"As a parent of a young man who is on the autism spectrum and is very severely disabled I was interested in reading this article. I was unable to finish because of the vulgar language. I am referring to the four letter word that begins with "f". This is supposed to be a magazine for families and this language is inappropriate. As a magazine that is supposed to be the best parenting magazine I fail to understand how you could not ask Kathleen Quinn to use more appropriate language. I have been advocating successfully for my son for 18 years and even taken a course to become an advocate. One of the lessons that we learned from an attorney who works for the premier law firm in Massachusetts representing the rights of the disabled is that parents must always stick to the "high ground". If we are to be taken seriously when we advocate for our children we must be professional at all times. Kathleen fails and you have failed by allowing her to use such language. It is possible to use strong language without being vulgar. My husband and I once wrote an article that was published in "Exceptional Parent Magazine", a national publication. We successfully conveyed to the public the difficulties of having an autistic child without using vulgar language."
Smackdown! That lady was MAD! Let me clarify people, my blog is mostly INSIDE THOUGHTS. It's my stream of consciousness reaction to "the diagnosis" (dum dum dummmmmm) and that part of my life ever after. HOWEVER, on the outside, I look like a walking talking typical person who has a couple jobs and raises their kids and resembles a completely reasonable and responsible human. I am a whole person, many sides, and this blog is a reflection of a PART of me, but certainly not all of me. My son is not defined by his diagnosis and neither am I. There is PLENTY I don't write about here. Also, I'm not walking throughout my day spouting f-bombs at any random sailor who crosses my path!!! Fer christ sakes who the fuck do these people think I fucking am??? My friend Stacey, who also has a son affected by Fragile X, responded to this when I posted the email and my sad feelings about it in our private facebook forum.
You can see why I really like my new Fragile X mom friends ( and THEY all liked my article). I guess I won't be winning any awards to "Wicked Super Awesome Parents Magazine" nor "Employee of the Year" or "Student of the Week." My instinct is to buck the trend, fight for the underdog, and speak up for what I believe in, even if that isn't what people don't want to hear. Truth hurts and I do it myyyyyyy wayyyyyy. (I've reverted to cliches, you know I'm upset when...). I won't post the many emails I've gotten from women and other mothers who have all said variations on the same thing "You said how I feel." All living with the same rotten internal guilt, and the anguish that they have somehow ruined their family.
I felt bad, and 'wrong' because I felt scolded - "You took the low road. You didn't grieve appropriately. You're a bad person." Oh sure, that's not what she SAID, it's what I HEARD. And from people who have been through it! I thought they would be older and wiser, I would have hoped for identification, understanding, empathy.... I'm barely two years into this, but me a break. It's easy to look back on twenty years and see the 'meaning and purpose' of it all, but I'm not a damn pyschic and I have no idea what is my role to play in the docu-comedic-drama except mom, wife, social worker. This blog wasn't initially public and it was never meant to be, but now that it has - become - something - I have to take a breath and let it go. All I know is what is right NOW, and what is NOW is telling me that my voice matters, it has a purpose, and it resonates with others who are fighting internal battles because of external ones. Those people are what motivate me to continue to say the unthinkable. All day I tell people "Be real. Assert yourself. Take care of yourself. Stand up for yourself. Do what you need for you." I gotta practice what I preach. My high road is honesty, however brutal.
I found myself obsessed with the complaint emails, so I did what I have learned to do, which is to turn to someone experienced and who could offer some tried and true experienced advice. I turned to the self dubbed "Queen of Hate Mail" local columnist and role model, Janice Harvey, of Worcester Magazine, who was so kind as to reassure that her hate mail bag overfloweth and remarked "I always say I'd rather provoke than soothe." Now that is my kind of lady. There is no yin without yang, comedy without tragedy, and opinion without an assho....oh wait, wrong cliche - opinion without an opposing one. You know you've made it when you've affected someone to the point they take the time out of their busy day to sit, formulate and type a complaint. I've provoked. My ambivalence kicks in because I'm also sad when it appears someone misses the message of what I's trying to say, but I should know that comes with the territory. Next up, I'll ask Madonna or Lady Gaga what it's like to be persecuted for their art.
I'll fight for my kids, plan, schedule and attend all meetings and appointments, be presentable and reasonable but probably have a a slight gleam of crazy in my eye that I can not control. I'll go to work, do my job(s), and parent my kids without breaking into hysterics. HOWEVER, it is my prerogative to write how I feel and what I think, and this forum gives me a place to do so, the place where I say all the things I strangely never say out loud. I've found the only way to get off the hamster wheel in my head is here - I let it out, am relieved, and go about my business like a regular lady. You'd be surprised how quickly I forget my posts after I write them, it's part of the coping called 'compartmentalizing.' I vent here, feel better, and it's gone.
I received a message on facebook from a casual high school friend I have seen regularly for the past year and a half, both coincidentally and while planning our high school reunion.
One of my biggest concerns was how my clients would feel, if the article would change their opinion of me and therefore our therapeutic relationship. Surprisingly, I've only had a few mention it to me. One of my teens told me it "validated me" as a therapist, and an adult said "Well, you don't go to a priest for marriage counseling!" They felt reassured to know that the person helping them was also a person who had dealt with their own life struggles and pain.
It was amazing to me how clients, even when they have known you for years, think that your life is perfect. Another client had worked with me for years said, surprise in her voice, "I had no idea you were going through that!" Good, then I had been doing my job, which is not about my issues, but theirs.
Another f-bomb complaint....