Friday, July 8, 2011

Brickhouse Chronicles: Fat Positive Cheerleader Burnout: What Would Kermit Do?

I’m writing this blog under duress. My Beloved Wife (aka She Who Must Be Obeyed) told me that I needed to write a blog by this Friday because it would be “good for me” and that the writing process would help me stop beating myself up over feeling exhausted and overwhelmed by the running of the Brickhouse Betties group. She stated that writing a fat positive blog would be a wonderful experience in that it would help me become more emotionally centered. I reluctantly and grumpily agreed that she was right, whereupon I then proceeded to procrastinate all week long on the actual writing of the “therapy blog”.

My justification on why I wasn’t starting the blog usually veered around the area of “I don’t have the time for this” or the more self deprecating but emotionally honest reason of “I’m too scared and tired to keep putting myself out there”. So there I was two hours before my deadline and still steadfastly avoiding putting cyber pen to paper and thinking, “what the hell is wrong with me? Why can’t I get this done?”, when it hit me……..I didn’t want to focus on myself in an honest and self nurturing way.

Like many people, I’m in the throes of Fatty Cheerleader Burnout.

I define Fatty Cheerleader Burnout as that state of mental, emotional, and sometimes physical exhaustion that can come to someone when they get so caught up in the righteous fight for fat and body positive image awareness, that it becomes all too easy to avoid taking care of themselves. It can become a vicious cycle where the amount of self awareness needed to simply say “I need a break” isn’t there because the person needs a break in order to come to that conclusion. If it sounds familiar to many of you, it’s because it’s happens to everyone. I doesn’t just happen to fat positive cheerleaders, it happens to political activists, teachers, spiritual leaders (organizing pagans is like herding cats), social organizers, caregivers’, parents’ and supportive wives who make their spouses write blogs.

I’m in good company!!

So let’s say that you’ve identified that you are in the throes of Fatty Cheerleader Burnout, the next dilemma for a lot of people is what do you do now? In all honesty, I’m slowly making my way through the healing and renewal process but here are the personal goals that I have for combating FCB…. maybe they can help you too.

1) Give Myself Permission to Feel Whatever Emotions Wash Over Me Without the Guilt- Once I finally admit that I’m going through burnout, letting myself feel emotions such as grief, anger, and resignation is quite difficult for me to do without feeling very guilty. I’ve internalized the idea that these emotions somehow convey that I’m not a good leader because I’m not happy and strong all the time. Giving myself the affirming message that it’s okay to not be okay, is certainly a lot harder than it sounds, but I know that I can do it. Right now, I’m finding that saying “I’M NOT OKAY!!” out loud is having a surprisingly cathartic effect.

2) Unconditionally Accept the Reassurance and Loving Positivity that People Give to Me When I Reach Out for Help- Like with many people who experience Fatty Cheerleader Burnout, I tend to feel panic and surprise when people offer words of comfort and encouragement. I know that one of the main reasons for this is that I still feel like I’m whining when I share what I’m really going through. I know that part of the process of loving myself means that I need to accept the fact that other people love me too.

3) Don’t Take the Journey of Others Personally- As the founder of a fat positive group, it has become waaaaay to easy for me to internalize every pitfall that my Betties face as a personal failing on my part. Telling myself things such as “If I was a leader then she wouldn’t continue to engage in fat hating relationships” and so forth, has taken more of a toll on me than I realized and I am having to relearn the importance of letting people make their own mistakes. This is allowing me the emotional space to concentrate on my own.

While this has been a difficult blog to write, in end I’m glad that Beloved made me do, if only for the simple reason of being able to say “thank you” to everyone for all that you make the Brickhouse Betties. And a special thank you to my beautiful wife for all that you make me.

Brickhouse Betties Yahoo Group:

Brickhouse Betties Facebook Group:

My Wife’s Amazing Leather Bear Blog

1 comment:

StarMaid said...

(wipes a tear), you are so loved sweetie. You are; an in your face fighter, devoutly loyal to women of size and an all around lovely lady wrapped in wonderfully colorful layers. You go girl! And hats off to Keli too, great therapy choice!