In Case I Forget to Say Thank You

 

Facebook is a strange human experiment in friendship.

In some ways it really shines. It keeps me in touch with family members, who I may otherwise have let too much time pass without contact. It keeps me in the loop of my friends from Illinois since moving back to Michigan (and with the ones who have also spread elsewhere throughout the country and world). It allows me to meet new people from all walks of life and make connections that were never before possible.

It also changes the natural course of things as we knew it. If you are of a certain age, that is. Suddenly friends who had drifted out of our lives are there again. Which is great….and weird. Because some of these familiar strangers, whose children I have never even met, know some of my deepest secrets. Some of these now casual acquaintances once knew me better than I knew myself, and it went both ways. You know who you are.

And then there are the misunderstandings and expectations of each other. Some people like to share in this type of platform, and others do not. Some people like to watch it all unfold from their secret little corner. Some of us take risks, seek approval, or hold our own approval up as some kind of prize to be won. Some of us care, and others- not so much. 

I have had a good experience with social networking. I take risks- I write this blog. I share it on my personal Facebook page to be judged. And that was not an easy decision. If it were not for the supportive strangers I found in the online autism community, I certainly would not have made that leap.

I have to admit that I am not the greatest friend. In my heart, I may be, but I am terrible at maintaining friendships the way I should. I have a lot of creative friends, and occasionally it will hit me just how unsupportive I have been. And it isn’t as if I haven’t been paying attention or thinking how talented all my friends are, because I really do pay attention. It’s just easier to think about things than to act on them. I think a lot of people are pretty amazing, but I suspect they have no idea I feel that way.

I know it works the other way, too. So I want to say thank you to everyone who has been supportive- in the most obvious ways, and in secret. Thank you for the emails, the likes, the shares, and the positive comments. Thank you to the two hundred others who click on my ramblings regularly without comment. The ones who simply read and don’t unlike me after they have read it- your statistics warm my heart.

Sure, there are probably personal Facebook friends who make fun of me. There are always people who struggle with support of others and like to cast judgment. For whatever reasons. There are friends who just aren’t interested, too. I know I am not everyone’s cup of tea, and I am okay with that. But they have kept quiet about it so far, so I am thankful for even them. Because this, too, has exceeded my initial hopes.

Sharing your story and thoughts publicly is both enjoyable and really hard. You put it out there, and some people will care. Some people won’t. And some people will pretend not to notice at all because they don’t want to care. You learn something about yourself, and sometimes you learn something about your friends. But it’s unfair to let your ego set unrealistic expectations for either of you. In the end, this is just a tiny (not so secret) corner that exists for me and anyone who cares enough to participate- in any way they want.

There are no rules here.

I don’t know why writing about Teghan and our life felt necessary, but it did. Part of me wanted to connect with others who were like me. So many autism blogs seem to be written by people who don’t think like me at all, or who don’t have children anything like Teghan. I figured, if I put it out there- maybe those kindred spirits would come. And they have.

Part of me wanted to explain what Teghan was like and what we were going through to our friends and family who had no idea. Because we hadn’t even told them Teghan had autism, or how severe it was. It seemed strange to make some kind of announcement, so we didn’t. Then it was as if I was living out some kind of Facebook lie every time I shared stories and pictures that ignored the fact completely. And I hate explaining it because describing Teghan can be so complicated. I thought maybe if they already knew, when we all got together everyone would just get it. And they do get it.

 

I’m the type of person who is wired for written words. When I feel strongly about something, I write down just how I feel about it before I can say it right. The words on paper always turn out better. I know the right answers in my head, but they aren’t going to come out that way if I just blurt it out. So sometimes I am quiet when I don’t want to be. Blogging is a great world for people like me. It may be in my nature to perform this way. I am not the most outgoing girl in the world, but I can do this. Much like I can write and perform songs in front of people and love it. I’m a weirdo like that.

So I just wanted to say thank you to anyone who takes the time to read what I have to say. And I am sorry if I have neglected my friendships, or have forgotten to say how incredible some of you are. Thank you, to new friends and old friends, for visiting our little corner of the world.

 

15 thoughts on “In Case I Forget to Say Thank You

  1. You will always be my cup of tea (or hot chocolate, diet Coke, or good beer) I miss you and your brain and I’m always glad to see something new from you because it’s a little like talking to you. Only less nefarious. Way less nefarious. Basically, I’m real crumby at maintaining friendships too, but I miss you and I love you and one day we will be successful schemers. You can thank pregnancy hormones for all this butt kissery.

    • I already know pregnancy hormones make you bi-polar, Lacey 🙂 I love you and miss you, too. Thank God for Facebook. You are one of the very few people in this world who I know will always get my jokes. We would have already been successful schemers if it weren’t for the fact that we have to narrow down so many brilliant plans. So many….

  2. Lots of familiar sentiments here: not maintaining friendships, living the Facebook status “lie”…but mostly…you sing in front of people? Video, or it never happened!

      • That video probably would get out. This is why you should think long and hard about singing at weddings.

        On second thought, I might like seeing how good I was at keeping a straight face when Jeff was forced to look at me and exclaim (in song) that I was, indeed, exceptional.

  3. I have been following your blog for awhile because you have the uncanny ability to make me smile with tears streaming down my cheeks. It is so refreshing to see someone with the same twisted sense of humor as myself and to watch Teghans progress…it keeps me hopeful for my son Mikey and I love the quirks they have in common! Keep up the good work because quite frankly I need you and coffee to properly start my day!

    • Thank you so much for your kind words. I love hearing from others who share my twisted sense of humor and love for coffee 🙂

  4. Hey Jenny….somehow i just found your blog! Glad I did, excited to read it. After just reading this one I am intrigued for sure. You are a great writer! I love your points about social networking. It’s good for the most part but also kind of freakishly voyeuristic. I’ve had good experiences also, but I can see where it can take a creepy or bad turn (especially with teenagers/20 somethings). I’m happy it exists now but kind of glad it didn’t school when i was in high school.

    • Thanks, Niccole. Yeah, I am not sure what it would have been like in high school, either. Not that it matters; I suspect my parents would have limited my usage to like 10 minutes, and I certainly wouldn’t have been able to carry a smartphone around. My Facebook page would have been sad….

      Thank you for visiting. Daydreams has a Facebook page, too 🙂

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