Thursday, January 14, 2010

Vita Nova

I took a few weeks off from blogging, and realized something. Being my particular brand of activist boils down to finding something to be angry about as often as possible. I was actively seeking out hate and outrage which I could take personally enough to write a page-long rant, and daily reading the rants of others on topics that made me angry or upset. Seen in that perspective it doesn’t surprise me that my brand of activism wasn’t exactly contributing to my happiness.

Should that matter? Should being happy trump significant work? I think it does. I’m also okay with anyone who thinks I’m selfish for thinking so. See, I’ve learned a lot about personal boundaries and expectations, happiness and energy in the last two years. I’ve learned that depression makes me unable to help anyone, even myself. I’ve learned that we are first and only responsible for ourselves and our own actions. I’ve learned that being responsible for myself is the only way I can make myself able to effectively help others. I’ve learned that there is a difference between selfishness and self-care.

I’ve also learned that wrapping my world up in anger and reading too many activist posts on the feeds was making me unhappy, angry, outraged, preachy, negative, paranoid and stressed.

Instead I’ve been reading Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project” archives, along with other blogs (Unclutterer, Positivity Blog, Zen Habits, etc.), in the downtime of the last few weeks. The blogs I’ve been reading are inspiring, but don’t work as actual guides for me. My life is radically different from most of the bloggers’, and the blogs are peppered with triggers (dieting advice, calorie warnings, weight loss encouragement, conflating fitness with weight, etc..) The combination prompts me to take the question of happiness into my own hands and work it out for myself.

So this is the announcement of the beginnings of my own examination of my happiness. I’m starting with the premise that this project will encompass the year 2010, but, like the activist phase of my life, it will go on until it ends and then end when it is ready. All things end, which is one key to happiness in itself. Learn to let things run their natural course and end without regret.

My intention is to continue as a blog relating to Fat Acceptance, as in my happiness project includes self acceptance as a fat woman, HAES, and other principles that have coalesced for me in the last two years. If that changes, I may have to leave the FA feeds. Until then I hope I’ll be able to stay. I will also continue articles on Sewing For Any Size and cooking, because those are things that make me happy. The blog will hopefully become more personal, but also more positive. If I do feel the need to write the occasional Fat Activist post I will send it to Fatties United, where I’m technically a co-blogger even if I haven’t done much for it lately.

I may or may not archive or delete old FA activist posts here to free up tags or start a new blog altogether, depending on what level of versatility and closure I need. At the very least there will be a transition period where I work out my new format and frequent layout changes. Also, I do still believe that Fat Acceptance is a necessary movement in the face of the false Obesity Panic, and hope that others in the Fatosphere continue to do their excellent work in building a culture of body acceptance and diversity. I will also continue to keep my blog free of diet talk and fat hate, as both are detractors from mental and physical well-being.


Anonymous said...

I totally understand this feeling. A while back (between 2006-2007), I took a long time off blogging and participating on fat acceptance sites because it was really affecting me in a negative way to be constantly confronted with the hate that exists in the world.

I came back later, and I continue to rant, but I think I'm a bit more circumspect about it now than I was before. In a way, I've come to the understanding that I don't think people are malevolent on purpose -- I think a lot of the "hatred" and prejudice actually springs from misunderstanding. My hope is to shine a light on those misunderstandings, but also to help people in a positive way without harping exclusively on the negative.

Anyway, good on your for seeking balance and knowing what you need to do to stay healthy. I think this will be a really useful perspective to bring to the Fatosphere Feed.

Alix said...

Welcome home. I've missed you and am so delighted to see you back in all your passionate glory.

JoGeek - I love your new focus. But please, never abandon that fabulous feistiness I've come to enjoy so much in you.

PS: Happy 2010. You look mahvelous!

nycivan said...

wow, thanks for sharing this introspective with us. I too have thoughts about what kind of an activist I want to be. The thought of pounding my fists in the air about all the injustice doesn't feel right. Staying silent doesn't feel good either.

I put the greatest of premiums on being happy and experiencing joy. When this is my top priority, everything else in my life goes fantastic!

My blog has been silent and I consider how do I find a comfortable activism and making seeking out joy and happiness my top priority.

Thanks for stoking my blogging fire.