I think probably everyone has read the I am Adam Lanza’s Mother post from Anarchist SoccerMom; if you haven’t you can find it here. This is what it made me think of: I was in the car with my mom when I was a teen. It was the old 1978 van my Grandpa Harold had given her, that was then given to my brother, and finally handed to me. I don’t remember what I was so angry about but it was something stupid that in no way warranted the response I chose to give my mother. I opened the car door as we were driving down a busy enough road and told my mother I was going to jump out, then I looked at the road speeding beneath us and I relished in how the pavement would feel upon contact with my body. She pulled me back in and I sullenly hated her for it for a very long time.
This picture was taken in between years of foster homes and specialized school classrooms and buildings for dysfunctional students. At one point custody was removed from my mother and given to the state. My mother spent time in a hospital after having a mental breakdown of her own while trying her best to get me the help I needed, and getting me to want it too.
I made the decision to have kids before I made the decision to fix my mental health, so the girls have had the lucky experience of growing up with a neglectful mother who passively hurt them during their most formative developmental years. It’s okay if you think that is monstrous, because it is. But remember that it does not make me a monster. When I finally did begin actively working on my mental health I used social media and my 365 photography blog to document every moment of it. I was honest and I admitted that I wanted to throttle the ever loving life out of my children sometimes. I invaded their privacy many times and I only began to realize that when my oldest daughter asked me after a particular stupid thing that she had done, “Are you going to go Facebook about it now?” Said with the proper amount of teenage sneer in the voice.
No, not anymore. I am sorry that I did before and I am sorry that I didn’t recognize how that felt to you. I was wrong.
Moving on, this lady read some of the other posts from Liza Long and wrote this in response. Some people feel Sarah Kendzior is right to call attention to the issue of privacy for our children, some people think she took the quotes out of context and therefore manipulated the emotional reaction of her readers for the purpose of discussing the issue of privacy for our children. I have had similar thoughts and when I was not medicated and not taking care of myself I would say them out loud. Those are painful things for developing children to have to hear. As I began teaching myself how not to do those things anymore my photography blog and my Facebook account became the safe place I needed to express my anger and frustration. Because never saying it is toxic, but saying it out loud to developing children is irresponsible and devoid of human caring on a very base level. I had to say it, and I had to say it to real people, so I did.
I recognize a lot of myself in what Liza Long wrote about on her blog, the very things being used to call into question her decision to share her story, and then start a media tour shortly after, which is a whole different post. The first step in taking control of my issues was taking responsibility for the things I had done when I was not the mother my children deserved and not the woman I deserved. Most people don’t even make it past that fucking step. It’s the hardest one of the whole goddamn stairway. So you take responsibility and then you make an action plan for how to fix it so it doesn’t happen again, which is the sincerest form of apology that exists.
This entire process is exhausting, and like Liza Long, I said the things I would have said to my therapist (if I had been insured at that time), to my network of friends that are spread around the world and accessible to me on Facebook and my blog. I use you selfishly my friends and you all stand by me, hold me accountable, and love me anyway. So thanks for that.
Sarah Kendzior wrote another piece responding to criticism that she has received from people. I can write about all the things I want to, but I must do it in a way that preserves my children’s right to privacy, which is what this particular issue is about.
Do our children have a right to privacy? Of course they do. Should parents exploit their children, Heaven is for Real anyone? Absolutely not. Does the fact that Liza Long is going on a book tour smack of exploitation. Yes. Do I know the reasoning behind her decision to first share her story ( and invade her sons privacy) and then go on a media tour? Nope. Will I ever? Most likely not. Does it matter? Yes, it matters because that is how we come to understand the decision she made, whether we agree with it or not. Without knowing the reasoning beyond what she does we only have speculation and speculation is always more on the negative side of the possible spectrum.
And then they posted a joint response that I love very much.
By the way, it’s the first snow day of the year and I haven’t wanted to throttle my kids even once. Yet.