This is the first time I’ve re-blogged anything; not due to any shortage wonderful entries worth re-blogging, there are loads of them, but because I know me–once I’ve started, I’ll want to do it ALL THE TIME. I’ll set some boundaries for myself later, but for now, enjoy my first re-blogged post. It’s about a lesson we all have to learn when we become parents; more so, perhaps, when we parent children who are not neurotypical; and also, it’s a lesson each one of us has to learn to apply across society, with regards to any people who are not like “me”.

a diary of a mom

It’s Saturday morning. Boston Ballet is holding auditions for the Nutcracker. Hopeful little ballerinas gather, line up, and are shepherded in various directions to go do whatever it is that they do.

They are color coded, as it were. The littlest in light pink leotards, the slightly older girls in pale blue. All of them have their hair drawn back into the ballerina’s signature: a high, tight bun. Given the number of children milling about, the place is startlingly quiet. There is a delicacy, a gentility to the whole affair.

Brooke is in the studio with Mr Gino. Her adaptive dance class stands in stark contrast to the quiet constraint of the children outside. As Mr. Ryan sits at his drum set pounding out a rhythm, one of Brooke’s classmates makes her way across the room, every single part of her body abandoned to the beat. She bucks and runs…

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The Wrong Way to Approach Sensitive Subjects

So, it’s roughly 10 to 7 in the a.m., and I’ve been awake for an hour. Why, you may ask?

Well, I’ll tell you.

I came off my meds a couple of days ago, and after sleeping about 10 hours the first night, last night, I went to bed at 2:20 and woke up at 5:50… and I’ve been lying awake worrying about something I said to a friend of mine, oh, a year? 2 years? ago.

That’s my life, folks. That’s why I take the meds, at least in part… nobody should have a near-sleepless night over whether or not they offended someone 2 years ago, and how to make it right. You’d be surprised how often a 3-hour night’s sleep is what I get, when I don’t take my meds (usually due to incredible levels of anxiety and/or self-loathing)… ain’t nobody got time for that!

But just this once, I’m gonna carry on and not take my meds yet, because I need to get this out. I said a shitty thing, and I kinda backtracked and half-apologized at the time, but I need to do it better. So I’m gonna do that now, while I’m lucid and freaked-out by memory enough to follow through.

Basically, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine (mixed race, male) and, as myself (white, female) I was trying to make the point that there are better and worse things about being black vs. being a woman. That’s true, and it’s all well and good to have that discussion… but what I said (like a dumbass) was something like, “Black men got the vote in the USA like 60 years before white women;” and that was as a response to him actually telling me something about, like, the life of a black dude. (Note: it was actually 50 years, but I was guessing.)

In case you’re not sure, here’s what’s wrong with what I said:

I drew a comparison between 2 situations that can’t be quantified in that way, and made a statement that painted one as worse than the other. You can’t *do* that. Now, in my defence, I was kinda joking (I’d been mocking folks I know who are self-confessed racists not too long before this) but in a way, I think that only made it worse. If I’m admitting I associate with racists (family members; whatcha gonna do?) and then make a jokey comment that’s, if not out-and-out racist, certainly intolerant and just a lame thing to say… well… how is someone (who I count as a friend, but not one who’s known me a long time) supposed to take that? And then, when he was upset by what I said, I got SUPER EMBARRASSED (rightly so) and stuttered around trying to apologize without closing the conversation down (wrong time, at that point; again, the conversation’s worth having, but not from the perspective of trying to decide who has it “worse”–and you can’t un-say that, in the moment, so I should’ve just dropped it then and there, and come back to it later, when I knew how to say what I was trying to say).

And this, by the by, is what I should’ve said (and also, my hand to the foot of the Cross, what I actually meant):

“I agree that I can’t know anything about what it’s like being a black man; I don’t know what to say about all this, but it sounds pretty shitty in a lot of ways. On a related note, I think that I could tell you some things about being a woman that might surprise you–there are (obviously!) a lot of differences in our situation, but also some similarities that I think you would appreciate hearing about.”

