Fighting For Your Joy with Laura & Erica from Birdsong Brooklyn

By Angela Gallo

Fighting For Your Joy with Laura & Erica from Birdsong Brooklyn

When did joy become a challenge? Why is it that we need to actively invest in joy rather than just come across it? It’s because the norm is not joyful. Permission to be joyful is not automatically given to us. The standard recipe for life is not a delicious one - it has to be seasoned. Bliss, satisfaction, elation, contentment - they have to be found. And only when we are completely comfortable with who we are in our minds and our bodies are we able to make this discovery.

Laura Interlandi and Erica Livingston are birth and post-partum centric full-spectrum doulas and have given birth to Birdsong Brooklyn: a doula service also offering mentorship and doula training. They can be also be found chatting, laughing, learning and expanding on their podcast Tether Together. In this episode, they talk with me about achieving happiness and how the foundation is always loving yourself.

Some people are so dissociated from who they are, they cannot vocalise what brings them joy. They might question why I’m friends with my guests today, who could be classified as “the competition.” This arbitrary label means nothing to me. The way Laura and Erica show their love, build each other up, the intense friendship that they have, it’s truly something to aspire to. We don’t have to fight each other. We don’t have to live in a constant state of envy and jealousy, comparing ourselves to and trying to beat the competition somehow. There’s plenty to go around my loves. There’s plenty to be thankful for, to appreciate within each other, and to discover together. That is what these two women are all about. Seeing the way they exist together makes me believe that friendship is safe. Friendship with other women is possible and is a beautiful thing.

Connect with me, Laura and Erica in this verbal threesome as we shine a light on the difficulties of finding joy and contentment in society and teach you how to receive joy amongst all the negativity and barriers.

TOPICS WE COVER

  • Starting your journey to happiness with the foundation of self-love and contentment
  • Being in a deeply heart-centred friendship that is also a business
  • How to work together in a partnership as friends and in business
  • How we’re normalising not feeling safe
  • Taking back the connections that have been stolen from you
  • Accessing your joy without relying on others to provide it for you
  • Having a really good time with yourself
  • Burnout in doula work
  • Harnessing your inner child to find what truly brings you joy and lights you up

LINKS

FULL TRANSCRIPT

Hello everybody. It is moi, Angel Phoenix Arsenal and you are tuning into another motherfucking sexy episode of Slaying The Status Quo in Total Style. Do I have a treat for you? My doula compadres sisters Erica and Laura from Birdsong Brooklyn which is a doula org and all of the good things that involves oxytocin, postpartum revolution, and healing the sister wound. They are on the show today as a threesome of sorts. We literally word vomited for 45 minutes before hitting record, but those snippets shall be kept safe for another episode.

For now, we are going to be making the next little while all about what it means to reclaim your joy in a world that is hell-bent on keeping you frustrated, alienated, feeling sad and feeling victimized and why that is radically important when you are involved in a level of work that is all about helping others to bring back the joy in their lives at their most vulnerable challenged points. Without further ado welcome to the show.

Laura: Thank you.

Erica: Hi.

[laughter]

Laura: That was a great introduction. Thank you. [laughs]

Angel: That was the quietest hi. [crosstalk]

Participants: Hi.

[laughter]

Angel: Is this a sex hotline or is it my podcast or is it a bit of both?

Erica: It's both for sure always. [crosstalk]

Laura: Is this a podcast or is this a Harry Potter's sexy escape room like? It's all the things all the time. [laughs]

Angel: Okay. Well, we can record this episode in 10 seconds. How To Take Back Your joy, write a business plan for a Harry Potter-themed sex room. Please-

Laura: [laughs]

Angel: Don't come after me.

Erica: We just all did a serious business pivot and you can now find us at an amusement park near you.

Laura: [laughs]

Angel: I don't think Universal Studios would agree with what I'm creating or what we want to do but, fuck it, we're going to do it anyways.

Erica: We're going to need a more open-minded investor than Universal Studios. [laughs]

Angel: Yes. Also, someone who's going to back giant wand-shaped dildos at an amusement park, probably not appropriate. Erica and Laura, all Harry Potter, Hermione, and Weasley threesomes aside. I would really love the audience, my listeners to understand how remarkably beyond normal you both are and how you make Slaying The Status Quo something that is not performative.

That is very much how you show up every day to check in with yourself and be like, "You know what? The rest of the crowd is doing this, we don't want to do this, or what feels good and what doesn't feel good." Moment to moment the work that you do as you train doulas, but all of the other things you do as well as individuals and as business owners. Talk to me about what's challenging The Status Quo looks like in your bodies and in the world when it comes to everything it is that you do.

Laura: Well, I think one of the things that we share, all three of us share is knowing what it feels like to feel like an outsider in a way, to feel like a nerd in that classic archetype nerd. I personally played the trumpet which is really a hard instrument to hide when you're trying to pretend you're not in a band at the bus stop.

Erica: I played the saxophone.

Laura: Also difficult to hide.

Angel: [laughs] Nerds.

Laura: I think that for myself, what Erica permissions in me in our friendship and business partnership, and also Angel you do this, I feel this is the juiciest crux of the friendship we've been growing over the last year is allowing that too-muchness that always had this box around it growing up like, "Oh, behave the right way or don't talk too much," or any of the ways in which that too-muchness budded up against what was and what wasn't appropriate. I'm just realizing that that literally is the superpower.

That there is not a moment where I should unless I want to because I feel it because I know that it's what serves. There is no moment that I, "Should rein it in," unless that is what the moment is calling for from my own self-care or because that's what serves the space that I'm in, in that moment. I'm not taking the cues from the outside anymore because the outside, what has that done? Other than made me feel like I need to be consumable and acceptable in order to be accepted in the first place.

I'm not interested in being cool anymore or interested in being seen in a certain light because it is literally exhausting. It is friendships like the friendships in this conversation that make it feel okay and make me feel brave enough to try to do that.

Erica: Then you just have so much more energy because if you're not spending most of your energy worrying on how you can fit in and how you can rein yourself back or edit yourself more or make yourself fit into something else, then that's what will keep you from being able to show up with all that you have to give to the spaces that you serve. In thinking about how to access joy in all of this, it's like when you're around other people that permission you to be yourself easily and to just sit comfortably in the seat of you while you're just able to exist with others.

There are so few spaces like that from the second we're born, and then once you start being able to be in space with other people like that and you can truly feel what it is to just be you around others and be witnessed in that, you don't want to do anything else. [laughs] That becomes the joy. That becomes the way that we keep wanting more of it. We keep wanting.

