I once read a book by Dr Wanda Turner titled, Even With My Issues, and it was enlightening. A book of self realisation and if you haven’t worked it out from the title, it is a self-help book. I have to admit it was a pretty good book.
I liked it. In its simple delivery, it was honest, unapologetic and true to itself. And if you are honest with yourself about your issues you will find that we all have issues but the key is to know what they are and work on them one at a time. It could be that you over-eat or sleep when you ought to be awake pursuing the dream.
You don’t have to tell me but be honest with yourself. Trust me I have mine to deal with. I’m happy to listen and share, and together we can grow but I would never impose on any one. I have done too much of that in the past and it only got me into unnecessary trouble.
Before I deviate further from my mission today, recently, I have been struggling with a particular challenge. It is affecting a few things right now, especially my studies and I have been under a considerable amount of stress lately. As a woman of African descent with the full understanding that we have cultures, traditions and beliefs about what you tell and don’t tell others about yourself.
Believe me, I’m not one for sharing my challenges with the world either. In fact, some of my closest friends don’t even know what I am about to share on this page. It isn’t that I don’t want them to know. I just feel its best if I don't make an issue of it.
I was raised to always smile even when you are dying, no one needs to know. Forgive me but I have to admit that I agree with that mindset to a certain degree.
Now before you get all judgemental. Hear me out. Why share your challenges and troubles with individuals who are neither the cause nor solution to your problem. If they have no significant role to play, then it is none of their business.
Here it is, I am a young woman living with a medical condition. I won’t share the details with you because you have no right to know. If I change my mind tomorrow, I will let you know. I respect Kirsten Dunst for letting the world know she struggles with depression. That takes guts and kudos to her. I respect the young man dying of leukaemia, yet, he is using the platform of his blogpage to help others.
I respect individuals who bring a voice and attention to any medical challenge that society needs to pay attention to. If Magic Johnson didn’t tell the world he was HIV positive when he did, the attention it garnered would have never taken place. People would have never woken up to the fact that HIV is not a disease from Africa or a poor man’s disease. It is a respecter of no one and it can happen to anyone.
Magic did so much coming forward and I respect him everyday for that because he didn’t give up. He has fought all the way and from where I am standing; he is a fulfilled man.
Back to me, when I am ready to let you know I will but this is the point I am trying to make and don’t get it confused. It remains uncontested that our medical records is indeed one of the most private things we have a right to. It is no one else’s business.
I chose not to share mine because it doesn’t matter. It is what it is, life and my personal little challenge. The beauty of it is that I never let it dictate the pace of my life. There are good days and there are bad days. There are teary days also. Today for example because I was overwhelmed by it but the good days are better than the bad days.
I picked up my newspaper this evening and found out presidential hopefuls in the US have to let the world know about their state of health. Obama, was today, declared healthy and fit by his doctor. McCain has also been said to be healthy and Hilary is yet to reveal her medical records.
Surprise is not the word to use. This is the first US presidential election I have followed closely and I am learning new things everyday. However, I can understand why they have to let the world know they are healthy. After all, if you want to be my president, I need to know you will last the four years you have been elected to lead.
This brings me to the point where I ask, who really has a right to know those issues we struggle with? Don’t get me wrong. I am not ashamed of my challenge. To be honest, I am so proud of the fact that despite all I have to deal with I still have a zest for life. If anything, it has made me so passionate about life that every minute counts. I’m living and loving, learning to be me and no obstacle can stop me because nothing can stop me. If you ask anyone who knows me, they will tell you, B is crazy. She does things she knows she should think about twice or has no business doing.
I only ever tell those who need to know because of my safety or for the purpose of work and education. I remember when I was at Uni and had to tell my lecturers. It helped a lot because they understood why I was missing from class or could not meet a deadline or needed a deferral. It also meant they understood when I slept off during a lecture or seminar, and didn't pick on me because I could not help the situation. Yet, I completed my degree.
Even with my postgrad right now, the sitaution is the same. I look so drunk when I get home, all I can summon strenght to do is take off my shoes and hit my bed.
Recently, I had to fill in a job application form and there was a question about any personal or ethical challenges you may have faced and how you dealt with it. After much consideration I used my medical condition as one of the most challenging things I have faced in life and was quick to explain how I have dealt with it to date. Low and behold, I have an interview with one of the world’s most respected newspapers very soon. Now I don’t know if that was appealing to them but it was a milestone for me. I never share that part of myself so publicly but I took a chance and it worked out okay.
I don’t know what you or any one thinks about this or how you feel about it. Do people have a right to know about our personal health issues? I’ll leave that decision to you.
As for me, I am happy to keep my issue my issue because even with my issue, the beat goes on. Life goes on and nothing can stop me.
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