Or, as my sister said it, to one of her friends (yes, male, and yes, black), “I don’t know how hard it is to be black, and you don’t know how hard it is to be a woman,” to sum up a conversation they had that evidently went much better than the one I had with my friend. This is partly because I’ve always expressed myself more clearly on paper than when I’m speaking, and partly because my sister remembers how to talk to people… I live in a house I often don’t leave (other than walking outside my front door to get my kids on/off their bus) for 5 or more days in a row, and I avoid going anywhere in public by myself (no, really, anywhere–I won’t walk to the corner shop unless someone’s with me). And when I’m with people, it shows. I say shit I shouldn’t say, and understand that I did *something* wrong, but I don’t understand what it *was* that I did wrong… and then something reminds me of it 2 years later (thanks, Sis; and yes, I mean that genuinely) and then I have a night where I wake up and think about it for hours, before deciding I have to get that shit off my chest. So. Here you go. A load from my very bosom, straight to you… and I think it goes without saying, but I’m saying it anyway; I am sincerely sorry that I even went there, and especially in the way I did. There are maybe 5 things I’d go back and change in my entire 30-almost-31-years-of-life, if I could; and that conversation is one of them. Because I hurt someone (past tense) I really care about (present tense) and it’s had more of an ongoing effect than I can describe to you (past, present, and future tense).

But what else can I say? Not much… so, on to the other important point: the dude I said that to–is he still my friend?

I think he is, you know. He certainly makes a good effort to stay in touch with me. He’s kind to me, and encouraging, and says nice things and doesn’t berate me for the stupid shit I’ve said… but *I’ve* been standoffish, with him. I’ve… not avoided him, exactly… but when you’re stuck waiting for yourself to fuck things up again, you can’t relax and just move on. I can’t, anyway. And so my half-joke/half-point-badly-made has nearly ruined what used to be one of the more important friendships in my life.

Why don’t you address the question again, I hear you ask? Why don’t you talk to this guy, and express what you did wrong and what you meant to say, and then just go from there? I mean… you have *apologized* by now, right? Like, properly?

And the answer to that is–yes, I have… in a post I’m calling, “The Wrong Way to Approach Sensitive Subjects”.

Wish me luck?


How’s It Hangin’?

This is just me, dropping by my own blog, trying to see if anyone even bothers to read it anymore… from what I gather, this blogging malarkey is intense and somewhat competitive, and an absence of *months* is generally not to be tolerated.

I say to you–along with all the other mothers who do this–it was the summer holidays. Anyone who can look after 2 (autistic) kids 5 days a week, for all the hours of the day and night, while the kids are off school, and still have time to update their blog regularly, is a better (more organized, anyway) person than I. I salute you; but I will not even attempt to emulate you. That way lies madness.

No, really. Trying to blog during this last summer… I mean… things got a little crazy anyway. My kids are wonderful; but I’m pretty sure *I’m* not, and I certainly wasn’t by the end of this summer. There was more than one day where I lost my temper over nothing, just because I hadn’t had enough alone time; my eternally patient partner, Douglas, was less than patient by the time I, for example, smashed a coffee cup because he emptied it (it had water in it; I was going to be USING the water, in just a little while; how could he throw away a third of a cup of WATER THAT I MIGHT BE ABOUT TO USE???). That was right at the end of the summer (as in, the kids were actually back at school, when I did that–yes, I mostly manage to contain my hmm-my-dad-IS-bipolar-should-I-be-concerned style rages to times when my kids are NOT present). I’m not proud that Douglas bears the brunt of my bat-shit crazy moments, but… I’ll admit to some small satisfaction, in not freaking my kids out with my crazy. Anyways, moving on.

Things are much more settled, now. I’m getting back into my old sleeping pattern, not that it’s a good one (it’s a quarter to 2 in the morning; I’ll probably get 3 hours of sleep tonight, and another 3 or 4 tomorrow while the kids are at school); the kids are actually in a better routine than they’ve enjoyed in years (2 nights this week, they’ve been asleep before midnight–I don’t even have the words); and Douglas is… well… he works too much, but hey, someone’s got to bring home the proverbial bacon. It’s not likely to be me, is it? I didn’t even manage to sign up for university, this year.

And more on that later, I’m sure… for now, I’m off to either daydream about OR actually write, some stuff (another endless novel attempt… my 15th attempt or so, since I was, well, 15 or so?). Wish me luck, send me good vibes, tell me to get stuffed and write the damn thing, whatever you like 🙂 for now, I’m back in business, ish.