I’m the official photographer for Project HEAL’s Camp Heal 2019! Join us in Angeles National Forest outside Los Angeles this September to help heal your body image.
In this video, I’m talking about eating disorder recovery and who has the “right” body for it, why I’m lending my skills to the camp, and my fave camp memories. (And what you *won’t* see me wearing at camp.)
I’m makeup-free in this video. The video was created on land belonging to the Duwamish tribe. I support the tribal council monthly and you can too: https://www.realrentduwamish.org.
Necklace: Nature’s Twist
Top: Rainbeau Curves
Hi everybody. I’m Lindley Ashline. And I’m so excited to announce that I’m going to be the staff photographer for Camp Heal in September. I’m going to tell you just a little bit about me, and then I’m going to talk about camp.
I am a body positive photographer in Seattle. And I work with every physical body as equally beautiful and equally worthy and equally valid. I work particularly with folks in larger bodies who don’t tend to be seen in the media as much or in publications as much. And so people with bodies like mine or bodies larger than mine, we’re not seeing our own bodies. And so I am particularly encouraging of folks in larger bodies to come work with me. But it’s very much about seeing each body as beautiful. I don’t minimize bodies. I don’t erase bodies. I don’t photoshop bodies. I just celebrate them as they are.
So, that’s me! You can find me at LindleyAshline.com or SweetAmaranth.com.
And I want to talk a little bit about Project Heal which is the organization that is holding Camp Heal. This is heal, H-E-A-L, as in healing or recovering.
Project Heal, their mission is to help all people suffering from eating disorders access full recovery. And it’s just so different and so, so good to see an organization that is prioritizing all kinds of bodies. And eating disorder recovery, we have this image of people who had anorexia in very thin bodies and people who have binge eating disorder in fat bodies. And that’s what we see. We don’t see anything else outside that.
And people in bodies of any size can have any type of eating disorder. Fat people get anorexia. Thin people have binge eating disorder. There is no body size that is indicative of an eating disorder of a particular one.
And Project Heal is the first organization that I have ever come across that’s been aware of that. And it’s been helping a little bit to break that stereotype and to really support bodies8 of all types in recovery.
They are at TheProjectHeal.org.
And what they do is they don’t directly treat eating disorders. What they do is they make it possible for people to get treatment. They fundraise and award grants for in-patient treatment. And they have this treatment access program that helps people navigate that.
If you have insurance, they help you navigate getting treatment with the insurance that you have. And if your insurance cuts out, they help you stay in treatment. And I believe they also help people without insurance access treatment as well.
So, they make those connections. And they really make it possible for people who may not otherwise able to get treatment to get treatment. And that is so, so important.
And so, I am really impressed by what they do.
So Camp Heal is Project Heal’s first annual camp event. Camp Heal is not an eating disorder treatment experience in itself. It’s an enrichment camp. It celebrates the journey of those who are in eating disorder recovery and also gives support for people who needs some extra support and help around body acceptance and self-care.
It’s for adult 18+ and teens 14+ with a parent or guardian. It is going to be in Angeles National Forest from September 27th through 29th 2019. And Angeles National Forest is outside LA in Southern California. And I’m sure it’s gorgeous!
And this is going to be really cool because it’s this combination of a traditional camp experience—like you might have, if you did Girl Scouts when you were little, like Girl Scout camp—and sort of body image supportive activities and treatment supportive activities. They’re going to have various camp counselors and some fun, traditional camp activities like a campfire and a talent show and jewelry making and all the things that you might associate with camp.
I don’t know if it’s officially on the program yet, but I’m betting there will be some body positive yoga too.
And one of the really cool things about this camp event is that they are deliberately using this, again, to help break these stereotypes of who has an eating disorder or what kind of body, what kind of ethnicity has an eating disorder. And they’re bringing in camp counselors. Any one who’s a staff associated with this event is a camp counselor. They’re bringing in camp counselors who defy the stereotypes, who have different kinds of bodies, different marginalizations that we don’t often see represented in treatment spaces.