Like, Laura and I keep wanting to create spaces that work outside of what we frequently call sister wound. That's because when you sit in the first times like that where you're permissioned to just be your whole self, that in itself is addicting and that in itself is joy of just being able to be without having to force anything. You don't force yourself, you just are yourself and then you realize that oh, wow I'm like enough for right now and always. Then when you have to kind of shove yourself back into a box that fits for others you're somewhat miserable.

Angel: There is absolutely no way that a person can reclaim personal power or joy back into their lives or inject a level of fulfillment into their businesses or enthusiasm into any one of their ambitions unless they are in a space in their body and in their life where they can be exactly who it is they are as what feels good moment to moment. If our nature, if our truest nature is meant to be in the company of community and people who lift us up, and make us feel seen, and witness our Kaleidoscope when we look at all of the ways we feel too much and all of the ways that we've essentially pathologized our true nature and our most brilliant self, you can see that it's directly correlated to how we've been disconnected from the people around us who can see us and who can lift us up for who it is we are without feeling we need to apologize or, "I'm sorry," or, "Was that too much?" Or, "Did that offend anybody?"

That's just been really, really, really priceless doesn't even begin to cut it because in our level of work-- Really, I was a hairdresser, I've worked in music because I've done a lot of different things it's the same shit, different smell across every single arena. That is that cattiness, this idea that everybody is supposed to be competitive, that we are each other's enemies and it's something that within me just didn't sit right.

Obviously being in the doula world, for years, I felt so confused because the work that I was doing in my body all of the things that I was doing to dismantle every lie I've been told about being too much, all of the ways that I've had to fight for my joy, I couldn't understand in my brain why everyone around me was so caught up in energy leaking their joy or inviting those level of dementors into their life to just like suck everything out of them.

The ways that these people were encouraging conversations and energy that absolutely rob people of their joy. What you've both done for me irregardless of the doula aspect of this has made me feel like, "Okay, hold on a second. There actually exists a realm, a paradigm, a dimension where I can be in the company, the energetic company of beautiful creatures all around the world who are on the same wavelength as me; who do not seek competition, who do not recognize joy as something that is in this like finite resource, right?

Like instead of being like, "No, actually we can all move into this place of unlimited receivership of joy and unlimited giving of joy." That the more joy you have will not affect the joy I have. What that does for that sister and what that does for that collective healing and what that does to move us from scarcity to abundance and what that does to move us in a way where we can go to our children and say, "You know what? Mommy needs to feel joy and needs to fight for that joy," because once I know what that joy feels like, I know what is worth fighting for.

If we are in a line of work where people don't even know what it means to feel good and not apologize and just really not even feel guilty about taking space in their day-to-day. How the fuck am I going to teach them how to fight in a space where they're literally compromised physically, spiritually, emotionally, to take up space and fight for their autonomy, let alone fight for their joy. Everyone's running around in circles trying to fucking work backwards where it's like really ultimately understanding that it's about you knowing what joy feels like for you.

Taking it back, not negotiating it, taking it back and then fighting for it to stay for the rest of your life and then helping other people do the same. Yes. It definitely that your kinship and your friendship and your ability to just show up in your business the way you do has just further cemented that there is a new way of doing things and a new way of being and it will affect how we operate as women and as people but also as doulas in this work.

Laura: I love you. [laughs] I love you. You've done that for us as well like from the very first reach. I will say I remember when I first reached you, I was actually in this room that I'm in right now and I was laying in that bed that's behind me and I was thinking that I had really wanted to reach to you, but it's so much deep internal honesty work. That's what I'm getting to with this story is that we will have moments every single day where we can make the choice to show up as we are.

That requires vulnerability and that requires like self-affirming closing of those energy leaks and deep healing of old wounds because let's be really honest, the reason that this competitive paradigm and this wounding paradigm and this stealing paradigm and all of these things that are happening exists is because of wounding that's happened to us. This is the internalized patriarchy that is manifesting in different spaces socially, psychologically, emotionally, those kinds of ways of wounding.

I had a moment of that right before I reached to you, day one or day two bleed, I was very tired. I had just come back from a client. I had a tiny little bit of space. I knew I had wanted to reach to you, but I had a little voice in my head say, "You should wait till your follicular, you should wait till you're a little bit more boosted in your energy. You should wait until you've got like more like power." You're about to reach to Angel. She's like the power source person."

You're right now just sort of like this soft, gooey, sensitive version of you. This other voice came up in my head, the voice I'm in practicing, practicing, practicing, practicing, listening to that said, "She will love you where you are if you can love you where you are. She will feel that in you. She will feel your truth and if you're meant to have a connection period.

This person can meet you where you are and you can meet them where they are and you can actually form something based in authenticity, like radical authenticity, regardless of what you feel you should be at, then you can reach from where you are."

I made you like basically a whispering voice note and sent it to you and I got the most beautiful message maybe a week later and heard from you. And the reflection was so beautiful. It was like, "Thank you for reaching to me in your softness." Like, "Thank you for not coming at me like this, 'Let's build this dah, dah, dah, dah.'" Like, "Actually, how are you? Who are you? I am Laura and today I'm bleeding and this is what I want to ask you about, but I don't want to ask you it from any place other than exactly where I am, which is like laying in my parent's spare bedroom, just like taking a minute."

Angel: Which is funny because we think about taking back our joy and it seems so conceptualized. It seems like it's something that is so radical and requires such intense action and then you hear that, what you just said and you realize that it can be narrowed down to one small moment, where you get the fuck out of your head and give yourself permission that only you can give yourself to do the damn thing and believed that you are worthy of being loved and being received no matter where you are. That is huge. Laura.

It's huge because when you do that and you show up, you give me permission to show up when I'm soft, not just when I'm performing and like going hard or when I have a lot to say. Not when it's like structured and perfect and poised and makes an impression. That to me is knowing what it feels like in my body and in my life and in my interactions and in my conversations. Again, moment to moment, the small actions I take.

The small little revelations I have, the epiphanies I have inside myself that's like, "Hey, this feels scary, but there's something about it that feels almost mystical and I need to lean into it and I just need to do it because irregardless, there is a lesson and a gift to your calling for me." Imagine that if you have not done that, that we would not have been able to build in the same way. The irony is that on the other side of that was all of these stories you sell yourself about why you couldn't say things and why things needed to be perfect.

