Do you remember what you were doing this time two years ago? I was on the phone introducing myself to an eclectic group of people living in different places around Ireland. From Kerry to Donegal, I cajoled them to write about their lives. We talked topics, backgrounds, experiences and style. Then they started to write.
These same people submitted articles that were reviewed, edited and critiqued by an editorial group. It was the start of a quiet revolution, giving people with MS a place to speak their truth to one another and to anyone who has access to the internet on the national Irish MS society website. The plan was implemented and the moulding of this group of strangers began. Over the last two years we have been shaped to become what is now a renowned, prize-winning team- the MS and Me blog team.
To witness positive transformation in another is a joyful, magical experience. For me it started early and has continued to today; I love superheroes on screen and in comics. From the bespectacled, but fierce Diana Prince, who does a light-speed twirl to transform into the Amazon she really is (Wonder Woman), to reserved Clark Kent who disappears into a telephone box to peel off a layer to get to the hero beneath (Superman), their feats are the impossible made possible. We witness their battles with dishonest, malevolent people, ego-maniacs, greedy nemeses and, when they are the backlash of someone’s lack-of-love, we are up-close and personal. Whether they’re battling their inner demons or having personal values challenged and turned up-side-down, we are with them to the end.
The writers have been transformed over the last two years. I dare say this is also what has happened to you and I, dear reader. As we read the stories from people with MS and are witness to their lives, we’re reminded of our own challenges. As they delve into their successes, we remember our greatest victories. As they’ve swum in the sadness of grief and loss, we’ve also remembered our darkest hours.
We all need witnesses and we all need superheroes. Witnesses who share our lives making them all the richer; superheroes who appear when there are challenges that demand more than the ordinary. Wonder Woman and Superman (choose your own superhero), represent humanity being the best of the best, reminding us all of how great we can be. They also have their personal threats, the kryptonite that damages them like nothing else can. MS is my part of my kryptonite cocktail.
It is a radical thing to stand out, to tell your story and to hear yourself ‘speak’ out loud so thank you contributors for all your work. It is also an honour to have an audience that shares our passion for making life better. Dear reader, while we look for the superheroes outside ourselves and read the lives of others to be inspired, there are times we get the courage to peel off the layers that stop us from being our true selves.
On behalf of the blog team, thank you for keeping us all on track and focusing on what the real challenges are. Here’s to another great year ahead.