Saturday, June 25, 2011

Blog Envy

In the world of multi-media, we're all growing accustomed to the varying methods of reaching each other, staying in touch, and having instant access.  When I started this blog, I barely even knew what a blog was.  I simply knew that I needed to write, since journaling has been my primary method of coping with my life since I was about 12 years old.  I felt strongly that I wanted this "journal" of mine to be public, because in my moments of darkness in December 2010, what I felt most strongly was a need to reach people who I had no idea about.  I wanted to reach people who know what it's like to raise a child with special needs because they themselves do it.  I wanted to reach people who have never had any type of special needs reach their inner circle.  I wanted to be accessible for people to say, Hang in there. I've been in your shoes. It's going to be okay.  And I wanted to be accessible for people to say, Wow.  I had a lot of pre-conceived ideas about what it would be like to raise a child with Down syndrome, but your family dynamic doesn't look a whole lot different than my own. I had a mission statement.  These days it seems everyone has a blog.  I'll admit, I kinda love it.  It's like your own personal calling card.  Background?: Blue. Header?: Picture of the fam. Font?: Caetalano. Music?: Yes...No...Sometimes...Oh what the hell- Yes! Why not?!  My blogger calling card style is limited, though.  (Remember- I had no idea what a blog even was just 18 months ago.) Even though I grew up in a household where we had computers even before there were personal computers, and I am comfortable navigating my way around one, I really am clueless when it comes to graphic design and web design. Clue. Less.  So, I have to choose my limited template choices wisely. 

This topic is on my mind because I was messing around with my own blog settings and took some time to catch up on some blogs I love to read.  The feedback on my blog has been pretty good.  Even great at times.  Even mind blowing at times.  But, I haven't spent a lot of time trying to get my blog "out there" and I've seen the backlash that comes with the high profile blogs.  Particularly when they will hit upon "hot topics" now and again.  A "friend" of mine, who I know only through the internet and who also has a baby boy with Down syndrome recently took some unwelcome "heat" for a few simple statements about her experience in an open-forum, largely followed blog. She didn't make a statement that could be debated.  She didn't start drama.  It was simply stated as her name, Mother to a child with Down syndrome and a few details of her experience.  The article itself is a bit of a "hot topic".  It is about the release of a new pre-natal test that could indicate as early as 8 weeks whether the baby has Down syndrome or not.  I clicked on the "Comments" section to see what already hundreds of people had to say...thinking that some would probably say what I was thinking...I couldn't have been more wrong or more shocked.  I stopped reading at about comment #35, when the only comments were those that praised the new test, because "We, as humans, need to stop making room for problems for our evolution." Yeah. I quote. Then again, that commenter's screen name is "Raised by Wolves"...so go figure. There were many comments degrading the "Right to lifers" and how they were probably going to come out in droves on their high horses.  I stopped reading at comment #35, and no high horses had appeared.  Only people who saw people with a disability as "less than", "unworthy", "unlovable", and "problematic." I stopped reading not because I was devastated...though, I was just a little bit.  But, I stopped reading because I realized just how important my little blog is.  One reader at a time, one blog post at a time, I will continue to relay in the most REAL and honest way I can, what my daily concerns, victories, grievances and inspirations are.  And one reader, one post at a time, I might get the chance to change someone's mind.  Have you heard the tip that if you are attacked, mugged, or worse- that you should immediately start humanizing yourself by saying some personal things about yourself? Things like, "Please.  I'm a Mom. I have two little boys- Christian and Elijah.  Christian is 4 and Elijah is 1.  They love me like I am the sun and the moon."  ...Gotta admit.  Even just writing something like that puts chills in my spine.  The point is that police officers have identified that personal information like this humanizes someone and can often stop an attacker in their tracks.  Though some of you may think I'm reaching with this- I think that educating people about what life with Down syndrome is like is the same: it is about humanizing someone.  It is about sharing what their likes and dislikes are. What their general temperament is like.  How they contribute to the family.  Think about it.  Has my blog and knowing me (if you do) changed any of your views?  I know my own views have changed as a result of living with Elijah.  I had pre-conceived ideas too...and maybe I even still do.  I don't doubt that there will be ways that Elijah will surprise me along the way.

So, I can mess with my headers, try to change my backgrounds (in vain) and curse my lack of any kind of web designing experience, but what I will remember is that it was the content of my blog that was and is most important to me.  It is in the content of sharing what's in my heart that has healing power for me.  Not all will accept it and some will even judge it.   I love reading other people's blogs.  I stick around for those that I'm even a little envious of.  Sometimes it is the fancy background and header that initially get me, but usually it is the content of their words that inspire me.  So I'll take the good blogs and the bad, but I'll save my blog envy for those with real content, real insight and real inspiration. 

Blog Envy? Yeah...get some!

10 comments:

Kari said...

I LOVE your blog. I've been lurking for a long time. I'm a special ed major and I'll graduate in December. So I get it. You have amazing children, and amazing insight. Your blog is beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing.

Jenny said...

I have followed your blog for a very long time now...I think Elijah was just a couple months old. I have always loved the way your write, with heartfelt honesty and real emotion. I know some one who just had a baby with Ds, and your blog was one I recommended for her to read :)

thea said...

Well said! There will always be a prettier blog out there. Just like people, sometimes there isn't much past that. I come back for your words and heart. Knowing you and your story has changed my life for the better. Opening my eyes to a world I knew nothing about. Thank you. :)

Becca said...

A lovely post!!! I started my blog as a way to just chronicle our daily lives for our friends and family that don't live close-by, but it has definitely evolved to so many other things, not the least of which is a way to reach others in some way or another. I hope I have changed some minds along the way. I love reading about your beautiful family (LOVE your new header photo!!) and the journey that you are on!!

Melissa said...

I just recently found your blog, but I agree that content is what matter to me. Not stats or followers, but maybe that someone would see my daughter or your son, and see a person, not a diagnosis.

P said...

Just write!! Any way.

P said...

And you can and do face your fears on this journey in a public way already through this blog and I'm Down with You. You can do it on any scale big or small when you are ready. Maybe just get the comments filtered by an intern...

As always, well said, very well said.

P said...

Not you can do it, you ARE doing it! Go!

P said...

I am still marveling over your point about reaching people you have no idea about. It's so true because no one I know can talk to me! A blog likely wouldn't change that for me but reading other's blogs does change it for me, someone else thinks it's odd no one walks in LA but won't do ballet with their six year olds because it's not enough exercise--among other important topics!! Love it all!!

HollywoodChaw said...

From your friend who barely has the patience to type out a text, I find your blog miraculous. You are 100% right, nor matter how few or many folks read this, it will make a difference. Hey, thanks to you, now anyone who works for me is under strict orders to not use the R word casually. It will spread . . . a little at a time.

Marisa

There was an error in this gadget