That's akin to our clients not reaching out for help or people not reaching out to connect to us when they've just had a baby because they're worried about sounding out of control or too much or too little. The remodeling process that happens within that of just creating spaces where we can be exactly who it is we are in all of our softness, in all of our savageness moment-to-moment around the right people and God damn that is slaying the status quo.

Laura: I'm sure you've seen this meme that's gone around. Someone I think tweeted it and it got made into a meme that was like, "If I can do something in 10 minutes that took me 10 years to learn how to do in 10 minutes, you owe me for the years and not the minutes." I feel like there is a translation of that here too, which is when people are coming to learn with you and they're trusting you with their energy and they're saying, "I want to be held by you. I want to take my resources, my time resources, my money resources, maybe my childcare resources, like negotiate this time within my family and all these things, I don't take it lightly at all."

Yet I feel like I owe it to those people that are showing up in space with me. I know Erica feels the exact same way. To be literally doing that internal work on an ongoing daily basis. It's not like, "Let's go to a three-day silent meditation retreat," and all of a sudden we're evolved. It's like, "Let's actually ask ourselves in the line at the grocery store when mothering in public feels so incredibly vulnerable, why we're not doing self-affirmation in that moment or why we feel like we're doing a bad job or why we can't just ask someone for help to put the cart away."

Like that, I'm doing that work in me so that when I show up and I'm in a space with somebody who's trying to evolve beyond their edge and really learn their next thing. I can actually sit there in the seat of my own integrity and also meet them in the tenderness of what it means to meet your edge and to be worried you're going to fall off and to say, "Yes. It's not a one-time thing." Like, "We can do these deep dives, but this is the work." Like, "This is literally the work and I will meet you in that field."

Angel: It actually robs me of my joy when people show up hard banging and like, "I need this from you. This is what I can do for you," pah, pah, pah and it feels gross. Everything about it feels gross to me. First of all, what a huge honor to hear you say that because it is. It's like recognizing the work that somebody has done for years and years and years to get to where they're at, and then meeting them as they do that thing simply by leaning into your edge a little bit further.

Simply by getting slightly more uncomfortable as a direct respect, as an investment to what it is they're doing. I love that, so thank you for saying that. Also, I really, really love what you said about, for me, the things that are uncomfortable are where I take my greatest joy. The places where I feel the weirdest, most confrontational with myself, most doubtful, most erratic in my thoughts is usually the place that I harness the most insight and respect for who it is I am within my ability to sit within those uncertain feelings, to sit within those big feelings.

I fall in love with myself a thousand times a day in those quiet moments with myself when I'm having a thousand different conversations where I'm self-analyzing or I'm being critical of who it is I am. In those silent moments and the ways that I fall in love with others is the way I fell in love with you in that quiet, beautifully delicate, super intimate moment in that little audio note which is like, "Oh," I can hear the million conversations in her head right now.

I can hear the paradox. I can hear the vulnerability. I can hear that this is me. I am here and I'm showing up and I don't know and I'm uncertain but I'm still doing it. That to me is fuel and it allows me to fall in love with people when they're able to show up like that. It allows me to believe in a present and a future that is only our most natural rapturous state which is that ecstasy, it's that aliveness. It's that being in our being, in our being not outside of our body, not in our head.

That's why it's important to be soft in those moments and to be soft within myself and not feel like I have to have my shit figured out 24 fucking hours a day. Only show up when I have my shit figured out 24 fucking hours a day and only show up when I feel articulate enough to show up, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. As a professional, as a mother as a human, as someone who was trying to gain change or trailblaze or ass shake or a lover, it doesn't matter. It's being the kaleidoscope of you all the time and being okay in that mosaic in the million fragments and being okay in that mess and still showing up and recognizing all the power that's within that. Can I ask you a question, Erica?

Erica: yes.

Angel: A powerhouse friendship that you are involved in with Laura, right? Your friendship honestly, who even cares about the doula work? Your friendship and the ways you love each other and complement each other's art and richness and depth has been so healing for me to see. Because the friendships that I saw modeled to me growing up, the friendships I had, 99.9% of them were fucked up, co-dependent, toxic, really terrible woman-on-woman relationships that I was seeing.

That deep mistrust of those relationships is what caused me to eventually move away in 2010 and rebuild my life solo until I met Tessa and she was the first woman I let into my life. She was the only woman I let into my life until this year when I started really selectively curating this community and this coven of people. No surprise, directly joined to when we all started connecting because then I started feeling safe like, "Okay, all right, it's not dangerous being friends with other women, not all women are like this, right?

I'm saying women because the people in my circles were women and I cannot tell you enough how amazing it was for me to see this and see that now as a woman but also in a time where Kylie Jenner and fucking Jordyn was on like, "No way, they're going to be friends forever." Seeing that relationship fail which was like seeing the celebrities that I love break up and I'm like "Well, that's it. All hope is fucking gone, man. I don't believe in romance anymore," because if they can't survive, who the fuck am I?

Then I saw Jordyn wasn't with fucking Kylie Jenner, I was like, "That's it. Nothing can survive. You and Laura are the only friendship I am seeing model to me in the world that is this long withstanding. This is not even an exaggeration. I feel the realness. I would tease your bullshit if it was bullshit. You have the kind of relationship and business partnership, are you kidding me?

In all of the coaching that I've done, I've not seen one successful business partnership, not one. Always when ego and all of this defensiveness comes into it and the relationship breaks down and the business fails, how does it feel being a part of a friendship that is challenging the sister wound in every second of every breath of every day simply within your existence of each other?

Erica: It feels really good.

Laura: [laughs]

Erica: Honestly it feels fucking amazing to be in a friendship that sees the whole of me and there's space for both of us there all the time. I think so much of it has to do with the origin of when Laura and I met and connected. Also, of our own origin stories well before that and just what happens when there's space for all that to cul de sac together.

When we met each other, we met in a prenatal yoga class when we were both about to cross the threshold and each of us were sitting with a different slice of grief on our plates. We quickly and almost, I might add, desperately like held hands together and gripped as I need someone to cross with.

By us crossing together through that as the core beginnings of what we are as friends and then also our businesses because those two things are very entwined for us and we don't really keep them separate like we joke. One of our jokes is when people say "Don't take this personally", there is not that between us. We take everything personally because all of it is intertwined and that's okay. Because we held these hands crossing the threshold and into the underworld and back up again together, that's a pretty intense beginning. Within the first year of knowing each other, we both broke apart into a thousand pieces and then we're scrambling all over the floor to pick them up together.

