I’ve been wanting to check in on you all for a while but first I had to check in with myself. It’s important to know that whatever you are feeling is valid. Feel all the feels. One way to help me express my feelings is by writing. I actually wrote a blog last week but decided not to share because I was filled with so much animosity. I was angry. I was hurt. I was scared. The world was telling me I was going to die. I was terrified. I was astonished and shocked as to how people, despite a worldwide pandemic, could carry on as if nothing was happening. Despite how I was feeling, I decided now was not the time to release negative energy out into the world, because that is not what we need right now. But, I also feel it is important to keep it real, #AerieReal if you will. 😉
So like I said, I had to check in with myself. And I realized, this is triggering in a lot of ways. And for the general public, not in the ways you may think. This is triggering to see the blatant disregard for those that are members of the most vulnerable population, like myself. I was hurt because it was as if, by your actions, you were telling me my life and others like me have no value to you. Unfortunately, I or we have known this for a long time. This is not new for those of us living with chronic illness, we knew this. But it continues to be hurtful. Most of our lives we have lived closed off from the world due to illness whether it be in the hospital or at home. Most of our lives we have been forced into solitude due to lack of empathy because many, not all, do not understand or seem to care. Most of our lives are dedicated to doing everything in our power to not getting sick, often times despite how much we try, our efforts are in vain. And most of our lives we have fought to be seen or fought for our needs only to be made to feel that our asks were unreasonable or not valid. But now we see, we were not asking for too much at all.
However, after prayer, mediation and an open and honest conversation with my little brother I have decided now is not the time to place blame. Now is not the time to be angry for that reason. Now is not the time to try to force someone to see your point of view, because the fact of the matter is, they will never understand. Now more than ever, is the time to put our differences aside and come together. If our current situation teaches us nothing else, it is a reminder that our lives are more interconnected than we can ever imagine. We are more alike than we are different. Now more than ever we must rely on each other. However scary that may be to some. We have to. I have been thinking and praying and praying and thinking. And it just so happened, I was asked to participate on a call for work, after work. Little did I know God used this to work overtime on my heart. I was reminded by Rev. Raphael Warnock of the words of Dr. Martin Luther King “In a real sense, all life is inter-related. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be...”.
To my chronic illness warriors, a part of the most vulnerable of the population, I see you. I have always seen you. I am you. I am incredibly proud to be a member of the “most vulnerable population” at this time. Because honey! We have been through some thangs. Let us be an example of how to persevere in the time of sickness and what may seem to be despair. But also, because I know within my heart of hearts that we, the most vulnerable, we will be okay. No, that doesn’t mean not to adhere to guidelines and recommendations. Please follow recommendations put forth by CDC, NHS, WHO, and your medical care team. Please continue to do everything in your power to be well. But what I mean is, I know that we, the “most vulnerable”, are strong, resourceful, capable, extraordinary, courageous, resilient and we have always done whatever is necessary because we are determined to survive and thrive (Thanks Mom for the reminder)!
Please know, I am thinking of each of you and I am praying for each of you, as always. I pray that the spirit of fear in whatever capacity it presents itself does not get the best of you during this time. We must remain steadfast, we must remain vigilant, and we must remain strong. Remain grateful for what this time will reveal in and to you. Remain grateful for all that you have. And remain grateful for who you have surrounding you lifting you up at this time, reminding you that you matter.
Take care of yourself and take care of each other. At the end of the day, we are truly all in this together. I need you to be well so that I can be well. Hold on just a little bit longer because we know all too well, in time and always, it will be okay.