Project Alicia : Popularity, Purging, and Proclamations.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Popularity, Purging, and Proclamations.

Sorry in advance for the random thought process. Sometimes you just need a good old fashioned mental purge, which can only occur after a healthy dose of meditation- preferably in a quiet place. I found mine in the middle of a field out in the boonies...


I suppose it's harmless enough. But does an 11 year old really need to be facebooking? I mean, I didn't even have a computer until my college days, and it was a word processor at best. Not to mention all the crazies and cyber bullies that are making headlines.

Then that's when he said it. "But mom, you have one. And you're popular. You even have a blog and an email and twitter." Little does he know I also have a blogfrog community and a new-to-me stumble upon account. Shh...

Just words, but they were words that stopped me in my tracks. Why was I feeling so defensive? Was it because I felt guilty of the time it took me away from my family? Or was it because I was in fact so completely not popular?

Don't get me wrong. I love the friendships and connections I've made in my virtual blogging, tweeting, facebooking, commenting, stumbling, blogfrogging, linking world. Unfortunately virtual hugs only go so far.

But those two words. Those two tiny harmless words from my 11 year old son made me realize that I'm only popular in a made-up world.

Thoughts started racing through my head. How often do I enjoy lunch with a friend? Or a night out with the girls? Or a double date? Or dinner guests?

Sadly enough, the answer is disturbing, especially of late.

As much as I have enjoyed interacting with so many of you, I think we can all agree that real life friends are of equal importance. And should possibly be even greater on the scale. Perhaps you were an easier, more comfortable fit, particularly in light of the recent less then perfect things unraveling in my life.

I spend plenty of time with my family and enjoy our moments together, but outside of that I have started to alienate others. Between club soccer, managing this household, dealing with HOA nightmares and short sale drama, hub's crazy schedule, pre and post school activities, and lest we forget-- BLOGGING... I have little time left to socialize outside of these 4 walls.

Plus, holidays are upon us, which I LOVE. And every year I vow to not let the crazy, commercialized ways of the world creep into my heart or mind, and yet somehow they always do. Eating up valuable minutes. And sucking the life right out of me.

And there is another biggie in my life right now. Something I've been debating whether or not to share publicly, but regardless it is there. And it reflects in so many of my thoughts and decisions on a daily basis. My son was recently diagnosed with non-verbal learning disorder (NVLD). It is a mild form of autism. I have known he was a little different for years now. Possibly dating back to tantrum throwing toddler days. And although I think he is a remarkable person- intelligent, witty, thoughtful, and passionate about life in general- he has challenges that not every child deals with. So, we are working hard to understand him better and teach him how to properly interact with the human race. I'm not sure I've been the best example of that lately. Hubs always says that we overcome weaknesses and phobias by doing. So, motherhood beckons me. My son needs me. (And if you read my bully post this might shed more light as to why it was so heart wrenching for me or why I'm not convinced homeschooling him is the best idea for either one of us.)

But I think it is time to stop hiding behind the fear of labels. Autism is becoming more of the norm than the exception these days. It appears to be almost as common today as any household cold. Ok, maybe that's a stretch. But you get the point. Unfortunately it has a much longer lifespan and there is no cough syrup or decongestant to mask the symptoms. There are no black and whites and triggers are as confusing as the disease itself. But speaking out about this will certainly open more doors and opportunities that will hopefully give way to a happier, normal, more productive life for him. Junior High is hard enough without added obstacles. He battles his own inner demons on a regular basis and I know that his life has not been easy. He has already defied so many statistical odds. Most children who have NVLD are unable to do any sports, yet Little Man excels at soccer. Just today he made 2 goals and had one assist. So, we have done all that we can to encourage this passion of his. And I couldn't be more proud of his achievements. I will continue to be his biggest advocate, whether it's bullies or his own inner demons, I will always be there helping him battle the bad guys. And cheering him on.

So, yes. Those sweet, innocent enough, heart tugging 2 words have given me just the push needed in my quest for balance.

