Jacqueline originally shared her public speaking experience at a noncompetitive StorySlam with the theme ‘Misunderstood’ in an FB group and very graciously accepted my invitation to share her story here with you.
“Not all stories have a resolve, but instead bring a call to action. Like Teller Jacqueline, who shared her invisible disability with the crowd. Due to carbon monoxide poisoning Jacqueline was forced to alter her lifestyle in dramatic ways. Her exposure to carbon monoxide caused her to be intolerant to chemicals such as perfumes and sprays. Because of this, Jacqueline can’t be in many public spaces. Thank you, Jacqueline, for using your voice and story to advocate for many others with invisible disabilities.”
How it felt for me at the mic in front of 200+ people:
Having 3 women in the front row nodding their heads throughout most of my 5-minute talk made me feel heard and accepted.
I generally speak extemporaneously and this was no exception.
Things I know I mentioned:
How I got MCS, the course and recent worsening of my condition and the fact that I’m angry lately because I’ve been dealing with MCS for 15 years (on Oct 25) and change is so slow and all the while my world continues to shrink.
I said that I represented millions of others, some who wouldn’t be able to be in a room like this, a drinking establishment due to the severity of their symptoms.
Though my friends & family have been great, I talked about how little support I’d received from the outside world and gave examples of being pooh-poohed and marginalized and ignored.
I mentioned a local hospital and food co-op as places that I thought would be willing to consider accommodation or even help create awareness of MCS but had refused.
I told the crowd that I knew that some of them are in love with their fragrances and dryer sheets but there’s a price to pay for that love affair.
My voice got loud saying something like, “You can hide your head in the sand as long as you want but those products are toxic. And I’ve got the literature to prove it!”
Afterwards, 6-8 people stopped me to say, ‘thank you,’ and that they had reactions to hairspray, perfumes, etc. Others said, “Good job.”