12 Jul, 16

Until it happens to you: social stigma

Society. We judge people on a daily basis, consciously and subconsciously. If someone is the slightest bit “different” from the average person, they are considered weird, or people act like there is something wrong with them. We all do it, whether we like to admit it or not, but at the end of the day, we do it. It reminds me of that quote that reads..be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle that you know nothing about. It’s true, and I guess I never truly realized this until being diagnosed with cancer, and stigmatized on a daily basis. I used to be blind to everything, and so naive. Things have changed drastically for me.


Over the weekend, I didn’t feel like wearing my wig, because it was 98 degrees outside. I usually wear it, because personally, I just don’t feel like dealing with people staring at me, or questioning me. Especially in Miami, the most superficial city in the country. People treat you differently when you have cancer, and a lot of people are very ignorant of it. I have no filter, so I don’t really want to snap at anyone if they say something to me that doesn’t sit well. And believe me, I’ve had people say crazy things to me! Within two seconds of me walking down the road of a busy outdoor mall with sparse hair on my head, it was like I had a sign on me that said LOOK AT ME, I HAVE CANCER. I’m not kidding you when I tell you that at that moment, I have never felt so stigmatized in my entire life, and I’m usually a girl that truly doesn’t give a crap what anyone says or thinks about me. I mean I still don’t, I was just shocked at the amount of ignorance that was displayed within a 2-3 minute time frame.

Later on that day, I went to My local grocery store. The cashier was someone who was probably in his early 20’s. He was spending his Saturday night working and trying to make money, and was almost in tears, because someone purchasing groceries called him a “f*ggot”, to one of his friends. It was then and there that I actually felt for him, as I was just stigmatized hours earlier in the day, and knew exactly how it felt.  At the end of the day, we are left wondering why society is so messed up, why there is so much racism, why there are so many shootings, so much violence in the world, so much hate. It’s because society doesn’t understand how harmful words or stares can be for a person. What is it going to take for the world to wake up? What’s it going to take for the people around us to wake up? Day after day, the violence, the stigmatism, and hate continues, all across the world.

I think using social media for social good is great in the way that it can help people wake up and realize that there is a huge world outside of the bubble that they live in. I’m confident in my skin, and I hope to be help others realize that it’s okay to not wear their wigs when they don’t feel like it, which ultimately brings awareness to my disease state, without people judging. And it’s okay for them to wear them, if that makes them feel okay! Social media is such a great outlet for other people going through the same exact thing, dealing with the same scenarios on a daily basis. Even if I can reach a few people a day and create an awareness around me about cancer, my job will be done.

Find my book “Talk Cancer To Me” available at amazon here:

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