So, I did the impossible. I pushed the delete button and emptied 1,000 emails. Talk about a virtual detox. I already feel lighter, like a giant weight has been lifted. I had no idea I was a virtual hoarder. I suppose I was holding on to those in the hope of finding time to respond. But let's be real. Time to wipe the slate clean and start anew. I've spent the better part of my life purging, decluttering, and keeping life around me perfectly manicured and organized. Those millions of words may not weigh anything in terms of pounds, but they can certainly bog us down just the same.

If there was something important that I missed please let me know or resend the info. Otherwise, I've set up a new strategy. I have organized different boxes to catch the important stuff and will be responding and deleting much more promptly. If I were really organized I'd have a separate email account for just my blogging, but truth be told I don't think I can deal with one more thing. Especially something that requires a new user name and password. Or number.

If you were to sit and tally the numbers that define you, would you be able to? Or have you lost track of them? I think I fall into that category. Just as the cyber world needed a detox, my head could certainly do without most of the junk that is taking up residence up there, particularly all those numbers... bank accounts, credit cards, passwords, SSNs and medical ID numbers for every family member, library numbers, insurance IDs, auto loan numbers, student loans, school lunch accts, not to mention phone numbers, house numbers, garage codes, or dates. The list is endless. Then there is a separate code for each and every account set up on the internet. Is it any wonder our brain short circuits from time to time? I miss the days that people just had names.

I am also working on streamlining my google reader. I recently learned that there are folders for categorizing. And I've been attempting to tweak it a bit. Any tips or hints?

I will also not be blogging on the weekends except for an occasional project 365 post. I will only be doing 2-4 posts per week. I will keep the Tasty Tuesdays and Wordless Wednesdays going for now and will only post others when I feel so inclined. Up until now I have always visited every single linkup. As much as I love it, there may be days that I won't make it to everyone's post. Some days allow for this, others don't. Life doesn't always go as planned. So, that's where I'm at now and I will reassess later.

I hope that we can still stay connected. I will spend an allotted amount of time visiting blogs and commenting. If you don't want to miss a post make sure to subscribe to my feedburner so that it will go straight to your email (located just under my photo to the right). You can also friend me on facebook. I tend to visit more of those that pop up in my status updates. Mostly because I can access it from my iphone.

But don't be alarmed if you don't see me around as much. I'm not going anywhere, I'm just scaling back in an attempt to find harmony and happiness in my life. To be the kind of wife, mother, and person I can be proud of.

I thank you for following my beautiful mess.


  1. I'm a new follower so I don't want to creep you out by facebook-stalking you, if you know what I mean. ;)

    I understand about the time thing. I've cut back on my blogging and other stuff because real life beckons at times. It's especially crucial for me as an introvert and painfully shy person to not hole myself up in cyberspace. It's hard to get out in a new place (we moved not too long ago) and meet new people. I'm scared, frankly. But I know I can't hide behind my computer. You've just got to work it into your life just as much or as little as necessary or it won't be fun anymore. I was ready to dump my blog altogether because I couldn't keep up with all the linking and so on and so forth. It sounds like you're doing a better job at it than me... and with a lot more on the go! I just cut back and relaxed a little, and now it feels more natural. People don't come by as much, but that's okay. it's the quality of the people who do visit, not the quantity.

    Good luck!

  2. Love the shot of you in the field!!

    I've been going through some of these same thoughts. Although there isn't much of anything organized anywhere in my life... So your a GIANT step ahead! LOL!

    I have an Awareness page across the top of my blog with a Linky that is always available. This would be a great post to link up! It could cover 2 for the price of one! Prioritizing your life and NVLD!! You could do another linking to bullying. Just a thought. I highlight the list every Wednesday and feature the causes added since the week before.

    If you get any great tips on organizing the Google Reader, I am also open for that information. I definitely have priority blogs to keep up with... and others that are only occasional... But the way it stands, it's too overwhelming. Like you said, I still have to put the time into being a wife, mother, and friend. I've actually got some of those friends that are in both my worlds (RL - Blogosphere) but getting TOGETHER is much better, but not always possible.

