Monday, January 2, 2017

Why I completely identify with Jem in the Infernal Devices

James Carstairs, parabatai of William Herondale. Warrior, friend, orphan. While I am not an orphan I am a warrior, I am also a mother, wife, friend, and author. Why am I a warrior? Why do I identify with this character so much. 

This takes us back to 2008. Before 2008, I was a normal person working 40 hours a week at night at a logistics company. I was a quick learner so I moved up the ranks quickly and was able to do many of the things the people who had been there for years did. I worked hard and was proud of what I did, I loved my job. 

Then it all changed, one night when I went to work I got in a car accident. The accident was not my fault, but it changed my life forever. There were injuries to my back and neck, on top of recurring terrible headaches, and loss of movement in my neck and back. There was dizziness, pain, and blurring of vision. Lawyers, and courts, and police, and so many stressful things. 

Because of my injuries I couldn't work more than 12 hours a week and even that was pushing it. The pain got so bad as I did my data entry and I had to leave work early so much. Then they got rid of my department and I was sent to work in collections which opened a whole new door of agony stress and pain. I endured it for a year. A year of pain,blinding headaches, IBS attacks and lost time at work. Still I pushed ahead working through the ranks learning all I could and excelling at my job despite all the setbacks. However the work force is not forgiving to those who miss time for illness. 

My vision would blur out when I was reading the computer screen, my head would pound, I'd get dizzy but I'd push forward. 

In 2009, my doctor told me I couldn't do it anymore. It was pushing my body to limits it just didn't have anymore and I had to stop and take care of my injuries and try to heal as best I can. I was crushed, I lost my purpose in life. I'd been working since I  was 14 years old, and even before that. 

I ask of you one thing. Don't pity me. I'm past that point. Just like before I've pushed forward. 

Fast forward 2013. Now I have answers, 5 long years of testing poking and prodding and now I have answers names to the things that caused my pain. It has been a long road, with a slew of doctors behind me and a slew of tests and wrong diagnoses. But the list is as follows:

Cavernous Angioma in my brain and brain lining tumor that cause atypical migraines. 
weakening of my right side

and many more things but these are the worst of the list. 

In walks Jem Carstairs. He too is fighting a long illness caused by demon poison, he has medicine that causes him pain but keeps him going. He pushes forward. Just like I do.

I'd hit a point where I was so frustrated about living in pain, about not having a purpose. I was giving up and it wasn't who I was. I was having nightmares and life for all other rights and purposes sucked. 
I was up all night and slept all day. 

In comes Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments Series, I'd fallen in love with the amazing world and characters she created. Then I find the Infernal Devices Series. Jem, Tessa, and Will. I started reading it before I had surgery, in fact I had the book with me while I waited because I was nervous and it took my mind off of it. 

I'd just written my first book, because I saw so many female writers around me doing what I wanted to do. I'd gone to a concert for my friend and promptly got sick with a silent migraine (  and ended up in the hospital that night with the fear I was having a stroke. Luckily it wasn't that.

When I got home I began reading the Infernal Devices series and about Jem, no matter what the setback he pushed forward. His body fighting him every step of the way. It's like mine, fights me every day of my life. The medicine doesn't help just dulls the symptoms, it doesn't work like magic. But he fights, for those he loves, for the greater good, with every breath he takes he's fighting. 

After I read that series, I didn't feel so alone in my fight against these terrible diagnoses. I wanted to be more like Jem. A faithful friend, slow to anger, a fighter. So I started different treatments they are invasive yes, but for the momentary pain there is less pain in my future. I'm against any narcotics at all which is fine with my doctors because I know they don't like to prescribe them. 

I use music and art to take my mind off things, pouring my heart and soul into them just as James does when he plays his violin. His musicality was what initially drew my attention to this character, I always put my feelings into art and music like he does. 
I'm now faced with another setback....January 2017. I'm going to channel my inner Jem for this one. 

I'm going to keep fighting, no matter the pain. I'm going to push forward every day and take it 1 day at a time until they find a cure for me. 

My challenge to you, is to channel your inner Jem. Even if your body is weak, have a strong spirit and fight the good fight and keep fighting. Give your heart to your family and friends and have a fierce loyalty towards them. Love with all of your being and never give up. 

Thank you Cassie, for this amazing and beautiful character beloved by so many! <3 

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