There are some nasty people on the internet.
Being a writer/blogger, I tend to share quite a bit of my life on the internet.
There are many people who don’t understand why writers’ go out of their way to pay for blogs, run Facebook pages, share their life events, etc.
I tend to look at is as Facebook on a much larger scale. I’m sharing the same things about my life, in a way, that many do with their personal friends on Facebook. However, I have a knack for writing. I enjoy writing.
Writing has given me this escape that’s not entirely explainable. It’s interesting, really, when you think about it: I type words out onto a screen and then share them with people in hopes that they resonate in some way.
For the most part, that’s exactly what happens: my words resonate with people. It may be a funny post about parenting, a serious post about body image, or just a post about how children’s craft kits are going to be the death of me.
Writing connects me to people, which is something that’s become a part of me. I cannot count the number of friends that I’ve made through typing away at this keyboard over the past couple years.
However, when you share your life with the world, you also open yourself up to criticism. Now, I’ll be frank in telling you that I’ve endured my fair share of criticism. I’ve been called everything from a “shit mother” to a “prostitute,” however the most recent message I got was about my child and it cut quite deeply.
Now, putting the above message aside for a minute, I have to add that while I share a lot about my life, I do not share ALL of my life. No writer does. Just as you have many facets to your life, some shiny and bright, others dark and gloomy—as do I.
I try to keep an even balance when it comes to the happy vs. not-so-happy moments that I share on my page because let’s be real here- no one’s life is sunshine and unicorns, and no one wants to read all happy stories because no one’s life is REALLY like that.
That being said, I am careful about what I share when it comes to my daughter. She is 8-years-old and she is on the brink of “I’m not sure if my mom is cool anymore” vs. “My mom is my best friend!”
There are many things that you do not know about me, my past, or that of my family’s.
Can I still tell you funny stories about my life, or write about my life without sharing ALL of it? Absolutely.
What I will tell you is that my Barb, my sweet “Barb Marley” is a magnificent kid.
Prior to her changing her name to “Barb Marley,” Haydan was very shy—-INCREDIBLY shy. She was timid and she didn’t stand up for herself when she needed to.
I remember taking her to gymnastics and watching her line up for her turn on the bars. She was in line and this girl continuously cut in front of her. I watched for five minutes behind the plexiglass as this girl would take her turn, walk back around to the line, cut in front of Barb, Barb would then walk to the end of the line, and then the girl would do it all over again. This happened about nine times until I started pounding on the plexiglass to Haydan trying to signal in body language that she needed to tell this kid to knock it off.
I asked her why she wouldn’t tell this girl to knock it off, and mostly, why she continued to walk to the back of the line each time this girl cut in front of her.
Her response? “I didn’t know what to say to the girl and I didn’t want to get into trouble. So, every time she cut in front of me, I figured that made it so I was cutting in front of everyone else behind me, so I thought I should go back to the end of the line again so the kids behind me didn’t think that I was cutting them in line when that girl kept cutting in front of me.”
If that doesn’t touch on my child’s character, allow me another example:
We have a homeless friend who lives at the gas station. My daughter loves him tremendously and is always at odds with the fact that he lives at a gas station. She saved up all of her money— all nine dollars— and gave it to me so “we could buy him a house.”
Now, when her name change came along, something else happened. “Barb Marley” (a.k.a. Haydan) got a boost in confidence. No, not a “split personality,” a BOOST IN CONFIDENCE– and both my husband and I welcomed it!
She was still the same kid that we knew and loved, but she felt more comfortable in her skin. Gone were the days of her comparing herself to her classmates, or wanting to have shoes like Sara from her class, or wishing for hair long because that’s what all the other girls did with her hair. In fact, she chopped all that hair off and dyed it like Rainbow Brite!
“Barb Marley” pushed the Haydan we knew at home into the real world too. She stood up for herself when needed, she learned that being HER everywhere (and not just at home) was not just okay, it was WONDERFUL.
My husband and I noticed such a shift in her confidence, as did her teachers at school. She was raising her hand to read in front of the class (something that she’s struggled with), she was making new friends, she was speaking up when questions were being asked in class– it was marvelous.
Was this all because of the “Barb Marley” name change? Probably not. I’m sure some of it had to do with her, our parenting, and the overall way that children progress in nature as they age.
However, the “Barb Marley” thing really did help. She was now “Barb” and everyone from family and friends to our Facebook friends on my SmashleyAshley page loved it.
Who would have thought a goofy name change would lift a kid up so much?
As parents, we want our kids to be confident (see: “flamboyant”) in who they are as little humans. It’s hard enough raising kids in this day and age; raising them to love themselves and feel confident with who they are is an entirely different challenge. To succeed at that is like winning a 500 mile marathon. If I could wish anything for my child, it would be that she is healthy and happy with who she is as a human being– and my daughter is just that.
This is MY life, this is MY child and there is never an acceptable time or place for someone to send another person a message like that.
I am sharing the 1% of my life with you all, and I enjoy sharing it. However, you don’t know the other 99%. You see highlights just as a camera reel catches moments from a vacation to France you may have taken. We don’t know what The Louvre smelled like or how tall the Eiffel Tower is in real life, just as you don’t know anything about my child and/or her behavior. You cannot watch a LIVE video on Facebook and use that to diagnose my child with a personality disorder, or know anything about my life once the camera stops rolling or my blog post ends.
I am proud of the girl that my husband and I have raised. I am proud of the father that my husband is and I am proud of the mother that I am. If you enjoy following my family along on our little journey, we are happy to have you here. However, if you feel anything like the lady who messaged me last night, please leave my page and don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya on your way out.
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