Disabled Girls Who Lift

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E10: Cooking It Up with Alexis (Stump Kitchen)

January 6th 2020

Alexis Hillyard from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada joins DGWL in episode 10. Listeners may recognize Alexis from her YouTube, Stump Kitchen, or as an ambassador for the Lucky Fin Project. Alexis shares... More

this is disabled girls who lift? We are reclaiming what's rightfully ours one podcast at a time. It's mary beth Chloe and Marcia bringing you the thoughts and unpopular topics to get you out of that? A bliss comfort zone. Mm mhm mhm. We're talking about Youtube channels, cooking in the kitchen with our very special guest again. My name is Marcy, I'm from south florida. It's mary Beth from California. It's Chloe from Iowa and our guest today comes to us from Edmonton Alberta in Canada. It is Alexis Hillyard. Yeah. Hello? Hello. It's exciting. I have you excess baby. I'm so excited to talk to you folks because like I've been following mary Beth for a long, a long, long time, like over two years and I just like, just love your work, love your page, Love what you, what you're doing.

So this is like, yeah, it's really, really nice to chat. Yeah. Your Youtube channel stump kitchen is absolutely one of the cutest things I've ever seen on the internet. It makes me want to have kids with stumps is it wouldn't it be amazing if it's like genetic and if we like could pass that on to our offspring, you know, and I'm just like, okay, how how do we make that happen? But it's not anyway. Yeah, that'd be a weird request to our doctors. If we do fertilization, can you make establish, can you just make this kid have a stuff please. Oh that would be, Yeah. So people want to know just please tell us about the day you realize you have to start a youtube channel called or like some kitchen, it's so much fun, it's bold, it's empowering, it's filled with confidence in humor um and I get so many young kids involved who are in the limb difference community, you know when you first started that question, I thought you were gonna say so tell me the moment that you realized you had to stop and I was like, oh that's you quite America.

I Mean to answer that question probably when I was like, I was like four and my little sister would um she would play with my arm and like she loved it so much and she was trying to call it my baby hand, but she was too young, she was like, I don't know 1.5 or two and so she called it babe and so from then on my, my stump had this like persona and this name of babe and I would like put on shows for her and like puppet shows and like make baba my stump and biggie, my other hand biggie was the bad guy, baby was the good guy and I would shows for her and she would just love it so hard and just like my poor mother was just like, I swear my kids have toys, I don't have to play with their arms, like it was so sweet, but to kind of like that ties in a little bit to the show because like I began my, I began my life with this beautiful body awareness and love that really came from my sister, who was like, this kid who was just like, wow, your body is so cool, and then, when we were older, she used to take my prosthetic hands, and she would put them on her left hand and, like, walk around, but it would like drag on the floor, because it was so long for, she always, she was like, um I was also part of the Child Amputee program, which is like a program up here in Canada with the war amps, and I was, I'd beyond their Great Cup parade, and she, she pretend that she was missing a foot, just so she could ride in the parade with me, like, oh my gosh, she, and now, like, we're in our thirties, and she's like, you know, I still wish I had to stop, you know, and I was like, oh, I love you.

So, um anyway, long story short, um I figured out that I had to do this show, because, you know, I became vegan, I had a gluten intolerance, and it was around at a time where I really needed to start to cook for myself, because, you know, finding vegan and gluten free stuff on the go isn't the easiest, I mean, it's getting easier, but it's a little tricky to kind of, you know, manage that, that kind of, eating style, um and I also, simultaneously was recently diagnosed with major depressive disorder at the time. Um so all this was happening at the same time and once I uh I was really scared to start cooking, like really, I was just like, I don't really know, but I found some easy recipes online started really slowly, like so slowly and once I got into it, I realized that like holy crap, I'm using my stump as a tool in ways that I wouldn't have imagined, so like mashing potatoes, using it as a spatula, using it to put like butter on things and and using it as a rolling pin.

And it was so weird and cool and my partner was just like, that's really amazing, like you should film that. And I had another friend who also, he was a Youtuber at the time and he was like, you should, you should make a video, put it out there, and I was like, I don't know. Uh Yeah, okay. Um and my partner filmed the first one and when I, when I edited, when I got the footage and I started editing it, like I had to teach myself how to edit. I had no idea what I was doing, I like, well, and if you watch the first episode, oh my gosh, the difference, it's like going from so crappy to like a little bit better, hopefully. Yeah, when when I started watching the footage back, I started crying because I looked at myself experiencing so much flipping joy and it was like this embodied joy that I hadn't actually been able to feel for a while because of like what I was going through with my mental health and stuff, but like watching myself on the screen kind of like, I don't know, trick my brain into like feeling happiness.

It was a really weird situation. Um but it was like absolutely incredible and it was like this cool little lifeline that kind of pulled me out of this darkness when I was like, wow, I'm kind of quirky and funny and my body is cool like this, I like this girl who is this girl, you know? Um So I did the first one, put it out there and people were just like, hey, I would like to see more of this please. And I was like a couple months later I here's money or I'll take my money. That didn't happen until like a year later, I, I was another journey to kind of make it my job. But yeah, then I started doing them once a week and it like, has it became something that I just knew I couldn't stop doing and I ended up leaving my job because I was like, this is the only thing that is bringing me joy and it just became my new calling, I guess though, and you're doing that full time now, that's yeah, yeah, I have a couple like a couple of little part time jobs to kind of help make ends meet, but most of my time, I'd say like 85% of my time is some kitchen related in some way or another, um, and I've been doing that for about 2.5 years, I think, oh my god, amazing, that's so awesome.

And no, I haven't seen the first episode, but I've seen the most recent ones, and yes, there are so many edits, it's just, it's hilarious. Oh, so glad, thank you. Like, if I were to give it, uh, you know, put it into categories on youtube, I would put it in the comedy and cooking channel, I wouldn't even realize that like, the stump part of kitchen wouldn't even like, trump the comedy that comes with it, it's just so well put together, you know, that's so interesting, because I, like, I think that really speaks to um, the variety of audiences that I have, like, I oughta people often ask, like, well, who's your audience, and I'm just like, oh my goodness, I like a, I have no idea, but b it's like, okay, there's like a vegan audience because I do vegan and gluten free cooking, and then there's like, there's like this, um, like, uh, amputee and like limb difference audience of just like, random people and then there's a family audience who have kids with him differences or just kids in general that are watching other kids who have like really diverse bodies and they're just like interested.