I think that that's part of the reason that there's a lot of permissioning for us to be any version the whole rest of the journey. So far and today right now and tomorrow and on into the future is that we saw each other-- we only got a little glimpse of each other pre-baby. It's funny because Laura and I were both writers and performers before becoming moms and doulas. We did get to see each other in that light only once before we both crossed. I got to see Laura sings songs at this cafe this night where there was chocolate. I think there was also like small succulent building, what are they called where it's like you put succulents inside of a big glass jar.

Angel: Terrarium.

Erica: Yes. It was like a terrarium building chocolate tasting night where Laura also sang.

Angel: Can I just say the terrarium really does signify our friendship, doesn't it? Because something that really sustains itself in a small place and space where the outside world looks in and says, "How is that surviving in there?" Somehow in all of the competitiveness and all of the scarcity and all of the claustrophobia and panic of all of the women and people around us we're creating something in this nutshell, that is not only just like surviving but thriving.

I can very much imagine that all of the ways that we cry on either ends of the globe and all of the ways that those tears act as the condensation for this little terrarium and keep that soil moist and fertile and growing. Can I also just say Erica, though for real, Laura, do you understand though, what you give people with your friendship, that it has nothing to even do with anything else but to believe that friendship is safe? 

I know that it feels good for you both and I love that it comes to a kind of, I don't want to say effortlessly, that's a lie because it's life, we're humans but what that does, what that really does create-- Obviously, us coming together in a way where it's like, "Why are you friends with the competition?" It's just so beautifully stated, our values and how we see things. I just really, really want you to know that it's not just your anti-competitive mindset that inspires me, it's your friendship which makes me believe that friendship is safe and that friendship with other women is possible and you are not going to be punished by the people you trust just because the world is sick with their sister wounds. It's really really, really important that you both know that.

Laura: I think what we've realized too is that it is a very unfortunately rare and precious, precious gift we've been given. Just like some of the precious gifts, the inner gifts that we have and I think it's some of those inner gifts that have us both willing and able to keep showing up even when we're like, "Hey, I felt like I said something weird the other day." Or "Hey, I am feeling some resistance to this thing you want to do."

It's not like we don't have those moments and conversations and we always want to do exactly the same thing at the same time, that's not it at all but we have recognized and through the messages we get all the time from people whether it's just like on Instagram or whether it's students that come and study with us that are looking for there we call it unicorn bestie, I think what we have realized is that we have the obligation that is a joy based obligation to share that friendship with the world.

We don't just want to do more sisterhood and go, "We're besties and we're over here. We're just doing this thing. We just vibe so well and it's safe for us here in this little box." We're just like, "I love you. How can we be together? I love you. Why don't you come and have a sleepover?" Metaphorical or literal. That is the energy we are trying to create in every space that we hold because we want to turn that energy over. We want to flip that script and knock over the house of cards that everyone comes in of how they're supposed to behave in a space and just realize that we can actually be together and we can all rebuild from that space. It isn't something we want to covet. We want to give. We want to just give and give and give it.

Erica: That's why I think that when we are creating spaces together, one of the things that gets reflected back to us is, "Wow, the community that gathers with you is so connective." It's like, "That's it." The reason you really find some of your amazing besties in spaces with us is because we show up like this as friends who are really opening up all of our chest. We're cutting it open and opening up and letting you see. "Look, this is what it's like to just truly be in a deeply heart-centered friendship that also is a business that also we don't talk bad about each other behind each other's backs. Ever.

We don't ever do it. We literally never do it." The thing is you can be a detective all you want and try and see if you can make it happen and it won't. We have some family crest.

It's a friendship crest between the two of us that is also a shield. It is a protective shield but it also is like when we create spaces together we open it up and say, "You can come into it with us because I see that the reason you're here is because you want it too and you can have it because it's not just me and it's not just Laura. It's in all of us the desire to have this and then the willingness and ability to show up and do it.

Laura: And to take it forward into your own community. We don't want people to just become. This is another place we align with you, Angel. It's great when people want to come and learn with you and even keep learning with you but we're not trying to feed or create this scarcity within that is usually a part of the entire saleable complex which says, "You're not enough and so come here and I'll fill you and then you can go and be enough. You've got to come back to me when your enoughness runs out."

It's the same with the friendship vibe, "Come and just feel what that embodied feeling is and then take that into your community and recreate it and align with people who give you that embodied feeling as well and open that permission up for other people." Then it flips from scarcity to abundant because you just go. It's in the body. Like you were saying it's in the body. Your body will tell you if something feels good and feels safe.

Angel: You know as well ultimately I really do believe that it's our sickness with this connection as a society. It's our sickness with the non-relationships we have or the completely dysfunctional toxic relationships we do have that essentially make people illiterate in what is safe and what is not safe and how they are showing up in relationships that literally kill them or cripple them [crosstalk]

Laura: Right, because we're normalizing not feeling safe.

Angel: Exactly.

Laura: The example that's so easy to draw, it's like you have a child that doesn't want to hug somebody and you force them to hug people they don't want to hug again and again. That's such an easy example of saying you're just creating this embodied tightness and no thank you expectation to carry over into all your interactions instead of saying, "Yes, you get choice."

Angel: Do you know what also is perplexing to me because obviously I would have lived it, ya'll would have lived it, is like how it feels when you grow up believing that normal relationships don't exist but you don't even know what a normal relationship is. You've never actually experienced that. You put yourself in positions where you just perpetuate these really awful patterns. What I find perplexing is that in this work, in doula work, where in moments of supreme stress and arduousness our nature is to tend and befriend. It is to care. It is to connect.

If we are illiterate in what it means to have relationships and feel connected before we have babies, how the hell do we expect to make it out alive when we move through a part of our life that is the requirement is to be connected and to be in community and be with relationship? What I explain to people is that listen to me and this is why I've scrubbed the certification, I've scrubbed everything because I meant, "Listen, this has nothing to do with getting a fucking certification in what you believe a doula is. It's about what does it mean to be human?

What does it mean to hold space and to witness and to revere and to love people and to care for them at their feet and to be there for them without pretense, without the ill serving parts of your ego, without your nonsense? How you come to a space where you learn with your body on what it means to heal and to be there." Last week I ran this. It was like a breathwork channeling thing at the doula stuff where I led them all into breathwork and I told them that they were all trees and that they were putting their roots down into the earth and that we were feeling the pain and the grief in each other in the sisters there and that we were healing ourselves so we could heal our sisters and the trees just like the intelligence of the trees.

