Wellness Privilege

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Nicole Walters Podcast

Nicole discusses the impact of the economy on purchase decisions

The Nicole Walters Podcast

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Friend, you know I love learning and that personal growth is at the center of our chats here. With that said, I’m seeing a trend that I can’t get behind. Anytime we’re helping one another grow, we have to do it from a place of grace and not shame. And shame is what I’m seeing all over social media.

Let’s chat about what should be our number one priority and how it may differ from the people around us. Shake off the shame and let’s chat.
 

Nicole:

Hey friends, so I want to dive right in because this topic has been on my heart and I’ve been feeling really strongly about it. Actually, I’ve been talking my friend’s ears off about it and the reason why is I’ve noticed this thing that’s happening around the internet and I hope you can understand and relate with this as well.

Now, we’ve all heard about the people who talk about focusing on material goods and flexing things on the internet and let’s, let’s just be, let’s keep it all the way real. We’re not seeing as much of that luxury lifestyle flex. I know I’m not the only one you remember in the sort of, I would say like the 2019 pre pandemic y time where people were taking photos in their closets with their handbags and, you know, showing pictures of themselves in front of mansions with cars and things like that.

And frankly, I don’t know if it’s just my timeline, if the algorithm knows I don’t play like that, but it really feels like there’s been almost a purge of that because we know it’s in bad taste. And why is it in bad taste? Because this economy is not playing like that. If you listen to last week’s episode where I was talking about, not pinching our pennies, but being really mindful around the value of where our pennies go, you understand just as much as anyone else, it really doesn’t matter what your tax bracket is right now. You are feeling the pinch. And here’s what I mean by that. Obviously, billionaires don’t feel the pinch the same way as those of us that are living below the poverty line. But even they’re saying to themselves, can’t get the extra island, can’t get the yacht, right?

Like, what? We’re all feeling it, right? And this is, again, not throwing sympathy towards those who have plenty. That is not what I’m doing right now. I’m just saying it is a universal thing that we’re all experiencing the impacts of inflation or at least seeing what it’s like. And we talked about that last week, you know, and if you haven’t listened to that episode, Get back over there, listen to it, because I offer some really rock solid tips on how to lessen the pinch and up the knowledge while kind of traversing and living through this time.

But I want to talk about something that is not just money related, but it is almost a universal mindset. thing that I’m seeing happen that’s driving me nuts. And it’s called wellness shaming. Now, I don’t know if this is a technical term or if it’s just, it’s the way that I can think of it. And I don’t use shaming lightly, right?

Because I know that there is sort of an element of people attaching that word to anything that makes people like uncomfortable, like, oh, well, your body’s shaming. I feel like people have gotten kind of cavalier around what it means to carry shame. And I don’t want to minimize the power of it. But wellness shaming is this, to me, this is how I’ve seen it.
There is so much talk now about Clean living, clean eating, clean makeup, clean skincare, clean household products, clean, clean, clean. And I don’t say these things because they’re not important. I, I really, cause y’all, people will come for you in the comments. I’m not trying to get canceled up in here, you know, but what I’m trying to get at is, There is this huge shift away from the luxury lifestyle, the fancy pants flex and all of that to doing less with more.

Minimalistic. I mean, have you guys ever heard about like the beige moms where they don’t even use color? Everything’s beige, right? Neutralized all the things. And first and foremost, raise, raising my hand. I think we’ve all ascribed to some element of this, you know, anything that allows me to do less because I’m a hot mess I receive.

But, but. I also think there’s this thing that I see, particularly amongst the wealthy, or those who are more privileged. And when I say privileged, I mean not just from non marginalized communities, but also privileged in platform, or privileged in visibility, or privileged in access, or class, or pretty privilege, you know, where They have more and they have an opportunity to access more where it has become popularized in saying, well, I don’t care about stuff.