Um and then like other just random people who just, I don't know, have found it somehow. And so it's an extremely diverse audience, which is this, you know, it's just really funny. I guess everyone finds something to hook into probably because like I don't wear a bra, I don't shave my armpits, I don't care about swearing. I don't like, I don't worry about being perfect. And I think some people are also just like, yes, that's how I want to cook. You know, like I don't want to be stressed out a little kid. Yeah, like that's the whole point, right? Like you just want to exist and just be like, yeah, I'm fucking here. You like me. Cool. Watch my channel. Oh, by the way, I guess I have a stump whatever, you know, like that's how it should be. It should just be that normal. Absolutely. And it's also like a really beautiful education tool that I didn't even realize at the time. Like when I started, I was just like, let's put this out for fun. But then the world was like, oh hang on, this is kind of nice.

I like this and my kids need this or whatever because yeah, it's it's great for normalization. It's great for just like representation and getting like diverse bodies out in the media more, but it's actually like really, really cool for young folks who have grown up in environments where their body has not been celebrated or they've been bullied or they feel shame. Um and to, to see someone or, and I've met some of these kids, some of these kids have actually worked with on the show and watching their transformation from, you know, where they, where they were to kind of where they are um has been like absolutely life changing for me. Like it's just so beautiful because they can um you know, they're trying stuff that they never kind of thought they could try before, like can openers cooking, they like just and, or like putting faces on their, on their limb, different arms and like playing and just making making their bodies um just like just super special and super unique. Um so I think that alone has been probably my most like favorite unpredicted effect I think of the show, I don't know, it's really actually I have a, I have a little story about that, may I tell it?

Oh my God, please. Okay. Um this little one, I got to meet a little one a while ago now she wasn't on the show that this was before some kitchen, but I think it probably planted a seed that stayed with me um but I used to be in a program called matching mothers are matching families where my mom and I would go and meet other moms with new new babies with a limb difference to kind of say like hey your kid's gonna be cool, no worries, like ask ask questions and you know kind of talk about their worries and stuff um and so we got a call to meet with a little one who was about 2.5 um I'll call her Nicole just to kind of keep it anonymous and um so Nicole and her family had lived all over the world um for various reasons and had lived in a couple different locations where culturally it was not acceptable to have a little difference and people would tell them to um tell the parents to keep her inside to not let her out and that the U shaped really really hard um and then they moved back to Canada but somehow this little one had caught that and internalize that shame and so she was hiding her arm at 2.5 and she wasn't using it, she um was you know more more kind of sad and withdrawn so we, we got to meet and the first thing I did was start playing with her on the ground and I showed her how I tied my shoes and she really looked hard, she was like whoa, you got a head like me, what's whoa and then she just kind of like went back to playing and her her arm was behind her the whole time like she did not bring her limb difference arm out at all.

Um And eventually we went to the table and I said how about we trace your, let's trace our our hands, let's trace our limbs. She's like yeah okay. So I traced mine and I did um I did my right hand, she did my right hand for me and then I did my stump and then I said ok your turn. So she put down her hand and I traced it and she said all done and I said no, no, what about your other arm? And she was like okay, so she's like kind of put down her stop and I traced it and then I picked up both of them and I said look we're the same, she just like for the longest time and like kind of smiled and didn't say anything and then we went back to playing and she started to use her arm, she like started to use her arm to use the to play with the blocks. She asked me to tie my shoes for her again. So I did, I showed her and like just watching this tiny transformation happened where she like took it out and was like shit there's someone like me and it's okay, I can be happy like this, you know like that alone I think was like okay this is my reason for living, I feel so blessed to have had that experience.

Um And so I don't even remember where I was going with this story, but like I think having, you know, representation just being himself. Sorry, that's my dogs going on happy. They're just so excited to get real hype about knocks at the door. I also know a lot of tripod dogs who have like three paws are very, there's a couple of my great yeah, honey, like, like my neighborhood, I'm like, what is the universe doing? So good. Um Anyway, I thought that story was kind of beautiful and like we never know what we're doing like with your page and like with your work, you never know who you're reaching right like and I think that's the beauty um to kind of be a part of so and that's all it takes his representation. And oh my gosh, 2.5 years that breaks my heart almost, which I'm really curious to see if you were to bring in like high schoolers and middle schoolers who care more about their bodies and how they see themselves in the public eye on your Youtube channel.

That would be freaking awesome. But my least favorite like holiday in elementary school was almost thanksgiving where we had to draw our hands to make turkeys. And uh story. That's the first thing I thought about. It was like, I was the only one in class. So I would draw my dominant right hand twice rather than being couldn't draw a turkey with my other hand. But at that point I feel about it. I just, you know. Yeah, yeah. Oh my gosh. And in that moment there's nobody that was there that could even like conceptualize that, that would be a big deal for you. They're just like everybody has two hands to do making thanksgiving turkeys like, but like while you're sitting there and internally just going through some shit and they're just like do turkeys, like can you imagine if you have somebody like Alexis with you? Like no, no, let's do both. You're okay. Like challenge, challenging your ass at such a young age. I'm like yeah, yeah that I don't even think I knew I was different at two and a half.

So to hear that like that. Yeah. Like that's I'm glad you had that moment moments. Really? Yeah. That's not sending her up for success at all. A 2.5 to already have that level of shame is uh Oh wow, believable. Yeah. And I think like changing um changing the perceptions of the adults around Children, I think that's where we get all of our crap when we're little. It's like adults that are worried adults that are ashamed or adults that are not noticing the kid in the classroom who is like trying to trace their limbs and it's like, hey I what's that, what do I do? You know? Like that stuff? Um it's got to be on people's radar and I think it's getting a lot better and I think representation is helping for sure. Um and these conversations are helping. Um, but you know, so much more can be done. Everyone who is responsible for Children, not just parents, that includes teachers, counselors, physical therapists, you know, give them that pride that they've tried so hard to that.

