Meet Kait. She was our first More Than My Numbers participant, and her story had us in tears during the shoot. Her raw vulnerability and willingness to show up and share her numbers and her struggles are so inspiring. As a person who has been diagnosed with several chronic illnesses, Kait’s daily life has been turned upside down. Finding a connection with her body based on how it feels, not just her medical lab results is a journey she proudly shares in her story. If you’ve ever let a number determine your health, you’re not alone. Read Kait’s story and see how you can get involved and inspire other women, too.
Help us support our mission to empower women to say “I am #MoreThanMyNumbers” Donate here.
Name: Kait Scalisi, MPH
Hometown or background: Small town in Connecticut
Job or other info: Sex educator (aka permission giver) + founder of PassionbyKait.com
Where can we connect with you? (social media handles or website, if you like):
- @PassionbyKait on Facebook, Twitter, & Youtube
Q: What made you decide to share your numbers and your story in the More Than My Numbers project?
A: I’ve been really open about my health struggles over the last year and this was one more way to do that. Because I had so many amazing, beautiful women in my life who talked openly about their physical and mental illnesses, I thought that was normal – until I connected with the Crohn’s and ankylosing spondylitis (AS) communities. I realized that most patients lived in shame and silence. That wasn’t an option for me. I often joke that I couldn’t be content talking about just one taboo topic (sex), so I had to throw in a second (poop)! So my participation was about my healing journey and also for everyone out there who just can’t share theirs.
Q: What are some numbers you want to share? List them out!
A: 28, 1, 18, 12.5, 150, 33.3, 80, 15, 369.3, 837, 15, 41
Q: You said in the video that your medical lab work is a number that defined you in the past. Tell us about that.
A: As someone with multiple chronic illnesses, my lab work is data that my medical team uses to track my disease progress. These numbers don’t tell the whole story, but they are an important peek at what’s going on in my guts and my joints. One high test result value is what ultimately led to both of my diagnoses. For a long time I was mad about that. If only that test had come back normal – then I’d still be normal too! Even more than that, these were the markers that my body was broken, diseased, incurable. Docs place a lot of weight on these numbers so it was easy to let them define me because, in one setting at least, they did. When it comes to autoimmune disease, all you have is a collection of test results and symptoms to make a diagnosis.
In all honesty, I still struggle with my relationship to these numbers. I live in fear of getting blood work back – will the results, and therefore me and my body, come back “good” or “bad”? I’m also grateful to them because they’re a fairly non-invasive way to track my disease progress.
Now, I’m working on not relying on them so much. On checking in with my body and her wisdom to tell me how things are going. Because, honestly, when the numbers aren’t where we want them to be, I already know that. My body has been telling me it for days or weeks even – poor sleep, eye inflammation, angry guts, and more. I’m continually working on deepening this relationship with and listening to my body and excited for each day these numbers have less of a hold on me.
Q: How do you think focusing on your number(s) affected you the most? What did it stop you from doing? How did it make you feel?
A: It disconnected me from my body. But it happened really insidiously. I’m proud of my medical background so when docs would ask me for information, I used it as a chance to show off. In hindsight, it was self-protection. I didn’t want to acknowledge the truth – the painful, scary AF truth – so I buried it under numbers. They were my shield.
I remember one doc asking me about a condition and me spouting off MRI results like I was reading from a textbook. He looked me in the eye and said, “I don’t want to know what the tests say. I want to know what you’re feeling.” And honestly, I barely knew how to respond. Why did he want to know about my experience? The numbers and images tell him what he needs!
It was protective – it helped me get through a really tough time. And now I’m starting to unravel all the emotions I buried underneath the numbers. Which is a different kind of challenging and scary but also cathartic, expansive, and freeing feeling.
Q: What is your advice to women who may be on a similar journey to you?
A: Let yourself grieve. Getting any new health diagnosis is devastating and you do lose a part of yourself. Feel angry, sad, grateful, terrified, despairing, relieved- feel it all!
And then, whenever you’re ready, plug into your bodies. I know it’s painful and scary and hard. And some days you won’t be able to – you get to have a break from your feels! – but do it as much as possible. The numbers are helpful but how you feel (and how you feel about how you feel) is much more powerful.
