I can’t think of anyone who epitomizes the spirit of giving more than my soul sister, Marissa Christina. Marissa’s world is rocked by a vestibular disorder that jolts her surroundings, creating sensations of constant motion and messing with her balance. Imagine Marissa sails in a fragile ship amid stormy seas and she’s ever in need of staking a small piece of solid ground in respite from the turbulent waves.
2012 marked the year Marissa leapt outside of herself on a journey of discovery, embracing new friends whose lives have also been invaded by aliens of ill-health. The role she embraced was much more than storyteller. Part news reporter, part empathetic friend, part student, she immersed herself in bizarre realities that I’m sure in a sense felt oddly familiar, featuring them in her blog – Abledis.com – and social media with a series of monthly projects. When I seized the moment, Marissa welcomed me…and Dystonia as her December cause.
Educating myself on other medical conditions and focusing on another person’s journey may be the best way for me to pull through my own condition. -Marissa Christina-
Two self-confessed control freaks, Marissa and I bonded instantly. When we discussed our disorders, I couldn’t help but notice the reflective irony in our conditions. Mine manifests as a physical battle with my actual involuntary motion. Hers is an experience of sensory disorientation, although nothing is actually moving or the world is working at its normal pace. One day, Marissa’s perceptual environment developed “Dystonia” and she’s never been the same.
I chalk up our encounter to fate and consider myself lucky to close out her 12-12-12 Project. I must give mention to the worthy souls with whom I share the spotlight and I urge you to learn their illuminating stories and read about their health conditions: Blake Watson, Kim M., Amy Gurowitz, Rhiann Johns, Sara Gorman, Dale Lehn, Peachy, Sarah Levis, Sarah Mills, and Andi Durkin.
Informing oneself about medical disorders is more than a cautionary tale; it’s how awareness is spread and an important step toward securing empathetic understanding among human beings. I hope you are blessed with inspiration in the coming year. Your company is my privilege!
Note: You can find Marissa on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MarissaAbledis.