    I wish you the best in your efforts and adjusting with your son's disorder. Thanks for stopping by!! ;D

  3. This is a wonderful post, Alicia. I gasped and was in awe when I read you deleted 1000 emails. I am an electronic hoarder, as well. It's a part of why I don't do FB. I'm an addictive electronic personality. Definitely! I am proud of you for taking the time to share this with all of us, and way to go for moving forward and taking the steps you need to to take care of you. We'll be here, we're not going anywhere. I get what you've said, and in some ways it's liberating. I need to weed through my inboxes, too. And yes, I do have one just for blog-related stuff, and it's a help, but sometimes I just save things forEVER. And there's no need for all of that nonsense. Thanks for the kick in the butt. And good for YOU!

    As for your son, he sounds like he is truly lucky to have an incredible mom. I hope you and your family continue to support him as he needs to be supported and you learn along the way the things you need to about NVLD.

    And lastly, blog friends are real, my friend. You can count on me as one of yours. If you ever need to talk or anything, let me know. I'm here to listen!!!

  4. well, i hope you don't get mad at this.....but i know our friendship has suffered during your blogging. i hope you find the balance you desire.....(maybe you should have listened to your good old "real" friend lisa more! ;) there is nothing like being out with friends....going to see a chick flick....lunch....getting nails hangin! it's my favorite pass time after being with family (and some days before family!!) glad you are coming to your senses!

  5. Virtual hug! Good for you on all counts!

    First off, since your son's autism is mild, he'll be fine! He'll be able to go to college and be self-sufficient.

    That being said, it CAN be tough for our high-functioning kiddos because they have to interact in a typical world. That means dealing with bullies, etc. It's extremely stressful. Hang in there! Learn to reconnect with your IRL friends because they can be such a source of strength. And, of course, don't forget about your virtual friends.

    I'm so glad you've come out of the closet, so to speak!

  6. Alicia, Well said!!! I can so relate to this post and yesterday's. You're awesome! XO

  7. First of all, that picture is to die for! Truly beautiful!

    Kudos to you for flushing down 1000 emails! Which reminds me I need to clean up my inbox as well.

    Hope you will find that balance your heart seeks and take as much time as you wish, girl. I would miss you but I want you to know that I'd still be around here.

    Sending you a big virtual hugs since I am on the other side of your world.

  8. Enjoyed reading your your photo here! It must be framed! Beautiful!

  9. I don't facebook at 37. :o)

    LOVE that photo!

  10. HUGS! You know there was a time before my son was diagnosed with Autism that I HOPED it was NVLD. Don't take this wrong because I know you are probably scared and I don't wish any disorder on any kid that makes life and learning tougher, but it could be worse. Your boy may have some struggles but he IS doing it. He is going to make it through with your love and guidance. Also, with a tough diagnosis, can come services that oerhaps weren't available before. A diagnosis can help with that and also to KNOW what you are dealing with is huge.

    Never let the word or disorder Autism scare you. YOU and your son are stronger and greater than IT. It can be conquered and is all the time.

    Do what you need to for your family and you.

  11. Good for you. This will make you less tempted to share the secret of your gorgeousness with me.

    For real though, I'm glad you're doing this. We all need to find our balance. For me? I take the weekends off from blogging, no visits, no comments returned. Any comments left on the weekend get read and filed. I don't use google reader - the only things I read devotedly are those I get via email. Helps me manage my own load with less guilt.

    Blah blah blah, I'm not sure that any of those tips/tricks are helpful to you. But we all need this. Hope it works for you.


  12. I'm proud of you. Now go have some lunch or dinner with your girls! Everyone needs this time!

  13. Well said. I think a lot of us struggle with balance. As I type this, I'm helping my son with schoolwork, cooking spaghetti sauce, and waiting for two loads of laundry to be finished. And someone once said, "Oh, you don't work?"