And and some of those things that you mentioned kind of in passing that you have up there, I've never even heard of anything like that going on around here, like what did you call it with mothers with or whatever the mom group is that you guys go and meet with people and all these small communities and yeah, that's not a popular thing. So we have the war amps um which is like a big Canadian organization that supports people um with amputations or who were born with congenital amputations and the champs program is part of that. Like the the child amputee program started from war war veterans and stuff, and they get funding and they help up until you're 18, they pay for your prosthetic limbs, like they're really, really awesome. Yeah, but in the States there's um there's a couple organizations that are really rad. Uh Lucky Fin project is really, really cool. They're based in michigan and they do lots of work. I go there every year, one of their ambassadors, I'm actually the first Canadian Ambassador, So I'm North Ambassador and I go to their get togethers, but they have little chapters all over the States, they even have a Canadian chapter which is kind of cool.

Um so they're really great for resources and bringing people together and reaching out to new families. Like they do beautiful work. So if if folks listening haven't heard of them, I highly recommend to check them out. Like they're so so great. Oh my God, when I first heard of them through you like well one we have on our website, all of the resources that we've heard of for people with disabilities and amputees and all that good. But I immediately sent it to Chloe, I was like you got to see this. I've never seen anything like this. Look at all these little kids and their limb differences. It's so beautiful. Yeah. Like named after um like uh finding nemo so like his little lucky fin like so like that's like the first like cute um cartoon character that like has a limb difference in a Disney movie which is so rad. Like I didn't even think of that, you know. Uh and even uh an organization as big as that. It's like you know, they should be there.

Not even, I mean everybody knows if you go on any street on any part of rural or urban or whatever and ask somebody what's red cross but like oh yeah those people, you know? Yeah that's lucky Fin that can be like huh? Yes. Yeah like these things exist and they're trying to build but I feel like more people need to tap into them and use these resources like like every Children's hospital should know about these guys right? Just like here you go. Here's passed this out. Everybody we know like every all these teachers in the school board should be kind of tapping into it. Absolutely. And I know they're getting there. They are in some hospitals but for sure it's got to be more widespread. Yeah. So can you tell us more about the because you mentioned you have kids in your show, Is there like some sort of official collaboration or is that like you just find men of kids like what's going on with a great question. I literally find random kids. I made this joke at the beginning of the show when I started because once I got a little bit more kind of more popular and a little bit more out there I made this joke that like parents are throwing their Children at me to be on the show because a lot of them were like my friends and they're like hey you need a kid to fill my parents, my kid and I'm like oh my gosh I guess so it was so lovely and so easy because they trusted me.

And um so I had like I think my first kid guest was Rosie she was like 2.5 of the time. So cute. Um But from there you know locally in Edmonton. Um people would share videos on facebook and then parents of kids with some differences with see me. Um and then contact me through social media. I'd be like, hey, I have a daughter with a hand, like you, would you like to meet her, blah, blah, blah. Um, that's how I met kelly and then I met Ethan at a bowling alley, like literally on his birthday. No, was it my birthday or his worthy? We were celebrating the birthday of sometimes and his mom was like, she grabbed me and was like, you gotta meet my son, he's gotta have like you and I was like, okay, let's do it. So I met Ethan randomly at a bowling alley and then really from there, it's just word of mouth and people contacting because they, they apparently trust me with their Children, which I'm very honored by. I give them really sharp knives to play with, which is just great with some instruction, don't worry. Um, so it's happened really organically and beautifully and now I've known those kids for a number of years, I've watched them kind of grow up and it's been incredible.

Um, and there's a whole kind of whole handful of them that I know now handful happen. Uh, and uh, then eventually, um, I got to work with cbc kids and cbc parents, they got in touch with me and were like, hey, can we hire you to do a couple videos for our kids program and I was like, absolutely good for you. I think they want to showcase Canada's diversity. They're pretty good about that. Um, so they pick, they pick up and coming creators each year, um, like different ones to kind of do videos for them. So I got to be lucky and I was one of their kind of like, you know, creators uh, nationally. Um, so I filmed some episodes with a lot of the kids that I filmed with normally just on my Youtube show. Um, but I actually had a budget, which was like, what, like I got that money on like nice things and, but it really like, it stretched me as a creator, I got to learn how to edit, um more intensely work with, like sound and lighting and it was a huge like professional um, uh, growth thing for me, but it also the exposure, like for limb differences, like nationally was a lot bigger and really, really cool and that's when I started to really meet parents and families from all over the country and even more around the world to, um, so it was a beautiful kind of outreach um, situation where I got connected with so many more people.

It was wonderful. That's freaking awesome. And I think I don't even, I don't even know if we kind of introduce your youtube channel, but what it is, what is it that you do tell our listeners when you do on that channel, I ride horses. No, just kidding. It's funny instead of the Chloe over here, that's the right horse, like, well I love um so stump Kitchen, it's essentially a cooking show that's kind of the root of it. Um it's all I do all vegan and gluten free cooking, but I, I focus on accessible, easy, fun cooking and I, I kind of, the key of the show is I, I focus on limbed, like on stump techniques, so things that I use my step for, like, like I said, like a rolling pin masher, um so kind of like, I don't know, stumping the kitchen in a way, like showing how you can really diversify how you do stuff. Um so that's kind of the fun part of it. And then I have a lot of guests, like a lot of kids, a lot of adults, folks with disabilities folks with limb differences.

Um we talk about stuff, I have a whole series where um you know, we're talking about like limb difference awareness, I do interviews with people called stump chats where we talk about everyday life and the nitty gritty stuff like the good, the bad, the ugly, um the funny questions that people think that they're allowed to ask us, like, you know, it's just great. Um and then a couple of logs and uh you know, that's, that's kind of what I do. Oh, and I get very messy, very good. And I think um maybe like you folks and all of the people that are listening to this right now, we have to like root for mary beth to be a guest on the show, throw it into the universe. So you all, everyone listening, you need to like put the pressure on, we need to make this happen, we'll make a connection somewhere and uh yeah, it'll happen. We'll make something really good. Well I am cooking a lot more vegan foods now. So maybe do you do you only take people with stumps because I'm going to start dragging Chloe long. She is part of the limb difference community.

