I’m moving all new posts to my Patreon! I’ll do a free one every week, and the rest will be available at various Patron levels. You can join me she was little as $3 a month! And the are other perks, so come check it out!
So, I’m in need of reviews for my online courses. Here are a couple of things: 1) I’m changing course delivery platforms soon. 2) All content is available for review. 3) I wanna know what’s working AND what isn’t!
For this reason, I’m giving away some classes for free in exchange for a detailed review. If you’re interested, comment below, please!
It occurs to me that I’ve never publicly answer the question I ask everyone, “What makes you whole?”
Uh, well . . . I don’t know.
My first thought is writing. It always centers me even when it frustrates the shit out of me. But self-expression is part of my core, and I do it best in writing.
My second thought is helping people understand themselves. I’ve long advocated for self-awareness, as I’m convinced it makes life easier even if the process is hard.
My third thought is music. I have a neon yellow/green index card on my pinboard in my office that I wrote this on: “Music is always the answer.” When my mental health spirals, I put on one of three playlists: Peter Gabriel, Mumford and Sons, or my Anxiety Soothers playlist that heavily features Marconi Union. It’s comfort and grounding. But I also almost always have music on in some way. Right now, I’m listening to my ’80s and ’90s playlist, and sometimes, I drive around aimlessly just to listen to music because I seem to absorb it best in my car.
I think my last thought is connections particularly family and loved ones. My brain does this neat (sarcasm font) thing where I imagine the deaths of my loved ones, and I end up bringing myself to tears. It’s brutal to do to myself, but it also serves as a reminder not to take them for granted. I would be *shattered* if I lost my husband, parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, or closest friends. I don’t feel human without them.
So, yeah. I imagine there are more things (chai), but those are the things that come to mind immediately.
I always turn the question back to you. What makes you whole?
My name is Seeta, and I am the founder and CEO of Whole Damn Woman! Grab a chai and plop on the couch. I wanna tell you all the things!
My name is pronounced C-tuh. I’m named after a Hindu goddess. Yeah, it is pretty fucking cool. Yes, I’m half Indian as in India. I’m also half Black. That covers the standard questions, I think.
I’m 42 (we miss you, Douglas Adams; and today is the 20th anniversary of his passing . . . that was pure coincidence), and I was born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa. The only other place I’ve lived is Shithole, Kansas. I have a Master’s degree in English with an emphasis in creative nonfiction (i.e. telling true stories using the elements of fiction). I also have a graduate certificate in sociology, and yes, I want the full degree when I can afford it.
What can I do with that education? Not get rich or have a steady job, apparently.
I taught as a college instructor for twenty years, most of that as an adjunct or part-time instructor. Why didn’t I go full-time, you ask? I tried at least four times at one campus, and I lost track of the other efforts. And this is how the business came about . . .
After my fourth rejection for a full-time position at the campus where they called me “family,” I took an intense look at my relationship with that family and realized it was fake. They had no legitimate reason for not hiring me (and no, old boss of mine, White supremacy and misogyny aren’t legitimate reasons). After sixteen years at that campus, I walked away. I kept teaching for a bit at other colleges, but my days were spent commenting on the proper places to put periods in MLA citations while inside I was screaming, “THE WORLD IS DEHUMANIZING YOU.” So, I was done with traditional education, but I wasn’t done teaching.
At first, Whole Damn Woman was DSM Food Lover on Instagram, and I focused on the good stuff I ate at restaurants in Des Moines and on the occasional vacation. But it was too singular. My passions are writing, communication, sociology, self-awareness, and food, so I expanded my focus to . . . whatever I wanted. Then a theme emerged. I wanted to tell people all the ways society fucks with our senses of self and steals little bits of what makes us who we are. I kept coming back to helping people find ways to fight society’s bullshit (“be yourself, but not that way!”).
I ended up here: Whole Damn Woman helps people rediscover their wholeness. We are born whole, but everything around us wants us to think we aren’t. If society can convince us we aren’t whole, it can sell us solutions to problems they’ve convinced us we have.
It’s. All. Bullshit.
Worse: We’re told not to talk about any of this stuff. It’s considered too much information, too personal, not for dinner conversations, not polite, inappropriate, and so on. It’s only allowed to be discussed by the people selling you the solutions.
We are human. Nothing human is off-limits or taboo to us. How are we to grow, rediscover our wholeness, and fight dehumanization if we can’t talk about this stuff? Whole Damn Woman makes it OK to talk about it all. We facilitate difficult conversations and take the edge off what it means to be ourselves. Talking and learning about our humanity is the only way we can fight social injustices. We have to communicate, share, and teach to learn that it’s OK for us to be who we were born to be! We have to talk about the things that steal our wholeness for us to get our birthright back.
What are you doing to connect to your wholeness this week?
I’m getting my first massage since December 2019 (everything on me hurts), and I’m giving Inner Space’s Salt Lounge a try for the first time in the hopes that it clears out my tree-pollen soaked sinuses. Beyond that, I’m indulging in my hobbies: Cubs baseball (nine-game stretch!), virtually attending a gender equity and finance conference, and trying new-to-me foods.
