10 episodes

United Bodies is a podcast about the lived experience of health. Join health and disability writer, producer, and activist Kendall Ciesemier and her guests as they explore how different components of our health – mental, physical, social, and spiritual – interplay with one another and intersect with the whole of our identity. When we understand these forces in our lives, we can meet both ourselves and others with more empathy and maybe even realize our fights for equity, justice, freedom, and accessibility are united. 
 

United Bodies Kendall Ciesemier

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 23 Ratings

United Bodies is a podcast about the lived experience of health. Join health and disability writer, producer, and activist Kendall Ciesemier and her guests as they explore how different components of our health – mental, physical, social, and spiritual – interplay with one another and intersect with the whole of our identity. When we understand these forces in our lives, we can meet both ourselves and others with more empathy and maybe even realize our fights for equity, justice, freedom, and accessibility are united. 
 

    Reclaiming Spirituality After It Was Weaponized Against Us with Phillip Picardi

    Reclaiming Spirituality After It Was Weaponized Against Us with Phillip Picardi

    For many of us, spiritual health is a facet of our health that we consider less, perhaps even give less weight to or spend less time cultivating. There are many reasons for this. Spirituality can feel elusive, confusing, scary, and unknown. It can bring up religious baggage, ostracization, and pain. 


    Religion is one of the most notable constructs of how people find and express individual and communal spirituality, but it’s also been used as a tool to oppress and commit violence. At a time when it feels like there is pain, suffering, and oppression everywhere we look, spirituality can force us to grapple with a lot of messiness -- in a way that can feel inaccessible at best, and offensive at worst. 


    Today, I’m speaking with Phillip Picardi, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, as well as an award-winning journalist and editor formerly of OUT Magazine, Teen Vogue and Them. Phillip was also the host of Crooked Media’s podcast Unholier Than Thou, where he explored all things saintly and secular and is a graduate of Harvard Divinity School where he received his master’s in Religion and Public Life. 
     


    A few years ago, Phillip embarked on a spiritual journey centered on reclaiming Christianity and in particular, Catholicism, the religious tradition that he was raised in and had given up on as a gay kid. Phillip knows firsthand that acknowledging and engaging in our individual spirituality, however you label that, or in whatever way that may look, can really serve us. Spirituality can ground us, give us purpose, and guide us, even if it doesn’t come easy.

    Check out this episode’s landing page at MsMagazine.com for a full transcript and more.


    For more, follow: 
    Phillip @PfPicardi
    @KendallCiesemier
    @Ms_Magazine

    • 43 min
    The Liberating Power of Movement With Morgan Dixon and Aj Williams

    The Liberating Power of Movement With Morgan Dixon and Aj Williams

    Moving your body, in any way you can, can be a liberating experience—to feel your power, your strength, your security and resiliency through a step forward, a dance, a roll or stroll through nature. 
    Studies support this—movement has a profound impact on our brains: reducing stress, anxiety, and depression, encouraging creativity and ingenuity. Think about it: when we are babies, we move our bodies naturally. We are born with the desire to move because movement feels good to us. 
    But as adults our natural inclination to move is co-opted and politicized by diet culture and the wellness industrial complex. We are told to move in ways or for purposes that hurt, make us feel weak, or ashamed. When we take back movement for ourselves, not as vigorous exercise or to lose weight, we find that joy, personal power, and meaning all are available to us through moving our bodies. 
    So today, we’re going to explore how two efforts centered around movement are leading to transformative liberation for those involved, starting with Morgan Dixon and GirlTrek and following with AJ Williams, a documentarian working on a film about accessible recreation.

    Check out this episode’s landing page at MsMagazine.com for a full transcript and more.


    For more, follow: 
    Morgan @morgantreks
    Aj @ajwdoc
    @KendallCiesemier
    @Ms_Magazine

    • 44 min
    Writing A New Story with Stephanie Foo

    Writing A New Story with Stephanie Foo

    Content warning: child abuse
    Trauma is everywhere we look. Most prominently, trauma is marked by a sense of powerlessness and loss of control. This is one of most overwhelming parts of experiencing trauma. It’s terrifying to lose control over our bodies and our lives. Recovery is then about regaining control over all that was taken from us. 
    One tool that can help us is the act of writing our stories. When we are able to reclaim our own stories, we can find a power greater than the power we lost. For Stephanie Foo, author of What My Bones Know, a memoir about healing with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, writing about her family’s intergenerational immigrant trauma slowly helped her rearrange the puzzle pieces of her own life. 

