I have notice on Facebook the trend of the no make-up selfie and the negative response towards it. Recently I took part of a campaign close to my heart, the #unmaskStigma campaign,a fight against TB, the Killer disease in Africa. I put my face to the disease I fought, knowing and also enduring the stigma around it. TB is seen as a poor man’s disease as well as a disease that is mostly diagnosed in HIV patients. This all adds to people making their own conclusions and yes, I will say it, people do treat you differently when they realise that you are sick with a potential fatal, very contagious disease. A couple of times my husband, father and friends had to explain to other people in the group I found myself in, that I am not contagious anymore and that it is ok for me to be around them. Stigma is horrible and to go through life, fighting a disease while enduring judgement is truly not ideal. That is why I started to talk about it.
The biggest reason why people will judge is because of ignorance. If we are informed, willing to give the benefit of the doubt and having good faith in a situation, we approach it much easier.
My one friend recently lost a friend to cancer. I saw how her heart broke to say good bye to her friend and how she struggled to accept his death. I was proud to see on Facebook when she posted her no make-up selfie in honour of her friend. Today I started to notice the articles that criticise these selfies posted on Facebook . I don’t understand the criticism. Firstly, Facebook,Twitter and other social media forums are social. It exists of everyday people sharing their lives with the people they accept to follow them. I really don’t get it why people complain about what another posts on Facebook. If you don’t like it, then don’t follow it.
My point is, I took the plunge and posted a selfie of the #unmaskStigma campaign. I wanted to bring awareness and I committed my life to sharing awareness about this disease. Later that day a friend , who haven’t had TB, posted her selfie with a mask on honouring me and others who fought the fight against TB. My heart melted. This meant so much to me. She doesn’t live in the same town than I do and for her to go through the trouble to find a mask and then post a pic about it says so much.
In the end, we as humans want to live, but to live alone is also not a life. To have people take a selfie recognising and honouring your walk with Cancer, depression, HIV or TB and posting it on social media speaks of community. There is no price on friendships and to be truly seen. To be acknowledge regarding your struggles, makes the path you have to walk easier for all humans.
I end with this, In Galatians Paul says that it is for freedom sake that Christ has set us free. This means that we are indeed free to do what we want, regardless whether others approve or not. You are the captain of your soul and how you go about stewarding your life is your choice. You will have to deal with the consequences of your own decisions, that is hard work already. Why not let others be to post on social media as they want?