Often when someone brings up the concept of wellness in relation to larger bodies, the conversation goes straight to diet, exercise, and the possibility of weight loss. This is regardless of all the other, often more pressing health issues people face, no matter their size, such as mental and emotional health.
"I was having trouble getting past 30 minutes of singing," Fiona told the audience on Saturday, Day 3 of the fashion inclusion and body positivity conference. At the very height of her career, after she had won a Grammy in 2012, she was experiencing this crippling problem in her throat.
"I was seeing all these doctors and they were all looking at my vocal cords," Fiona recalled, and no one could diagnose a physical ailment.
Finally, one physician referred her to an energy healer. She had a revelation when she underwent reiki, the Japanese practice in which a healer gently moves their hands on a patient's body to transfer energy. She started coughing, crying, and even feeling hot.
"We literally store our traumas in our body," Fiona said of what was happening to her. "I realized I was storing all of this disappointment from heartbreak, disappointment from how I thought my career should have been going at that time. ... I had a physical reaction to it."
By acknowledging her emotional state, Fiona said she was able to regain her voice. Shortly after that, she was on tour with Mary J. Blige and D'Angelo, performing three or four shows a week for three weeks.
"I was able to come to a greater sense of confidence and peace in the hectic life of New York and all the chaos," Fiona said. From that point on, she made her own wellness a top priority in her life, because she also realized that no one else would be able to do this for her.
She also acknowledged to the CurvyCon crowd that reiki, or her other favorite practice of going to singing bowl sound baths, won't be the method of healing for everyone. Rather, she encouraged the audience to explore what makes them feel good.
"The key to commitment is to fall in love with the process not just the result," she said. "If it doesn't feel joyous, it's not for you."