At the time when I gave birth to Jane’s Blog, I was in need of a venue for a written form of expression. There was much in my mind that needed to be dialogued and shared. As the year progressed my needs evolved and a bright light shone in the direction of reflection as to the intent of the blog. At one point I stopped writing to focus on my painting and considered perhaps it was the end of the life of the blog. A creative venue that began as written expression has evolved in one years time into my voice as an optimistic woman sharing awareness and art with authenticity. With my art beginning to take greater shape in my life, I began writing about my experiences living with disability highlighting awareness on my chronic illness. It would appear, Jane’s Blog is just beginning to truly take greater purpose and meaning.
Clearly Jane’s Blog is a means of communication, in fact it is my main source for my voice as a woman, an artist and a person living with disability. I taught for twenty years with the largest school board in North America, the Toronto District School Board. It was there that I used to share my voice with a diverse student population each day, enriching their lives and empowering them to achieve greatness. When I was suddenly struck down with the obscure chronic illness Myalgic Encephalomyelitis causing disability, my means of communication was taken from me. I was left isolated with no venue for a voice, no means for expression. I was silenced and unheard at a time in my life when I had important words to voice. The blog filled this void in my new life and the feedback I have received from my astounding number of followers showed me that I was equally giving to others with my stories of vulnerable truth. As a life long devoted feminist, I am often reminded of my rights as a woman. Rights which took centuries of suffering, oppression and fighting on the backs of woman who often gave their lives or were locked up in asylums for having a voice. Simply so that my voice as a woman could legally be heard in this time of history. I choose not to waste my voice as a woman.
Providing arenas for awareness is paramount with chronic illness and woman’s related illnesses alike. There has been an overwhelming lack of lack of funding, research and support for woman’s health issues for centuries. Issues are consistently devalued, undermined, mocked and not validated. There is a continued lack of information, personal stories, voices on these topics. A woman needs a degree to navigate creditable research to find basic research, I suppose the uneducated woman was simply much easier to control. It just so happens that research is my specialty, there is no topic that eludes my prowess. I used to be in the business of help as a professional teacher, I am a lifelong learner. Jane’s Blog is a way for me to help myself find life purpose and share my findings with others.
It is of great importance is placed on Jane’s Blog being a platform of positivity. In my authentic self I am very much an optimist, I surround myself with positivity and have taken extreme measures to covet my life of positivity. Something that in time I am very grateful for as I see how others suffer with depression and anxiety. In four years time during the search for information relating to ME, it became apparent in my reading that there are a great deal of people who have much negativity in dialogue. This is not how I choose to live my life and I decided that there needs to be a platform for positivity. Jane’s Blog became a platform of positivity with no exceptions.
In the first year of living with an non diagnosed chronic illness and disability I was gifted a painting from Brandon my husband, by a local Toronto artist, Kelly Grace I admire. The painting ironically depicts a young woman with betty bangs looking down into an early generation iPhone. Over the past several years this painting has been by my side and I have spent hours observing the details and reflected on what it means to me. Early on it represented sadness as I was accepting the isolated lifestyle I was meant to live with chronic illness. However, in four years time I have dedicated every moment to pacing, resting and stopping. In return, I have been able to once again read for short periods and write as well. Technology has been my connection both in reading and writing, my only way to express myself and communicate with others.
In this new life of which I am four years into, I have become the painting I admired in my early days of recovery when all I could do was sit beside it and rest. I will continue my journey with Jane’s Blog for I believe as a woman, I have much that needs to be said with the written word and I unabashedly have the words to convey my experiences which would otherwise be silenced.
Blog no. 19