Wednesday, 12 June 2013
Later, when I finally entered the final phases of my university degree, writing lost its appeal. Trying to produce precisely arranged essays, by rules that seemed entirely arbitrary and stifled creativity kind of sucked the joy out of words. I still read for pleasure, but reading for coursework made my time for actually seeking out things I was interested in reading shrink, and other than a novel here and there, my pleasure in the written word was considerable diminished.
I was pregnant with the Monkey when I graduated with a BA in history (only 20 years to get a bachelor's degree...go me!) and at that point had far more time to read, but only wanted to read easy fiction that wasn't terribly taxing, and certainly I had no desire to write anything for myself.
Then three years later, I had the Kitten, and the following winter, Monkey got his diagnosis of autism.
It was time to read again, all of the books on autism, articles on the net, reports and evaluations, and then, fortuitously, I chanced upon my first autism blogs.
At the time, I had just weaned myself off Facebook games (farming games, aquarium games, restaurant games...yeah, I played em all to excess) and was trying to concentrate on Monkey and Kitten and all of the things that needed to be done to get our boy the help he needed, and to understand how to make it happen without losing my mind even further.
Homestyle Mama (with a side of autism) was one of the first blogs I read that really spoke to me about the real world experience of raising an autistic kid in an ordinary (more or less) family. She talked about the frustrations, hopes, challenges, anger, joy, even the mistakes. I will admit, I was a bit awestruck at the concept of writing about personal experiences with that kind of honestly, with humour and style, and useful information for other parents on their own journeys. I connected with her on Facebook, and with her help and encouragement, started my own page, and blog. I don't have anywhere near her dedication to her writing, her advocacy, or her talent, but I do have a voice, and her encouragement to me to share what I can has been instrumental in getting me back to writing. Through her I have "met" and befriended a network of incredible bloggers and advocates, autistics and parents of autistics and other special needs kids.
I don't know where I would be, mentally, without this amazing group of people. The last year and a half has been exhausting, with moments I wanted to give up, quit, collapse, and die. This amazing group of online friends has supported me, and accepted my support, with an openness I have never before experienced.
And I am enjoying writing again. That is so incredibly important to me, and it was my online supports that made it possible.
So a heartfelt, sappy, and grateful thank-you to all of my online friends. And especially Homestyle Mama. Thanks, Mac, for helping me find my writing voice again, and telling me it was worth reading.