At 9:15 pm Monday, I knew that blog post wasn't the message I wanted to broadcast about my life.
Did you know October is Down Syndrome Awareness month*? I'm sure many of you are aware of it through the 21 for 31 blogging challenge - an initiative that raises awareness of the extra 21st chromosome that develops in 6000 children born in the US each year. This challenge not only sheds light on a frequently stigmatized syndrome, but also treats blog readers to daily posts for the whole month of October.
I had navigated to a blog partaking in this 21 for 31 for my daily dose of amusing anecdotes and touching photos mixed with a sprinkling of philosophy. I initially skimmed over the lead video embedded in the post. Despite being somewhat of a technophile, I am not into vlogs or video clips. But the title of the post stuck in my head: "I would rather be slow to learn than slow to love:" a quote from the video. In a very uncharacteristic move, I clicked play.
Julie Tennent's desire isn't simply to raise awareness for a syndrome which she loves, as it makes her unique. The message emblazened across her shirt, across her website and across her smile is simple: Julie wants us to know she loves her life.
Julie's enthusiasm is infectious to say the least. However, lingering behind each sentence, you know she has faced adversity. "[My grandfather] said that when people make fun of me, it's because they are missing something, not me." While literally true, and an amusing turn of phrase, it highlights the truth: Julie faces the curious and dark side of human nature, likely a much cruel side than any of us see that regularly. While I sulk on my couch, fretting over offhand comments and backhanded compliments, Julie continues to love her life.
It's a good thing Blogger has a "delete" button. I do not have a shirt like Julie's (available for sale here) to clearly state the meaning of my life, or even the message of this blog. But every post I write, and every day I live sends a message out to the world. And for that reason, I don't want to dwell on what others say about me, but rather focus on what I am saying to others.
If you had one message you had to share with the world (and it had to fit on a shirt!), what would you say?
*In the States. Canada's Down Syndrome Awareness week is the first week in November.