Six years ago today I woke up after a late night on Tumblr with an question - if there were un-photoshopped images of happy women on Tumblr, would they help my friends who were struggling with disorders that made them want to be as skinny as possible? I had long suffered with under-eating, but had never lost weight in the process. I have never wanted to, but there was a group of young women on Tumblr called the pro-ana community who desperately did. I am not sure what compelled me to them specifically, maybe I just wanted to find people who understood what I was going through. When I reached out and told them that I was relapsing into my under-eating and I needed help, they were the most supportive people to me. They said that if I could eat, I should eat. They insisted that I was healthier both mentally and physically than they were, that I was stronger and could do it. See, they had given up, given in and banded together with others that understood them. They could be together without anyone being harsh or ignorant about their struggles. Unfortunately, that bond didn't make them better able to heal, it made them have more tips and tricks to stay in their anorexia. I didn't know if it would, but I was inspired to at least try and help.
So, I woke up the next morning with my question and a few hours and many texts later Middle Women was born. It took a long time for us to get to the mission “to cultivate self esteem and promote positive body image” but that was in our work from day one. I'm not even sure when we realized we were a socially conscious production company, but we totally were. After the successful launch of our Tumblr blog, it was only a few months until we had MiddleWomen.com.
I didn't know this until much later, but truly I just wanted to help people be happy and feel like they are meant to be here. Two experiences I hadn't had much up until that point. Eventually I realized that my work at Middle Women - 3 years, 200 students and interns, dozens of meetings and events and countless lives changed forever - was to help humans have the foundation they needed to go out and do what they truly wanted to do. I noticed too many beautiful people going out to save the polar bears without knowing how to take care of themselves first. Many of these vivacious modern activists, only equipped with the tools of traditional activism went out to save others before they even truly loved themselves. Of course, this was also going on with me.
After three years as the founder and executive director of Middle Women my body completely shut down. It was mostly just stress and I had been going down the express lane to burnoutville for so long I wasn't even surprised. I am happy to say that after an additional three years of work, this time on myself, my marriage and my sustainability methodology I have figured a lot out. Enough that I really want to start testing and teaching my new theories. Everything I have built post Middle Women has been to learn how to live with the chronic environmental illness I have as a result of the strain my unbalanced activism and other work put on my mind and body. In essence that means that under a lot of constraints I've built up methods of living that are not only streamlined, but holistically sustainable.
This leads me to my announcement… I have officially come out of retirement and begun work on an innovative and future thinking community focused live/work space in Seattle, WA. My growing team and I hope to have it move in ready this summer. First and foremost this will be a safe home for me. Because of my multiple chemical sensitivity, finding suitable housing is nearly impossible. Unsurprisingly this is again a very personal project for me, but this time I hope to do things differently. Not only will I be promoting my post-burnout lifestyle through this platform, I'll actually be benefiting from a set of systems that will keep me safe and healthy even in the face of so much uncertainty. So much to test and learn! I've seriously never been so excited to work on anything in my life.
Hoppy Easter Fools! Today was a good day with family and now I’m beat, even though I love putting on events with Grandma Mary. It’s always wonderful to get so many people here, fed and sent home happy. The calm after the storm and the satisfaction of a job well done are both part of the reasons I love event production.
Speaking of production, it’s just about time to get really serious about the Environmental Health House and Education Center. Just as soon as I’ve taken a good long break, that will be Thomas and my next and only project. We still think it will be in Seattle and we are eager to officially put the plans together and see who we will get to collaborate with.
Real talk, I'm working through a pretty brutal bout of depression. It’s forced me to take a full stop break from all work related projects to just see to my mental and physical health. I’m doing Inner Family Systems (IFS) therapy, meditation, journaling, yoga, stress management via recreational cannabis, spending time with my family and community. Thomas and I now believe that a lot of my negative and challenging physical health concerns are closely tied to my mental health and overactive social anxiety. My cousin Alexis (8) is fond of my “therapy” where we run around the woods behind my house singing Disney songs. I’m also just spending time alone for the first time in as long as I can remember. It’s been pretty wonderful realizing how much I enjoy my own company at this age.