We cannot survive unless we have each other. We cannot survive unless we're willing to feel our pain and heal our pain so that we can stand by our sisters and friends and heal them too. We cannot change the world or really recreate a paradigm that is going to benefit our children if we do not model what relationships and safety and being loved and loving really means beyond monogamy and the romanticism and fetishizing of what a relationship is. That I feel is where we're going to make our most profound work because joy is sourced from ourselves, it is not in our partners. That's dysfunction and co-dependency in motion.

Joy is not sourced from the care provider that you hire thinking that they're going to make you happy or they're going to make you feel safe. Joy is not sourced from anywhere else except the fight that happens in your body every second of every day to know what feels good and not negotiate on that because those are your limits. Then lean into them some more and reinvent that every single day and how the interplay of the relationships we have with each other and other people doing that work help us to keep doing that and keep imagining what joy looks like and keep imagining what that connection to other people who are reclaiming their joy looks like because I feel like that's the contagion.

This is the activation. It's embodying within you what it means to take back what has been taken from you. If the connections I have to my sisters have been taken from me and the connection I have to myself has been taken from me and all of the things that make me feel alive have been stolen from me, then you bet your ass that every single day for the honor and the sake of everyone woman who has come before me and all the people who will come after me, I will fight for my joy because that's what it means to set the tone and pave the way for the people who come after us and have to know and have to fight for their joy too.

It's huge and it is so incredibly interwoven and everything about it is rebellious. Please, Erica, I know that you told me you dealt with something or felt something. You experienced something last week that really moves and melts into what we're discussing right now. Would you like to share that?

Erica: Yes. I do. This past week was my birthday. On my birthday, I received a brand new pair of roller skates. Roller skating is one of my joys. It's one of my personal joys. I received those skates on Wednesday. I have flame skates. Angel is showing me her flame shoes, she is wearing right now, but I got a new pair. Past my flame skates, I got these blue swayed roller skates. That night I took a leap and I signed up for a roller-skating night two nights later that was here in Brooklyn in Prospect Park. It was a 90s hip-hop roller skating night.

I took myself there. I didn't go with anyone else. I had an hour and a half there. It wasn't that long because I have mothering and life and doula and biz and all the things but I share this moment because it was church. It was 100% church. What it was also was me having a really good time with myself only. I think that there is a key to that.

We hear the cliche of this sometimes when people are talking about dating and they're like, "You'll find the right person when you stop looking," or whatever but in a way, there's some truth there and it is that way in friendships because if you can't go do something really fun and joyful for yourself and have a great kick-ass time feeling yourself and your body move and dance and hear music from your childhood and have a great time, then what are you going to be if that was a friend date or a sexy date? I went to the church of me. The church of me is on a roller rink with blue suede skates, like listening to Biggie and Salt and Pepper and TLC. There were tons of people there that were like there with their friends. In fact, like in '90s wear which that's a whole other podcast we could make about the clothing of the '90s.

Angel: [laughs]

Erica: That was really fun to witness. Also, here's the thing, some of my best friends, Laura included, no offense, Laura, but aren't very good at roller skating. Laura is terrible at roller skating.

Angel: [laughs]

Laura: Liability.

Erica: She is a straight-up liability, and when we try to do it together which I'm still here to do it with you again and again. When we try to do it together, her liability does move into the forefront. We do have to pick her up off the floor. There's something to be said about finding what's the joyful moment in your life where when you were with other people, you would be picking them off the floor and that is what doula work is sometimes and it is parenting.

I got to say it was badass to be at that rink and when someone would fall down I'd be like, "Sorry, boo, I just can't pick you up right now, because I'm here right now accessing my joy." You know what? Those people weren't my obligation. I would really just lift up my right skate as someone to the right of me fell and I would just go over them and not because I'm an asshole, and not because I'm selfish, but because I was there for my church and my medicine and my joy.

I was sucking as much of it as I could get which is only 90 minutes. I got to go, I don't have time to clean you up right now. You're here with your other person that's there to clean you up so it's fine. I think that as caretakers for a living and as parents, it's a must. It's 100% and not everybody's is '90s Biggie hip hop with blue suede rollerskates that just happens to be my color. You have a color like this and that is the accessing the joy is finding these small-- What is the way that you can find the small moments like that, where you can truly just get in you and you're not there for anyone else.

Angel: Oh, my God.

Erica: It is something that when you show up for yourself like that, then you become a better best friend.

Angel: I want to cry right now because this is a conversation, no shit, that I have 1,000 times a day which is not even nearly as cool as your fucking velvet suede roller skate orgy of the senses. I can just imagine you with your short shirts being, "Biggie Biggie, Biggie can't you see sometimes you--" Like totally in your vibe is that accessing your joy without obligation to others is absolutely without a doubt a prerequisite to being able to show up in the world as the fullest expression and highest vibration of your purpose.

If you are not actively seeking out moments, not stolen moments, not let me take a bubble bath, not, "Oh, self-care is getting my nails done." I mean seeking out the thing that brings you vitality, that invigorates your lifeforce, that reminds you what it means to feel alive, then you are simply operating in a frame of mind and energy that is just staying alive. That is a very, very big difference and huge distinction in how you show up in the world.

If your work is to be a caretaker, and if your work is to be in activism and advocacy, and if your work in your life is to love your children, and you are doing those things in a place of I exist only to stay alive and not thrive and not feel alive, you are a part of the problem. You are not a part of the solution. Finding your joy and being adamant commanding that joy, knowing yourself, being the medicine of yourself, being what makes me feel alive, has to be at the forefront of everybody's mind.

It is our responsibility as human beings bringing humanity back to the human experience, to first understand what it means to be human within our own bodies before we can show the fuck up anywhere else in the world, and to know what feeling good feels like before we can show up to help other people stop feeling bad. Because if you don't have a point of reference as to what you're fighting for, you're simply fighting to take up space for the very, very wrong reason. Yes, it just elates me to hear you say that. Elates me.

Erica: I think it's so much about doula work too, and not burning out. Like there is such a problem with burnout in caretaker positions, not just doula work. That's the one that's easiest for me to talk about, but that in just the position of caretaker and when I say doula work, I also mean many different doulas. You can't hold someone's hand as they bring life in or hold space as life goes away, if you don't actually know what life is about in some way. If you aren't like pulling the marrow of life when you're not in these spaces. If you're not around death and birth, what are you doing in the meantime in the middle there?