Oh and I know somewhere along the way a doc or ten has told you “it’s all in your head.” Fuck them. It’s not. Your intuition will never let you down.
Q: What is your relationship with your bra size? Tell us your bra story!
Bra Size in the video: 34D
A: I developed early, but always wanted bigger breasts. I knew my mom’s had gotten larger while pregnant so I hoped for the same! At the same time, I enjoyed flaunting my breasts in clothing. They were the one body part that all the women in my family celebrated, even though looking back I can see it was in a harmful way, a la “this is the only good thing about us”.
When I finally got professionally measured (aka not at Victoria’s Secret) a few years back, I was overjoyed to finally be a D-cup. That was before I met Kimmay and knew about sister sizing and that your initial measurement – your bra size starting point – is only one piece of the puzzle. Now I love them as they are, and despite all their fluctuations thanks to weight changes from my eating disorder and its recovery and my recent health issues.
Q: How do you feel in the pretty blue bra you’re wearing here? Do you say hurray for lingerie?
A: I love this bra. It was my first “impractical” (aka not a neutral color) bra purchase in many years so to me it represents one step back to being fully me. It’s just so fun!
Q: Why do you think it’s important to not let numbers define you? What’s possible when you let go of their definition?
A: I love numbers – statistic and research. But they’re a starting point, not the full story. For example, one question I hear often is, “What’s the right number of times to have sex each week to stay happy and satisfied?” The research has found a number (2), but we all have different desires! Plus there’s practical considerations – how often do you see your honey, how do you define sex, etc. There isn’t one simple answer. There IS freedom, peace, and a whole lot of pleasure in letting go of what you “should” do based on the numbers and what’s right for you when you integrate the number into your lived experience.
Q: What role do you think numbers should play in our lives? How do you strike the balance somewhere between ignoring them altogether and focusing all your attention on them?
A: Numbers are fantastic guides and starting points. They point you in the direction of a deeper truth. Let them inform your next steps, but not be the only information you use to make a decision.
Q: What does define you – who are you to the core?
A: I’m an old soul who feels and loves deeply. I’m a spunky and stubborn Aries who goes after what she wants with gumption. I take up space and I’m working on being less afraid of doing so.
Q: Who inspires you?
A: The strong, beautiful, all around kick-ass women in my Irritable Bowel Disease support group. They give me hope on days when this disease gets me down, don’t BS about how hard it can be, cheer me on, give me advice (I’m the newbie among them), and leave room for my (pun-intended) shitty feelings.
Q: What makes you say hurray?
A: Extra dark chocolate, steamy romance novels, living room dance parties, walks through the north half of Central Park, craft beer & cider, deep connection, and orgasms.
Your turn: Can you relate to Kait’s story? How have you let numbers define you in the past? What numbers can you choose to use as information and not a definition? Do you know anyone who struggles with health and medical results? How can you help them, or yourself?
Have you found your bra size starting point? What loving steps can you take to say hurray? What inspired you about Kait’s story? Journal, brainstorm, and share with us!
Do you want to support more stories like Kait’s? Join us! Donate to the More Than My Numbers project, sponsor a woman’s story, or share your own numbers. Learn more about how you can get involved here.
Help us support our mission to empower women to say “I am #MoreThanMyNumbers” Donate here.
Kait’s story was made possible by Hurray Media. Hurray Media is a marketing company that partners with lingerie, intimates, and swimwear brands to create inspirational and educational content, just like the More Than My Numbers Campaign. Hurray Media is by Kimmay Caldwell, the creator of Hurray Kimmay, and a bra fitting and lingerie industry professional with over 12 years of experience. The company was founded in 2014 to change the way the industry communicates with their audience by helping intimates and swimwear brands empower women with their products and messaging.
Credits: The photos of Kait were taken by Laura Boyd of Own Your Sexy with zero photo shopping, airbrushing, or editing of Kait’s beautiful body. Hair and Makeup by Zulieka Acosta. The video was filmed and edited by Next Round Productions. The More Than My Numbers project was created by Kimmay Caldwell of Hurray Media.