out of touch, out of mind
|this kind of turnover is good, too|
There is no phone service here, or for many miles around. But there is a wifi signal and I know how to use it (unlike the campers who weren't supposed to bring their electronics but did anyway and are offended not to know the password.)
Being a bit out of touch and in the woods this week is particularly appropriate as this is also the week when F.E.A.S.T. announces that I am retiring from my position as Executive Director of F.E.A.S.T. December 31. It is time for me to give up full-time rabble rousing and get back to my life as a writer that ED so rudely interrupted.
But the truth is, after 10 years it won't be the same life. I am changed and so is the world. My daughter is long recovered, graduated from college and has her own job and apartment in a city over an hour away. My son is starting high school next month and has a busy schedule. My husband, who has paid the bills and supplied the necessary support for F.E.A.S.T. all these years, wouldn't mind if I was less worried about other people's children all the time. I'm even a different writer - years of communicating madly with the world hasn't hurt, I hope. I have more ideas, more interests, more insights than when I was 40 and had not stepped into the Rabbit Hole.
The eating disorder world has changed, too. A Google search of "Maudsley Approach" used to yield nothing but a reference to a doctor talking about an idea - but no book or source for parents. That's changed: although Maudsley is still tragically rare it is no longer considered controversial and there are good references easily found for those who wish to. Parents have a new reputation as well. It is now far less common for mothers and fathers to be overtly blamed: the new angles are "contributed to" and "not ALL families." But there's progress and there's momentum thanks to SO MANY PEOPLE, and I am proud to know many of them, maybe most of them.
When I started in this activism I was very much alone. I was neither invited nor noticed at the first few eating disorder events I attended. It took years to even get noticed enough to be controversial. I was thrown off the only parent forum I could find for saying all the same things F.E.A.S.T. says now. Now we have many parent activists and a genuine cohort of strong advocates. We've influenced activists and advocates throughout the ED and psyc world.
Others must, and I believe will, step forward. I'm ready to support the next wave of activists. Not because the job is done but because I want to support it as it grows in ways I haven't yet thought of. There are skills out there and new ideas that need nurturing. I want to leave while I still love it and let F.E.A.S.T. develop as a group.
Activism isn't about us as individuals. It is about all of us together. I wanted the parent community I know to have a voice and it has - a strong voice that is distinct and principled. What that community does now is up to YOU. Get involved. And be in touch!