Listen: Frailty Myths with Erinn Carter & Georgia Faye Hirs
"Aaron Quarter in Georgia Her Sti or two of three Co founders of frailty myths is an organization based in Oakland California whose mission is to reimagined feminine any and build power by bringing our whole selves into our work of cultivating place wherever and however we do that they join us today to explore health concept of frailty miss can be implicit elicit bias in the gardening world. And how we're all better off when we can see these biases admits for what they are and compost them openly into more nurturing concepts around self and other. Thank you for being here today. And welcome Georgia and Erin Erin. Thank you so much for having us. Hi there so I want to get started with the two of you giving me your work in your own own words because it's always better that way. Let's start with you Aaron because you are the one that reached out to me to see about vote having a conversation. About where your work. And my work intersects in that beautiful space absolutely. Thank you so much for having us. I'm so excited to be here and talk to you more about about what we do not miss about what you do at cultivating increase. So yeah frailty miss is a is a nonprofit that was started by Georgia myself. Another Co founder of ours and we've existed since two thousand in sixteen in Oakland California. That's where we're based out of. But we host workshops all across the country for Women Trans and gender non conforming folks and the mission of frailty miss is to create a space in a community where Women Trans and gender non-conforming folks can heal trump Z.. Trauma that what is Patriarchy that is generational trauma and have a space to reconnect with our feelings of strength power community and justice. And we do that. Through hosting free workshops in the community on skills and spaces are traditionally dominated by men and that includes woodworking sailing climbing gardening cultivation And our goal is to build a space and build a community where we can try new skills through. We can try new things where we can challenge ourselves and again break free of that myth that to be a woman to to not be man means that we are weak and don't have the ability you to be strong and changed the world. Yeah I love the three part sentence I guess there are three part phrase or motto auto on the website. Feel your inner power. Grow your confidence change the world. That is to such beautiful some Asian Let's move to so you Georgia with the way you see the work. Maybe in any different way than Aaron just described and or maybe your were your personal experience of it short and I Echo Erin as far as Thanks for having and I think I agree with everything that Aaron said. The piece that has felt especially powerful mean in the last few years is part of the journey that that Aaron and I and the other frailty facilitators as part of the work and as part of the workshops that has been particularly profound is a The quality of nurturing and curiosity and care and so there is what feels to me a very revolutionary act and not only taking space base back but kind of reconnecting and healing from the impacts in the Traumas of these oppressive systems. That we've internalized in such a deep painful away and the ways that we can connect that back to Earth to gardening to self and community reliance the way that we hold each other and and navigate through conflict to do that in a way where we're collectively lifting each other up in healing versus tearing each other down or kind of competing. They're all of these very small on very profound ways that were also challenging these systems that have unfortunately become really normalized. And that we've internalized in ways that for myself I often often find myself myself out of frailty myth workshop being desperately moved or touched by something that someone has said or shared in realize is that it was some pain from some experience I had tucked so far away that it didn't have words for it now through the act of building a stool or or failing at a thing thing that someone didn't think that they could do but feeling in a way that safe has allowed them to access and me to access these these kinds of points of pain and then he'll from them and that feels when it comes to change in the world and the work that frailty Mrs doing in that we're doing within all of our communities Ryan's hands are really really like there isn't much I haven't found other spaces for. Yeah and you know one of the reasons that I find this. So so compelling is when you think about gardening which is my primary focus it? It is easy to say. Oh yeah there's a lot of women who guarded like how many how many women don't garden. It can be seen as a very female dominated space but the fact is there are whole sections of the gardening world. In its wholeness that are traditionally not taken up by women and you know seeing one of your videos that that is showing your community how to use a skill saw how to pound nail how to build a whole structures pictures how to do you know whatever the kind of hands on construction bigger machinery work that makes gardening in landscaping even on small scales. Easier and more interesting and you can just do more with it are often like Oh. I'M GONNA get many of my husband to do that or my my brother or my dad and the empowerment that is taken away from you with