    Family has to come before blogging, and I completely understand if you don't post every single day.

    I use the reader in Blogger, which--as far as I know--doesn't have a way to group or prioritize blogs. I've read the suggestion to subscribe by email to your very favorite blogs; then you can skip over the ones in the reader when you don't have time for them. I think it's a great idea, but I haven't implemented it.

  14. I totally agree...balance in life is so key! I struggle with this on a daily basis which I think most moms do. I used to get so wrapped up in blogging, following and reading so many blogs that I forgot how fun it was.
    It definitely sounds like you have found your balance and are well on your way!

  15. I can completely relate to everything you just wrote. I will say that don't let your son's diagnosis get you down. My brother was diagnosed with ADHD at a time when everyone seemed to be diagnosed with ADHD. It really set him back with his schooling even though he tested much smarter than me...and he eventually started self-medicating which has led to over 10 years of drug addiction. I don't talk about it on my blog either but I know what you're going through and finding the balance in it all is quite a job. Do what you need to do...the rest of us will still be here and I could probably take a page from your book and apply it to my own life!

  16. You know I'm working on doing the same thing,so I totally relate and understand what you're doing.

    I'm so glad that you shared your son's struggles. Somebody going through the same thing is going to read it and not feel so alone.

  17. Ok, scaling back I can deal with...I was terrified you were giving us up!!! But I totally hear you and if anyone can understand it would be us, right??? Do what you have to do. I'm thinking of you and your family! Take care you...

    Lots of yummy love,
    Alex aka Ma What's For Dinner

  18. I totally understand. I need to reevaluate my blog time and spend more time in the real world.

  19. You're my hero for hitting DELETE on your blogging inbox! I need to but, just can't seem to do it! I keep trying to dig out of mine!!

    Love that photo by the way!

  20. Dear Alicia,
    I don't beleive for a second there is a blogger who does not feel the same way. I struggle with my blogging time on a daily basis. I too am questioning the time I spend in cyberworld, in stead of the real world. I was happy to read I was not the only one. Time with your son is far more important than emails. Congratulations. I have a separate blogging email address and i find it a pain to have to check two different emails, plus I have to sign into blogger with my blog email address.
    Take care,
    Enjoy your time,

  21. I absolutely agree with you when it comes to Autism becoming as common as a cold! So many forms, so little answers.

    I normally don't blog on weekends either. Occasionally I'll do a post on Sunday evening, but I usually reserve that time for my family.

    I always look forward to your Tasty Tuesday's! Enjoy your family and we'll see ya soon!

  22. What a beautiful post. Really. I loved your honestly, and openness and ability to look at life and where you are and ask the hard questions.

    Thank you for all of that.

  23. Yay for you! I think 'real life' should always trump online responsibilities. :) With that said, I have been not doing well in the 'real people' category lately either...I've been dealing with terrible 'all-day sickness' with the first trimester of my 4th (due in May). I have a feeling I will follow the steps on many bloggers who did their bulk of blogging while they were nursing, etc.

    I just saw this post today thru the Life...Your Way network on organizing with Google Priority Box. Hope it is helpful!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog too! I wondered if you used Elements or just plain Photoshop. I do have both and you have inspired me to make something similar for our living room wall. Just what I needed to fill an empty space after getting rid of an entertainment center.


  24. Good for you, Lish! I'm glad that you've come up with a plan to make things easier for you both in the blogging world and at home. I'm sure that with this renewed sense of self and a clearer direction you'll find that harmony will once again reside in your life.
    As for dumping 1,000 emails? You. Go. Girl.

    Kristi, Live and Love...Out Loud

  25. I dragged myself away from the computer (I was tweaking my blog lol) to call a friend and go to Michaels. I said hey want to go shopping? She has something to do, so 30 min later I met up with her. While I was waiting I put away some clothes and finally met one of my best friends. She is one of those friends that you can call and say..hey do you have time for coffee? I love her and her open house and heart... She has 4 kids 10-19 so she's very busy, but if she can she takes time for her friends.

