May 19, 2012

Other blogs and provocative language

When I first thought about joining the Foreign Service, the place I looked first to get an idea of what it would be like was the blogosphere.  There are a lot of FS people out there blogging about their lives in the Foreign Service.  All sorts of topics are covered: gay/straight; married/single; with and without kids / pets / etc.  Basically - there's something for everyone.

The Foreign Service Blogosphere is also a great community.  Fellow bloggers comment on each other's blogs and offer help and advice - or just words of support.  We may not all be going through the same things at the same times, but many of the issues or complications can be similar.  And - if it hasn't happened to you yet, it may someday.

There is one blog in particular that I had read with avid interest from the beginning.  Perhaps because it was about a family.  Perhaps because when I started reading about them, they had been living in the East Bay near where I was living.  Perhaps because it was interesting and heartfelt and honest.  Either way, I began following it regularly. Many of the posts were about Foreign Service issues, and many were just about family issues - but it was all pertinent and gave me a great perspective.

And then came the October posts where they faced some very serious challenges.  I followed along, reading everything and hoping for the best as they coped with many challenges.  And I was gladdened to read about the support they received from fellow bloggers, the FS community and the State Department.

Fast forward to this January when I learned that I had to face similar challenges.  Luckily for me, the challenges haven't been nearly as intense, but they've been scary nonetheless.  I went back and reread all the posts again.  It was so helpful to get information - both about the State Department, and ideas about coping with my own health issues.

As I blogged about what was going on with me, I too got a lot of support from the FS blogging community.  I even heard from the person who's blog had helped me so much.  We began to correspond, I got some great advice and tips.  And when I was in DC for treatment, we were even able to get together for dinner.

Her experience has been very helpful and informative for me - as a member of the Foreign Service community - and as a person.

Interestingly, this past week, her blog came under fire as she continued to blog about her health issues and the details involved.  Information that I have always found interesting and more recently found to be incredibly helpful and applicable suddenly became controversial.  A word that I associate with love and sustenance suddenly was taboo.  I abhor censorship and find it incredibly sad when words in our language become taboo.  Nipples provide sustenance and pleasure.  That's all.  They don't promote hate - they promote love.  Why would they ever be banned?

The controversy set off quite a storm both within the Foreign Service blogosphere and the larger internet world as well.

It seems we like learning and knowing about the whole experience, not just a limited range.  And making certain words taboo is unacceptable.

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