Reel Stories: Why it’s so empowering to be surrounded by kickass women

I had a fantastic time spending my Sunday afternoon on a panel about the art of the interview with a group of creative, smart women who left me feeling energized and empowered as hell.

The panel was organized by my old Press Democrat colleague Alexandria Bordas, who is now the program manager at Reel Stories, an Oakland-based nonprofit that empowers young women and gender non-conforming youth with the skills to create their own media. There were aspiring journalists, animators and filmmakers of all ages and levels. Us panelists shared a bit about our work, talked about how to control the conversation while also allowing an interview to unfold organically, and answered questions from attendees. One question we heard: How do you interview someone you disagree with. My answer: Have an open mind and don’t let your personal opinions guide your questions or hinder you in your quest for an accurate, honest storytelling.

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‘My body is mine, my body is mine’: A few thoughts on my Adventure Cycling article

The cover story for Adventure Cyclist is about my bike ride around Puerto Rico and how it helped me reclaim my body, after years of feeling detached from it.

When you weigh the most you’ve ever weighed, it’s hard to write about your body, then share it with everyone online. For weeks after my Adventure Cyclist article was published, I didn’t share to my social media pages for fear of what friends and family would think of my raw thoughts on the printed page. I wrote about motherhood, overcoming my health problems, feeling disconnected from my body, and reclaiming by body by biking hundreds of miles around Puerto Rico in Dec. 2018. I felt vulnerable sharing my inner thoughts and struggles of that trip, and I hate to admit this but while the accompanying photos taken by the talented Saara Snow are lovely and scenic, it’s hard to look at my body at that point in my life.

Also, I think my newspaper reporter training conditioned me to keep myself out of the story, but here I was writing about myself and my first bike travel experience.

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