It struck me on Thursday evening as I found myself committing to the “31 for 21 Blog Challenge” that I was born to be an advocate. My mom believed from the time I was very young that I would be a lawyer when I grew up, based on my inquisitive nature (okay, “inquisitive” is probably too nice a word – it’s more like an “inquisition” nature). I’ve always been a feisty one, too. Born and raised in the deep South, of course it was instilled in me to be pleasant, polite, and accommodating, and I can and do choose to be all of those things most of the time. When I disagree with someone else, I try very hard to see things from the other person’s point of view. It may not change my opinion, but I have always felt that if I understood the “why” of things then I could often better deal with the “what”. When pressed, however, I can be direct, demanding, and hard as nails. I don’t want special treatment. I just want fair and decent treatment for me and mine.
Although I’m introverted by nature, one thing I’ve never had trouble with is being able to talk about that which I am familiar and/or passionate. Last summer, I gave a speech to a room of roughly 500 people, and after it was over, my friend who coordinated the event commented on how hard it was for her to believe that I was an introvert, based on how comfortable I was speaking to a crowd. It was easy for me because I was confident in my knowledge of the subject matter and because I felt strongly about the topic. Put me in a room full of strangers and expect me to make small talk, though, and I’m not quite as comfortable.
And then there’s the writing. I love to write. I love to pour out my soul into text, hoping that in some small way there will be someone who is affected by what I have to say. My writing is, first and foremost, a personal outlet, but I’m beginning to see that it is helping me to be a stronger advocate for my children and others like them.
I heard this week about the 4th Annual “31 for 21 Blog Challenge”. October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month and is the month that Buddy Walk events are held around the country. 31 is for the number of days in the month; 21 is for Trisomy-21 – the extra 21st chromosome that causes Down syndrome. The challenge is for people like me to blog every day in the month of October to raise awareness of Down syndrome (the need to raise awareness and understanding is critical, due to the shrinking population of people with Ds that has occurred with the widespread use of prenatal testing).
I have no idea if I’ll be able to blog for 31 straight days. It almost certainly won’t all be about Ds (gotta give equal billing to each kid!), but I’m going to try. Fully expect to see some photos thrown in here and there – a photo with a caption “counts”, right?