Last night after watching some of the WEGO Health awards ceremony, I started to get really emotional. My boyfriend was the winner of the Best in Show: Google Plus for his work with the IBD roundtable. I think I got so wrapped up in the ceremonial parts of the award (like the awesome basket of goodies WEGO sends finalists, taking pictures, talking about what a huge accomplishment this all is in a semi generic way) that I forgot for a moment that all of these advocates do what they do for a real reason.
Most people are advocates because they have gone through things in their life and want to share their experiences with the world in order to help themselves cope and make lives easier for others going through similar struggles. It is empowering to feel like you are taking ownership and control of the thing that once plagued your existence. Advocacy is a way to fight back and do an enormous amount of good in the process.
When I saw a few of the winners crying at the end, it made me tear up. I didn’t know most of them but to think about all they have been through in order to get to where they are now…some still struggling, but making a lot of progress along the way. It is both inspiring yet upsetting to think of the pain so many of us have had to deal with.
I go through periods where I try to think of my advocacy like a job. I also try my best to look at other people’s advocacy like they are coworkers/partners in our mission but if I let too much sink in, I wouldn’t be able to be a productive member of our community. I know this isn’t a job where we all work together to figure out goals as a team. We all have different missions, we are all going through different things, and we all have different amounts of time we want to dedicate to our advocacy.
I have so much admiration and respect for all the winners, finalists and advocates nominated for the WEGO Health Health Activist Awards (#HAAwards)