I’m not shy. In fact, on the surface I’m probably guilty of too much blabbing and oversharing. (Duh – I have a personal blog, right?)
On certain topics, I’ll gladly pull my soapbox out of my back pocket anytime…and probably forget to pack it back up soon enough. This was both my strength and weakness in corporate politics, depending on the integrity and ego of the room.
However, at the same time, I deeply value my privacy and family walls. Thus, the decision to write anonymously came quite easily.
As I thought about what I hoped to share on this blog, I knew that I would self-censor way too much if our crazies were out there as a peep show for personal, business and community acquaintances. I would worry about hurting someone’s feelings or unintentionally harming important relationships – either present or future. Not only would it hurt my brain to have to think through the reactions of specific readers to everything I post, it probably would result in some incredibly boring writing. Nobody wants that!
Still, I have recently shared my secret identity and URL with a few close friends and family members…and some have encouraged me to go public. They think I’d benefit from talking more about my story. I appreciate the sentiment, guys, but NO THANK YOU.
You see, I am quite fortunate to have a close network of special needs moms with whom I can laugh, cry and share ideas. I have discovered another wonderful, close-knit community of like-minded, special needs parents on Twitter – even though they don’t even know my real name. If you know someone newly diagnosed or have ideas to share, by all means, here’s my phone number. And as for helping others and teaching tolerance and inclusion: Trust me, this family can’t go out in public without spreading “awareness.”
I really don’t think I could take the extra “support,” judgment and sympathy that would result from acquaintances knowing our baggage. I mean what would you say to me after a particularly ridiculous post? Or if you know you’re guilty of 8 of the Top 10 Things Not To Say To a Special Needs Mom? Awkward! I would rather not put any of us in that situation.
A few other considerations:
- My children’s safety. Creepy people are out there, and my children are vulnerable and DAMN cute. I’m not going to make any introductions!
- Their right to privacy. The internet does not have a delete or rewind button. I certainly can overshare myself if I choose to do so, but what if a future employer or a friend’s parent Googles my kids? Is it really fair to them to have all this out there for others to prejudge them? Or avoid them because they have a wackjob mother?
- This is kind of like my diary. Have you published yours? Of course not. You put a padlock on it and later shredded it. Right?
If you still have counterpoints for everything above, that’s fair. But here’s something that is non-negotiable. My son is 11. He knows how to use a computer. And he knows his mother is a writer. Not only does the thought of him stumbling upon and reading this make me wince, cringe and hide, but he has specifically asked me NOT to write about him.
A couple of years ago, he looked over my shoulder and caught a Facebook status update I’d written with his name in it…documenting some cutesy thing he said (probably elicited Aws from half of my “friends” and eye-rolls from the others). My son was horrified.
It objectively wasn’t anything particularly embarrassing but, to him, I was Kitty Kelley. He begged me never to write about him again, and I’m pretty sure he hasn’t forgiven me for it. Two years later, he can still quote the status update AND says he hates Facebook and thinks it’s absolutely ridiculous to share things like that with others (smart kid).
So please don’t tell him I told you that story.
And if you do know who I am, you are part of the secret circle of witness protection. I’ll fundraise and advocate for autism awareness. I’ll openly discuss doctors, therapies, schools and diagnoses with strangers in waiting rooms. I am not ashamed of who we are. But for now, I cannot publish my byline on something this personal and permanent.
Thank you for understanding and respecting My Whac-A-Mole Life.