Oct. 15, 2015

What do YOU feel about IGNORANCE?

A Few Thoughts About Ignorance
Published on August 17, 2015 by Kristi Gee

Hey y’all! First, allow me to address the fact that I haven’t posted in
several months. I know this blog is very new and still in its infant stages.
A big part of what readers expect when following a blog, is consistency.
I’d like to apologize for my lack of consistency and I want to make it
clear that although I just started this blog and this is only my third post,
this site is very important to me and I plan to act accordingly. Outside of
health issues, there have been a few hurdles I’ve run into since creating
this blog. One of these being that I still have SOOOO much to figure out
about designing this blog and making sure that everything runs
smoothly and makes it a pleasure to visit my site. The biggest technical
issue I have to work out is how to allow readers to successfully subscribe
by email. But…the focus of this post is on a different topic: ignorance.

If you haven’t read the About Me section yet, let me give you a quick
introduction to who I am. My name is Kristi Gee, I am in my mid-thirties,
and I suffer from a life threatening disease called Sickle Cell
Anemia(SCA). This is why I refer to myself as a “sickler”; which is a term
used by medical personnel to reference a person with Sickle Cell
Disease. Being that Sickle Cell Disease (which includes many illnesses
such as: Sickle Beta Thalassemia and Sickle Cell Anemia) is more
prevalent in the Black community than any other, Sicklers don’t get the
concern, treatment, respect, and understanding that we deserve; the
way sufferers of other diseases do. I believe that it is my calling to
advocate for my illness and for my fellow sicklers. It is my mission in life
to spread education and awareness about Sickle Cell Anemia, to fight for
better treatment of sicklers, and to show that we live, love, learn, and
experience life just like anyone else, except we deal with the added
hardship of chasing a sense of normalcy while fighting to be healthy
enough just to deal with everyday life. We fight to experience what so
many people take for granted on a daily basis.

That being said, I’m never surprised when I encounter people who have
never heard of Sickle Cell Disease, especially those outside of the Black
community. I expect a certain amount of ignorance from those who
have not only never heard of SCD (Sickle Cell Disease), but have
absolutely no interest in finding out about it, nor compassion for those
who suffer from it. Although I’m used to people having a lack of
knowledge regarding SCD, I still tend to get my feelings hurt when
people show such a blatant lack of interest and compassion for us
Sicklers.

I recently created a Periscope account (@asicklerslife, check me out!) and
have been enjoying watching the scopes of people I follow on Twitter, as
well as experimenting making a few broadcasts of my own. Earlier
tonight I decided to check out a few people scoping around the country
and to see what they were talking about in their scopes. I clicked on a
user in Texas and began viewing his live broadcast out of curiosity. He
was an 18 year old Caucasian male living in Texas and although I don’t
believe in judging a book by its cover, I have to say (for description’s
sake) that this guy just had a look about him that automatically made
me think he probably has a pickup truck on monster wheels with a
Confederate flag license plate cover. I know that sounds very
judgmental of me and like I was stereotyping this dude but to be honest,
that’s just the image that ran through my mind at first glance. As soon
as I started viewing, he acknowledged me joining the broadcast and
chuckled as he read my handle:@asicklerslife. He said, “A sickler’s life…
that’s funny. What’s a sickler?” I replied that it was a reference to
someone that suffers from Sickle Cell Disease, and asked if he’d ever
heard of that. He said that he hadn’t, and I told him that it was a major
illness in America. He then responded, “A major illness in America? Well
I’ve never heard of it.” I then advised him to google it and to check me
out because I spread awareness about SCD. His response was, “Maybe
later.” I went on to let him know that I didn’t mean to google it right that
minute and that I clicked on him just to check out his scope and see
what he was talking about. He quickly copped an attitude and was like,
“I don’t talk about anything, I just get on here to meet new people and
talk to people around the world. I have SO many new friends now from
all over and none of them are talking about anything, just making
friends.” Right then I realized that I was dealing with an attitude from an
18 year old kid in Texas who didn’t like the fact that I tried to share a
little knowledge with him after he specifically asked what a sickler was.
So I exited the broadcast and reminded myself that there are plenty of
people who aren’t gonna be interested in my story, my struggle, my life,
or my illness.

While my initial reaction was hurt due to the way he responded to me
with a condescending tone, I quickly checked myself and decided that
from now on I refuse to let ignorance, lack of interest, or even
opposition cause me to question whether or not I should continue to
spread my message. Everyone is not going to be interested in what I
have to say or the knowledge I have to teach, that’s just reality. But my
story is valid, my life is valid, and my message of education, awareness,
prevention, and compassion needs to be heard. So I won’t let anyone or
anything stop me from doing what I feel is imperative, and that’s
showing people the good, the bad, and the ugly about a sickler’s life and
living life to the fullest even when living with Sickle Cell Anemia. So, to
those of you who actually want to learn more about SCD and SCA in
particular, and have an interest in what my life and experiences are like,
I welcome you, I appreciate you, and I thank you. You, and my fellow
sickle warriors, are who I write for and who I fight for. Be well and Come
Back Soon!!!!

And P.S., isn’t the whole point of Periscope to see what other people are
doing and are talking about?! Duhhhh!!! That dude was an idiot. He got
offended because he felt like I was implying that he should be talking
about something in particular. Ha! LOL! I guess I’m supposed to believe
that he never clicked on someone’s broadcast thinking, “Hmmm, let’s
see what this one’s talkin’ ’bout.” SMH. A mind is a terrible thing to
waste.