Happy FIRST Birthday to Dorothy Stronglove and Jest_Tu_Positive. Today is one year since I started sharing Our Journey with the world through this Blog and its corresponding FaceBook page. It is hard to believe it has been a year already. I cannot believe that the blog has had over 7,200 views, across 73 countries, in that time. I also cannot believe that there are currently 419 people and 139 pages following us on FaceBook, in 27 different languages. I am humbled and filled with pride all at the same time. I never dreamed that this adventure would become something so pivotal in Our Life, and reach so many people around the world.
The birth of Dorothy Stronglove and Jest_Tu_Positive was a way for me to combat all the negativity I was seeing and experiencing a year ago. It had only been 5 months since our eldest daughter’s diagnosis of Autistic Disorder, and we were struggling to find the right path for Our family. Between the people in our life who were attacking me about Our choices, and the angry blogs/pages I was finding online, I was feeling overwhelmed, confused, angry and lonely. A former friend helped me see why I was feeling like I did not belong in most of the Autism groups. Her words that made the light bulb go on were: “You are obviously not ready for all that recovery entails…” When I read those words, everything became clear. The pages/blogs I was following did not share my beliefs, and it left me feeling like an outsider. We do not believe our daughter needs to be recovered, cured, or fixed; we think she is exactly the person God intended her to be. I realized that I needed to find people/blogs/pages to surround myself with, who felt the same way. Although my former friend and I had to part ways, she was one of the people responsible for pointing me in the direction of Our current path, and for that I will always be grateful.
I figured the best way to find like-minded people was to put out there how I truly felt about everything. Thus Autism Proud began; while I was eager to share, I still wanted to protect my family’s privacy, which is why I write under a pen-name and use different names for the major stars in our life. Thankfully I had Marie supporting me, and proofreading my early posts; without her help Jest_Tu_Positive would never have come this far. Even with her edits and assistance, I look back at my early posts and they read as though I am defending Our views. Marie helped me take a lot of the negativity and anger out of my posts, by gently reminding me that for a person who was asking people not to judge others, I was doing just that. With her as my editor-in-chief, and all that I am learning in Al-Anon, my writing has evolved into something more positive and less argumentative/judgmental. Since starting Autism Proud I have found so many wonderful people/blogs/pages who feel the same way we do, and that has helped keep me on the positive side of the road as well. I will not say we agree on everything, because each person and their journey are unique, but I can say that I am learning to be a better me because of them, and I am extremely thankful to have found all these Au-Some people to share our journey.
Our journey is not always easy or simple; sometimes it is hard and more complicated than I ever imagined it could be. We walk in the bright sun some days, and others we are stumbling through the dark rain looking for shelter. Fortunately, most days are a happy medium between the two extremes, which makes for a colorful, Au-Some journey. We try not to take things for granted, and we strive to live in the moment, simply enjoying all the blessings we have in life. This past year Autism Proud has helped me grow as a person, wife and mother; you have all helped me become a better me, and I appreciate that more than words could ever express. I look to the next year with a child-like anticipation for all the wonderful possibilities.
In the coming year Jest_Tu_Positive will focus on Faith, Love, and Respect for ALL. I will attempt to promote unconditional acceptance of EVERYONE, regardless of ability. Most importantly I will be listening to Autistic Adults, to learn the best way to assist Beth in her journey. Autism Proud will cover all facets of our life, because although Autism and Al-Anon are big parts, there is much more to us than those two aspects. I will never pretend to know what is best for someone else, or tell another family what they should or shouldn’t do. I can only share Our family’s beliefs and journey, in the hopes that it touches another person and helps them feel a little less overwhelmed, confused, angry, or lonely. I pray that we all enjoy the coming year and make new friends, while walking on the rainbow path of life.
Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.