No, I take everyone like if you don't have, you don't have to have a disability, you don't have to have the stuff like I take so if honestly like if you, if people asked to be on the show or if I ask someone to be on the show, if the energy feels right, I say yes because like you just have to follow the energy follow your heart like, like I want to make this connection and you're like this feels great, let's do this. And once in a while you get people are like, I got to be on your show and I'm like, okay, great. You know, right? And so um so that's kind of how I find like the majority of my guests just by following my heart and making those connections and then I find I get to know them. I get to know people so much better through cooking with them because sharing this intimate experience, you're having fun and you're just like, you have this activity with a start and an end. So it's kind of introvert friendly, you don't have to like sit and chat face to face forever, go to a park. It's like okay, we're cooking for an hour and then we're done by um but you have so much fun in the in the meantime.

So um so yes, it's yes, I take all the people and it's gonna be great when you're on the show. Okay. I'm going to then yeah, it will be a little party. Use this money to um uh Yeah, spoon. He can test up all the spoons. Absolutely, absolutely. That's so good. Yeah, I always have a bunch of tasting spoons on me. So I always got extra spoons to share app. And are you still doing everything on your own? Or do you have like a support team or like, you know, like a guy that helps you or you know, good. Um No, it's all on my own. I'm like, well I will say like, my partner is an incredible support. Her name is Alison. She's I love her so much. She filmed the first few when I didn't know you know where to get a tripod. She filmed them on my on my lovely crappy phone. Um and then eventually I got a tripod, I got a better camera using some of the cbc money when I had a budget.

Um and then I kind of taught myself how to yeah how to set up, how to edit a bit better, how to do all that stuff, but I am a one human show and it's great, although like I do have someone in the community who is amazing doing my thumbnails, so that's really helpful. Um They're very talented and I hate doing them now. So I have that and I used to have one of my incredible um friends who also has a disability doing my captions. Um uh so I was able to pay them and do that. So like I have like really cool collaborations happening once in a while, but typically the like most of it is just me doing all the things. But I think also because like if I, because people are like, ok, so you film like who edits it? And I'm like, oh I ended it like I would not trust anyone else with that because like definitely your personality Yeah, it needs to be this way, blah blah blah, blah blah, you know, so I'm like, I, even though it takes forever, I don't think I could ever give up that that part of the work, like yeah, I could give up the filming, but like the editing, I'm just like yeah, but I like it, I like kind of like having to learn as I go and and being like, because people are often asked like, oh, so is that your team?

And I'm like, just me. And I mean I I really like that. Yeah, because there's a lot that goes into it. You have to plan the episodes and you actually have to buy stuff like you have to like sleep before, you know, it can't be like a really crappy grungy kitchen and though I yeah, yeah, promoted you want to get the beans out there? So there's, there's a lot of angles of it. It's a lot to do. Got it. It's an everyday everyday thing. Absolutely. But once I did the first few months there became a rhythm to it. You know, it's like, it's like going to the gym, you just, you get your shoes ready, you go and get out the door, you get there, you do your thing. And so there's like a, there's a routine that I now know that I can kind of jump into. Its not new anymore. So it does make it easier. But um yeah, it's a lot, but it's something I love so much so yeah. And you mentioned the gym didn't you mary beth how did you even find uh was it just finding the youtube channel or did didn't you meet her?

Yeah, it's funny. I think it was a few years ago, have I known you for two years now um your coach Kyle um queer flex on instagram actually reached out to me um asking about what tools I used for the dead lifts and what's before that I hadn't used anything and I was playing around with the harbinger hook, but us having the same limb difference. Um I was like, I use harbinger hook, it's pretty awesome, you just tie it pretty tight and use a lot of talk and you can probably try and dead lift with this. So I actually sent one over to you because obviously I only use one of the pair and I had a bunch of extra ones. Oh, that's why I nailed it. I know it's a can, I had never mailed anything to Canada before, it was old, but it made it and I literally like I almost cried when it came, I was just like who is this amazing human that like, like what is happening?

I was so, so thrilled and it changed my whole gym routine, it changed everything, it was absolutely incredible, like four dead lifts for like um shoulder presses for everything, it was amazing, so thank you for being so bad. Yeah, and I I try to recommend it to other people now, you know, it's not, it's weird, the device kind of changes every year where they probably is different material or whatever, but um sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't, so when it does, I'm like Yeah, absolutely, so what's your relationship to the gym now? How do you stay active or do you even, Yeah, so it's care about that. I know, I do care, I love to swim, I love doing yoga. Um and I kind of prop up my left arm with either with a yoga block or a bunch of towels to kind of even out my down dog. So I do like a lot of yoga and then I just use a lot of body weight stuff. So like I do push ups with um something underneath me to kind of even out my shoulders, like usually a set of books with some towels so they don't slip around.

Um squats, like working with Kyle, I learned how to use my body weight in a workout in ways that work well for, for me. Um So I do that just at home and then like, yeah, yoga, swimming, walking around. I haven't been to the gym as much um lately, but like, yeah, just finding little ways to work at home. But what I like to do is if I'm like, if I'm traveling and there's a gym in the hotel or just a gym around or whatever, I'll go and often I will take the, and I don't know if you do this to, you should let me know, but like I'll take the weights off the bars and the whole is big enough that I can slip my stump. Yeah, you know, I've been wanting to make a video about that do It. I can hit like five plates on my stone. Yeah, well I can probably fit five, but I only lift about three. I'm just like, okay, but like then I can like um do bicep curls and they are that weight is even because if you have the same weight, the left one feels lighter because the center of weight is way closer to your elbow to put more weight on here.

Last weight on here. So it's actually like an even weight. Um so using, using the discs on my stamp is a lot easier. So that's my only jim hack other than the harbinger hook. That's so funny because I still used to attach to a dumb bell, but you actually use the little disks to lift like, Absolutely. Oh, that's so funny. So Alexis, I have a question for you, Did the word stump ever offend you or is that something that you embraced from the beginning with the help of your sister? That's a really great question. And so I have always loved the word stump. However, I didn't start using it until I was an adult, like, probably not even until just before some kitchen happened, like up until that point, uh between my childhood and some kitchen, I, you know, I had a couple dark times and I feel like I almost forgot about my arm, like, I just forgot about my relationship to it. I kind of forgot about it in this weird way, so I didn't really refer to my arm in any special way or say like, I would just kinda, I don't know, pretend it wasn't there, but not, not consciously, just like, not really paying attention uh and when I was younger I would call it my little hand, my baby hand um or Bba, you know, the personality and then I, I think I would refer to it mostly as bible with people that I knew just for fun.

