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Melissa Stenhouse

Posted by Carol Davies on

Humans of Mettamade is a recurring project that highlights individuals who are actively engaged in the body positivity + body peace space.

Q: Why Mettamade?

I had been searching for a while for a well-made sleeveless romper that fit my style. I came across Mettamade at a pop-up shop and immediately fell in love with not just the clothing but the story that a mother and daughter team in Hamilton were making size-inclusive clothing designed to make you feel good. The pieces are versatile, mix and matchable, and so comfortable without looking like I've dressed down.



Q: Tell us about your body positivity journey.

Talking about my body felt uncomfortable for a very long time because I lived with the idea that my body was a bit larger than what was perceived as normal or ideal out in the world. I didn't see people with my body in advertisements, in movement spaces or really represented anywhere. I had a love/hate relationship with the gym over the years and always thought that movement = weight loss. It wasn’t until I filled out a questionnaire for a gym and one of the questions was "How do you dress? To cover up or flaunt your body?" That ignited a fire in me. I dressed for comfort, for style, for me. My body was something that I was proud of, not something that I wanted to hide or felt I needed to show off. How dare this gym assume that the only reasons people were at the gym was to alter their body as if it was something you should be ashamed of. Fast forward one year later and I started to attend classes at Goodbodyfeel where I felt represented, I felt seen, and I began to see my body as this incredible machine literally keeping me alive everyday. I began moving for joy and learning to be kinder to myself and learning that my body is perfect just the way it is.

Q: How do you incorporate body positivity into your life/work?

I have four nieces and I work with children on a daily basis. I never want them to feel like they need to alter or be ashamed of their body. I am very conscious of the wording I use around food and movement (calling it movement, not exercise). Reframing the idea that food should be enjoyed and not earned. I teach movement classes to the staff at my work in an attempt to spread the same feelings of body acceptance that I have found and to maybe spark a small amount of joy in someone's day simply by moving their body. I also want women or girls in bigger bodies to feel represented. That they can move their bodies for joy, that they can teach movement to others and that they too can find happiness with the body they were given.



Q: Tell us about your capsule wardrobe.

I want to feel comfortable in my clothing but I also want to be able to dress things up or dress things down. I am drawn to neutral solid colours that I can mix and match with other things in my wardrobe.

Q: What’s your favourite Mettamade piece?

I live in my Morgan jumpsuit. The layering options are endless!

Q: What’s one piece of advice you can give to others on their body peace journey?

Be patient and be kind to yourself. Your body is going to change throughout your life and this is an ongoing journey of acceptance. It’s hard work. My hope is that the more we talk about our experiences and work to dispel stereotypes around body types we won’t have to have conversations around body positivity. Bodies will be bodies and all are just fine as they are.

Melissa Stenhouse is an Educator and Movement Instructor. At the intersection of her two worlds is Community Wellness. She uses movement as a tool for Educators to build strength, resiliency and compassion so that they in turn can arm our youth with the tools necessary for them to succeed. You can find her on Instagram at @mellycat or you can reach her via email at catchmeinthefeels@gmail.com.

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