All photos on this site with the exception of this photograph are my own. This lovely portrait was taken by Ashley Forrette.

Who is Kirsten Staveland?

The usuals: woman, single mom, personal development fanatic, math buff. Most recently I had to learn to love myself. It was hard and took a long time, but it changed my life. Now, I want to show you how to love yourself so that you can live up to your full potential.

What is The Machine is You?

My website is called The Machine is You, but it’s said like this: “The machine is YOU.” And right now I have a look on my face that says I know what I am talking about. In my pre-baby days, before diastasis recti slowed my roll, I used to run—you know, like for exercise—and to push my body faster and farther than the day before, I’d repeat this mantra: My body is a machine. That’s how it got started.

It made me feel strong and powerful to say this. When I said, “My body is a machine,” I meant I owned my body. I told it when to go. I told it when to stop. And nothing—and nobody—else got to do that but me. Over time it’s grown to mean that I own my self: my body, my thoughts, my reactions, and my decisions. It means that when I want my life to be different, I make it different.

When I say, The Machine is YOU, I am reminding you that you are also strong. When you are strong, you take charge of your own life and go after the things you want. If your job is unfulfilling, you spend your free time looking for a new one. If there’s something you want to be better at, or something new you want to learn, you read a book, hire a coach or take a class. If there’s a friend/relative/lover in your life who isn’t working for you, you tell them it isn’t working, and if after time it still doesn’t work, you cut them loose.

When we are machines, we know that the power we run on comes from within ourselves. It’s the power we create when we take care of ourselves, engage in activities we love, and give back to our communities. And we know that this power must be saved for the people and experiences who truly deserve it.

These days I am a machine because I am a full-time single mom working full-time as a managing actuary. I run a household, a family, and a department. I spend my free time trying to make myself better: be a better parent, have a better relationship with money, do a better job of not giving away my power.

What makes you a machine?