Laura: Also like the real truth of that can look like you're showing up to those people's experiences to feed off of them. I just got a call that one out.

Erica: Oh my God.

Laura: Which is like a really hard thing for people to hear when they're falling in love with birth work because it does feel captivating, magical, the veil is thin. Do you know why the veil is thin? It's because there's a person that is going to the farthest reaches of their own everything and that isn't something you're doing, that's something they're doing and you are like at the church of humanists right now and you better take off your shoes and you better come ready to respect.

Angel: It's like going to the top of the mountain where the air is thin with the person who is scaling the mountain and you're riding piggyback, and you get to the top of the mountain on their back where the air is thin you're like, "That was so fun." You made it 20 times harder for that person who has the energy leak, who is more concerned about holding you and meeting the expectation of how captivating this is for you, then they start performing for you. Then you're taking the joy from them so that you can take the joy for you.

Laura: It is not ethical. It's like literally not ethical to show up in a space expecting that space to feed you when you are--

Angel: What an agenda?

Laura: Yes, it's tough. It's really tough. I also want to say, unless you have immense well privilege and someone else is paying your bills, and you're like that's your scenario, you will have to fight for your joy. If you're a parent, you will have to fight for your joy. If you're a caretaker, you will have to fight for your joy, which means nobody is coming over to just give you slots of time and a giant list and carry you to the roller rink.

There's so much resistance that does come up in those moments when you have all those responsibilities when you know that you have other people you're accountable for. When you are physically tired, when you're putting your money to things that you've been taught your whole life are frivolous. It's not like we don't have those moments of resistance that we have to transcend, it is a fight. I don't want to spiritually bypass and just like just seek your joy. It's like-

Angel: Not at all.

Laura: -you have to fight tooth and nail. The other day, I had to outstretch my arms and look up at the sky and scream, "Not today," because I could feel my brain shutting down and all these ways to compromise me and I had to literally fight and go and sing loud to like activate. Then I also want to say if you see someone in your community who is not able to create the space to fight for their own joy, then we actually have a responsibility to show up there.

I think that is a really good use of walking around the block with somebody's baby or like going over and spending a long morning so that they could go and roller skate. For real, for real, for real. We have to think about the places there is this over giving that is developmentally appropriate in early parenthood, that is just part of the shamanic journey is flipping yourself inside out, feeling like you're meeting no one's needs.

There is a death-rebirth that's happening so much there about you getting ground down with a relentless chop wood carry water moving meditation of parenthood. When you see somebody at the edge of themselves, in not a good way, not meeting their edge and this abundant, choice-based growth space. You see your friend who's got bugs under their eyes and is just in the survival grind, show the fuck up.

Angel: This is the thing is this when you show up with your joy that you have fought for, and you come to a space where that person is simply barely surviving, barely hanging on to a thread. You could move them from barely surviving to superhero simply by bringing your fought for joy back into that space. I also want to make two notes. Not everybody who has money is able to source joy. Not everybody who has access to what we consider privilege and wealth is in a space where--

In fact, more often than not, they're emotionally cuckolded because the world says, "Well, you're too rich to be sad. You have too much money." This is why we see suicide and depression and anxiety at the rates that we do, particularly in mother and birthing people who are in "well to do situations", who have the partner who has a lot of money or who have the huge superannuation retirement fund or who have the savings.

Because in those scenarios, fighting for joy, in my opinion, has actually nothing to do with your money and everything to do with your body and who it is you are inside. The fighting is inside. Irregardless of your privilege, irregardless of anything, the fact of the matter remains that you are not a slave to your thoughts. You breed the feelings you feel in your body via the thoughts that are absolutely controlled by you based on your circumstance, fact, scenario, et cetera.

Even in the shit show of every type of scenario, if we teach people how to move feeling, somatically release things, take back their joy with dance, singing, screaming, fighting, fucking and actually simply being unapologetic in that receivership and in that release, and asking for help, you transform someone's life, but you don't know how to show them that until you model it in your own body and you show them what's possible.

Until you get down to the floor with the dirt under your fingernails and the blood on your feet and your hands and you're like, "Fuck. I literally thought I was going to die. Turns out that I had everything I needed within me. This is what I'm doing to make sure that I am filled, that my cup is full," that clicheness because you're right. The burnout, the depression, the suicide, all of the things that is ravaging birth workers or people in the caretaker industries as well as birthing people, parents, mothers, et cetera as well as children, as well as the OBs, and the midwives and all of the people within that who are worked to the bone and are on drugs and are fucked, because of those expectations.

It all comes down to our natural state is to be joyful. We are not supposed to be this depressed. We are not supposed to be this angry. We are not supposed to be this hateful. That is not our natural states. We have had the light taken from us because we do not know now what it means to feel alive. We are perpetuating this deathly feeling while chasing immortality that's never going to happen, while chasing this idea that we're invincible and believing that we have 1000 lives so, therefore, let's fuck this one up or delay it. Tomorrow, I can work on feeling more alive.

How all of that interplays, on the ways we fuck up our own lives, on the ways we fuck up our client's lives, which is a really hard thing to hear. On the ways that they fuck up their lives because we didn't show up for ourselves. On the ways that everything is fucking each other up because every single system, joy does not exist in it. It's not even a part of the foundation of those systems.

Joy which should be the pillars of everything we do. The seeking of happiness, the pursuit of purpose in simply being and doing what feels good, which is our purpose is so removed from everything it is that we do that we literally have to fight to stay alive and fight to feel alive every single day of our lives, and that's where our greatest work is. It's in remembering what it is to feel alive and remembering what joy tastes like on our tongue and speaking that and projecting that energy as hope, as faith, as trust that there is a better reality, that there is a different way to live.

Everyone conceptualizes the work. Everyone conceptualizes what this means as mothers and as parents and as fucking doulas. It's bullshit because there is no concept. There is no model. There is no simplification of joy. There is no answer that you are looking for because ask better questions with your body. Know what it is you're even asking for in yourself right now. Even if I have two minutes right now, and my house is burning around me or I'm in a dumpster, then what? You still have a moment within yourself, even in the most traumatic situations to say, how do I take back the reign of whatever the fuck is happening right now and work with what I have available to me right now.

