It’s been a month or so since I last wrote here, and what a month it has been. I started writing here 6months ago for two reasons.
I have always wanted to write, but never had anything to say. In the past, my writing read exactly like you would expect from someone who sat down with a clean white writing journal, freshly bought “writing pen”, probably a glass of wine or cup of coffee, perfectly positioned ashtray and pack of rollies (as was my want back in the day….).
All the gear but no idea.
I would set myself up to write aaaand……nothing……just contrived, scripted crap that was painful to read back. Now I can write because have something to say, something I actually want to share. Something I believe in and believe that it needs to be shared. I write to answer the secret questions people have about my life but never feel comfortable to ask. I write to demystify, to normalise, to make it ok to talk to me about this stuff because it just is what it is…. I write to make sure Wade lives in a more understanding and compassionate world because people know more about what Down syndrome is.
The second reason I write, is to help others who are starting on a similar path to us.
To share my story for the new parents who are going through the rollercoaster of prenatal testing or have just been told their newborn baby has Down syndrome. I write for them like I wanted someone to write for me when I spent all those hours trawling the Internet during my pregnancy, hoping to find someone’s story that sang to me. I write to show that even though there are hard times, there are wonderful times too and that being a parent was always going to be tough gig anyway! (I’m yet to meet a parent who says how easy and stress-free parenting is when your child has the “desired” number of chromosomes)
And since I started to write, I haven’t stopped. I’ve had topics I want to discuss and stories that just fall out of me. I have thoroughly relished the idea that my little story is reaching out to people all over the world. I sit here reading lovely, encouraging comments and I imagine the wave of understanding and awareness sweeping the globe….. (Yes, I’m being facetious, in case you are wondering where the sudden wave of self-aggrandisement came from!)
But I never thought for a minute that I would actually get to help real people in the real world….for real. Or write….for money….in the real world….for real…..
And there, my friends, is the reason for my extreme case of writer’s block that I have experienced over the last few weeks. I have managed to land a job where I will be providing information and support to people who have recently been told their child has or may have Down syndrome. I will also be writing for their publications. I am effectively being paid to do what I set out to achieve when I started this blog and I am so incredibly excited and proud. But it has sent this blog into a bit of a tail spin…
I stand by everything I have written here, it’s my story, its from the heart and its true. I mean every word but it also comes with a certain understanding from the reader that this is MY story. Readers are welcome, make that encouraged to draw inspiration, information or seek understanding from what I write, but I also understand that not everyone will find what they are looking for here, or agree with my points of view. There’s also a chance that some people may not find me as funny as I do….anything’s possible. I expect that some of the anonymous, disembodied blips on my blog stats may leave here thinking I’m an idiot/delusional/idealistic…or whatever but I will never have to see their eyes roll or their shoulders slump or their bodies stiffen as I touch a nerve or espouse a point of view that clashes with their own.
But what if the people I am trying to help react like this to my story?
I got it into my head that I can’t help people if I’ve nailed my colours to the mast for all time. I thought I would be called out on things I have written in the past or accused of being hypocritical on some issues. I’ve been stuck on the fact that I don’t want my story to be inextricably linked to the organisation and my role within it but also, it will feel disingenuous if I completely ignore this huge new thing in my life which will have an enormous impact on what I learn and on my outlook from now on. I just don’t know what the future will hold.
The feelings I have been feeling lately have reminded me of the feelings I had sometimes back when I was pregnant. Paralysed by indecision and unable to rationalise a clear path ahead to the right decision. Feeling the enormous responsibility to make the right choices but not knowing what the right one is….and so I stopped writing. I took my time and I sat with my anxieties. I stuffed all the competing arguments into the jar in my mind, gave it a good shake, and waited for the right answer to bubble to the surface. And the one thing that keeps coming up is….to back yourself.
I have always ensured that everything I write here is balanced. I put a lot of effort into fully explaining myself so that I’m not taken out of context. I have attempted to tell my story without trying to tell anyone else what they should or must do. My approach has been to put it out there as honestly as I can and people can either find it useful or they won’t. As long as I am being factually correct, true to myself and without an agenda then I can’t go wrong.
And nothing has really changed…these are the attributes I will need for my job. I don’t need to be all things to all people but I do need to be able to fully explain my opinions if asked. I can do that. I can leave my personal story at the door if that’s what’s needed or I can bring it in and make it part of the help I provide if that’s what people want. I can back myself to be professional and supportive at work and still come home to write a desperate lament about the amount of food I am scrubbing off my walls during Wade’s latest exercise in expression of free will and use of the word No!….
Right…now I’ve got no more excuses…. Go get writing, woman.