I care about wellness. Yeah, you know, I mean, we used to do, you know, all these trips and we used to do all these things and now, honestly, I just drink my smoothie every morning and then I do my hot yoga and my tea routine and then I do 15, a 15 piece skincare routine and then I go on two and a half mile walks and then I do all these things and I say all of this, I know you can hear my tone, I’m, I don’t mean to come across as being sarcastic, I just mean that it’s all kind of blending into this one big big sound for me, this cacophony, this humdrum, this usual noise of, I am better because I have tossed aside the, the exploits, the luxuries, the fancy pants ness of things.

And all I care about is biohacking and, you know, my, my blood count and like all these little things, right? And what I’m saying is it’s not that these things are not important. Hear me loud and proud, Lord knows I want to see value and I celebrate.

The management of our health. When I tell you cancer is real, it sucks, I have been personally affected by it, and it is terrifying. Anything we can do and learn and apply to minimize our risk and exposure to anything that can hurt or harm our bodies and reduce our lifestyle, our life length, we should do.

anything at all. And when I tell you, as someone who grew up with nothing and has benefited and experienced the joys of having a financially free lifestyle, you know, it’s, it’s better, it feels better being rich than poor. You know, like that is a true statement that if any rich person tries to convince you, you don’t want that, please suffer.

It’s, it’s in your interest. They’re lying. Like that, there’s a reason why the wealthy have all the money and are hesitant to give it up, and it’s because it feels better to have money. Your life is still difficult, right? I’m not ignoring that there are difficulties that come with the privilege of wealth, but it is a privilege nonetheless.

What I’m getting at is this idea that we can say, yeah, you know, I just. I don’t wear fancy stuff. I just do, like, white tees and jeans because, you know, I’m just into, like, really, like, clean fabrics and all that. But, like, your white tee costs 180 and your jeans cost, like, you know, 300. And that’s what you’re advertising.

Now, for all my regular folk out there, you know exactly what I’m talking about. You know, I grew up with nothing. Like, grew up with nothing, completely self made, and when I say self made, I mean I did not have the assistance of investors. I did not have loans. I did not have a trust fund. I did not have an inheritance.

I did not borrow money from my spouse. I did not have partners. I did not have kickbacks. I literally went from taking one dollar and then earning that dollar high enough to buy the next piece of equipment that earned me more money and so on and so forth. Every single dollar that comes in, I touched and made myself, um, obviously with the help of my team and the blessing of God, right?

But nonetheless, touch and made myself. And so it’s difficult for me to be blessed to be invited into certain rooms, you know, where I get to see these very wealthy people live very expensive existences and do things And spend their money in certain ways where they’re able to have very, like, they choose to spend their money on very fancy cars and ridiculous households, but then sit there and say, but I only buy the most organic forms of meat because health is what matters most.

Like sir. Like ma’am. Like, let’s keep it real. You have incredibly expensive things and you live a very fancy lifestyle, but you’re, you’re holding up the banner of wellness when in reality you are flexing in a different way to give it the appearance of being more accessible to the average person. But the truth is it’s still just as inaccessible as the Lamborghini you drive.

And here’s why it’s inaccessible. So this is, this conversation is both for those of you out there who feel like, You are still in the outskirts, but you’re not understanding why it looks this way, but you still can’t access it. Right. And this conversation is also for those of you who are, are part of this, you know, who are living this lifestyle and flexing without acknowledging that this is not as accessible as you think.

So in extending grace to all, here’s the truth of it. Not all of us can afford a 15 piece skincare system. Like, it’s expensive. And not just that, but the time, and heck, even the counter space. I mean, Some of us don’t even realize that there are little tiny places where your privilege is evident that You don’t even realize because you haven’t done without.

I’m going to give you a simple example of this. When I watch people doing their skincare routines on TikTok and I see that they’re doing them on glamorous marble countertops with multi shelving and tiered access and refrigerated skin cream and all of these things and gorgeous mirrors that are backlit with ring lights.

You don’t even realize that the people who are watching this sometimes are balancing their toothbrush on a sink. And they don’t even have room for their toothpaste. Like, you don’t even realize the privilege of the extra space of a countertop to hold the weight of your five, piece, you know, moisturization portion of your regimen, you know, and I’m not saying this to chastise that you have, especially for some of you who’ve earned being in that position, that you have these routines, and I’m not saying this to chastise, you know, people who decide to share these routines. It is glorious and beautiful that we live in an information age where we’re able to share information.

