I grew up in a family that didn’t speak of politics. I mean, I don’t remember politics EVER being brought into a conversation in any family or one on one conversations. Especially not at the dinner table. In fact, I grew up without TV. I appreciate it now and if I ever have kids, will likely have the same rules apply in my household.
But there came a time in my life that politics became more than a tight-lipped topic.
It came my turn to educate myself, speak up, and get involved with things that would affect my future. That moment came soon after I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. I got to vote for the presidential election when I moved away to college and it was a big deal to me, though you’d never really know it by having conversations with me. A time and a place? Well, the last few years it has been the time and the place and it was evident to me that I must do my part to feel heard and to do what I feel I need to.. writing to my Representatives, Resistbot and appeals have been a large part of my vocabulary in the last 3 years.
But one question always seems to float to the surface: why must I have to explain to people why they should care about me? About my well-being? Because for me and my “family,” healthcare is my well-being. And truth be told, no one wants to be just a number.
So why do I continue? Because I know people so much more ill than myself who aren’t able to get out physically to make it out to advocacy events due to their disability. My ability decides my direction – I wont stop until I physically have to.
My voice speaks for those who can’t be heard.
This is the one reason that advocacy keeps me grounded every day I wake up and decide to voice my truth: others depend on me.
So little of this actually has to do with politics, and more about actually caring for your fellow man. Imagine during this time where we see so much crisis, being able to put someone else’s needs over your own…especially over your wants. It has to do with caring for one another, so that we may all have a future, not just bettering one part of the population.
I’ll step off my political pedestal and leave you with this: I wake up 365 days a year knowing that without advocacy, my life wouldn’t amount to much. This is what I choose to do to serve people. Realizing that I have to keep explaining to others why I matter and why my life is important is one of the most heart-breaking things a patient with chronic medical issues can go through. Feeling meaningless, invisible and worthless in a crowd of millions of people. Please don’t make me explain why my life is valuable.
Want to become more involved in your legislature but not sure where to begin?
Text RESIST to 50409 and ResistBot help you contact your officials – from there it will prompt you to put in your location and find out who your representatives are and how to get in touch with them. Simply compose a text and it will fax that text to them automatically. Just follow the steps.
You can also Visit CCF’s National Council of College Leaders: http://www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/get-involved/national-council-of-college-leaders/ or TheHill.com