I’ve Moved! Sorta…

Hello, Lovelies!

While updating my layout, I ended up accidentally going for a full domain name, and in consequence you can now find my new entries on a new (shinier!) site. I’m very excited about the move, and am using it to plan out new and more consistent content (some life stuff, but a lot more writing tips and Rheumatoid Arthritis topics). In fact, there’s already a post about 5 Ways to Productively Procrastinate on Your Novel.

Check it all out at: http://www.alyssahollingsworth.com

Hope to see you there!

– Alyssa

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Awareness is not Action

A lot of people my age are really involved in the End It Movement. I think that’s awesome. It’s always inspiring when young people get fired up about something and try to make a change.

But that’s my concern with the movement–the way it encourages my peers to “change” the world.

I wasn’t at Passion when the whole thing kicked off, and I’m not the most knowledgeable person about the movement itself, so I’m not in any position to criticize. But I do want to raise a few questions for the participants, which the aim of challenging them to reach further, do more for a good cause.

This week, many of my friends participated in a sort of silent protest to slavery. They changed their profile and cover pictures on Facebook to a black X graphic and explained in a status that they were “disappearing” for 24 hours to represent the thousands of people who have disappeared into human trafficking.

As far as raising awareness, this isn’t a bad idea. If I was signed on at the right time to see the status or profile change, or if I had enough friends doing it, and if I hadn’t known about human trafficking, I would have been made aware.

But here’s the thing: Leaving Facebook for 24 hours requires no effort (unless you’re a social media addict, in which case you probably have other problems).

Abolitionists throughout history have given their money, their reputations, their careers, their relationships and even their lives to free slaves. But my fired up peers seem to not be going much further than trying to make a statement by “disappearing” like a slave by getting off Facebook.

Awareness is the first step in making change–but not the last. And I’m afraid too many people who claim to be advocates for freedom are stopping with awareness. That’s not advocacy, that’s lazy. That’s taking credit for being part of a movement by doing as little as possible.

Push to the next level. I can think of four ways you can do this regardless of your circumstances (not in any particular order):

1. Give money (consistently).

Don’t give just once. Find a worthy organization, like Sarah’s Home, Hagar International or Love146. Put aside even $10 every paycheck to give to this organization. Do it consistently–keep track of what the organization is doing with your money. If you don’t have a job[, students], consider getting a part time position just so you can put funds toward the cause that gets you so excited.

2. Give time.

There are a lot of different ways you can do this.

a) Check in your community for opportunities to volunteer. Who knows? You might live near a safe home. If you don’t, look for other opportunities in unexpected places (like Comic Creators for Freedom, a fundraising campaign that happens once a year when comic artists get together to sell a digital wallpaper).

b) Look into organizations that might not deal directly with human trafficking, but whose efforts make a difference for people who might be targeted. At my school, I volunteer every week with The African [SOUP], which provides homes, education and care for orphans in Uganda who would otherwise be at risk of becoming child soldiers or prostitutes.

c) Go. Take a summer and intern or volunteer with an organization, state side or abroad. Go to the hard places and get firsthand experience.

You don’t have to be going undercover into brothels to help fight human trafficking–there are a lot of ways to help from where you are. Wherever you are and whatever your circumstances, work with broken people. Start making change now.

3. Get inspired.

Read. Research. Know. Buy books–hard books–and make yourself an expert. Then when you’re asked questions, you don’t have to refer people to a website–you can tell them the facts. This will also let you know more about how you can make an active change. If one particular type of human trafficking breaks your heart more than others, make yourself an expert in that. Know the need so you can meet it in whatever ways you can. (Some good books for this: God in a Brothel, Sex Trafficking: The Global Market in Women and Children, Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy, A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern-Day Slavery.)

4. Get God’s Heart.

Pray. I don’t mean a little “p.s. God help human trafficking stop” as you’re drifting to sleep. Pray diligently. Keep a prayer journal. Use your research to pray for specific needs. Fast quietly, privately, and pray fervently. Pray like praying will change the world–and it will.
Don’t stop at raising awareness, at challenging other people to act for you. Make a change yourself. Make a real sacrifice. Be a real part of the transformation of the world.

Reaccepting the Unacceptable

I have posted before (a while ago) about the cycling stages of accepting my rheumatoid arthritis I go through when new things crop up. But this week I’ve thinking a bit about why it’s so hard to be okay with stuff getting worse when I’ve already gone through the process of trying to be okay numerous times in the past.

This week I went to see a nurse practitioner about my toenail (my doctor couldn’t fit me in for another few weeks). Because of my Raynaud’s Syndrome, the toenail had gotten weird and had to be removed about two years ago. It grew back more dragonish than before, and has recently started to hurt whenever any pressure (i.e. shoes) is applied. The nurse gave me a referral to see a foot specialist person, which is pretty much what I expected and wanted.

We had the standard exchange:
Nurse: It says here you have rheumatoid arthritis. How’s that going?
Me: Oh, well, fine.
Nurse: Wow, you’re so young…
Me: Mhmm.

Got in the car feeling pretty okay and started to drive. It took a few minutes before her words started ringing in my ears and the old pain and grief resurged in full force. I started having the panicky feeling that everything was spinning out of control again (not that it’s ever really controlled) and flashbacked to those worst health-related moments throughout the years. I was sad, sad, sad, and staring again into the abyss of what-if’s and why’s. All this a knee jerk reaction to a fairly uneventful appointment that went the way I expected.

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Mourning a Moment

I do love to travel. I do love new places, new experiences. I can’t imagine living in one place for more than five years. But sometimes having the whole world as your home sucks.

Over winter break, there has been a gaping hole in the house: My dog, Rosey, who we put to sleep in July. I left right after she was buried. I’ve spent a lot of time at home loving on Melly (my sister’s dog), a lot of time playing with her to help heal how much I miss my dog. But I knew before I left for my last semester at Berry I needed to go visit the spot Rosey was buried Continue reading

My Dog, Rosey

Thirteen years ago, I took a ball of fluff home and named her Rosey. She was there for me in some of my hardest times. She helped me find peace and rest in the midst of turmoil. And today, I wanted to give her the rest she deserves.

When I was eight years old, I had this hamster. He was my first real pet, and I loved him with all the fervor of an eight year old girl who thinks hamsters are best friends and not insane escape machines. But one day my hamster’s wife hamster killed him. It was very tragic and I was heartbroken.

My parents recognized the tragedy and decided to finally get me what I’d been asking for since pre-hamster: A dog.

We began looking for the perfect doggy. But despite our efforts, none of them seemed quite right.
One of my mom’s friends had a litter of puppies, so after waiting a few weeks for them to grow up a little we came by to look at them. I searched for one after the other, trying to decide. But I had a feeling that something was following me. I turned around in time to see a little black streak dive under a bush. I kept looking. I could hear the soft paws following me.

I whirled fast enough to catch her by surprise. She was a tiny black puppy with big brown eyes. She hid under a car… but then started following me again as soon as I walked away. As cliché as it is, I guess in a sense she chose me.

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