Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Posts Tagged ‘positive

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A recent post I wrote got a lot of attention.  I’d dashed it out quickly, before starting work, as part of another blogger’s link-up.  It was a sensitive subject: calling out Ann Coulter’s use of the R-word, and no sooner had I published it than I was bracing myself for the backlash. 

I should have taken longer than a couple of minutes to write that one.  I should have made it even more clear that I don’t have a political agenda, but a personal one to do my best to ensure this is as accepting a world as I can make it for my children. 

And I know how ridiculous that sounds, and that I will never be enough change how people think and speak and treat each other, but I also know that I have to try.  I know that I’m not on my own.  And I know that I’d do anything to prevent my children being called that term.

The number of views on that post kept creeping up, until it far exceeded anything else I wrote.  While I was pleased that so many people were interested in learning about why the R-word is offensive to the special needs community, I thought how strange it is that the most read post about my children is about something that shouldn’t apply to them at all.

I got comments that day, but they were all of a consensus with me.  I couldn’t help but wonder about the ways my piece had been shared, and what other people were thinking and saying about it, but nothing negative came my way.

Another autism site occasionally takes my posts and publishes them for a wider audience.  A few days after publishing my post, they shared it too.  Here, the comments became offensive:  I was a “cry baby”, I should “grow up”, “it is just a word”.  There were supportive comments too, but what really stuck in my head was the person who insisted that I was “using a blog dedicated to handicapped children to score points against a Conservative woman (I) don’t like.”

I made a conscious decision not to respond to any of the comments there, and asked the site to no longer use my posts.  I understand that some welcome debate, and encourage opposing views with the aim of persuading them to their own way of thinking.  In this case, no heed was being paid to what I’d written.  Assumptions were made about me, and what I had to gain from writing, that had nothing to do with the actual words I’d written.  There would be no changing minds here.

But that didn’t mean that I forgot about the accusations made against me.  I was angry and hurt.  I’m offended by a person using the R-word be they a friend or celebrity, politically left or right.  Am I using my children?  I’ve always written this blog with the intention of sharing it with them. 

This is our journey.  We laugh, we love, we grow, we make mistakes, we reflect, and we learn.  If what I write helps other people on their journey, I’m happy for that- but there is no ulterior motive here.  This is simply the way we encounter the world, and how the world encounters us.

And yet those words stayed with me.  They held me hostage.  They made me question what I’d done, and if I should any longer write publicly.  It would be so easy to stop, I have so little time anyway. 

Even when I forced myself to write, just so that I wasn’t allowing someone else to make that decision for me, it didn’t stop the little voice in my head from repeating those things over and over.  Then I got a comment from a new reader:

I’ve begun following your blog and I find it so moving, amusing, and delightful that I decided you needed to know! It seemed fitting to share it under one of my favorite posts. This makes me think of “The Moose” by Elizabeth Bishop, and the play on perspective made my eyes tear up a bit! Though I have no children of my own, your blog makes me feel like I can handle whatever comes my way with grace, compassion, and humor. Thanks

That comment made me question if I’d handled this situation in a way that was true of what she’d said.  Not really.  I’d allowed myself to feel all the weight of negativity without sensing any of the light.  Ignoring all the support and community to focus on a person’s opinion that is far removed from us.  Who not only doesn’t understand, but won’t try to. 

And if I stopped writing for any reason other than it was the right time for me and my family, I wouldn’t be living life on my terms.  I thought about what I would want my children to do if they were attacked in a similar way, and found my own example severely lacking. 

When I think about how I want them to handle whatever comes their way, I want it to be with grace, compassion, and humour.  Do I want this reader to be right about me, or a harsh critic?

And what if, what if one day somebody were to call Pudding the R-word?  Would I want her to feel held up by the way we see her, or weighed down by one offensive word? 

Thank you to the lady who wrote that comment just when I needed it.  Thank you to each and every one of you who take the time to read, and particularly those who comment.  I don’t always have time to respond to them these days, but I am going to make sure that I pay attention to what you say.  That I really feel your words, and give those the weight that they deserve.  

Maybe then I’ll handle things that come my way with the grace, compassion, and humour that we’re all capable of.

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Written by Spectrummy Mummy

November 5, 2012 at 10:38 am

Results

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This was going to be a very different kind of post.  Very early yesterday morning I started to write through a very bad mood, and in the process of doing so, had a revelation, and ultimately came to a resolution.  Now, the working through of the problem is worth a post in itself, but that will simply have to wait for another day, dear Reader, as I’m far too excited about the results of my solution.  I know that I’m being cryptic, but just bear with me.  I become far less coherent when I’m giddy, as anyone who has ever had a drink with me will tell you.

So my resolution was that I had to be more positive.  That my negativity was causing havoc on the rest of the house, and creating a vicious cycle of anxiety.  It isn’t that I didn’t have justifiable reasons for feeling negative, and I do have every right to go a day or two without being Ms. Perky Perfect, but as I was the only one capable of breaking the cycle, I needed to do so, or face the fact that things would only continue to spiral downwards.

I resolved to do so with all the gusto of someone who had been awake since 4 am with a two day-long headache, and really needed it to end.  Pudding needed to do calming activities that she liked and were rewarding.  Two of these activities had been incorporated into her reward chart, so it was time to get working on them.  Pudding does a listening program that was prescribed by her first OT.  She listens to modulated classical music through special headphones.  We’ve noticed an improvement with her anxiety when we do it, but she resists the activity, and I hadn’t felt like fighting her.

With the promise of a token, I coerced her into doing her music.  We went downstairs to draw on her easel, and I helped her put on her weighted vest.  Usually we draw together: she likes drawing people, and I get the more difficult requests, like “Easter” or “aquarium.”  This time I drew a cat, and asked her to write it.  She’d only ever written her name freehand before, I was expecting and instant refusal, but she wrote each letter as she sounded it out C-A-T.  Her first written word!  Only last week in her evaluation I’d said that she couldn’t do it, and here she was amazing me.  That was enough of a result to keep me happy, and reward the positive approach, because, you know, Pudding isn’t the only one who needs positive reinforcement!

But then…

She told me she was going to draw me.  Nothing new there, she likes to draw people.  But after she finished she wrote as she sounded out M-U-M!  I knew she was able to spell cat from an app on her iPad, but Mum was something else entirely!  Afraid it was just a fluke, I asked her to do it again.  She both drew and wrote it again.  She didn’t write Dad when I asked, but she did a very good try at her brother’s name.

And then I ran for my camera, because I wanted to keep this memory, and if negativity overwhelms me again, I can click on this page to chase it away again.  It took some working through to get to my solution, but I think you’ll agree that the results are worth it.

I'm the purple one, the pink one is a self-portrait.

The second one is more legible.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

April 28, 2011 at 6:50 am