Friday, February 24, 2017

Pick Your Battles

Dillon and Friends.

One of my passions is writing, which led to a children's book series explaining disabilities to children. Before my health declined, I loved reading to children in their classrooms. Children are naturally curious, so it's expected for them to wonder why I talk and walk funny. In kid-friendly language, I explain I was in my mommy's belly too long and my brain was crushed in her birth canal. I proclaim I was born with a boo boo on my brain, and ask if they have boo boo's. This tears down the wall of discomfort from the children as they find a commonality with me. Communication does wonders!

Think about how great the world would be if we communicated with people who are different from us? Both parties would benefit from the interactions. Recently, I met two ladies with Cerebral Palsy and it was so nice to share experience which are unique to C.P.. I know the three of us have a precious friendship ahead.

Of course, we have all had our share of interacting with people who discredit and patronize us with or without physical disabilities. Sometimes, most times, it hurts. We wallow in self-pity for very good reason. As we mature, we learn to pick our battles. When I walk into elementary schools, kids laugh and make fun of me... it doesn't bother me because I know once I explain my boo boo on my brain, they will understand.

However, when I am treated differently by adults who should know better, that's another story. And that is what Advocacy is about. It's standing up for yourself when you are treated differently because of your disability. Most times, patience and education is all that is needed. But when people continue to discriminate against you, you don't have to take it. This website will describe ways to effectively advocate, and when to just let it go. Consider the source. Are they interested in knowing you? Or are they just being cruel? Most importantly, are you being denied participation in society? That's a battle worth fighting.

Choosing your battles applies to every part of your life. Fighting for your marriage is a battle to take on, as well as fighting for a promotion at work. But if someone who you can do without causes you stress, maybe you should just walk away.

I introduced this blog with my book series because I just got off the phone with my publisher who has not paid me my commission in several months. I got so upset, I decided to let go of that relationship. Instead of emailing daily to remind him I have not been paid, I decided to tell him to donate my commission to a disability organization. Yes, I need the money I am owed, but my peace of mind is worth more to me.

Choose your battles. Stand up for yourself. Do whatever is best for you.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Back to Advocacy

So yesterday was a big day for me. I've been wanting to get back into society, but my health has been too much of an issue.

Then Trump became President, who hired Betsy DeVos as the Secretary of Education. She is CLUELESS about serving students with disabilities.  I couldn't just grin and bearit. I had to do something. After much prayer and a new medication, I decided it was time. I had to follow that passion in my belly for individuals to choose their self-determined quality of life.

I refuse to allow individuals with disabilities to be ignored and treated like burdens to society. 

I attended a self-advocacy meeting in Panama City last night so I can start a similar group in Tallahassee. Bookmark this site to keep up with what is happening with disability issues.  I will be updating daily... mainly about health care, but also sharing my faith and love for my cat and Assistance Dog. I am keeping my old posts up to show my growth and overcoming barriers to give readers hope.


So I’m writing again… this blog will be a catch all for my activity on the web, as well as related links to websites. Actually, I’ll know better how to describe it after I’ve used it a week or so… follow this site to follow Writing, Poetry, Psychology, Scripture Art, Bible Studies, Books, FSU, Tallahassee, Christianity, Mental Illness, Crohn’s, Cerebral Palsy, TMJ, Asthma, Attention-Deficit Disorder, Disabilities (in general), Rehabilitation Counseling, Ocean Life, Dillon and Friends, My Dream Portfolio, and, of course, Golden Retrievers.

Next Chapter

I’m back after taking a public writing hiatus. So much has changed since my last blogs. I’m out of my severe depression where I spent days, weeks, in bed. My life is better than ever after getting rid of toxic people and moving away from the city that kept me in a stunted, unfulfilled status. Looking back, I am saddened at all the years I repeated the same cycle, never growing, and believing my situation was my lot in life.
Never settle by merely following the crowd. Think for yourself. Be a nonconforming individual.
Self-determination is the key to a quality of life. Experiences change who we are. Experiences should make us grow. Resist stagnation.
My hope for this blog is to encourage readers to reevaluate who you are, even get to know yourself by questioning your passions, interests, likes, values, convictions, dreams, challenges, strengths, weaknesses, etc.
You’re a different person after years of growing. And if you are the same person you were 10 years ago,  even 5 years ago,  it’s time to change.  It’s time to discover who you are, compared to who you want to be, and take the steps needed to have your self-determined quality of life.


Allow me to introduce myself… again.  After taking several years to address health issues, unable to be gainfully employed, multiple changes (doctors, relocating, changing friends, lots of reading and reevaluation), current events stir the passion in me where I cannot sit back and watch how people with disabilities are being treated. I’ve never been one to sit back and watch while injustice, even chaos, is taking place.
Since I am not the same person I was 6 months ago, I am creating a lifestyle that fits who I have become. Having the ability to change is as difficult as making the decision to change. There are losses, additions, new people, unfamiliar experiences… basically, a whole new life. If you’re lucky, it’s exciting… but rarely is it always fun.
It takes courage, determination, and perseverance.
So here goes. Hi, my name is Shelly. I believe everyone should be given the opportunity to dream, and work hard to make those dreams reality. As we each find our individual purposes in this world, there’s a beautiful world out there.