Something has happened to me over the past 8 months. It’s not just a baby I’ve been baking in my belly…it’s been lots of anger.
Have you ever been so overwhelmed by life and responsibility that you become someone else and don’t even realize it? Well that is what I feel like today. I’ve been angry. Really angry. And it not like me to let it take over my actions, but it has.
A close friend of mine brought several of these things to my attention today, and I just cried and cried. Because she was right. And I didn’t want to face it. It would be one thing if it was just about me. I could ignore it and go about my day. But it’s not about me anymore, my life directly impacts thousands of people. I have a greater responsibility than most people when it comes to how I behave. I’ve been called a “beacon of hope”…”a example to all moms”…”an amazing leader for obesity prevention”…”a Godsend”…but not today. And lately, my spirit has been tainted with anger and frustration. It’s rubbed off on everything I do.
Watching from a distance you would have seen this in the past 8 months:
Chobani hijacks Mamavation hashtag. My response looking back was …probably not the best.
Anytime Fitness says “Money is Allergic to Fat People”…My response, although those words were pretty “asstastic”, I should not have ganged up on him.
Georgia Strong 4 Life Billboards. I’m very proud of the work I did here, but the anger I felt during the creation of this campaign has cost me tremendously.
Have I been a bully? Have I been intimidating to others instead of empowering? Hmmmmm….I’m sure that is debatable. No matter how you look at it, my “voice” is powerful no matter where it’s directed. I can be a force for empowerment OR for anger. It IS strong because I have a gift.
I do believe all things happen for a reason that bring about good, but it’s all in how you look at it. Perception is the difference between failure and success. It’s kinda like when I talk about picking yourself back up after you have fallen.
When my father died and my eating disorder took control of my life, I found my strength through it and created this social media empire. When I was bullied as a child because of my weight, it gave me a strong sense of empathy for others to be able to lead with passion and conscience. (I also don’t sit around and watch others get bullied.) My eating disorder gives me a very humble outlook on how perfection is not needed to attain things that are great. And finally, sexual abuse…things that happened to me in my adolescence…things that created my eating disorder…stick with me today, BUT also help me to understand that you only need to be a victim once. You don’t need to victimize yourself over and over again. I really feel like there are so many women out there that have suffered in silence and do so with food. Just like I have. But it doesn’t have to be that way. One thing that is VERY true about me is I’m a flawed human being. I’m actually proud of it. It allows me to be less judgmental of others. I don’t judge others based on their “sins” but walk with them on their level because they ARE my equals. For instance, If I hear a rumor about you, I’m not necessarily going to think you are a monster while everyone else does. I’m gonna think you are human. And I actually like people MORE when I find out what their “sins” are.
I have to be honest with everyone. Gaining weight for pregnancy is very psychologically hard on me. After all my hard work, I have to go back into a body that makes me feel shamed. It truly is a sacrifice for me emotionally. And I’m sure this is one of the root causes for all my anger. BUT even though this baby has brought feelings of anger to me, it’s also brought some major healing. My lack of strength has forced me to depend on others in a new way. It has mended some relationship issues I had with my own husband. He felt very isolated in our marriage because I was married to my work and community. I’m sure lots of bloggers have husbands that feel the same. Blogging can actually cause a rift in a relationship sometimes as you get more successful. Blogging and community start to take over your life and you begin to live in a world that exists only in the computer. As I’ve been pregnant, I’ve let MrBookieboo start to take some responsibilities in the Mamavation campaign and it has really improved our understanding of each other and mended fences that I’m sure were heading to destruction. He has a deep respect for the work I do now and enjoys doing it too. We have fallen back in love.
Now for my action plan. Cause you know I have one. I always do. I’ve come out to you and told you that my demeanor has been detrimental to the Mamavation community. But what am I going to do about it?
1. Lose the baby weight. You will get to watch me VERY SOON shed the pounds imperfectly. I think I’ll have about 45 lbs. or so to go. So I’m in the same boat as most of you. Anyone that puts me up on a pedestal shouldn’t cause at the end of the day, I’m just like you. (Baby is due late May)
2. Focus more on the positive. Does this mean I’m going to stop speaking out against things I think are wrong, no, but I’m going to change my demeanor while I”m doing it to empowerment. I can’t constantly be clouded by negativity. Also, I plan on giving more props to companies and communities that are doing things right. Obesity prevention is a murky battle, but there are several champions out there that deserve props.
3. Bring back a focus on Mamavation community members who have really shown leadership . We used to have a “Sista of the Week” spotlight. I’m going to continue that bi-monthly.
3. Turning the Mamavation private Facebook group into a more “safe place” where we can discuss our feelings AND plan things at same time.
4. Having some additional “beginner” challenges. Back to basics with water & steps. This is where I started and I know there are several people that need to start where I did. We will still be keeping the 2 Week Challenges with MrBookieboo, but also having some more beginner ones as well.
5. Focus on community development. I promise to comment on AT LEAST 5 Mamavation Monday posts per week. Who is with me in this endeavor? I think getting the focus back on each other as opposed to ourselves will greatly improve ALL our demeanors. That is how we started in the first place.
6. Creation of a Mamavation Leadership Team with some very set roles. Let me know if you are interested in participating. I need help with outreach, monitoring the hashtag, making people feel welcome and “part of the group”, etc. We may also need some committees.
7. More swag. Need I say more?
And finally, I’d like to apologize to my community. Some of you are already going to say I’m too hard on myself, but I have to be. I have a lot of responsibility here and I take it very seriously. Don’t worry I’m not mopping about the house calling myself names. I’ve gotten this out and I’m moving forward. But for me, I really HAVE to get things out first. To face them in order to move forward. I have to be honest first. And I have to be honest with you as well or I can’t sleep at night.
So join with me in reshaping Mamavation and making it a positive community again. Will you take my hand? Will you help me as I continue to fight for our families and our health? I’d love your help.