I read the blog The Women's Colony all the time. I love the blog. I read it every day. Even though I know there aren't new things posted every day, I go there to check. I think Mrs. G has a great sarcastic wit and her outlook on many things is realistic and funny. Short of having a physical place called The Women's Colony, this is her dream baby.
The Colony accepts submissions. Anyone with a keyboard, an email, and the ability to string two words together in decent english can submit what they choose. To me, that makes The Colony even more appealing. I had submitted this blog entry a while ago. I can go back and check dates, but I know it's been a couple of weeks at least. I received an answer, asking me to write something from my own perspective, without using the essay that I posted, and credited, to another author. So I did.
Keep in mind, I've never even had anything even remotely considered to be published on a blog that isn't my own. I have a very small readership. I don't even have one of those google reader site tracer things that tells me how the readers found me or where they come from. I think that lately, it's been more family and people I know who read here more than anyone else. I like that.
I received an email on Sunday letting me know that my submission was going to be published on Monday on The Colony in the Family Room. I thought that it would be the personal essay I had written. Very few people have actually seen that essay. Jason, my friend Jenn, and myself are the only ones I can think of that I've shared it with, other than the ladies at The Colony who I sent it to. What was posted was my original submission of my blog entry. The one that contained the essay that was credited to the other author.
I went to The Colony this morning, to check in as I usually do, to see what I may have missed. I know that some times I don't get the chance to read every page every day because I'm interupted by life here in the real world. My submission had been retracted. This leaves me feeling confused.
I need to say that I completely understand that The Colony is a private space. That Mrs. G and her team of ladies have absolute final say over what is posted there and what is not. Where I'm confused is on this point. If my submission was something that Mrs. G, or one of the other ladies (I have no way of actually knowing) didn't want posted, why was it posted to begin with?
All of that being said, I'm not going to stop reading The Colony. I understand that what I write may not be in agreement with everyone. I've come across times when it doesn't agree with my own family, Jason included in that. I understand that some topics are touchy, things people in "polite" society would dream of saying. I've written things that some would consider rude and crass and insensitive. I've shared intimate details of all aspects of my relationships with all the people around me.
In all of that, I've started writing about being a parent to a special needs kid. About the difficulties and challenges. How it makes ME feel to be the parent of this child. There is so much out there on the internet and in books and publications about how to parent kids like this. You are told to join support groups that have other parents of kids like yours. You are told of all the therapies for your kid and programs for your kid. You are guided to look at the best way to parent your child, and are expected to change how you've been doing things, even if the way you've been doing them has worked pretty well up to now, because you now have a kid that has specific needs.
However, it seems that NO ONE ever mentions how the parent feels while caring for this child. No one ever talks about the trials and tribulations. The self doubt, the anger, the fear, the hurt. All that come from JUST being the parent, but also being inflicted upon you by the child, on a constant daily basis. Apparently, to speak of this makes you "less" of the strong parent you SHOULD be. You are supposed to shut up and take it in stride. How you personally feel is not nearly as important as how you parent your child and help him/her succeed and overcome.
This leads me to ask, how can I be the best parent possible if I am disregarding my own feelings? Don't my feelings, don't my perceptions, doesn't my view of interaction affect how I parent? Why did no one ever tell me that I'll need my own therapist to be able to get through this? Why did no one ever say that there may be many many days where I feel like I've been beaten with a bat and I can barely function enough for myself, let alone all of those around me who rely on me to keep things together?
My posts about James are brutal and honest. There is so much that I don't share as well. Even I worry about how I, as a parent, will be perceived. There are things that, unless you are also a parent of a child with similar needs as James, are better left unsaid. They are hinted at, and if you experience those things personally, you understand them. You also have it understood that you are not alone. That I get it. I'm right there in the trenches with you.
When James becomes older, and if he were to read this blog, he would not be surprised by what I have shared. He already knows. As part of his therapy, as part of our learning to parent him, we talk candidly about feelings and reactions to others. It is supposed to help him learn, to make the connection between action and feeling. The things that I won't share here, I also won't share with him. I talk with Jason about them, I talk to my therapist. They are private thoughts and feelings.
All of that rambling to sum up this point. If I help just one other parent feel like they aren't out to sea without a life boat or vest, then that's good for me.