Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Autism Answer: My Only Excuse For Not Doing The Work Was Fear - My Interview With Mom

I stared at the invitation for possibly thirty seconds while a whirlwind of unexpected hopes and worries blurred my vision.

It was a surprise from several angles. 

I had never considered interviewing my mom for, well, for anything. My blog, my YouTube channel, articles I submit for publication, none of them, even though I actively submit the suggestion of an interview with my mom all the time! I research contact info, compose emails, fill out forms, and I'm always thrilled when my interview suggestion is accepted and acted upon. I'm not only thrilled because it's generally a thrill to have a suggestion accepted, but also for my mom who learns more about what she knows by answering questions, for a new audience who will be introduced to her insight and work, and for the interviewer whose questions will be thoughtfully considered and intriguingly answered. 

And yet, funnily, until the quick reply from an editor at Women Writers, Women's Books to my interview suggestion turned things around by suggesting I do the interview, I hadn't thought to take that gift for myself.  

And now that the invitation was here, I sat in stunned appreciation and explored the previously unknown feelings I had about such a project. 

I admit, my first feeling was of having been complimented. This editor - whom I had emailed back and forth with a few times - thought I might have the skill for it! Secondly, I got scared. What if I don't have the skill for it? Dude, I am not a fan of letting people down or exposing their mistaken confidence in me. Thirdly, I hoped I might have the skill for it. A good interview requires several things. An interesting guest, for one. I knew I had that. My mom - like her creative work - is compelling, down-to-earth, inspirational, poetic, clear, inclusive, and candid. But a good interview also requires questions that simultaneously encourage the guest to shine while caring about relevance for the intended audience.  

A good interview brings everyone in and, often, guides revelations that change us all in the process. 

My respect for a gifted interviewer was seeded for me as an audience member but blossomed when I became a guest. The difference I felt when asked questions by someone who clearly cared for me, themselves, and their audience vs someone merely looking for content blew me away. It has happened for me several times now and, though I always reflect and dig deep for honest answers to interview questions, I am invigorated and surprised by the ones that are careful and relevant. The experience consistently leaves me breathless and aware of myself and my world in new ways. 

So -

Did I have the skill for something like that?

This thought led me to a fourth feeling; it would take work. I mean, complimented as I was, I would have to hunker down and consider everyone and do the work. That's a big task when you're afraid you don't have the skill.

But, fifth, what an opportunity! To see if I have the skill, to ask my mom questions, to introduce her to a new audience, to be part of the Women Writers, Women's Books community in this more active way, the only excuse for not doing the work is fear. 

What kind of example is that for my sons? My granddaughters?

And so, I did it. I accepted the invitation. I crafted questions I felt brought all of us to the table and would encourage growth, new ideas. 

I was nervous sending them to my mom. (She claims to have loved the questions but, you know, she's my mom.) 

I was nervous sending them to the editor. (She claims the interview is insightful but, you know, the interviewee is my mom.)

But it was invigorating and fun. It was an opportunity I plan to give myself again soon. 

And I was a good example to my sons and my granddaughters. Not that they're watching. Yet, we are all always watching. 

I owe a great big dose of gratitude to the editor that offered me the chance to learn all this. Oh, I know she was likely overwhelmed and overworked and unlikely thinking about me or my skills, but isn't that the way so many of us get what we didn't know we wanted? Someone could use our help doing a thing we hope they'll do and suddenly we're doing it together. 

And suddenly we're discovering a new skill or interest. 

Let's not be shy about accepting new opportunities that match a desire we have or a goal we're after, and let's not be shy about offering them. 

We never know when we might be ready for something new. 

Read, enjoy, and share my interview with mom here: Interview with Dr. Lynette Louise ("The Brain Broad")

Hugs, smiles, and love!!
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)


Be sure to check out all of the other interviews, blog posts, and books on the Women Writers, Women's Books website while you're there! My mom wrote this post for them a while back: Writing is my Lifestyle 

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Autism Answer: Consider This - Questions, Vaccines, and Brand New Parents

I woke up to this text from myself -

Consider This: People aren't questioning vaccines to be assholes or conspiracy theorists. Instead, they feel obligated to protect children. And injecting them with lab grown viruses [often of unknown origin] toxic preservatives and adjuvants [even in small doses] even BEFORE little bodies have begun to get strong enough to maybe handle it, fills them with questions. Seems legit, right? 