Even if it's a forced smile. Even if it's forced laughter. Even if it's choosing within my body and you will notice that every person-- For example, you can read studies on people who have survived the Holocaust against all odds, against all odds and said, "I survived because I believed that this wasn't about surviving. It was about living and feeling alive and reclaiming my joy and fighting for my joy. Not for my life. Not fighting for my life, fighting for my joy because my joy is my life." At the end of this, them turning around and saying that they were able to wake up every morning with a hope that existed only within them that was self-initiated and self-sustained only within them and that is the greatest gift that we can give people.

The greatest gift that we can give the world by giving that gift to ourselves first, and believing that irregardless of our scenario, and irregardless of where we are at, and irregardless of our pain, we are all carrying some level of burden that does not make life any less available to us to feel alive within. That is massively important within the work we're doing and the children we're raising.

Laura: Doesn't like oxytocin tell us everything we need to know. It's the biochemical reflection of everything you're saying. It's like this is the chemical that we need to actually be able to birth life. This is what we need to initiate a milk ejection reflex with ease, so to feed life and that's related to connection, love, attachment, joy, orgasm, all of these things. It's like pleasure and joy are literally the building blocks of life and actually biologically necessary for life to even occur.

I was thinking about this the other day, we were talking about images on Instagram. We were talking about the postpartum period and which you know we are both postpartum-centric full-spectrum doulas is how we self-define. We serve in the birthing space as well but we always keep postpartum at the forefront because #postpartumisforever and we like to show up when the going gets boring. I was thinking about this because we all see these birth images that just gets so much traction and it is this consumer product.

We are always thinking like, "Well, how does that actually feel for a person in the postpartum period who no one's showing up for but everyone's so excited to consume this part of their body in this moment of their experience? How does that actually feel for that person? What are the ethics really there?" I was thinking about this morning when we were talking about too-muchness and the appropriate spaces for too-muchness. That's always when we can either consume or turn a profit off of somebody's too-muchness somebody's genius or somebody's confidence.

Angel: Remember what we spoke about?

Laura: Yes. We're talking about how it's fine for me to be too much if I'm up on a stage singing a song for you to consume or make money or be entertained by. As soon as my too-muchness manifests in a question that you don't want to answer, or in a challenge of a system that you're not willing to yet look at in your organization, or whatever it's no longer welcome.

Erica: Now you're just hard to work with.

Laura: Now you're hard to work with. You're too much. I was thinking about postpartum imagery. I was thinking about how if you really look at some of the images that are reflective of the postpartum period that have the most likes and the most shares across the most platforms, it is the people's hardest moments that are being commodified. There is nobody sharing and engaging and liking and connecting with people that are having a good moment. It's not actually okay to say, "I'm having a nice moment." No one wants to say when their baby is sleeping well. We've created this muzzle over people's mouths.

Angel: Muzzle over joys.

Laura: Yes.

Angel: We've muzzled the joy of existence and motherhood and parenthood.

Laura: We're so happy to share an image of somebody crying on the toilet in postpartum or bleeding into their pants because we want to just commodify the people's pain and drama and just profit off of it in some way.

Angel: Like telenovela. It's like, "I'm going to indulge telenovela or every soap opera I love on television," which is really quite dramatic and really genuinely dramatic and theatrical in a way that it's just ridiculous, the stuff that goes on in these shows. That reminds me of, I want to say 10 out of the 20 participants last week said, "I loved my postpartum and I feel like I have nowhere where I can speak about it because of x, y, z."

Because of the ways that we've literally put a muzzle on the joyful parts of that experience which is, as you said, a prerequisite to being able to bond or feed or connect or build a structure. What is so fucked up about this is our addiction to suffering and our addiction to struggle which is a huge, huge, huge problem in my opinion, and the cognitive distortion in all of this that exists at every--

Laura: The glorification.

Angel: The addiction to drama, which is-- Because now we're looking at if we as women and people are so attention deprived, that when we're in pain, nobody sees us and that only when we are dying, somebody, if we're lucky, pays attention. We have people that are literally getting sick and creating drama and creating pain and horror out of their situations in order to get the likes and attention, in order to have their partner pay attention, in order to stay home from work, in order to literally be able to take up the space and not feel bad about it and that's fucked up.

That's really fucked up because the people who are enjoying it we're like, "Whatever, you're just lucky and your story is boring." You know how media news and media headline it's like, it has to be the most dramatic, ridiculous, horrifying, like train crash of situations in order to get the front page? This is literally what we're doing now. We think that oh, we're raising awareness? Clickbait we're raising awareness on how hard it is. Yes, great. We're finally having a conversation about how fucking the system has failed us. Great, fantastic, wonderful. Then what? Because on the other hand, there are people now who are like, "You know what, we know this is the shit show.

Let's talk about what the joy is in this so that we can actually create some level of strategy to move us towards the joy." If we're only having the conversation about the commodified pain of it, what's the point? We're not even having the conversation about what else is possible? Then you have people who are like, "If you talk to me about your joy, you're triggering me and my pain. If you are speaking about what ran right for you, you are taking away from what went wrong for me."

Then, of course, as you said, Laura, is that how the doula is complicit in all of this and the conversations doulas are having on the main sphere or as mothers, the conversations we're partaking in mother's group. Do we share our joy when we have an opportunity or is our joy too much? If we believe that our joy is too much, because our joy ruffles the feathers of those in pain, again, what hope do we have? What hope do we have if there's no point of reference?

Laura: Yes, I think it all goes back to what you were saying earlier. What we all know is that like our natural state is joy and when we're in it, we know that. It's easy to forget when we're not in there. Our essential nature is to have fun. We are actually meant to thrive.

Angel: One of the first business taglines I had was, "Birth doesn't need to be boring and motherhood does not need to be scary as hell." That is not because it isn't, but life is a fricking roller coaster, right Erica? Every single day, you have the ebb and the flow, you have the highs and the lows, we move with them all, we move with the bleed. We literally are dying and reborn every single month in our cycle.

The reference, again, is even in the bleed and the veils in our cycle, I really feel like joy. The lack of joy is a veil that we have an opportunity to cross and a threshold that we have an opportunity to master 1000 times a day. If you as a doula and a person

can master those thresholds, the smallest of thresholds with the biggest of impact, then you will slay this kind of work. Now, last question for y'all because I know that we have to tie this up. If you were to offer one piece of advice for those who are entrusted to care for people in their line of work, who are forgoing to truly care for themselves in their reclamation of joy before they show up in the world, what would that be?

