Friday, May 1, 2015

Three Cheers For #HAWMC And All Of You

#HAWMC Day...31? AKA Recap:  You've crossed the #HAWMC finish line. Recap the past month for us. What did you enjoy, what didn't you enjoy? Favorite prompt?

This was my first time participating in HAWMC, and it has been a wonderful experience for so many reasons. First and foremost, I "met" some wonderful people who also happen to be blogging health activists. In a time when I was truly feeling a bit lost, and a bit at a crossroads, like so many people in my life just aren't going in the same direction as me and don't understand me, I was able to connect to those who seem to be on my path. There are so many others with chronic illness, invisible illness who are also sharing their story, working to raise awareness and educate, and fighting against stigma. Others who know what it's like to feel sick, even when you look fine, who often can't participate in "normal" life because of their condition. I also learned about their conditions, some of which I (shamefully) knew nothing or very little about. And I hope to continue to share their stories, and help them raise awareness as well, long after HAWMC is finished.

The prompts worked as helpful muses on days when I may not have much to write about, or much new to write about - with chronic illness, there's always something to talk about. They got me out of my comfort zone, and at times helped to re-route my thinking . The recent "five ways to make your day better" (paraphrasing here), is a perfect example. I'd been having a really crappy-ass week, and it forced me to look at, and even try, some ways to improve my days, even if just the slightest bit.

My favorite prompts: Well, any excuse to talk or write about Cinn is always good, so obviously the Pet Pal prompt was up there. I loved the Open Letter as well. It gave me, and I suspect others, the chance to say a lot of things we needed to, without probably alienating ourselves from friends, loved ones, our doctors/nurses, and others (I say "without alienating" because I'm guessing those who have failed to understand also don't read my blog and therefore won't ever read it).  The word cloud, for it's ability to use words, colors, and a form of digital art was special. I'd never actually used one on my blog, and I love visuals. I might have to try that more often. The Tagline, despite my worry about my inability to come up with catchy titles and subjects, was eye opening, because I open-sourced it, and had my friends describe me in one word. It was interesting to see not only who replied (there were some surprises!) but what they said. And finally, the "I wish I'd known" post. There was, as with the open letter, a lot that I felt I needed to say that I perhaps never had, at least not on the "public" stage of my blog. It felt good to get it out, even if difficult to do so.

What didn't I enjoy? There was nothing, apart from reading people's struggles and how hard daily life is for so many wonderful people. Don't get me wrong, their blogs were wonderful, but I hate hearing about people struggling, especially good people, who so value life, and I haven't found one person participating in HAWMC that doesn't seem like a truly good person.

So once again, I say hats off to you WEGO health! And a huge THANK YOU and GREAT JOB to all who participated. It has been a pleasure, and I will be back next year. In the mean time, I hope those I've gotten to know through this are able to keep up with each others tweets and blogs and just each other in general. The stronger we are as an activist community, the louder we can raise our voices, get our messages out, and work to educate and erase stigma. And really, to me, that's what being a health activist is all about. 

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