So, I’m taking everything I’ve learned and even taught and mostly using it on myself. Getting things at home sorted before the next wave of production, networking and meetings. I’m also working on my relationships and (shockingly) asking for help. I’m realizing that someone can truly love and care about me but have no idea what to do. So, I’m working on explaining Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) and how people can accomodate me, what supporting me actually looks like and other things I really don’t know how to talk about yet. It’s well worth the effort.
This all still ties in with my promotion of fragrance free products. I’ve been accepted to a few new affiliate programs so just as soon as I feel up to it I’ll have more to share. It’s really fun finding people, products and companies that are already doing so much to lead humans onto a more sustainable path. I just get to tell people about them! I’m also having fun trying out new things.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot - I've been off Facebook for 11 days and I don’t know when I will be back. It's been a trip. I was talking to 30-40 people on messenger everyday, scrolling through the feeds, sharing great content to my own wall. It felt like I was getting a lot done but really I was distracting myself from the alone time I really need. I'm truly blessed to live in a time of such artistry and activism, it’s easy to get caught up in it. I am so eager to jump in and throw my weight behind all that I love and want for this planet. But right now, I have to give myself time to heal. I actually want to get to this future I'm trying to build. Major overhauling of time, energy and spirit going on at Camp Webber.
Also, I cut my hair. It’s shorter than I’ve ever had it - just below my shoulders. So much change! Anything new in your life? I hope this message finds you well.
- Rebecca E. Webber
P.S. I would like to thank me Patreon Patrons - Amanda Wright, Tiela Combs and Jesamie Salvesen. Thank you for your ongoing support!
I am a swirl of ideas, emotions and possibilities today. After submitting my latest business idea to a handful of people and getting some great feedback, I have a lot of thinking to do. As you know, this is nothing new for me. I just want to get it right! I'm so excited to be the lady that I am becoming.
My dream is to own a sustainably built house where I host private parties, produce online content and promote eco-conscious products as a way to show what luxurious sustainability can look like. I want to connect with clients with a bit of spending capacity to help get the brands I love attention and ultimately more clients. The question now, is how to ramp towards making that happen. I'm sure it will be challenging and fun whichever route I take to get there. It's very exciting to know that I've already started and will continue documenting best I can every step of the way!
Whatever the future holds for me, I am most grateful for the extraordinary people who hold space for me in their lives. My community is a top priority for me and I can honestly say that I've never felt more loved and supported. It's incredible to have a family that helps me direct my energy in a way that is truly “Rebecca”. Ever since I started working on events again if feels like they have all noticed that a part of me is “back”. Namely the dreams I had before I got sick. Being myself more everyday just feel right. Because let's face it, no matter what I end up doing I'm the center if it so my health is what matters most.
I've been going on more outings lately. I'm less symptomatic than I have been in the past. Thomas and I have been spending a lot more time in Seattle, attending gatherings in the city almost every week. I love that I am getting to spend time with people again. Most of my friends are using fragrance free products now. It's so nice!
I love living with my grandparents and I think we've really helped each other out over the past year and a half. I appreciate them and their hospitality tremendously! That being said, I'd like to move to Seattle and be closer to our friends as soon as we can swing it. It will be a minute before that's possible, but we are working towards this goal every day.
I'm going to continue all my efforts leading humans on to a more sustainable path! I feel so close to making this lifestyle provide for me and my loved ones, it's great. I think the keys will be documenting my journey and adding to my network all the time.
I hope this letter finds you well!
I'm am so ready for it to be 2018 - I know this year will be an amazing adventure. I turned 27 just a few days ago (on the 27th). Thomas says this is my golden year! I thought it was just the day, but I'm inclined to agree with him so year it is. Also, 8 is my lucky number. Only 10 years until I can become president!