And so I and my fat body—and when I say “fat” for folks who don’t know me, I’m using that as a neutral descriptor. I have reclaimed that for myself. And so I describe my body as fat in the same way I describe myself as average height.
So, at any rate, my fat body and I will be there taking photographs. And my understanding is that some of the other counselors are going to be in bodies that you don’t necessarily see represented in treatment spaces. So I’m really excited about this.
And as part of this video, they have asked me to answer some camp-type questions. And so these are kind of fun.
So, one of these things is what you’ll be most likely to wear at a camp. And I’m going to turn this around, and I’m going to tell you what I will not be wearing. I will not be wearing a bathing suit. And it is not because I’m ashamed of my body. It is not because I don’t think fat bodies should appear in public in bathing suits. In fact, I recently did a product review of a specific type of panties that were designed for fat bodies. And in that, I happily appear in bra and panties.
So, if you see me not wearing a bathing suit at camp, it will not be because I’m not comfortabledoing so or because I don’t want to represent. It will be because I’m really scared of water I can’t see through.
I got stung by a jellyfish when I was a kid. And before that, I had no fear of water whatsoever. And the jellyfish kind of changed things.
And so, I’m working on this water phobia, but I probably won’t be working on it at camp. So you will not see me in a bathing suit almost certainly. If you do, it will be a special case.
But you will see me in clothing like this, kind of athletic clothing because I will be mostly behind the camera. You will see me wondering around at various camp activities taking photos.
And I want to talk about that for a minute too. I think when we’re in spaces where we feel vulnerable and where we’re having fun, but we don’t necessarily want to be on the stage or on the spot, and particularly, in a workshop where we might be doing something that’s particularly vulnerable or particularly sensitive, we don’t necessarily want to have somebody in the corner going click-click-click. And so the Camp Heal folks and I are going to decide in advance which spaces and which workshops are camera-friendly and which are camera off-limits. And so throughout the camp, I will be respecting that.
And I think we’re going to mark it in the program—don’t quote me. But there will be some kind of visibly marked differentiation between a camera space and a non-camera space, so that, if you’re attending, that way, you’ll always feel safe. Nobody is ever going to sneak up on you when you’re in a particular sensitive moment with a camera without prior permission. And so I stipulated that before I agreed to come, of that we needed to have some way for people to still feel safe while also getting some fun camp photos.
So, I just want you to be aware of that, that we’re very serious about that and we’re planning that in advance to make sure that you feel safe.
My favorite camp memory is definitely campfire songs. I know it’s super cheesy, but I love campfire songs. I love them both for the campfire—because I was super into Girl Scouts. I was attending Girl Scouts camp. I was super into both the campfire, the physical aspect, because I like reading survival stories, like I learned about how to set rabbit traps as a kid. I never actually did it, but I was super into outdoorsy stuff. So, actually, the physical fire was really cool.
And then, also, I really enjoy the singing. I’m quite musical. I have taken voice lessons in the past as an adult. And so the music was very special to me too.
So that’s my favorite camp memory.
But I think what I’m looking forward to most at Camp Heal is the talent show because I really love—like as adults, we see people’s public personas, we see them at work, or we see them at grad school, or we see them at wherever, church, but we don’t see their hobbies necessarily unless we’re close Facebook friends. We don’t see our hobbies.
Like a lot of folks, because I haven’t taken voice lessons and performed in a few years, a lot of folks don’t know that I sing. And so I can’t wait to see what everybody’s hidden talents are. Who does baton twirling? Who tap dances? And who does stand-up comedy? I cannot wait to see what people come up with.
If you’re interested in registering and joining us and hanging out with us—hanging out with me—it is on September 27th through 29th outside Los Angeles. And you can get there to register at bit.ly/campheal.
Hope to see you there!
Every Monday, I send out my Body Liberation Guide, a thoughtful email jam-packed with resources on body liberation, weight stigma, body image and more. And it’s free. Let’s change the world together. Subscribe »