Tuesday, January 21, 2020

A Day in the Life of Chronic Illness Blogger JoJo Tabares

Today, we begin a new series on the blog, introducing you to some writer and artist friends. On Tuesdays, we'll share snippets of their lives with you in "A Day in the Life of ..." column, and then on  Thursdays, we'll share a glimpse at their work space.

Today's special guest is author JoJo Tabares.

A Day in the Life of Chronic Illness Blogger JoJo Tabares

by JoJo Tabares

I’ve been writing since I was nine years old, but the way in which I write has undergone some “creative” changes in the past 48 years. Writing isn’t just what I do, it’s who I am. Unfortunately, who I am is currently a chaotic pile of uncooperative body parts looking to make a difference.

I feel called to support and uplift the chronically ill and, as irony would have it, chronic illness makes that a bit complicated. Having several chronic conditions can put a damper on your focus, limit your energy, and in my case, also compromise your fingers. More on that in a minute.

After falling in and out of the night’s insomniatic slumber and prayer time, this writer’s day starts with coffee, the magic elixir of clarity and cognition. It takes me several hours to make it out of my medicated sleep stupor,  so I hop on Facebook for some daily humor and writing inspiration.

I love to create memes that speak to the lighter side of chronic illness as well as many other topics. I’ve been known to poke fun at social media and Facebook etiquette plays a recurring role. After satisfying my giggle quota, I share a few fun meme’s I created on my personal wall and on my Life Beyond Surviving Facebook group.

The rest of the day is a hodgepodge of chaos where my writing plays a sporadic and varied part in between housework and doctor appointments. My writing these days takes two forms. One feels almost like dictation where my fingers fly and very little editing is needed.  The other feels more like a brain dump of ideas followed by weeks or months of rewriting, editing, and/or staring at a title through brain fog so thick I can hardly remember my own name.

 The two biggest issues I face as a writer with chronic illness is fatigue and tremors in my hands that make it difficult to write, type, and edit. However, I’m a resilient sort and I live in an age of technology, so I have found some work arounds.

For many years, the only way I could write was on a notebook with a purple pen. As you may have noticed from my picture, purple is my favorite color. When I could no longer read my own writing, I began typing my articles and that’s when I discovered my talent for creating memes. Essential tremor is a degenerative condition and I’m slowly coming to the point where I will need to dictate my thoughts into a voice activated app. I do that now when I text and respond to social media via my phone.

Another adaptation I’ve had to devise is a plan for my other major chronic illness issue: brain fog. As you might imagine, sleep deprived and fatigued is no way to work your brain. It’s hard to put two thoughts together when you’re running on half brain cell wattage at best.

I have found that having the TV on as background noise helps me focus. I know, sounds counter intuitive, but it works for me.  When I’m in writing mode, that works for me, but when I’m especially brain befuddled, I switch gears and work on creating more JoJoisms (my humorous and sometimes insightful one-liners about life) in visual format using an app called Canva.

When I can no longer function, I give myself permission to veg out. Once I’ve had an hour or a day…or a week to get over a Fibromyalgia flare, I start the chaos all over again. I never know how much I’ll get done in a day, but as long as I’m moving forward, it’s progress. I have a lot to say. My body just has a lot of say over how much I say in any given day.

JoJo Tabares is a Christian chronic illness blogger at www.LifeBeyondSurviving.com and runs a Facebook group by the same name. She’s been diagnosed with several chronic illnesses/conditions, but she sees the humor and joy in just about everything and shares how others can find the light God has INSIDE the chronic tunnel. 

1 comment:

Deborah Dee Harper said...

Jo Jo,

What a delightful post! I too have chronic illnesses that make life (in general) and creating (in particular) an iffy situation. Growing older seems to exacerbate those nuisance illnesses, but coping by laughing at myself and writing humorous/inspirational books helps!

Thanks for a look into your life.

Deb Harper

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