that mindset is incredible so I was super excited to have this conversation with you. I'm fifty four. I only learned how to use a table. saw maybe five years ago and it's one of the greatest tools ever uh-huh okay so let's step back a little bit till we get into more detail on exactly what you do when you're workshops and into some of that more emotional space of what happens when we unlock this kind of power for ourselves and tell us a little bit about each of you and kind of where you grew up where what were your experiences that led you you to be people that wanted to do this kind of work which is is a little challenging. It's it's probably Expansive in sometimes painful ways which I think Georgia already kind of hinted at And yet like those growing pains. Get us where we want want to be so. Let's start with you Georgia since they started with Aaron before tell us a little bit about your own background. And what kind of grew you into who woman Were person that wanted to be doing this kind of work. I grew up in Indiana and in in a relatively big family but was the first girl born in my family and kind of grew up and spent most of my adolescence and into my early teenage years feeling really isolated. Because I wasn't the kind of girl that all of the people around me were that people wanted me to be. I would get like like I didn't connect with those with makeup and and I remember really being really frustrated as a young person thinking like well. Why don't and why do I have to fight so hard to get access to do to do fun stuff or to be in my body and why is it so I felt kind of shame that I wanted to be more physical and also frustrated and angry that I didn't feel like I was allowed to do that but also shame that I wasn't doing a good job of being a girl and also really angry women because I felt like they were the ones that were putting in? This felt like a very suffocating box and so I kind of found myself UNIN journey of both being like of of isolating myself away away from women in turning myself into this kind of like go. I'm not like the other girls. I'm not like the other women because I felt like that was the only way I could get access and it was really. It was a really lonely and really frustrating and like I said. I carried a lot of Shane for many years around that I was I was failing as a woman. I was wasn't doing what I was meant to be doing. Is A girl and I also wasn't getting the same kind of access or space to the things that I I wanted to do and felt as I as I got older they went to school. I met Aaron in college and I started really kind of unpacking and learning about systems of oppression. Shen particularly of Patriarchy about you know movements that I didn't know about and started to really unpack. My anger toward women didn't wasn't wasn't actually about women in the box that I was felt restricted to was was a result of these these oppressive systems and so I moved moved into working in activism. I always had odd jobs mechanic shops. I found myself working on Greenpeace ships where I was trying to get as much as many skills as I could and Aaron at the same time was in Grad school and we had these simultaneous conversations. About what space space look like. And what access look like in the way it was manifesting in our lives and I remember feeling like that was in so much kind of physical and emotional oceana pain that I felt like my option in shit filled with with men from all over the world was to either assimilate into this very toxic culture masculinity of of posturing of pretending like I didn't have feelings or emotions or that I wouldn't have access to anything if I if there was some other way into into that kind of idea failed to was birthed about what it looks like. Would it would look like and feel like to create a space where we could be our whole selves where we could be honest about our fear of table saw and still learn to use it where he had smashed things with hammers and still gently hold flowers and appreciate them in that. You know that none of those things are inherently gendered gender you identify with or whatever gender identify with is fundamentally what those things are. Because I'm doing them and so there was I think in the creation of frailty medicine the the burning of the of the idea was a very long kind of life life journey that we were on an independently and then collectively and I think for me. It really comes down to a practice that has never stopped. which is how can I? It'd be more hole in. How can I be more fully in my whole self? And how can I heal the shame that I've built up over the years about pieces of myself. I didn't feel like I was allowed to access and so for me failty miss because I'm very comfortable with tools has opened up space for me to be more in touch with things that I felt like. I wasn't allowed to do like gardening and like baking or being gentle or telling people that I'm scared or that I don't want help worried where I do want help. And so there's a wholeness there that I think for me has been something that even though that's why the organization started the manifestation and what it feels like is. There hasn't been something that I have experienced. That is more powerful in my own than allowing myself to be in that kind of space and seeing what it does for other people to be respected as their whole selves and not need the answers. You know"