Um and then in other conversations, like it didn't really come up that much, but then stump came into my vocabulary, I honestly don't remember how or why, but it just felt so good and um I know a lot of other folks with Lynn differences who um love the word hate, the word you are indifferent about the word, but like, I think the beauty of, of languages that we can each pick a word that feels good for our bodies, you know, just like our gender and sexuality, all those things Exactly, this variety of language that we can use and so um for people, you know, I say like model language, like I use the word stump, you can call my arm my stump and other people if they say little hand or nubby, like that's the language we're going to use with them because that's the words that they're comfortable way. So, so yeah, stump. It just kind of came into my life. I don't know, I make lots of jokes about tree stumps and like it kinda kinda happened, but there's a new revelation, like a new adult thing that I kind of picked up.

Yeah, I can definitely relate to that because even in, like the chronic illness community, everybody says something different. Some people have, you know, like 10 diagnosis is and they just kind of stick to one and they say, you know, I'm a lupus warrior on this and then, you know, it's not that that's it, but that's what they identify with. And I use spoon e as my thing. But there's also another analogy about batteries that was Yeah, and I don't remember, I don't remember what you call yourself if you go with that analogy, but there's like a whole other thing. Very cool. I love fine. Yeah. You just find what fits you and then that's it. I do get offended though, if somebody calls it enough without asking, like, you know, I feel like you still kind of have to wait to see what the personality is and what terms that the terms they use, you know, I mean Chloe, did you ever had a personality for your hand or I prefer when people call it my left hand versus my right hand, or my soul smaller hand until I call it something. Yeah, I didn't have any kind of personality for it.

I just referred to my hands as left and right. My my cousin called it monkey monkey. I mentioned in a previous episode, but I love that, I love yours was baba Yeah, so cute. So you had a monkey monkey and then I would go like this. So it would have a personality. She would draw a face on it and it would be like, you know, a kind of character to show my family members. Oh, that is so sweet. I like, I want to know how many people with congenital um amputations do that. Like a lot of people that I've met, most of them have had like have drawn faces or have a little personality or someone when they're little and even now like a name like my friend Angel calls her arm army, you know, and like army little personality and it's just like so sweet. So I wonder how common that is and why like it's just that would be a really cool like research paper to figure out and talk to people about like we we'll start asking your kids now, you've got them all on Youtube.

It's a great idea. Yeah, absolutely. So I saw recently that you actually posed in a modeling gig with the garment life. That was freaking awesome. I mean, I love seeing um gigs like that where they showcase all types of bodies, different colors and shades of women of people in the nude. What was it like being like nude and exposing your bare bones or posing, I guess, who used to posing in front of a camera with your arm but with other beautiful body. Yeah, it was so good. We can swear on this episode please. Okay, Okay. Uh It was fucking amazing. Like, I of course I went in a little nervous because you never know what to expect. I've never done anything like that before. Like I had pictures taken, but not like this. Um but as soon as I walked in, everyone was so amazing. So kind and just like taking off their clothes, putting like, just whatever, and I was like, yes, here we are.

It was so funny. Like one we had this one pose where we had to kind of cross our arms to we had no shirts on, and we had to cross our arms um to hold in our breasts to kind of hide our nipples for instagram or whatever. And one of our participants, she was so hilarious. She had like, you know, very big breasts and like, she couldn't hold them all in. And so the photographer was like, can I just can I just poke nipple in, is that okay? She's like, yeah, come on over, just poke it in. Oh my gosh, I love these people so much. Um Yeah, it was just like, I don't know if empowering is the word or just like freeing or more of a more of a deepening of a comfort within my own skin and and watching, you know, their their radiant beauty kind of like was reflecting mine and it was just like this, I don't know, I just felt so lucky to be there. And um the pictures turned out really cool, so I have to look, you haven't seen it? Yeah, there's lots of the garment, the garment life has quite a few on their website, and then I've got someone with instagram and I'll post more.

Um but it was like, yeah, my first kind of foray into, you know, doing uh like a laundry chute, but being able to to show and be a part of the different representation and just like diverse body representation in general. It was a huge honor to be a part of. So yeah, were you the only representative of uh the disabled community or the living difference community? Uh just a little difference community. I think other folks had disabilities, probably invisible disabilities. Um so I think there yeah, a lot that I wouldn't have known about. So yeah, I think uh yeah, but I was the only thing that was nice. That's pretty cool. That's awesome. And this is a Canadian company or Yeah, they do and they work with a lot of designers, um many across Canada, they try to do as local as possible and they focus on ethically sourced clothing for for like diverse body bodied women and people and just like bringing those things together.

Kind of like slow fashion meets like um like fat politics and bought a diversity altogether. It's really, really cool. The more the merrier. That's pretty awesome. Yeah, they're pretty good company. I mean it looks like they're growing and I love, I don't know, I just, I love seeing brands and companies and be intentional about that stuff and it seems fake. It doesn't seem, you know, that they're just hunting for the next brown body or the next person in a wheelchair or using people who don't even have that disability and putting them in a chair. Oh, I did that. Yes, that was, that happened. Oh gosh. I think it was Kendall Jenner. They she posed in a wheelchair and um she got a lot of heat for, and then she posted a video crying and apologizing. Okay, well you should have cried when they ask you. She could've been like, no, thank you, I'm leaving right now. Yeah. Yeah, we're out here.

Just ask us. Don't put right excuse that. Like, oh, nobody applied. You know, we're gonna use somebody who is a completely different race or somebody who's not of that disability because they didn't apply for it. It just was, I'm like, you're not trying hard enough. Yeah. You figure out why they didn't apply like your systems are oppressive or they're not accessible. Like you have to, you know, it's like when you like plan like a reconciliation event for like white folks and indigenous folks and, and they're like, why, why didn't any indigenous people come? And it's like, oh my God, are you kidding me? Like you need to change the way that you work, You need to go to the people, you need to like, just, you can't, you can't impose like, you know, the white way of doing things onto and just think it's going to be fine. Like there's so much more effort that needs to be done by dismantling the systems that you're working with, right? Like, like the film industry, like whiteness in general, like all these things.

