I have been saying for years that asking for help is a sign of strength. But, as with all personal growth, there is always new work to be done in areas I thought I had handled. Having that time at the retreat to really examine myself and how I might be limiting my greatness introduced me to this new growth edge—I needed to open up to asking.
I saw Cinnamon Maxxine perform last summer at the Desiree Alliance conference and they were magnificent. Seriously, one of the best strip performances I had ever seen and I’ve produced a lot of shows. There’s a magic and charisma a person has on stage when they are really enjoying it and know how to engage their audiences. I wanted to interview Cinnamon for Fat Sex Week to find out more about their stripping performance, and self care.
Pro-tip: if you know someone going through an intense cross-country move, text them “How can I help?” Pro-tip: if you are going through a cross-country move and someone asks how they can help, take them up on it. I have had to work through some intense “I’m an independent babe, I need to appear perfect” in order to be in a place to receive help. I’m so glad I have done that work because we really needed that help. If I had said, “No, we’re okay!” I would have lost out on hanging out with Victoria AND likely devolved into sobbing and fighting with Dara.
Activist movements, as in almost all things, can suck you dry—there is always more to be done, more people to reach out to, more actions to plan, more art to make, more reaching out. But at a certain point you have to be able to say, this is my limit. But we’re not socialized in a way to know what our limits are, to think thoughtfully about our capacity, and how to use self care in order to build our capacity. We’re not socialized to be able to say, “Enough, I can’t do this any longer.” I’ve seen it wear down on people until disease forces them to make big life changes.
Ever since Leslie Feinberg died from Lyme Disease, I’ve known we need to talk more about Lyme Disease in the queer community. I didn’t know how to have that conversation, so I just started to bone up and educate myself.
I watched the documentary Under Our Skin, free streaming on You Tube, which according to folks I know with Lyme, it is an accurate portrayal of what it’s like to seek treatment for Lyme Disease and it is shitty. It’s the kind of helpless I feel when I see really big world problems that need solutions. But I know what I do have control over and that’s learning more about it, asking questions and opening conversations.
I made a decision once I realized I was losing weight to be extremely neutral about it with myself. I even made it a spiritual challenge, to see myself as just a soul having a human experience, that my body is going to change no matter what I do (hello, aging) and that this was just another change. I don’t want to feel bad or glad if I do end up increasing weight in the future. I want to accept it as another phase my body is going through.
I also wanted to really live the phrase Health at Every Size. I’m willing to do the work of knowing what my body needs to feel healthy and do the work to love myself at every size I’m at. If I am going to live the belief that all bodies are good bodies I am going to live it with myself.
Lucky is a great way to describe how we feel post treatment—we saw the movie the Fault in Our Stars, about a teenage girl with terminal cancer. It really hit home how temporary love can be. And even though the length of love is sometimes short, it can still have important, life changing intensity.
I feel like Dara’s cancer treatment was a life changing intensity kind of time for me… as it was for Dara. We’re excited to see what our relationship is like after cancer treatment.
It can be so hard to think that what you are able to do is not enough for your friend or loved one. I had no idea whether visiting Macy in the puppy hospital mattered to her or not, especially in those moments when I had to give her back to the vet techs. Saying goodbye was awful. It wasn’t perfect that I could only be there for an hour, or a half an hour, or whatever, but it was something. I had to trust it was going to help her get better and not feel so lonely.
even the most ardent fat activist still has “bad fat days” even folks who have done lots of work on different areas of their lives have hard times and it’s okay to not be okay. It’s taken me a lot of work to release the shame that comes up for me when shit I thought was long settled gets stirred up for me again.
I was just thinking to myself that since it’s May 7th and Mercury moved into Gemini that I needed to schedule an informational interview to take advantage of this astrological energy as per my worksheet with Katie from Empowering Astrology… And then I remembered I finished it as I was off to Dollywood and haven’t posted it to the blog yet! Sorry about that folks! I got distracted by the celestial magic that happened when I was among Dolly super fans… and oh yeah, Dolly Parton herself not one but four times this weekend! WHAT!?! Such a great weekend, more to come.
In the meantime, May is a great month to move ahead and make some inroads into all the things your curiosity is leading you to! This month’s exercises are all about paying attention to those secret things your heart is longing for and taking some steps to make them happen.
I think what surprised me at first was the way in which some deep themes, like scarcity, or putting others’ needs first until I blew my lid, we’re not isolated to say, finances or romantic relationships. They were deep and everywhere. I had to show up for myself in a new and major way. And it was scary.
I was also surprised that eventually, I was happier. Again that was some “west coast woo” stuff that I was sure my Protestant Midwest working class cultural pride had no time for-that happiness linked to healthiness. But it was and is true. The happier I am the way healthier I am. Not that I don’t get sick anymore or don’t have MS. I do. But I thrive and shine much brighter in the times between flare ups.
There are lots of ways to deal with anxiety, of course, but this is what has worked for me and what works for some of my pals.
1. Pay attention and course correct.
I treat feelings of anxiety and overwhelm as warning signs. They’re my own personal “check engine light,” some kind of acknowledgement my body, mind and/or spirit needs attention. If I’m having anxiety come up more often than usual than I know something is wrong and I need to do the work to assess what’s going on in my life and where the imbalance is. If I were on Car Talk and talking about running a diagnostic, I would do the things I know to do when I need to diagnose what’s going on with me. Journal, phone a trusted friend, stop and look at what’s going on in my life. In the January example, I knew what was going on–I had three friends and one of my cats pass away in a three week span in December on top of being primary caregiver for someone with cancer. Any one of those things is a lot! I needed to be gentle with myself and take care of myself.
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