Suzie Spitfyre, BA, Cert. PR, SRDF

COMMUNICATIONS, MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
she / her

I am recovering from:
Toxic diet and fitness culture, BED and disordered eating, gray area drinking, a very complicated relationship with my body and my mind, low self-worth, perfectionism, codependency, anxiety, and depression. I’ll just leave it at that for now, it’s ever evolving…the more work I do, the more I uncover.

What led me to SHE RECOVERS:
The first part of my recovery included one non-judgmental hour of SHE RECOVERS Co-Founder Taryn Strong’s Yoga for Recovery per week in 2013. Following my former mentor from make-up to movement, I was encouraged to listen to my body. It was there in class that, that I learned a broader and more inclusive SHE RECOVERS definition of recovery, “Recovery is a journey to wholeness – we take care of our body, mind, emotions & spirit; we learn to heal our past wounds so we can live fully in the present. We are all recovering from something.” Those classes started it all off for me…fast forward to today, where I continue to attend SR trauma-informed yoga classes, SRT sharing circles, #MentalHealthMondays, retreats, and of course SHE RECOVERS Dance.

Why I love being a part of this team and non-profit organization:
I have been a cheerleader for SHE RECOVERS since I blogged about Taryn’s yoga back in 2013! As a woman recovering from many things, I found such connection, support, and empowerment through the movement, and it’s only natural that I would want to pay it forward. Once you experience the magic of SHE RECOVERS, the community and its resources, make personal connections, share and listen to the stories, and open yourself up to what recovery has to offer, there’s no going back! SHE RECOVERS is redefining recovery, ending stigma and shame, and empowering women to heal…and how could I not love being a part of that?!

Those that know me best might describe me as:
Creative, curious, and spirited.

How these qualities show up in my everyday life:
As a creative, I forge a unique path, celebrate authenticity, and just be my weirdo self. I like to challenge what is considered normal and question the status quo…whether that be as world-altering as shifting environmental conservation paradigms or as mundane as making dinner without a recipe after taking a peek in the fridge. I like to come up with a thousand different ways of doing something to see if it’ll work. Spoiler alert: sometimes it doesn’t and that’s okay. I find inspiration in all the things – an imaginative make-up look based on the colors of a pigeon or a blog post about my patchwork of recovery composed mostly in my head while showering. My creativity makes me a good problem-solver as I don’t mind changing my perspective, which also means I like to play devil’s advocate too! Creativity is my superpower.

I am a life-long learner…not afraid to ask questions, investigate further, look something up, or do a little or a lot of research…there’s adventure in the exploration. Curiosity led me on my multifarious career path, from archaeologist turned make-up artist to researcher and writer, but also inspired me to form opinions, fight for what I believed in, become an advocate and ally, to join movements, drive social change, and endeavor to make an impact in this world. Curiosity begets storytelling, and stories fuel my intense interest in people, places, things, and experiences. Stories help us make sense of others and ourselves – they powerfully convey our culture and values and unite us as humans.

To be spirited is to be full of energy, enthusiasm, passion, and life. My spirit manifests in lively conversation, passionate discourse, enthusiastic storytelling, unconventional displays of affection, uproarious laughter, expressions of deep gratitude, frenetic embodied movement (i.e., dancing, jumping, shaking, oscillating, bowing, tadaaing, hugging, clapping, poking etc.), active extroversion, and other ways of being exemplified by my not-so-short answers to all these questions. Ha!

Something unique you may not already know about me:
I am prone to spontaneous operatic outbursts which are often spurred on by prosaic circumstances that require enlivening antics – or so I think, not everyone is impressed with the volume of my voice…especially in elevators. Sometimes I sing in key, sometimes not (see: Mrs. Miller). Sometimes I sing traditional arrangements with appropriate lyrics, but mostly I just make it up as I go along. I like to scat randomly…or switch genres mid-song. During lockdown, my husband told me he could never have predicted how many songs would be composed and sung in his honor. I imagine my cats feel the same way.

