On occasion, I will have a little talk with myself about what I want this blog to be about. (Beyond whining about things like crib sheets and the sizing at Forever 21, of course). As much as I love to regale others with embarrassing tidbits of my daily life, I do want to put this space towards something meaningful from time to time. I’ve been teaching a new class this semester . . . one on the impact of diversity on the psyche. One of the assignments I’ve given each student is to write a personal exploration of their own diversity issues, and then read it to their classmates. It has been amazing how much empathy and understanding has been gained from this exercise. Perhaps more than any lecture I could prepare, the students are learning sensitivity by hearing the stories of others.
I think this is so true in blogging. I can think of many times my views have been stretched by reading the experience of others. I can think of times that I have been insensitive and have been called out. There was a time two years ago that I joked about Jafta being “ready for the short bus” because of some ugly shoes. A mom of a special needs child told me how hurtful that was, and I never forgot it.
I can also remember comments here that dismissed my own experience . . . that basically indicated, “you are the one with a different family, but why should we all have to care?” I still feel that sting.
I think that at a surface level, most of us want to be compassionate and sensitive to others. But I do think that certain barriers (lack of exposure, tolerance, defensiveness, etc) can ruin the best of intentions. If only we could peel back the layers to our humanity, and really see where the other is coming from.
This is what I want to try, in this space, a couple times a month. I’m starting a series called “What I Want You To Know”. It is, quite simply, a place for you to share your story, and the sting that you want other people to be more sensitive of. Maybe you are a single mom tired of the assumptions, or a mom of an autistic child who wants more understanding. Maybe you are an interracial family. Or a same-sex family. Maybe you work. Maybe you homeschool. Maybe your kid is sick . . . really sick. Maybe you are Mormon. Or Muslim. Or decided not to breastfeed. Or can’t get pregnant. Maybe you are depressed.
I want you to tell us – what do you want us to know about your particular circumstance? What is that burning thing that you wish people would “get”?
And then I want us to collectively reach across this little campfire of the blogosphere and hear each other. We don’t have to agree. We just have to listen.
I’m going to try to post someone’s story once a week. If you have one to share, shoot me an email.