I've been thinking a lot about our Migraine Ninja Oath. These lines make me think of a principle that my father worked very hard to drum into me — standing up for myself. Consider these lines from the Migraine Ninja Oath:
I promise to do my best to…
resolutely advocate for myself and fellow Migraine Ninjas.
do whatever I can to reduce the stigma associated with Migraine.
always channel my inner ninja.
I will know…
each of us must stand for the stigma to fall away.
I am capable of standing for many Migraine Ninjas stand with me.
As I've grown older and become a parent, then a grandparent, I've notices that many lessons our parents teach us come back to us, make sense, and mean more as we grow older. My Daddy and I had some truly great conversations when I was a child and after I was an adult and out on my own. He wanted me to find a loving life partner and marry, BUT he also wanted me to be able to stand on my own and take care of myself.
More than once, Daddy said, "If you won't get up and stand up for yourself, you can't expect someone else to do it for you." He carefully explained that I should never expect to sit back and expect other people to stand up for me if I wasn't willing to get off my butt and stand up for myself. He said that no matter how bad things got, there would always be at least some small way in which I could stand up and speak out for myself, even if it reached just one person at a time.
Having worked as a patient educator and advocate for people with Migraine and other Headache disorders for the last 17 years, this lesson has come to my mind very often. I have to admit to not understanding why so many people with Migraine won't stand up for themselves, let alone join in advocacy and awareness efforts that can help us all. More times than I can count, I've shared awareness and advocacy opportunities in which only an extremely small number of people participated.
From the periods in my life when my Migraines were chronic and nearly constant, I totally realize that many of us are limited in what we can do to support awareness and advocacy efforts. Some opportunities such as the annual Headache on the Hill event simply aren't physically possible for many. There are, however, opportunities that are far easier, so easy that anyone who can manage to be online can easily manage. There are Facebook posts that can be shared, Tweets than can be reTweeted, online petitions that can be signed in less than 30 seconds, and more.
So, please take another look at the parts of the Migraine Ninja Code that I shared above. If you're reading this, then you obviously read things online. A Migraine Ninja participates in awareness and advocacy opportunities as fully as we can. There may be some we can't manage, but there are plenty we can manage.
I'm proud of and thankful for my fellow Migraine Ninjas who stand up for themselves and for others who have Migraine disease. GO NINJAS!
© Teri Robert, 2017.