Encourage questions that give you discomfort. That's where our heaviest answers have settled. Let's unsettle them, dust them off, [examine the dust] take them apart, and explore every inch. 

I guess I fell asleep before I could tell myself why I wanted to tell this to myself? I had been fighting the flu after nursing my nieces through it, and felt almost deliriously exhausted when I'd sent myself the text. It was, you know, the sort of thing you don't generally bother to share in a blog post.

But, you know me. I generally love sharing random messages to myself with you in my blog posts. 

So, here we are. 

Hi there. :D 

Now, the text didn't come out of absolute nothingness. The immune system, natural medicines, over the counter meds and prescription interventions, had been the issue of the week as children and adults were getting sick in a house that holds a six month old baby. 

Hence, we were immersed in a world of research and action, our desire to protect the children heightened and exposed. 

We are incredibly lucky that the baby (my granddaughter) is nearly entirely breastfed - we have formula for when her mom is working, my son is home, and pumped milk is gone - since being breastfed makes likelihood of the illness hitting her hard far less likely. Particularly because she hasn't been recently vaccinated. A recent vaccine would put her at high risk due to compromised immunity and mom's milk lacking precise antibodies. In fact, the one time my entirely breastfed niece got extremely ill as an infant was soon after a vaccine. The illness wasn't from the vaccine, but rather partially because of it. My sister's milk wasn't protecting her from the virus (since my sister wasn't exposed to the virus, only the baby was, and the baby wasn't merely exposed, it was injected into her bloodstream) so while trying to fight the illness herself my niece was vulnerable. Enter a new virus, and sick as she was she refused to eat the healthy helpful breastmilk. 

Now, this is the type of information we wanted to know in order to keep my granddaughter healthy while taking care of my sick twin nieces. This is also the sort of thing too many people get cruelly attacked for discussing. 

And I haven't even brought up much. This isn't even controversial stuff. This is mainstream already agreed upon info. 

Not only have I been taking action on building and bolstering immunities due to the flu, also my sons and their wives are new parents, researching for and caring about their young babies in the hopes of making their most informed and confident decisions as parents. (Oh, boy. Those of us who have been parents for long know how many surprises they're in for while they try to "get it right" as moms and dads! What a ride!)

Watching them navigate this new way of being, this new building of themselves and a family that is so much more than they imagined, is so darn lovely! 

Yet, everywhere they look there are cruel name calling images and "jokes" meant to make a parent feel horrible and even evil and the laughing stock of the world for various decisions. Most commonly, it seems, about vaccines.   

How terrible!

Parents. Are. Trying. 

It takes courage to ask questions that others deem unaskable. It takes courage to inject your child with a vaccine and it takes courage not to. 

If you choose to vaccinate and your child is harmed, how dare the world give you more guilt? Who does that help? (To be fair, most people who question vaccines are calling out companies and organizations, not parents, but some do.)

If you choose not to vaccinate and your child gets an illness for which a vaccine exists (aside: often it is believed to be healthier for the child and society in the long run if we do get some of these illnesses) and there is a life-altering complication, how dare the world pile on the hurt? (I confess, these are the cruelest memes I've seen, often claiming that parents who choose an alternate vaccine schedule, or no vaccines at all, are choosing to murder their children.)

Consider This: People are asking questions because people should always ask questions. That's how we work together to uncover answers. 

Yes, some answers hurt to discover because we are exposed as having been complicit in a crime we were unaware we were committing. But those answers are most necessary for us to explore. They hurt less the sooner we take time to explore them.

Do or don't vaccinate - choose a schedule that matches your family, your child, your movements around the world, your beliefs, and do this while asking questions and uncovering answers. 

In fact, you will for sure find out later that sometimes you asked the wrong questions or accepted the wrong answers (although, often they were right for you at the time) but more importantly you will become practiced in asking the questions that matter to you, discovering (or inventing) answers that work for you, and in doing so build self-confidence as a person and parent, and turn up the volume on your voice. Maybe only for yourself and your family, but that is enough. 

Your family, your tribe, your people, they are your biggest heaviest answer and you'll never be finished learning from or understanding them.

Encourage questions, for you and them. 

Hugs, smiles, and love!! 
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook) 


To read a bit more about my personal experiences with vaccinations (heads up, my sons are all entirely vaccinated) follow this link to a guest post I was honored and invited to write: What Having a Weird Mom Herself Taught this Mama about Children's Health