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Women's Movement Breaks Plates And Limits To Find Healing

It all began with a flashing image: a blank wall with a plate smashing against it.

For more than a year, Aria Tru would see that image just before having a seizure.

"I finally figured out it was my body's way of trying to break the tension that was about to happen," Tru said. Later, the Boulder-based life coach told a friend about the images.

"And we laughed and we realized, you know there's probably a lot of people that need to break some tension and maybe a lot of people that want to break some plates," she said.

And so, Women Breaking Plates was born.

"We really believe in creating change through empowerment and change through enjoyment and change through celebration," Tru said.

The movement, which began just over a year ago, brings women together to break down the things that are holding them back metaphorically by smashing things — literally.

Danielle Kort and Aria Tru
Credit Stacy Nick / KUNC
Danielle Kort and Aria Tru co-founded the organization Women Breaking Plates.

"And so these breaking of the plates and breaking out of the norm, it just creates this roar in the room of everyone cheering and just feeling like, 'Oh my gosh, we just did that!'" Tru said.

Sounds fun, right? I thought so, too. So when Tru offered me the opportunity to try it, I jumped at the chance.

First, Tru had me write down words and images of things that I felt were holding me back on a stack of five plates. The mix of giddiness and stomach churning anxiety was strange. Tru put it in perspective.

"It's the being able to break free out of the norm, out of the trying to hold it all together," she said. "We spend our whole lives trying to not break anything and I think it's a symbolism for how we're all feeling inside."

For me there was the added anxiety that somehow doing this was wrong. But Tru assured, there really is no "wrong" way to break plates.

I'm not gonna lie. Smashing something into little tiny pieces — on purpose — feels really, really good. But it's also kind of like potato chips.

"One plate is fun," Tru said. "And to do one plate at a time is nice. But to do four or five plates in a row is life changing."

"We spend our whole lives trying to not break anything and I think it's a symbolism for how we're all feeling inside." -Aria Tru

"Because there's something in the intention of going 'No, I'm releasing that. OK, I'm letting that go. You know what? That doesn't have power over me anymore!'" she said. "And it's just like — Bam! Bam! Bam! By the time you throw that fifth plate, you just break into like, tingles in your body because your body is having the experience of 'I'm taking my power back' and that story ends here."

That's actually the phrase painted on the wall used at events. That story ends here. Because these events aren't just about breaking things down.

Half of the event is breaking plates, setting fire to your limitations and punching it out with punching bags. But the other half is about building yourself back up with opportunities for participants to find healing. The program also has a few men in what are called "honoring" roles, where they can offer support. For now, it's the only place they are involved.

Aria Tru
Credit Stacy Nick / KUNC
Aria Tru sweeps up the broken plates. Tru will collect more than 1,000 plates from area thrift stores for the upcoming Women Breaking Plates event in Boulder.

That's because in the era of the #MeToo movement, Women Breaking Plates co-founder Danielle Kort said it was important to make sure this is a safe place for women to go to take their next steps.

"Because being a woman who tried to be nice my whole life, tried to keep it together, tried to be a 'good girl' and then being able to step out and say ' no more' to something that no longer serves me is such an elating feeling and I feel that a lot of women struggle with that," Kort said.

Eventually, the program will add male coaches to create a "Men Breaking Plates" program, Kort said. But for now, it needs to be about women.

"Helping women just step into their power and have these boundaries is just a really important thing for what we're all going through, this shift we're going through," she said. "And I see men are coming out and up into these new healing spaces as well, but we feel like starting with women just made so much sense to us."

The next Women Breaking Plates event is happening May 18 at 2525 Arapahoe Blvd., Boulder, Colorado.

Stacy was KUNC's arts and culture reporter from 2015 to 2021.