- Medical statistics reveal that 15% of the world’s population experience some form of disability. That is approximately one billion people.
- The stigma around disability has been around for many years. In some cultures, disability is associated with curses, helplessness, and dependency.
- There are disability rights activists who are fighting to demystify common misconceptions associated with being disabled.
Marajade Sith is an American-born cosplayer, creative artist, and retired pro-gamer. She discovered her artistic flair at an early age, particularly drawing/sketches, and dreamed about becoming an Art, Music, and Science teacher. Added to this, Marajade is an avid gamer who played in tournaments like Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, followed by Battlefield 2. She traveled quite often to participate in these tournaments and competed online too. Early in her career, she was met with unfortunate circumstances that led to her developing a disability, which has changed her life dramatically.
Marajade’s Relationship with Disability
In 2020, Marajade was diagnosed with multiple illnesses, which resulted in regular hospitalization. The first is Hashimoto’s Disease, which occurs when the immune system attacks the thyroid. Secondly, she was diagnosed with Small Fiber Neuropathy, a disorder that affects the small sensory cutaneous nerves. Lastly, Marajade suffers from Fibromyalgia and heart disease that can cause severe, widespread musculoskeletal pain.
From time to time these diseases and disorders can be debilitating for Marajade, especially when it comes to living out her artistic passions, cosplay, and gaming. Internally she has had to face many challenges. “I became severely depressed and anxious with everything going. Mentally I couldn’t take everything that was happening to me. I had to seek out counseling.” Marajade is immensely transparent and happily shares her experience, past and present. This unique quality makes her quite influential, in many spheres.
Reinventing Herself Again
In the gaming community, Marajade was known as “Sith Lord,” named after her favorite Star Wars Character. The name stuck and became her official alias online, videos and tournaments. According to Marajade, the name resonates so well as it is also synonymous with constant reinvention, which she has had to do multiple times. Eventually, Marajade had to quit gaming. She could not travel as often as she’d hoped for tournaments, because of her regular hospital visits, but she did not allow this to get her down. Instead, she decided to use her experiences to advocate for others.
Positive Power of Cosplay
Identifying herself as an introverted individual, Marajade found cosplay as a form of expression. “Doing cosplay allowed me to be someone else for the day. Being in costume helped me come out of my shell, I wasn’t as shy talking to or meeting new people.”
The popular cosplayer expressed that the activity helped with her social anxiety, on top of affording her more opportunities to express her artistic side by creating new characters. She describes her art like this: “My style is half/half….I prefer to do this because I’ve always had a hard time finishing my pieces because I get bored or unmotivated but doing the half half pieces, it’s like a new drawing on each side and keeps me motivated to finish! Plus I get to mix and match characters together that you typically wouldn’t see.” She continues,“There’s something about bringing your favorite characters to life and putting smiles on others’ faces when they see you at cons.”
A Final Take
Marajade has had enough experience over the last 15 years, to know exactly how it feels to be marginalized and treated as an outcast in society. She has made it her life’s mission to spread the word about disability rights and advocate against the stigma disabled people face on a daily basis. One of her short-term goals is to travel to Australia and continue to spread awareness.
Marajade’s one wish for people is that they are kinder to each other, “You never know what someone is going through. A simple, kind, or positive remark could really change someone’s day and make them feel better”. She continues to allow her infectious and fighting spirit to fight for others in her shoes. Her work and adventures are well documented on her social media profiles as well as her website.