So yeah, I totally agree. Yeah, definitely. I mean we're seeing a, in a lot, I mean, I guess it's growing a little bit, you know, I've got to give them some credit. That's, yeah, it is sports industries like Nike or a lot of, a lot of brands in the fitness community and I think film is doing a better job. You know, Disney is doing a better job, but you know, there's still a lot of work to be done. Yeah, absolutely. Let me ask you a question, how how is all your gym relationships, what you've been lifting lately? What's going on? What's happening happening in the gym mary beth for you. Oh man, I'm the one that's least active compared to these ladies, Like they both recently had their own competitions nice. Yeah. Well my competition happened yet this saturday just say, I think it's just a that's amazing what you're about. Yes, two days out.

So right now I do strongman, you lift random things and then put them down. So, and it's going to be a very heavy show. It's called florida strongest man. So a lot of people from the state drive and it's like pretty epic. So it'll be fun. Maybe I'll die, maybe I'll live, we'll find out doesn't matter. Fun. Well, I'll be thinking of you in two days from now. I'll be wishing you luck, thank You. And then Chloe recently competed two weeks ago. three, almost a month ago. Almost a month. Yeah, it went well. So I do power lifting, which is different than strong man. We just have three lifts, the squat bench and dead lift. Um I had a successful day and I'll compete again in april way to go. Don't you have a nice little statistic you can share. You make me share that. I am Number three All time ever in my weight class. So what just an accomplishment because I am proud of it.

I'm talking to champions here. This is amazing. You know, and B. D. We can all move your like, you know, move your car. Yeah, I pulled over on the side of the roads, wow. Yeah, okay, when you're on the show, I'd like you all to bench press me. You're just gonna, while we're cooking, it's gonna be so good. We're just dead left me Oh yeah, easy, It'll be great. I'm pressing yes please. But I've been on, I've been on a little hiatus but I've been getting back into, it's, it's so much fun and empowering to see these ladies like compete on the platforms again. So I set my day, my date to, to start in March to compete nine, which is my birthday month, you know, perfect, but Alex, whatever what other passions do you have outside of filming youtube and being a great ambassador for this amazing program. Thank you. Um Well I'm actually a really big choir nerd.

I've been singing in choir since I was like five, so I sing all the time I sing every week I sing in concerts and I love choir so much makes so much sense because you sing a lot in your channel, you know, and I don't even realize I'm doing it sometimes. Like sometimes I'm with my sister and she's like stop singing what you're doing and I'm like, what? And I'm just like, I'm not buying, being bed like whatever and just like stop your singing everything you're doing okay, so quiet and then I play UKulele. Um, and yeah, just like being like being a good family member, like being a good daughter and sister and partner, like I really focus a lot on family right now. Um because when I like through the mental health journeys that I've kind of been on, I, I really got to like shake down what what really matters to me and my heart and it's like stone kitchen family choir and just like happiness and like striving for those things and like releasing as much stress as possible for my life um and really choosing carefully what I what I do um which took me a long time to give myself permission to do, you know, I didn't start learning that till I was like in my early thirties, like it's a long process.

But yeah, so I have like a simple life, but it's also like complex and beautiful, but it's like just these, you know, a few things that I'm like, yes, I love this and everything else. I'm like, nope, no, thank you too stressful. So yeah, acquired your energy race. Isn't that the same? Yes, protect your energy. Absolutely. It's been really helpful and it helps me to thrive in the ways that I need to and I can tell if I'm not like as soon as I'm not, I get cold sores, I get sick um I have panic attacks, like it's just, it comes on so quickly and I'm like, oh okay, I gotta dial down and then I go back to where my kind of good places. Um so my body is an incredible uh monitor for me. It kind of says, hey, hang on and then I'm like thanks, thanks for that cold start now, I know I can, you know, step back a little bit but like 10 years ago I wouldn't have known the signs like I, I just let myself be anxious and stressed and not super well and so I'm thankful that I am able to kind of figure that out now.

So there's always a nice felons. People are that in touch with their body to to know, hey my body saw me, I'm doing too much right now. Yeah, and I think, I think the way that I got there was through a lot of like trauma and not physical trauma necessarily, but like emotional trauma and things that were red flags really forced me into certain counting scenarios or certain scenarios where I was like, I need to make a change for survival or whatever. And so I was, I guess lucky to have these weird situations that were really fucking hard, but that kind of helped me learn a new way of being and like listening more to my body. Um so it was a weird way to get there I think, but it was kind of lucky and I'm grateful for it even though it was hard at the time. But yeah, yeah, I wish, I wish we taught that stuff in school. I wish like more of us. I wish like that was like what we taught Children, like how to listen to ourselves how to how to set boundaries, how to say no, how to, you know, just be their own person.

That's a level of mindfulness, there's no level of just awareness of yourself and what you're doing. We all just you know like screens all day and just like capitalism just hustle, hustle hustle. Like that's always like uh huh that it just draws people like it's yeah it's really really bad anyway. I think we're getting there slowly but surely. Yeah. I mean yeah I feel like I'm hearing maybe I am friends with very busy people but those busy people like put their kids in very busy situations also so that I know I know like seven year olds who have their day starting at six a.m. And then ending at 9 10 11 PM filled with activities filled with extracurriculars like three different sports and give your kid a break. I get it. You want them to be an all star. But how does that? Yeah so it's an extreme right? It's either that parent or it's the kid on the ipad all day and they're just like you know in cheerios and and go frozen waffles and like oh yeah my kids here uh there's nothing between yeah so disconnected from the world.

I mean you work with Children all of the time and it's awesome. Um How much you showcase them and they like their, you know in ourselves come out with you you just make everyone feel so comfortable um How how has that helped with your like your being and your personality? Have you grown internally from that? Oh, that is such a great question. Yes, like, these kids are flipping awesome, like it's like, it's kind of like your okay, well the first time I met Callie for example, kelly has been on the show for since, I think the very beginning of time since I started the show. And so she started when she was like, eight I think, and she's 2011, 12, like she's an old kid now, she's so tall, like, just a long time. We have four years. And so we went, when we first met, we were just like, we had a big hug, like her mom brought her over and we had a big hug and we I just cracked a joke, I was like, winter coat zippers, am I right?

