletpost #balletlove #worldwideballet #balletzaida #adhdawareness #adhd #neurodiversity #adhdbrain #balletdancer #adhdtips #adultadhd #adhdsupport #balletlife #balletworld
Reminder that I don’t always have it all together — and it’s okay if you don’t either! 💫 This morning I was supposed to shoot with @i.am.alaina — anddddd my Apple Watch somehow died overnight, causing my alarm not to go off (and leaving me to wake up 30 mins before the shoot which I was going to be driving 20 mins to). When I realized, I was SO frustrated with myself and with not being able to shoot today because I was really looking forward to it. But the reality is that sometimes I drop the ball. And while there are sometimes ramifications after dropping the ball, IT’S OKAY! We are all human. Mistakes happen. Life goes on. So, for now, here’s a pic from my most recent shoot with Alaina — and here’s to my alarm actually going off when we reschedule 🤪 Photo: @i.am.alaina Leotard: @juledancewear Pointe shoes: @gaynorminden . . . . . #bodykindness #positivebodyimage #balletspirit #allbodiesaregoodbodies #bodyneutrality #bodyliberation #fatacceptance #plussizedancers #plussizedancer #dancephotoshoot #downtownnashville #pointeshoes #nashvillestyle #nashvillelove #pointe #tennessee #dancephotography #nashvillelife #dancersofig #worldwidedance #nashvilletn #nashvillescene #nashville_tn #balletpost #loveofballet #dancewear #nashvillearts #worldwideballet