Friday, February 5, 2010

I'm Not Sobbing. At Least Not Today.

I wasn't planning to post about this quite yet, but I'm so bothered by someone's insensitivity that I just have to share. I've been brainstorming for a while now for a way to raise money to make a more sizable donation for Autism research and awareness than I could do on my own. This year, I believe I've found it. Sure I stole the idea from here, but it's a good idea, so why be original? I have asked my friends and family for their old, used Christmas & Holiday cards to repurpose into New cards that I will be selling this coming Fall for the 2010 Holiday Season. All profits will be donated to further Autism research and awareness.

Key word of the day... AWARENESS.

I subscribe to our local group. If you don't belong or are unaware of what FreeCycle is, please check it out and consider adding it to your routine. It's really a great service. With that said, our local group has a moderator that could use a lesson in tact.

Pronunciation: \ˈtakt\
Function: noun
Etymology: French, sense of touch, from Latin tactus, from tangere to touch
Date: 1797

1 : sensitive mental or aesthetic perception <converted the novel into a play with remarkable skill and tact> 2 : a keen sense of what to do or say in order to maintain good relations with others or avoid offense

While I utilized FreeCycle quite a few times in Vermont, I had yet to give or receive anything from the group here in Michigan. So this was my first time posting since signing up a couple of months ago. They have some rules and regulations, just to keep things simple and organized. After all, their main goal is keeping things out of the landfills, which I appreciate. I forgot a few of the formatting rules, so my post was denied. Here's an idea of what I typed in my request...

"I might be late getting out this request, but I am wanting used Christmas cards to repurpose into New Christmas cards to sell next Fall to raise money for Autism Awareness. Blah, blah, blah... (some more info about making the cards, nothing about me or Abby or Autism)... blah, blah, blah. I have a daughter with Autism and have been looking for a way to raise money. This is it!"

This is the email I got from the moderator denying my request.

"Per posting format, you need to indicate area where YOU live, in subject line; resubmit....and when you do, only the first sentence of your text body is sufficient. One does not need to detail their "reason" for asking, to keep something out of the landfills..and sob storys aren't allowed. T/y."

And "sob stories" aren't allowed!?!!! OMG!

Where did I sob in that request?! As a matter of fact, I think I might have been smiling and typing with a bounce in my fingers as I typed up my request. Sure there have been days when I've asked "Why Me?!" in my adventure parenting a kid with Autism, but I wouldn't trade her for the world. If my option was to have no Abby or Abby just as she is, you better believe I'd choose her just as she is a thousand times over!

This was my response to the moderator... my fingers were shaking with anger as I typed this up. I could see the point the moderator was trying to make and yet I was feeling like I had to say something to point out their lack of tact.

"Sorry. This is my first posting and it's been a while since I reviewed the format specifications. Have to admit I'm a little offended by the reference to "sob story". I don't feel I have a "sob story". Just a kid with Autism who I think is pretty close to perfect just as she is. No need to sob. With that said, I understand the point you so "eloquently" make and will keep my resubmission short and sweet. Thanks."

I thought about telling them off and unsubscribing, but that would just hurt me, other users of the site and landfills. So I just kept it brief and calm, considering I was so pissed! OH! And by the way, I've read other requests for items that detailed a families dire economic situation, so I hardly see why sharing the reason I'm asking for used Christmas cards as being a sob story.

Abby's Autism is mild. I could pretend it wasn't there and people might just think she's a bit weird, if they even noticed anything at all. The reason I don't do that is because I think we need to "Think differently about Autism." With so many kids diagnosed, people are going to find themselves in contact with someone who has it at some time or another. I LOVE when people ask me about it. I LOVE to educate them with the little bit I know about Autism and give suggestions for how to interact with people who have it. Our story is not a Sob Story. It's simply our story. Some days the stories are light and funny, sweet and touching, sad and frustrated. Just like anyone else's. We have good days and we have bad days. We have days that are full of original thought and conversation and then days that are filled with frustrated, non-communicative screams and days that it seems Abby is stuck reading the same script over and over again.

Sure I've sobbed at times.
Who hasn't?!

But our story is NOT a sob story!
It's a story of love, acceptance, perseverance and victory!
Being Abby's mom is a joy that I thank God for daily.

If any of you would like to donate your Holiday cards, please contact me at Thanks.
(All images are holiday cards that I've made out of repurposed cards, paint sample cards, old brochures from spas and apartment buildings, print shop clippings, etc.)
I've made 41 cards so far and I've only just begun!

UPDATE: I received a kind and TACTFUL reply from the moderator and I'm much less pissed now : )

It was the way it should have been worded initially. She basically reiterated her initial point and pointed out that "sob story" is the term they use in the rules laid out for the postings and she meant no disrespect in quoting it to me. It was all said in a manner that was not at all rude and finished it all up with "Good luck with your request! It certainly merits a good cause. ;o) " I stand by my original annoyance, but I'm less pissed and I'm glad she took the time to respond in a professional manner.


jaydub said...

Damn it girl!!! You can't leave us hanging like that, (well me at least). What was the kind and tactful reply????? I'm all aggravated now w/o any release!!!

My name is Erin. said...

I added to the UPDATE just for you. : )

Dani G said...

STFU- "sob story"?? I almost freaked when I read that. You know what, it's ALL about awareness!! Did you ever read this post:

I can't wait to send out some of your cards later this year! Make some with the generic "happy holidays" for your Jewish friend ;)

jaydub said...

Thank you!!! I feel a little better now, well....not really. They should even use that verbiage in their rules. I get it.... some people do go on a bit, but it still is their feelings/story. So to refer to them as sob stories is still pretty rude! The company sounds interesting... but if it were me I'd have trouble letting that one drop. I'd have to write a letter to their leader. But that's just me.

P.S. I talk all big, but when it comes right down to it I generally end up being too lazy to write the letter.

My name is Erin. said...

Dani- Right?!!! I kind of was freaking out. My letter was wayyy calmer than I was. I was PISSED! I could tell in the reply that the person felt bad and was really trying and that was really the point of my replying to them in the first place, so hopefully they will think twice the next time a similar situation comes up. As for some generic Happy Holiday cards... I've already been thinking of you all along the way and I think I'm going to invest in some Star of David and Hanukkah stamps, too. Not only do I love my Jewish friends, but I'm an equal opportunity fund raiser. XO

Jennifer- Yeah, I know. It does kind of bug me, but it didn't bug me when I first read them in the rules. So I guess it's only offensive when its YOUR story being called a sob story. There's some food for thought, huh? I suppose we should all think twice before using verbiage like that.