    Once she had distance from her experience, she was able to use what she discovered in her writing to craft a memoir of hope and healing for the countless others experiencing the impact of chronic trauma. Today, Stephanie, journalist and radio producer, formerly of This American Life and Snap Judgment, joins us to break down how she approached writing What My Bones Know and the radical power available when we reclaim our stories.

    Check out this episode’s landing page at MsMagazine.com for a full transcript and more.
     For more, follow: 
    Stephanie @FooFooFoo
    @KendallCiesemier
    @Ms_Magazine

    • 37 min
    Laughter is the Best Medicine with Samantha Irby

    Laughter is the Best Medicine with Samantha Irby

    Welcome to the second half of United Bodies, where we’re focused on building the world we need. A huge part of building a better world is about imbuing our world with joy and there’s nothing that makes me feel more joy than laughter. I love to laugh and I particularly love to laugh about my own problems. This is what I think they call… coping. 


    Laughter is contagious. It literally extends our lives. Laughter can also help us reckon with circumstances we cannot control, like the ones our bodies put us in. Bodies are embarrassing and laughing about them helps break down the taboo.

    So today I’m talking to essayist and humorist Samantha Irby—who has made me laugh out loud about her own body in ways that are resonant and deep and silly and embarrassing and like a salve on the soul. In this conversation we’ll learn how we can all borrow her talent for ourselves in our times of need.
     
     Samantha Irby is a NYT Bestselling author and the author of five essay collections. Her latest book Quietly Hostile is out now.

    Check out this episode’s landing page at MsMagazine.com for a full transcript and more.


    For more, follow: 
    Sam @bitchesgottaeat
    @KendallCiesemier
    @Ms_Magazine

    • 37 min
    The Power and Potential of Grief With Wanda Irving

    The Power and Potential of Grief With Wanda Irving

    We are living in a time of collective mourning. Millions of people are mourning loved ones lost to COVID, others are mourning those lost to rampant gun violence or police brutality, and still others are mourning the smaller or slower losses: the loss of progressive illness, relationships, jobs. It can feel like everywhere we turn, there’s new loss. 

    Grief is long, complicated, isolating, and devastating. It’s also something that we will all experience. So then, the question becomes, if so many of us are experiencing such profound loss in our lives, why isn’t it easier to talk about? 

    Joining today is Wanda Irving, Co-Founder of Dr. Shalon’s Maternal Action Project. Wanda knows grief well. After losing all three of her children, Wanda decided to channel her grief into alleviating Black maternal health disparities, to specifically address the loss of her daughter, Dr. Shalon who died from complications surrounding childbirth. Wanda joins to discuss grief and how she’s used it to spark a movement.


    Check out this episode’s landing page at MsMagazine.com for a full transcript and more.

    For more, follow: 
    @Dr.Shalons_MAP
    @KendallCiesemier
    @Ms_Magazine

    • 38 min
    The Criminalization of Mental Illness With Krista Cezair and Brittany Packnett Cunningham

    The Criminalization of Mental Illness With Krista Cezair and Brittany Packnett Cunningham

    Content Warnings: This episode includes discussions of suicidality, psychosis, violence, and police brutality.
    Over the last number of years, we’ve made significant progress in destigmatizing mental health care -- many of us openly talk about going to therapy, follow therapists on social media, and even trade tips on dealing with side effects of taking popular medication for depression and anxiety. 
    However, this de-stigmatization hasn’t reached all kinds of mental illness or all kinds of people who struggle with their mental health. Some people are even criminalized for how they struggle with mental illness and their inability to access treatment. Living with a mental health condition can even get you killed. Research shows that nearly half of people killed by the police have a disability, most specifically a mental health disability. If we add race into the mix, the picture is even worse.
    Today we’re going to talk about the ways that the carceral system criminalizes Black and disabled people. And how, unfortunately, our system of policing isn’t an aberration, but instead a reflection of society at large. 
    Writer, researcher, and poet, Krista L.R. Cezair, and writer, activist and educator, Brittany Packnett Cunningham, join us to discuss. 
    Check out this episode’s landing page at MsMagazine.com for a full transcript and more.
    For more, follow: 
    Krista @KLRCezair
    Brittany @MsPackyetti
    @KendallCiesemier
    @Ms_Magazine

    • 40 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
23 Ratings

23 Ratings

Cam1677 ,

Goes broad and deep

Kendall is a master interviewer, and each person she talks to draws from a wealth of expertise to share about a different topic, but all show us how we’re all together in having a bodied experience, and how we all need one another along the way!

Gotfr123 ,

Informative!

Thank you so much for this content! It is so interesting, educational and relatable!

Original Lindy ,

United Bodies

Profound, interesting and informative

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