Friday, October 19, 2012

I love my life.

I wrote Friday's post on Sunday, as I was having a lazy day, which inevitably turns into a "feel sorry for me" day. It was a rather narcissistic, whiny post about the rudeness of what is really an insignificant comment frequently made to me which really says more about the people saying it than it does about me. But I digress. I had scheduled it to run 7:30 am on Friday.

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.


  1. Very nice post. I don't know if it would fit on a shirt, but when I am having a crappy day, I always think to myself "Someone is worse off than me" and that usually brings me back to reality. Heather

  2. Such an insightful post Cara, I'm really glad you shared this. I'm with Heather, I try to remember no one has it knocked, everyone is fighting their own battle in this world.

  3. Great post Cara. I've held for a long time that every person with Downs is a miracle, and we ought to treat them as such. Thanks for spreading the word about the 21 for 31 challenge.

  4. Cara this video and post brought tears to my eyes, I can sometimes judge people with down syndrome for moving too slowly, talking too slowly, not understanding what they are saying but this message really brings it home "I'd rather be slow to learn than slow to love" Wow just remarkable, I will share this on my blog!


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