    I know what you mean about virtual hugs are not just enough.

    My daughter has been deeply depressed. She's seeing a councelor and we're talking to her ped. on Thurs. She has ADD too. She's in 7th grade and last year was overwhelming and now she is starting to get overwhelmed again. It makes me want to cry but I have to be strong and try to be patient too.

    God Bless you and your family. You son islucky to have such a great compassionate mom.

  26. Congrats on your new discovery and your new journey. I haven't been blogging as much and haven't been as present in the social media world of late as well. I always complain about not enough time for my family and friends and I finally realized that sometimes you need to MAKE time for those things. And while I love blogging and will continue to do so, I too need to reprioritize and not put so much emphasis on posting each and every day. I applaud you for your cleansing. It isn't always easy. I will still be by to link up on Tasty Tuesdays and Wordless Wednesdays and of course will be reading your blog on other days as well! Enjoy your new found free time. You know, the time that will be consumed with laundry and chores and all that other fun stuff :-)

  27. I've had a vibe for awhile now that there was...something. Something goin' on.
    Don't know why, don't know how. I just have.
    I identify with much of what you've said here in a very big way and I support you a thousand times over.
    My husband works with kids and when I was still working {in the adult world} I worked with kids too. You're right...forms of autism are very prevalent. I think you're strong and proactive and a fighter and your little man is blessed that YOU are his mom.
    This quote is running through my head right now...
    "Sometimes God calms the storm...Sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His child."
    Thinking of you.

  28. I'm so proud of you Lish! You certainly know where your priorities lie and that you're not caught up in the blogging world. I don't care how many times you blog a week...I just come by to spend time with you. So I'm happy that you are "cleansing". Enjoy your free time and come back and give me some tips on how I can find myself some free time.

  29. Way to go Alicia. You are a brave person and I love ya! I appreciate your honesty, both with yourself, and all of us. I do miss our phone chats of pre-blog and facebook days. If a spare minute presents itself, give me a call!

  30. I just wrote a post like this last week.

    Girlfriend, you spread your beautiful wings and fly. I'll always stick around for your beautiful mess.


  31. Glad you are not being so hard on yourself and doing what you need to do.

    I, too, am going to look forward to a less hectic blog schedule once my challenge is over.

    You have a wonderful following and all of your posts are beautiful to read. People aren't going to drop you like a hot potato. :) And if they do, they weren't that loyal of a friend anyway, right?

    BTW, I agree that it can be easy to withdraw into the blogging world for friendships. I do agree that balance is necessary also. But I think you understand, as do I, that a blog friend can be as real and as true as a friend in person. I'm glad that you don't draw the arbitrary distinction that some do.

  32. Hi Alicia:

    You have lovely blog. As as an adult with nonverbal learning disability, I can relate to your concerns about your son, as well as your need to have some more in the flesh friends as well as Internet friends!

    Best Regards,
    Lillian Baulding

  33. excellent, excellent, excellent post.

    Family first. Media second.

    I wrote about that last week. Or maybe it was the week prior. I lose track of time.....

    Blessings to you!

  34. One of my sons has Central Auditory Processing Disorder, which has a lot of symptoms in NVLD. We homeschooled until he could read well. He is very literal, does not near tone, so has trouble reading social/body language. Amazingly, has has been extremely popular, but that popularity declined in high school. We recently moved somewhere we communication coaching is available, but he doesn't want to be defined by this and doesn't want to have a problem. He, however, recognizes that he needs to better interpret communication.

    We have had 504s in schools and then abandoned them because teachers would not go by them (especially when it came to testing - which 504 requirements made huge differences in testing). We finally just started talking to teachers indidivually and, luckily, had teachers who were very cooperative.

    I don't have all the answers, but if you ever need anyone to bounce any ideas off of, stop by. We moms need to encourage each other!

    Happy New Year!