Something I am most proud of:
I am proud of anyone, myself included, who has survived their lives thus far. We made it! We are here.

And if you’re reading this, then you are showing up despite a complicated and possibly traumatic backstory – we are all recovering from something, after all. You are doing the work; you have endured adversity and good fortune alike and been resilient. Congratulations, I’m proud of you…I see you.

I find that putting it all out there – being seen, being vulnerable, and holding space with others doing the same – alleviates shame and creates connection with those with similar experiences. But it is not easy! We have had to be courageous to get where we are, there is risk involved, but in sharing our stories, and holding space, we find strength, inspiration, and community. And, I’m proud of all of us for just being in this space.

Radical self-care look for me looks like:
Radical self-care for me is intentionally taking care of my body, mind, emotions, and spirit. Tuning-in to what I really need in the moment, a situation, in a relationship…in, you know, life…things that I need to tend to in order to ensure my wellbeing. Radical self-care goes way beyond mani pedis and gets deep into what I truly need to heal – sometimes it means giving myself time and space to do the work, or sometimes that means surrounding myself with people who feed my heart and soul. Sometimes it means creating healthy routines, saying no, or taking a chance on something. It can mean having hard conversations, forgiving myself or others, just letting go, or exploring my creativity through journaling, meditating or some sort of bodyful somatic practice. Whatever its incarnation, it generally involves giving myself a little grace and self-compassion as I go about my daily rituals. Like so many things, radical self-care is a practice – so it is an action that requires repetition to reach mastery.

What I wanted to be when I grew up:
Actress, artist, academic, archaeologist…things that begin with A, apparently.

Something that is inspiring me right now:
I am inspired by humans. I am inspired by people’s stories, their thoughts and dreams, myths and memories, ideas and spirituality, their actions and adventures…in short, their culture. I am inspired by humanity’s collective imagination, and its various manifestations.

I am inspired by the natural world. I am inspired by nature’s peaceful and serene or wild and unpredictable disposition, her ability to nurture and destroy, her resiliency…her ability to heal herself and keep going. Mother Earth is a powerful force, a magical biosphere, the creator and sustainer of life, and the source of all inspiration. Nature reminds me that I am a part of something so much greater.

Spending time in nature leads to expansive thinking, new perspectives, and innovation. While the same is true when I am in the presence of people sharing their stories – I find inspiration in our conversations and in the connection. The more I listen, the more I understand others and myself.

The SHE RECOVERS Intention & Guiding Principle resonating the most with me right now is…
How can I pick just one?

“We are all recovering from something.” Such is the nature of the human condition. I appreciate its inclusivity and universality. We are all affected by our lived experiences, and I believe that everyone is worthy of recovery and healing in their lifetime.

My favorite SHE RECOVERS resource is…
At the moment, it is SHE RECOVERS Dance as I’m in the process of reconciling the relationship I have with my body. As a volunteer SHE RECOVERS Dance Facilitator, I regularly invite others to reclaim their bodies and the space that they take up by inviting them to participate in intuitive movement. In SHE RECOVERS Dance, we come as we are, we dance our own dances, we connect with each other, and we heal. Movement = medicine. Movement was something with which I had to make amends in my recovery – having spent so many years in the headspace that movement was something that was prescribed to me as punishment for “letting myself go” or for being “too much,” I had grown to resent it. It was a chore, an imposition. Reconnecting with movement has been such a joy – taking that first dance class with Payton on retreat made me remember the freedom and feelings that movement had brought me in the past. Being surrounded by fully embodied women focusing on their own healing, with no choreographed steps or sequences, just being invited to do whatever we felt called to do in the “sharing circle like no other” was empowering. It made me reassess my relationship with my body…it alleviated some of the shame. I felt a shift. Embracing dance and intuitive movement has become one of my regular recovery rituals, it gets me out of my head and gets me into my body…turns out, that’s not such a bad place to be.

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