No, that doesn’t quite sound like Vogue does it. At the start of 2016, I didn’t make any new year’s resolutions as I was still stuck in my big fat think about everything, including about this blog and its purpose, for me, for others, if it has any at all.
WordPress does a really nice thing at new year, you get a little customised presentation highlighting key stats about your blog, helps focus the mind for the year ahead.
My report wasn’t that informative as it was so skewed by the phenomemonenon of that poem.
The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 570,000 times in 2015. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 24 days for that many people to see it. The busiest day of the year was March 18th with 58,385 views. The most popular post that day was I Stand Quietly.
Never going to pull an epic like that out of the bag again.
Time to settle back into DNH being the treading-water-just-above-lowbrow journal of a fat, hairy, insomniac, middle aged, suburban housewife as she is drawn, increasingly sweating and sleepless, towards the event horizon of menopause and invisibility.
Sporting the odd socially-poignant and thoughtful opinion about her fellow humans, immediately undermining any value it had with her 15-year-old boy’s sense of humour (matches her 15-year old boy’s facial hair). Hashtag mumsdobumflufftoo.
Do I demean myself with the tits ‘n’ farts-related stuff? Does it undermine the messages about autism rights, equality, society that I want to convey? Or is it that real life ‘warts and all’ juxtaposition that works, that adds impact? (Here’s vainly hoping.)
Interestingly it’s the more irreverent boobs and bugger-off posts that I write that tend to receive the most ‘Likes’ and comments, it’s the more serious and thoughtful stuff that tends to get shared and retweeted… all very Jekyll and Hyde to try and analyse.
Can I realistically indulge my puerile side and knowingly disgust people with “my life in full HD” stories of how my filthy little girl dog chomps my other dog’s poop straight out of his bottom literally whilst he is still doing it (yes she still does, awful, gags it down, this is a regular feature in the Dirty, Naked and Happy day, me screeching up the garden at the dirty rat bag eating something unacceptable)…
…and then a few days later attempt an impassioned argument about how making public spaces disability-friendly is not really very much about ramps (which it’s not) and get it taken seriously enough?
Since deciding to consciously try my best to create awareness and debate about neuro-difference, diversity, rights and discrimination, I am suddenly a bit worried about showing my funny in public.
Er, hello? Earth to DNH? I am not exactly Frankie Boyle, I know that, but…
I enjoy reading blogs from disability and neurodiversity rights campaigners, I am motivated by their considered, enlightening and challenging ethos and logos; but I suppose I’m already signed up to the cause with a foot firmly on the bandwagon.
I’m not sure how much mainstream penetration they will ever achieve. It might not be right but if a bit of humour, or celeb glamour, or whatever didn’t help a cause hit home with the masses then why Comic/Sports Relief?
With no disrespect, those blogs are often without the humour or pathos, the light or shade, of more general “my weird family and life” blogs, and I don’t rush back to them as often as others that mix up seriousness and silliness…
…which I suppose is my answer to all of that, we’ll see.
The other thing that has been plaguing me is an increasingly acute situation of disabled adult bloggers challenging parent (of disabled child) bloggers for discussing details of their children’s lives, diagnoses, behaviours and challenges without their explicit permission, or even with their permission, citing abuse of privilege, and ultimately a huge betrayal of their children’s right to privacy.
It’s summed up perfectly in this blog post: Privacy vs Popularity by Amy Sequenzia, a non-speaking Autistic, multiply disabled activist and writer, whose writings are a huge influence on me… if you want to learn more, a good place to start is to search Twitter for #CrippingTheMighty.
The Mighty is a media website full of stories from disabled people (and their parents) with the strapline “We face disability, disease and mental illness together.”, I have contributed in the past. I won’t do so again.
When this concept first really hit me last Autumn, I felt pretty lousy. By Amy’s definition, I Stand Quietly GUILTY. I was feeling pretty dumb, dumbfounded and unsettled.
Worse, over the following months, some pretty disgusting and abusive behaviour from many of the parent bloggers towards those disabled adults ensued and is ongoing. The Mighty have responded very badly towards their disabled critics too.
It may have mostly happened in a “special needs” backwater of the internet but it rocked me, and many I care about, to the core. Some of the things that these parents have said has been horrific. I cannot do anything but agree that they do not have their children’s best interests at heart.
I’m still processing how I feel.
I have never written about my daughter for popularity or kudos. That’s why I write about my boobs, moustache and shit-filled dogs (and aspects of life, marriage, motherhood that I find funny that are mostly common to all).
I do feel that once I have a captive audience, I do want to try and express what it’s like to be the Mummy of someone a bit ‘different’. I do it in the hope that it opens eyes in a good way, not the whole inspiration porn way, and sets in motion changes that will allow my little person to move into adulthood in a more inclusive society. I don’t want anyone’s pity for anything other than my horrific and undeserved facial hair.
Whilst I don’t list our personal details on this blog, ‘I Stand Quietly’ has led to an involvement with the NAS, and me campaigning more publicly, so you could join the online dots via Twitter and JustGiving and Facebook and track me down on LinkedIn, work out who my husband is, and probably identify my daughter. Weirdos: no need to actually test that, thanks.
This is the case after many, many hours of soul-searching and debate with my husband, we’ve considered and assessed everything we do since ‘I Stand Quietly’ went viral; all decisions about publicity that include my daughter are openly discussed with her (e.g. a recent request for a contribution from a women’s weekly magazine, in that case, she said no, she didn’t like the sound of it, I didn’t do it).
I don’t feel that this is an issue that is specific to the disability community, there are scary snarky-to-the-point-of-spite-filled over-sharing Mummy bloggers all over the internet with all sorts of kids, we’re Kardashian-loving, Big Brother watching, Reality Consumers sucking it up, encouraging each other into shaming everyone and everything from our dogs and ex-lovers upwards. We love an injured serviceman, a cat dragged out of a river, embarrassing bodies and more and more…
That’s all got a little bit too complicated and serious. I’m in the middle of trying to pluck up the courage to give you a full frontal of my funny!
Alas, the moment has passed… another day, another blog post and I might get it out.
For now, with her express permission, two of my daughter’s favourite pictures off of t’internet:
She is now ROFLMAO hysterical. That fruit didn’t fall far from the tree, did it.