In addition to speaking at the 2013 True Colours GSA Conference last October, I also attended a workshop discussing the issue of burn-out. Now, before attending this workshop, I hadn’t even considered burn-out. I always knew it was a possibility, but I hadn’t considered the effect it may have on me. Burn-out is what happens when the pressure, negativity, constant confrontation, and energy required for advocacy and activism get to you, and you’re forced to step back to avoid a meltdown. The presenter, now a friend of mine, explained that burn-out can cause you to lose your passion, often resulting in permanently stepping back from the cause, for fear that it will happen again. Because I am devoted to helping others, enjoy confrontation, thrive under pressure, and have a tremendous amount of energy, burn-out hasn’t been a problem … until now.
I have been thanked, challenged, encouraged, attacked, and applauded for my work on social equality. I have been able to do some good for some people, and with every day I find more reason to continue. I live a busy lifestyle, though, and things tend to snowball. Every once in awhile it feels like a little bit too much, and in order to avoid burn-out, I’ve decided that it’s time for a short break. I’m going to take two weeks off from writing on outspokenally.com. I encourage all of you to continue reading of course, as there are quite a few topics covered here already, but there will be nothing new posted for two weeks (note: the Facebook page will remain active).
When I come back, it will be with a new energy. I will be exploring women’s issues a little bit more, and examining the relationships between misogyny and homophobia. I plan to discuss gender roles more often, and I will be spending more time on trans issues as well. As always, Christianity will feature in these discussions when relevant. There is a lot of ignorance still to be challenged, and if the voice of Outspoken Ally is to remain relevant, burn-out has to be avoided. For those of you who, for whatever reason, may also be feeling that a meltdown is a significant possibility, I urge you to follow this method with me. Step back, take a break, do whatever it is that you find restful; and once you have recharged your energy and passion, come back with proverbial guns blazing. Social issues need voices. We must be loud, we must be reasoned, we must be bold, and we must be thoughtful. Above all, we must be cognizant of our own limitations. We must make sure to remain healthy and energized. See you in two weeks!