Disclaimer: Content on the YP4 blog does not necessarily reflect the views of Young People For or People For the American Way Foundation. The views, ideas, statements or claims posted on this site by members of the public cannot in any way be attributed to either Young People For or People For the American Way Foundation.
I've been labeled a lot of things since I started ChronicBabe, my web site for young women with chronic illness who prefer to think of themselves as Babes...who just happen to be sick chicks. Since I launched the project, some women have held me up as role model (slightly daunting). I've even been called a superhero (made me blush). But today, I received a first: a reader said that I was "negative." Let's call this reader Jane.
Life Coach Jennifer Louden has declared May 15 Freedom From Self-Improvement Day, a chance to spend some time just loving ourselves exactly the way we are right now. What an incredible concept!
As a young woman living with chronic illness, I face challenges every day: fatigue, pain - and serious time constraints. (Must fit in that yoga class, and meditation, work, and a trip to the health food store, read the latest book on my condition, a little activism, and, oh yea, something fun maybe?)
But an even bigger challenge is ever-present: Speaking up about my health. As a good Southern girl, I was raised to be polite and not rock the boat. As an adult, that translated (until recently) into a timidity toward frank discussion of illness - especially my own.
That silence keeps millions of people from getting the care and support they need every day. Our health care system is broken, and while we may feel powerless to change it, we're not - but as a first step, we have to speak up about our needs and the injustices we experience.