Updated on 24 May 2015.
Hello, my friends! This is my last post of the week. I intend to post regularly twice a week, like my friend Julia in her blog. Of course, this week was extra special, as it included the debut of my blog!
So, quick update on the CHOSEN FOUR series. I finished my edit that splits the first book into two, ON THE DAWNING and ON THE BRINK. I still need more editing on ON THE DAWNING, which is the most important as it's the one that gets sent out to agents. It also needs the most help. There's some punch lacking there. But I'm working at it!
Today's topic is causes. I believe everyone should have, and probably already do have, at least one cause that they fight for, an issue that is dear to their hearts. This becomes even more of an obligation for people in the public eyes, like famous authors--which is what I want to be. It's important to use that power to make a real difference! What else are we here for?
With that in mind, here are the causes that I fight for:
My first cause is that of awareness and treatment for fibromyalgia. This being because I have fibromyalgia.
For those who don't know, fibromyalgia is a disabling chronic pain and fatigue disorder that's absolutely no fun at all. To make things better, medical science is still struggling to figure anything out about it at all! I could probably tell you everything you want and more about the science, experience, and lifestyle of fibromyalgia as well as about the ignorance of the populace in general when it comes to chronic illness. But let's just stick with, there's no cure, treatments are varied and often crazy, and no one really knows what causes it, although there are lots of hormones and proteins and neurotransmitters that are way out of wack in fibro sufferers. My personal story is linked up above.
Fibromyalgia is one of my absolute central causes as a sufferer. We need more research, more funds, more awareness! Not just for this, but for all chronic illnesses that people have to go through life with every day, like lupus and arthritis. In fact, I consider myself an advocate for disabled rights in general. I think it's vital that we continue to fight against ableism and mental illness stigma, two areas compounded by my interest in the next two issues.
My second cause is autism, which is much better known than fibromyalgia, but also much more complicated. Three of my cousins, my father, and my youngest brother all have it in varying ways and at different levels. I know how much of a struggle it can be, and even more, I know how terrible the ableism is with neuroatypical conditions like this one.
The fact is, while some autism symptoms are definitively negative and require help and treatment, much of autism manifests as simply a different way of thinking and being. As with all mentally based conditions, autism has great and unique value in the way it diversifies our world and humanity's potential for thought, creativity, and analysis. Thus, many autistic advocates out there, like my favorite, Autistic Hoya, believe that it's important not to look for a cure, but for better awareness and understanding. Fighting ableism, again. Because we have to stop trying to force people into the narrow boxes of societal structure without even considering what the intrinsic values behind that are. If it ain't broke in any real way, basically, let it be. Great things can come out of it, and it reduces the amount of suffering that people have to go through. Show some humanity, for goodness sake.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a new addition to my list of cause-based interests as of 2014, though mental illness in general has always been a interest area of mine. After all, my family suffers from various neuroatypical issues, and I personally find psychology an interesting topic, to the point that my mom sometimes says I ought to be a counselor.
However, as of 2014, I have been diagnosed with OCD, which, it turns out, I have been suffering from basically my entire life. Mental illness in general is always in need of more understanding, respect, and awareness. Again, we have to fight ableism and mental illness stigma. While many other mental illnesses have even more insidious stereotypes, I can tell you that OCD has its own set misunderstandings to fight. Be educated, be aware, and be sympathetic! Most of all, stop calling yourself OCD when you aren't. It decreases understanding of the true and quite negative effects of this illness and trivializes the experience of patients like me.
Not only do I care about human rights and social justice, but I care about animal welfare! I'm an animal shelter volunteer and a big fan of animals--especially cats. Currently I'm fostering a kitten, Zoey, for my local shelter. I believe these adorable animals, in all their childlike innocence, should be protected and cared for. Seriously, they make life so much happier for all of us, and we owe them. That's why you should adopt a pet from your local shelter, though remember only to do so if you're able and willing to take good care of it throughout its lifetime! Also, to save animal lives, don't forget to spay/neuter!
So these are the subjects that I consider the center of my social justice focus--my causes. Check them out and spread the word. I like to think I'm a social justice advocate in general, working to eradicate sexism, racism, and ableism wherever I can. I'm definitely a feminist, but I'm not perfect, and there are lots of issues I can't properly speak for. For example, I don't have the personal experience with race-based issues to be a definitive voice there. But I'll speak up for what I do know, try to magnify the voices of those who know what I don't, and listen everywhere else. Nothing is more important when it comes to human rights and justice than being able to listen.
Sometimes, we get to thinking that we know everything about the world, that our view is the view. We forget how many experiences there are that we as individuals can't and never will have. The world is such a big and complicated place, you know, and that's the beauty of it. Understanding it the best we can, and most importantly, having empathy for other people in all their diverse experiences, is vitally important. Personally, I believe one of the biggest purposes of our existence is to learn how to be empathetic. And the best way to gain that? Listening. Reading. Caring.
Adios, amigos! I will see you again next week!
Images via fibromitesunite.org, amchp.org, ocfoundation.org, and animalhumanesociety.org.
I'm an unpublished novelist, primarily of YA fantasy, and a freelance editor. I love psychology, cats, social justice, and love! I'm also a huge fangirl. More than anything, stories are my life.
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