And she was like, oh yeah, they suck so bad. I hate to get my zipper. I'm like, yeah, me too. And we were just like, instant friends. And so it's like, I'm like, I get to work with like, bits of my inner child, like it's so neat to see, like, and of course, I know they're not me, they're very different from me, of course, of course, but like, a lot of similarities that I get to see and I'm like, I wonder if I was like that, like, but to be able to um experience these types of joy and role modeling with these kids at that age, I didn't have that, Like, I had a very lovely upbringing, I had good um messaging around my limb difference, but I didn't have a lot of older people that look like me. Um and so this scenario with these kids, it's like we both get something so cool out of it, and I feel like for me, I don't know if there's like, inner healing work that's happening, but I just get so much out of it, that has just changed the way that I, I feel about myself. Like, I have mostly always loved my body, I've had times where I haven't as I think everybody kinda does. Um but working with kids, um all kids, but particularly limit kids with limb differences has just let me fall into this really solid sense of self love and just acceptance and just like, celebration, I don't know, it's hard to describe, but it has a way to get it, because I work with kids also, I think the thing about kids is that they're so honest and if you're not honest, you're not going to be able to keep the fake shit up, you know, like they're going to catch it would be like, wait, why are you talking like that?

You know, like they're gonna be like, why did you say that yesterday, you said this, you're gonna be like, okay, well who am I even, what am I doing? You're right, are you thinking of having kids of your own or adopting or? Yeah. Well actually this is probably good timing to tell you that I'm pregnant. Congratulations to Yeah. Energy. I just knew it. You just knew you had it, your like kitchen. Okay. Absolutely. And I thought the bump is, that's what I'll start calling my episodes for the bump kitchen. Yeah. Yeah, we are, we're in our second trimester. And so the baby is due in May. And so Allison and I are, we're thrilled. So yes, we, I definitely want babies. We, we want to have probably too, if we can, and uh, I mean if the kid has all their limbs, that's going to be fine, like it's gonna be okay if they have both hands, you know, it's all good to each their own.

Yeah, Yeah, we're really, really happy. So I have been, um I've been throwing up quite a bit and it's been hard to edit. Um it was hard to edit like last month and before that because of the morning sickness, but now it's starting to go away very slowly. So I'm back back, like in my routine, which is really, really nice because I was like, I'm getting behind, oh my gosh, and I can't tell anyone why. Um and we're so thrilled. We're very good. Congratulations. That's so exciting. Thank you so much. Yeah, maybe I'll do videos about, I don't know yet if I want the kid on, on youtube. But if I do then, um, I could talk about like, you know, parenting life with one hand, like that's not a thing you see online. A lot of, and like I have questions like, am I going to do a baby wrap up? Okay. Like what's it going to be like? Like I'm sure it's fine, but I have questions that I want answers for and I want to figure out. So because like anyone with a limb difference, adaptation is their world, They adapt to everything all the time and they're making up things in their head like, okay, how am I going to do this?

How am I going to do this? So, um, I think that might be a cool teaching tool for other parents because there's, there's so many parents who live differences out there. It's great. Oh my God, totally. And yeah, everyone is affected differently. Either their kids, you know, back you up in school when they walk around holding your hand or they have no idea what to respond to to other classmates. Like what's wrong with your mom's hand. Absolutely. Every mother has their own story. Absolutely, yes. It's going to be an adventure. Yeah. Thanks so much. I'm glad I got to tell you. I'm sorry that we asked too early because you no disclosed that on your channel. Well, I think, um, I don't want to do, we will probably disclose on my channel soon, but I I didn't want to do a public thing on facebook because it can be really triggering for people with, you know, infertility issues or folks that have lost babies. So I'm not doing like a public thing at all. I'm just kind of telling people one at a time.

Um and then on this podcast, which is kind of public, which is okay, all five listeners, three Of the four of us and one other person. That's so exciting. I can't wait to see where that leads. You'll see the evolution on well, either I'll tell you or you'll see it on on Youtube and it'll be it'll be an adventure for sure. Did you did you have a donor? Did you do IVF? We had a really awesome donor um in the province just next to us. And um we've known him for a while. He's gay and doesn't want kids and was really into helping us out. So we just d I wide it and here we are a good friend of yours. Yeah. Deal with all the extra stress and hassles and whatever. It's just organic and natural and be and and okay, this is a very exciting thing too because I mean, I've had this conversation a lot. I'm recently bisexual.

So I've already had one female partner, but recently in quotes recently out. Yeah. Do you have plans to take turns and pregnancies or Yeah. Yeah. Well after the first trimester, I was like, this is the only baby I'm having your next okay. Yeah it's great because like because I'm older so we thought you know I'll do the first one and then um Allison would like to carry the second. So I think that's the plan and oh I can't wait to take care of her when she's pregnant. She's gonna be so cute. Yeah to take care of her before the child even actually comes out. I think you're going to talk about baby. I don't know. Yes she does a good job of taking care of me. Like she brings me toast in bed and just I don't know she's really really lovely and uh it's been a it's been hard but a really cool um learning process about each other. Even just being pregnant. Like not even with a baby yet, it's just like oh wow like things change a lot. Um So it's been a cool adventure so far and we're only four months in your strong got to tell you that?

Thank you. Okay one last question because I know we're running out of time. But um so I had prosthetics as a kid. When did you toss yours out and decide? You know what? I don't need this or were different ways that I can use my left hand, my left arm. And so yeah good question. Um Obviously when I was born the doctors were like well we got to get her into a prosthetic because that's the medical community, you know? Um and I think prosthetics are amazing for a lot of people. That's really, really great and I used them as a kid um but they are more for like party tricks. I didn't find them useful, they were just like they were cosmetic and there because the doctor said I should wear one. So my parents were like okay let's try it. But when I was little I would just kind of sit there like you know when you put a t shirt on a cat and like they just sit there and they just like they put my first one on me, it was like around my shoulders, I just sat there like this cat with a T shirt on, I was like no and eventually I would move but as soon as I learned how to take it off, take it off.