Thomas and I had a really nice vacation last week and I miraculously had enough spoons (energy) to go to 5 parties. Today, I am paying the price and I no longer have any energy (I am spoonless). Totally worth it. I met some great people, spent time with friends and family, bonded with Thomas and generally had a great time. Now I want to hunker down at my desk and get to work. That will start tomorrow.
Seeing as it's the new year I've set a few personal goals for myself. Some of my favorites are:
The last goal (forming a house) is my main focus right now. I have a lot of ideas on this, but basically I am looking to create a fragrance free, sustainable community in Seattle. The house will be the location for collaborative focused events known as salons which I will produce to the best of my abilities and with a lot of help. The members of the house will be working to create a guide and different models of best practices. We will be answering questions like how we can best live together, if sustainable development can become part of a community culture and how can we best support each other and help save the planet. We won't be the first to try out these ideas and I hope to learn quite a bit in the coming weeks just researching and writing my proposal. If you are at all interested in helping with or participating in this project please let me know.
I recently started a YouTube channel and have begun producing a series called Exposing Isolation where I seek to shed some light onto my illness, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). I too am still in the dark and am only working with theories at this point. I plan to continue creating more videos as I work to improve my health, build a career within my limitations and find the right next home. Thank you to everyone who has already started watching.
I will also be making videos explaining some of my different business and social science ideas. My plan is to use these as practice while trying to get better at talking about what I'm working on. I also want to share them and see if I can connect with people to partner with. It's going to be a year full of sharing what I know and seeing who wants to talk with me about it. I don't know why this is so hard for me, but it really is. Please send help and chocolate.
Most of my projects will be amplified through affiliate marketing and other ways that I can boost the green economy. I believe that by promoting everything we really like, the products that are best for us and the planet, we can truly change the world. I call it solution based problem solving and all I want to do is focus on the good. Easier said than done but always worth the effort. If you are looking to upgrade to sustainable products I have a lot to recommend and would be happy to help you make the switch.
Even though today I am low energy, in general I am feeling much better. I'm looking forward to this year! I hope that it's all up from here but I'll be taking things one step at a time as always. I hope this message finds you in good health and high spirits.
Happy New Year!
What a year it has been and it’s not quite over yet. Are we all still in one piece? Mostly. Water has been an ongoing issue in my home for some time now, but since my dad replumbed the house and the barriers and ditch are keeping the rain out of the basement I hope that is behind us now. Personal issues aside, the world seems to be teetering, but at least we haven’t fallen over the side yet. There’s still hope!
Last month I worked every day to organize my ideas and begin my work assisting modern activists with their efforts. Thomas and I are doing our best to figure out how to equip active humans with the core beliefs, key skills and shared vision they need to be successful. There is so much work that needs to be done! We want to support everyone working to create a sustainable future we can all enjoy together and invite more people to join in. I just started working on a website called The Modern Activist which I hope to fill with all my work and everything yet to be completed. The idea for this presentation is to create an ever evolving love letter + care package for leaders and organizers. Too often those who take care of so many are the last to receive the care they need.
I am focusing on my one-on-one advising practice and Thomas is working on curriculum for online classes. We know what we want to do! It’s just taking way too long (in my opinion) to figure out how to do it. This website came after another I build last month just about Rebecca E. Webber, but I am working so hard and so fast that it is already somewhat outdated. Don’t forget that I also built Unscented Living a few months ago. What am I doing?
Over the past 6 years as an activist I have gotten burnt out and watched many others buckle under the weight of their work. It’s never easy, but I hope that by teaching Principles of Modern Activism we can help enough to progress in the right direction. Truth be told, I’m really tired. I feel like every day I try to figure out what we are going to do and sometimes I feel closer than others. I’m definitely talking about my own future and those around me, but I am also talking about humans in general.
