Lessons learned from the first event, meant show number two was a breeze by comparison. In the morning Taryn put a call out on Facebook for people to come help set up in Bathurst and the community did not disappoint. Many women, and one brave teenage boy, showed up full of energy and enthusiasm. Whereas the day before we’d been rushing around at the last-minute, throwing items in goodie bags, the Panorama room at the Bathurst Panthers club was perfect with a good hour to spare. That change in dynamic made all the difference too – everyone was in a great mind set for the show.
I’m not sure if it was the Friday night energy or the women in Bathurst are just naturally rowdy, but the girls were out for a good time! I was on the front door again, this time Glen and his camera to film vox pops with the waiting crowd. Vox pops are the opinions of people recorded talking informally in public places – copied and pasted from where I had to Google it to find out what the hell they were! I loved chatting with the women about their expectations for the night and how the Embrace movie impacted them. Many mentioned how it changed the language they used around their daughters in a hope to vaccinate them against the scourge of body shaming. I’m so proud to be a part of a movement that is making these tangible changes for the future generations.
Chezzi Denyer was our guest for the evening to do the Q and A session. Her admiration for Taryn was palpable and endearing. She spoke of how difficult it is to be the subject of paparazzi snapping unexpected photos of her. Then seeing magazines publish photos with arrows at her belly claiming she was expecting twins. She mentioned a recent trip to Wet and Wild with her family where she was aware that people were taking photos of her husband Grant Denyer that would include her in her bikini. Years ago that moment would have filled her with insecurity, but she kept saying to herself – embrace it, embrace it. The documentary has helped her care less about the toxic messages and focus on raising her two girls to appreciate their bodies for what they do, rather than how they look. Ellen Briggs also gained a new mega fan as Chezzi called her the funniest woman you’ll ever see – and she truly is!
So my highlights for Day three of the Embrace Yourself Tour:
- The contagiously cheerful Stacey McGregor telling us that she’d been so cold the night before in her bunk bed that she had wrapped her bath towel over her feet and then considered if the bathmat had dried enough for her to put it over her head. I asked if she’d gotten the spare doona of the top bunk and her wide eyes and dropped jaw told me – no, that thought had not occurred to her.
- Setting up the room with the amazing Bathurst volunteers and I noticed the fifteen-year-old boy was putting together the media walls and was just about to shake out the Vulva wall cover. I raced over and suggested he might want to help the women pack the goodie bags. I later heard that this sweetheart had asked if he could come on the tour with us and offered to do all the heavy lifting for the next week – he just loved being around the team.
- At the very end of the night we went looking for the left-over champagne we’d brought in from Naked Wines, with the help of a beautiful Panthers staff member, Naomi. I found the bottles and loaded them on a trolley. Naomi had been so accommodating with everything, so I asked if she liked champers and gave her a bottle, saying take it home and enjoy. The cargo lift opened, Prue from the BIM team looked at the trolley of bottles and asked – where did you get these – they aren’t ours. Great, so in my effort to be kind and generous to Naomi, I’d actually stolen from her employer! Thankfully she was lovely about it when I had to track her down and reclaim the bottle. I swapped it for a goodie bag at least. 😊
- Late night heart to hearts with Mama Kate from Love, Food and Gratitude, who’s uniquely beautiful perspectives on life are inspiring.
So, today we are off to Wollongong for event three. We left our Bathurst Big 4 park a little early so we could take Claire (the renamed bus – it’s a éclair joke I’ll explain in another blog) for a hoon around Mt Panorama. Our inner bogans flourished as we rocked out to the Oils and Jimmy Barnes and Stu the bus driver put the pedal to the metal (which in a bus this size meant we hit about 40km/hr).
Today is my gorgeous boy’s 14th birthday and I got a little teary after hanging up the phone from a facetime call this morning. It’s rough not being there, but he is so happy for me to be having this once in a lifetime experience. He is off to play laser tag with friends and family, so I know he will be surrounded by love and fun.
Off to the ‘Gong now – bring it on!
To read more blogs from the Embrace Yourself Tour – click here