Erica: I really just think that the best-case scenario is that we are permissioning ourselves to be what we know we are and that if you don't know the answer to that, then there's time to dig and give yourself the time to dig. I mean, this sounds so silly, but I'm going to say it anyway because [chuckles] that's usually when it's the right thing. If I don't know what I want, I usually look back to like eight year old me. Somewhere between 8 and 12, I was truly my most authentic self. I was on unabashedly just leading with joy in that time.

It's funny because sometimes Laura and I create our offerings from that place. Even like when we have talked about sister wounds specifically, we've been like, "When was the last time you really felt like you were living in the world without that over your head?" Then we've tried to create spaces that feel like that which are basically like summer camp or sleepovers. Tapping into that even though I am a woman in my 40s now being able to allow myself to go back inwards to the youthful me. Also, I was an only child at that point being raised by two lesbians. I was playing by myself a lot and expected to play by myself a lot.

That is where being a doofus is a great place to start and that's the truth like that inner child and youthful doofus nerd-- a lot of what we've already talked about.

When you just allow yourself to just do what you know makes you feel good in a way without having to make that fit what society says or the over culture says you should be enjoying now. I mean, I like that you dislike taking a bubble bath earlier, even though a bubble bath can feel great, but it's just like, "Why has that become like a cliche answer to like that we're going to all feel great after some ritual bath?"

I'm also not shaming it because if you do, great and I do like those, but there's a uniquer version of that in you. You have something in you, you don't need a book on Good Housekeeping or the 30 ways that you could access yourself because you could just take some time and access your own self. I think that when you were building fairy forts and playing with dogs in the dirt in your backyard is probably a great place to start. Like the very beginning of when you first started to just find joy and being with yourself when you were alone and yet still had a giggle. What is that?

Bringing that into a birth space, or postpartum space, or a death space, bringing that into these spaces we're holding makes it to where you don't do what we were talking earlier, where you're trying to suck the marrow out of someone else's experience because you're already filled with your own marrow, your bones are sturdy. You're there just showing up to hold and you really are strong, you can just hold. It's because you aren't trying to suck, you aren't trying to take, you are truly there in service you're trying to give.

Angel: Oh, imagine that some people are working as doulas as living breathing dementor doulas who are literally activating bone marrow transplants in a space where that person needs fucking more marrow. You are so right. Play, imagination being within everything that is, what would my six-year-old self do? What will my eight-year-old self do before the world told her to stop playing and to start getting serious? What did it feel like before that cloud was above me and over me?

Laura: When we were talking at the beginning just about permissioning all the parts too. Is like the eight-year-old self cried more unabashedly. The eight-year-old self felt super nervous at the blah, blah, blah, sometimes. It's like, I always feel like a little protective of people who are in that really tender, tangible, centering postpartum people here as I'm speaking right now, is that sometimes it can feel so overwhelming.

It's like, "Access your joy and live your best life and dah, dah, dah," and you can just feel like, "Oh my gosh, I am so tired, I am so far from that but I want to get there." What would the bite-sized version of that be? What would the right now moment of that be? Also, know that even within the bleed phase, luteal phase, there are laughs to be heard. Even within the postpartum phase, there are really silly jokes to be had. Also, even within the most abundant phase, sometimes you fall down and you cry.

I don't want to create a hierarchy out of our experiences and say like, "We're asking you to only be follicular you, but I do want to say that it is possible to trace a path of healing following the breadcrumbs of joy back to the giant gingerbread house." If you're listening right and like crying in your minivan in your garage, I am also talking to you, maybe when this closes, just search for a '90s song and close your eyes and let it wash over you and just imagine Erica in her roller skates. That's going to get your oxytocin going, just doing just that.

[laughter]

Angel: All jokes aside, some people are so disassociated and so far removed, they have forgotten what they enjoy. They have literally forgotten what it means to exist in their bodies. I really do believe that it's worth me saying right now that if you're one of those people who's listening, who truly cannot even remember the last time that they laughed, or had a good time, I would start at the senses.

It would be that really paying attention to the movement and that is, find a way to laugh, find a way to sing, find a way to get free rein to your fears and your anxieties, find a way to climax whether that is sexually, centrally, imaginatively, find a way to breathe life into yourself, get under the sun and you will notice that the more that you really try and breathe life into tired soil, it will respond and the leaves will droop back up and you'll start to build that kind of map again, and then your compass will come.

Laura: Sometimes it is like a slow cooker and just adding spices and vegetables a little bit over time and it will emerge as a tasty dish. It's not like the bubble bath, in a way, it's like microwaving the coffee for the fourth time.

Angel: Stop it. You know what? You just need to just go away with your writing Mel's stuff. I'm done.

Erica: You know that we love you because you're a word nerd. That's our favorite thing about you is that you're a word nerd.

Laura: That's so true.

Angel: Listening to you both speak and just say these things and--

Laura: We could never stop talking. At some point, we have to, but we really, truly-- Angel, it's rare we meet somebody who loves words and likes to say them out loud as much as we do but you are that.

Erica: It's true.

Angel: [laughs] I just think that we should make a musical and the musical will be-- It'll be musical theater or it'll be musical and there will be roller skates, and there will be tears, and there will be gregariousness, and it would change the world. You know what? It'll be a whole lot of fun, and that is exactly how you're going to reinvent.

[laughter]

Laura: Okay, when do rehearsal start? Just tell me when the rehearsals start.

Angel: You'd better start fantasizing about it before my mum. How can I manifest $10,000 today to fly Laura and Erica out? To just come and hang out at training. I was literally just thinking that as I walked to the studio.

Laura: [laughs]

Angel: When I do fly you out here, rehearsals are on. Bring your velvet skates, okay.

Erica: That's when they start. All right.

Laura: We'll learn our lines on the plane. It's a long day.

Erica: [laughs]

Angel: We'll just pull that musical out of anything. Okay, listen, I love you both. I'm obsessed with you.

Laura: We love you.

Angel: I'll just tie you to my legs and just never let you leave. Thank you for being here and for having the conversation and for letting us go over time because well, I was supposed to get off at 9:00, it's 9:40. That's fine. That's cool. Right? That's all right. Thank you for being here. Thank you for being who it is you both are. I cannot wait to keep making magic with you. You have no idea. I'm loving you from afar.

Erica: We love you.

Angel: Thank you for showing what it means that really the rebellion is so much more. Actually it's embarrassingly simple, and that really is by challenging the status quo starts within you your body, your soul, the way you look at yourself, the way you fight for yourself. I really appreciate you reminding everyone here, not just doulas, what that means.

Erica: Thank you. We love you so much. Thank you for having us.

Laura: Love you.

[music]