People often ask me when I’m going to write a book. It comes with the territory when you write a blog, I suppose. I write nearly every day, so it would seem like a logical next step. But my answer is the same every time. “I will write a book when I feel like I have to.”
When I started writing this blog, it was because I woke up one morning and was quite simply – and overwhelmingly – compelled to write it. If I didn’t put the words somewhere, my head was going to explode. Someday, I have a hunch, the same will happen with a book. It will simply present itself it and need to be written. (Whether it will need to be read will be a different story entirely.)
I have always been very happy writing here, in my (relatively) safe little corner of the world. I had never felt the need to venture beyond this amazing community. Until last week.
Last week, for the first time, I wrote something that I felt like I had to share beyond Diary’s audience. And I knew exactly where it belonged. So I took a chance.
I sent it to the Huffington Post.
Unless we count a letter that I wrote to Seventeen magazine when I was twelve, I had never submitted anything that I’d written to anyone before. It was nerve-wracking at best. But I needed to do it. So I did. And then I waited. And then checked my e-mail obsessively. And then waited.
By the time that I had officially convinced myself that I’d be lucky to get a very nice note saying, “Nice try, kid.” an e-mail popped into my inbox.
Thanks for sending this. We’d definitely like to run this on the blog, so if you could just send me a photo of yourself that we could use to create a headshot for you, as well as a title for the piece, we’ll get you set up.
A head shot? Right, cause I’m so the head shot kind of girl. I searched through our family photos. There was only one I could find in which I was far enough from the person next to me to isolate my head. Sorry, Luau, but you’re on the cutting room floor, babe.
I wrote a bio. It was harder than I thought. How would I introduce myself to people outside of these walls? Would I describe Brooke as autistic or as having autism? How would I describe Katie? Or me?
I played with the words until they felt right.
Jess can typically be found at A Diary of a Mom where she writes about her life with her husband Luau* and their two beautiful daughters, Brooke*, who is nearly 9 and has autism, pervasive anxiety, and sensory processing disorders, along with a wicked sense of humor, and Katie*, who is soon to be 11 and has been diagnosed by her mother with typical tweendom and a heart the size of Montana.
Jess is proud to be featured in the Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism and to have been a regular contributor to Hopeful Parents, Autism Speaks, The Oxygen Mask Project, and the Sensory Processing Disorder Blogger Network (SPDBN).
And yes, I used my last name. I finally had to admit that hiding behind my hands and saying “You can’t see me” isn’t really so effective. It is what it is.
Last night, I got another e-mail.
Thank you for sending us your post, and welcome to The Huffington Post blog. I’m sending you your log-in username and password (below) so that if you’d like to submit future posts to us, you can do so directly through the site. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. Thanks!
Here is the link to your first live post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jess-wilson/support_b_1321898.html
All the best,
And so it begins.
Together, we’ll test the waters out there when it’s right. We will humanize autism. We’ll spread our message of acceptance, understanding and compassion. We’ll get the word out about the desperate need for research, support and services. We’ll talk about why it matters so damn much.
And then we’ll come back here and do what we do every day – together.
Huffington Post, people. Holy hell.