I have learned a lot over the past 7 weeks facilitating an online group/class called Systems Based Living. I started with 75 students and although participation has pretty much dropped off completely, I am still taking the time to find and create content to post which feels good. The key takeaways are that it’s hard to stay motivated to participate in a free class and 8 weeks is too long to commit to a personal development opportunity of this style. The classes we launch in the future will be in the form of short modules that can be done in your own time in whatever order speaks to you or relates to your specific need-set.
By supporting thought leaders and other global influencers I hope to make the most impact, as opposed to relying just on my own voice. Right now I am spending a lot of time reaching out to these people and asking them about what is working, what isn’t, where they could use help and what they are hoping to accomplish. I love these conversations so much! If I could just talk to people every day and help them achieve their sustainability goals I would be so happy. It feels like there are a million steps before just setting up those calls.
Are you an activist with goals I could help you with? Are you trying to live a more sustainable life for your own good and that of the planet? Maybe you are a social media influencer and want to use your platform to save the world. If you have 30 minutes I would love to talk with you. Sign up here for a free discovery call! Please also send me your friends.
So much uncertainty in the air, but as I sit here at my desk listening to the rain I am most grateful that the water is out there and not in here. At this moment I am also learning that the Senate is set to pass a tax reform bill that would make it even harder to make a living wage as a small business owner. Where is the hope hiding? I promise I won’t give up no matter how many times my ideas don’t work the way I want them to or how many issues I realize I have no control over. I know I want to help and I love the work so I will certainly find a way to do it. I just know it!
I hope you enjoy the holiday season!
I put a lot of time and energy into researching what I buy. Thomas and I have an ongoing list of what we need and want as well as a system of research, purchasing and use or storage. Getting ready for the latest shopping experience I decided to keep track of everything and share it with you all. I will be direct linking you to the products we bought through Amazon. If you decide to purchase any of them (or anything at all during your session) I get a small compensation. Let's get started!
Chlorella Spirulina Tablets 80-DAY-SUPPLY Non GMO by Good Natured - Sunlight Grown - Deep Green Color - Cracked Cell Wall - Alkalizing - High Protein - No Other Ingredients Added - $29.88
Chlorella and Spirulina are really nutritious algae with vitamins and minerals that we need more of in our diet - namely iron. They also have a small amount of Omega 3 EPA + DHA which we are always looking to get as much of as possible. I chose this one specifically because tablets are cheaper and more easily absorbed than capsules. Also, Taiwanese chlorella and spirulina is some of the cleanest in the world.
Set of 8 Stainless Steel Straws FDA-Approved Ultra Long 10.5'' Drinking Metal Straws For 20 30oz Stainless Tumblers Rumblers Cold Beverage (4 Straight + 4 Bent + 2 Brushes) - $7.99
On my journey to less waste, straws were not high on my list of purchases because I don't really use them at home, nor do I go out to eat. That changed when I started brewing probiotics at home. I find myself in need of a way to taste testing my concoctions right out of the jar. So here are some lovely stainless steel straws. They'll last for the rest of my life, right?
BV Bike Rear / Safety Light 2-Pack – Waterproof Red LED Flashing Taillight for Cycling, Dog-Walking, Running - $7.99
Thomas bikes to the transit station in town and then buses to work every week day. It's pitch black by the time he's biking home so these are to keep him a little safer. Pretty simple stuff.
Yomandamor Best Mens Bamboo Mid-Calf Diabetic Socks With Seamless Toe,6 Pairs L Size (Socks Size:10-13) - 16.99
Thomas needs more socks. These are the only brand he likes. I wish I could say they were more sustainable - we do like that they are bamboo but we don't know much about the company. He likes them because they are stretchy. If you feel like your socks are too tight then these might be the socks for you! Also, you can tuck your pants into them if you are biking.
Just some new underpants. Same ones I always get. On the hunt for a sustainable brand to patron soon, but I'm a creature of habit. Probably my least exciting purchase this week...