While the conference will get me riled up and experiencing new things will make me scurred, I’ll be feeding my wholeness by making sure I indulge in humanity. I hope you’re joining me in this! Tell me about your self-care plans this week!
Wholeness through Goals
What goals nourish your wholeness?
As mentioned in a series of Instagram stories on Monday (I’m thinking about moving all IG stories here once they expire, but I digress), Hubster and I post-vaccination vacationed in downtown Chicago over the weekend, and my soul sang an entire damn musical about rejuvenation, and not the kind the beauty industry tries to sell. I mean real, spiritual, world-connectedness, humanity-nourishing rejuvenation. I often say the end of Navy Pier is my soul-reset spot, but Navy Pier is still closed, so we didn’t get there. Turns out, maybe it’s just anywhere with above floor fifteen along Lake Shore Drive.
I love Des Moines, and I’m weirdly defensive about Iowa, but after this trip, it hit me how much I hate this state. I tried. I really tried to love it here. After living in Kansas and coming back, I did love it here for several years because I knew how shitty it could be elsewhere.
But I need to be in a place where tobacco-chewing White dudes in beat-up White pickups aren’t coal-rolling people for having Bernie stickers. I need a lot less Trump nonsense in my life, and a lot more “I ain’t got time for your shit, but in a friendly way” people who get out of your way, let you do your thing, and don’t try to control what bathroom you use. You know. Chicagoans.
Sadly, we can’t move out of state for some time. Our parents are aging, and both moms have had major health issues this year. We stay for them.
If we’re going to stay, I decided I need to remember what makes me vibrate on my favorite frequency. So, I set (or really reset) new goals:
Seek out new experiences in DSM
Improve my physical health
Revamp my finances
Later this week, I’ll expand on these and what they mean for Whole Damn Woman and maybe for you!
Wholeness through Community a.k.a. All the Fucking Food
How will you build wholeness in your community this week?
Y’all! I have SO MANY FOOD DATABASE UPDATES for this week. I have at least 40. Shit’s getting real! I’ll have those probably tomorrow, but I also planned a full database update tomorrow, so it’s gonna take me all damn day. Still. It’s worth it. Knowing what new stuff we have helps me with connecting with the community.
I’m excited to see what all you plan to try this summer. Though, I do caution you. I’m still not dining in. This is all food trucks, take out, delivery, and *maybe* patios. Do local restaurants a favor and be kind to them. Staffing is super low, diners are super assholey, and serving minimum wage is still only $4.35.
Beyond that, I’m finally delving into local food trucks, specifically taco trucks. Because taco trucks were so heavily stigmatized during my childhood (I was taught they were drug dealers . . . not racist at all), I’ve long avoided them. This year, fuck that. I’m gonna try all the things! This week, I’m trying Tacos Degollado (Tacos slain? Tacos beheaded? Tacos that slay? What even does that mean?).
I’m also picking up some yums from Bread by Chelsa B this week. Long live the home baker!
Tell me what you’re eating this week! I wanna know what you’re doing to stay connected to your community.
Whole Damn Womanmaintains a food database for the greater Des Moines area. It includes restaurants, food trucks, home businesses, farms, co-ops, pantries, and markets in the following areas: Altoona, Ames, Ankeny, Boundurant, Carlisle, Clive, Des Moines, Grimes, Indianola, Johnston, Norwalk, Pleasant Hill, Polk City, Urbandale, Waukee, West Des Moines, and Windsor Heights. The food pantry list is printable, so please feel free to share it anywhere and everywhere.
This database is updated weekly and undergoes major updates once a month. It contains active links to most businesses as well as a phone number. Most importantly, the database focuses almost exclusively on locally-owned/operated businesses.
Today is the first time I’m beta-testing Unlearning 101, and I am nervous as hell. I always get nervous for the “first class” in any setting, but this one is different. This is the first time I’ve created the content from the ground up. I don’t have a textbook to lean on. I don’t have an administrator popping in to my classroom to give me the typical “you can do it” pep talk. I *do* have an IT guy making sure all the equipment is go (thanks, Hubster!). But I’ve never been so invested in something I’ve created.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m SUPER excited! If this works as I want it to, I truly believe this is it. This is what I was meant to do. Even if it doesn’t work, I’ll be discouraged, but then I’ll get back to it because I’ve never felt so locked in and loving toward something I’ve created, not even my novel (which is still there; I’ll finish it eventually).
I never thought I’d be a business owner. Not once. I was always convinced business was not for me. I scoffed at business majors. Now I’m like . . . shit, I should’ve been paying attention.
Every personality test I’ve ever taken said I’d make a great CEO, and I laughed or was confused each time. Now, it’s real. I’m not sure I’ll ever refer to myself as CEO. That’s just weird. But Whole Damn Woman is (so far) everything I wanted it to be. I just hope others love it as much as I do.