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Another Eczema Meet-Up Success!

Although I interact with the eczema community on a daily basis through different online channels, it’s not the same when we get together in person.

That’s why I couldn’t wait to put my first eczema meet-up together!

Planning an eczema meet-up

Exactly two months ago, I enrolled a fellow eczema warrior, Jude Weber, to join me in creating an eczema meet-up in Southern California. Although we had never put this type of event together, we both shared a common passion for empowering others and creating community. Because I already had experience with facilitating workshops and Jude had experience with event planning, I knew we were in good hands and would be able to make this a success.

So we began by putting our ideas on a shared Google document. We started off with our mission and purpose, which was “to gather eczema warriors together and create an in-person empowering experience and community.” We then focused on how we wanted our participants to feel in the space: emboldened, inspired, optimistic, hopeful, open, and aware.

What has eczema given us?

As a result, we decided to focus this meet-up on the beauty of eczema. The entire context was around the ways eczema has gifted us.

We chose this type of framework because we didn’t want to feed more negativity on the burdens of eczema; instead, we wanted to shine a light on it. It’s easier to talk about how eczema has ruined your life and relationships, how painful and frustrating it is, how it limits you, and so forth. Although all of these feelings are valid, that’s not what we wanted to focus on. We wanted to create a different atmosphere, a different perspective and an outlook on how to view our eczema.

Worried about attendance

A few days before the meet-up, Jude and I began to worry. We were concerned about attendance and whether people would actually show up. Although we had multiple people show interest and “wanted” to come, the actual people who confirmed were very little. I expressed to Jude that I didn’t care if one person showed up, we were still going to do this because that one person matters.

So even though we had a few cancelations the night before and even the day of, we still put on the event. And guess what?! 5 people showed up! How amazing is that?! By continuing to trust our process and staying committed to creating impact, we had more people than anticipated.

The experience

What transpired, was nothing less of a miracle. We had such an amazing time that the hours flew right by! From the deep conversations to the vulnerable moments, to the sharing of personal stories and lessons, our meet-up was a success!

What I learned

And in case you missed it, no worries! There will be more to come! Here are a few things I gained from this experience:

It’s all about perspective

Because Jude and I wanted to focus on the beauty of eczema, I was able to see and learn the different ways this skin condition actually supported me in life. Amongst many things, I concluded that eczema has made me more resilient and powerful. It has taught me how to appreciate the little things in life that so many take for granted. And most importantly, it has shown me how to love myself beyond the beauty of my skin and appearance.

We are cared for

We were fortunate to have three caregivers in attendance, including my own partner. This widened my perspective about what he and others see that we as patients of eczema cannot. I learned that our partners and caregivers love us because of who we are, not because of how we look. They have accepted our eczema and are not there to judge us but remind us that we are beautiful beyond it.

There’s more “unhiding” to do

Three of the participants never attended an eczema meet-up nor met anyone physically with eczema; they only knew others through social media. While this brought so much excitement to my ears (because we popped their in-person cherry), this shows me there’s still some more work to do. That’s why I’ve committed to holding at least 4 more meet-ups before the end of the year. And in the meantime, spread more awareness via my social media channels and through one-on-one interactions.

I think Jude and I accomplished our purpose. Scratch that, I know we did.

QUESTION: What gifts has eczema brought into your life? And how are you unhiding now? Comment below and let me know!

If you would like to check out Eczema Meet-ups in your area, be sure to join our meet-up group to stay connected!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The AtopicDermatitis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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