What Now?

The big thing that’s been on my mind lately is where to go now, since that big, ugly blow-out. There’s been very little else, at least in regards to my blog. So I figure I might as well write about that, since that’s the thing on my mind.

I’m still frustrated and hurt, though it’s less acute now than it was when it was happening. A huge frustration for me is when people disagree with things I never said, but act like they are disagreeing with me. Luckily it’s not exactly SUPER common in my life (though I can think back to certain people who did this a lot), but it’s common enough and I find it PROFOUNDLY frustrating. I know at least part of it is my fault – sometimes it’s hard for me to be clear and sometimes I don’t spend as much time as I should making sure a post is clear to anyone, rather than simply who I imagine my audience to be. Sometimes I muck up my exformation and just assume that people will be able to fill in the blanks that I leave, because I think that it is so obvious that it goes without saying. Of course, blogging doesn’t work that way. Never think something is so obvious that it goes without saying.

And some of it is other people being well and truly awful, coming in with preconceived notions of what I meant and refusing to actually read my words they way they were intended and insisting on projecting their own issues onto me. This… probably shouldn’t surprise me. There is a lot of horribleness out there, and a lot of people are willing to engage in horrible behaviors regardless of whether or not they are horrible, and if a topic is sensitive enough people often have trouble because they have their own lenses they look at things through and if something doesn’t fit into that lens just right, they just blow up. Sometimes in hordes.

I don’t deal with that well. I’m sensitive. I’m also very unsure of how to respond. I mean, when I say, “blueberry pancakes don’t taste good to me” and then someone yells “HEY! Pancakes are nutritious! I disagree with you!” I get very confused. I wasn’t talking about the nutritional content of pancakes, what did I say that they are disagreeing with? I have yet to find a way out of that. If I say “um… I don’t think you understood what I was saying” I get accused of being whiny or acting like I believe they should just agree with me. If I get frustrated, people think I’m mad because they’re disagreeing with me and I clearly just can’t take disagreement. So more and more when that happens, I just back out of the conversation and try not to talk to those people anymore.

So… now what? I’ve done very little writing in the past several weeks (just this post, and the previous two that I posted) and I will admit, it’s been a load off my mind. Blogging is way more challenging than I ever really realized, and trying to push out two posts a week that are thoughtful and articulate and are saying something that I care about saying is hard. I have no idea how daily bloggers do it, I really don’t. As it is, the time I spent posting twice a week (and quite a bit of time before that) involved thinking about my blog every day, often for several hours a day. While the rewards have been great – a slowly growing readership, gradual increases in the amounts of comments I get (please never feel like you comment too much. as long as you aren’t hateful and awful, I LOVE comments. they help make all this writing worth it), the belief that I am helping a at least a few people out there. I am advocating, and I care about that. But with short but intense lashback, it’s become more difficult to see those rewards in the face of the effort I put in. I keep hoping this will change at some point, but right now it’s still difficult. It’s hard to try to advocate when my words are twisted and mangled and thrown back in my face.

In the meantime, I do still have 11 posts in my pending queue from before all this happened waiting to be posted, and at the very least I want to get those out there. I don’t want to quit – blogging is great and I like to write very much and I still hope to someday have many more followers – but, well, I’m not sure where to go from here. I’m not even sure how to continue. What if I’m just too sensitive to face the awfulness of the world? I’ve always been a wallflower, and even now I tend to stay on the edges. Putting myself out there and trying to make myself heard is incredibly difficult – I am not one of those charismatic people who seem to be able to make others listen, and on some level I just believe that I am not the kind of person who will ever be even a little bit known. I’m just me, not that special.

And, you know, if that’s what being known is like, do I really want it anyway?

So… I don’t know. I do think that if I do continue I’ll need to make some actual posting guidelines – something I had avoided because I kept telling myself I wouldn’t need them. Basically, they would say that if you’re going to disagree with me, do so respectfully. Write it out, let me know, maybe we can have a conversation about it. Maybe I’ll learn something, or maybe it’ll turn out that you thought I was talking about the nutritional content of pancakes when I was just trying to talk about my preferences for blueberries or lack thereof, and maybe we’ll just plain disagree with each other. Hatefulness, though, is just not gonna fly. And if people think hateful commenting counts as respectful disagreement, well, that’s their problem, not mine.

Still, there’s a lot of uncertainty. What do you think?



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4 responses to “What Now?

  1. I can only imagine how upsetting the backlash must have been for you, particularly the whole “words put in your mouth” aspect of things. Comment policies are probably a good idea… and, of course, it’s your home so you can delete comments as you wish (though, of course, without a policy or with one, that can sometimes get folks upset, too).

    I don’t have a great solution for the issue of talking in public like this, but I will say that your posts have been incredibly helpful to this (supposedly!) NT parent in understanding different aspects of my progeny and how my own perspective on things can prevent me from being able to communicate or listen effectively. You’ve made a difference, and I’d certainly miss reading your writing if you went silent!

  2. I love the blueberry pancake example. It’s exactly what seems to happen in conversations like that. Like… are we even talking about the same thing?

    I don’t have any solutions or bright ideas, but I like reading what you write no matter what form it takes.

  3. Leelu

    Thank you. I hope you don’t get too discouraged and quit writing. It’s nice to feel not alone out there. I, myself, do not have asperger’s but my son is in the process of being diagnosed with it. It has been an emotional time, not because of my son’s behavior, but because of everyone else’s reactions. I liked your previous post about the “broken” bit. I’ve gotten reactions that vary from denial to ignorance to accusations and it boils down to they feel that something is”wrong” with him. I just feel like screaming that nothing is “wrong” with him in their faces. A diagnosis of asperger’s is not a declaration of him being broken. Your blog has help keep me strong against the ignorance of others.

  4. Possum

    I was waiting to comment until I had something insightful to say but it’s not gonna happen.

    Just that I learn a lot from your blogs and I hope you continue. And I agree that policies would be a good idea, though I would attempt to define terms like “respectful”.

    Hoping you keep posting…