About Connect: Who, What & Why

Mayo Clinic Connect is an online community that connects people. In the About Connect page, find out more about members, mentors and the community. Meet the team of Mayo Clinic moderators and how the community is managed.  Review the community guidelines and learn how you can get the most from your Connect experience.

Twice a month, a member of your Connect community is featured in the Member Spotlights. Follow the About Connect page to get updates about members and the community.

PUBLIC PAGE
Oct 24, 2019

Advocating for Those Who Feel Alienated from Health Care Spaces: Meet @ayeshasharma 

By Rosemary, Volunteer Mentor, @rosemarya

Member Spotlights feature interviews with fellow Connect members. Learn more about members you’ve connected with and some you haven’t met yet. Nominate a member you think should share the spotlight.

2019.10.18 Ayesha Sharma Mentor Connect Member Spotlight

ROSEMARY: What brought you to Mayo Clinic Connect?

@ayeshasharma: Moderator @kanaazpereira introduced me to Connect!

ROSEMARY: What motivates you to take part in the community?

@ayeshasharma: Since I'm fairly new to Connect, I want to get to know the platform and its members. As I become accustomed to it, I'm motivated to discuss topics that interest me like food, exercise and mental health, but also to share information that affirms Connect as a safe space for anyone who engages with the platform. There are lots of groups that feel alienated from health care spaces due to their identity, expression or cultural background. So, on Connect and beyond, I strive to be outspoken about that: to let those people know they're not alone. I want them to know, from reading through discussions, that they have support before they even make their first posts.

ROSEMARY: What about Connect makes you feel comfortable to share and to be open with the community?

@ayeshasharma: Connect is a kind and intentional community, comprised of mentors, moderators and members who care about keeping it that way.

ROSEMARY: What groups do you participate in?

@ayeshasharma: Depression & Anxiety, Just Want to Talk, Mental Health and About Kids & Teens.

ROSEMARY: Tell us about a meaningful moment on Connect. 

@ayeshasharma: Just the other day, a member posted about recognizing personal bias or prejudice. The member had a very honest ask of the community, "Someone help me get a less judgmental attitude." 

I entered the discussion at a later point in order to respond to the original post. I felt our ensuing discussion was humble, intergenerational and straightforward. This brings me to another aspect of Connect that I like: It's very different from the spaces that I'm used to! I'm accustomed to chatting with 20-somethings who are deep within the social media era. I think my generation can sometimes have a judgmental attitude about itself, because it wants to create a culture that clearly doesn't accept prejudice. But the unintended consequence of that is we may alienate people who genuinely want to learn about other cultures and ways of life but don't have the language to do so. 

Connect is a very intentionally and outwardly welcoming community, so there is a potential for a different type of conversation to occur here. 

ROSEMARY: What surprised you the most about Connect?

@ayeshasharma: I suppose it’s that there’s so much to learn. As much as it's a community for Connecting, it's also a vast knowledge base. 

ROSEMARY: What energizes you, or how do you find balance in your life?

@ayeshasharma: I show myself kindness. I have various imageries I use to clear my mind in these moments of kindness they're kinda funny. When I really need some peace, I will visualize a hand holding a whiteboard eraser, scrubbing the inside of my brain clean. That helps a lot. 

Another thing I do, since I tend to get overwhelmed by anxiety, is visualize my stressors as a heavy coat. To chill out, I take off my metaphorical coat, and hang it up on a coat hanger. 

These mental exercises help me recenter and find balance.

ROSEMARY: Tell us about your favorite pastime or activity.

@ayeshasharma: Lately, I've been weightlifting 3 to 4 times per week, which I really love. I grew up playing sports year-round, such as track, basketball and volleyball, so I still enjoy the challenge to increase my strength. 

ROSEMARY: What do you appreciate the most in your friends?

@ayeshasharma: Humor, genuine character and respect. 

ROSEMARY: What food can you simply not resist?

@ayeshasharma: Too many. Some that I recently made are fried chicken sandwiches with homemade pickles and Japanese mayo, barbecued pulled chicken and an Indian dish called khichdi. 

See more Member Spotlights.       

 

@ayeshasharma That was a great enjoyable spotlight thanks Rosemary, It was nice to hear from you and get to know you alittle better .

COMMENT

Hello @ayeshasharma
I so appreciate the opportunity to get to know you better! I especially enjoy how you shared what energizes you. The imagery of taking off the heavy coat is great idea. I heard of another one at the Mentor Meetup that really spoke to me. Dr. Victor Montori, spoke of how many of us have had a biography that was written by someone else and that now we can tear those pages out of that book and re-write the page. Dr. Montori has written a book that you might enjoy, Why We Revolt: A patient revolution for careful and kind care.
Thanks to you, @rosemarya, for this great interview.

COMMENT

We are lucky to have you @ayeshasharma! I know its been refreshing and enlightening to me to have your youthful and inclusive attitude on Connect. Great spotlight! Great job you are doing!