It is a wonderful thing. I’m saying that More so than ever before, it has become critically important that we issue sensitivity and awareness that we do not all have a same shared existence and that we actively avoid shaming people by saying things like, you may be focused on getting a bigger house or getting a nicer car, but you know, really what matters is that you’re eating gluten free and that you have a, you know, vegan diet.

That sentence may make sense in your privileged world, but that sentence does not make sense into the person who’s living in a one bedroom apartment with a family of four or five and driving a car that is 10 years outdated. They need the nicer house and they need the nicer car. And it is a priority because they do not have the funds to necessarily have the meals and the grain fed and that where they’re putting their money makes sense.

And so it’s not them flexing to be able to improve their Maslow’s hierarchy of needs of better housing or, uh, doing the best they can. And it is not a lack of caring or understanding or appreciation or awareness for them to say, look, we buy. the regular meat at the market, you know, and we do serve a frozen pizza once a week because that’s what we have to feed our family.
And it’s our special treat because we do not have the budget to dine out. You know, it’s not wrong of them to feel really special and to feel like it is a meaningful flex in this sad economy that they have a full grocery cart. I remember every two weeks growing up that, um, We would go grocery shopping at home.

So if you’re from the D. C. Maryland area, you probably remember like BJ’s Wholesale Club. And I think they still have them in general, but that’s my mom’s shopping place of choice. She wasn’t a Costco girl. She was a BJ’s girl. And every two weeks when the paycheck would come in, I remember how thread bare And just thin our fridge would get.

I mean, it would get down to the bottom dredges of the milk, and we would be all out of anything special that would be like juice or anything like that. I mean, I could see, just as some context, I could see clear to the back of our fridge in many spaces because shelves were empty. And the blessing was, they only became empty within a day or two before the check came in.

That’s not the case for everyone. For some people, they’re always empty, right? So, I would notice that they would start being threadbare, but then it would be time to go grocery shopping. And we would do our big grocery shopping every two weeks. And that would mean we would go and we would restock on everything we could.

And I remember back then we would spend, because I remember seeing the number come up, anywhere between 175 to 300. And this was like late 90s, early 2000s. So right now, if you’re not aware, because you’re so privileged as we just get what we need, or we UberEAT, or we Instacart, you know. Groceries right now for families are hitting up on the cost of daycare.

Like, it is literally an either or choice. They’re spending 1, 000 to 1, 500 to feed families of four or five. I am not making this number up. You know, and, and that is with the basics. That is buying bulk. That is, you know, letting some things go that is buying a discount meat that is picking up the packaging to look for what’s a few cents less.

You know, this is a very real existence for so many people. And I just want to be transparent as well. You know, this is something that even I engage in and whether you call it, you know, the trauma of poverty, but I’m used to it. It’s where I choose to save my pennies. We still cook our meals. We still cook in bulk.

I still look and I try not to, you know, overspend on certain items. And I take a lot of pride in the fact that I cook because it not only helps, you know, feed my family as best as I can and as well and as healthily as I can, but it also helps us save money. And I don’t care how much money you make, you should be looking at saving money wherever you can.

So that said, we go grocery shopping. And I remember the process of loading up the cart with, you know, sacks of rice and, you know, different things. cuts of chicken so my mom can make stews and, you know, helping her pick out tomatoes to get ones that were a little firm so they wouldn’t go bad during the week because they were too ripe and being really aware of how many.

And for some of y’all, I know that this is ringing true right now, taking extra grapes out of the grape sack because they’re, you know, 3. 99 a pound or whatever. And we only had enough to spend on this amount. I also remember putting stuff back when we got to the You register because it was just a little bit more rang up at a different price point.

And when I tell you that this is a very real, unwavering reality for so many people, that the sheer idea of feeding your family is something where you are trying to make decisions around how much and, and how much in terms of quantity and cost I can afford to then say that you care less. or that you are not as aware or you’re not as evolved or that you are deprioritizing because you aren’t checking to also see if that meat is grain fed, holistically raised, non bovine hugged, you know, whatever the categories.