And in kindergarten I had an arm that as soon as I got to school I would take it off, put it on the window sill and put it on again before I went home before the teacher like was like finally told my parents that like just like so you know, and they were like okay and they never forced me like and I never, it was really great and then I had a mild electric when I was in the beginning of junior high end of elementary school um which was really just for party tricks, it was really cool, I tried to use it for things, but it was heavy and what is not a minute electric. Yeah, my electric. So um based on, it's like battery powered and based on the muscle movements in my stump, it could either open or close just like that. Um So it was cool, it's not as cool as that bionic hands that are out there now, like now they're like, they can do individual finger movements and stuff. Um So that was cool. However, at my 11th or 12th birthday, I don't remember when I was at chuck e cheese to chuck e cheese there. Yes, okay, so I was a cheap and I was in the ball pit and my arm got so sweaty that my arm fell off in the ball pit, like it just fell off, fell off and I ended up finding it and I like was like, Mohammed, I called to her and I passed her in my arms out out of the mesh of the ball pit and she was like, thanks honey.

And she just like, put it in her purse. So she had this hand like hanging out of her purse and all these parents around were just like what is happening here, like holy crap. And I think it was like around that time that I was just like, no, I'm good, I don't, this is fine. So I just kind of stopped wearing it. Beginning of junior high and then here I am, gosh, I'm sorry that I'm the only one that finds that funny because like my experience, you know, like I literally like the first one ever, like did your first one ever kind of looks like a dinosaur like mine because I know it's again it's developed so much better now, but the one that I wore over my shoulder, you extended your arm and it would open and you brought it back in and close. Yeah, yeah, me too. That's exactly it. And did it look like a like a dinosaur at first? Or was it an actual hand with your skin tone? It was just a hook actually, so it kind of went like this And then like this like it opened up like a two pronged hook. Um so it didn't, I guess it would kind of look like a little t rex arm if you think about it.

But um yeah, it was like a real hook that's just extended. I remember those. That was definitely the pre dinosaur era. So you have a dinosaur, okay, I have a dinosaur and they're like, oh my God, look, we can make a fake hand look just like yours, but it was creepier. I'm like uh it's very obvious that this is vague and all I could do is pick up playing cards stupid and again, like it got really sweating class, I took it off and it was the first time I had to wear like a training bra. So it was all of these things that I care hard this when did you stop wearing yours? So I think I got it in the first or second grade because of course, you know, there's, there's more funding for that and my mom's like, you got to use it, it's really expensive and uh it's, it's gonna help, it's gonna help and it's gonna make you more equal, it's going to make you look like us. Yeah, that's not what she actually said, but you know, those are her intentions. Um and of course we wanted that arm to be a lot more active.

Um but I was more active in sports. So it wasn't very helpful and basketball or handball. I would have much rather like I tried playing around with it using the different balls, but after just a few years I was, I threw it in a, you know, a green container, green plastic container. I remember and I would always hide it and my mom would take it right back out like you sure? Are you sure? But she never, she never forced it on me. She just like, come on, it's a cool tool. Um I'm like, no, I, I'm fine, this is perfect. There's so many different ways that I can use it. Uh that's so good. That like she listened and was like, yeah, I think it's so good to be able to find our own journeys and to find our own ways that our bodies are going to work for us and make those choices. Um That's really awesome. Yeah. And it sounds like your parents are were super supportive as well. Like I said, yeah, they were pretty great. They weren't the ones that forced you to use your arm in a mixing bowl or a mixer instead of a spoon.

Did they know you know that was stumped kitchen started? Yeah, like you don't need a spoon or a whisk just use your arm. So that was luckily on me. Thank goodness. Yeah. But also like you don't dirty as many dishes then use your body or just like because I hate dishes. So yeah, you win. You're already ahead if you do that and it worked so much better than a spatula. As far as scraping stuff off of bowls. I still do that. You do you really like you use your arm to scrape out of bowls? Yeah. When it's my own food, like out of um when I bake, uh you know there, what are those spatulas? Not the wooden spatulas, but like the uh cell phone. Yeah, totally. Well, absolutely, because like when you think about it, like if I'm going to use, if I'm gonna use a special, I'm gonna hold it in my right hand. Where is that? Where am I going with the bowl? Like I'm gonna hug the ball like a football and hope I don't drop it, you know, like, whereas if I'm using my stump, I can hold the bowl with my right hand and just like boop and move it where I need to, it's just a lot more accessible.

So, and it's so much longer. Yeah, it's a big crack. And then you get to lick it off and eat all the dough and so well, okay, we all got to get on her channel. We gotta do that collab. I mean, yeah, definitely just the opening. Uh, well, I don't know if they change, I don't know how youtube works, but when, when you just click on your, like some kitchen channel and the first thing that shows up is like the epic one. It's like, uh, and then you like, hand touches the orange and it's like, like the cheese goes everywhere and I was like, it, This, this is the one that's when I could, you know that? That's funny because like, that's when I first started to learn how to use slow motion. So I was like, I'm gonna do an epic slow motion trailer for my, yeah, nailed it. Yeah, we can all do that together. We juice and orange is in our own ways. We all got to get up to Canada, I can drive up there. You guys what a night. Yeah. Well, Alexa, thank you so much for sharing all that.

It was all freaking awesome and hilarious and we will link all, you know, all the little things that we mentioned, the child's Amputee program, um, her Youtube channel, this CBC kids collab, what the garment life, what else is there? Lucky can project, how could I forget? Lucky thing, awesome! I had so much fun talking with you folks, thank you for having me. This was amazing. Great way to start my day. You're part of the family now, so when we had, when we had, yeah, he won't be a guest, he will be a part of art community. I love it. Thank you. Thank you so much. Alright, disabled girls out. Thanks for listening to disabled girls who left. We appreciate all of your support and everyone who has taken the time to show us some love. Don't forget to subscribe rate already, review of our channel. We're on Apple podcasts, Spotify player, FM, google podcasts and more. You can also find us on instagram at disabled girls who left.

E10: Cooking It Up with Alexis (Stump Kitchen)
E10: Cooking It Up with Alexis (Stump Kitchen)
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