“How do you think of what to write about?”
“Why do you share so much on Facebook?”
“Do you ever worry that if people know your business they will judge you….or steal your children?”
“Well, I couldn’t care less if people ever know I am alive. I am good if they just leave me alone.”
These are real questions and statements that have been said to me since my entrance into the world of social media. I will say it right here and now – I love social media! Like all good things, there is a balance and it is easy to get out of balance, but in its rightful place and priority, I love it.
Since I have been asked these questions (and many more like them) and since I do blog and share my life on Facebook and YouTube, then I guess they are fair questions. So, I will answer why I do it.
1. I do it for me.
Really, if no one ever reads my blog, I write for me. It is therapeutic. I have learned enough about myself to know that when things puzzle or plague my mind, it feels like a bunch of bees just swarming around. My mind shoots out a question, then my mind answers it in 15 different ways. I play devil’s advocate with myself and the longer I dwell on it, the more jumbled it gets…and I am already feeling buzzed just trying to describe it!
When I start typing my thoughts, something wonderful happens. It all comes out on paper making sense to me! It is settled and cohesive. It has a point and it helps me. I am a thinker. I like to know and understand. I will dwell on a topic for days before I ever start to write. When I write, it is concluded. My blog posts are just the punctuation at the end of my thoughts. It helps me make sense of things.
2. I do it for others.
I love reading blogs. God has written so many beautiful life stories out there. I love to read and to learn from them. I am encouraged and challenged. I am strengthened and I grow. I find it interesting that God gave us the gift of His written Word – the Bible. There is much power in the written word – for good and bad. If God can use my life story through writing and sharing my journey, and if it can encourage only one other soul, then I am happy. I want to give as I have received. I would love to be able to change the world! I’m not sure that will happen, but if others are strengthened in their journey as I also have been strengthened then I will write as long as I am able!
1. It helped me.
When I was so sick and stuck in bed, the world can feel like a very tiny place. I could not go out, and I could not be entertained by others all the time. My world was online. I loved Facebook. I could not travel to see my friends, but Facebook allowed me little peaks into their daily life. It helped me to see my friends. If I couldn’t be with them in person, at least I could be with them virtually.
I also started meeting other amazing people who were pros in this strange new world I had been thrown into. It was wonderful. The things they posted and shared made me feel like eventually….just maybe…life could feel normal again for me. I enjoy the friendships I have made and the wisdom I could glean from others.
2. I feel indebted.
So very many people, many of whom I dearly loved, and some I did not even know, reached out to me on Facebook. The prayers, the encouragement, the practical and tangible ways they gave and helped to make our lives a little easier during a very rough time, touched me to the very core. I feel like I want to pay it forward. I Facebook about my life because I want to tell others that we are okay. Life is beautiful and we enjoy it. If others are stuck at home, and the life of my family can put a smile on their face, then I will do it. I don’t have to hide or crop my life away. We are who we are. We love Jesus and love each other. I am happy to share this life. I try to remember that everything I post should be honest. I don’t share all my bad days, because as a Christian, we are not to be grumblers. If I ask for prayer, it is because I really need it and I appreciate every single prayer that goes up on my behalf. I don’t share intimate things because that is only for my hubby and me. I don’t share the things that my husband or kids do that get on my nerves, because I wouldn’t appreciate it if they did that to me. I try to be the kind of person on Facebook that I try to be in real life and that I like to be around – settled, kind, encouraging and fun.
3. I want to break stereotypes!
Some of what I post on Facebook is simply just to change some people’s perception of disability. I get so tickled at what some people “think” I do. I had one man say to me, “Since you are in a wheelchair, you should have someone build you a Marten birdhouse. That way, as you sit and look out the window, you can be entertained.” I almost roared in laughter!! (I didn’t. I kept it together…until I got alone. Then I lost it!) I constantly have people staring at me, trying to push me, grab me, and quite often yell out if I get within 3 feet of a set of steps. Yes, I know they are there. Thank you.
I know that maybe when I post things it seems like I am bragging on what “I” can do. That is true to a point. If you mean, brag because “Alicia” is doing it then that is wrong. If you mean, the “girl that uses a wheelchair is doing it”, then yes, you are right. I want to send forth an image that says we are able. We just do things differently and we are going to help you see how we do it. Education and understanding go so very far!
I just learned recently of a little girl in my town. She is 8 and uses a wheelchair. Sometimes she gets depressed because she cannot do what her siblings can do. I am trying to get a play date with this cutie! I want her to see how I drive, how my kitchen works for me, how my bathroom is designed, how I sweep and mop and take care of my family. I want her to ride my bike and play basketball with me. Why? Because I want her to be encouraged! I want her to know that she has an amazing future and she can do whatever she puts her mind to…she just will do it her way.
I have had so much fun with videos! YouTube has been the equivalent of Disability College for me! “A picture is worth a thousand words” has never been truer. My physical therapist (who I loved) would show me how to do something. He would demonstrate it (as he tried to make half his body muscles not work) and then have me copy it. I would get SO frustrated! He made it look easy and I couldn’t even get my rear to lift a quarter of an inch!
When I was so frustrated trying to learn how to do things, I would search it on YouTube. I would watch all these different people do the same thing…but, they would do it different ways. Instead of just one way to do something, there were options! It depends on your strength, your level of paralysis, your height, your agility, spasms or not, and on and on. I would try one way, and then another, until I found which one I could do! It was amazing! I knew that if someone who were a higher level of injury than me could do something, then I knew that I could! So I would try…and try…and try.
What I found was that most of the videos on YouTube were of guys. It was the guys demonstrating how to do many things. Take a muscular guy who is 6 ft. and compare that to a 5’4 chubby housewife. Well, that got kind of depressing because I would always give myself a cop-out that he could do it because he was a guy and I couldn’t because I was a girl. Hogwash.
I would search for videos of skills from those that were higher injured than I was. I figured, for example, that if a guy whose hands didn’t work all the way could do something, then surely a girl whose hands did work could figure it out. So, the challenge began. I learned to load my chair behind me because of this one guy! Watch this video. I practiced for two whole summers before I could do it, but I got it! As I learned to do more, I decided the girls needed represented! If this gal could do it, then other gals could to! That was the birth of my YouTube channel. It includes family singing and fun and some of my hubbies wonderful Bible teaching, but primarily it is videos about disability…from a girl! I love making these videos! There is nothing more helpful than to be shown how to do something by someone who gets it.
For example, here are all different videos of how to get back in your wheelchair from the floor:
1. Guy with spasms (which can throw you like crazy right in the middle of what you are trying to do!)
2. My friend Mike (low-level para, light weight, and strong) 3. The one I learned to do (this guy is a low-level quad) 4. Mine! (although I am STILL trying to learn to do it like #2)
As you can see, there are many ways to do the same task. My way is kind of combination of a couple of ways, but it works for me for now! I have been trying for 5 years to be able to do it another way, but I haven’t got it yet. I assure you though. When I get it, it will be videoed! 🙂
Videoing how I live my life and figuring out how to do things, is just one more way that I feel I can give back. Much has been given to me through the knowledge on YouTube, so I want to do my part in helping others like I have been helped.
So, my dear reader, if you have ever wondered why I blog, why I Facebook and why I video…..I hope you will wonder no longer. And…thanks for reading, engaging and watching!