Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Experiences . . .

When I was young I was very shy. I never expressed my own opinion and I rarely spoke up in a group. I did however have a strong penchant for non-conforming. I liked things that others thought were crazy and I didn't care what others thought about it. I enjoyed being different and I always looked for clothes, books, and music that was definitely not mainstream (hello! I have pink hair at 39 years old!)

When I was in college I started developing my own voice, but it wasn't until I was about 22 years old that I developed the ability to express what I really thought. I had a friend named Angie who brought me out of the shell that was Sheri into a woman who could express her mind and give you her opinions. I became comfortable enough with who I was that I could let people know. This strained a relationship that I had, but it was in need to straining.

Starting in high school I had a friend I was close to. She was pretty, popular and vivacious. Everyone loved her. She grew up in a home that was very strict and protective. She rebelled. We remained friends through college and got our first apartment together. We lived together for 4 years. She was horrible to me. Even though she was younger than me she spoke down to me. She never touched the house, I cleaned everything including her awfully messy bedroom. I did most of her laundry. Her boyfriend basically lived with us, ate our food, used our toiletries and never paid one red cent. When he was working she had various other friends who would "stay over". Everyone raved on how gorgeous she was. I never thought she was pretty. I saw the ugly side of her. She was selfish and mean and disloyal. She lied and manipulated to get what she wanted from who she wanted. As I look back on that time of my life I am embarrassed that I took all that for so long.

I think it was like I was living in domestic abuse situation (to a much lesser extent). I couldn't really see it for what it was until we parted ways. Her sister moved in with me and I was horrified at the things she told me. It turns out all along that all the immoral and hateful things she was doing she was telling the stories to her family as if I was doing them. I truly feel it was a way to cleanse her conscience of her activities. I was sickened. It only took about a month for her sister to learn the truth.

This cemented me into a person who was unafraid to tell people what I think. I have no tact. If I think something it comes out of my mouth. I think this helped me be a better advocate for Dustin. I was able to not only express his needs, but make people understand what we are dealing with. I am able to tell the schools that what they are planning is not going to work. I am able to tell the public that my child is different. I am able to deal with stares and gawking with truth. I am able to speak out against the evils of drinking while pregnant. I have a voice. I have found a platform, it is finding my child's needs and trying to assure there are fewer like him.

This leads me to today. Well, not so much today, as lately. Lately, I have been finding myself at war with my initial response to things. I find someone posting something that trips my trigger and my initial response is "Oh, give me a break!" and yet I find myself tempering my response. I am learning to think about what others may be experiencing first. I am learning that not everything we write is all inclusive to our home experiences. I don't always know the whole story when we read a venting blog post. I don't always know their backstory and their experiences that made them who they are today. I have found myself becoming . . . wait for it . . . nicer!

I am not sure if it is age, or just growth that has made me less cynical and less quick to respond, but whatever it is, I like it. I think it has a lot to do with education. You blogging friends have educated me that not only am I not alone on this journey of raising special kiddos, but I don't know it all. I have found myself giving others the benefit of the doubt far more often than I used to. I am also realizing that it makes me a happier and way more pleasant person. I like that person so, thank you.

What is your blogging experience, has it changed you? How?


FosterAbba said...

I don't think my blogging experience has really changed me, only because I have a lot of experience with online communities that pre-dates the Internet.

What it has done is given me an outlet, a voice, and a way to connect with other people.

MomInTheTrench said...

Why, methinks you are growing in love. Love always hopes (the best in others).

I'm working on that too. I got way too cynical.