November 8, 2013

I'm Walter White. Without the meth. And for a good cause.

I've been a full-time volunteer for ten years now. I'm not paid and I'm not getting rich or famous. People often don't like me and the messages I carry. I'm frequently misunderstood. Other advocates criticize. People complain that not enough is getting done or it is being done wrong. My family would just soon I not run around tearing my hair in frustration. What happened to the quiet writer in the laundry room?

I'm Walter White. I did it for me. I liked it."

Except it isn't cooking meth and it really is to help other people. But, advocacy isn't purely selfless or you can't keep it up. You have to want to help others, feel good about it, believe if you weren't doing it that you'd be missed. You also want others to join you because you think it will make them feel good too.

Like Walter, I don't do it alone: without my husband to do the paid work, my kids to spare me, and hundreds of volunteers out there working with me nothing happens. It doesn't work without finding and working with and being there for lots of other people: some quiet and some visible. Advocacy isn't a solitary activity and if you piss EVERYONE off or only promote yourself you aren't an advocate you're just an angry person in a corner alone. Actually, that really is Walter White.

Adversity 2 Advocacy is a terrific new organization that gets this. They celebrate the benefits of paying it forward. I'm proud to be an A2A supporter and just tickled to pieces to have been interviewed the other day by the founder, the marvelous and melifluous Jeff Bell, and given the chance to discuss advocacy and F.E.A.S.T. and Charlotte's Helix. My name and face and voice may be what you see, but I am just one person who represents the work, caring, sacrifice, and of many others. Join us!


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