A chronic pain/migraine account I follow on Instagram did an update post about their peer support groups. And something caught my eye… they talked about coming as you are. With your heat pack. In bed. And so on.
Which reminded me of the job I had last year/the job that went under in Feb this year.
I used to show up as I was. Normalising people seeing the aids I need to live.
If I was in pain when we had a meeting or whatever, I’d visibly adjust my heat pack. I’d say I’m coming back in a minute to retrieve a heat pack from another room. You’d see me wearing a neck heat pad on camera.
And what happened is that other people would message me. People who identified somewhere on the spoonie/chronically ill/disabled lines. They’d tell me they were too. That they were glad I wasn’t hiding. We became people who could support each other at work.
And I hope that next time someone shows up to a staff meeting with a visible heat pack, no one blinks an eye at it because they’ve now seen it before.
Come as you are is rare in corporate life. I consider myself an advocate for me, not really a public advocate. Who has the energy for that? But I have read before that even if you “only” advocate for yourself, you are making it easier for the people who come behind you. I hope that’s true.