Jenny Valentish has been devoted to dancing around the void for many decades, first in the pub and then the boxing ring as a kickboxer. Jenny is the author of the acclaimed Woman of Substance: A Journey into Addiction and Treatment and her new book, Everything Harder Than Everyone Else: Why Some of Us Push Our Bodies to Extremes.
About the book: There is a part of human nature compelled to test our own limits. But what happens when this part comes to define us?
When journalist Jenny Valentish wrote Woman of Substances, a book about addiction, she noticed that people who treated drug-taking like an Olympic sport would often hurl themselves into a pursuit like marathon running upon giving up.
What stayed constant was the need to push their boundaries. Everything Harder Than Everyone Else follows people doing the things that most couldn’t, wouldn’t or shouldn’t. By delving into their extreme behaviour, theres a lot that us mere mortals can learn about the human condition.
The athlete using childhood adversity as grist for the mill. The wrestler turning restlessness into curated ultraviolence. The bare-knuckle boxer whose gnarliest opponent is her ego. The dancer who could not separate her identity from her practice until at deaths door. The bodybuilder exacting order on a life that was once chaotic. And the porn star-turned-fighter for whom sex and violence are two sides of the same coin.
Their insights lead Jenny on a compulsive, sometimes reckless journey of immersion journalism.
* CONTENT WARNING - Drugs, Sex, Self Harm, Cutting Weight, Eating Disorders, Obsession, Suffering, Addiction.
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- Who is Jenny?
- Growing up in Slough
- Being a journalist and an author
- Writing her 4th book - Everything Harder Than Everyone Else
- Being interested in the mental side of endurance
- Her starting point for the book
- The link between addiction and endurance racing
- Asking the question - how far can I push myself
- Pushing your body to the extreme
- The anticipation of entering a race and the anticipation of getting a drug to get high
- Getting a sense of validation from other people
- Why balance is over rated?
- Having obsessions from childhood
- How her obsessions changed when she got into her teens and early twenties
- Finding kickboxing, and training 5x a week
- Finding a positive obsession
- Starting to research the book
- Finding people who would trust her
- Why am I doing this thing - which puts a lot of pressure on my body?
- Super elite athletes and their link to past suffering in childhood
- The Dark Side of Top Level Sport: An Autobiographic Study of Depressive Experiences in Elite Sport Performers
- Suffering as an adult athlete and being able to push through the pain
- Why certain sports attract certain personalities
- The rise of women taking up strength sports
- The feeling of POWER and women wanting to take up physical space
- Social Media Project - #YouLookLikeAMan
- Her journey in kickboxing
- Taking on her first amateur fight
- What it was like being in the ring….
- The fear of getting back into the ring
- Wanting to be a threat in the ring
- The ability to suffer
- Learning How to Suffer with the Queen of Pain: My Conversation With OCR Super-athlete Amelia Boone
- Over exercising and using sport as a way to sanction diet and what you consume
- The Recovery I needed - By Amelia Boone
- Book: Women of Substance: A Journey Into Drugs, Alcohol and Treatment
- Self care?
- Knowing your Why
- The next book!