COMMENT

@ayeshasharma, It is great to have you on the team that connects. And you are right. There is so much to learn on Connect. I didn't have much, if any medical background, including the names and purposes of treatment modalities. This is a pretty fascinating experience, every day. Chris

COMMENT

Thank you @lioness. I took a look at your spotlight as well, and loved it. "Live every day like it's your last" – this is a truly courageous mindset… really shows gratitude for life regardless of the circumstances 🙂

COMMENT

@hopeful33250 I like that strategy. I sometimes have difficulty with what my old therapist called cycles of negative/illogical thinking, so I find it really empowering to disrupt that. Rewriting one's narrative can mean so many different things for different people, though. Dr. Montori had a lot of great things to say. Not your average doctor at all!

COMMENT

@debbraw Thank you! I'm really grateful to be here and feel the refreshment is definitely reciprocated 😀

COMMENT
@ayeshasharma

@hopeful33250 I like that strategy. I sometimes have difficulty with what my old therapist called cycles of negative/illogical thinking, so I find it really empowering to disrupt that. Rewriting one's narrative can mean so many different things for different people, though. Dr. Montori had a lot of great things to say. Not your average doctor at all!

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@ayeshasharma Yes, he is remarkable.

COMMENT

@artscaping Thank you for reading 🙂 That's awesome. And you've been here over 2 years (seeing your profile)–I'm sure you've learned a lot by now!

COMMENT

@ayeshasharma
Ayesha, Thank you for your participation in this Spotlight Interview. Speaking as a 20+something, I enjoyed my conversations with you. I could feel an energy coming thru cyber space during the interview process.

I am well aware of your straightforward and honest approach that is both sensitive and welcoming as you have already demonstrated in discussions on Connect. You also have a gift for writing clear and meaningful ideas. Is writing your tool for advocacy? or do you give talks? or work with groups? or even medical facilities? Would you share some examples of how you advocate, or how you anticipate doing in the future?

COMMENT

@rosemarya 🙂

Thank you for that. I've been a freelance journalist for the past couple years…started in my last year of college. My advocacy has also been through writing, activism, training/facilitation, program development, mentorship, and art. I was on the production team to make this video series, Dispelling Beauty Myths: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORHZeaKebKg

A few summers back, I researched and wrote the script for a nationally mandated training program for K-12 educators on identifying and preventing child sexual abuse. Will be looking for a full time job in the US come April so I'll be searching for this sort of healthcare advocacy work in program/policy development.

Two of my articles are awaiting publication in The Guardian and I Weigh, and so I'd love to share those here when they're out. Writing is such a JOY and a craft, but the industry isn't the most stable. Lots of layoffs happening regularly from major outlets, unfortunately :/

Thank you for asking. As you mentioned, I am a 20-something. 24 to be exact. So these past few years have admittedly been very growth-oriented and change-filled. Learning to remain humble while assertive while grateful for this world and committed to its betterment.

COMMENT
@ayeshasharma

@rosemarya 🙂

Thank you for that. I've been a freelance journalist for the past couple years…started in my last year of college. My advocacy has also been through writing, activism, training/facilitation, program development, mentorship, and art. I was on the production team to make this video series, Dispelling Beauty Myths: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORHZeaKebKg

A few summers back, I researched and wrote the script for a nationally mandated training program for K-12 educators on identifying and preventing child sexual abuse. Will be looking for a full time job in the US come April so I'll be searching for this sort of healthcare advocacy work in program/policy development.

Two of my articles are awaiting publication in The Guardian and I Weigh, and so I'd love to share those here when they're out. Writing is such a JOY and a craft, but the industry isn't the most stable. Lots of layoffs happening regularly from major outlets, unfortunately :/

Thank you for asking. As you mentioned, I am a 20-something. 24 to be exact. So these past few years have admittedly been very growth-oriented and change-filled. Learning to remain humble while assertive while grateful for this world and committed to its betterment.

Jump to this post

Ayesha, You chose a perfect video clip to share! I could relate to this clip about Dispelling Beauty Myths: Age. I remember being in 5th grade when my dark brown/black hair began to show silver streaks, so age related comments were hurtfull and have always been a sensitive issue for me.

COMMENT

@rosemarya thank you for sharing that with me. That must have been really tough, and our society is one that places so much value and expectation on appearing youthful. I've been watching this show, Queer Eye, on Netflix. If you haven't watched it, it's sort of like a 2010s version of Extreme Makeover…run by five gay hosts. Something they focus a lot on is eliminating shame within oneself, and it's so tied into this conversation about age too. There shouldn't be shame in aging, or appearing to be aging. It's such a natural process. But there is. That's why it can be liberating to see people expressing themselves without concern for 'beauty rules.' We get to see people embracing themselves, silver hair and all, and looking so stunning because of one thing: confidence!

COMMENT
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