The ability to perceive things in their actual interrelations or comparative importance.
I have been reluctant to write anything either here or on Mom Nation for the last few weeks. My last few posts brought out some strong emotions in a few people and some of the comments made either directly to me or indirectly and very passive aggressively on various social media platforms gave me my first taste of the dreaded 'trolls'.
And although I heeded the advice of many a blogger who has walked that bridge before me and did not feed the trolls, I would be lying if I said that the comments that got personal, the ones that questioned my integrity, my compassion and my right to say what I mean and mean what I say, well... they got to me.
Now don't get me wrong, I knew when I wrote that particular post that what I had to say might make some people uncomfortable. I am not a subtle woman, never have been, and never will be. I do not like to play games or mince words (I am way too old for that!). I did appreciate that my words made people think, that they did indeed illicit an emotional response and that perhaps they made some people look at themselves or others in a different light, be it good or bad.
I love a lively debate as much as the next person and these days, what better way is there to connect online and discourse than within the "blogosphere". A blog post is the starting point and the comments are the conversation. I truly do love that about this medium!
And also, it can totally suck! People can hide behind pseudonyms and anonymous comments. They can completely miss the point of a post and forget to click on the links to get the whole story or background information needed to understand what is being written and why. They can have knee-jerk reactions, spurred by their own feelings of resentment or guilt or regret or what-have-you THAT HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH what was written by the blogger and they send out into the universe words, tweets or comments, that are personal attacks and that live on in perpetuity.
This whole aspect of blogging, and social media in general, the part where it gets ugly, really makes a person rethink why they are doing this, why they are putting themselves out there for all the world to see and read.
And then comes some perspective for (and from) the writer. In this case, me.
If you had asked me two years ago if I considered myself a writer of anything, I would have given you a funny look and said, "Uh, no, NOT at all!" When the Natural Urban Mama blog was started in 2009 it was a struggle for me to write anything. And to be perfectly honest, I had not really written anything of substance since my university days in the late 1990's, and what I was writing then was mostly scientific in nature (yes, I once had aspirations of being a lab/research geek).
It wasn't until I was invited to participate in the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival of Blogging in the Summer of 2010 and had to write a post a day for 14 days about my nursing experiences and thoughts and advice about breastfeeding that I really started to find my writing 'voice'. I realized then what blogging is about.
It is about telling a story. My story.
And what I found was that my story resonated with others. People started commenting on my posts, asking me questions, thanking me for sharing and in turn sharing my posts with others. And that felt good.
Here is the thing...I became the parent I am and by extension the parenting advocate I am very organically . I did not 'plan' to do a lot of the parenting practices that I now think are very important and yes, even essential in our world and definitely in our household. I was not a cloth diapering mama, I did not have a ridiculous baby carrier collection, let alone a babywearing business. And I had planned on breastfeeding for 6 months max!! Oh, how these little beings we bring into the world change us...
And so I began telling my story and sharing my passions and my experiences and my learnings here on my blog.
And more and more, my story has evolved, as have I as a person...and a mother, a business owner and a writer.
I blog for me, to get my thoughts about life and parenting out of my head and onto the screen. To make these thoughts and ideas more clear to me and perhaps to others too. It is a very public journal of sorts!
I blog for my readers and customers. I want to share my experiences. I want others to learn from my mistakes and my triumphs. I want to share my expertise and educate others about the things that I am passionate about like babywearing and breastfeeding and natural childbirth and cloth diapering and elimination communication and gentle discipline. Parenting practices that, believe it or not, can be done without trading in your designer boots for a pair of Birkenstocks and signing up for your Hippie-Mom Card.
I blog for a cause. What is that cause you ask? I blog for women. For mothers, for girls, for daughters, for wives, for women of all colours, creeds and yes, parenting 'styles'. I write to empower others to find their own voices, to live their dreams, to own their choices in life and live without regret. To be the kind of people they want their children to be.
I don't believe in hiding behind a facade of perfection. I don't believe in striving for a life/work balance just to be constantly disappointed and exhausted. I don't believe in being a fake friend or pretending that we all must get along just for the sake of appearances. I don't believe in living with regret or allowing negativity to permeate my head space or my online space!
I was in Canmore this weekend for my sister-in-law's wedding. Canmore is my happy place, where I witness magic and majesty at every turn and where I can just stop and breath and appreciate all the beauty that is around me. We took the kids to our favourite tea shop for lunch and on our way out I saw this card.
And it hit me to my core....
It was as if the universe was speaking to me and about me.
THESE are the things that I strive for in my life. How I choose to live and how I want my children to live too.
This is perspective to me and what matters and why I will not let the noise of a mere handful of people, drown out my inner or my outer voice!