It would be a blessing to be able to offer all of that. And as much as people want to say, but what else matters more? What else matters more than your wellness? If you’re not alive and and eating well, that is your priority. You’re right. It is a priority except for the fact that the lights have to stay on to begin with.

Because nothing will even stay and keep in that fridge if the lights are not paid. Is it a priority over making sure you’re paying for the medication for your child who was born a diabetic, and it doesn’t matter what class of life that you have, and that those meds are in shortage, so now you have to go to different pharmacies and pay various prices because of healthcare?

Like, make no mistake, it is such a privilege. And I also, I’m gonna hold my own feet to the fire. If I am guilty of ever making anyone ever feel like they’re deprioritizing their family because it’s what they really care about is that they would worry about their wellness or worry about their business or whatever else, please, I extend in advance before y’all search me up on Twitter from when I, what I said when I was 19 years old or whatever, I claim and call out in advance.

Nothing matters more. than doing the best you can for your family. And you deserve all the grace in the face of the people out here who are constantly inundating you with content around if you are not focused on this sort of lifestyle, that you’re not doing enough. Make your incremental progress. That is what you can do.

So this is the assignment, right? If you’re one of those families that I’m talking about here, that is struggling. And even if you’re not struggling, you’re, you’re making it work, right? Like the ends barely meet. Then the thing that matters most is that you just keep trying. And if you find that in that extra month, you’ve got a little bit of anything extra and you’ve already saved and you’ve already put it towards the goals for the basic growth that you can get.

And you’re able to say, you know what? Let’s try. a different type of milk or let’s try a few more grains or plant based things or let’s try a different cut of meat like Bravo. And if you find that for Christmas or for a holiday, you decide to ask for the nicer skincare thing because you want to try something different.

Amazing. That is wonderful. And I’m proud of you for saying that with my extra, instead of maybe dipping into something that might have been more of a luxury item. I’m trying to get something that improves my wellness. That is a brilliant and brave move. But I also don’t want to shame you. Or make you feel bad for doing something nice for yourself, like getting that handbag, or buying that piece of jewelry, or investing in a nicer prom for your child, because you may not get to take trips on big vacations, and you may not be able to count on the fact that you had a huge wedding or whatever, but you want your daughter to have the nicest prom ever, because that is a meaningful experience, do not feel bad that that is where you spent your extra money.

And do not feel shamed, at least, if you are comfortable with that decision making, because that’s where the value was for you. And then for people like me and people like you who may have platforms or have the opportunity to speak into the lives of people who are making these types of decisions and still want to be seen where they are, where they may be cutting back on certain experiences and spending in other areas.

We can continue to share what we’re learning. We can continue to share about clean makeup and clean skincare and amazing baby products and that awareness around growth and, you know, spending on therapy and spending on, you know, valuable exercises and tools. Continue to share about that because knowledge is empowering and it changes lives.
And I love hearing about people grow and learn more to get better. But always do it from a perspective of grace and not shame. Always do it from a place where you’re able to say, look, I used to be like this before. And with this new information, I have learned this and I recognize that everyone is on their own journey and doing the best they can give people that grace and then introduce the idea and say, maybe this is a step that you can take when you’re able.
Because understand that if there is anything that we don’t need more of in this world, When we are all caring so much and doing the absolute best we can is more shame.

 

IN THIS EPISODE, WE CHAT ABOUT:

How wellness privilege is shaming others,
Why we have to teach each other from a place of grace and not shame,
Why this topic gets to me, and
How to align your actions with what matters MOST to you

RESOURCES AND LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

Let’s connect on Instagram HERE
Grab my New York Times Bestselling memoir, Nothing is Missing, HERE!
Book a 20 min call to see if working together is the right next step for you!
In this economy?! Don’t miss our chat about the changes I’m making to make all the money count right now! Listen here or watch here.
I love reading your reviews of the show! You can share your thoughts on Apple here!

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