Premium Fish Oil Omega 3 - MAX-POTENCY - 3,600mg + 1,296mg EPA + 864mg DHA + Immune Support + Heart Health + Brain Health, Joint + Skin Support + Burpless + Natural Lemon Flavor - $16.23
By far the most stressful and exhaustively research product this week and I'm not satisfied. Both Thomas and I need to take enough Omega 3 EPA + DHA every day or my depression takes over and his arthritis symptoms come back. We had been using the same brand for over a year when we got a bottle in the mail with different ingredients than we were used to. It is unclear if they changed the formula or if the other bottles we've purchased lacked the full information. I haven't found a way to contact that supplier so we are trying something new.
In general, we'd prefer to be full vegan, but until we can afford vegan EPA + DHA from algal oil (about $50.00+ a month per person) we will be sticking with fish. Unfortunately other plant-based sources of Omega 3 like flax, chia and hemp seeds are packed full of ALA, not EPA and DHA. Humans can't convert enough to make do. I don't like resorting to fish because I know how unhealthy and depleted the oceans are, but I have to stay healthy to do anything about the issues in the world. It's a conundrum that I will continue to try and solve. This specific supplement has a really high does and no soy or other random ingredients.
Pea Protein (84% Protein) from Germany by Anthony's (2lb), Gluten-Free x 2 - $14.99 each
I'm super excited about this find and I am falling more in love with this brand every week. We use a lot of pea protein. It goes in our breakfast shakes and baked goods. We were buying NOW Brand Pea Protein which is great, but this one is cheaper so we thought we'd give it a try. We also buy our Camu Camu powder from Anthony's.
Fiber, what can I say? We take 1.5 g every morning with breakfast. It helps and this is the version we have used for years.
This week we shopped at Fred Meyer:
We only go grocery shopping once a week so it is important to me to stay organized. Because we eat basically the same things every day it's not too difficult to plan. Even so, sometimes we do forget things. This week we learned that it's fine to try new brands and products, but we shouldn't go without the ingredients we know we like just in case the new stuff isn't great. I am SUCH a picky eater that this can mean me having a hard time eating enough.
Live + Learn
October was a wonderful month! I wish I could have had a few more days of it before I was writing to you all because it feels like I'm right in the middle of everything I’m trying to do right now. Maybe I’ll have more clickables in my December update!
The biggest development is that I recently started teaching an online class called “Systems Based Living” which is a practical how-to course to get your life on track. It is an eight week class with the bulk of the curriculum being shared through a private Facebook group with some emails. The weeks are - personal purpose and motivation, time and energy management, putting your health first, systematized nutrition, environmental impact, housekeeping, finances and community development. I have 75 students in the group, though only about half are active. It's been really eye opening and I am loving putting the structure and materials together.
I intend to teach this class again, probably in January as a New Year's resolution focused community. I am also working on other lesson plans. The next class that I am most excited to teach is Principles of Modern Activism. As some of you know, I was an activist in the body image movement for years and I eventually got so burnt out that I had to leave everything and heal. Now that I am doing much better I want to share the lessons I have learned and help changemakers be more effective in their efforts and even more importantly maintain a sustainable routine. Activism isn't a sprint, it is a lifelong commitment. I am feeling a lot better these days, better than I ever have really.
This month I will be organizing all the resources I can find that are currently available to activists, volunteers, social purpose entrepreneurs and progressive changemakers of all kind. The class will include a week on the history of activism so I will also be organized a lot of media to share on that. One of my ambitions is to connect with the United Nations and officially connect my course with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Their World’s Largest Lesson” curriculum is right in line with what I want to do so I am taking a class on how to teach it this week.
I am also working with a coach to create a new website for myself and to upgrade my entire social web of pages. It is a lot of work, but I know it is worth it. I'm really excited to create the funnel I need to attract and serve my niche markets. I am so pumped to be taking actionable steps to achieve my vision of living a sustainable world that we can all enjoy together.
If you are interested in learning more or participating in any of my projects, please reach out! I'd love to hear your thoughts and have you join in.
I hope this message finds you well.
My name is Rebecca Elizabeth Webber and I am an applied anthropologist working to show humans how to achieve their sustainability goals.